#TBT: An open letter to every guy I just unfollowed on instagram. All 541 of you.

Dearest,

By the time you’re reading this letter, you may have noticed that I have unfollowed you. Trawl though you might through the countless thousands of people who have hitched their wagon to your sexually-charged star, you will find my name is missing. I only hope you know that my leaving you does not in any way diminish the special nature of our former relationship, nor how much I value our time together. It’s just that I’ve become a different person, and it is time we went our separate ways. I hope this letter gives you some clarity as to why I’ve made this hard decision, and if you still can’t bring yourself to move on, then please snap out of it because you have thousands of other people eating your shit up with a spoon, and thousands more on the way I’ve no doubt.

It occurred to me recently as you flashed by on my phone screen, that the standards for male aesthetics are still very high – much as they are for women – and when it comes to the sexually diverse community, the permission we’re giving you to direct our consciousness by sole virtue of the fact that you’re fine as heck to look at is more than substantial. Men are feeling more and more incompetent, incapable, and unimpressive because of these standards. Further, our society is worshipping the standard more than I believe we ever used to.

The former standards for men’s beauty was shaped by physical labour, which gender equality has somewhat distributed across the sexes more. Now, instead of allowing male beauty to change to reflect the new structure of life for men, we made gyms and kept the old constriction held as idol.

Anyway, I worked out that I’m part of the problem. Our relationship is fuelling this cycle, with you as the Adonis-influence, and me as the lowest-common-denominator-consumer. I can’t be this to you any longer. Your “fitspiration” didn’t get me into a gym, or out for a walk at all. Truth be known, our relationship is purely sexual, stimulative. And you deserve more, for all you may not want more. I definitely deserve more.

Let our breakup not take away from the work you do – it is hard, unrelenting work in a highly competitive industry of social media engagement. I admire what you do, there’s no way I could do it. The fact is though, that in spite of the inspiring quote in your bio, your content is focused almost exclusively on you naked, or at the gym, or naked at the gym. Intermittent depictions of the meals you make, clothes you buy, brands you sell with sex appeal appear as diamonds in the rough.

Somewhere along the way, your particular shape attracted hordes of thumbs double-tapping and following your progress, compelled as I was once by mild arousal, perhaps envy, perhaps encouragement. That number that reigns and ranks you at the top of your profile has got the attention of agencies, product companies etc who then pay you money, ask for your endorsement, and encourage you to increase your activity. In turn, you feel rewarded for your work, and some of those followers will feel the need to push their own physical forms to also become an “opinion leader” as you are.

By this new order, the development of your mind, networking of your thoughts and investment in your sense of self all come secondary to what will place you on a platform to distribute your influence upon the world. Your six-pack makes you credible, which I find incredible. So I set about to end our relationship.

I suppose it’s fair I tell you, ours isn’t the only tryst that I have called time on. I looked over everything you have contributed to our connection, and having discovered that nothing really inspired me creatively, I had to end it. Don’t be mad or jealous if you discover other men that you think deserved the same treatment are still carrying on with me. The truth is that somewhere those men still made me laugh, or made me think, or just interspersed their naked ambition with something, ANYTHING, else. I don’t feel like I asked a lot, and I would’ve appreciated more effort on your part in the past; it became very apparent you took advantage of how unlikely I was to spend the time and battery and brain to check up on you and really evaluate who we are as people, and what impact we make on the collective consciousness. In truth, I feel quite betrayed.

You know, it wouldn’t have been hard to keep your promise to inspire me by throwing in something intellectually, artistically, politically, spiritually interesting. It’s like you don’t even know me, like you couldn’t even take a couple of minutes to give me some credit and try to spice things up. But no, you just kept calling yourself an actor when you’ve shown no interest in the profession, or saying you’re an artist or fashion photographer or beauty blogger when really you just do nude portraiture. That’s OK, just be honest! Worst of all is when you say “welcome to my life” but all I see is the parts of your life when you’re kissing someone else! At least the other guys make the effort to pretend they’re being random!

I’m sorry. You should know this was hard for me. To look over all our delicious moments together and walk away. I even got rid of the one Kardashian I follow because she was guilty of the same crimes you are. Please understand, I had to do this. I need to be needed, and there are smart, creative geniuses, political brains and sustainability causes that need my thumb-work. I’d like to think that I’ll come across you in my Discover feed someday and see you’ve changed, and if you haven’t tagged twenty other aggregate accounts, of course I’ll reconsider our relationship. Until then, go with my blessing, and I wish you all the best.

Before I go, I will say this. For all that I want you to succeed, I hope that you will take my advice. Take responsibility for the unbelievable volume of people willing to be influenced by you, don’t mistreat them as you did me, give them something to be activated by, show them a way forward not just physically but also for the benefit of our communities, our countries, our planet. Sure it may not get as many Likes, but when this whole celebrity-for-no-reason thing comes to an end, you’ll feel like a better person – for all that you’ll likely have retired by then.

Yours no longer,
Brodie

 

NB: Bearing in mind how my relationship with social media has changed in the six months almost to the day since I posted this, seems like a good time to run a throw-back! This piece first appeared on papabayj.com.

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Why I’m leaving

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

Purpose, to me, is like an ocean. Those of us seeking to best employ ourselves for the good of some specific outcome- after what might be years of watching and studying from the sand- pick up a board, paddle out and wait for a wave to come. A chance to feel that incredible combination of skill, fortune and nature taking us on an incredible ride for glory.

Some of us will watch wave after wave come, and never try to ride any because we’re waiting for the perfect one, which we may get, we may not. Some of us will take a run at every single wave that comes along to best prepare ourselves for the perfect one. Some people get dumped, some drown. Some ride only one wave, all the way into shore and spend the rest of the time swapping stories and drinking on the beach with their friends. Some feel the rush and can’t help but get back in there over and over. Some are naturals, mastering the art and being idolised by the whole beach. Some play it safe, some compete, some coast, some snorkel. But this isn’t about them, I don’t think.

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What does this have to do with the fact that I’m not going to be on facebook anymore? Well, I genuinely believe that I won’t get any better at surfing, metaphorical or literal, if I spend the whole time sitting on my phone at the kiosk. Sure I might be surrounded by friends, entertainment and people who validate me because I’m a customer, but what purpose does that serve? What connection do I have with those friends if we don’t make any active effort to converse or share properly? What chance have I got of really experiencing that mixture I mentioned?

On top of the fact that the “Community Standards” are no more than lip service to diversity and democracy. On top of the digital divide being one of the most severe hurdles for marginalised communities to overcome. On top of how it caters more to our voyeuristic, vain and vulnerable instincts more than any other without actually having to critically investigate our opinion, unconscious biases or ambitions. On top of how dreadful a series of alpha-masculine, back-stabbing, entrepreneurotic events that led to its success, facebook is making money of my mind as media, and neither I, nor you, are getting a cut of that.

A really large portion of my mind is telling me this is a mistake. Besides feeling embarrassed by the potential irony of posting about leaving facebook on bloody facebook, I’m nervous that I won’t be able to handle it. That I’ll be disconnected, that no-one will take me seriously, all my “friends” will be angry with me or feel abandoned, that I’ll lose my value, and my aspirations will amount to nothing because I’m not part of the collective consciousness. I don’t think it’s alright that the only reason I’m doing something is because the concept of not doing it plays on my anxiety, and  because I’m pressured by the buy-in of my peers. I’m not in high school anymore. I’m not saying you, the reader, are. I’m saying that facebook has become a place where people’s love keeps me on the soapbox, when I want to be in the surf.

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With every tumultuous political incident that has occurred of late, and is bound to occur going forward, it is dangerous to interact only with views similar to your own. It is disempowering to be guided by algorithms crafted for commercial purposes only. A friend of mine was in a critical condition psychologically, and when they appealed to their friendship group online, the response was for someone to call the police. Not call them. A woman was abused on a train I was on recently. I didn’t hear because my fucking headphones were in watching a video someone tagged me in, and I think even if I had heard I wouldn’t know how to interact at that level because public transport is phone time. I didn’t know anything about Brexit because all my friends were In. I feel completely clueless on US gun legislation, climate change, Middle Eastern politics, poverty in Africa because no-one’s really sharing that stuff. If Google doesn’t give me a fast and clear answer to a question, or if I can’t find the song on YouTube I’m likely to let it go because they’re my only bastions of information I consider.

I’ll still be on it for contact, just not for content. I’ll keep my Pages, I’ll get better at twitter, I’ll instagram some stuff. Of course I’ll still write here, every week. But I think for all that facebook has given me a lot – including the love of my life – there comes a time where you can’t depend on a tool initially designed to connect you to long-distance loved ones to now dictate your social life, your ability to mobilise, your social education, your commoditisation. You have to curate your life yourself, you have to hunt for your opportunities and seek no further validation for your decisions than your own, and those who love, care and respect you enough to surf alongside you in whatever way the current connects you.

B.

Images by Che Chorley with sincere gratitude.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Male Feminism

There are few punchlines quite like the male feminist punchline. Besides the shining examples of Matt McGorry and Justin Trudeau most men who stick up for feminism, and possibly many who stick up for women period are labelled as sissies, pussies, gay, traitors, and ulterior-motived letharios. For those men with the balls to say they’re all about that gender parity and those rights for women, it’s worth noting that feminism isn’t something you just talk out your dick about or casually mention when someone questions your Alanis Morrissette-heavy playlist on Spotify. If you want to really earn your stripes, bear in mind these sins committed by all-too-many blowhard blokes.

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#1 Interruption
I noticed recently a female friend whose sentences have a way of trailing off after a while. They rarely really punctuate, just taper down. However, when we’re in company she’s the wittiest, punchy conversationalist. I realised that the reason I hear the fade out is because I’m unlikely to interrupt her mid-sentence. I imagine many women have mastered the art of getting their point or punchline out straight up before some guy cuts her off to deliver his own opinion, interpretation, agreement, disapproval, or joke of his own. There’s nothing wrong with just listening. Being a feminist doesn’t make it your fight, it makes you backup. Wait for the general to give you her instruction.

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#2 Ignorance
Who’s Gertrude Steinem? What’s the suffragette movement? What did bras do to deserve burning? Why is there a Minister for Women? Here’s a tip, don’t call yourself a feminist unless you know your shit, and the shit you don’t know? Ask. I know it might seem like a vulnerable position to be in when you confess ignorance about issues, people, events, policies key to the feminist movement, but if you’re not willing to show the simple respect of asking women to inform you about feminism, you’re on so many wrong tracks you’re basically Ludacris.

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#3 Martyrdom
We should all by now be in agreement that Masculinism and #notallmen are the devil. When male feminists use their feminism to whine and sulk that they feel tarred with the same brush and it’s not fair – welcome to what “sluts” might feel like, welcome to what it means when “women’s issues” is used to diminish your struggles in society. Far be it from me to school you, but being a feminist when you’re a man is not something you own, it’s something you earn. And until you’re willing to take a hard look at the brotherhood and gamble your place in it to stand up for women being disparaged, dismissed or degraded, no-one will respect your stance. This goes for all men masking their misogyny by asking for forgiveness because “I can empathise with the other side”. There is no other side for rape, abuse, murder or slander.

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#4 Tokenism
I’ve asked men why they became feminists and stood there being told how into Beyoncé they are, how inspiring she is. Now I’m all about the Queen, and her pop-feminism is doing beautiful things for forward motion in the masses, but I’ll be damned if your first response isn’t “because women deserve all rights available to any human being around the world, and deserve to fight for those rights and be regarded”. Feminism isn’t a trend, or a movement from the sixties, it’s a centuries-long battle that we are the latest recruits to take up shield, sword, pen, tongue in. So get to work, and don’t tire out when it suddenly becomes less popular to be the f-word.

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#5 Inaction
Hopefully by this point in the list you’re starting to realise that getting the door doesn’t make you a feminist, neither does following Clementine Ford on twitter, and sharing the domestic duties with your wife isn’t cutting it. When was the last time you asked your work if your pay was comparable with women’s pay in equivalent positions? When was the last time you checked your kid’s school uniform or bullying policy for gender equality? When have you checked for gender equality on the board or executive of your university, your super fund, your political party and allowed that to impact your choice? Don’t get confused between contributing to change and common courtesy. Actually actively do something.

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#6 Grandstanding
In the spirit of practicing what I preach, I searched for women who wrote about what male feminism is and how it’s important to the movement. However there were too many articles written by men. IS THIS THING ON?

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So here instead is a list of women who wrote about what to watch out for where male feminists are concerned. Get to clicking.
Jamie Utt and Jenika McCrayer
Lane Moore
Alicen Grey

#7 Evasion
You know how you’ve subconsciously assumed that doctors, actors, surgeons, lawyers are men sometimes? And you know how you never call a man a bitch unless he’s femme-gay? And when just between you and me, menstruation makes you uncomfortable? And when you surreptitiously don’t see a movie because it’s a chick-flick? It happens, it’s OK. We acknowledge it so we can fix it, and we should be mad about it. Because that’s misogyny impacting your life in the tiniest ways that allow a little more room for the bigger ways to somehow seem somewhat permissible. Being a feminist means being diligent, it doesn’t make you better than anyone else. On the contrary, being a feminist should be status quo. Be honest with yourself, challenge your interpretations and allow yourself to be part of a mass of people standing up against bigotry of all kinds. As a male feminist, just because it’s not about you, doesn’t mean it’s not valuable to you at all.   

B.

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video: #DefendSafeSchools

Too many people who need to know this, don’t. Further, too many people who need to see it this way, don’t. Making homophobia and transphobia and bi erasure about you when it suits you, during times of mass tragedy or mass celebration, and when it doesn’t suit you, during times of actual policy change and true leadership, making it about little insignificant me, is no longer tolerable. If you want to make it about “all of us”, then when you’ve finished grieving for people who’ve lost their community, their sense of public safety, some even their lives, then I hope you get onto actually picking up a flag and a voting slip and having our back where it really counts. Please. Please.

I ask that you forgive the long-form. And the emotion. And the production values. And that I have used homophobia as an umbrella-term, as I have used LGBT as an umbrella term that should include Intersex, Asexual and Queer people. I also ask that you consider the following points that have inexplicably become nails in the coffin of anti-homophobia education:

  • If a student is expressing feeling unsafe or angry because they behave as though anti-homophobia education compromises their beliefs or value structure, then they are the student that needs counselling and parent-teacher conferencing, more support than anyone to understand why it’s not alright to hate or victimise someone for who they are, in any case nor under any conditions.
  • Rather than cutting social inclusion education, I actually believe there should be more of it. Programs that educate anti-homophobia, programs that open students’ eyes to living with a disability, programs that explore Indigenous Australian perspectives. If anything, parents should take the responsibility of reading, writing and ‘rithmetic so schools can make sure they breed global citizens of empathy and inclusion. Scholastic aptitude is so important, but without the emotional intelligence to operate that aptitude functionally or with a mind to build bridges between an ever-intermingling, ever-diversifying globe, those skills are inefficient at best, entirely impotent at worst.
  • I myself would like to think I could have some control over my child’s education when that time comes for me, but if I’m trying to curate my child’s curriculum to suit my value structure as an adult, then I really ought to home school them because placing a child in a school environment for them to only socialise with who I approve of, and learn only what I think is appropriate, being taught only by professionals I like, is entirely counterintuitive.
  • If you think children aren’t being sexualised years prior to anti-homophobia education programs, then I’ll assume your child watches not a single second of television, nor interacts with any shred of the internet, nay read a single page of a contemporary book. Think about what kind of concepts Cinderella teaches young girls (or indeed young boys!), think about what movies like Toy Story show young children. Think now about what they don’t show or teach young people who won’t grow up to be straight, or white. Children are being shown images of romance and innuendo and violence earlier on than ever, without any context or education to help them process it gradually. Sex education confronts young people with knowledge, all-at-once at whatever age seems appropriate with no follow-up, review or support for children trying amalgamate that knowledge with their experience of the world.
  • Asking a student “how do you know you’re gay?” or “what did you say to Rebecca before she punched you?” to an LGBTIQA student who has just been victimised by homophobic or transphobic bullying, to me is akin to asking a woman what she was wearing or how much she’d had to drink before being assaulted. Don’t victim-blame children, much less adults.

Thank you for watching, and reading. Bear in mind I will not tolerate any homophobia, Islamophobia in the comments section of this blog or on the video. What I will accept are earnest questions and critical thoughts that deepen, challenge or clarify the content.

Don’t just pray, defend. Don’t just grieve, galvanise. Don’t just mourn, learn.

B.

 

“just another dead fag to you, that’s all” – Wake Up Australia

I broke out in hives on my thighs. I slowly stopped dressing. I have been shaking with cold and anger for hours now. They are hanging us in Africa. They are imprisoning us for life in Asia. They are throwing us from rooftops in the Middle East. They are luring us on dating apps into cars, then robbing, stripping, beating and leaving us for dead in abandoned parking lots. They’re shooting us down daily. They’re legally allowed to after all in America. It brings into stark contrast how it’s not so bad Down Under, but we’d all be kidding ourselves if we think ourselves fortunate or that we’re not being hoodwinked.

The man swapped-in to lead my country erased me today. He made the massacre of my community, the largest single-event death toll in the States since 9/11, about him and about “us all”. This is the same man who won’t put marriage equality, the same party who wouldn’t amend the gay panic defence’, the same coalition who have stripped young people struggling with their identity of knowledge, safety and community in their schools by taking apart the only program that acknowledged their specific challenges when it comes to bullying and socialising. He tried to erase me, tried to deflect off me, tried to wash me out and assimilate me into his cowardly rhetoric, and he is not alone.

I have been so afraid that this event would be used to prove that marriage equality creates discord and should be avoided. That this event would be used to fuel the fires of xenophobia, and destroy resources for young people who need them to know they’re not alone, and help is within reach. All my fears have been realised by straightsplaining politicians and newreaders, by vicious anonymous twitter handles and facebook pages. We’re not so far removed down here. In Australia we are the last Western first-world nation to put marriage equality, and we only this year dismissed gay panic as a justifiable excuse for assault or murder. We have every reason to support our gay community, but our leadership just won’t. That kind of aversion sends a clear message not just to young people, but to all people – that being anything other than exclusively heterosexually monogamous is wrong and will be contested. It sends that message to me, and I cannot comprehend how anyone purporting to be a leader would see people suffer at the hands of prejudices against their very humanity, and remain completely impotent and manipulative of fact to maintain such a sad status quo.

Something missing from all the anguish and blame, is the simple knowledge that the root of this attack is homophobia, the extreme and ungoverned hatred of gay people. Not Islam, which is circumstantial in this case, nor guns, which are legitimate problems but only the tool here, but unwarranted unchecked murderous rage brought about by the lives of other people. This is not just a hate crime, but a systemic genocidal episode. And for goodness only knows what reason, some people just can’t admit that they’re accountable for the perpetuation and permission of this behaviour.

In a similar way we let misogyny go by and excuse it, using words like ‘gay’ and ‘faggot’ to discriminate and demean is behaviour that frequently goes by without being questioned, challenged or stopped. So it breeds, becomes more hurtful, more hateful. Someone glitter-bombs you a little too roughly. Strangers come up behind you and whisper sexually aggressive or threatening things in your ear. You hear ‘faggot’ yelled out of a car, and watch for brake lights in case they decide to turn around. You have one drink at a bar and within minutes feel suspiciously faint. As every act of violence is sensationalised by the media, the population of people who think it worthwhile to take a few lives as a means to express the exponential anger and disgust they’ve been allowed to feel and act on all their lives grows. When I was ten, I was told to just ignore it. How do you ignore a bullet in your back?

We do have to call out homophobia and hate crimes wherever we see them, and to whatever extent they might offend or frighten. We do have to teach teachers how to put their personal politics aside in favour of saving a child’s life from bullying and self-harm, which LGBT youth are at much higher risk of. Stop attributing homophobia to gay students; you don’t need to be gay to be called a faggot, or to be beaten up for dressing ‘like a leso’ or to be accused of representing a different gender. You can cry all you want about how our kids are doing too much social learning and not enough algebra; there’s no need for arithmetic when you feel worthless, and students struggling with a sense of belonging perform poorly in scholastic environments anyway! And as to the argument about how such education should rest solely with the parents, take a read of the shooter’s father’s statement. Or better yet, Brock Turner’s dad’s about his rapist son. You can’t ask the parents to teach something they’re ignorant of, that you didn’t teach them either. And producing a child does not in any way equate to making a person altruistic or just.

We do have to stamp on workplaces to create anti-homophobia policy and we need to hear and be proved politicians’ stances on these issues before we elect them. Where we shop, what we buy, where we invest, who we encourage, it’s all part and parcel of reaching equality. Think critically about what you do, what you let slip by. They say everyone knows or is related to a gay person. Do they know you’ve got their back today?

poetry: come out.

The algorithm tempts the blade
As though A.I. had blood to cool
It can only circulate the celebrated
It networks the sensational
So if your call for help is not subscribed to by the server
If the proxy determines based on the substantial volume of users, and the penetration of your engagement, that no-one would really miss you
Then your echo will end
The algorithm tempts the blade
Nevermind if you’re opposed to dying, they hold the monopoly on mattering
That is until you reach outside the matrix
You stand face-to-face and talk voce a voce
Care less for notoriety
Appreciate your worth
Turn the blade on the wire
Let the Log Out click bait you
Come out like the queer kids do
Know Thyself. There is nothing else to seek.

How to change your perspective

You’re hunting for the “right” job. None of the guys on Tinder look like anything other than sex-charged, ill-thought deviants and it’s not Saturday. You have no idea who to vote for, but are midway through your third binge of Game of Thrones to revisit before the latest season premieres. You’re familiar, might’ve even wrote a blog about Harambe the child-dragging gorilla, but have no idea how many migrants died crossing the Mediterranean that same week (over 1000, by the way. I Googled. I’m not perfect either.).

Ever get the feeling you can’t find what you’re looking for? Overrun by images, videos, apps and Kardashian-fuelled news, ever feel a bit lost? I don’t know maybe you’re right at home in a suspended state of apathy, comfort and pursuit of simple pleasures. It is after all the Australian Dream.

If you, like me, find yourself consistently searching for time to make meaning of life, particularly your place in it. If you are looking to change, but don’t have the first idea how, here’s a few ways to start

  • How prepared for spontaneity are you? Take a look around the room you’re in – pets, hordes of furniture and knick-knacks, boxes of redundant memorabilia in the garage. It’s all excuses. Like you haven’t excuses enough in your mind to procrastinate from those excuses. If you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it. If you’re not going to use it within a year, get rid of it. If you don’t like it, if it’s the topic of arguments, if it serves no other purpose than to impress the neighbours who never come over because I haven’t cleaned the guest bedroom in case things get boozy, and anyway I need to buy a new crockpot to make them that dish mum used to make before she came to Australia. You guessed it, make like Elsa and let it go.
  • If the only fun, the only time you laugh really hard, the only messy but wonderful memories made are the result of something you planned, then the time has come to randomise the elements you interact with. Suddenly go to bed later, or earlier. Change yoga classes to the other night they run. Download a song from an artist you’ve not heard of, or tune into someone’s playlist you recognise no songs on (or if you’re old-school like me, buy a CD at random from JB). Get your groceries from a suburb you’re passing through. Change your route to work. Scroll through your phone and text whoever crops up (maybe no exes or your accountant) Start getting acquainted with territory outside the 10km radius you usually travel within the confines of.
  • Stop liking things you don’t actually like on facebook, or double tapping on hot people, or clicking trashy news stories on Yahoo!7 when you log out of your email. The algorithms of your social media, Google, even your internet browser are constantly monitoring you (seriously, check out Google Ads) and will start filling up with things like what you mindlessly validate. Meanwhile you’re scrolling past the political, the powerful, the passion-filled because it’s awkward or uncomfortable and those things that are important for us to know about go unheard, unnoticed and without action.
  • Stop limiting yourself. See if you can talk about the future without saying ‘but’ at all. Don’t enter Search terms on seek. Don’t employ age parameters on Tinder. Just afford yourself the time to brainstorm as you look through your options, and whatever excites you most, or seems to suit your interests, go down that rabbit hole. Really invest the time to work out how it might be feasible. You might fail, plenty of times, but no-one learned to fly without falling. Many times.

The trick to changing your perspective and taking opportunities is an alchemic balance of being realistic and pragmatic along with trusting yourself enough to handle the consequences. Golly if I had a dollar for every time I heard “I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t know what to do if…”. And that there is exactly what happens. You learn what you would do by doing it. No matter the outcome of a decision to do things differently, you’ll LIVE. You’ll work it out and then use that knowledge to approach your next crossroads.

You don’t need to cross the planet, tear your home apart, lose all your money or ignore everything you’ve learned to give your life more value. You just need to know yourself enough to make what contribution you feel most affirmed to do so life is more than an expenditure of time or series of routines. Make yourself useful, make yourself special. bg2yx.