The battle of who could care less.

I seem to get a lot of my inspiration for these posts from sportsmen. And I wonder if that’s because they are such an easily viewable, and highly indicative example of Australian male stereotypes. In other words, they tend to be rather supremely gifted physically, but fairly poorly educated, and so immature (and emotionally stunted) that they are practically still children.

So often, our elite sportsmen present an illuminating example of the male paradox — they appear to have everything (money, fame, physique, sex appeal, confidence and control), and yet at some point or other it becomes apparent that many of these men are missing the stuff that makes life worthwhile.
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Every man is an island.

I read an interesting piece about Rugby League player, Daly Cherry-Evans the other day. Basically, the shape of it was that he’d become unpopular (to the extent that he may be being excluded from higher honours) because his personality was so inscrutable. It’s not that he was offensive, as such, but his lack of candour, the seemingly disingenuous way he communicated, the lack of insight he provided into his true self, has put even NRL hard men off. And it got me thinking — what a typically male defense that sounded like…
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Enough already

I do it all the time. Compare myself to my peers. To celebrities. To my own expectations of who I should be. To what I assume women want. To that guy there who is clearly ‘enough’ but I’m not.

It feels so personal. So uniquely me. So much my own particular brand of shitness that I’ve finally realised it must be happening in some shape or form for pretty much everyone. You might beat yourself up about slightly different stuff from me, but I’m willing to bet you’re doing it. You’re thinking you’re not enough too.

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The new (less sexy) L word.

It’s been one of those quiet Sundays. You know, the ones that most people would give their first-born child for? No appointments, no responsibilities, no visitors — nothing you have to do at all. One of those days when you can catch up on your passion project, and spend quality time on the things you really care about. Work on that novel you’ve been talking about for too long, get that website up like you’ve been meaning to do — or whatever it is you told yourself you’d do when you went to bed the night before.

But here’s what happened. There was not a single thing I had to do. Not an appointment, not a visitor, not a phonecall. And as the morning moved into the afternoon, and it started to become apparent that the novel wasn’t going to move terribly far forward, and that website was an immovable son-of-a-bitch, that old feeling started to creep back in…

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‘Muddling through’ Christmas without your loved one.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Let your heart be light.
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Make the yuletide gay.
Next year all our troubles will be miles away.

Once again as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore,
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more.

Someday soon we all will be together,
If the fates allow.
Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

– Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane

I have always loved this Christmas song, sung by Julie Garland in Meet Me in St Louis, but this year it’s taken on so much greater a significance. It feels like the only song I’ll hear this season that truly relates to my experience. And I guess I just wanted to post and share it with you, in case you were in a similar boat.

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How we betray ourselves in our fear.

I was walking along the beach this morning, nursing a just-too-hot coffee and enjoying the crystalline view, when I felt something scratchy crawling inside my singlet top. Immediately, I grabbed at it with my free hand, fearful it was a spider or some other malevolent critter. I squeezed the offender between two fingers through the material, and then brought it to the surface in an inextricable grip, only to see that the now crushed little creature was a ladybird. 

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Going it alone.

The more you look into the contributing factors of men’s suicide, the more you find that isolation is at its core. That the element that takes it from depression or grief or what have you, to the ultimate act of suicide, is that there’s no release valve — there’s no-one to tell, no-one to share it with, no-one to off-load it to — and there never has been. Just like the proverbial pressure-cooker, without the opportunity to let go of what’s building up inside you, there’s only one outcome — explosion (or implosion). And it’s all just a matter of time. 

And so today I wanted to talk about that release valve — friendship, connection, and our all-too-common inability as men to share what’s hurting us, or worrying us, or whatever-ing us. And we’re none too good at helping our mates do it either.

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