A Change Is As Good As A Holiday

For those that do not know me personally, I have recently relocated from the stormy and cold city of Sydney, to the sunny, friendly and breathtakingly beautiful state of Queensland. An opportunity came up at work to relocate and after much soul searching (a whole 24 hours) I said yes and then it seemed as if I blinked and it was time to move.

I haven’t talked much about my time in Sydney, it was one of the most challenging and rewarding times of my life. I moved after completing a 12 week challenge that reinvigorated my body, I had dreams, I had ambition and a new job and everywhere I went it seemed like everyone around me was shitting all over it. I had one persistent and ever optimistic friend (thanks Sipple!) who encouraged me to keep going for my dreams and if it wasn’t for here I would not have experienced half of what I did in my time there.

Sydney was amazing for my Novastream website, movie premieres, gaming events, networking and connections and I found myself busying my life with this noise and surrounding myself with “things to do” that were distracting me from what was really going on inside. I had up and moved and left all of my friends behind, and instead of taking all I had learnt with me, I fell victim to what I am calling “Sydney Syndrome”, an infectious disease that I found in a lot of people I met with there.

They, like me, had moved to Sydney hoping to achieve their dreams, they had big plans, make it big, get rich, get connected enough that they could then get out and live where they wanted to and all would be right in the world. One of these people (whose name I have changed for the sake of this article) is Mike. Mike had moved here 12 months before I did, working at a low level paying office job in the CBD, a horrible boss, whose dreams had also been squashed by the city lights, he went in day and day out, 5 sometimes 6 days a week and had dreams of running a Google like empire. He had the degree, he had the connections, but the city had beaten him down, told him that too many other people were trying to do the same thing, so what is the point of trying to do it? You will try, fail and then have to come back to work here and will end up resenting yourself and life. No, no, it is easier and more rewarding if you just stick to what you know and leave that to Sundar Pichai’s of the world.

Another friend Bettina, had been living here for 6 years, she wanted to be a news reporter, and now worked in the low level administration for a television studio. She spent her days answering phones, through her window she could see the news desk and coerced with journalists and camera crew all day, sitting there longing for the job, but overtime she thought she tried, she was denied, feeling like she was always overlooked for someone younger, someone prettier so she descended into madness and monotony and decided to stick to what she knew.

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Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a trashing Sydney post, I learned so much from my time there about myself, about other people and about the world. All I will say is that it was definitely not the place for me. I do miss the coffee and the late night shopping combined with the consistent slew of events that the city just seems to pump out day and night throughout the year. Sydney will always have a fond place in my heart, it taught me a lot about myself and revealed some ugly truths that I had to face and deal with.

So where am I now? I am in Queensland, everyday is feeling like a holiday at the moment, I go to work during the day, then in the afternoons and evenings I get to explore some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet (I could possibly be biased here, just a little!) I feel like this place has defrosted me from the inside out. I am dating again, and successfully this time (I think…) work is great, my direction and purpose feel revitalised and the blocks that were stopping me are feeling further and further away. If I get bored or need inspiration I can drive to a beautiful beach, go for a walk in the golden sand, eat ice cream and go on a rollercoaster, and it’s still winter! I feel lucky and blessed to be here and I would not want it any other way.

An Open Letter To Foxtel & AME

On Monday Foxtel’s Facebook page went rampant with posts about an advertisement for the Marriage Alliance “Same Sex Marriage : There’s More To It Than You Think” (see ad here) Hundreds of disgruntled customers and annoyed LGBT Australians and supported flooded the page with messages of anger and disgust over the decision to air these ads repeatedly over the weekend. The ad claims that same sex marriage will lead to changes in sex education in schools, effect children and directs viewers to a website to find more information (you really should check it out!)

Like clockworks customers and the LGBT community and its supporters hit the Foxtel Facebook page, flooding it with outrage. Cancellations and promises of moving to streaming services flowed on their page for days, as well as members of the LGBT community and their supporters tearing down the company for daring to air the ad. I was also one of these people, not a Foxtel subscriber, but a member of the LGBT community and felt outraged that an ad I hadn’t bothered to watch was aired on a service that I did not have. So after I wrote a scathing message condemning Foxtel for daring to show the ad, I actually watched it and realised that it wasn’t anywhere near as offensive as others had claimed, and that I was more offended that the Marriage Alliance seemed to blame the gay community for sinking the Titanic!

Foxtel were not the only one’s to cop it, the Australian Marriage Equality Twitter page was bombarded with messages of outrage, as they had previously confirmed that Foxtel were a corporate sponsor and support of AME. This response was posted by the AME in conjunction with Foxtel :

“Australian Marriage Equality values the support shown by Australia’s business community for marriage equality. Foxtel is among our corporate supporters.

A group opposing marriage equality, known as “the Marriage Alliance”, is currently airing an advertisement through various media outlets including Foxtel. It is their right to express their views.

The feedback from decision-makers in Canberra is that the “Marriage Alliance” advertisement is actually helping our campaign. The ad offers nothing new and and our research indicates that when opponents of marriage equality express their views in the way they have, support for marriage equality increases.

We urge community members who are angry about the ad to turn their anger into positive action.

If you’re outraged with the Marriage Alliance’s campaign the best way to end it is to help make marriage equality happen and recruit everyone you know to help. There are actions listed on our new website www.wecandothis.org.au

You can leave a message in support of marriage equality on our Equality Calling hotline 1300663679. Your message will go direct to your MP and Senators.”

Similarly Fairfax media have aired the ad on Channel Nine and online on their news website. In response they have said a Fairfax Media spokesman said:  “The advertising Fairfax runs is just that, advertising, and not reflective of the company’s position on anything whatsoever.”

It is hard to not get emotional about this issue, Tony Abbott himself confirmed that this is a very personal and emotional subject and it is easy to get upset when the opposite opinion is aired. It is easy to forget that we live in a democratic country that has the openness to show both sides of an argument and it is our job as human beings to respect that there are two sides. We don’t have to agree with it, we don’t have to support it, but we should as human beings and Australian’s at least allow for that other opinion to be heard. Now before you start commenting and biting my head, you should know my stance on the issue. I am a gay man and I support marriage equality 100%. I am not in a relationship so this is not something that is an immediate option for me, but I do have friends who have been in loving and fruitful relationships for many years, who would love the option to enter into a marriage in the eyes of their country.

The good news moving forward is that the five day span of Marriage Alliance ads are now over, in that time we saw a six hour parliamentary debate happen with the current government to decide what to do moving forward with this issue, yes no decision was made, but what did come out of it was more conversation and more discussion within our community. Media outlets like The Project and MammaMia have posted articles and videos in support of Marriage Equality and condemning the speech from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who remains stagnant on the issue. American actor and comedian Jack Black even voiced his opposition to Abbott stating “I personally think the guy’s living in the stone ages, though. He’s not seeing the writing on the wall. The movement of the world is heading towards equality for all people, all sexual preferences. Come on, we’re all the same in the end. Who cares what gives you a boner. Really?”

So where to from here? I can confirm that Australian Marriage Equality have their own ad coming and it will run for a lot longer than the five days given to Marriage Alliance, just like you I jumped down Foxtel’s throat without thinking, without investigating further what would happen with Foxtel’s alliance with the AME and how this will change things in the future. If you look at Marriage Equality in other countries, it has passed when both sides have been given time to air, because in the end love wins. Showing the ad from the Marriage Alliance highlight’s the ignorance and exploitation of children, while AME show’s nothing but pure and beautiful love, love that should be celebrated, love that should be encouraged and love that should be accepted.

I guess this is a really long way of me personally apologising to Foxtel for jumping the gun and posting my ill-informed message on your Facebook wall. At the time I withdrew Novastream affiliation for Foxtel and affiliated streaming service Presto with our upcoming podcast The Streaming Show, we now would like to reinstate our full support and thank Foxtel for supporting the AME and airing pro marriage equality ads on their channels. We look forward to the day that Australia finally achieves marriage equality, until then there will be plenty of debate around the issue and remember, in the end love always wins!

Understanding Children

I know, you just read the title and thought what would a gay man know about children? I mean until the other day, I didn’t have a full understanding of the female reproductive system and the in-depth knowledge of what happens when a girl has her period (apart from the horror movie style bleeding scenes that we love to imagine!) nearly 12 months ago my best friend had a baby, and it was such a terrifying time for me, usually in the past when friends have had babies, they morph into this monster that see single people as “sad” and “lonely” and the worst “unfulfilled because you don’t have children” So naturally I expected the same thing to happen, and while they assured me nothing would change, I was convinced it was only a matter of time.

The baby arrived and (not biased at all!) is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She is funny and smart, with personality to boot! I always used to roll my eyes at children and think meh I could never be that interested in one, oh how wrong I was!

I already felt like a member of the family, and them having this child only accelerated it further. I can’t even describe how protective and loving I am of this child, and it didn’t even come out of me!(so I can only imagine how my friend feels about her!) All I want to do is cuddle and kiss her and wrap her up in a fuzzy pink dressing gown and have her stay that way forever!

We were at the show and I wanted to get her something for Easter that wasn’t chocolate (I am waiting till she is a little bit older, I can have her for the morning, pump her full of chocolate and send her back to Mum & Dad with a new drum kit!) and found the most precious beautiful hand made plush bunny rabbit. The stall lady wrapped it in a brown paper bag and we took it back to her. She opened the bag herself and pulled the bunny out, and the look of pure joy on her face smashed my heart and as she cuddled it to her head and smiled I am not ashamed to say I got a little teary and the love I felt in my heart-like area was unlike anything I have ever felt before. My Mum always says that Christmas isn’t the same when your kids grow up and you can’t see their faces, and I always say “Yeah yeah whatever, we are still your children, you can still buy us stuff up!” and grin at her stupidly. Now I think I understand what she means, if I could I would buy her a present  a day just to see that look on that beautiful little face, the pure joy and love from something so simple.

The day went on and on and I had that “ah-ha!” moment, this is what children are, this is what they bring that I have never understood before. So as I was walking home, the undeniable question lingered “Do you want kids?” and to be honest, it was never something that I considered to be a possibility before, I have always been that “self-involved” person so it never occurred to me that I could love anyone more than myself. But I love knowing that question is lingering and I now have a deeper understanding of what children are and why breeders (hehe) go so crazy over them.

The view from the bottom…

So it has been a year since what I recall as “the incident” I had everything going for me, I was on top of the world thinking that this was were my life was headed and then in a matter of minutes it was all ripped out from me and I was left with literally nothing. I had a couple of bags of clothes and my laptop and that was it. My job, my house in town, my self confidence (what little there was of it!) all gone. I could now fit my belongings in one car trip. I was failing my uni degree and was stuck with the one and only choice to move back home with my parents. 

Alone, broke, socially inept and jobless were qualities that I had not been before and I had no idea what to do with myself. Moving back in with my parents just after I turned 30 was humiliating enough, I realised that my desire to be a journalist completely died after discovering that I have a soul and intended to keep it (along with a set of morals!) now don’t get me wrong I am not calling all journalists empty shells intent on landing the next big story to enhance their career for selfish gain…I am simply saying that I did not have that drive or desire. 

In the first three months of moving back “home” I was jobless. I went to my classes, did my assignments, wrote as much as I could, poured my frustration into my writing for various websites and this got me through those horrible times. I casually was seeing someone who lived in Sydney, I swam, I walked, I was penniless and burning every cent I had on petrol and having a good time. I would spend hours in cafe’s ordering small coffee’s and house water just trying to plan out just what the hell I was going to do next. 

It was during this time I discovered that at the very essence of myself I am strong. I built up a life of possessions, found an identity through a thankless job, went through a traumatic depression that nearly took me to the edge of taking my own life, and yet through it all I managed to pull myself out of it and keep going. I did have support from the very limited amount of friends that knew my situation and what I was going through. Through it all I discovered I am relentlessly, enormously, gigantically and wonderfully strong and there is no situation, person or thing that can ever take that strength away from me. 

As I said goodbye to the guy and eventually found a new job in another industry I discovered this. I have a horribly addictive personality. I get attached to things and they become familiar and comfortable. My mind accepts that this is the way I should be living my life and I stay in that mindset, so when the inevitable winds of change blow in like a gail force and scramble everything around, I am lost and have no idea what to do. This is something that I cannot change as it is part of what makes me, me, but it is something that I can be aware of. 

Over the last 6 months I have fallen into this same trap and let things be as they are, accepting that where I live, my job, my growing amount of possessions and familiar friends and surroundings is how my life should be, and it is through these rose coloured glasses that I realise I have become complacent. I have turned into a mean, grumpy, bitter person who is comfortable in the way things and always dreaming and thinking of what “should be” or what I want out of my life. It is always there in the back of my mind, but I am never actually doing anything to get there. I do a lot of talking about it to make it seem real and tangible, but in the back of my mind my good old friend familiarity creeps in and keeps me safe. 

In November of 2013 I started a journey to transform my body into something better than the toxic wasteland I had allowed it to become. While this has well honestly died over the christmas/new year period it is happening again and I find myself entering a 12 week challenge of clean living. While I will be doing this primarily for my body, I am also going to include my mind as well. Apart form clean eating, 4 boot camps a week, 3 personal training sessions and general cardio I have opted to include meditation and yoga, as well as a lot of quiet reflection time and a total ban on alcohol and junk food in my system. It sounds scary and I know it is going to be the hardest thing I possibly have ever done as I rely on my comfort food to get me through a lot, but I know that the end result will be worth it. I have never wanted anything so badly in my life and I am hoping that I have the support of friends and family as I do this seemingly selfish thing. 

The good news? I now have a fantastic job working with people and things that I love, as much as I have complained and whined about it , I realised today that through all of my crying and whinging I actually do love it. It makes me happy and I feel like I make a difference where I am. If it was to be ripped away from me tomorrow, sure I would be disappointed that I didn’t get to go there everyday anymore, but I would still stand strong. If you met me 10 years ago you would not even recognise me today, I had so much self-confidence, so much assurance and a complete sense of who and what I was and will be, but somewhere along the way I lost it and now I finally feel like it is all flooding back. 

So if you are reading this and you do count yourself as a friend, please think of me as I go through this challenge, ask me how I am doing check up on me, care for me and for the love of god do NOT eat bacon in front of me as I may have to kill you (if you really do know me, you will know that this is no empty threat! haha!) For as much as I rely on myself and my own strength, I know without a doubt I will need some more to get through the next stage of my life. 

“If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter old resentments, and set out on a truth seeking journey either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared most of all to face and forgive some difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.” 

Intro (Who I Am)

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When I set out on this ambitious project it originated as therapy for myself, to move past an extremely painful relationship I had been in. I decided it would be good for to write it all down and get it out of my system and hopefully being a writer this would be “therapy” for me to move forward with my life instead of being stuck in this spiral I had dug myself into. After somehow sending this (by error) to my editor, the honesty and rawness inspired me to start writing a “how to” guide for gay men. Something that started out with honest intentions, but ended up being a self-indulgent soapbbox that turned into a mess. After some time to mourn the loss of this project I was inspired by the HBO series “Girls” and convinced myself that it would make an extremely hilarious and interesting television show, so I wrote the ambitious “Gay” tv pilot. I realised after writing three episodes that this was still not what I was wanting. It was entertaining, it would have been hilarious to see this come to fruition, but it didn’t really work as a television show either.

 

It was from here that I sat down and really though about this project, what did I want to get from it, what did I want others to get from it, what was I doing, what was I achieveing? After many long hours of reflection (and red wine!) I have come to the conclusion that I want to write something true, something real, something that matters to myself. It would be so easy to write a book that would accommodate to everyone’s interests, to take the stereo-typical gay guy angle and play the femme queen, or the drag queen, or coming out sob story that our community is so incessant on churning out. What about the real gay people? The one’s who don’t end up as Glee caricatures? To the normal everyday, gay man this book is for me and my hope is that you find some relevance in its rantings disguised as teachings.

 

What is this? This is going to be a blog that I update as much as I can, each piece will be something of my past, lessons I have learnt, things that I am learning now and be influenced by the world around me. I am not concerned with page views or comments, this is purely for me and the hope that someone out there may find something helpful to help them along their journey.

 

So who the hell am I? Glad you asked! I am a 30 year old gay guy (duh!) living in Australia. I am currently completing a university degree in creative writing and communications with a splash of web design on the side, so to say that I am extremely busy is an under-statement. This is the reason why I have not committed to a particular time frame for posting things, some times things get crazy and I can’t do something every week or in a particular time frame. I also have a day job and run a few other blogs that keeps my time pretty tight. I am single (take a number guys! Ha!) and have recently surrounded myself with people who love me, and who influence me in a positive way. I am a massive DC comics nerd and have just started my journey on this whole fitness thing, so getting used to getting up early to exercise is still coming to me but I am attempting to change my body into something that resembles someone who respects and takes care of it.

 

From here I can tell you that there is a lot to come, right now I am going through a weird phase by which I am discovering the real friends from the fake ones, and weeding them out of my life. Usually I have found the cutting people out thing to be a negative thing, but in my experiences and discoveries of late I have found that not everyone is meant to be in your life forever (more on this to come soon!)