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What I Reckon: Tindering

Ugh. That glorious world of online dating. You see, people these days are too lazy, too awkward, or have too little social skills to be able to actually go out and have a real and proper conversation with someone else. Instead we resort to sitting on our couches at 9pm, being judgemental wankers and swiping left and right to people based on the very small information they give you in their bios or through their photos. Myself included.

And let’s be real, some of them can be real wankers. There are an array of apparently headless men on here, one with who my friend jokingly matched with that she calls “Torso Tom” because she was unaware of whether or not he has an actual head. Then there are those who write down all manner of  weird shit in their bio… some fine examples of this would be:

“I think the only thing lower than my dopamine levels are my standards”

“Have my own teeth and my own home”

“Married. Is there a beautiful woman out there looking for company? Interests include gym, tai chi, massaging and meeting nymphos”

“Ethically non-monogamous”

I also love looking at guys take fifteen selfies of themselves sitting on a weights bench in the gym and posting them all up. Which of course is city fare. If you are ever in the countryside expect a million photos of men with fish and cars.

Then once you get past the actual part of matching, you have to get them to actually write you back. Some start with the very boring “Hi” and then don’t really get much more interesting than that for the thirty minutes that you attempt to tease some kind of personality out of them. Here’s a thought….. I have asked you ten questions already. In case you didn’t realise, the question mark is to be found on the bottom row of the keyboard on your phone once you click that little button bottom left that indicates numbers and punctuation marks. You should really thing about using it sometime in conjunction with a little bit of initiative and taking an interest. If you can’t show a basic interest in getting to know who I am instead of spouting a whole bunch of unintelligible shit about yourself or nothing, I am done! “BYYYYEEEEE FELICIA!!”

Some are really entertaining to talk to online when they have some time to think about what they are writing and then they lose all of their shit completely when you meet them because they have no personality in real life. Some choose to message you at 11pm “The night is young! Let’s meet up now!” and when you tell them that real people with real jobs like to go to bed at 11pm on a weeknight and meet crazy types off Tinder in the day time in public places they disappear faster than you can say ‘booty call’. Some don’t even message back at all to be honest because they are just collecting matches for self validation.

With such a selection, it is a wonder we even bother at all to be honest. There are married men looking to screw around on their wives, angry psychos, guys who are completely full of themselves, guys that know exactly what to say to get you where they want you and then disappear when they do, doms looking for subs, couples looking for threesomes, some polyamorous folk and a whole load of boring. To be honest, where are the nice intelligent and funny men? Oh yeah, married and not on Tinder. Or maybe married and still on Tinder.

It has never been a sadder time to be single and trying to make a connection. The world has gone mad with too much choice and easy access. There is no working for anything anymore. Even when you do have a great conversation on the internet, it very rarely translates into anything more. People are poisoned by the idea that if they settle down and choose just one thing that they are going to be perpetually missing out on all of the other awesome options floating around out there that they could have. But I ask, what fucking options? Because I am not looking at any really great ones on Tinder right now.

Relationships and forging real connections with people is hard. Much harder than swiping left or right and because of this grand idea that there are always loads more to swipe on we become complacent and lazy in the efforts we make to show ourselves to others and to take an interest in them in return. Maybe it is time to go back to the more authentic way of meeting people. Maybe it is time to balls up, walk up to the hot person in the bar and strike up a conversation, and if they are boring, or there’s no spark, move on, it will take up five minutes of your life and will be far less than the actual amount of time you spend talking shit to someone on Tinder and then organizing to meet them only to discover that you are not compatible. Real spark happens in real life. So grab it by the proverbial balls and get offline and go and find it.

From Broken to Whole: A Year On…

A year ago today I got on a bus in London and left my life in England for good. At the time I had been through so many different emotions I didn’t know whether I would ever feel like a whole human being ever again. I was so hurt and so broken that I didn’t know if there was any coming back from that. I felt like there was nothing left to tether me to my own happiness.

I arrived in Paris where I started the first part of what would be three months in Europe and then who knew what. On that fifth day in Paris my friend passed and I couldn’t even find it in me to cry. I stood empty in the shower trying to process my emotions and not knowing how. All that happened was a blood nose from the stress and the heat and as I watched my own blood flow over my body and down the shower drain I knew that at least my body was alive, even if I felt like there was no other part of me that was.

Those first three months in Europe were rough. I isolated myself from others for fear that they would judge and dislike me because they would be able to see through me to my inner struggle and would judge me for it. That is not a burden that other travellers want to carry and so I avoided other people. I moved from place to place and saw all of the things that I was supposed to see. Ticking boxes. At times, I managed to find small pleasures, like eating every amazing food in Italy and not giving a shit about getting fat because I already was. Like finding myself completely isolated in the world and at peace with myself just for being alone. By the time I made it to Greece I had started to open myself to a select few and make some more friends. I had started to find more of a balance and felt like I could breath a little more freely as opposed to the feeling of drowning that I felt when I left. I was sleeping more and I felt like my body chemicals were going back to a normal level. I no longer lived in a hyped up state of excessive adrenaline and cortisol.

I made my way to Turkey and then Egypt where I travelled with some very wise people that I opened up to and they helped me to process further. The temples in Egypt started to excite me and slowly but surely, I started to remember who I used to be.

The biggest change happened when I arrived in Colombia. Going to school and learning to speak another language made me another person. I didn’t know how to be myself in Spanish and facets of shy and cheeky crept through. I started making a load of friends at my school and we would go out dancing on Fridays. The culture was so sensual and sexual with its dancing that I started to reconnect with my body and my own sexuality, something that I hadn’t done in such a long time as it got buried under a pile of work and stress. It got buried under my grief and hostility.

What followed was a six week stint in Costa Rica and Panama which set me back. Six weeks and four deaths. I went back into my own shell and stopped wanting to speak to people. I had a run of bad luck with illness and allergies that saw me miserable and in the hospital and wanting to throw in the towel. But I continued to ride it out because that is what I did. Because I am Dano. And people keep on telling me that I am ‘the strongest person that they know’ and so who am I to question.

I went back to Medellin, moved into the school and continued for another three months learning Spanish, teaching kids English and organising events. I started writing a book about my life as encouraged by the people closest to me. I made friends with people who gave me confidence to put myself back out into the world because they made me feel valued like I hadn’t felt in a long time. I opened up about my life and confided things about myself to others, mostly in another language. Slowly I started to feel less numb and less angry. By the time my stint in Medellin was over, I had contemplated a job and a career change to stay but in the end decided to take the six months and go home. But what I left behind in that place changed my life forever. I will always be indebted to the people that I met there because without them knowing it, they pulled me out of the hole.

I travelled Colombia for two months. And it again challenged me. After another hospital visit from a stomach so bad it wouldn’t stop, I was really well and truly done. I wanted to go home. A feeling I hadn’t felt in years but one that helped me accept the fact that it was something I was going to do. I again persisted through these feelings to quit. I kept going. And I met some more amazing people that pushed me on. I started remembering what it was like to be calm, happy and fun. I started to embrace the parts of myself that had been buried for so long that were slowly resurfacing. I started reading books that would help me to rediscover who it is that I am and what it is that I want from my life. I started writing more music, playing more music and being more in touch with the creative side of me that is a large part of who I am and often gets hidden.

I now sit in Ecuador. I am calm. I am at relative peace. In the last few months, I’ve been challenged with more loss, with horrific situations, with short-lived romances, some of which gave me faith and others which made me lose it again. But regardless of what has been thrown at me, the one thing I have found in this year that I didn’t have a year ago was equilibrium and the ability to process those emotions and let go. To accept is one of the hardest things that you can do in this life. And as I continue through South America, if all I take away from this experience is the learned ability to accept graciously then so be it. Every person who I have met that I have become close to, I have met for a reason. They have either been a test or they have been a guide. And I know that for the next three and a half months I have more of those tests and more of these guides coming my way. And I will have more once I move back home. But whatever challenge comes my way from here on in, I know I can survive it, and I know I can do it with grace and strength. Because I have already lived at the lowest point, and I clawed my way back out.

A year ago today I was a body going through the motions. Today I am a human again. My soul is at peace. My heart is ready to love and give to others. I am ready to accept whatever challenges come my way with grace. I am ready to be more. And I will be.

 

What I Reckon: Housemates

I moved out of home when I was 18 and into the Halls of Residence at Monash University. Since this time I have lived in so many different places with all myriads of people. I have had some incredible housemates and then I have had some absolute doozies. So here we go. The worst of what I have seen in shared housing. (I will remove backpacker hostels from this equation because I would be writing, literally, forever).

Sprayers

I will start with the most recent. After coming back from Australia, I walked into my current house to find new housemates. “Oh hi, isn’t it nice someone told me about this’. Anyway, my first morning of getting up to go to work and I roll into the bathroom and not only are there a few drops of piss on the seat. But it is like the guy was dancing and not even holding it. There was piss everywhere.  All over the seat. All over the floor. All over the wall. I was so disgusted I decided I would rather go to the toilet with the junkies of Turnpike Lane down the road at the station than clean up that so I left a nasty note and hoped it would disappear before I returned. It did. Thankfully. I mean, who the fuck in any world thinks that this is acceptable.

Since then I have also discovered he doesn’t just like to spray his urine. He also likes to spray watermelon all over the benches and up the cupboard doors. His cleaner wife clearly hasn’t taught him hygiene.

Noise makers

Last night at 11pm my housemate decided that it would be an appropriate time to vacuum. So I got mad and knocked the door down to tell her to shut up. I’ve also had to do the same with other yelling housemates at 11pm while I have been trying to sleep as they have been having screaming matches with each other (don’t live with couples). Add to this the trance music at 3am from the high, and we have ourselves a trifecta. Respect people. Between the hours of 9am and 10pm, shut the fuck up and let people sleep!

Feeders

Once upon a time I lived with a guy whose girlfriend was always there. I mean always. She never left the room and he would wait on her. And when the 6 foot something active man cooked a pizza, he would eat half himself and feed the other half to his sedentary five foot something girlfriend. Over time she got huge. And over time the room they were in started to smell for the lack of moving and cleaning. One day, back before the days of wireless, my other housemate and I had to paper rock scissors to see who was going into his room to find the internet cord under piles of shit and I lost. I donned the gas mask I used to wear at the smelter because I just couldn’t handle the stench and a giant pair of dishwashing gloves for good measure.

Bacteria Lovers

There was share  house I used to live in that had 2 psychos. I will address the first here. I got to the point where I started cooking everything I cooked in the oven because the arsehole couldn’t figure out how to work it. It was one of those ones you had to light at the back with a lighter. Anyway, he would come home, peel onions all over the bench and not clean it up. Eat his tandoori chicken and then leave it on the bench overnight…. I repeat, leave it on the bench overnight!!! Chicken!! And then EAT IT for breakfast the next morning. And I wondered why the toilet always looked like someone’s digestive system wasn’t working properly. I also in this house had to resort to wearing shoes in the toilet and the shower because of the piss on the floor and the general lack of cleanliness in the shower. The guy who owned the place got a cleaner in to clean the house. She refused for a conventional fee and charged more because she said it was some of the worst she’d ever seen.

Psychos

So the other housemate was friendly enough. But his wife lived back in India. So upon the discovery of him having friends at university to study with that are women, she started sending ‘stay the fuck away from my husband messages’ . Great….

Druggos

Out of my bedroom window at 3am I could often hear the sound of spray cans as my artiste extraordinaire housemate made his new pieces. Not often being a fan of smoking joints outside in the cold, he would get back to his fifteen year old roots and smoke out of his bedroom window. Which is great when the fire alarms in the whole entire house go off at 3am on multiple occasions when you need to go to work. Grand. He used to lose his phone all the time, didn’t know how to use an implement of cleaning, rode a bicycle for transport everywhere and took all of his food from outside of the EAT store every night. Oh and if he did cook anything he would leave in in the pot on the bench for the next week. Didn’t these people’s parents teach them anything???

Landlords

NEVER, EVER live with your fucking landlord. The one I have currently is a slimeball. After taking 2 months to remove the mold from my room, and 6 weeks to fix the broken oven because he ‘just has no money this month’ but just bought himself a new motorbike, threats to go to the counsel were made. “Oh no, not the counsel!! Oh look I have money now to fix things! Surprise!” He also engaged other such activities as cutting the cord off the dryer when he left for the summer because ‘its summer’ and 6 people living in one house in England where it rains all the time don’t need a dryer in summer. He is also a fan of removing people from the electoral roll illegally and getting into screaming matches with people. Most of the time he is screaming with other tenants but this one special morning at 5am we woke up to a woman half his age that he’d bought home after a night out screaming at him to get the fuck off her and leave her alone. Oh and when I told him I was leaving with four months in advance, he told me it wasn’t convenient for him and asked for me to kindly move out when it suited him. I, less kindly, refused. Not my problem.

Thieves

There is nothing worse than coming home to find your milk gone. Or something else you wanted to eat, gone. Because your housemate has just decided to help themselves. When on res, my friends kept getting their food stolen. So one day I am in the kitchen and they are cooking up a mean curry and loading it with laxatives to teach the damn thief a lesson. I dare say they will shit themselves even looking at another curry. I have also threatened to put laxatives in my chocolate milk because that would also get thieved.

Naked models

My friend lived with 2 models. She used to complain about them all the time because it seems that they also couldn’t pick up after themselves, were fond of stealing and smoked loads of drugs in the house. They also had an aversion to taking keys out when out on the town. They would come home at stupid o’clock and knock until someone got up to let them in. However, one of their redeeming qualities, in my eyes anyway, was that they liked to shower with the door open so everyone could see them naked. Cheers boys.

Anyways, if you have any horror stories, feel free to share below!Otherwise, peace out!

Shit I Learned In Macedonia

I was only in Macedonia for a couple of days but while I was there I came across one of the most entertaining tour guides I have ever met! He was downright hilarious in the things he was saying and most of the shit I learned, I learned from him during my time in the capital, Skopje.

  • Mother Teresa was born here. Even though she lived a large amount of her life in Albania, she was born in Skopje in a house near the centre of town. It no longer stands but there is a plaque there to recognise the site.
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The site of Mother Teresa’s birth

  • ‘Stan’ is the Arabic word for ‘place’.
  • There was and earthquake in 1963 that levelled the city. The US and Russia came to help try and rebuild the city. The clock at the train station is stuck at the time the earthquake happened. The double decker buses like the ones in London were bought in to help after the time too and they eventually stayed.
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The train station with the clock that stopped

  • The mayor of Skopje suffers from ‘copy paste’ syndrome. He likes stairs in Rome. Bring them to Skopje. Whatever he sees elsewhere that he likes, bring it to Skopje! To the point where the locals now call the place “Skopjian Disneyland”. They ask you to pray that the mayor never visits Venice and decides that Skopje needs canals.
  • Despite that all of the buildings in Skopje look old and are in the ancient Greek style most of them are no more than ten years old.
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The new buildings of Skopjean Disneyland

  • They made so many statues in rebuilding Skopje that they now don’t have enough places to put them all. There are statues on the bridges, statues on the rooves of buildings, statues everywhere…. never before have there been so many damn statues. They even have statues of the shoe shiners that worked down the main street in the centre of town. The sit along beside the people who work as actual shoe shiners….. Distastefully, they also have a statue of a homeless person here as well. Because there weren’t enough as it is without making a statue of them too….
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Just a few statues…

  • The Macedonians lay claim to Alexander the Great. So do the Greek. Of course this leads to a giant pissing contest in which they try and outdo each other. Greece has a giant statue of Alexander. So Macedonia makes one. Then the Greeks crack the shits and are all ‘you can’t call this statue ‘Alexander the Great’ cause he is ours’. So they call it ‘man on a horse’ instead. Ridiculousness. Greece also won’t accept Macedonia as being a part of the EU unless they relinquish their claim to Alexander the Great….. what ridiculousness!
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“Man on a horse” – clearly Alexander the Great

  • In bazaars, the old market places, the corner shops were always worth more money. As such they would design the streets so that there were as many corners as possible.

Well that is about it for my fabulous visit to Macedonia! It was a lovely place to visit for a few days and would definitely recommend the visit!