BFF.

I’d honestly love for someone to explain this obsession with ‘best friendships’ to me. Why do some people feel the need to affirm that they have one best friend, and one best friend only? “She’s my number one” or “this is my best friend ___”, every single time the person is brought up. Doesn’t it become tiresome, wearing your insecurities on your sleeve like that? That’s one of the reasons I assume you constantly remind us all of your best friendship – because you’re insecure in that friendship; worried that they don’t feel the same, or worried that we don’t all know. Trust me, we know. We (the we in this being me) don’t care. We’ve heard it enough times. It’s almost the end of high school, so with that end, maybe this obsession with having a best friend can also end. Sure, have your best friends. But there is no need to constantly shove your couple status in everyone else’s faces. To be honest, it looks kind of strange, two people being so co-dependent on each other they may as well enter into a marriage. Few things are more off-putting to me than being eerily similar to another person, simply because they’re my ‘best friend’.

Call me bitter, jealous, because I don’t have a best friend – sure. At this point, I don’t know if I care that much. If you’d asked me 4 years ago if I would rather one true ‘BFF’, or a group of close friends, I would have probably said one true BFF, because that’s what I felt that I had at the time. That didn’t turn out so well, and now I’d probably choose the latter. It’s good to have different people to talk to about different things – I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. It’s risky. People change, grow up, move on – then you’re stuck with half a heart saying “best” while someone’s run off with the half that says “friends”. Sure. Forever.

Just please, stop telling me about your best friend. They can be your soulmate, that’s awesome. My care factor is almost non-existent, and if I hear anything to this effect once more, it will finally be forced to plummet to zero. There are much more important things in the world I care about – really, most thoughts that have ever crossed my mind rank higher on my priority list than hearing you talk about how best your bestie is.

“What kind of ship never sinks? A friendship!” – Anyone who truly believes that has probably never engaged in a friendship. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but really, everything comes to an end. The sooner you all accept that your best friend will not, in fact, be your ‘Best Friend Forever’, the sooner you can start to pay equal attention to those other people who sometimes hang around. Your average ‘friends’, deemed unworthy of that super-special status. Hi.

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Hallelujah.

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

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Rest in Peace.

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you

Who can say if I’ve been 
Changed for the better?
I do believe I have been
Changed for the better
And because I knew you…
I have been changed for good. 

Today, our school learned that one of those among us had passed away. A beloved art teacher passed on early this morning, and the loss of her presence truly is a loss for the world. She was my teacher in years 9 and 10, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a teacher have such strong faith in every single one of her students. She was always there to encourage, and give ideas, and lend a hand, and provide support to those who needed it. Every single day she had a massive smile on her face, greeting everyone she walked past. She truly loved people, I think. I believe she was one of those people who found it hard to see the flaws in individuals – instead, she focused on their brilliant qualities, and tried to nourish those so they become the strongest ones in each person. She had such life within her – she was so quirky, and fascinating, and energetic. To anyone who had her as a teacher, she quickly became a sort of motherly figure – she definitely treated her classes like her children, and she would nurture them as if they really were.

It’s really hard to comprehend that we’ll never see her smiling at us again, or singing happy birthday to us in her operatic way, or going out of her way to make sure we’re okay. With her, it was always others first, then herself. Even when she was sick, she would try and look after everyone else as best as she could. I honestly can’t recall another person I’ve met who’s quite like her – there was so much light in her, even when times seemed to be gravely dark. The world would be a much brighter place with more people like her in it – and without her, it seems just that much darker. I will miss her an awful lot, but I know I’ll never forget her or her personality. The best we can all do, I think, is to try and make our attitudes towards life more like hers.

I saw this poem on my friend Bronwyn’s blog, and as she said, it feels quite appropriate for today.

Between The Dash by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning… to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears, 1964-1994
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth…
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars… the house… the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

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Islamophobia.

These “Ban the Burqa” sentiments I cannot avoid in Australia are driving me mad. There’s Facebook pages, a disgusting mural in Newtown (http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/should-this-mural-be-painted-over/), fringe groups organising protests in the city, and so on. Not to mention Belgium’s recent banning of the burqa, following in France’s footsteps (no surprises there…).

My friend was nice enough to take me to Q&A on Monday night, and it was a religious special. Near the end of the episode, an elderly (white) man asked the panel if they thought the burqa/niqab were barriers to human relationships. Thankfully, the panel (bar Jacqueline Grey, but she irritated me all evening) didn’t agree – Eva Cox and Susan Carland were the most vocal responders to this question. The fact that people think this perplexes me. How is it a barrier? When I’m talking to someone, I don’t particularly focus on their nose. You could, in response, argue that if you can’t see their mouth, you won’t know if they’re happy, amused, etc… If someone’s genuinely happy or amused, it shows in their eyes. What’s that quote? “The eyes are the windows to the soul”. Not the nose, mouth, cheekbones, freckles.

Some people use the argument that these garments are used by Islamic men to oppress women, and by banning them, they are helping these women. How? If a woman is made to wear one by her overbearing husband, and is then not legally able to go out in public with it on, she will not be allowed out in public. Period. And if she chooses to wear one, which many do (since I find it extremely hard to believe that with over 1 billion Muslims in the world, all of the males are oppressive and sexist; not to mention the Qur’an encourages modest dressing for both sexes), she has that choice ripped away from her by a government claiming to care for her rights. Makes total sense?

This prejudice is both astounding and depressing. I would love for people to think about their views for five minutes, which is long enough for any intelligent being to work out that their views are tainted by ill-informed prejudice.

In response to the man’s question, Jacqueline Grey mentioned that Australians want to be open to different religions, but also support equality – as if implying that allowing these women to wear their religious garments creates inequality (also, not all Australians support equality, and as a biblical scholar you’d think she’d be well aware of this). In response to that, someone tweeted “There’s nothing equal about asking one group to deny their identity”. Well said, friend. Well said.

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Walk You Home.

She said she don’t believe in regrets
Well I regret to inform her that I do
Rainfall on a tin roof
Inside I sit and scribble a haiku
On the napkin that came inside of our takeaway thai food
It goes, our time is always, our season is all year round
This our secret for as long as we can keep it
The deepest of secrets that nobody knows
The root of the root, the bud of the bud and so it goes

And the lyrics of a thousand songs couldn’t paint her picture
So beautiful, she had me from my first conversation with her
See nobody was ever as clever
And I still can’t figure how they put her together
Sitting in the room where we first got lost in one another
Just tripping off the feeling of together we’d discovered
And I’m reminiscing on days past, escaping to Pearl
Before taking that whole and making it two halves
But it was scary to be even this close to a perfect fit
Close your eyes, I promise this won’t hurt a bit
This is the kind of love that inspires the stuff I write my poems to
The kind of love you have to leave, just to come home to

You play with fire and you get burnt
For all the things that I have learnt
And I would love to walk you home
If not the one, then you’re the first
For all the things that I have learnt
And I would love to be the one to walk you home

Now ain’t it funny how the ones that you drag all the way through your hell
Are the same who can teach you how to touch heaven as well
And now it’s out of order and we ought to know
You try to fit a square through a circle and it’s flaws will show
And it’s gone now, you wouldn’t even know it was there
But you’d get lost tryna navigate the moments we’ve shared
Like when we held each other’s hands and we said goodbye
Tears streaming out our eyes like somebody had died

Now it’s the day after your birthday and it’s pouring outside
And I’m catching arrow tips with my fingers down the phone line
See she broke my heart on the river
The trump played last gets the job done quicker
So I’m singing to my palindromic angel, held her too tightly
Wings got broken and the love got strangled
But I don’t wanna hold you back girl, go fly
Conquer yourself, all the corners of the sky

But I hope that you are close by on the day that I leave this world
With hands held we can close our eyes and let the second hand go by
Cause I wouldn’t wanna not say goodbye
Let you know that you touched my life
And whether I like it or not
I think a part of me will never give up this fight
Cause there’s nothing like you and I
No, there’s nothing like you and I
But it’s getting late in the game now, outcome’s uncertain
These are things that I needed to say before the curtain
So I wrote you the song that you deserve to let you know
You will always be my first and most wonderful love

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Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

A few weeks ago, I felt compelled to compile a ‘fact sheet’ of sorts on refugees and asylum seekers, their impact on Australian society and the legalities of it all. Obviously this doesn’t go into much detail, but below I’ve included grabs from the SBS website, as well as Rethink Refugees’ website, and information I’ve collected from various other sources. If you’re interested, I implore you to read the links at the end – it’s a very important issue, and the more we all read up on it, the better.

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Here Am I.

I don’t know what it is about this man, but shit, Anis Mojgani’s poems make me want to live. They make me want to speak in cliches, and speak with an overbearing brand of optimism – they make me want to breathe deeply, and live deeply; they make me feel infinite, and infinitesimal; they make me want to live out my life as a permanent quest for self-improvement; they make me want to laugh and cry and dance in the rain and drink round a bonfire and swim at sunset and drive to nowhere – they make me feel all of these things, all at once, like a spark that lights up from the first line, and grows throughout the poem until it ends and I’m left with a raging inferno of emotions. But it’s a nice inferno – an inferno that brings back so many feelings, like feelings of childhood I hadn’t quite held on to, and feelings of nostalgia for a life I haven’t really lived yet, and feelings for all the things I could do, and want to do, and should do.

This poem, “Here Am I”, reaches it’s climax, and I feel the tears building. And it’s rare, because they aren’t sad tears, or angry tears, or even teenage-angsty tears; they’re just tears. Emotions, spilling out of me, forcing themselves out in one of the few ways they know how to force themselves out of me. His words are so beautiful, and so inspirational, and it’s so hard to describe how they make me feel. But that’s okay, because I shouldn’t need to describe it. I want you to feel it, for yourself. I want everyone to feel it, not necessarily from his words, but from something. It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s one I need to feel more often. And one of the best bits? They leave a lingering sense of hope behind.

“I was here / I was here motherfucker / And ain’t none of y’all can write that in the spot that I just wrote it in / I’m here motherfucker and we all here motherfucker and we all motherfuckers, motherfucker / Because every breath I give brings me a second closer to the day that my mother may die / Because every breath I take takes me a second further from the moment she caught my father’s eye / Because every word I carry is another stone to put into place in the foundation that I’m building / Because the days can erase something that I never saw / What all of us wanted and what none of us got / What we all had and have and what we all forgot / That we all wanted to be something / That we all became something / And it might not be the shit we once though we’d be when we were kids but something is still something and like some cats say, something is better than nothing / Feet are smarter than an engine / And dreams are stronger than thighs / And questions are the only answers we need to know that we are alive as I am when I have the mind of a child, asking why is 2 + 3 always equal to 5 ? / Where do people go to when they die? / What made the beauty of the moon? / And the beauty of the sea? / Did that beauty make you? / Did that beauty make me? / Will that make me something? / Will I be something? / Am I something?

And the answer comes: already am, always was, and I still have time to be.”

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