There comes a weekend in every mother’s life when we have to put on bad music, trample on the walk on wardrobe AKA floor-drobe, cough our way through crusty bits of rubbish and throw out the last remaining bits and bobs of our offsprings’ childhood. That weekend has come for me. There will be no more Hello Kitty pencils, no more craft that comes home saying I luv u mummmy and no more genuine joy at seeing me at the school gate.
I am emptying the unfinished projects into the bin and opening old One Direction pencil cases and finding handwritten notes from their friends. These painstakingly produced jottings were all written at the age when my kids were discovering the magic of writing a heartfelt letter to a beautiful new friend:
Dear Senny, I thik youre really specil and I reallly lik your shoos. I had funn wen we went to the pak and i now we wil be freinds forever. lov you
I’ve been a single mum for 10 years, so there are many jobs in my house that are being tackled well past their use by date. Despite our multiple moves, some special stuff was placed in boxes and carted from new address to new address. The perfectly unused birthday present textas from the seven-year old’s best friend in the hole world that were saved in the back of the cupboard for special occasions have been dug out, the lolly wrappers that she didn’t want mummy to see, beside the half-dressed dolls with real nail polish on their hands. I put together a box of nostalgia, thinking that my last teenager would be remotely interested in the lost cuteness and innocence of her childhood. She came home from a day out at the hideous local shopping trauma centre and said,
“That’s my stuff, what are you doing?”
“We need to chuck out.”
“No, I’m too busy.”
A few short weeks ago she sobbed because the Easter Bunny hadn’t left her an elaborate trail of eggs in our shared yard on Easter Sunday. But now she’s watching make up tutorials on how to copy the subtle facial contouring of the Kardashians on Youtube. She actually wants to look like a Jenner. I’ve failed as a mother. What the hell will I keep from this phase?
Power up ladies. This is a life-changing opportunity that few will have the mastery to grasp. Tony Robbins, yes, the over-charging self-appointed self-help guru urgently requires an authentic life coach slash disruptor to transform his mind. Preferably a strong female who can resist bullies. The successful applicant will have years of work ahead of her, bashing through the scripted bullshit.
Here’s an incredibly detailed summary of the top coaching modules Tony really needs. Any takers?
Lesson 1: Deep listening, and more listening and hopefully his new coach will throw in some listening skills as a bonus
Lesson 2: Finding friends who aren’t jerks
Lesson 3: Mansplaining 101
Lesson 4: How not to physically intimidate women
Lesson 5: Male entitlement
Lesson 6: Practising what you preach
Lesson 7: Why obsessing over your appearance gets in the way of your sincerity
Hopefully, Tony is a keen learner and will realise this is his date with destiny, that he can create massive humility in his life. Tony’s success coach may be able to help Tony condition his mind in how not to be a complete knob. My thoughts and prayers are with Tony as he embarks on his quest for self-improvement; if all goes well, his new lifestyle guru will keep him busy for a long time.
Autumn winds make me extra allergic to the online world of success coaches with glow in the dark teeth, perky personal fitspo gurus with Instagram famous bodies and shiny women with trout pout lips on an endless loop on Youtube. A generation of children are growing up with mothers who’ve had so much Botox put into their faces that these women cannot express the full gamut of human emotion on their dials. These zombie women scare me but I can’t stop staring, wondering when the fillers will stop working.
Then I get scratchy when I hear the words mastery, motivation, personal best, inspire, disrupt. Show me the leaders in lethargy, excellent examples of ennui, successful sloths, wonderful worriers. These are my people. To mangle Kerouac: the only ones for me are the crazies, the Bukowski drunks, the shabby, the borderline criminals, the drop outs, the dribblers, those grungy, suffering, unshaven cats who get thrown out of the best parties, the ones who always yawn out loud, the rambling, boisterous messes who convey every sloppy human emotion on their cracking apart faces. These are the people who make me feel good about myself, as I hide away at home reading, not wanting to face the world or climb any ladders.
Growing up into a cranky old cat lady, I’m pondering the autumn and winter of my life with a countenance that moves. As I slip under the radar with a face that loses its sheen every day, I think I like my mangy self best.
Today I am indulging my combined love of the bard’s verse and hip hop by competing / performing / appearing in Shakespeare Dance Party, a sharp new show presented by The Leftovers Collective. Fancy.
In a small bar in Redfern, 16 actors will compete for our audience’s love to see who best performs a short Shakespearean sonnet or monologue. Each performer will slam to a beat laid down by a live DJ, not knowing in advance which track will be chosen for them. If the audience likes the art, they will dance. If the audience dislikes the performance, pies will be thrown. The eventual winner receives a part in a web series. The losers need to bring a towel.
In an era of social media starlets, where few skills are needed to become a YouTube star, are actors necessary?
A rap roulette
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
Here’s to the magnificent 78’ers, those brave souls who stood up for their rights and tonight celebrate 40 years of Sydney Mardi Gras. These civil rights champions were brutally bashed, arrested, taunted and harassed and still they marched for their friends, for the freedom to be their magnificent selves, for equality, for ‘the love that dare not speak its name.’ Thank you to the warriors who fought for the freedom to love freely and to be equal citizens. Rainbow beauties I salute your courage. Your selfless actions made Sydney a more fun, more colourful and more inclusive place. I can’t imagine dancing on Oxford Street in 1983 without you.
As I hope for glitter not blood on the streets tonight, I’m shedding a few tears for the beautiful loved ones we lost when AIDS ripped through our lives in the 80s and 90s. I know tonight they will be there in spirit. I’m also thinking of the people who work so hard for Bobby Goldsmith and ACON and my friends decorating floats. Party on beauties. I feel nothing but love and pride when I see you shining.