I’ve always been intrigued by what lay beyond the veil, in that other realm, where spirits dwell. Where the dead can reach through the gossamer barrier and communicate with the living. Ghosts. Spirits, Spectres. Call them what you will. Some don’t believe. Others think that what we perceive to be ghosts are just parallel lives being replayed in a different space time continuum, very Interstellar like.
As a child I was curious. I wanted to know all I could about ghosts. I loved crystals, tarot cards, palm reading, anything that could behold magic and connect me with what scientifically shouldn’t exist but does.
I am a fan of science and a believer that all things can be explained logically. But sometimes, just sometimes there are things that have no explanation. There are stories that make no sense. Premonitions and odd coincidences. My father’s side of the family have a fair few ghost stories that I recount from time to time. Each of them chilling and wonderful and powerful enough to make you believe that there is more to the world that what meets the eye. My great x 5 Grandmother saw her Granddaughter’s gauzy figure the night before she drowned in a stream, my Aunty saw her father in a photo taken after he died. Try as you might to use logic and fact, you can’t explain these things away.
Every year on my birthday I get a massage. I really need to get them more often as my neck grows stiff from constantly hunching over my computer, no matter how much yoga I do. I love my annual massage. I love laying down and being kneaded to a pulp.
A friend recommended a massage therapist to me. You should go and see Cendrine at Sublimity, she said, she’s lovely and very French. When I heard French I was immediately reminded of a French director I had at drama school. She was a feisty redhead who screamed at us “Vit! Vit! Aller! She was fantastic, but not very calming. But when my friend added that Cendrine was also a clairvoyant who offered spiritual consultations I knew had to go and see her!
As soon as she opened the door to her home studio I knew she was nothing like my feisty French teacher, perhaps that is because Cendrine is Belgian French, not French French. An air of calm washed over me as she said hello, her very presence made me feel grounded and peaceful.
After an amazing 75 minute massage Cendrine somehow managed to rid my body of all of it’s tension. I felt so relaxed and peaceful, almost zen like, that I felt like crying, but I didn’t. I’ve gotten pretty good and holding in tears.
It was time for the spiritual consultation. I really had no expectations. I didn’t really know what to expect or what to ask. I was pretty open to anything that came up. Cendrine explained that she may see visions of my past lives and also communicate with my spirit guides; beings assigned to us before birth to nudge and direct us through our life path.
I lay down on the treatment table while Cendrine placed crystals on my chakra points. I love crystals so I enjoyed the ritual. She went into a slight trance as she checked my energy flow. After a white she told me that my energy was blocked around my pelvis. I wasn’t surprised considering the issues I have with my uterus! She used a pendulum to improve the energy flow (sceptics be damned! Since then I’ve had much less cramping during menstruation!) She also noted that I had a lot of heat behind my eyes, as if there are a lot of tears trapped behind them. Interesting considering I had just suppressed some! She had a vision of me holding a tiny baby and crying. Well, that pretty much sums up the last few years of my life!
Once my flow was sorted Cendrine returned to her trance for a few moments before a vision appeared. I watched as she saw a scene from one of my past lives. It was as if she was watching a film with her eyes closed.
In my past life, I was a man, and a writer. I was sitting at a desk writing on parchment by candle light. I needed to write down the truth. I needed to share the truth with the world before it was too late. In my past life I died trying to share this truth with the world. But as I lay dying, all of my spirit guides came to my sides and bathed me in love. I did not die alone.
Some people may find that grim, but I loved it. I found it reassuring and comforting. Not only did I die knowing that my spirit guides were there for me but I died with a mission unfinished: I need to share my truths with the world via the pen. That sounds like some unfinished business I can help with!
Cendrine also told me about one of my spirit guides. He was a man, tall and thin with grey hair, I immediately imagined him to look a lot like the new channel one weather man. He told me to write from my soul, not just my mind. Interesting advice considering I’d been trying to force myself to write a certain way, thinking too much about rules and failing to just let the works flow from my soul.
After the consultation I was intrigued. It was like I’d opened a can of worms and needed to know more! How does one get a gift like this? How young does it start?
For Cendrine it started early. She was able to see from a very young age. As a young child she grew up in an old house in Belgium, a house which was haunted. She recalls odd things happening there, her sister sleep walking with scissors in hand, things moving about, emotional issues, illness. All of which stopped as soon as the family moved house. As a child with the gift of sight, she remembers wanted the spirits to go away, trying to quiet them from her mind. This only led to serious migraines, which were not cured until she was encouraged to use her sight again years later.
As a teenager Cendrine recalls a trip to an old castle that was terrifying. She can still feel the remnants of the dark spirit in her mind. The sound it made in her head. “The place had an awful history, bad things had happened there.” And she could feel, that more bad things would happen there unless something was done to rid the place of dark spirits.
So what are dark spirits? Spirits who have died in an unhappy way, who linger on to cause trouble. It is possible to come in contact with dark spirits just by visiting a place where they linger. Cendrine has had clients who have picked things up from visits to other countries, old ruins and castles. “Sometimes they come in and I can see that there is something dark attached to them.” After looking deeper, she can usually see what it is and where it came from and then tell it to leave, it is not needed here any more.
So who would benefit from a spiritual consultation? Honestly everyone who is open to it. Whether you want to try to communicate with past loved ones, try to see if an illness has a spiritual cause, build your relationship with your spirit guides, or hear about your past lives it is all very enlightening. I personally am hooked! Now I want to know all about my spirit guides and the messages they have for me!
Cendrine also runs group meditation sessions and group channellings. The next one is to be held is Mystic Monday Mornings at The Southern Cross bar on May 4th. Individual sessions from 10am. Group session 1pm – 2pm.
For more info on her services check out Sublimity.
I was in the doctor’s office. He was an older man, possibly nearing retirement. He wasn’t my usual doctor. No, my usual doctor was off on paternity leave, so here I was sitting in the office of a stranger, in a new medical centre. He began this check-up by asking me the basic questions. Do you smoke? No. Do you drink? Not enough. Are you on any medication? Yes, I replied, calmly and confidently naming the medication I am on for my mental illness.
Perhaps he was offended at how little guilt I’d shown about my need to be medicated. Perhaps he thought I’d answered the question too matter-of–factly. Perhaps it was that I’d smiled as I answered, with no hint of shame. Whatever the reason, he promptly started to grill me on my choice to take medication, as if it was somehow cheating. How long have you been on it? Have you tried coming off it? Have you tried exercising more instead? How’s your diet? Don’t you want to come off it? Do you intend to be on this medication for the rest of your life?
What was I to say? Should I calmly explain to him my entire mental health history in the next 15 minutes? Or do I kindly tell him to shut the fuck up and get down to why I’m really here?
Growing up, I had a hunch that I was a little odd. As a child I worried a lot. I would lie in bed at night, my heart beating furiously in my chest, unable to sleep. Unable to stop the twisting, fearful thoughts in my tiny head. I was afraid of anything and everything that was unknown and unpreventable. What if my parents die in a car crash one day? What would happen to me? Who would I live with? And would whomever I was sent to life with let me take my dog? What if they didn’t? Where would she go? Would she get sent to a dog food factory? And if so, did that mean the dog food I fed her each night was also made from the dogs of orphaned children? Like I said, I was a little odd and I worried a lot.
As I got older the worrying continued but it took on an even darker tone. This was around the time that Michael Jackson was on trial for the supposed molestation of children, so my concerned thoughts headed down the road of sexuality. What kind of person molested children? Do you just wake up one day and decide that is what you do? Could that happen to me? Could I become a sexual molester? I imagined having to confess my sins to my parents, I imagined their disappointed faces as I told them that I, their own daughter had become a sick child molesting monster. Deep down I knew that I was not in fact said monster, but I felt like I had to confess even these fears, that simply having them made me guilty.
From the age of 10 I was addicted to confessing my sins to my mother, who had somehow become my personal catholic priest. Every night I’d come clean to her, telling her of all my impure thoughts from the day. I looked at a girl’s vagina in the changing room at swimming. When Mr Bruce was talking at assembly I imagined him naked, then imagined him having sex, then I imagined having sex with him. On it went. Out it would all come and my mother would listen and smile then simply say, it’s okay, you’re allowed to have your own thoughts. I would sigh, feeling cleansed and absolved of my sins. For a few minutes. Then the thoughts would start up again and the guilt and fear would start up again with them.
I didn’t realise this for years, but what I had was a serious case of anxiety disorder. I didn’t actually figure out that out until I was 23. Up until the ripe old age of 23 I followed my snarled, nasty fearful thoughts down the rabbit hole and let them eat me up. I went through bouts of depression when it all got too much. When I was 14 I stopped talking. Simply because I was so anxious about saying something stupid that after a while I actually couldn’t open my mouth and speak anymore. At 15 I desperately wanted to get an afterschool job but I was too afraid that I would come across a problem that I couldn’t solve and I’d end up looking stupid. At 16 there was sex and the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. Broken condoms and STDs. And AIDS. There was the slim, but all be it possible chance that I could get AIDS from my first and only lover (who was also a virgin, or was he??). Would I know if a condom had broken? What if there was only a tiny hole?
I had AIDS for two years. I lived in constant state of fear that secretly I had AIDS and I was already dying. When I finally found the courage to get a test done, at the pleading requests of my friends who were sick of hearing me harp on about my impending death, it became clear that I did not in fact have AIDS. I was fine. I had just spent the last two years worrying, about nothing.
The next on my list was cancer. I had cancer. I was sure. In my neck. There was a lump. It was tragic. I was dying. Now you’d think if you found a lump in your neck you’d get it checked out by the doctor right? Not me. Nope. I didn’t need a doctor to tell me what I already knew. I was dying. That was a fact.
Eventually after another few years lived in sweaty night fits, crying about the children I’d never have, I got my neck lump checked. “It’s nothing.” Said my doctor. “Just muscle tissue”. The second doctor agreed. Nothing? NOTHING?!
By 21 the panic attacks started. A sinking dizzy feeling, followed my instant sweats and shortness of breath. They’d happen anywhere. At work, at the gym, before an audition, before a pap smear, anywhere. I’d drink a lot to numb the fear. It helped but it also made me have more drunken sex, resulting more fear and anxiety over newly transmitted STDs and AIDS.
Also at 21 I met my current partner. Blissful, newfound love, coupled with debilitating bouts of panic stricken anxiety about, anything and everything. Do I like him more than he likes me? Does he like me more than I like him? What if I can’t have kids, will he leave me? Oh god! What if I can’t have kids!?
It wasn’t until 23 that I finally snapped. My poor mind and heart had had enough. Enough they said to me in unison one day when all of a sudden they sent me a message clear as a bell. Something is very wrong. But what? No answer. They wouldn’t tell me but the panic remained. Something was wrong. Dread filled me. I was consumed by a thick heavy anxiety, the worst panic attack I’d ever experienced. And it lasted a month.
I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t work. I lost around 10kgs and cried constantly. All I knew was that something was wrong. I was afraid. And I didn’t know how to fix it. I was afraid of what I’d do to myself because I just wanted this fear to end. I wanted to go to a funny farm. The idea of going somewhere to be fixed was very appealing. I went to my GP who frowned and nodded and mentioned the possibility of medication. No. I shook my head profusely. I’d heard bad things about medication. The stories from the Prozac popping 90s had put me off psychotropic drugs completely. He referred me to a psychologist instead. It was expensive. My parents offered to pay, though they didn’t understand. Neither did I.
My psychologist was a friendly woman with brown curly hair and a love of cats. I met with her multiple times a week. She’d ask me questions about my family, my childhood. At the time I had no knowledge that I was a little odd as a child. I also didn’t realise that I’d had anxiety problems all my life and problems with hypochondria. I also didn’t compute that my dull office job that had driven me to tears daily for over a year had probably contributed to this final and serious bout of anxiety and depression.
After a month of regular sessions she concluded that I would indeed need medication. In cases this acute, she said softly, we recommend medication as a way to break the initial cycle of anxious obsessive thoughts. By this stage I was willing to try anything.
So this is how I came to be medicated. It took a few weeks but over time the anxiety faded. I realised too that I hadn’t actually been very well to start with. I’d been mentally unwell for so many years that I hardly knew what it was like to be well. It took a while but I was lucky and the medication I was put on was perfect for me. I had no side effects and only got better. Life as I knew it had changed. I was finally well. Finally free.
I have at times come off my medication, like when I was pregnant, but after falling ill again I’d always go back on it. I’ve discovered I am not well when I am not on medication. I have an illness that requires medicine. Much like people with high blood pressure or asthma need medication, so do those with mental illness. They shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it, or like they are weak for needing to be medicated.
Pills aren’t the be all and end all. I still need to look after myself. If I don’t eat well, sleep well and exercise regularly, I start to feel miserable, but then, don’t most people?
No, I didn’t tell the know-it-all doctor all of this. Nor should I have had to. Being medicated is a choice that no one should make you feel ashamed of. It takes a lot of courage for someone with a mental illness to even seek help let alone accept that medication may be the right choice for them. To have that questioned, by a medical professional even, is one hell of a slap in the face.
In response to his questions, I simply smiled and said ‘I have two sons.’ That I decided, pretty much summed up my opinion the matter. No mother of sons should be made to come off her medication. She has enough to deal with as it is!
Though what if I hadn’t been so confident in my choice to medicate? What if I’d been mentally ill at the time and willing to trust completely the opinions of a supposed professional? Well I could potentially be very sick again right now. Doctors need to stop treating their patients like idiots.
In my experience, it’s not the mentally ill people on medication you need to worry about, it’s the ones who aren’t medicated that you need to watch out for!
Got some things left unsaid? Things left eating at your soul that you just want to get rid of? We went to 'In Good Company's' event on Thursday night and I tell you what - it was cathartic.
First you write a letter to the person that has been breaking your heart/pissing you off/fucking with your mojo - that's step number one. Then step number two is to write an apology from that person to yourself and step number three is to write an acceptance letter from yourself saying that you forgive them for being a wanker. Then you shred the shit out of your letters #awesome.
And you know what? At the end of this experience I felt lighter and I felt way better. It was cool.
"True Love Will Find You In The End is a light-hearted writing workshop in which participants will be given the opportunity to write letters to individuals of their choice. Upon finishing their letter participants must ceremoniously shred their writing. As such, the workshop is intended as a relational/performance piece. The act of writing and shredding gives an opportunity for participants to either confront or expel memories from their past. Letters can be written to old friends, lovers, crushes, colleagues, family members, celebrities or whomever the participant wishes to concentrate their sentiment and energy on." - The Date Club Collective,
The energy in the room was pretty exciting. You could literally see people's shoulders relax as they let go of all that negative energy! I was also pretty surprised about who I wrote to......
When I was eight my parents and I moved into a new house near the beach. It was a big wooden house on stilts with large decks all around it. The yard was full of trees and wonder; I was certain faeries lived at the bottom of the garden. Beneath the house lay treasures left by the previous owner. Boxes of old possessions either forgotten or unwanted. And in one box was a vast collection of vinyl records.
Even before this discovery, records were always an attraction to me. My mother had a treasured plethora of vinyl that included all the classics: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimmy Hendrix and The Doors. My parents would play these to me regularly, but told me not to dance. “You’ll make the needle jump and it’ll scratch the record,” my father would say. My parents were always very protective of her records. And rightly so. When I was seven I pushed the fan heater aside so I could choreograph an aerobic dance routine. Little did I know I had pushed it directly up against their revered vinyl collection, melting many. Guilt filled my heart as my mother tearfully dumped at least five warped records into the trash can.
From this under-house box of buried treasure many new records came. Some were fun and quirky, like the ghost busters soundtrack, or Enya’s greatest hits and some were severely damaged from sitting in the damp for far too long. But amongst the moulded sleeves came a few true gems. One of which is possibly my favourite album of all time.
Songs of Leonard Cohen is an album that should be exclusively played on vinyl alone. Without the hiss and crackle of the spinning needle it just does not sound the same. Of course our copy, slightly warped and buckled played with a crisp crackle that only added to its warm hum.
I would lay down on the living room beach-grass carpet and simply listen. Listen to the entire album. The gentle plucking of the guitar strings and beautiful poetry on The Stranger Song and the delicate coo of his voice on Suzanne. It all warmed my heart gave me the feeling of being wrapped up in bed on a rainy night. I loved the rambling quality of the songs. Teachers took my mind on a dream like journey, like a spectre wafting through the halls searching for a lover.
I’d listen to ‘Hey that’s no way to say goodbye’ with tears in my eyes. Writing out the lyrics on pink strawberry scented paper.
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm
Yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new
In city and in forest, they smiled like me and you
But now it's come to distances and both of us must try
Your eyes are soft with sorrow
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye
My heart broke for the lovers I was yet to have. I yearned to feel something as strongly this. Leonard Cohen made heartbreak sound beautiful.
As a teenager I continued to listen to the album, but as I grew older the songs grew with me. The lyrics held new meaning, new parallels. I longed to express my feeling with words as beautifully. Poetry became a huge part of my life as did music. But I’ve never felt attracted to artists who over did it or moved to far from raw organic music. As Leonard demonstrates, you need no more than beautiful lyrical poetry, a guitar and sincere vocals.
When I was seventeen my Father poured me a glass of red wine and played me So Long, Marianne. He told me this song was the best advice for how to make a marriage last. It must have worked; my parents have been married for over 30 years.
I still listen to The Songs of Leonard Cohen regularly and it always makes my heart ache in a nostalgic way. Every time I listen I remember; The first time I listened to the album, the moment I fell in love with it. The years spent painting at the dinner table as this record played on a rainy night, the fire crackling along. The night I played it to my husband, seven months pregnant and we agreed on a name.
Our son Cohen is now six years old. When he turns 16 I will wrap up my vinyl copy of The Songs of Leonard Cohen and give it to him for his birthday. Hopefully he’ll be as inspired by his namesake as I have been.
My lover's got humour
She's the giggle at a funeral
Knows everybody's disapproval
I should've worshipped her sooner
If the heavens ever did speak
She's the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday's getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week
'We were born sick,' you heard them say it
My Church offers no absolutes
She tells me, 'Worship in the bedroom.'
The only heaven I'll be sent to
Is when I'm alone with you.
I was born sick,
But I love it
Command me to be well
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Take me to church
I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I'll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
If I'm a pagan of the good times
My lover's the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice
Drain the whole sea
Get something shiny
Something meaty for the main course
That's a fine-looking high horse
What you got in the stable?
We've a lot of starving faithful
That looks tasty
That looks plenty
This is hungry work
Take me to church
I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I'll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife
Offer me my deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
No Masters or Kings
When the Ritual begins
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin
In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am Human
Only then I am Clean
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Take me to church
I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I'll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life.
The table was full of treats. A plethora of prizes. So, so many. The best raffle loot I’d ever seen. Baby toys, bondage gear, sex toys and skincare, whips and reusable lunch wrap. And a fancy grey woollen throw. I do not win prizes. When I buy raffle tickers I think of it as a donation.
A coven of women collected around the table, scouting for what they would claim as their prize if their number was called. I didn’t bother, my number never gets called. Instead I drank wine and chatted to other members of the Wellington Yummy Mummy Club about writing and about what we thought the film would be like.
I hadn’t read the books. I tend to silently boycott popular books, films and T.V shows until I feel so left out of party conversations I submit and read them. Only to feel like I’ve missed the boat when people stare at me blankly after I start raving about them years too late (Breaking Bad).
The group clustered around the table of 50 Shades themed prizes as the raffle began. I was half listening as the first number was called out. I half-heartedly checked my tickets. When I saw the first number the whip clad MC had just called staring back at me I was dumbfounded. It’s me! I called a little to excitedly as I made my way to the table to choose my prize. I had the first pick of the lot. Ohmigodohmigodohmigod what to choose? I had no idea. In a panic I reached for the mystery mega pack of sex toys.
I could have had a $300 dollar woollen throw, a free one hour massage, a hamper of organic meat. I chose the sex toys. Clearly the excitement of 50 Shades had gotten to me, books read or not.
After we all sauntered into the cinema and took our seats the film began. A pretty yet plain Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) getting ready, looking at herself in the mirror while her flu-infected room mate looks on, daring to comment on her dour fashion sense. But Anastasia just laughs because she’s a bit of a doormat.
Though I haven’t read the books I have heard from many readers that the character of Anastasia was a tad flawed as she is supposedly very pretty but does not know it. Usually girls who are very pretty do know it. But in the film Dakota Johnson is just the right about of plain to make this work. She has the potential to scrub up well if she’d stop hunching her shoulders, smack on some lipstick and speak up.
Things were going ok for the film until the arrival of Christian Grey. His entrance, or really Anastasia’s entrance/stumble into his office, is awkward, odd and laugh out loud cheesy. I can’t put my finger on why. Was it the film angle? The way that Christian bounds over to Anastasia to help her up or his mock concern at her clumsy fall. A concern that doesn’t seem right considering his character.
Christian Grey is an enigma. An odd character with no real essence. Jamie Dornan who plays him did not manage to find any depth to this cardboard cut out of a character, instead he continued to flounder on the surface. I did not believe for one minute that Christian Grey was a real person.
Not surprisingly the best thing about this film was the many sex scenes. I found them most enjoyable indeed, however they were anything but wild. Sure there were some whips and some blindfolds but sex wise they were actually quite tame.
There was one scene which really seemed to work. The business meeting between Christian and Anastasia gave the actors a chance to finally add some depth and humour to the story. This was one place where Dornan got to show some of his talent.
Story wise the plot was odd. Drama for the sake of drama, illogical emotional digressions and hurt feelings where there shouldn’t be, lead the plot to take bizarre and unnecessary turns.
Personally I was confused. A super rich dude wants you to be his. He wants to buy you stuff, take you on helicopters and show you off at parties. He also wants to tie you up and whip you a bit and then make you come multiple times. What’s the problem here? I see no problem. You’re young. It doesn’t have to be forever. Just enjoy it for god sake. But she can’t cus that would be boring.
Though Mr Grey is an enigma in this film, supposedly he has a past that we will learn about more in the next film/book. So I guess Dornan’s portrayal of Mr Grey can only improve as the films go on.
One thing’s for sure, 50 Shades has proven to be quite the cash cow, with over 100 million copies sold and the film making $237.7 million in the first weekend alone. Plenty of couples have also claimed that reading 50 shades has improved their marriage exponentially. I figure if it works, go for it!
So will I be seeing the next film? Who knows, by next year I may need a whole new set of sex toys.
There was a time that I dreamed of getting married. I had it all planned out, down to the flowers and the refreshments. My dress would be purple and corseted, a modern take on a princess gown with a bit of edge thrown in to off-set the femininity of it all. The ceremony and reception would take place in a forest clearing, under a marquee erected from animal skins and large tree branches. The music would be raucous folk, heavy on hand drums, wooden flutes and fiddles. My flower girls would be small winged creatures dressed top to toe in a hue of their choice, as would my bridesmaids. Instead of confetti, people would throw flower petals and blow bubbles and at the end of the night my groom and I would leave in a horse drawn carriage.
Yep, I had it all planned out like most young girls do. It’s odd how marriage has become one of the steps in a so-called successful life. Bizarrely, there seems to be a kind of checklist to show your worth in life. Finish highschool. Go to university. Go on your O.E. Get amazing, high paid job. Meet man of your dreams and get him to propose. Get married. Buy a house. Have gorgeous children. Laugh triumphantly while you update your Facebook profile, taking time to make sure all your friends know just how perfect your life is! It’s pre-written paths like this that lead people to become unhappily married. If you’re too desperate to tick something off the list, can you really be sure you are making the right choice?
And what of the man or woman who plays the game, dangles the bait, slides on the ring and then changes dramatically over night when they no longer have to pretend any more. For some, marriage is like finally letting your stomach flap out after a long night in a clinging dress. The test is over, now you can relax and let yourself go. But what if the other participant isn’t so pleased about this new development? Why anyone would get married without first living with their partner is completely beyond me! But it does happen. In fact Patti Stanger of Millionaire Matchmaker strictly recommends women do not move in with their boyfriends before marriage as it may prevent them from popping the question. And really who wants a happy healthy marriage? We’re all just after the ring, right? The shiny sparkly ring, that makes us feel worthwhile.
The Lover-Man and I have been happily unmarried for over 10 years now. After we’d been together three years, the subject of marriage came up. We talked about it a lot and we both agreed: Why spend all that money on one day? We’d much rather use it to by a home to raise our children in without the constant stress of being asked to move out if the owner decided to sell or move back into it themselves. We could also go travelling with that money. Why blow it all on one day, a few toasters, some cutlery and an expensive book of photos? We didn’t care enough about being married to go down to a registry office and do it. What difference does it really make? The Lover-Man had said, we both know we want to be together forever, we don’t need a piece of paper to confirm it. I agreed. So we bought a house instead. A commitment, we both felt was much stronger than marriage anyway.
Raising our children in the wake of the global economic crisis only made this all seem even more poignant. For so many years everyone around us had lived a life of excess, while we had toiled away saving our pennies. Money was to be spent and if you blew far too much on a big night so what, there was more to be made, right? Not so much after 2008. Lucky for us we bought a modest home and learnt to live on one income. We learnt to cut corners and only buy what we really needed. Its amazing what you can live on when you have to and you are happy. We may not be drinking Moet, but we are one happy little family in our cosy little house. A little house we would not have been able to buy at all if we had decided to get married. That one day would have completely changed our futures.
After we had our first son, we again thought, should we? And when I had a bad dose of PND I felt a bit insecure about the fact that we weren't married. I felt like older people were looking at my left hand to see if there was a ring on it. And then judging me when they saw there wasn’t one. Perhaps they thought I was single mother who’d ‘got herself into trouble’ or that my son was unplanned. Neither of these things were true. I think this experience tainted the idea of marriage for me. What difference did being married make? It doesn’t make you a better mother nor does it mean that you are any less likely to stay together as parents. Plenty of married people with children get divorced all the time, so in reality being married does not make your relationship any more secure. The only things that can do that are love, sex and communication.
The more that I felt pressure to be married the more I rebelled against the idea. The pressure usually came from slightly religious people. By slightly, I mean people who claim to be religious but only when they want to be. I am not a religious person. My parents were raised in the catholic faith but both are just as opposed to religion as I am. Religion in itself is enough to put me off marriage completely. I am so against the bible and its many flaws, namely it’s degradation of women and its intolerance of homosexuality that I don’t want anything to do with its religious ceremonies. Perhaps it was bible snippets like this one that put me off, behold:
Ephesians 5:22 – 33:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
In the same vein, considering my opposition to Christianity, isn’t it a little offensive of me to partake in said ceremony? It’s a bit like someone who can’t stand Judaism having a bat mitzvah.
I feel like it is wrong to get married when so many people in the world who want to, can’t. New Zealand is ahead in the human rights movement, passing a bill in 2013 so that gay and lesbian couples can now get married. That is great. But there are still so many countries where marriage is not an option for two people who love each other who also happen to be the same sex. This is not fair. If I were to get married, I would feel like I am saying this is okay. I’d feel like I am supporting an institution that would not support me if I were gay. In that sense, I don’t want any part of it.
There is something to be said about romance. I love romance, Lover-Man however does not communicate on a romantic frequency. Over the years though, I have adjusted and I have also learnt to read his romantic cues. Him bringing me a cup of tea in bed and letting me sleep in on a Saturday morning, is more romantic to both of us than 100 red roses. I definitely don't need him to give me a diamond ring to know that he loves me.
All of this is not to say that I don’t think other people should get married. Getting married is a choice. And whatever the reason, whatever the drive, it is your choice. Not mine. But personally, I prefer to stay happily unmarried, till death do us part.
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I’ve never been a huge fan of Maroon 5. Their sound just doesn’t float my boat. That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally shake my butt to some of their poppier hits. My workout playlist definitely has a few or their tracks included.
Adam Levine has never been one of my dreamboat crushes, nor do I particularly like the sound of his voice. He gets a little high and squeaky at times. Just because you can sing up in your head voice guys, doesn’t mean that you always should – unless you’re Jack White that is.
Adam Levine graced our T.V screens in The Voice or some such silly singing competition show, where the judges torment the contestants by scrutinising their vocal abilities, much more than they were probably scrutinised themselves back in the 90s, when they first started out.
When I saw Mr Levine in the film Begin Again, alongside a rather likeable Keria Knightley, I was floored. He was charming and watchable. I started to like him. That was until I saw the latest music video for Maroon 5.
Sugar is a sweet little ditty of a song put to a story of Maroon 5 supposedly crashing a whole bunch of real weddings in one day, surprising the revellers by bursting into song at the reception. As soon as I saw the video I was suspicious. The very first wedding to get crashed was odd. An older man, presumably playing father of the bride or groom sees a screen being pulled up infront of the stage area. He looks up curiously and a little confused. The thing is he looks a little too curious and confused and his reaction is caught on camera perfectly in focus and in frame. How convenient.
The second thing that seemed fishy, was the groom from the first wedding. Hey! I thought, isn’t that that kiwi guy who landed that role in the William and Kate bio-pic? His name is Nico Evers-Swindell, memorable to us kiwis because his cousins are Olympic medal winners. And yes, it is him. An actor.
On further watching something else occurred to me. These people are all really pretty. Like really pretty. There are no fatties in the bunch. Typical LA I thought. But then I thought harder. Yes, typical LA, where nothing is real, everything is fake.
That was when I saw her. A very pretty, thin brunette. A shocked bride halfway through the video. Hey! I shrieked! She is from America’s Next Top Model! I couldn’t remember her name, but I knew he face. But she was a model, and perhaps even an actress now too. Hmmm, how convenient. Turns out her name is Raina Hein.
Once the video finished, I got to work, furiously googling away to confirm my suspicions. It turned out I was not the only one who’d smelt a rat. The interweb was awhirl with plenty of others who were just as suspicious as I!
According to Cosmopolitan.com most of the weddings were indeed staged, including those of Nico Evers-Swindell and model Raina Hein. According to Jezebel, the actors who played the parents of the Asian bride and groom, also fessed up about the staged video and posted a telling comment onto their Facebook page.
All of this would have been fine. No big deal. It’s a music video based on the concept of real wedding being crashed. It’s not like a band are saying that the weddings were real right? Wrong! At the very start of the video, Levine talks to the camera saying that they intend to crash as many weddings as they can in one day. And Levine is quoted by ET as saying . "It felt good to surprise these people and make them happy. [We were] happy that they liked our band too." Liar! You big lying liar!
Though in his defence, according to EntertainThis, two of the featured weddings were indeed real ones, with proof being that photos from the weddings were leaked on Twitter some months before the video aired. Of the two weddings that were actually real, the grooms knew ahead of time that their wedding was to be crashed by the band. So not even those surprised faces of the grooms are real. What can we believe anymore?
If you’re making a music video about crashing real weddings then, by jingo, why not just crash real weddings? And if for some reason you can’t, don’t freaking lie about it. Why are people spending time and effort to feign an unscripted impromptu false reality? Its a bit like strategically ripped jeans and designer dark roots. And don’t even get me started on Beyoncé’s video for 7/11! It may have been filmed on an iphone, but we all know just as much time went into planning that clip as all the others!