Do the hustle.

American Hustle (2013)

Last Friday night my friends and I made the spur of the moment decision to go and see David O. Russell’s new film American Hustle (2013). The all-star cast (featuring the likes of Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper) promised a riveting film following the “last con” for con artists Irving Rosenfeld (Bale), a middle-ages overweight and blading man, and Sydney Prosser (Adams), a vivacious young woman with a taste for risky business ventures. The couple are forced to work for the FBI to avoid jail time and as such, are forced to work with the wild and unpredictable Richie DiMaso (Cooper) to bring down corrupt politicians (Renner’s character Mayor Carmine Polito) and ultimately, the mob. I don’t want to give the plot away so I won’t delve too much deeper into the story but as you can imagine, tense situations and vulgar language ensued with a barrage of predictable plot twists and a typical cameo of Robert De Niro as a the ever-allusive mob boss.

I have to admit when I first saw the trailer for this film on YouTube, I was pretty stoked and I couldn’t wait for the release date. I got the impression from the trailer that it would be a fast-paced action-drama film with an absolutely stellar cast and an interesting view of the world according to con artists. So I got my ticket and my popcorn, got comfortable in my chair and eagerly anticipated the start of the film. Two and a bit hours later, I emerged disappointed. While each actor gives a great performance and David O. Russell does a great job of directing, I thought that the overall pace of the film was too slow. I was more focused on how uncomfortable my seat was making me than the story. I felt like there was nothing new or exciting about the overall story line and I know that all films have to follow a certain narrative trend but I was neither shocked nor surprised by the events portrayed in the film. Now I’m a HUGE film lover and for me to sit through a film and be thinking “DEAR GOD when will this be over?! Is this the worlds longest movie?!” probably isn’t the ideal or intended response the director was looking for. It’s a rare thing for me to have this reaction to a film that I was really looking forward to seeing so I was rather taken aback when I departed the cinema with “Thank God that’s over!” running through my less-than-impressed brain. What is a 138 minute film could have been reduced, in my opinion, to 90 minutes and still get the point across while also encompassing all the directorial flourishes attributed to a O. Russell film. I was not what you would call a “happy chappy”.

Now that what I believe to be the cons (oh yeah, I did that) of the film have been identified, it’s time to look at what I believe to be the pros of American Hustle (2013).

As I mentioned earlier in this post, the performances given by each actor were great. They each explored and maintained their individual character types and allowed the audience to easily follow character development and progression throughout the film. The rare moments that did get a bit of a giggle out of me was when Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Rosalyn Rosenfeld (married to Irving), had a bit of a melt-down and danced like a crazy person in her 1970’s living room in front of her young son and how she continuously seemed to be setting her home on fire. Particular attention must be also paid to the scene where she puts a metal take-out container in the “science microwave” and sets her kitchen alight. Classic. In addition to these things, the costume and set designs were excellent. Sure you wouldn’t catch me dead wearing anything either Sydney Prosser or Rosalyn Rosenfeld wore and Irving’s taupe is gross but without these elements, the film definitely wouldn’t feel like an authentic representation of the 1970s. So I applaud those clever people who got it right in the costume and set design departments.

The sheer size of the collated acting and directorial chops (Academy Awards nominees and winners, Golden Globe nominations and winners) was enough to get me, and no doubt thousands of others, through the cinema door, wanting to see American Hustle (2013) but upon re-entry into the real world, I was left deflated and disappointed. Judge for yourselves though.

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Once upon a time in my bright white office…

… I got so incredibly and frustratingly bored that I chucked an epic hissy fit just for something to do. Phones were pegged at the wall, paper was off-loaded into the air and general screaming and swearing ensued with intermittent sobbing and floor-crumpling. I was the prime example of a toddler who, for the first time in their short, short life, has been told ‘no’ and only just seems to comprehend its full implications.

Well, not really but I’m seriously on the verge. Uni finished for the year about two months ago and as such, I’ve been working full-time to help while away the hours and earn a little extra cash so I can actually afford to travel through the U.S next year. I work from 7.45am until 4pm with an hour for lunch at a rate of approximately $35 an hour so it really doesn’t seem that bad and I shouldn’t complain. There are plenty of people out there struggling to find work and while my rational brain knows and accepts this, my irrational brain can only cling to the fact that I literally have NOTHING to do, am bored beyond belief and that this boredom is due to continue well into January 2014. I have no doubt that my friends are seriously sick of my continued complaining about work but try as I might, I can’t seem to steer myself away from it for an entire conversation. A simple “Work’s fine thanks” should suffice but instead I delve into a rant about how bored I am and how there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. A bit like I’m doing at the moment actually. Sorry. I will say this though, thank God for the internet and those people who release their books online for people like me to read while at work. George R. R. Martin: You’re keeping me sane and occupied with your treason filled, murderous, incestuous and soft porn stories.

Anyway, I’ll try and stop complaining. I will, however, divulge the circumstances that have lead to my current employment displeasure. Now I’ve been working for the same university in the same office for close to three years (a personal record I might add) and it’s been one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I used to get up in the morning and not mind having to go into work because I worked with people who a) were super fun, b) got the job done no matter what while also having a laugh along the way and c) were just a pleasure to work with as part of a fun, cohesive and highly-productive team. The cracks at the seam began to appear when the university started going through rounds of redundancies. They weren’t entirely unexpected and I’m sure we’ve all noticed the redundancy trend that’s been making its way through other multiple industries and companies this year but when you work so successfully in an existing team, surely they wouldn’t screw it up by forcing people out. I could not have been more wrong. I’m one of the last standing members of our original administration office and the university, in terms of staff morale and productivity, have gone downhill fast. Throughout the course of the redundancies, I lost my wonderful colleagues, my desk and my employment responsibility and drive. By employment responsibility and drive I mean that I’m no longer required to manage the same number of tasks that I had become accustomed to (and ridiculously good at) and as such, am now hopelessly under appreciated and utilized in my office. What really gets my goat is that I know how awesome my office used to be and it makes me so sad to see just how far we’ve sunk into the boggy mess that is a dispirited and depressing workplace. On top of all of this, there is little to no love for the new Campus Director so staff members are even grumpier than normal and there’s no sense of community any more. The new Campus Director is of the opinion that if it’s not in your job description, you can’t be expected to do it and with this mentality and approach to work, there’s no way that any admin task gets done by the required deadline. I’ve gone so far as to go outside of my ‘official job description’ just so the work gets done because I feel like if I don’t do it, no-one will. I’m getting to the point now where, upsetting as it is to think about, I need to start looking for a new job. What used to be an excellent place to work has transformed into something that is slowly but surely eating away at my soul.

Rant end.

Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg…

‘Tis the season to be jolly and merry and all of those other holiday-related emotions except, I’m really not feeling any of them at present. The mere mention of the silly season is making me feel utterly exhausted and I haven’t even begun to get properly prepared. Sure I’ve bought a few presents for family members (thank God for online shopping) and kind-of, sort-of know what else I need to get but when I think of the actual festivities planned for the official Christmas period, I want to run and hide in a dark, dark cave of obliviousness. I have no idea why I feel the way I do about Christmas this year because normally, it’s the time of year I most look forward to. I get to open presents, eat ridiculous amounts of food and relax before starting work in the new year. Perhaps my holiday dread is coming from the fact that this year, I get the wonderful opportunity to celebrate Christmas over three days (that sentence is dripping in sarcasm just in case you didn’t realise). Sure it sounds great but pause, and reeeaally think about. I love my family but seriously, THREE DAYS! I can barely sit through an entire meal let alone three entire days, without either falling asleep of boredom or finding an excuse to leave because I have absolutely nothing to say (awkward silences and I aren’t really what you’d call ‘friends’). One day is usually a sufficient amount of time to conduct the prescribed catch-ups (How’s work? How’s uni? How long do you have left of your degree? etc) and fill my extended family quota until next Christmas but no, December 25th, 26th and 27th are going to be the death of me. Seriously. I might need to medicate just to get through it.

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

And the 10 finalists are…

As the year is quickly drawing to a close, I thought that this is as good a time as any to reflect on the last twelve months. Like with the years that have preceded 2013, there have been high highs and low lows which have allowed the days to pass me by in a flash. The post high school time speed up really isn’t so much a myth but more a general consensus felt by my friends and I because the older we get and the further away from high school, the faster the years seem to go by. Nevertheless, there have been many momentous occasions this year and I think that this is a good opportunity for me to list my top 5 and 10’s. There are a few different categories but like with any list maker worth their salt, they will be appropriately labeled so here goes. Just note that obviously these lists are only for what I have experienced. There will no doubt be much disagreement with some of them. Also, try not to judge me too harshly. I have a lot of guilty pleasures.

TOP 10 WINNING MOMENTS OF 2013

1. The day my friends, James and Kayla, got engaged at the top of a mountain. (I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE WEDDING IN JUNE 2014!)

2. Surprising one of my most excellent friends, Tiffany Winteler, at the airport upon her return from 6 months in Munich (There was a glitter covered sign, a shocked expression and tears. Priceless.)

3. Going on my first ever high school prac at Centenary State High School as part of my Secondary Education degree. (Teaching Year 12 English and then having a Year 12 boy come up to me and thank me on behalf of his classmates. Validation at last!)

4. Finding out that fans raised enough money to finance the Veronica Mars movie due to be released in 2014.

5. Finding, booking and paying for cheap flights to the U.S for a month in June/July 2014. ($AU1400 return. America come at me!)

6. Running my first 10km fun run in under 50 minutes (Bridge to Brisbane 2013) and completing the “Happiest 5km run in the world” (Gold Coast Colour Run 2013).

7. Seeing King Kong on stage in Melbourne. (He’s a 2 tonne puppet! AH-FREAKING-MAZING!)

8. Starting to write my blog and having complete strangers like what I’m writing.

9. Turning 26 and having a onesie party. (It was pure, unadulturated fun and I recommend that everyone try it!)

10. Getting my paws, claws, hair and make-up done for Gala on the Green. (I felt a bit like a movie star wearing my glamourous dress and jewellery. Just sayin’.)

TOP 10 FAILS OF 2013

1. Failing a take-home university test on TV genres by second guessing myself and submitting the second version of my answers instead of the first version with the correct answers. (Doh!)

2. Doing broad jumps at bootcamp carrying 20kg. (My back is still suffering the consequences 3 weeks later. I can only blame myself.)

3. Constantly having to dip into my savings because I under-estimate how much money I spend on a fortnightly basis. (Whoops!)

4. Not being able to convince my parents to take me on their month-long Greek/Turkish holiday.

5. Still having to live at home with the olds.

6. Continuing to work for a company that I no longer enjoy working for. (The money is just too good to pass up.)

7. Feeling like I’m stuck in the blackhole that is Brisbane. (I do love living here but sometimes I just really need to escape!)

8. Not paying better attention to/not really caring what I’m eating.

9. Allowing myself to be consumed by new TV episodes on iTunes rather than by my university work.

10. Witnessing Miley Cyrus gyrate and twerk while repeatedly exposing her tonsils to onlookers during her performance at the 2013 VMAs. (What was seen cannot be unseen.)

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2013 (CINEMA & DVD RELEASES)

*NB: It’s not the end of the year yet and there were a few films that I haven’t had a chance to see just yet (ie. Anchorman 2, Argo, American Hustle, Gravity etc)

1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Director: Francis Lawrence With: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson)

2. Warm Bodies (Director: Jonathan Levine With: Nicolas Holt, Teresa Palmer, John Malcovich)

3. Enough Said (Director: Nicole Holofcener With: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini)

4. Furious 6 (Director: Justin Lin With: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson)

5. Iron Man 3 (Director: Shane Black With: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce)

6. Sound City (Director: Dave Grohl)

7. The Heat (Director: Paul Feig With: Sandra Bullock, Michael McDonald, Melissa McCarthy)

8. The Family (Director: Luc Besson With: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Agron, John D’Leo)

9. Now You See Me (Director: Louis Leterrier With: Jesse Eisenberg, Common, Mark Ruffalo)

10. Thor: Dark World (Director: Alan Taylor With: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston)

TOP 10 TV SERIES WATCHED/WATCHING IN 2013

1. Game of Thrones, Season 3

2. Supernatural, Season 9

3. Veronica Mars, Season 1-3

4. Grey’s Anatomy, Season 10

5. Elementary, Season 1-2

6. The Walking Dead, Season 4

7. Vampire Diaries, Season 5

8. The Originals, Season 1

9. The Carries Diaries, Season 2

10. Hart of Dixie, Season 3

TOP 5 LIVE ACTS I SAW IN 2013

1. Adam Hills “Happyism” @ The Brisbane Convention Centre

2. Taylor Swift’s RED Tour @ Suncorp Stadium

3. Arj Barker’s “Go Time” @ The Brisbane Powerhouse

4. Dead Letter Circus @ The Tempo

5. TBA… (I really should have thought this out better)

TOP 10 SONGS I LISTENED TO THE MOST IN 2013

*The songs were’t necessarily released in 2013. There are a couple of oldies in there.

1. Red – Taylor Swift

2. Clarity – Zedd featuring Foxes

3. Asleep – Emily Browning (from the Sucker Punch Soundtrack)

4. Work B**ch – Britney Spears

5. Someone To Love – Havana Brown

6. Of The Night – Bastille

7. Buses and Trains – Bachelor Girl

8. Get Lucky – Daft Punk

9. The Wire – HAIM

10. Blue (Da Ba Dee) – Eiffel 65

I could go on and on, making more and more lists but I suspect that there are only so many that people actually tolerate reading in one post. For now, I’ll leave the rest of my lists for future posts and leave you with a parting thought: What were your lists for 2013?

Addicted. But not to what you would think.

There are a million things that people find themselves addicted to. We throw the word around like it’s candy falling out of an piñata. We say things like “I’m sooo addicted to World of Warcraft right now” (I’m not a gamer. Can you tell?) or “I can’t stop watching Grey’s Anatomy. I think I’m addicted”. Psychology Today describes addiction as a compulsive behavior that has adverse effects on things like work, relationships and your health but what if you’re addiction doesn’t? Is it still an addiction if you just can’t stop but it’s not really affecting anyone? A lot of addictions are ridiculously serious (drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling) and I’m not, in any way, diminishing the devastating effects that these addictions have on people and their families but what if you’re addiction is something a little less serious. What if you’re addiction is something that you can laugh at? What if you’re a highly functioning addict and there really aren’t any adverse affects to you or those around you?

The reason why I’m writing this particular post is because I have a problem. I can’t stop spending my money on iTunes. Movies, music and TV shows are my drugs of choice and when I look at my bank statement, I would say a good 70% of my earnings is spent on buying things that I know I can download for free. It’s really a pointless and easily avoidable addiction but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. I’ve started and now I can’t stop. Now I know that there’s absolutely no way my “addiction” can compare to the real addictions that people have with drugs and the like but when I think about the amount of time and money I spend on downloading these things it makes me wonder what else my money would be spent on if I had never discovered iTunes. How much larger would the sum in my savings account be? Would I be living on my own rather than at home because I could afford it? Would I be enjoying life more? There are just so many questions and outcomes!

Ultimately by asking myself these questions it raised more, so it also makes me wonder about how we perceive addiction, both societally and individually, and those people who are affected by it? Has our society become so hung up on the word “addict” that we automatically assume the worst possible meaning? That a person can only be an addict if they are junkie’s, alcoholics or owe thousands of dollars to a loan shark for gambling debts? Sure there are plenty of stereotypes out there for us to associate addiction with – there’s the man on the street corner who’s homeless and therefore (obviously) a junkie but what about those men and women who have high powered jobs, luxury homes and adoring families who are considered addicts of whatever their drug of choice is? Do we treat them differently from the way we would treat the homeless man? Maybe we don’t realise it at the time but I’m sure that we do treat the various types of addict differently from one another. For example, my younger sister works for a stock broking firm and the men who work there are professional, well-dressed and responsible men but my sister describes them as being functional alcoholics. They’re constantly bailing on the office to go to “work” lunches and frequently turn up in the morning hung-over but she doesn’t shy away from them. She continues to work with them as if there’s nothing wrong but I’m sure that if she saw a homeless man on the street with a bottle of rum in his hand in the middle of the day, she would do her best to avoid coming into contact with the man. This reaction is not uncommon and we’re all guilty of it at some stage in our lives. A lot of the time, we see addiction as being this horrible thing and it is but I think that everyone is addicted to something whether we are aware of it or not. For me it’s spending ridiculous amounts of money on iTunes, for others it might be something even more everyday and inconspicuous like coffee or chocolate so perhaps we should just take a moment and think: What am I addicted to?

Just a little somethin’ somethin’.

I love to read. When I was growing up, I absolutely hated it but then came Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I fell in love and haven’t been able to stop since. My vocabulary has been extended and each book that I read opens up endless opportunities for escape from my dreary life. In interviews with J. K. Rowling, she says that Hogwarts and all of her characters had been alive in her imagination long before she ever wrote anything down and that the characters are as much apart of who she is as they are individual, three-dimensional fictional characters. I’ve previously written that I would love to one day write a book or series of books that are as loved by readers as the Harry Potter series and while I’m nowhere even close to being able to do that, I’ve been bored at work lately and as a consequence, I’ve been tapping away at the below story. It’s by no means an amazing piece of writing but it did help to cure my boredom for a little while.

The pre-dawn air was cool and there was dew covering the hard ground beneath my feet. I curled my toes and caught the grass and red earth between them. It was peaceful here. There were no interruptions and no unwelcome noises, only blissful silence and calm. I looked out towards the familiar farmhouse from my childhood, looming in the distance and noticed a tired looking tree that seemed to just appear out of nowhere. I had grown up here and yet, had never noticed the tree before. I began moving towards it but it seemed like no matter how many steps I took, the tree remained where it was and I got no closer. I started to run and then panic started to creep its way through my feet, into my legs and up my body surrounding and clutching at my heart. I have to get to that tree. I’m not entirely sure why but I’m pretty sure that my life depends on it. In my panic, I didn’t see the tree root before it was too late. I crashed into the ground and then all I could hear was the pounding of my frantically pumping heart in my ears. After a moment, I felt something start to pull at my right arm. The pulling became increasingly more desperate and it felt like my arm was going to be ripped from my body. There was one last fraught pull and then all of a sudden, my eyes snapped open and I was in my bed, in my apartment with my arm still safely attached.

“It was just a dream.” I sighed and reached over to check the time on my phone and quickly retracted my arm as a sharp pain shot up from my wrist to shoulder. I got out of bed to look in the mirror to see if maybe I hit my arm against something in my sleep but it looked fine. Strange. I gingerly tested my arm and it felt fine. I shrugged it off and went over to my bedside table to check the time. It was 5:16am and my alarm wasn’t due to go off until 6am. “Great.” I said to myself. I debated about whether or not to just get up but an extra forty-five minutes of sleep was too tempting. I crawled back into bed and slipped back into a fitful sleep. All too soon, my alarm was blaring and I had to drag myself out of bed. I should have just gotten up forty-five minutes ago. Now I feel even more tired than I did before. I was so preoccupied with being cranky at the morning that all memory of the dream and my sore arm were gone.

The rest of my day passed without any major incidents. I made myself presentable in all black, went to work and slaved over a hot espresso machine in forty degree heat for eight hours. By the time 4pm rolled around, I was more than ready to head home. I walked through my apartment door to find my pig of a boyfriend asleep on the couch, covered in pizza flavoured Shape crumbs with the TV blaring. Fucking useless man. I decided that the best approach to waking Noah up was to unceremoniously kick the couch until he stirred from what I can only imagine was a dream involving V8 Supercars and bikini-clad women. I told you, he’s a pig. I don’t even know why I’m still bothering with him. Maybe it has something to do with being comfortable or maybe I’m just afraid to be alone. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in a relationship. I don’t think I’ve ever had more than a two week period of singledom. Maybe I should just dump Noah and be done with it, with him. Maybe it’ll good for me but then again, I would be alone and despite everything, Noah has his charms. When he wants to be, he can be the kind of man that sweeps me off my feet with his romanticism but it seems like, these days, those moments are few and far between. It’s been months since anything even remotely resembling romance entered my life. I don’t even think I like, let alone love Noah any more. I really do need to do something about that. Didn’t someone once say that a life without love is no life at all? Maybe it’s time I draw a proverbial line in sand but for now, Noah needs to get off my couch.

“Noah, get up. I’m pretty sure you have to be at work in 5 minutes.”

He groaned as he rolled off the couch, brushed the crumbs off his shirt and proceeded to laboriously stuff all of his belongings into the backpack next to him. God he’s a slob.

“You could’ve woken me up earlier Cara. A little common decency wouldn’t kill you.” Noah grunted.

I looked at him in disbelief. “Ok so you being late to work because you fell asleep in front of the TV at 5pm is my fault? I literally just walked through the door after having spent the last eight hours making the money that pays for this pleasure dome of an apartment you’re currently frequenting. Sorry that I wasn’t more considerate of your precious feelings but you know, you do have your own place.”

“Jesus. There’s no need to get all PMS’ey on me Cara.”

“Seriously Noah? You’re going to pull that misogynistic crap with me?” he looked at me like I’d fatally wounded him.  “You know what, don’t even bother. I’m going to go and have a shower and when I get out; I expect you’ll be gone.” And with that, I walked out of the room. I really need to stop letting him get to me. I really need to stop wasting my time on him. I’ll deal with it tomorrow. Promise.

I drop my bag on my bedroom floor and head for the serenity that only a hot shower can provide. There’s nothing better than having the scolding water wash away the day’s grime and to emerge a refreshed and calm person. Right now, I need calm. I need to forget what just happened and all of the fights that have come before that one. I need to escape. I turn on the shower and undress while the bathroom turns into a makeshift steam room. I climb into the shower and let the water rush over me and momentarily, I don’t care about anything else other than how nice the water pressure and heat feels against my skin. I close my eyes and put my head under the stream of water. The world begins fades away. I’m finally beginning to relax and my body feels too heavy to be able to hold up any more. I sit down and utter relaxation washes over my entire body. The hot water against my skin together with the slap of water against my blue shower tiles soon consumed me.

I’m back in that familiar paddock behind my old house. I see the house and the horizon but there was something not quite right with the picture. It was like I was trying to see the picture while under water. The outlines are blurred and fuzzy but still recognisable. Slowly, my vision improves and I see Noah standing there. It’s strange because I didn’t know him when I lived here. I never even told him about this place so how can he possibly be here? He reaches out towards me and says something but I can’t hear him. I begin to take a step towards him but as I do, he doubles over, in what I can only assume is pain, and drops to the ground. I run over to him to find him lying on the ground, motionless. I touched his face and immediately pulled it away. His face felt ice and was hard as stone. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. There’s something very wrong going on here. I looked up from Noah’s lifeless body and saw the same gnarled and tired looking tree beside my old house that was so unfamiliar and yet, maybe it isn’t so unfamiliar. I get up off the ground and walk the hundred meters over to the tree. It had to be at least thirty-feet from trunk to treetop. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so tall in all of my twenty-six years. How could I never have noticed it before? I reached out and touched the gnarled trunk. It looked so rough and weather-beaten but it felt as smooth as silk. I looked towards the emerald leaf-covered canopy and thought; this tree must be hundreds of years old. Suddenly an electric shock when through my hand that was touching the tree. I jerked my hand away immediately and checked to see if there were any marks where I felt the shock enter but I saw nothing. A cool breeze stirred the leaves in the undergrowth beneath my feet and caused my summer dress to gently brush against my legs. Someone behind me called my name. It wasn’t a whisper but rather like someone had called my name from afar and travelled on the breeze towards me. I quickly turned towards the sound and for the briefest of moment, saw Noah standing there, beckoning to me. Then I woke up.

I was up against the wall in my shower where the water was now lukewarm. How long have I been asleep? I got up, turned off the water and got out of the shower.

To be continued….

Piercings and tattoos and stretchers, oh my.

These days, pretty much everyone you meet has (or has had) some form of piercing, tattoo, stretcher or all of the above about their person. It is a rare thing indeed to find someone whose skin is neither blemished with ink or perforated by a stainless steel or silver rod. This is no truer than with me as I have a current total of three tattoos and thirteen piercings (there will undoubtedly be more) but a friend of mine has never paid a visit to the local piercing/tattoo parlour. Outrageous I tell you! She prefers to stick to clip-on earrings, devilishly stylish in their own right, to sate her accessory appetite. What I don’t understand is why, if I’m so addicted, isn’t everyone else?

People often see my piercings and tattoos and predictably they ask “Didn’t that hurt?” to which my response is usually “Not really, no”. Sure there’s a measureable about of momentary discomfort when you get jabbed repeatedly with a needle but pain? That’s not what I’d call it. I prefer to think of it as more of an instant but fleeting reminder that I’m not dead yet. As well as that, it’s a way for me to express myself. Like with a new hair colour and cut (which I also do fairly regularly), I feel like a new and more exciting person when I get a new piercing or tattoo. They are simply a way in which I can change my appearance when I get bored or feel like I’m stuck in a rut but more than that, my tattoos, in particular, are a permanent road map of my life so far. They each have their own story, place of origin (I got each one in a different country), meaning and are as individual as I am. You won’t see any generic images inked on my skin.

All the accessories that I’ve added to body are representative of the person I am and when I’m asked “Why don’t’ you just take them out or cover them up?”, I rage a little (to myself of course) while also attempting to laugh it off. Removing a piercing or tattoo would like be trying to scrub clean a part of myself that is so ingrained within me that it would be next to impossible to remove all signs of it. In any case, it’s not going to happen any time soon so quit asking.

Like with everything, our society and perceptions are in a constant state of flux and so the way we see the world and those people in it, is constantly shifting. There used to be such a taboo regarding people with lots of tattoos and piercings but now, it’s a culturally acceptable thing. About fifteen years or so ago, it probably wouldn’t have been acceptable for me, a young 20-something-year-old woman to be working in an office environment with multiple, visible tattoos and piercings. More likely than not, I would have been asked to take them out or cover them up. Nowadays it’s perfectly acceptable which I think is excellent. Sure there’s still a small amount of taboo associated with people with lots of tattoos and piercings but it usually only comes from the older more conservative generations. I’ll never forget the time my Auntie’s husband said how inappropriate it is for a young woman of my age to have metal rods coming out of my face/ears and tattoos inked into my skin. He’s a bit of a fuddy-duddy.

Anyway, all I’m really trying to say is: Power to the pierced and inked. We will rule the world.