Friday, 28 December 2012

Liberation

Ahh the simple pleasures in life...

It is marvellous to go to bed when you want, not when someone else is tired. Although I did not abuse the privilege like I will in the future, last night was the first time I went to bed without it being contingent on someone’s schedule. The first time in my whole life.

I am not even 36 hours into independent living, and I know it is something I will cherish for the rest of my days. My first night was a simple, but revolutionary affair: watching TV at cinematic volume, in the dark with air conditioning on. Then at 10pm making some notes for the new PhD chapter, whilst listening to Tegan and Sara at full blast before I called it a day at Midnight.

Whilst it may seem mundane to you, this is what I call utopia.

Today I got up at my normal hour, got dressed and showered just in time for the first ball of Day 3 of the Boxing Day Test, Kindle at the ready. I was left alone from 930am til 2pm when I decided I wanted some food. No carers arrived halfway through my book or in the middle of play: this was freedom.

And in a final somewhat vulgar note, the most pleasant and liberating surprise is being able to sit on the toilet without someone in the next room impatiently waiting for me to finish. I’m beginning to think ‘Just buzz me when you are done’ might be the most beautiful phrase in the English language.

Viva Toddocracy!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

My Year in Pop Culture

Now is about the right time to list my favourite songs, books and TV shows for the year, especially considering I filled out my ballot for Triple J's Hottest 100 yesterday. The trouble being of course that the station has an annoying limited playlist designed to attract the hipster douchebag. As I am a man of many musical loves, consider the following list of songs as an addition to those mentioned in the link above.

Best Additional Songs






Best Books I read (In order of enjoyment)


Best TV Shows (In order of preference)

Movies (Alphabetically, Reposted)

DAMSELS IN DISTRESS   
DEEP BLUE SEA, THE   
GOODBYE FIRST LOVE   
LIKE CRAZY   
MARGIN CALL   

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Trying Hard, Failing, But Still Trying

Perhaps because I have had to work for everything I have gained I experience my highs and lows more dramatically than others. These sentiments could apply as easily to this week where I gained a house, and lost a friend. Or more broadly to the entire year where I have successfully and slowly gained independence, whether it be physically or emotionally. But I have also lost ground with so many life goals. Even though I have internalised my feelings more than ever before, the losses that I have experienced this year were felt more keenly than those previously. This contradiction is evident again when I think that creatively I have felt more frustrated this year despite making some progress on the thesis, beginning a manuscript, and continuing to update this blog on a semi regular basis.

It is much tougher to grasp how I feel emotionally at this particular point in time. Upon turning 29 a month ago I began to feel that time is passing me by. That I no longer feel that I have time to make the naive mistakes that characterise my life. I have to take more responsibility for the course that my life takes. I am (hopefully) through a third of my life and so many life goals remain unattained. They are not minor ones either. They are the big ones, to do with life, relationships and legacy building. I feel like I am so far behind my contemporaries in terms of life experience. Most people I know would likely scoff at this notion, but these thoughts terrify me. I am hopeful that I will catch up now I get to live my own life and make my own choices. In fact I am counting on it.

When describing the move to Brisbane I told a friend that I may never get what I want straight away. Instead I work harder than anyone I know to achieve my goals and I get there eventually. That of course is ideal when striving towards the tangible goals: occupationally, intellectually, and materially. It is however the intangibles that worry me: the things I cannot control. I cannot make anyone love me, as much as I may love them. I cannot expect other people to inforce the high standards of respect and integrity that I place on myself. I cannot convince people to adopt my arguments even when I know that I am right. Most importantly I cannot wish away this dilibating disease that holds me back in every aspect of my life.

I guess I shall look back at this year as one of transition. The one in which I left my latest bout of depression behind and found a group of friends who I care about. For the first time in a long, long time, the future looks promising and not one in which I continually mourn the life that I wish I could have had. It is so much harder for me to focus on the good aspects of the constant challenges because there are not that many. But now the constant grieving is easier because I have things to look forward to.    

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

In Case it Really is the End of the World

I did this survey about this time last year, its time to do it again

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I moved.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I made plenty, some I kept, some I didn’t but I tried my best with all of them

3. What countries did you visit?
None

4. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
More stable relationships

5. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory?
September 17th, the best day of the year, August 31 where it all began, November 19th A Chorus Line with The Novocastrian, November 23rd & December 2nd both heartbreaking

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year??
Getting stronger

7. What was your biggest failure?
Everything to do with my thesis, I feel way behind (Still)

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No.

9. What was the best thing you bought?
Books

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?
TCF and The Novocastrian for always being there, and Miss Gravy for being my biggest cheerleader.

11. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
They know who they are

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
A Chorus Line, Jersey Boys, The Noosa and Brisbane Writers Festivals

13. What song will always remind you of 2012?
The 'Happy' Mashup

14. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Much happier.

15. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Enjoy the precious time I had before I lost it again

16. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Brutal honesty

17. How will you be spending Christmas?
It is my last Christmas living with my parents, so with them.

18. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Yes.

19. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
God, Yes.

20. What was the best book you read?
Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn tied with The Marriage Plot: Jeffery Eugenidies

21. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Rediscovering old show tunes

22. What did you want and get?
New friends, a place of my own, fleeting moments of contentment

23. What did you want and not get?
Prolonged moments of contentment

24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29,  suitably quiet day, with a Clarke double hundred and dinner with TCF and her boyfriend.

25. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
See 23. 

26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Shabby. I don’t care about what I wear, I only choose what I wear if I want to impress someone.

27. What kept you sane?
Kindle, TV shows, and TCF (in that case literally)

28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Lena Dunham

29. Who was the best new person you met?
The English Lass, it is not even close.

30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012?
People are shit except those I like. It is blunt but very true

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Quest is Over, Now to Become A Statesman

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits. Thomas Jefferson
Life changed for me yesterday. A whole new world has opened up for me. My two year quest to become independent will finally be at an end on December 27. In just two weeks I will be moving out of my parents' home on the Sunshine Coast (about a decade too late) and begin living independently in the city lights of Brisbane.

A few months ago, you may remember that the Queensland Housing Commission offered me a house to live in. However, there was a catch. I had to come up with the funds for 7 hours of in home support a day to help with my personal care needs. I was told this would cost upwards of $100,000 per year. Given that the Queensland Premier has cut everything except his ego this was not a viable option.

Last week I reached the end of my rope and turned up to the local Disability Services Queensland (DSQ) Office uninvited. My political skills were put to good use because I had to outline the gravity and urgency of my particular situation in intimate detail. Given all the shit I have given DSQ publicly and privately over the past two years, the bureaucrats I encountered were enormously helpful and sympathetic.

Enter YoungCare. Whether it be through happenstance or organised chaos DSQ were able to find me a place at the Sinnamon Park complex of units, located between Brisbane and Ipswich, which will provide me with guaranteed personal care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When the two bureaucrats described the set up in the complex I had to admit I was very skeptical. As I was well aware, the trade off for 24/7 care is that I would have to share resources with other people with disabilities. Experiences of others I knew taught me that such ventures were tantamount to institutionalisation: the very thing I had been working hard to avoid my entire life. I had a week between my meeting with DSQ and my tour of YoungCare to dream up worst case scenarios in my head that would make stories of A Current Affair look like Play School.

Thankfully my visit to YoungCare yesterday made those fears turn out to be utter nonsense. The complex is equipped with the best set of facilities I have ever seen. Including a private unit, and my choice of whether I want to be involved in communal activities or not. I was continually jealous of my contemporaries in my native South Australia who always had superior disability services to the backward looking Queensland. Now they will be jealous of me, because I will have complete autonomy to live the life I want as independently as possible. Those without disabilities take for granted their freedom. The ability to stay out late, get pissed, pick up a girl (or three), take her (or them) home, and wake up the next morning with a stupid self congratulatory grin on their face. Now it is my turn!

Through an extraordinary amount of sponsors and donors the complex is also equipped with everything I could ask for: wheelchair accessible vehicles, cable TV, a gourmet chef, internet access and air conditioning. This also applies to things I never want such as therapy and exercise equipment.

What I cannot get across in mere words is how life changing this development is for my family and I. A lifelong goal for my Mum, Dad and I is about to be reached in a safe, secure environment without compromising any of my values. For the first of many, many times I am asking friends and readers to donate whatever money you can to YoungCare. With the gift I have been given I now have the responsibility to change someone else’s life, just as mine will be.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

My Top 5 Movies of 2012

Television program At The Movies has an annual (Australian) viewer poll to see what they rank as the best movies of the year. Each viewer can make up to 5 selections. Mine in alphabetical order are: 

DAMSELS IN DISTRESS   (Released: 6/09/2012)
DEEP BLUE SEA, THE   (Released: 12/04/2012)
GOODBYE FIRST LOVE   (Released: 5/04/2012)
LIKE CRAZY   (Released: 1/03/2012)
MARGIN CALL   (Released: 15/03/2012)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Today Should Be An Inquisition, Not A Party.

If I were a betting man I would guess that a person that did not have a disability came up with the concept of the International Day of People with Disabilities. I have previously discussed similar themes, but here’s a list of things that happen all too often
  • A lack of privacy
  • Being constantly underestimated and undermined
  • A lack of autonomy
  • Being constantly pitied
  • Having to fight for everything I need, want or desire.
  • Being part of a country that treats me like a fifth class citizen
  • A lack of respect
  • Having to endure countless amounts of bureaucracy to gain resources everybody else takes for granted
  • Being ostracised by a community who claims to support me, but in fact shuns me because I speak the truth
It was rather fitting that I spent the morning in a government office begging, pleading and literally crying for my freedom. That I had to give over my soul to two government bureaucrats who I had not known for more than five minutes, just so I can live in a house by myself.

So, what exactly is society celebrating?

That they are inclusive? They are not.
That they are tolerant? They are not.
That they are understanding? They are not.
That they are compassionate? They are not.

Sparklers for all!

I mused earlier today whilst crying in the government office that if at least 90% of the non disabled population were denied basic human rights there would be no celebration, but tyranny instead.

Think about it.