2018, America

Defining Success.

‘What is success?’


The daily writing page I’m signed up on which I try to write daily for, asked.

Plain and simple. No messing about here. Just what is success. This is something that I think constantly on.


Is success having a fantastic career that provides money, a home, a car, those things which we are all indoctrinated to believe we want?

Is it something more esoteric like validation and acclaim from your peers and contemporaries?

What is this thing that some of us have, yet others [including myself] never seem to manifest?

In my life, I feel as though the concept of ‘success’ is something that is forever slipping through my fingers, unobtainable and elusive. Something so close yet so difficult to grasp.

I have always viewed success as being something linked with prosperity. As though they naturally go hand in hand. A relationship that is symbiotic and dependent upon one another. Success begets prosperity, as well as the other way round. Or does it? Can one prosper without success? Without money?

These days, it’s difficult for me to feel that I have success in my life. To convince myself. Here I am, jobless and in a new country. Away from friends, family, all those whom I love and miss. Not to mention that everything is done differently. I have to adapt and relearn life as it were. Finding and making new friends and connections, which is usually a challenge in itself for me has become even more so the case. Readjusting and thriving has been my top priority. And its been a turbulent fucker, let me tell you.

I know that many others out there may classify the concept and terminology of ‘success’ in a different subset of ideals; swap out monetary gain and career advancement for headspace self-helpy concepts of wellness, mental health and relationships.

Is it healthy, to re-categorise the idea of success as being not necessarily prosperity and attainment of status and wealth, but to a place of your immediate and close life: how well you manage a relationship, how well your life is with your loved ones, friends, coworker etc?

A part of me feels that this is somewhat naive.

Perhaps I’ve become more jaded in life. Is it because I’ve never experienced what my ideal of success is, being money/career/prosperity?

The tenets of this rather new-agey paradigm of success to me right now unfortunately has the smack of anathema to me. As though this line of thought is simply a salve to sooth a troubled mind like mine who constantly thinks on this very subject. Is it a cop-out to think this, or is it somewhat constructive and good for the soul?


I’m of two minds about this.


One the one side, success shouldn’t be so simply aligned and synonymously linked with the idea of prosperity and monetary gain and status. It should feel more well-rounded. A mother or father who stays home raising a child who would grow to become a good, kind-hearted person should be regarded as a ‘success.’ Being a stay at home parent is not an easy task. I can only imagine the challenges and difficulty that lay with this work.

Working and improving your mental health is also something that I see as a measure of ‘success.’ This has become such an important part of many of our lives. My own included. With the onrush and rise of the whole idea of wellness culture especially so in the last few years.

At times when I think of this, I recall Kate Winslet’s character in Titanic [don’t hate on me for referencing Titanic please], after she survives the ship and moves on with her life. The camera pans across frames of her doing all sort of stuff. Why she thought to bring them on a research vessel not withstanding, it showed her getting up to all sorts of rad stuff: horseriding, posing with a cool plane, at a beach with friends and looking hot in an old timey Hollywood portrait.

Clearly it was all a device to display how full her life was, and how her not choosing to go with the rich arsehole, she built this life that was clearly fulfilling on her own.

What would those pictures have looked like had she choose to go with Mr Punchable Face’s character, who may have given her a life of luxury and ease, yet detested and belittled her?


I sometimes wonder how many people out there who have the money, the careers and status might look at someone like me who has none of this, yet wish for a relationship like mine, for instance.

On the other side, I feel that it can be naive to think on success in such a simplistic manner. I feel as though this thread above is what I’ve been told by others, that career and money is not the end point of what we traditionally regard as success.

The unfortunate thing is, alas, we don’t live in a society that seems to view ones’ life worth in terms of success as how well a relationship goes, how good a parent one is, or how well one is doing with their mental health.

Capitalism sure does have its fucked up features.

I could be the perennial Red leftie that I was and start a spiel on how an economic system ie Capitalism destroys people’s very lives and wellbeing, and places ones worth solely on their monetary intake, but I’m not going to do that today.

The days of my university demonstrations, ardent leftie essays espousing the virtues of Socialism in the modern world and the need for it, are long gone. Not to say I have given up. I still dearly believe in left-wing politics. More the acknowledgement that the system we live and work and breathe in is not going to go away, at least not for a very long time.

This side of me thinks that it is rather simplistic and unworldly to believe that success can be more than money and status. Unfortunately, it is something that those of us that do not have, tell ourselves in order to feel better about our lives.

I sincerely do want the career, the recognition, and yes, the money. Not as a means in itself but rather so I can have a great life with my husband and not worry.

And that’s my issue with success. The pain, the worrying, the pressure that maybe I put on myself far too much. The expectations of my parents as a kid and adolescent, and their subsequent disappointment in me not reaching my potential. Am I exerting this pressure on myself? Is this more in my head than out there in society?

We are truly a generation weaned on the belief that we could do anything we wanted. Yet the hard truth is, indelibly, we cannot. Success is something that yes is attainable, but not perhaps, for each and every one of us.

What then, is success for you?

2017, America, Gay, Gayblog, Life, Thoughts, writing

My Writing Process.

My writing process is quite simple. I try to set aside some time, preferable each day, and preferably somewhere light and airy. My work space will typically be quite organised, clutter free and minimal in what needs to be there. The less ‘stuff’, the better.

I find that I write best and most effectively when I have a clean and clutter-free space. To me, this is paramount. My mind works best when everything is organised. I tend to concentrate more, gain inspiration and let those streams of thought enter into the room. I guess I’m a creature of order.

Some prefer a degree of chaos and a ‘organised mess’ as it were, in order to get inspired and to really get those creative juices flowing. To me, a chaotic mess means an unorganised mind, and an inability to analyze or complete tasks.

And that’s my biggest fear, as well as a massive motivator for having such a precise and agreeable workspace. It seems that without this, I can’t get a thing done.

Having only just recently moved countries, all the way to San Francisco from Sydney, finding a place to sit, work and process has proved to be challenging. For the last 6 weeks we were staying in a temporary flat, and to be honest, as lovely a building and place as it was, it felt uninspiring, dull and not amenable to me feeling comfortable or uplifted enough to write. It had an air of being generic. Knowing that its sole purpose as a temporary abode felt disheartening to me.

This space proved its worth as a short-term home, but even so, trying to get off my backside to write was incredibly difficult in this time.

I really did drop the ball. As part of my day, I wanted to write for even at least a half hour. I would bring my husband’s unused laptop downstairs to the luxuriously appointed common lounge, which looked like a ski lodge, replete with fireplace and comfy oversized chairs.

I’d set the laptop up on the communal table, get myself a glass of water, and try my hardest to put words to screen as it were. Yet I found myself more often than not simply staring at a blank screen, somehow unable to get thoughts into the laptop. I was at a roadblock.

And as it stands, in that whole time, I only ever managed to get two posts out.

In some six weeks.

Funnily enough, I ended up using my old back-up of a small Moleskine notebook and started writing thoughts in it every couple of days. It’s proved to be invaluable, having that small innocuous notebook around. I make sure to carry it about wherever I am.

I always remember my old photography teacher would say you must carry a camera everywhere you go in order to consider yourself a true photographer. Well, to be honest, I’m not going to lug an insanely cumbersome [not to mention expensive] piece of equipment about in my semi-sketchy neighbourhood.

Rather, I’m happy to carry about my small and highly portable notebook, which in a way is far more valuable than any camera.

We just finally found and moved into our new place, and have finished unpacking and setting it up. We’ve taken everything from home and brought it here, including my trusty desk and now ancient, ten-year old iMac which I’m using to write this post. Which to its credit, just keeps on truckin’ along.

My desk now resides in our bed room, a far cry from my little alcove back home. Our bedroom is a simple room with large windows that face the sun and let light great big dollops of light into the room. The room itself is simply appointed. Two bedside table flanking our bed, a mirror leaning against the wall and my desk next to that. All I have on my desk besides my computer is a desk lamp, an old camera as a reminder of the past, a hard drive, and a glass of water [on a coaster of course].

I feel some affinity with my favourite author, Haruki Murakami, whom also keeps a quite understated and a simple set-up desk. Everything he needs is there, as well as some decorative items of significance. There are no piles of books or paper, or anything that appears out of its place. I feel as though his desk is therefore a reflection of his manner of writing, which is everything I admire: simple yet effective, minimal and understated yet so subtle and with an intrinsic inspired genius who will make you spellbound in his prose.

I love his writing, as he makes the simple act of cooking a meal for one alone a grand affair.

My workspace, as you can see, is my writing process incarnate. If I’m somewhere attractive, relatively peaceful and homely, I am able to get myself writing and more importantly, posting for the world to see.

If you write, what is your process? Like me, do you need your own space, your own aerie, or do you prefer to be out in the world?

2017, America, Gay, Gayblog, Marriage Equality, Opinion, Sydney, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Giving Thanks

Wednesday last week was the hardest day of my life.

It was a day filled to the brim with emotion. It left me completely exhausted, and it’s taken me this long to bounce back. I’ve had to pull myself back together again, as though different disparate parts of me detached only to have to be searched out and popped back into place, and it’s only now that I’m feeling myself again to write this post.

Wednesday 15th November 2017 was the day that we moved from Sydney, our lifelong home, to our new home here in San Francisco, which still I’m in a bit of shock about. It was a warm and sunny day. I almost wanted it to be overcast and unpleasant, but Sydney being the smartarse it is, really turned it on for our last day. It’s still so strange to think that not much more than a week ago I was walking down King St in Newtown, or going downstairs to the cafe that was under our apartment block. And now I walk down different streets. With different people. Different cars. A different sky above me.

But things change, and I’m finding that it is best to move along with them and to let the waves take you.

Our departure day was no surprise; we knew it was to come for months, and I had been preparing both mentally and logistically for it, in almost a feverish manner. Yet as the day crept closer I found myself become more and more nervous. Anxiety played up and I couldn’t sleep due to the unyielding internal monologue of tasks still to be done and thinking on those I would miss.

Not only were we to be leaving friends, family and loved ones, all people whom we have spent years getting to know and connecting with, and whom we love to bits, but it was the day the Same Sex Marriage plebiscite result was announced. Of course, we didn’t choose for our day of departure to coincide with this. However, everything had been prepared months ago and it was far too late to change dates.

As we stood in Prince Alfred Park surrounded by friends new and old, as well as my sister who also is part of the community, I really was overcome and fraught with frayed emotion.

I felt so much of everything. Excitement that we were not only to finally find out the result, but hope and fervent optimism for the future. I wanted our home to join the 21st century; I wanted dearly and desperately for our country to go back to its former happy, life loving self. It feels as though the last couple years our home has become more of a dark and judgemental place. Those who would have us not be equal seemed on the verge of ascension. Their morals, ethics and hypocrisy has appeared to be the status quo today, as opposed to relegated to the shadows.

I felt love. Love from those around me. I don’t think I’ve ever had quite the same feeling before. Being literally surrounded by those whom care about you and whom you care about was quite a singular and spectacular feeling. I felt so much gratefulness that I have got to know such fantastic people, tinged with a bittersweet sadness at us leaving this group of loving, supportive and unique people.

I felt anger. Anger at what our government had put us through, this indignation of a non-binding postal vote; an archaic motion put forward by the diabolical religious right as a stalling tactic. a postal survey costing us $122 million, when conversely that money could help our long-suffering indigenous communities, or to assist women gain equality, or go towards helping out those less fortunate.

I felt nervous despair should the No side win out, and what this would do to our community.

The rise of the unreasonable and irrational Christian and subsequent epoch of moralising judgement seemed upon us. It felt like a dark looming shadow creeping across the grass and trees of the idyllic park we were in.

Yet, as the announcer finally revealed the results, it was clear to all that love won the day after all.

You can’t stop a tide, and 62% of us decided that YES, love should be for all of us, regardless. Full stop.

As I write this in a new city, in a new country, I’m starting to tear up. Sitting here in this strange place, I still feel so connected and so privileged to know and be a part of such an amazing social circle of friends and family. As well as a wider community that really did show it’s best and pulled together during this whole ordeal. I still feel as though I am there in spirit, and no matter what happens, no matter how many cheeky and colourful Queer murals are defaced, we will prevail.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Another artefact and quirk of this place that I am fast coming to consider my new home. Another, [to my foreigner eyes at least], experience to delve into and enjoy.

The whole point of Thanksgiving is exactly that, giving thanks. Giving thanks for what we have, and taking stock of our lives. Despite my complete cynicism for this kind of thing, I see how it can be a good thing. When it comes my turn to say what I’m thankful for, I’ll say that I’m thankful that love won. That we are turning a corner towards a brighter, loving and caring future where we think of others more than we think ourselves. I’ll say that I’m thankful for my family, both by ties of blood and ties of love and friendship.

I love and will miss you all.

Till the next time I’m back there in Sydney, everyone look after each other and may love be everywhere x

2017, America

Moving To America

I write this about 2 and a half weeks from our day of departure from our home, Sydney Australia, across the Pacific to San Francisco. An almost mirror image of our home here in the South Pacific. It still feels rather exhilarating and a little bizarre that this is happening at all. I get the odd panic attack over things that need doing, or picturing myself arriving. Perhaps because to me, it is yet to feel real. Our home is to be packed up by removalists 3 days from our departure for instance. Adrian is behind me in the kitchen in our flat discussing how to cook capsicum. I’ve had about 3 beers and feeling slightly buoyant and reflective at the same time.

I’ve felt a gamut of emotions, since receiving that fateful call from Adrian saying that his work has offered him a transfer and position in San Francisco. My heart was fluttering, my nerves going into overdrive. My mind working hard to make sense of it all like those old clunky pc’s from when you were a kid. And this was months ago. It’s been such a big year. Full of change, full of discovery and full of seismic shifts and flux. We got married in New Zealand over a weekend, for instance. We went to Italy for my cousin’s wedding; traveling there was such an experience that helped me grow my confidence, as well as my respect for my ancestral culture of Italy.

So it’s been quite the year. I feel all at once very blessed yet at some moments completely overwhelmed. It’s a time of reflection and sentiment for me.

Very soon our lives will be packed up and we’ll leave our home for an indeterminate time. It could be for a year or two, it could be 5 or more. We leave a comfortable home behind; a homely flat that we spent years putting together. We leave amazing friendship circles that we are so incredibly lucky to be a part of. Family that love us. We have both worked very hard to build all this, and it is difficult for us both to say goodbye to it.

It’s very easy for me to forget the fact that we have both worked hard [Adrian exceptionally so], to get to the position we are at today. He has gone from a casual working a few days a week to the head of his brands visual department globally in five short years. [!] It still blows my mind thinking about this, and just how much ambition, determination and self-confidence the man I married has. He doesn’t see it as much as I do.

For myself, success has meant something different. I know I don’t have a fantastic job or career. It’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed being at my current job. It’s been exactly what I needed out of a job, compared to my previous workplace which caused much mental anguish and difficulties. I’ve loved being here, and this job has helped improve and develop me. But I’ve improved in other ways. Namely, my working upon fixing my mental state and improving my mental health, as well as overcoming social anxiety and depression. These are things I still struggle with, but I find that I am slowly getting better every day.

Someone on social media recently asked why I would want to go to America, in a rather sensationalist and hyperbolic manner. This person questioned why anyone in fact would want to go to such a place as it currently is, violence occurring daily, controversial politics et al. It did get me thinking on this topic. Why would anyone indeed want to move there at all as America currently is?

Well, nothing is ever quite so simple or black and white. Yes, the United States is currently convulsing with much pain and torment. I see and hear about so much pain and suffering, anger and sadness radiating from that country. [EDIT: as I’m editing this, another violent attack has occurred, this time in New York].

Yet, I still believe there is good inherent in everything and everyone. Call me a hopeless existentialist if you must, but I truly do have faith in humanity. I have met some of the warmest people who are American, whose warmth and genuine interest and sense of hospitality puts me to shame as an Australian.

The United States appears to be in a state of unrest. That much is evident. It’s quite something, reflecting back upon the changes and perception of the United States’ from the perspective of being a foreigner. I grew up in a fiercely Eurocentric household. Our food was primarily Italian, our cars [if preference allowed] German and media consisted of world news or foreign non-English films]. My father wasn’t anti-American per se; he just truly had reservations on anything American. We grew up therefore in a home where anything and everything non-American was upheld above all else. European design, food, architecture, history, literature was all given the highest regard. Middle Eastern and Asian culture was always highly espoused and respected as well by my dad, who would always remark upon how one culture was so much more close-knit and community based than our own, or how another culture was proud of its traditions and able to retain its cultural heritage.

I always recall whenever my sister and I wanted to watch an American tv programme dad would always remark on it, always desultory and always with a dismissive and unimpressed tone.

He may have been right, as Melrose Place wasn’t exactly the height of culture.

He would get us to watch SBS most of the time, which is a government-run tv channel catering to immigrant audiences and featured many arthouse and foreign films, if you’re not from here in Australia. SBS really did become a staple of many immigrant families, including ours. I always recall watching the San Remo Italian music festival as a kid on Sundays, as well as Italian news.  I remember one such film dad made us watch was about the life of a German family in cold war Berlin. It was all very strange and arthouse-y in black and white with subtitles, grim and bleak, urban and gritty, focusing on this family’s troubles and woes, where he excitedly exclaimed in his thick Italian accent:

‘This! This is what life truly is, none of this bullshit American rubbish…’

In hindsight, my boisterous, loud Italian dad really did have a lot to do with the formation and coalescence of my own opines about art, culture and society. Anything British for a long while in my 20’s reigned supreme, for instance.

I’m excited and intrigued to think what may come of our big move.Like I said earlier, it does at times feel completely unreal, like something in a film, or a book like Julia Child’s ‘My Life In France’, which is aptly about her, [pre-fame], moving to France from her homeland America and recounting all her adventures.

It just seems so surreal that we have this fantastic opportunity. I literally have no idea what to expect from the place, the culture, the people. I don’t know what I’ll do, who I’ll meet, where to go for dinners, or where to shop for groceries. Guess that’ll be part of the fun. Finding a new supermarket to go to, or a local spot for dinner. I’m fortunate to know the language and come from a similar culture, yet I know I’ll be analyzing every nuance and quirk and characteristic of life and the people there, and viceversa. I want this move to be the start of new experiences. I want it to shape me into a more worldly and confident person. Speaking to a colleague at my workplace, she told me that:

‘You become a new person every time you move overseas; look at me, I’ve had to learn English, learn the customs, learn the lifestyle. I wouldn’t change it for anything at all.’

Like my coworker, whose kind words were so compellingly thought-provoking, I know that this move will make me into a new person.