Shredding The Balloon…

Many people have asked why the space between posts as the team was well on track to deliver one blog a week for the year. Well to be honest the team pushed themselves to the extreme the last couple of weeks and really found their limits both mentally and physically. What is something that they normally wouldn’t consider doing the team decided to challenge themselves and raise a little cash for a good cause at the same time. Enter the Oxfam Trailwalker Series. A bunch of hikes designed to raise money to combat poverty around the globe as well as test those participating in the walk.

To start with the fundraising model is actually quite smart ensuring that each team raises a certain amount of cash before they do the walk. Not to mention the entry fee you need to pay as well. So before you even start the walk you need to come up with $500 and once that’s done you need to raise $1600 before you can actually start walking. Anything on top of that is a bonus and the more you raise the more things become accessible to you. Like what you ask well to start with there’s names instead of numbers on your race bibs, the opportunity to have your own portaloo at each checkpoint, the chance to win a GPS device for your team. Oh did we mention it was a team based charity walk? Well it’s a team based event consisting of 4 team members which we’ll introduce to you over the next couple of chapters.

With two options in length, of the walk people! Come on we aren’t talking about wood so get your mind out of the Bunnings catalogue. It was only natural we’d pick the longer of the two as our superman complex kicked in and we saw a need to prove a point to the doubters in our world. So straight off the bat the 55km was scratch off the list and 100km was signed, sealed and, hopefully delivered. By the end of this blog you’ll see whether we actually made it or not. Now to pick a team of suitable pundits to embark on this silly journey with. Here’s where the hilarity ensued as we tried to screen suitable candidates. Our criteria wasn’t as strenuous as some of the interviews we’ve attended in the past consisting of two main criteria.

The first being that they need to be able to at least make the majority of the distance, the second being that we needed to be able to put up with them for an extended period of time up to 48hrs. So with the hunt for team mates well under way it wasn’t long before we filled our first slot. For privacy reasons we’ll call him the ‘Legal Beagle’, part super lawyer, part dad, he was an easy pick for the team given his natural fitness and ability to entertain with his random fun facts. He is often referred to as Captain Google in close friend circles. The Beagles analytical nature and want to win all the time made the number pick in the draft to walk with, pun possibly intended there we aren’t 100% sure.

As the weeks dragged closer and closer it looked highly unlikely that we would be entering the walk as the Beagle and Boss struggle to find the third and fourth members of their team. No foursome meant no walk and no walk would mean, well they would both have a weekend to do whatever they damn liked without having to stress out about how they would make it through 100kms of walking. As other teams grew around them the twosome wondered whether they would indeed to the walk. Alas someone heard their pleas and came to their rescue. In the aid of what would be two unlikely heroes we’ll call them the Receptionist and the Accountant fitting names to round out the team.

In what sounds like a group of misfit vigilantes ready to keep the criminals off the streets of Brisbane the team of walkers were formed. Each one brought something different to the team, each one had a unique character that would come out and entertain the others at some point during the 100km walk. There would be moments throughout the walk in which they would need to lean on one another, draw strength and most all encourage each other to continue putting one foot in front of the other over and over again until they reached the finishing line. So with the team now assembled, they began training, well the majority did the Boss was a little busy re-living yesteryear on the hockey pitch and isn’t the biggest fan of early mornings walk around a mountain.

Lists were made, provisions purchased, maps read and supplies stockpiled. Many a review was read about the best shoes, walking poles, power gels, hydration and packs before they were purchased and apartment tested for the big day. So back to the two newest members of the squad the receptionist well he’s a character all in himself. He’s a contradiction of a man who loves fine things and yet has hippyish free spirit about him that fights with his want to be rich and have nice things. The accountant on the other hand seems to like to have a little bit of fun, enjoys a drink or two but has his head screwed on. So while the Boss frolicked around the hockey field the rest of the team trained most weekends in preparation for the walk.

With two of the team having already attempted to complete the 100km beast, there were no illusions about how hard it was going to be. But there is a difference between knowing something is going to be hard and actually experiencing just how hard it is. Which was a lesson that all team would learn over the of the 2nd last weekend in June. They would each have a different build up to the day but they would bind together once they started on a journey that would be mind changing and mind blowing well for some of them, that’s the thing with experiences and journeys everyone takes something different from them. They walk awaying with something that is everlasting, always a memory that they can reflect back on in years to come.

As the morning dawned the team were all up early and preparing to take on the challenge as best they could. Running late the Boss and the Beagle missed breakfast after planning a Maccas coffee and McMuffin but instead had to settle on a petrol station sausage rolls and pies. Discussing this down the track with the Legal Beagle it may have led to some complications for the Boss during the walk which provided the team with a lot of laughs throughout the walk but we’ll get to that later down the line and no doubt introduce you all to the wonderful world of walking. Walking you say that’s easy well that’s what our four friends thought before that buzzer sounded at 8:30am on Friday the 21st of June.

The team were a little delayed and ended at the back of the pack with plenty of people to wade past on there way to the finish line. This was due to the receptionist come Team leader giving a command despite the teams questioning of said command. So they finally crossed the start line and began a game that would last all day and through the night. Little did they know this game would actually spur them on and lift their spirits at the lowest of times throughout the walk. Along with the Boss’s need for a tune or two about walking or with walking lyrics and they were set with fun and games. If you throw in the Legal Beagle’s love of a good statistic or knowledge dump about science then they had the entertainment portion of the walk covered.

Set in amongst the national parks and reserves of Brisbane’s Mt Glorious, Mt Nebo and Mt Cootha the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker is like being on a stairmaster for 24 hours straight well at least that’s how it’s been described to us. Taking a look at the topographical maps we can see that there are a fair few hills to ascend and descend along the route with some dramatic changes in altitude as you start your walk through D’Aguilar National Park and wind your way towards Lake Manchester but before we get there we’ll give you an insight into the mindset and bodies of the team as they trek to waypoint three which is just under half way (45km). To start with the team were setting a cracking pace between the startline and checkpoint one walking a very decent clip of 6km p/hr.

Making their way to checkpoint two they were still setting a reasonable pace and had worked out they were faster up the hills than going down them. The minds were still strong and the legs were feeling great, spirits were high as they entered their second checkpoint for the day passing by a happy volunteer dressed as Zorro, with a foam finger motioning them towards the checkpoint, well we think it was Zorro but then again dehydration may have started to set in. They could fill up on water, get some food and recharge for a couple of minutes before setting out on the trail again. It was at this point that things started to get interesting for the Boss and hilarious for the rest of the team. Just a kilometer past the check the Boss started sweating profusely, yes the hills were strenuous but this was something else entirely.

Gut cramps wreaked havoc as he staggered along the trail. His team mates a little concerned at the amount of sweat pouring out of him. Finding a tree he urinated relieving some tension on his stomach but it still wasn’t enough another 500 meters down the track and he was wrench with more gut craps. Within seconds he was on the side of the track pants around his ankles releasing the demons from within. The nausea and pain he’d been feeling were now replaced by the pungent smell that covered the ground below him that he quickly tried to cover up with biodegradable baby wipes after cleaning his bottom. Oh and you thought this was over it was the beginning of what was dubbed the “Gascapades” and a severe case of swamparse. Feeling better well moderately better he trudged on with the rest of the team embarrassed and ashamed of what he’d just done.

With checkpoint three insight and the legs starting to tire, blisters and bruising starting to grace their feet the team strode into the checkpoint well ahead of the time they thought they would. The dinner was the best thing they’d had to eat in a long time and who would have thought a simple tuna pasta bake could taste so delicious. The Boss had rekindled his love of Tuna and the team were energized and ready to continue what was now starting to feel like a vietnamese concentration camp death march. Three BBB cream was applied to prevent chafe and aid those who already had chafe, massages were given, blisters lanced and water refilled. Off into the night they set head torches lighting the way as they stumbled towards the finish line.

With tired legs, chaffed arse cheeks, blistered feet and a range of other ailments the team found the second half hard going but surprises were a foot and swamparse, so was the methane power needed to get them up and down the hills. As they crossed a small creek a slithering friend reared its head as the accountant stepped right over it, kicked it and then ran for the hills while the receptionist decided to play Steve Irwin and attempt to flick the snake away. The rest of the team skirted around it as quickly as possible before the little slithering snake could take a chunk out of them or poison them. Although at the time they were probably hoping the snake would bite them and put them out of their misery.

Checkpoints passed and water packs were refilled filled, delirium began to set in and the Boss was not making a lot of sense as they stumbled along into the darkness. Foot after foot they continued minds and bodies fighting with one another. The body slowly getting ready to keel over at the first possible option and assume the fetal position. The mind willing on the body to finish to reach that finish line to cross the pain barrier and achieve something that people didn’t think they could or would achieve. As morale dimmed they leant on each other to provide a boost to the team that was sorely needed. Along with the cuppa soups and hot chocolates the sugar boosts were helping push the team along.

With the sun beginning to rise they climbed the last peak of the hike. The excitement grew knowing that once they reached the summit it was all downhill into the finish line. At least they could all roll downhill to make it home. According to the team whilst there was excitement that they were going to make it to the finish line and actually walk 100km in under 24 hours there was still the pain and ongoing internal struggle. Silence washed over the team as they ascended the peak and descended down the other side. A euphoria washing over them as they saw the finish line below, the green of the inflatable line like the lushest grass they had ever seen and actual grass. The shoes would be coming off and the wet grass felt between their toes.

Twenty three hours and twelve minutes later they had completed a course of 100km that wound up and down mountains, across creeks, over uneven terrain, having to use ropes and deal with both physical pain and mental pain including blisters, chafing, bruising and muscular cramping. When asked later what the toughest part of the walk was most of the walkers would agree it was the mental fight with themselves. The internal struggle of whether to give in to the pain or put one foot in front of the other and continue on. Whether to keel over and just sleep where their body fell the cold engulfing them as they rocked themselves to sleep. Literally what happened to most of the team once they made it home and had a shower.

So as we tally up the walk on an individual level there were over 25 litres of water consumed, over 8 sandwiches, 8 coffees, 2 cuppa noodle soups, 2 energy gels, half a box of glucose tablets, 5 muesli bars, a couple of bags of lollies and two bowls of Tuna pasta bake with croutons. That’s how much food was consumed on an individual level by each member of the not so funny titled team of Four Guys one Trek, some may of eaten more than others and some may have had more gut cramps and had to the crap on the side of the trail more than others. They had made it! The physical pain was over for the time being until delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) kicked in a couple of days later. They joy and elation felt as they crossed the finish line mixed in with other emotions.

As we close this chapter of A Mind of Its Own we take our hats off to the boys and the effort to raise some funds for a good cause and soldier on through 100km of torment. Those physical and mental pain barriers that were pushed through, the self doubt, the self loathing and self chafing. Well done guys, it’s an achievement and one done in a great time with a great bunch of blokes who pushed each other through to the end. If you are looking for a challenge and a good way to raise some money we recommend you look into doing this or just jump on a stairmaster for 24 hours straight.

Who Are You Anyway?…

This week we let the editor-in-chief take the reigns and share a letter he wrote to himself in a drunken haze, while he had to do a lot of editing, rewriting and sometimes guessing as to what he had written we thought it would be a good idea to share it with you all as an example of when things go shit that you can often remind yourself that there is always a future out there that you control. Because when you are at rock bottom the only way is up and sometimes we just need the rope and harness thrown down to us so we can start pulling ourselves out of the hole, hand over hand. So without wasting anymore of your time we’ll handover the keyboard to the boss and allow him to hit Ctrl+V and paste the letter and allow you all to read, ponder and question like we did whether we should have him committed.

Dear Editor-In-Chief,

If you are reading this it’s for a good reason, you wrote this letter to remind yourself that despite how you are feeling right at this very moment in time, as your eyes move from line to line reading every word and taking it all in. Things will get better, they have to get better and you will heal, we all heal. It just takes times and time is something you have plenty of. Make the most of the days, weeks, months and years you have on this planet and continue to have no regrets. There’s a difference between doing something and paying it lip service but you have always known that. It’s ok to be sad and upset, it’s ok to be angry but most of all it’s ok to feel the way you do. It’s natural and it’s part of the process, they say you’ll go through all the emotions and maybe you will, maybe you won’t there will however be a process that you will go through. But remember this letter is to remind you that in time things will get better but before then you will have some choices to make. Some that are easy, some that will be hard but at the end of the day you are the one who gets to decide on them. As you’ve always said you make your decision and you stick by it.

 

Like an absentee voter on election day, you have been missing for the last couple of weeks. While your body fills the seat in which you sit typing this, your spirit and mind are nowhere to be seen. Like a lost cat of dog you may need lost & found posters stuck to every light pole in the area offering a reward for your soul and spirit to be found. They are truly missing and with them you have lost the rest of yourself. You are a walking husk that resembles a zombie more times than not lately. Sleep eludes you as you lay awake pondering the future, past and present. You’ve lost the ability to find joy in life and people are starting to notice. Your colleagues at work and friends question how much you are sleeping and what you are doing with yourself in your spare time. They worry about you as does your family. You’ve never been one to take things lightly and we know you’ll be assessing everything and questioning yourself and everything going forward in life.

You might feel that life sucks at the moment and your life is coming down around you. Those foundations you built and planned on expanding upon are cracking, splintering and starting to literally fall to pieces like some dodgy tradesman’s handiwork. What you forgot to remember was the one thing you’ve told yourself time and time again. No plan survives initial contact and what could possibly go wrong, will certainly go wrong. Life has a habit of throwing people curveballs and though you might not be able to see it in this point in time you aren’t the only person who is going through things at this point in time. That being said you have some decisions to start making and for that you will need the following things.

 

Firstly you’ll need a clear head so do yourself a favour and put down the bottle. Sit and ask yourself how much alcohol you have consumed since that fateful day in late April? How many hangovers have you had? Ask yourself how your body feels and whether it’s coping with all the poison that you continue to pour into it night after night alone in the dark attempting to numb the pain and loss you are feeling. Put on your big boy pants mate, pour the drink down the sink and start to take life by the proverbial balls, take it like a man, yeah wrong choice of words but you know what we mean. You need to take a breath and put your general wellbeing in front of your current need not to feel a goddamn thing. There is a lesson in all of this somewhere and once you clear your mind you’ll have a little bit more of an idea what that might be but until them the wheels will keep spinning in the haze of your mind.

The second thing you need to do is stop looking for answers and reasons as to why. All it is doing is causing your anxiety to sky rocket and your depression to drag you back towards to that dark pit. Having been there before you know it’s not a good place for you to be and you’ll just make things worse for yourself than better if you let this drag you down. You want answers we get that, but sometimes there are no answers and you know that better than most people. You can feel the pain and hurt that comes with each word spoken between you. The tears you’ve shed are only just the beginning of the rough road that you will need to walk over the next couple of months. There will be good days and bad days but firstly you need to stop looking for answers, they’ll come over time and at present there are no answers. There is no one to blame, there isn’t a single moment that lead to this, this is life and unfortunately it will surprise you from time to time.

 

Not having someone or something to blame can be hard but it gives you something a lot of people don’t get and that’s opportunity, an opportunity to still keep some form of friendship, some form of decorum between the two of you and most importantly a piece of your heart still intact. Having that piece of heart allows the memories of the good times to far outweigh the bad. But should you continue to search for answers your mind is always going to be second guessing everything and everyone throughout your life. You deserve happiness and to have everything you want in your life you just need reminding of that from time to time, reminding that at the end of the day you are both good people who deserve the best in life and to be truly happy. It takes courage to speak your truth, remember that as you forge through the fog that is currently your world.

Thirdly don’t close yourself off from everyone and everything, in times like these it’s easy to throw up walls to protect yourself. It’s also very easy to shut yourself off from the world and become a hermit. You though need human interaction, you will go crazy if you are left alone with your thoughts and feelings. We are not saying distract yourself and not think about things we are saying don’t become a hermit. Don’t become detached from all the things that make you who you are. Make you the person that started on this journey, the person you have always been, the person you will always be. You owe it to yourself to get one foot in front of the other and continue on in the world. It’ll be hard, it’ll be damn hard but what alternatives do you have?

Drink yourself into a black hole after working so hard to get yourself out of the pit, spiral out of control and watch your life to continue falling apart? Lose your job because you are two hungover to turn up to work. Your friends give up on you because you don’t want to help yourself and turn them all away as no one could possibly know the pain and hurt you are going through. All that self pity won’t be worth a damn when you are on your own and a full blown alcoholic who needs rehab but no one is willing to help push you there. The only person you have to blame is yourself, you had an opportunity to make a decision early on in the piece how you handled this. Hence this letter. You are better than that and that is exactly why you made yourself write this letter to remind you that no matter how bad things get there is always going to be some good come from the worst of pain and loss.

Chin up and straighten that upper lip soldier, cry when you need to cry and lean on your friends and family. You are not alone and things could always be worse than they currently are. This will pass and the pain will heal with time remember that and if you need a reminder read through this letter and remember all the good times. Until then you are loved and appreciated always remember that. Get back into a routine and get yourself back to the fit, fun, friendly person you know you are. It won’t make the pain go away but it will certainly help you as you’ll have something to focus on and a goal to work towards. Until then believe in yourself you are your own hero.

Your biggest fan and supporter.

You

When writing this the intent was to remind myself that no matter what the darkest days hold there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. While friends and family will be there to provide support and love they can’t be the ones to push you to forge forward with life that is on you and upto you to pull yourself through the fog into the light. It’ll take time as does everything when you are healing or trying to get past something that has hurt and saddened you to the core. At the end of the day i know I will be fine and I’ll be able to move on with life but for now I’ll shed a tear or two knowing that a chapter has finished in my life and that I have no regrets. Some of the best memories in my life have been made over the past couple of years and I’ve met some amazing and uniquely wonderful people who all have a story of their own to tell.

We all go through tough times in our lives, times that test us and show us what we are truly made of and what it takes to come back from the darkest of pits the lowest of days and highest of highs. Life, it’s never a guarantee that everything will be ok or go the way you want it to, that’s the thing about life it will continue to test you to ensure you know you are alive and show you that you are stronger than you thought. It’s shown me through all the tears that I am stronger than I thought and that at some point i will be ok and I will get on with life but for now, I’ll take it day by day and get one foot in front of the other. After all it’s all i can do while I heal and mend the wounds.

Friends and family are there for me and I am thankful to each and every one of them that has reached out and shown me that I am not alone through this time. Even those who’s support i feel I don’t deserve have shown me that there is a goodness in everyone and that people move on with time and are able to get on with things that means that you can two. They say life is what you make and well you’ve got yet another chance to make something of yours and show the world who you truly are and what you are made of. Though life is hard in these days, never give up for your day will come. Anyone who is a Bliss n Eso fan will know that one and the song those lyrics are from is something of an inspiration as it With Friends like you.

Two songs that remind us to never give up and that we are our own heros and when you reach rock bottom you will bounce right back. Not to sound like a broken record but over time things will heal and change for the better. Like the title of this weeks blog the coming months will be telling in answering the question of “Who are you anyway?” we are no doubt about to learn a thing or two about ourselves and who we are and furthermore who we want to be when we come through the otherside of all of this. With all this advice I have given I hope some of it has sunken in and I’m not going to ignore myself but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done the old, do as I say not as I do speech.

In what was one of our more heartfelt posts for the year we are hoping that we’ve provided you with an example of what you two can do when things aren’t going well in your life. A simple letter can be a constant reminder through the dark times that things will eventually get better. It’s not always easy to remain positive when things are falling down around you but all you can do it try and believe in yourself. It’s all one can do to get through day by day. Until next week remember you too can get by with a little help from your friends and its more than ok to ask for help, heck we should all be asking for help more often. Unfortunately that thing called ego often stops us from reaching out in our moments of need. Park the ego and get on with it. Until next week believe in yourself you are your own hero…

Halcyon…

The Webster dictionary gives us several options as the meaning of the word Halcyon, but we’ll just go with Tranquil, Calm, Peaceful. All things that when you switch on the news seem to things within a pipedream. While there may be pockets of beauty that people would describe as tranquil we live in a world that is far from Halcyon. Most people would say there lives are quite peaceful but what about those that don’t know or ever feel they’ll have inner peace? What about those that suffer from mental health issue will they ever find their own Halcyon or at least a little peace of it that will allow them to have a day or days away from fighting the battle that rages day in day out with there own minds.

When we first started this blog and it’s aptly titled self we never envisioned that we’d actually write several pieces that were personal and a slight insight into the minds behind the publication. Reading back through pieces we can see why people would think that we are mad, or at least a little angry with the world. The world we’ve created for ourselves in a bigger world where all we can do is try our best and be who we are. Not who people want us to be, or believe we should be. Our editor-in-chief has spoken several times about his battle with Anxiety and Depression. About the ups and downs, the highs the lows and the times he’s had to crawl out of that pit and put himself back together like a giant lego set. He’s not alone in going through this there are millions of people around the globe suffering but this isn’t something we haven’t told you before.

What does all this have to do with the word Halcyon besides everything of course. Think of Halcyon as a place in your mind. Now take that image and ravage it with the worst mother nature has to offer. All that chaos and destruction of the tranquil, calm, peaceful place is now replaced with uncertainty and fear. The more information we absorb the further into pit we fall. The black surrounding you like a blanket enveloping your skin and swallowing you up, stretching tighter and tighter around you until you can’t breath. Yeah that’s why this week we’ve gone with Halcyon to point out that you can go from a peaceful existence to a world of chaos within seconds and find yourself at the lowest of lows, you find yourself at Rock Bottom.

So what happens when you hit rock bottom and have to build yourself up again brick by brick. Do you have people you could rely on if this was to happen to you? Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what if? In today’s new age society we have plenty of life coaches that will tell you that you can’t think about the what if’s or have regrets because they’ll hold you back from obtaining growing, achieving and obtaining those future goals. But what if all those people are wrong and it’s not a bad thing to have what ifs and plan for the them. There is no reason you can’t have a future in which you protect yourself against a little pain and angst. Prior planning or preparation, prevents pisspoor preformances. The five P’s used by so many successful people around the world. That’s why people with Anxiety will often fall in a heap if something happens they hadn’t planned for or wasn’t part of their plan. They like to have routine and more importantly a sense of control.

Back to Rock bottom we aren’t talking about trying to prepare yourself for the worst but more so having some safety nets to fall into when the rug is ripped out from under you and your falling through the that floor towards the pit of despair. Because let’s be honest at some point in life we are all thrown a curveball or two that come out of absolutely nowhere and there is nothing we can do about it except stand there and swing. Swing with all we’ve got in the hopes of connecting and knocking it out of the park. There are those people that can bend and not break but for most of us that is not the case. Most of us break when thrown that curveball or proverbial rug is pulled out from under us. As we drift down through the blackness waiting for our bodies to slam into the bottom of the pit that for some people becomes bottomless, swallowing them whole, we are allowed more and more time to think. Time to reflect and this is where the what ifs come into play. By the time you reach the bottom your focus has turned to how in the hell are you going to dig yourself out.

Last time we check shovels and rope didn’t come at the bottom of a bottle but many a person turns to the bottle, while some people need heavier building equipment and find themselves nose deep in Columbia’s finest or Afghanistan’s brown being sunk into any vein they can find. The effects of drugs and alcohol on people’s inhibitions have long been documented throughout history. Hell the CIA and Army used LSD on soldiers during experiments and it was said to open their minds and mouths to things many had blocked out or forgotten. So it’s no wonder that a little dutch courage can have the tightest lipped people talking about their deepest darkest secrets and fears. Give them something a little stronger and they’ll tell you their unedited story word for word to the point your ears start bleeding. Every little nitty, gritty detail will come out, including things you didn’t need to know.

What does this have to do with the pit of despair and climbing your way back out or building yourself back up again. Well we are glad you asked because like always we have little insight and some advice we can provide. Like a shaken up bottle of soft drink it’s not going to spill over until you crack that lid open. Well to a lot of people wallowing at rock bottom in their pit of despair, drugs and alcohol are like those gimmicks people buy of those ridiculous TV advertisements to help them open tight lids on jars. They can often just have a placebo effect, in other cases they can actually work and crack the lid on all those thoughts and feelings that have been pent up well before but also during they time fell through the floor into the pit. Like Mount Etna erupting or that bottle of soft drink you’ve spent the last half an hour shaking. That pressure release can often feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders. As everything spews forth onto the ground around you or the people around you.

Too often though that need to be able to talk and get things out, before it spirals out of control, leads a lot of people become dependant on the bottle, bag or whatever crutch they are leaning on to help them through the dark times. But once we’ve pulled ourselves from the pit and put ourselves into some serviable order it will only hold us back from putting the final pieces of our puzzle back into place to create a new or continue our way forward in life. Whilst everyone will tell you that everything is going to be ok on your way down and then on the way back up their is a period where you gaze up from the blackness and wonder if it truly will be ok. That’s before you stub your toes on those bricks and either start to build yourself back up, decide to solidify your foundation or just build a little hut to wallow in all your self pity like a human hermit crab.

Whatever you chose to do know that rock bottom is a place that we can all come back from, the bottom of that pit allows us a solid base to build upon time and time again until we become that person we truly are or the best version of ourselves. You can learn a lot about yourself, about the true you in the dark recesses of that pit. You can learn about the person you want to be, ought to be and truly are. Out of despair, sadness and pain heroes are often born and as we’ve learnt from history, if you just believe in yourself you are your own hero. We have the unique ability to be able to rebuild ourselves time and time again in any shape and form we chose that best suits our needs.

Lean on those around you, do what you need to do but remember no matter how black the pit there is always a light at the end that we can climb towards either on our own of with the help of friends and family. Look after your mind, body and soul, you’ll need them in the weeks and months to come, they’ll be your greatest asset in the rebuilding and climbing phases you will go through. Times will be tough there is no deny that but you got this far so hang in there a little while longer and you’ll make your way out of the pit, hand over hand, foot by foot, inch by inch. You can find strength you never knew you had in the strangest of places. To quote Ayn Rand, for those of you who don’t know who she was, she was ahead of her time and a brilliant author. Pick up a copy of Atlas Shrugged it’s a great read and a classic.

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”

― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

At Rock Bottom we have nowhere else to go, we have no other options but to either give up and as Ayn said let our our fire go out or to spark and ensure our hero doesn’t perish. As we close yet another albeit brief chapter of A Mind of Its Own we are reminded that life will throw you the unexpected, no matter how much you plan or prepare for it things will happen, they will creep up on you and they will hurt you. How you bounce back from it though is in your hands, you hold the power, not that black pit you find yourself in. Until next week, when you find yourself at rock bottom there is always options and always people you can lean on to help you climb. Adios Amigos!

Wicked Sensitive Crew…

It’s 2019 so one would think that people have the ability to overcome and adapt to the world around them, a world where people can be themselves without the fear of being judged or oppressed for their views and beliefs. That they would be free to ride the train in peace whilst reading a book. To not have to sit and listen to someone from another country preach anti-abortion and christian religious beliefs at them and a carriage full of people they don’t know. In an ideal world that would certainly be the case but in the world we live in where anything and everything goes, it seems to be the “norm” that anything that is deemed to be outside of the “norm” is strange and or just weird. Just like the guy on the Sydney train who, yes is entitled to his views and opinions should know there is a time and a place and that time and place is not on an evening train after everyone has had a hard day at work and just wants to wind down before getting home to their loved ones or pets.

Having spent plenty of time on trains across the country we and understand the need and want to just have a peaceful ride to your final destination. Why do you think so many people have headphone in and stare at their phones or tablets from the moment they get on the train to the moment they step off onto the platform. People like to use the time to decompress, the last thing they want is a raving American pushing religious beliefs and telling everyone he loves them. It’s bad enough we have a muppet in the white house let alone a religious nut on a train. If we were on the train we wouldn’t have been as nice as the man who eventually spoke up and asked him politely enough to shut up. As human beings we need to be more sensitive to others particularly in confined spaces. They say a comedian needs to be able to read the room with certain jokes, well the same goes for those who wish to get a point across as we said there is a time and place you just need to know when that time and place is.

Which leads us into this weeks blog, something that we looked at a lot over the week that has just flown by something that all our friends, family and followers out there with mental health issues might understand, something that is slowly changing and softening over time. In days gone by a man was defined by his masculinity, he was worshipped for his womanising ways and controlled the world through manly ways. But as Beyoncé said “Who runs the world? Girls” and any man worth his salt would know that. So why is it that men who are sensitive are seen as soft or less manly? If you are in touch with your feelings you are often on the end of some nasty name calling or ribbing from your mates at school or friends and family members? In a world where we are all striving for equality why is it that some women want all the same things as men and yet they still look for what they define as ‘A real Man’. They still have ‘man’s jobs’ or as we’ve come to know they as ‘Just the jobs they don’t want to do’.

So why as males are we become more sensitive, in an era where hipsters, trendsters and the LGBTQI communities are finally getting a voice. Why is it that the typical, fair dinkum, Aussie bloke become a softy? They say we are in the age of the Sensitive New Age Guy or as the ladies in CLEO, Girlfriend and other glossy magazines designed to create another generation of insecure, body image issued women refer to them as SNAGs. And yes that is a generalisation on our behalf we are well aware that it is not the intention of these magazines to portray a perceived image of what the ideal woman should look like. Perhaps that is just us being overly sensitive but there can’t be much of an argument against the fact that young ladies and women look at the covers of these magazines and subconsciously think that’s what I should look like or why don’t i look like that? Again we digress, and it’s time to get back on track to discuss the growing sense of sensitivity among young males.

When you think of masculine men we often think of the film stars of old that portrayed some of the most masculine characters you will ever see. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson to name a few. Just pick a male film star from the 80’s and early 90’s, the characters were all tough, masculine men who took charge and could easily fit that typecast of ‘A Real Man’ that we have been culturally accepting of for generations. Perhaps there is some fault in media that continues to push what a real man should be like. Men shouldn’t be sensitive, they shouldn’t cry, they shouldn’t have feelings and they certainly shouldn’t be worrying about how everyone else is feeling and whether or not they are ok. That is and has been male culture for centuries, since we walked out of the caves and began walking proud and tall we’ve always shown a tough, masculine, non-sensitive side to the world.

It’s a little like wearing a mask that is only taken off in the confines of your own house when no one else is watching. So again we ask what is it that is making men, particularly young men and perhaps more the millennial than generation Y morph into actual human beings with thoughts and feelings. We say that with a little skepticism as some of them are quite rude little bastards who have no manners or respect which is one thing we’d change if we could. Always respect your elders! They’ve been there, done that and a lot of the times got the t-shirt just to prove it. Those that have found some sensitivity and are in some ways redefining masculinity as well as showing future generations that its ok to be sensitive are striving forward with confidence, their heads held high and we might have a few ideas why. The A Mind of Its Own team compiled a few thoughts and reasons why we feel a generational shift is allowing men to become more sensitive with some resistance from an unexpected party.

Ok so is it more sensitive or are males just feeling it’s becoming more and more ok to just be themselves? Are we becoming more accepting of our inner self, of out thoughts, of our feelings. Of all the articles we read there was pattern beginning to map itself out before us. The shift wasn’t just in our minds as sensitive middle aged men writing a blog in between trying to finish a novel that’s been in the works for several years now. It wasn’t that people with mental health issues are more sensitive. It’s a generational thing that points to the fact that yes the world is slowly but surely changing but there is always going to be resistance. Women according to studies are looking for that softer man as they take charge of their lives and families in the 21st century feeling more empowered. We read several articles and blogs before stumbling across an article in Forbes magazine by Jules Schroeder that outlined the 7 following reasons she felt men are opening up to being more sensitive whilst redefining masculinity.

1. They Value Self Awareness. While traditional masculinity says “don’t feel,” modern masculinity says “dare to feel.” Millennial men are committed to knowing themselves on a deep and personal level—even if what they find is difficult to confront or conflicting. Rather than hide from or deny who you are, become curious about who you are and have the courage to represent yourself authentically.

2. They Are Non-Conformist. The rigid gender roles for men and women are becoming more loosely defined as millennial challenge the status quo. According to one international study titled “The Decline of the Manly Man,” the percentage of men who are staying home to care for children is rising today while women are slowly surpassing men in academic performance and closing the income gap. The evolved man isn’t swayed by gender roles or what society deems “manly.” He doesn’t need to be validated externally by conforming. He acts according to his own volition, and he isn’t threatened by women rising, either.

3. They Don’t Want To Compete With One Another. Instead of trying to gain empty status, the evolved man knows his worth lies within. He is secure within himself to the extent that he doesn’t need to put others down in order to feel better about himself.

4. They Value Authenticity. Men have no need to pretend they’re someone they’re not, because they’re not ashamed of who they really are. You can cultivate authenticity in your life by ensuring your outer self is aligned with your inner self. One Boulder, CO-based movement, called the Authentic Man Program, is dedicated to empowering men in their authenticity so that rewarding interactions are made possible.

5. The Want To Be Vulnerable. Outdated masculinity says men shouldn’t show any sign of weakness. But modern masculinity embraces vulnerability as an expression of courage.

6. They Act According To Their Values. A man follows through on his values. He values his own sense of self above others’ sense of who he is so he honors his commitment to himself first and foremost.

7. They Are Motivated To Grow. Evolved men don’t just stop at “evolved.” They are continuously looking for new ways to grow and develop themselves. You can be proactive about your own development by attending education-based events. You will be better able to see your own blind spots in the context of relationships, so considering joining a men’s group or starting your own.

One disturbing fact that came out of researching this piece was the amount of mental and often physical abuse that is brought against men and women. While the values and role definitions in relationships and culture are shifting so too are the figures when it comes to abuse. While men tend to react more physically, the alarming numbers of women lashing out at their partners has been steadily climbing in the last 5 years around the globe. Men are still 50% less likely to report abuse with most citing that it would be seen as weak to do so. Those that did report it stated that it started out as verbal abuse escalating over time, taking a turn and becoming physical. Police were also less likely to believe a male than female when it came to reports of physical abuse with some officers reportedly laughing it off and telling the complainant to just go home and sort it out.

It would seem even as we shift towards equality, slowly, like the hare and the tortoise and men start to become softer, more sensitive and as some females put it more feminine we as humans still feel the need to repress one another. Whether it be through cutting each other down verbally or physically lashing out we are still in the mindset that one sex needs to dominate the other, rather than finding that balance. Perhaps in our generation that is not possible while we still have cultural aspects ingrained in us from the past. But the millennial, perhaps they have an opportunity to lead us into the 22nd century changed where we are all truly equal and it’s ok to be sensitive. Sensitive towards yourself and sensitive towards others and a true picture of what a human being should really be. After all there are no rules that say you can’t be tough, strong, masculine and yet still sensitive, kind and caring. There is nothing to say you can’t have all of those great qualities.

While we feel that people who suffer from mental health issues are a little more sensitive than most people we believe this to be the case for one simple reason. They are more in touch with their emotions. Whether they are able to cope and deal with those emotions is a different question altogether but the fact that they feel on a different level to most people often allows them to understand emotions, feelings and thoughts a lot better once the tools are in place that allow them to filter and sift through them logically. When we set out to write this weeks blog the question we had in mind was why are we so sensitive or from the writers prospective why am I so sensitive? That wasn’t the question that we should have been asking. The real question is why are we always made to feel it’s a bad thing to be sensitive? Or in touch with our feelings? Why is it deemed feminine if we are empathetic, kind, caring and nurturing? Yes generally all female characteristics but nevertheless all traits that can also be shown by men.

Over time we may see a change and these qualities will be accepted in men but for now both men and women will have to continue in their set gender stereotypes that have been cast in stone for centuries. Because let’s be honest for just a second if we may, it’s not just men who judge other men for being sensitive, women are often just as judgemental as their male counterparts when it comes to the sensitivity of men. Still to this day, Friday 12th of April in 2019 it is seen as very unmanly to be in touch with your emotions and have a little bit of softness about you. How many times have you heard the words “You need to grow a pair”, come from the mouth of a woman or “You’re being rather emotional for a bloke”. Far too often as humans we tend to speak before we think, instead of letting our minds filter and process what we are about to say. For some people this may be a difficult process in itself as they feel justified in their position. For others though it is just purely about getting their point across whether they are right or wrong. We tend to refer to these people as the Last Word Brigade.

In another eye opener for the year we’ve learnt that it’s the kids once again leading the way rather than the adults who should know better having spent more time on the earth and experienced more in their lives. Perhaps we should just hand over the keys to the city now and like the lost boys in Peter Pan let the kids govern themselves. They seem to be doing a lot better job than we certainly are when it comes to being in touch with ourselves and the world around us. They say the children are the future and from the looks of things they weren’t wrong. While the kids continue to get it right and grow, we adults will continue to maintain the status quo only to bitch and moan about things rather than making an effort to change them. From the Wicked Sensitive Crew… here at a A Mind of It’s Own we bid you another fond farewell for the week and we look forward to seeing you all the same time next week for yet another install of the blog that keeps on keeping on. Until then Sayonara, yep Japanese this week just to mix it up from the usual European goodbyes.

This Celluloid Dream…

Where is the line? A question often asked and yet never answered. Personally most people know where and when to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. But when it comes to matters that have potentially political ramifications we often have no idea where to draw that said line and say we’ve gone way too far. Recent international events have people up in arms over all sorts of issues that may or may not really have any impact of effect upon their lives. We’ve spoken about victimhood chic in a previous blog but it’s in times of tragedy, loss and of pure evil that we see it come out more and more. Fingers are pointed and everyone has someone or something to blame for the event or issue. With the evolution of the internet we have given a platform or soapbox for everyone with access to a computer or smartphone.

Despite all of that we’ve somewhat had a change of heart, well more a change in topic that we are way more interested in. Well maybe not so much interested but more peaked our interest in the premise behind it. We’ve never been forwards and going backwards here at a Mind of Its Own. We are a bunch of geeks, we love sports, we love comics, we love video games and we love books. After all knowledge is power and who is to say that a comic or graphic novel can’t provide you with information? There is something to be said for fiction that is based around a premise that potentially could become real at some point in time. One of the biggest things about providing something to the masses whether it be a book, video game or other source of media is its ability to appeal and the more likely that it could become real the more it tends to sell.

By now you’re once again asking where the hell we are going with this weeks blog. How outside the box is it going to be and what crazy theme if any will the bunch of clowns hiding behind their keyboards like chairborne commando ready to take Normandy give us? Well we are glad you asked because yeah there is some cray, cray as the kids say in this week’s edition of the nation’s number one outside the box, thinking blog. We aren’t just saying that for shits and giggles. As we dive down this weeks rabbit hole it had us asking some serious questions about what we’d do if the following events ever became reality. In some ways it pays to be a poor writer. Read on to see what we mean by that as this weeks piece come to life thanks to the brains in the office of craze, the wonder writers at a mind of its own blog. Coming soon to internet compatible device near you. (Yep shameless plug!)

As we stated before the team here are a little on the geeky side, we find beauty and creativity in things like comics and video games that some people would look at and go that’s a little childish. To each their own we say. The premise of this weeks blog comes from the story sitting behind a video game franchise. Despite the beautiful open world game that allows the player to explore the city they are in while completing missions. Behind the beautiful graphics and three-dimensional rendering there is a story that would have a massive impact on the world’s population if it were ever to come true. Ladies and Gentlemen we are talking about Tom Clancy’s the Division. Yes for those asking it is the guy that writes books. He’s had a few books adapted into video games and a few games that will adapted into books and movies.

To get to the crux of the story we first need to look at the condition of the world as it currently is. If we were to swear we could sum it up in one word but as it is every week this is a family friendly blog. Where to start is a good question, some people believe that we are overpopulating the world. We aren’t saying they are wrong or right but as our population grows so too does the demand for resources. Put simply our prediction is that future wars will be fought over fresh water and food sources rather than oil, land or religion. In calculation models prepared by the United Nations we are predicted to grow from 7.71 Billion people in 2019 to 9.7 billion people by 2050 and further increasing to 11.2 billion by the end of the century. Some of you are probably sitting there thinking that’s not a lot of people however you need to think outside the box for a second and what that increase could potentially mean.

In order to ensure their survival certain countries could take population control into their own hands. We’ve seen version of it in China through their one child policy or the holocaust during world war two as Hitler tried to exterminate the Jewish as part of his new world order in which the Aryan race was the only pure blood line. Population control has always been a concern for the worlds governing bodies and yes it sounds like a super villain from a Bond film is going to step into the limelight and ensure population numbers are controlled through some heinous crime but in reality that’s pretty much all it would take, one person or a group of people taking matters into their own hands to cause a worldwide problem that we may not recover from. There are no doubt those out there that will say we ruined the earth so we deserve whatever we get however our children and our children’s children did not have anything to do with crimes we’ve committed against the earth.

Let’s start with the story behind the hit game series Tom Clancy’s The Division and you’ll start to get a feel for where we are going with this weeks blog. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day on the American calendar and fastly spreading around the world as a day of sales where shops can clear out old stock before Christmas. The one thing all countries have in common is money and when it comes to sales there is always plenty of it around. If you wanted to control population what better way to do so than spread a virus amongst money to be circulated in the worlds largest day of sales. This is the premise that the Division is based on. A professor creates a smallpox like super virus that not only incubates faster but also spreads and takes effect quicker. The super virus is created with six separate pathogens: Dengue, Ebola, H1N1, Hantavirus, Marburg and Swine Flu.

As with all viruses it rapidly mutates making it highly difficult for conventional drugs or antibodies to identify and exterminate the virus. It also makes it extremely difficult for virologists to create a proper vaccine against the disease. Through distributing the virus via infected bills during Black Friday sales it ensure a rapid spread of the highly infectious disease. Initial symptoms of the virus display as new strain of flu that is extremely contagious and spreads rapidly. Given the premise of the game is for you to help a virologist find samples of the virus while fighting off factions of criminals, military, law enforcement and military contractors who have turned outlaws and are trying to wrestle control of the city from you and the other members of a joint task force you start to see the knock on effects of population control. Two words…

Civil unrest… They say the first rule of treating a virus is containment. Anyone that shows signs of the virus goes into isolation or quarantine as it’s better known when referring to infectious diseases. In the case of our man-made super virus what better way to contain it than section off part of the city and shove all the sick, dying and symptomatic people in there to fight it out over the little supplies dropped in each week. We’ll build some walls perhaps we’ll use Trump’s Mexican wall contractors. Outside that wall we’ll have guarded checkpoints manned by healthy or immune military or law enforcement. No one gets out and really who in their right mind would want to go in? Oh us as we hunt for clues on how to stop the virus and fight all the factions trying to take over the city that’s who’s stupid enough to go into the contamination zone or Dark Zone as it’s referred to in the game.

It’s at this point we start to realise that it wouldn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination for us to actually see this type of thing in the real world. Poisoned water supplies, food, air-conditioned offices, money. Basically anything touched by another human being could be a potential place for some crackpot scientist or world leader who seeks to cement their place at the top of the new world order to contaminate with a virus and watch it spread. Heck the TV show the Last Ship is pretty much based around a virus that decimates the world’s population and trying to not only survive but find a cure. There have been plenty of examples throughout history where biological agents or warfare have been used by armies. It might be a little stretch to say by an individual hell-bent on world domination but then again we’ve had some rather disgusting people throughout history who thought they could create a better world or were that dilussional that they thought they knew what was best and should rule all humanity. See what absolute power does kids, it goes to people’s heads, that’s why we have checks and balances on our governments. No one wants to live under a dictator. For all that’s wrong with democracy it’s doing a lot of things right.

The fact that the United States Government has simulated and war game this type of outbreak is a little scary to say the least. The code name giving to the mock bio-terror attack was also a little on the bleak side. In June of 2001 the United States carried out a mock attack of weaponized smallpox code-named Operation Dark Winter. While the operation was designed to create preventative measures against such an attack it also outlined just how inadequate the national services response would be to such an attack. With a localised attack on one city the mock attack showed just how quickly events could spiral out of control. Concerns of such an attack would spark pandemonium in the communities and in all likelihood spread quickly through continental United States rapidly. The sheer logistics required to contain a virus had the team somewhat mesmerised thinking about all the things you’d need to do. The transportation industry would grind to a halt, travel industry, well as we think about it most of the industries would stop while medical and law enforcement attempt to get containment protocols in place.

Here in Australia I don’t think we would even be prepared to contemplate such an attack or outbreak let alone contain it and start the search for a cure. If there is a government contingency for such an attack or outbreak unlike our American friends it’s not broadcast to all and sundry. All hell would break loose we’d have the Cronulla riots times ten. Imagine all the Southern Cross tattoos that would come out then. Heck you’d see more bogans than usual looting the local chemist. We are an isolated country yes but we are also allies with the world’s most hated country and we aren’t doing ourselves any favours by letting Jim Henson’s creations govern our great land. The fact that we’ve sat and not only thought about it but contemplated what would or could happen in the event of a virus, man-made or otherwise is a little concerning. It shows we are in a great time of uncertainty in the world.

It also has the team thinking that great Minds being the Division might be onto something and we as Australians should be training up a batch of sleeper Agents to be activated in times of emergency to bring peace and order to our great nation because let’s be honest without order there is chaos and chaos uncontrolled is just pure mayhem waiting for someone to come along and organise it. So why not have a group of dedicated individuals both men and women with the skills to rebuild a nation hidden away for when you need them. Or for when our neighbours to the north finally decide to invade after they bought up most of our land and primary industry. A little like a resistance against the anarchy and chaos that would no doubt ensue after a virus wiped out half the population. Heck our hospitals are already bad enough can you even imagine the trouble and outbreak would cause for the Australian Health system. Safe to say the last thing we are prepared for is a major viral outbreak man-made or not.

As you can see ladies and gentlemen whilst the premise of the video game might be fictional it doesn’t take much of an imagination to see the real world application for the use of a man-made virus to control the world’s population or take over another country through biological warfare. There is a big fear the next war will be nuclear but in our eyes it’s the things you don’t see that you really should be watching out for. With Man’s incessant need to mettle, manipulate and tinker with everything in an attempt to make it better or perfect we have created some absolutely horrific viruses or weaponised strains of viruses that occur naturally in nature. We are in a sense our own worst enemies. Only humans have the ability to create death and destruction in a vial all in an attempt to get the upper hand over each other. Safe to say we are somewhat always attempting to wipe ourselves off the face of the earth through our own attempts to discover, to learn, to be better, you could say we found a way to tie in our opening paragraph. Where is the line and where do we draw said line when it comes to trying to play god.

While we pray to the heavens or in our case a thunder-cloud as the rain engulfs the house we are currently writing from as we don’t believe in God or religion. Again each to their own, we certainly hope that this all stays fiction and no one tries to control the world by releasing a deadly pathogen. We are certainly thinking all those crazy preppers around the world might be onto something. Perhaps we should build a mind of its own shelter, an inner sanctum in which we can continue to spread the word on all things no one else wants to. But in saying that the internet might be down. Maybe investing in an old print machine might be an idea. We could make paper out of hemp this time instead of cutting down trees.

Who would have thought a guy running around in a flannelette shirt, pants and some hiking boots

Until next week we’re going to wander off into the waste land that has become Washington D.C and attempt to restore some order to the good ole US of A and cure a virus. Hopefully we won’t have to fight a super Oompa Loompa who’s looking to build walls around things and makes saying China sound more like Vagina. Although in saying that his Space Force isn’t ready so it is a fight that we might win beside our fellow agents at the Strategic Homeland Division (SHD) or simple The Division. Adios amigos and stay tuned we’ll continue releasing a new edition each and every Friday just in time for your weekend incase you get bored, sick or stuck on public transport.

Beat Up Car…

As I sat in a Cafe waiting for my over priced flat white and a fat filled ham, cheese and tomato croissant I found myself watching the people around me. Something that I often find myself doing when I am sitting on my own waiting. Most were busy chatting with there friends or colleagues as they too waited for their overpriced caffeinated beverages prepared by the underpaid barrister who seemed to know everyone who walked into the cafe. Amongst them was the odd person who caught my attention through their anxious, nervous behaviour. Like the bleached blonde who continued to tap her foot as her eyes darted around the room like she was waiting for someone to jump out and mug her. Or the gentleman who was attempting to tuck himself deeper and deeper into the corner in the hopes of burying himself in the brickwork and avoiding everyone in the room.

It was the first time I had consciously noticed myself looking for people displaying anxious behaviours. Was it because I myself was feeling anxious? More than likely it was, I was in a city where despite having grown up it no longer felt friendly. I had burnt a lot bridges here and when my anxiety was through the roof I often feared running into people I knew. We’ll call it FOBS (Fear of being seen) which unlike FOMO (Fear of missing out) often has me ducking and weaving particularly when I don’t want to speak to people. I guess you could call me the Ninja of avoidance at times. It was all in the avoidance of having to have those conversations where despite the sincerity often behind them you still can’t help but feel some judgement particularly by those who thought you were going to go places.

That’s not to say I haven’t, I’ve been plenty of places and tried plenty of different things only to fall back on my passion and a job that allows me the flexibility to write when i want and what I want. Had someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life 10 years ago the last thing on my mind would have been to become a writer. Over the years though that urge to tell stories both real and make believe has grown stronger and stronger to the point where I look forward to putting pen to paper or sitting in front of my laptop with a cold beer and tapping out a short piece for a blog or working away on my book. It’s also become a very useful tool in my battle against anxiety and depression.

Through writing I am able to give a voice to the things I struggle to say or speak about with family and friends. I am able to give my demons a face and therefore recognise them in the dark times I find myself in a pit of self loathing, insecurity and pain. Most of all I am able to make sense of why I am feeling the way I am in that particular moment. Like the parting of clouds allowing the sun to shine through I can once again see what is in front of me and live in the moment, rather than worrying about the past. There are some people who would say that writing is another escapism and allows me to once again avoid dealing with the heart of the issue. But it’s to those people that I now write.

Too often we are quick to judge what we do not understand or what scares us. We are quick to point fingers or give labels and throw stereotypes around before we’ve we’ve even considered the ramifications of doing so. Mental illness and I can’t speak for everyone but I can speak for myself does not define me or govern what I can and can’t do. It does not make me any different from you or the people around you. In fact chances are that one of your close friends or family suffers from some form of mental health issue given that statistics say one in every six people is a sufferer.

Again with the labels, sufferer, yes there are days that I struggle, there are days that I go from feeling on top of the world to wallowing in a dark, dank, stinky pit of depression, rage and anxiety but I am not suffering. In fact these days I am probably more the norm than the exception. The only difference you might find between me and you as you read through this is that whilst I might not physically talk about I have learnt that it is ok and I talk about it through my writing. I give a voice to all those who still can’t but will grow and develop on their own journey to learning that it is ok to talk.

Whilst I might be able to put all this down on a page and spread a message to 100s if not 1000s of people around the globe the sad truth of it all is that I am still unable to often talk about it all with my wife, my friends and my family. I struggle to voice when the pendulum is swinging and I am going from high to low but like a beat up old car I will get there in the end. I will get there because without those people in my life I would not be where I am today. I would not have the courage to share my battle with you nor the ability to articulate to you that opening up and expressing yourself, your feelings, your thoughts it’s all ok and you shouldn’t hide from it.

For years I found it easier to hide from it all and bury my feelings only to become that over sensitive person who wanted to have a deep and meaningful after a few beers at the pub. I was that guy that portrayed complete happiness on the outside only to be a minefield on the inside. One wrong step and I exploded, firing off from the hip without a single thought of what was coming from my mouth. My wife often refers to it as my mindless rambling and the point where she knows that I am not ok as what comes out of my mouth makes absolutely no sense. It will take me a couple of hours to come down from my somewhat convoluted high horse of jumbled thoughts and irrational behaviour. Only to enter the feedback loop from hell and get angry at myself for getting angry.

Even now writing this my mind wanders back to all the times I’ve lost my shit, become over anxious, made myself physically sick by over thinking and more often than not tried to numb it all with alcohol rather than talk about what was wrong or how I was feeling or most importantly what had triggered me and why I was feeling it. It also churns over with ideas on how I could have handled things a lot better. All I needed to do was take some time and think about things. Slow down and allow my thoughts to collate, manifest and be reflected upon before they are splurged out into the world as incomprehensible sentences to later be deciphered on my therapist’s couch as I recollect my latest episode where my anxiety and depression got the better of me.

Yeah it still gets the better of me no matter what I techniques or methods I use to get it under control actually sorry that’s not the best words to use. Manageable is a better word to use, whilst there is a part of me that feels one day I will control my anxiety and depression at this point in time I manage them not control them but simply manage them. On a day to day basis I manage my mental health. Sometimes I’ll go weeks on end without it really getting to me or getting me down. Those are the weeks that I have everything in sync, my routine is tight, I’m exercising and I’m being creative whether it be writing, painting, drawing or building something. Ok so keep my mind busy and active it helps me out, except when I am trying to sleep but I’ve found reading tends to send me into dreamland pretty well.

As I finished my croissant and watched the blonde lady continue to tap out an anxious beat I gave her a reassuring smile to let her know that everything will be ok. The world may not be black and white, it may not be clear cut and dry and it certainly may not always be predictable but it is what you and I choose to make it. Despite those days where you might feel you have control over nothing in your life you do have the options and ability to change things. It was a lesson that took me over twenty years to learn and one that I no doubt thought I never would as I became more depressed and anxious overtime that I wasn’t a somebody and swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck.

In those often fleeting moments where I find myself people watching and wondering what there lives are like and whether they often struggle I am reminded of the greatest, most precious and real piece of information I will ever receive. I am human! We are the only species on the earth that is able to feel a raft of emotions and think cognitively for ourselves. We are the only species that is allowed the freedom of thought. Whether we can voice those thoughts is a different question all together and not one that I am willing to broach in this price of writing. My point being we are blessed with imaginations, thoughts, feelings, pain and the ability to experience it all in the way we want.

Your mental health issues do not make you a monster that should be hidden away from the world. Sure it can be monster that needs taming and made beautiful from time to time but it does not make you a bad person, it does not make you someone who should be a social pariah or shunned by friends and family. It makes you a superhuman in my book. You are someone who battles day in, day out. It makes you often more human than those around you as you feel everything and often have the ability to feel and read people’s energy when you enter a room.

Mistakes will be made, things will no doubt fall apart but just as there a bad times there will be good times and you are human. Your mental health is important and you are important remember that. We each have a story to tell and something to contribute. As the sun dawns on another day and I board yet another flight for another city I urge you all to find your voice whether that be interptive through one of the arts or through speaking with friends and family or even a stranger. It’s ok to talk and will become more and more encouraged as we rid the world of the stigma that mental health issues are taboo and shouldn’t be discussed.

As I write this I know there is much more that should be said and could be said but I have already taken up enough of your time with this health check and sanity piece. On behalf of the team and myself at A Mind of Its Own we appreciate your readership and constant support as we bring you a new piece each and every week. I promise I’ll hand you back to the team next week to give you a zany take on a topic that comes to us in the early hours of the morning when we should be fast asleep dreaming of tropical beaches. Until next week take it easy. TC…

This is All Now…

Look at the people around you, they are just like you, but they are not you. They may walk, talk and act like you but they are not you. They don’t know your story, they don’t know where you have been or where you are going. We are all individuals on our own path, following our own destiny. We make decisions based on the information we have on hand at the time, some may be right and some will definitely be wrong but for the most part we learn from our mistakes. So what does all this have to writing blogs, novels and putting ourselves out there you ask? Every now and then you come across pure strength, guts and determination. It’s these displays of strength and pure determination that inspire us and are often the driving force behind A Mind of Its Own…

When we talk about pure strength and determination we often think of inhuman feats of strength and trials of survival that are unimaginable. However if you look close enough you will see examples of this strength and determination in everyday life. People going against what is deemed as normal. These things often start as a ripple and work there way out sometimes like a tsunami, fast and furiously reaching their peak and sometimes taking their time to reach the hearts and minds of those standing against change, against progress, against equal opportunities and basic human rights. But in the end most people come around. Just look at Gay marriage it took Australia a lot longer than most of the world to work out that love is love and you should be able to marry whomever you like as long as it’s not your sister, brother or cousin.

So why is it when people do something that goes against the perceived “norm” that portions of the public become outraged or feel they need to always comment? Says the person the behind the keyboard typing out this blog. But you get our point. When people do something for themselves or that goes against what is deemed normal in society what gives people the right to comment and or have an opinion? Is it directly affecting you? Are you suffering from this person doing something that A. May better there life, B. Is something they really want or even C. None of our god damn business. Chances are the answer is no, it is not directly affecting you in any shape or form but being human you feel you are entitled to your opinion and need to voice said opinion. So we are all for people having there own opinions and voicing them but on some occasions there is just no need.

Which leads us into this weeks Mind of Its Own and the topic which was a little strange for us to pick up as really none of us have experience in the field nor are we able to really even empathise with someone in this situation. Single mothers or more important mothers to be and more specifically those strong determined woman who choose to go down the donor route. Utilising In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), the procedure in which sperm is injected into a egg and then placed back inside the uterus or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) in which sperm is placed into the uterus via a small tube just prior to ovulation. These strong and determined woman feel a calling that only other women would be able to describe and empathise with, a calling to reproduce, a calling to give birth to their own flesh and blood. That calling to be a mother.

Whilst many people will argue we are put on this earth for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to reproduce and create life. There are many though that do not feel the need to be parents, to bring life into this world. But for those that do it is a magical, wonderful journey. For women, as men writing this we have absolutely no idea the pain and changes your bodies go through in order to carry a child for 9 months in the womb. What’s even more amazing is the changes going on inside you as the child develops from a single cell into a little human. Over the weeks of development the foetus takes on a personality of its own and takes on traits from you and the male, whether that be your partner or a sperm donor. They get half of you and half of the male. But back to the strong women who choose to go it alone. They are no different from any of us, apart from the fact that they have one thing that we often lack.

Courage or drive if you will to do something that a lot of people would shy away from or in some cases find someone they were happy to settle with in order to get what they wanted. In this case a child. But then there are those that have a unique strength within themselves to go after what they want and are happy and driven to do it without needed anyone beside them. They are the true heroes of the world, the women that are truly pushing equal rights and opportunities by showing they don’t need men beside them to have a baby just there sperm to do so.

It was about half way through writing this blog that it struck us that we really do have no idea what women go through when they decide to have a baby let alone what it is like for a woman that chooses to do it on her own. We aren’t qualified to talk about it our to really even comment other than saying good on them for going after what they want and showing that true heroes don’t need to wear capes and tights. It was at this point and perhaps part of our fever induced ramblings from the Man Flu that we decided that all of above is our opinion and ours alone. We don’t pity nor would we treat any woman who decides to have a child on her own any different from a woman with partner, husband or wife. All we can say is that we are in awe of them and respect the decision and drive they have to bring a child into the world.

So to all the baby mummas out there raising children or who are pregnant and doing it on there own we raise our hats and salute you. It’s not courage, guts, strength or some other cosmic drive that has told you to do so but love, love for yourself and love for the little human you are carrying or have carried in your womb for the past 9 months. From the team here at A Mind of Its Own we are going to leave this topic for those in the know and for those who have been through it and can shed some light on the ins and outs of going through IVF in order to have a child. Yes we know that couples often go down the IVF route for a mirriade of medical reasons as well but we are solely reflecting on the women who choose to do it on there own because they want a child.

So from the Man Flu crew we wish all of our fans a great week ahead and to those who have just joined us welcome to the A Mind of Its Own Blog and yes we literally do let the writing take on a Mind of Its Own. We often have no idea how or what the blog is going to end up like. Hence this one we started on a straight track, hit a bend and went off on a tangent to end up talking about single mothers and IVF. It’s not often we stay on track unless its a quest spot or we’ve taken weeks to write a post but no matter what there is always a laugh, something interesting and a little bit of randomness. Peace out…

What it Feels Like to Be a Ghost…

We are back, we’ve finally crawled out of our hole we’ve been hiding in to write you something to write you something, this week you will get two blogs to ensure we are back on track to hit our target of one blog a week at a minimum for twenty nineteen. Whilst we won’t be disappointed if we don’t reach our goals it is still always good to have something to aim at. Goals are a good thing to have and here at A Mind of It’s Own we have plenty of goals and plenty of ambitions for the next couple of years to come.

After a week in hiatus and having to shut down the office in order for a hazmat team in to come in and decontaminate the place the team are slowly starting to bounce back. It’s been a week of antibiotics, steroids lots of tissues, snot, and absolutely not the glamour that we are used to. Gone are the designer suits, shoes, shirts and watches to be replaced by the daggiest clothes we could find. When the term “Netflix and Chill” was created we doubt they had the image of 30 something year old males coughing and spluttering on the couch while watching reruns of their favourite shows from yesteryear. Such has been the way of life for much of the team over the past week.

Having been struck down with a vicious case of the “Man Flu” and yes it is just as real as thigh chafe and bra rub two of the more common ailments our female friends tend to suffer. So this week’s blog is solely dedicated to the plight that thousands of males go through, that’s right we’ve dedicated this weeks blog to the Man Flu. It’s taken us over a week to recover and we are still working through the remainder of what is the worst Man flu to hit the crew since the Black Plague ripped through Europe from 1346 to 1353 and killed millions upon millions. It’s time to wake up people Man flu is a real thing. Yes all those wifes, girlfriends, lovers are groaning and palming their faces, shaking their heads and mouthing “whatever” before looking at every sick man with disgust.

Firstly for our readers who don’t know what it is the ‘Man Flu’ according to both the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries, that’s right ladies and gentleman it is now in the dictionary and defined as ‘a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms’. Another reference taken from Urban dictionary called it ‘Wimpy man syndrome’. Commonly used the term could be describing a constitutional character flaw of men who when felled by cold or flu embellish the severity of their symptoms. That however is about to change, no longer will man need to feel bad for being afflicted with the Man Flu.

Over the centuries women have pointed at, made fun of and even spoken down to the sick man. They’ve said men become sooks or as pointed out ‘Wimpey’, painful and don’t know how to deal with pain or how to handle a little common cold or the flu. Well ladies and gentleman stress no longer because the good people at Memorial University of Newfoundland, that’s in Canada ladies and gentleman. Our good friends over in the land of maple syrup, hockey and Michael Buble have done men the world over proud by actually going out and proving once and for all that men were right for once in their lives .

In what is thought to be the first study of its it’s kind headed up by Doctor Kyle Sue a clinical assistant professor, a team analysed relevant research and found evidence that adult men have a higher risk of hospitalisation and higher rates of influenza associated deaths compared to their female counterparts regardless of underlying diseases.Furthermore the good doctor also found that men, yes ladies men are more susceptible to complications and higher mortality from many acute respiratory diseases, while some evidence supported that those with a dick and balls suffer more from viral respiratory illnesses than women because sadly we men have less robust immune systems.

That little hormone that makes us different from our female biped friends, you know the one, some old men get it as part of replacement therapy as they start to run out of it later in life. Testosterone that thing that athletes and big burly men often spray across the floor of stadiums and sporting fields in order to impress women, get women and often scare off women, could be the one thing that is causing the Man Flu. Testosterone the thing that makes us men, the one hormone we have more of than anything is else the one thing that could be ensuring we are forever to suffer from the dreaded Man Flu.

Thought to suppress the immune system, testosterone could lead to men’s inability to combat things like the common cold and the flu unlike our female counterparts whose sex hormone is believed to boost their immune system. So looking at the research we are sure doctor Sue has helped plant a flag for men around the world and helped to wake people up to the plight that is the Man Flu. It also helps to explain why men are more susceptible to secondary infections and viruses.

For years we have been banging on that we are misunderstood and the man flu was real, now we can finally say that someone has actually done some research, that potentially will forever change the perception of Man Flu. Like all things that people don’t understand our good friend Man Flu will rise up from the ashes and totally shine a light on the fact that it is indeed a real ailment, it is indeed not a myth, not a false claim but is indeed a real life thing that men all around the world have been suffering for centuries. So from all the men around the world thank you to Doctor Kyle Sue and his team for painting some light on our plight.

No longer do we need to be spoken down to in our moments of need, our moments requiring support and most importantly a little compassion and love. Man Flu is real, it is now, it exists and most importantly it defines why we cop a bad rap when we are sick. So without further adieu we bid our loyal fans goodbye for yet another episode and start preparing for next week as well as finishing off the previous weeks blog. With a tonne of writing to get to we’ll leave you with this, if someone is sick or unwell just treat them the way you’d want to be treated it’s the best thing you can do and it’s also pays to be nice. That being said we’ll leave you to it for the week. Long live Man Flu!

A Decade Under the Influence…

Of all the asinine things in the world we’d have to say we’ve hit the mother load this week as we head into another chapter of A Mind of Its Own. Just when we thought the world couldn’t surprise us anymore, just when we thought we were slowly starting to get on some stable footing and just when we thought there’d be some good news to come across our desks. The world flips us on our head and pushes us into a deep, dark pit of despair once again. Why you ask? Because for people who are meant to be at the top of the food chain we do some very stupid things. Things that often leave us scratching our heads and asking whiskey, tango, foxtrot (WTF)? And if you don’t know what that means we aren’t going to spell it out for you this is a safe environment that tries not to offend readers with profanities.

Human Beings for all our brilliance often do some very dumb things, recently an article came across the desks of one of the writers who often provides this fine blog with ideas, inspiration and from time to time a piece of writing or two. The article whilst on first glance was quite mundane and something that normally wouldn’t interest the team here at A Mind of Its Own. But after a second glance and a few giggles, like we were back in primary school hearing the words penis and vagina for the first time. Reading it again and again we began to see the stupidity that comes when people see something that could potentially be used as something else or will give them an ability to get more likes on social media.

So we’ve all walked past one of those Lush cosmetics stores, you know the ones you can smell them from one end of the shopping centre and you’re standing down the other end on the lower level. Yeah you know the one we are talking about now. Well it seems they’ve brought a new bath bomb range just in time for valentines day, what that’s not a surprise you say given they are known for their fruity chemical cocktails that get lobbed into your bathtub turning the water every colour under the sun as they foam up the water from their fizz. Well our dear friends this isn’t just any bath bomb range this is the bomb range to end all bomb ranges in your bath. The range includes an emoji peach, a banana and the one phallic symbol that every dirty text message since emojis were invented has included and been banned by instagram. Yes folks you’ve heard it here they’ve come out with the big eggplant emoji in a bath bomb. That big purple monster can add some fizz along with a little hilarity to your valentines day bath.

What’s the big issue you ask? It’s a little fun and something that might spice up your romantic overpriced, commercialed day. Well the issue ladies and gentleman is that some of our female species and potentially male have decided that since it looks like the big eggplant they’ve been sent in many a text message from people feeling in the mood, they’d try to use them as a sex toy. Instead of that fizz dissolving in your bath it’s now fizzing away in vaginas and anuses all around the world. Again we can hear people saying what’s the issue with that? If people want to use the Eggplant emoji bath bomb as a dildo why can’t they? Firstly just don’t and secondly well just don’t there are several medical reasons as to why you’re not supposed to put bath bombs up your vajutes or butt.

If we hadn’t found several articles on it we wouldn’t have believed it ourselves, by doing exactly this you are compromising the good bacteria inside your vagina, direct quote from a doctor, someone who actually took the time to go to university for 6 plus years and learn all about the body. This particular doctor though specialises in Obstetrics and gynecology so we trust her judgement on the matter. Oh and she’s a woman so she has one, a vagina that is. To put it bluntly you are killing all the good bacteria that helps your vagina self regulate, yeah we learnt that as well this week, the vagina is an amazing organ that cleans itself. They don’t teach you that in sex education, instead they introduce you to the banana yet another phallic symbol that has often been where it shouldn’t have as well. Causing a slight itch or at worst a severe urinary tract infection.

The fact that bath bombs include the following ingredients some of which are chemicals we might add is a clear indication as to why you shouldn’t put them where they don’t belong. Citric Acid, Bergamot Oil, Ho Wood Oil, Litsea Cubeba Oil, Tonka Absolute, Fresh Aubergine, Cream of Tartar, Water, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Coco Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Coumarin, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool, Perfume and Colours a shit load of colours each with a different 5 to 6 digit number.

If that’s not enough to turn anyone off from trying to make love to one of these eggplant emoji shaped bath bombs we don’t know what is. The fact that putting any of the above in your vagina screams please give me a serious urinary tract infection if i put this where it shouldn’t go, should be enough to stop people but alas it doesn’t. Despite all the warning labels and warnings from specialist doctors people are still trying to use them as sex toys which takes us back to our above statement about humans being stupid. Maybe some of it’s inherited, maybe some of it’s the internet and social media and maybe just maybe its something do with our laziness as people. Always looking for the quickest and easiest way from point A to B.

Ladies and Gentleman if you feel that you need to make love to an emoji that looks like an eggplant we have done our research for you. Guess what? You are in luck! There is a company that makes an actual sex toy shaped and coloured like the emoji symbol so many people are using as a dick in text messages these days. It’s made of latex and apparently is safe for you to stick where the sun doesn’t shine till your little hearts are content. So instead of sticking that bath bomb up there and compromising your bodies internal ecosystem spend the money and get one that you don’t have to worry about the effects on your foo foo or butt hole.

Is it just the team here at a mind of its own or is social media not only allowing people to do dumb things but driving them to do them as well? With the main driver behind Instagram being to get likes, influence others and grow your network. The trend of “Doin it for the Gram” has seen a spate of idiotic post make their way onto instagram and other social media platforms. We can only imagine the posts making their way onto instagram the days and weeks following the release of lush’s new bath bomb emoji line. #Soreanditchyvagine not put these in your peach etc. There you go folks coined a new hashtag right here. If it’s not people shoving things into orifices they don’t belong, then it’s something else completely idiotic.

Scrolling through Reddit we came across a feed for something called the Tide Pod Challenge you’ll have to forgive us if this is old news but like the ice bucket challenge or the somebody Kardashian lip challenge we were and always will be late to the party. So this tide pod challenge what on earth could it be. Living close to the ocean our money was on something stupid involving the ocean and getting dunked. Lucky we didn’t have a bet down or that money would be going straight to the house. They say the house always wins, in this case it would have won without a challenge. The Tide Pod Challenge like the ice bucket challenge made its way onto social media when a teenager ate one of those prepackaged laundry pods that wash your clothes or dishes and dared his mate to take up the mantle of the challenge.

Again are people getting dumb? That shit can kill you! Depending on the ingredients you might be lucky to just get away with explosive diarrhea but more than likely if it doesn’t kill you it will give you caustic burns to your cheeks, esophagus and stomach. So while you’ve got explosive diarrhea there is a good chance you will also be bleeding from your bum, coughing up blood and not in a good way at all. Good one humanity we are really showing our finest selves on the internet these days. And we thought people experimenting with there sex toy like bath bombs was bad enough, nope some idiots on the internet had to go and one up them and eat washing powder. Seriously what is wrong with people these days? If anyone knows the answer we’d love to hear it. It’s bad enough we can’t seem to find a decent leader to look after our country and our closest ally is ruled by a freaking umpa lumpa who wants to build a wall and a space army.

It seems even the smart people are being struck by dumb although the more research we do here regarding Mr Musk the more we begin to question whether he actually does have any smarts or he’s just got some very smart people working for him who have some genius level ideas that once down on paper make him a fortune. Example in point is that he managed to sell 20,000 flamethrower guns to the public. Our American friends are already crazy enough without there own flamethrowing guns. Toted as the extreme BBQ lighter it wasn’t long before internet erupted with people doing stupid things with there newly named ‘not a flamethrower’ due to some law around calling it an actual flamethrower.

Wait, wait, wait you can’t call it a flamethrower but you can sell it to the public? The majority of who will no doubt do something completely idiotic with it? Who’s the silly person here Elon Musk for thinking this is a good idea? Or the authorities for allowing his drilling company BORING to sell the damn things to the public in the first place? Either way the man with the mouth that never seems to stop and who thinks he’s smarter than everyone in the world made $10 Million selling flamethrower guns and internet got a new bunch of idiots doing stupid things with guns that throw flames. High five said no one with half a brain anywhere!. We’d love to say all these incidents are isolated to the continental united states but unfortunately they aren’t. Australia is seeing its fair share of idiotic things as people are regularly warned and advised by professionals not to do things and yet we keep doing them.

Then there are the people who just don’t have brains, like the countless people who get into bar fights after getting so plastered they don’t remember what day of the week it is or how they got to the bar in the first place. They then end up with an injury that requires a couple of stitches or a bone being reset. Managing to get themselves into a cab, they show some signs of brain function. Right up until the point they dial 000 on there way to hospital and ask for an ambulance. Yeah you might be drunk but surely you are not that stupid, folks it’s time to wake up and stop taking the silly pills. We are top of the food chain for a reason, we have brains and imaginations on top of that we have opposable thumbs and are able to think for ourselves, fend for ourselves and most importantly be ourselves. Unless yourself is a complete moron, then be someone else please for the love of humanity.

So ladies and gentlemen, if something doesn’t look like it should be placed in one of your orifices don’t do it that includes bath bombs and pods. If you have the opportunity to buy a flamethrower just don’t. Unless you are planning on joining a militia, joining Trump’s spaceforce or like most people who bought one just don’t have a brain. One thing writing this post did, was teach us that despite all the warning labels, public announcements and common sense people are always going to do what they want and as they say rules are their to be broken right? Seems if it can hurt, is bad for you or can ultimately kill you someone, somewhere will do it and with social media these days, there is a good chance that someone is filming it for the world.

Until next week stay safe and heed the following public service announcement. Dumb people will continue to do dumb things over and over again continuing to get the same results. Smarter people will do it once or twice before realising that they are being dumb and Smart people just won’t do it at all. Don’t use your bath bombs as sex toys no matter how appealing it might be. Don’t eat your dishwasher tablets because curiosity got the better of you and last but not least leave flamethrowers to the military those guys are trained professionals. Be good to your folks and we’ll be seeing you next week for a brand new episode of A Mind of Its Own…

Cute Without the E…

TRIP UPDATE: We’ve done a lot of KM’s team is starting to get frustrated with each other and the singing in the car. No one wants to write about the trip. All the writers have other topics in mind that are much more interesting than another bloody travel blog in the world or fashion blog or self help blog. So they keep saying but I guess you the readers will be the judge of that as you are week in week out. Having travelled the 2500 kms to reach our destination on the NSW coast just past Wollongong, it’s time for a little relaxing, some swimming and winding down before we all head back to work next week.

Since no one wanted to write about the trip, we battered around topics and someone yelled out two words that made the boss sit up a little straighter in his chair and ask ‘what the fuck?’. Those two words, aren’t words that usually go together and two words that well, unless the topic is well and truly understood and explained, people may take issue with. We already know a few people who will read the first couple of paragraphs and comment without reading any further and actually understanding the topic. So before you become all righteous and moral please read on and understand what it is we are really talking about.

When traveling in a car there aren’t a lot of things that can be done other than listening to music, playing eye spy or getting in some good old sleep. There are those certain people that are able to read without getting motion sickness which if you can is a great way to kill time on a road trip. The A Mind of Its Own team however decided that since they had time to kill they would put on audiobooks, listen to podcasts they’ve been meaning to get to and even take photos, videos and audio of the car trip. Whilst listening to an audiobook the topic of ‘Outrage Porn’ came up. Yeah that’s right OUTRAGE PORN for all of you who are now starting to think to themselves that there was no disclaimer at the beginning of the blog warning, that this would turn x-rated within the first couple of paragraphs. Get your filthy minds out of the gutter for a couple of minutes it takes you to read this post. This topic has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with porn, the porn industry or anything that could be remotely collarated back to actual pornography.

And in the space of one sentence we’ve just lot 90% of our male readers and perhaps some of our female readers as well. We are sorry to disappoint you guys, I’m sure one of the more salty individuals on the team could write about it at one point for you. Outrage Porn, a phrase that referrers to any type of media that is specifically written and or designed to evoke outrage for the purpose of getting traffic or online attention. So basically it’s people and or organisations who are going around, picking up on an idea, issue and or something that outrages someone and fanning the flames of that rage to ensure that more and more people become outraged by it. Could you call them professional shit stirrers? We guess you could but with social media these days everyone has an opinion about everything and is happy to voice it.

With everyone having an opinion and having a platform to voice it is it hard not to offend someone at some point throughout your life whether intentionally or unintentionally people are more more and more empowered to speak out against things they don’t like or feel are oppressing them. By generating this outrage that will yes, likely outrage someone else through a topic that is mildly offensive or not at all offensive, the example used was a book about racism being read at a university to teach people that racism is not ok. While we are busy battling between each other about bullshit that doesn’t even matter and the media is profiting off our feud as they continue to flame the hatred on each side of the invisible battlelines drawn we are missing the real picture.

Society is being distracted from it’s real problems. We have too many self proclaimed victims are taking attention away from actual victims. The example the writer used, was that its like the story of the boy who cried wolf. With more and more people claiming they are victims, the harder it becomes for society to see who the actual victims are. With the media creating outrage over every miniscule situation the larger issues begin to lose the attention they need and deserve. We aren’t saying that people aren’t entitled to their opinion or to feel victimised. What we are saying here is that there are issues that should be given a lot of attention like sexual assault, violence against women and the likes but with the Fog of bullshit floating around it’s hard to get messages that actually matter out to the public, where changes can be made.

Unfortunately people have become addicted to feeling offended, the author of the audiobook that gave us this idea explains that like taking drugs, people can come addicted to becoming offended. To put it in his words “It gives them a high; being self righteous and morally superior feels good”. It explains why we have so many people who are happy to take offense to any and everything. In some regards social media has become like a soapbox in which they can stand and play there moral violins until there little hearts are content all the while forgetting there are actual societal issues that really need addressing. As much as these people with their opinions are to blame so is the media. They know that feel good stories do not sell news, newspapers or magazines. They know that outrage porn is like the sex of yesteryear, it sells! People have short attention spans and the best way to get there attention is outrage.

As written in the book, the public sharing of injustices gains far more attention and outpourings of emotions than almost all other events shared on social media these days. It rewards people who themselves feel victimised with a growing amount of attention and sympathy. Anyone who is offended about anything feels like they have been oppressed in someway and therefore deserves to be outraged and have some attention can stand up and voice that opinion. If the media or other followers get a hold of it and repost it or retweet it, we find ourself in the outrage porn cycle where someone will no doubt take offense to those who have already taken offense. As Mark Manson the author states “Victimhood Chic, a responsibility/fault fallacy that allows people to pass off responsibility for solving their problems to others. This ability to alleviate responsibility through blame gives people a temporary high and feeling of moral righteousness”

Pit two outraged individuals against each other and the story almost writes and sells itself. In a networked world it’s hard to work out what to listen to and what to ignore these days. Democracy allows us freedom of speech and that freedom allows every individual to voice their opinion whether it is right or wrong. We my not agree with it, just like we may not like everyone we come across but we do have to accept it. Pick your battles they say, take everything with a healthy dose of skepticism particularly when it comes to the media. They are paid money to provide us with news whether its an actual story or one that’s grown from fanning the flames someone perceived moral outrage.

Mainly don’t waste your time or energy on things that aren’t going to serve you well in the long run. There is always going to be something to take offense at, there is always going to be an individual or group who feel there has been an injustice towards them or take issues with a topic or person. Moral outrage will forever have a place in democratic societies, it’s the world we live in and the price you pay for living in a democratic society. Everyone has an opinion and a right to voice that opinion, no ands, ifs or buts. It’s just the way it is, like it or lump it. If you really feel outraged we can find someone to turn it from a small issues into a full blown issues probably within the space of 20 minutes after it’s been posted to social media.

Just try to keep in mind that through all the noise and bullshit out there, there are actual victims who need to be heard. We are all for the voicing of opinions and people feeling like they have been victimised but please don’t let your small problem get in the way of someone with an actual problem who has been wronged in the world and needs, deserves to heard. By all means take offense to this blog but at the end of the day there are far bigger things that deserve attention than people taking issue with a blog about people taking issue to small insignificant things and muddying the water for those who need to be seen through it.

Some of you will have picked up that some of the ideas in this blog came to us from Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Normally here at A Mind of Its own we are not ones for self help books but as we ate up the road we listened in to the audiobook and started to see that the man has a lot of good points and we were able to relate them to our lives or see them from the perspective picture he was painting. So if you are interested in broadening your horizons and looking at ways in which you can see things from another perspective we highly recommend you check out his book. The premise as we’ve had to explain several times is not what the title suggests.

So as we close this chapter on Outrage Porn and the media fanning the flames of victims outrage all around the world we’ve looked back at our own outrage and decided that enough is enough and we’ll take responsibilities for our problems rather than palming them off or evoking injustice throughout the country for someone to get outraged against. And we’ll just say we look forward to our next blog! Until then there is all of last years posts that you can look back through, laugh and cry or be outraged until your heart’s content. Take it easy!!! The team at A Mind of Its Own…