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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Australia Day 2017



The annual public holiday where we celebrate this country arrived and it was amazing. We went out on a friend's boat to a little island called Little Island just off Whitfords beach. 
It was very small as the name entitles, but surrounded by reef where we all took turns snorkeling and swimming through caves and admiring the pretty fish. 



It was a last minute plan but I can gladly say that I thoroughly enjoyed my day. 

Lately however that has been a lot, like a lot, of controversy over celebrating Australia on the 26th of January. 
The day means different things to different people. In particular, the day reminds the original people of this land about the horrors and sad history that eventually followed after the first fleet arrived. 

I just want to say that Australia Day is not seen by the majority as a day of being thankful for the first fleet that had arrived on the same day 200 and something years ago. But instead, is a day where we show our appreciation, enjoy the public holiday with friends and family (some a little more than others) and reflect on the amazing country that is ours.

I celebrate Australia Day with a large feeling of patriotism due to my pride for this country. I am grateful for the education systems that we have; for the health systems available for everyone; for being clean and having a truck that picks up rubbish from homes weekly which is a luxury for so many other countries; for being a nation that encourage individualism, multiculturalism and accepting different lifestyles. 

We can't change the past, but we can learn from it. And every year that this day comes around, I am thankful that it seems we learn a little more each time. 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Why Did the Lisbon Girls Kill Themselves?

If you're obsessed with the Virgin Suicides like me, then that probably means that you are well and truly into the double digits of the amount of times you have viewed the film, or perhaps read the book about 3-4 times now.


Perhaps it is the classic and iconic tale that triggered your obsession. Or perhaps you could relate to the themes. Or maybe it was the beauty in the language and imagery.

For me, it was during the time I was becoming interested in directors and had just watched the Bling Ring featuring some of my favorite actors. It was an odd film, I'll definitely say that. But I loved it. Especially the directing by Sofia Coppola, so I began to look more into her films. That's when I stumbled across the Virgin Suicides.


I had heard about this story before and had seen images back in my Tumblr days, so I rented the move from the local video store and fell in love. It was the imagery that I first fell for. It is a beautiful film with amazing aesthetics and I loved how it contrasted with the overall themes in the narrative. It was a dark story but the photographic shots were so lovely; darkness behind it or not.


A few months later I began to relate to the film on more levels than having the urge to recreate the shots. I fell in love with the story itself, watched the movie a few more times before buying the book, and dwelling even deeper into the narrative.


The thing I love most about this story though is that despite the number of times I read the book or watch the movie, I notice and understand something I hadn't before, and feel one step closer to understanding the suicides but never quite.
And the fact that the story is told through the eyes of a group of boys who had fallen for these girls, tried to learn and understand them but could never get close enough contributed to the dreamy and roar-ness of the story that does not sugar coat the girls and their tale, but is so beautifully realistic. 

The following is my personal perspective and discussion on the reasons and causes of the Lisbon girls' suicides.

Both in the book and the movie we know that Cecilia, the first suicide to occur within the family, had an astrology mobile (quite like her father had an astronomy one). Unfortunately in the book it does not go into much detail on what particular signs are hanging from her roof, but in the film we see an M and a crab. These represent Virgo and Cancer - which I know due to my 'mild' obsession with astrology. From my understanding of Cecilia, and clearly Sofia Coppola's as well, I am more than certain that Cecilia was a Virgo Sun sign and a Cancer Moon.

Being a Virgo Sun meant that she cared about the environment and animals, which is extremely evident in the both forms of narrative. Cecilia cared about the world that was slowly deteriorating thanks to the help of man, also evident by her love for the elm tree in the front yard and the passages in her diary.
Being a Cancer Moon meant Cecilia was very emotional - the most emotional of the signs in fact. But the hard shell meant she did not exactly show it. Behind her quiet and calm exterior was an ocean of emotions that she never shared, resulting in her bottling it up before sending her over the edge (pun unintended).
Perhaps this is not the reason for the first suicide that then triggered the others, but I do believe it contributed greatly. And, well, it isn't hard to notice that her sister's and parent's didn't exactly meet Cecilia's emotional needs.


After Cecilia's death, much like the infected elms, it 'released a poison into the air', infecting the other sisters who soon follow in Cecilia's steps. This was my biggest and first belief for the reasoning behind the deaths. I believed that Cecilia and her illness was toxic, and being trapped in the house for months, the sister's had no way of escaping it. The residue of death, despite that the fence was removed for safety reasons, still stained Cecilia's bedroom and the house. I believe the dying elm trees, that if left, would pass its disease to the others was a metaphor in the story. 

Bu then I began to believe the most common cause of the sister's suicides was due to the lack of freedom and containment. The girls were trapped in the house, practically held captive from life and the fresh air thanks to their overly strict mother. Each of the girls had somewhat personal dreams. Mary wanted to be a sophisticated member in society. Therese wanted to be a scientist. And Lux wanted to live a life of fun and teenage mischief but all were deprived of this.
They wanted to travel and see the world, which we know from their frequent ordering of travel books. But had only their imagination to do the exploring. 



The only time we are told in the book that the girls were getting better was when they began to see the school therapist. It is conclusive then to our knowledge that the girls had no one. They had no friends. And in the end of the story the boys and their extreme obsession and love for the Lisbon Girls, never actually helped. They tried, I will give them that. They wanted to know them and they thought they had. But the tragic conclusion of the girl's lives made it evident that they didn't. And they didn't help. 


I still don't quite understand the exact reasons. But I think that is what is so lovely about the story. It really makes you think about mental illnesses and the act of committing suicide.
But maybe I have been looking at it all wrong. Instead of trying to find one reason, maybe there are many. And maybe that is the mistake the boys are making too.
Because there never really is one cause, is there? There's many. All overlapping and influencing each other in some way. Quite like life and all of life's experiences. 


Perhaps if the girls' had reached out more for help, it wouldn't have ended this way. I don't know.
And perhaps we never will. And neither will the boys who tried.  


I know that this is just a story. But this film and book really connects and inspires me. It really is within the top three of my favorite films (Easy A just coming in first). 
And if a story can erupt something more than entertainment from the viewer; make them feel something, think and wonder, then it is gifted. And it's the only thing I ever hope to be able to do as well. 







Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Positive Starts

There's nothing like beginning the new year with a bang, and by 'bang' I mean something being destroyed like for instance, my job. 

I guess losing your job at any time in the year sucks, for sure. But perhaps if it had taken place, when it was announced that I would no longer keep my role and title in a position that I that dedicated everything to, bent over backwards for, and often jeopardized my social status and seeing friends and family for, would suck at any time of the year. But if it had happened at the end of last year, I can't help but think that I would be sad for whatever was left of 2016 and go into the new year positive with a mindset that told me it was for a reason. 

But despite that, this is a good thing. I have been offered another position within this industry. In the eyes of employees this role isn't necessarily better, but, on most occasions the pay is. 

So this all happened in one day. Yesterday to be in fact. I cried a lot at first which I am not proud of. It's hard feeling like all your hard work that got overlooked and the shit you took for a year in the hopes that people would one day notice your achievements was for nothing.
But it isn't for nothing. Not at all. I know that now. 

It looks good on my resume. I have experience. And, thankfully, after applying for jobs on Linkedin and editing my CV, I was told that I still have a job. I am much luckier than most to be able to say that. 

I turned down an offer made to me five months ago to move to Canada this year because of my job. I argued that I had a very good position with so many opportunities to move up and beyond and I couldn't just let it go to travel the world.
Next year will be different however. I am feeling very inspired. 

I am going to save, accept that offer and travel, work and see the world. 

I guess my problem was that I was trying to be older by focusing on my career that did make me happy for a while. But in the end it was much harder, physically and mentally, than I had originally anticipated. The workplace bullying coming mostly in forms of passive-aggressiveness and demeaning  jokes wasn't worth it anymore. And for the first time in a long time, I am happy, and excited, and ready to act the age that I am.  

So, here's a toast to positive starts *raises and sips coffee*

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Back to reality

I have just returned from my holiday down south from the Margaret Region with sadness but also appreciation for the great time and break that I had.

I am back at work now. Things at work were going really bad for a while so I was overwhelmed on my last day knowing that I wouldn't step foot in the building for a whole week.


But less about work, and more about my amazing trip.





Me and my boyfriend and his family stayed in a house in Dunsborough, as they do every year. I had never even been to Dunsborough before I met my boyfriend but it has now come to be my favorite place in the world (so far).
If you think that Perth beaches are amazing and beautiful, then just wait until you get a sight of the ones down South.

We spent the week exploring and finding different beaches - some accessible only by fourwheel drive. Our house had a pool so many hours were also spent residing on a day bed, reading my book and drinking cocktails. Since returning many people have commented on my brown pigment from hours spent in the sun.

I would like to wish you all a happy new year also. I hope that 2017 brings you something new and delightful things and also as Kyle Jenner had said using terms worthy of cringing, I hope you 'realize stuff'.


Unlike my friends who attended the Origin Music Festival, my boyfriend and I spent it at the holiday house with his family and two younger cousins. It was actually really fun.

We set up the backyard with Hawaiian themed decorations and even the food followed suit. We dressed up with our colourful leis and kicked off the night with a game of beer pong. The only disappointment was that by 10pm, despite being a fairly hot day, it reached down 13 degrees, leaving us abandoning our outdoor set up, heading inside and having a boogie in the comfort of the warmth.

We also missed the countdown by like half a minute; the music too loud that we didn't hear the countdown occurring on the radio. But it was still a really great night and the next day I was not suffering too much from a hangover or experiencing a come down so I was definitely not complaining.



During the week we went out on Callum's father's boat to Meelup beach. The water was crystal clear so don't be fooled by the above image, as it was actually three metres deep. On the ride to this pretty protected beach we also went past a swarm of dolphins. It was magical. 


I was very hesitant on one of the days when my boyfriend announced that he wanted to go on an adventure, go four wheel driving along the coast and find new places, as spending far too long in a car makes me restless and grumpy. But boy did we find some really amazing spots. We visited four lookouts with gigantic rocks and crashing waves, found a secluded lagoon where I took a dip, before spending an hour or so on the clearest watered beach I had ever seen with pure white sands and stones and a beautiful island a kilometre or so away.
The above picture was also taken from our first stop; Wyadup rocks near Yallingup. 




Another lovely memory of my week away was having to be rescued by a lifeguard in the Yallingup beach. I clearly underestimated my swimming abilities when I swam out into three meter swell, got caught in a rip and had to hold on to a floatie as the lifeguard brought me back. Was exactly how I wanted to end my 2016. Haha.




For a summarised video of our trip you can head to my instagram where I have uploaded it https://www.instagram.com/chaniceedmonds/?hl=en