Robin Williams Did What I Didn’t Have the Guts to Do (Thank Goodness)

Over the past week, in the wake of legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams’ death, I’ve seen a lot of articles and blog posts pouring in on the subjects of depression, addiction and suicide. And as someone who’s had first-hand experience with all of the above, you’d think I’d be immersing myself in these pieces. Well, for some reason, it’s been the complete opposite. I’ve been distancing myself from them. Why? Perhaps because I’ve been clean and stable for four years now, and I’d prefer not to relive the nightmares. But mostly, I think it’s because, for me, these pieces are preaching to the converted. I already know suicide isn’t a cowardly act. It takes guts to kill yourself – guts I, thankfully, never had.

I spent over 15 years entertaining suicidal thoughts – from my late-teens to early-30s. The main thing that deterred me was the possibility of messing it up. Messing it up and living would be way worse than dying. Who wants to add nasty injuries (and/or lifelong institutionalisation) to their tales of woe due to a botched suicide? If I knew I could take a pill, drift off to sleep and never wake up, I probably would have. Good thing I’m a bit of a pussy, as chances are I wouldn’t be here.

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How to Come Up with an Idea for Absolutely Anything – A World Domination Summit 2014 Attendee Story You May Have Missed

It’s my last day in Portland, Oregon, where I’ve just attended my first World Domination Summit. (Finally! I’ve been wanting to attend since it started in 2011.) If the name of the conference sounds kinda lame, creepy or arrogant to you (a little Dr Evil, perhaps), let me explain. World Domination Summit is a warm, welcoming and inclusive gathering of around 3000 entrepreneurs, humanitarians and creative people who are inspired to live a life of non-conformity (usually away from traditional employment), and want to impact the world in a positive way with a special project – or ten. The three pillars of World Domination Summit are service, community and adventure.

A couple of months ago, Chris Guillebeau, the humble genius who started it all, sent out an email asking for attendee stories. There were so many great submissions that, unfortunately, mine wasn’t selected. But I’ve written it up as a blog post for y’all to enjoy. Whether it’s a business idea or birthday party idea, I hope the following helps you come up with a great idea for absolutely anything…

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You Heart NY? Here Are 17 Tips for Improving Your Relationship with New York City

Ah, New York City. Like the one that got away, it’s charismatic, seductive, full of promises… and totally dysfunctional.

Yes, despite our salacious on-again-off-again affair for a number of years now, New York and I have reached the point in our relationship where we’re starting to see each other’s flaws. That doesn’t mean I don’t still love it, but I’m beginning to question if things are going to work out between us for the long-term.

Of course, because of my deep affection for this magical place, I won’t be letting go without a fight. New York and I just need to get to know each other a little better. We need to learn how to communicate and work as a team. We need to give it some time.

I realize my relationship with New York is a polyamorous one – I’m not the only person who’s enamoured with this town. And New York, being the big slut… err, apple… that it is, opens its arms to everyone within its orbit (including the poor, tired and huddled masses, as it says on the Statue of Liberty). If you’re one of those people, even if you’re just visiting, here are 17 tips to help make your relationship with New York a little more harmonious. Hey, I’m not a jealous person. If New York and I are meant to be, we’ll be.

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I’m Sorry, But When Did Sexuality Become a Fashion Accessory?

Miranda Kerr has done it again.

With the exception of her recent separation, the Australian supermodel, wife of a movie star, mother of a gorgeous little boy, author and international household name has been inadvertently making women feel bad about themselves for over a decade. And now she’s taken it to a whole new level.

In an interview with British ‘lad-mag’, GQ, Miranda said something along the lines of being ‘open to both men and women’ and ‘never say never’, but the media is taking the bisexuality ball and running with it. Naturally. Because lesbian tendencies are ‘so hot right now’.

It’s irrelevant to me whether Miranda (or anyone) is straight, gay, bisexual, bi-curious, asexual… whatever! But when did sexuality become a fashion accessory to be trotted out like the latest trend, beauty treatment or hairstyle to make you look more attractive? Your sexuality is what it is. And whether Miranda’s attracted to women or not, I dare say she dropped that little ditty (probably at the recommendation of her publicist) to further boost her attractiveness to the ‘gentlemen’ of Gentleman’s Quarterly, and make headlines.

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F*ck Fairytale Endings: Why The Bachelor Australia was better than the American version

The first ever Australian season of The Bachelor ended last week (made all the more amusing by Rosie Waterland’s recaps on Mamamia). After watching the American version of The Bachelor (and The Bachelorette, but we’re talking about The Bachelor here) for many years, I must confess I have a love/hate relationship with this reality TV dating show. It’s my guilty pleasure.

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Integrity: The World’s Most Underrated Quality, and Why You Should Care About It

I’ve enlisted the help of some BIG NAMES to create the largest user-generated integrity resource online. Please read all the way through – then contribute!

Kids say the darndest things. My sister occasionally posts on Facebook some of the funny things my 4-year-old nephew says. Most recently, after being out of his mother’s sight for a moment, he emerged from his room and sheepishly uttered, ‘I hope Santa didn’t see that.’ Ha ha! My sister’s not exactly sure what he did, but she’s guessing he hit his 18-month-old brother.

I lightheartedly encouraged my sister to keep up the pretense that Santa knows if he’s been ‘naughty or nice’ for as long as possible, as she could use all the help she can get in wrangling her eldest son’s feisty (yet adorable) nature. I know for a fact that people behave better when they think someone’s watching – even if that ‘someone’ is a supernatural presence…

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Armed & Dangerous: The Best Dating and Relationship Advice Books

I started reading dating and relationship advice books from the age of 11, which I’m sure sounds extremely young, but that’s when I started liking boys. I was terribly curious, and reading about boys was far preferable to experimenting with them, where I could learn from a safe distance in the comfort of my Laura Ashley-decorated bedroom (I’m showing my age here!).

It wasn’t long before the teddy bears, board games and My Little Ponies were replaced by Girlfriend, Dolly, Cosmo, CLEO, the entire Sweet Valley Twins series (which I still have in mint condition – surely they’re worth something by now) and a collection of self-help books that indulged my boy-mad brain. Thus began a love affair with love affairs – and I wanted to be armed and dangerous for when I finally stopped reading about it and started living it (which, much to my frustration, didn’t really happen until I was 15/16 – damn private girls’ school education)…

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The One Thing No One Ever Seems to Tell You About ‘Living Your Dream’

Yes, I’m a writer. Yes, I’m an author. Yes, I work for myself. I’m one of those people who are attempting to live their ‘dream’ – the dream being to make a living not only from writing, but writing I’m passionate about. Books, columns, cool projects… I live to entertain and enlighten. But I sometimes get a little annoyed with the bombardment of messages that everyone who chooses this kind of path will be: a) successful, and b) happier. Something’s missing from the dialogue that I’d like to add.

There’s a great scene in one of my favourite TV shows, Entourage, where the feisty (and that’s putting it politely) Hollywood agent, Ari Gold, attempts to explain to Turtle, best friend of his movie star client, how hard it is to ‘make something of yourself’. It’s hilarious, especially the line about ending up on the street doing heroin with the ‘two Coreys‘. Gold! (No pun intended.) You can watch that here…

Anyway, there’s a serious, unglamorous and often deflating message underpinning all the hilarity – and that is that making something of yourself, or ‘living your dream’, is really hard!

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The Night I DIDN’T Sleep with a Rock Star

This piece was also published on the famous Huffington Post. CLICK HERE to check it out.

I’d always wondered what it would be like to hang out with a big, international rock band. I’d grown up around boys who were more into guitars than cars, and I got into music, metal and moshing at a young age. So, when one of my favorite bands booked a gig in my city, there was no question about it – I was going.

The only problem was they’d become so popular that their gig was at a stadium rather than one of the smaller venues I preferred, where you could weasel your way to the front (my high school boyfriend taught me how to do this) and practically feel their sweat spray onto you as they head-banged to the beat. I conceded that if I didn’t make the effort to go to the stadium, I’d never get to see them live. So, I booked my ticket and off I went.

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Sex, Violence, Miley Cyrus… What Became of Subtlety?

I recently took one of my Little Sister mentees, Sarah, out for her birthday. (Just to give you a bit of background, I mentor underprivileged teenage girls. I started with a year-long mentoring program and one mentee in January 2009. Now, I have four.)

As we were winding up our afternoon of lunching in Paddington and shopping at Bondi Markets, I asked what she was up to for the rest of the weekend:

‘I’m really looking forward to catching up on my Korean dramas’, Sarah said. ‘I watch them online.’
‘Really?’ I responded. ‘That sounds interesting. What is it you like so much about these Korean dramas?’
‘They’re subtle’, she answered.
‘What do you mean ‘subtle’?’ I inquired.
‘Well, you know how Western dramas are so full-on with kissing, touching and gratuitous sex scenes?’ Sarah asked.
‘Yes’, I agreed.
‘Well, Korean dramas are really subtle. Simply holding hands is a big deal. It’s so sweet’, Sarah explained.
‘Aww, that’s adorable’, I gushed…

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