Go Back To Where You Came From

I have never been one to watch SBS. I prefer the superficial easy watching of Nickelodeon and Disney and shows on the BBC. Yesterday, however, my Geography teacher begged us to watch “Go Back To Where You Came From” and I reluctantly agreed. I didn’t know what to expect from the show, never really having an interest in Refugees and Asylum Seekers. I have known that they’re there, of course, but have never cared enough to form an opinion over the subject. I sat down and found myself on the verge of tears. I was absolutely heartbroken, especially when half the group was sent to a family of refugees in my town. As I watched, I thought of the new girls who have just started at my school, moving from Zimbabwe to seek a better life. It hit home hard, and I suddenly realised how much I just want them to all come and live here. 
I don’t really know what else to say on the subject. It’s so emotional and…I don’t even know. If you haven’t been watching, promise you’ll tune in tomorrow night at 8.30pm for the final part (unless you’ll be joining me at the Miley Cyrus concert!). Every Australian should watch. I can’t even explain how powerful and brilliant it is. 

frangipani princess xoxo

The Dark Side Of Fangirling

I’m a fangirl. Gosh, I practically define what being a fangirl is, yet I know where to draw the line. Well, most of the time I do, anyway. While I like to say I’m going to end up married to all of my celebrity crushes, I do know that in reality, it’s not likely to happen. When it’s revealed they do in fact, have a girlfriend, I’m happy for them. Most of the time, anyway. I very rarely refer to her as a stupid whore, I promise. What I don’t understand, is the number of deluded fangirls who give the rest of us a bad name. We’ve seen it with the beliebers who sent Selena Gomez death threats, and then more recently, and disturbingly (we always knew the beliebers were insane), Dcriss fans have gone insane after Chris Colfer revealed Darren had a girlfriend.

 As much as I love being a part of the Dcriss and Starkid fandoms, the fans take everything a bit too far sometimes. Last year there was a big drama after certain fans began posting very personal pictures of the Starkids on tumblr and various other sites on the interwebs. Team Starkid were just trying to live their dreams whilst having fun with their friends, and yet people felt the need to invade their privacy. 

Then, in the last couple of days, there has been outrageous reactions to the Darren-Has-A-Girlfriend news. People saying they wanted to kill his girlfriend were just the first step, and as I read through posts on tumblr, I felt so disappointed in this fandom. Here’s a newsflash, fangirls, when someone is as attractive and famous and epic as Darren, they’re not going to stay single forever, and even more so, they’re not going to marry some random fan from the other side of the country, or world. You don’t own Darren, and you should be happy for him. That’s what being a fan is. Supporting and being happy for your favourite celebrities no matter who they’re friends with or dating. At the end of the day, celebrities are just regular people. You wouldn’t send your best friend’s new boyfriend a death threat, so why would you send them to your favourite celebrity’s new partner? 

I guess the real point that should be made, but admittedly I find this one hard to follow, is that celebrity’s private lives are none of our business. I’ve had to debate this topic a few times and the debate always boils down to the point of “If they wanted to have a ‘private’ life, they shouldn’t have chosen to pursue that career path”. While the part of me that wants to be a blatant fangirl and know absolutely everything about my favourite celebs shouts this point in glee, another part of me kind of thinks we don’t have the right to stalk them simply because they’re trying to live their dream. Unfortunately, the ease of the internet and my serious gossip obsession makes the “They have no private life” argument win in my eyes, so I’ll continue to stalk them through the interwebs (and follow their friends and relatives on twitter. I mean, what?!) and discover everything about them. While I may know who their kindergarten best friends were and their favourite flavour of ice-cream, I will always respect whoever they choose to date (*cough* In theory, and for most of them, anyway).

frangipani princess xoxo

Bye-Bye Rob

As I mention all the time, Rob’s entertainment column is my favourite part of Girlfriend Magazine, so when I opened the May issue and discovered he was leaving GF, I was devastated. Ok, I knew before opening the magazine, as Erica had asked me to write him a tribute column, but I still felt sad seeing his final column in print. You can see what I had to say about Rob here.

Also in the May issue of GF (featuring Katy Perry), I was excited to see Kerri and Eva’s blog featured in the ‘Click It’ section. I’ve been a fan of theirs since the beginning (hello Jonas Forum friends) and adore their musings on everything from JB to Harry Potter to Supernatural to Life, so it’s great to see them finally getting some recognition. 

frangipani princess xoxo

Sometimes I Am Proud To Be A Demi Fan

Back in November, I posted about Demi Lovato entering rehab. She’s been out for a few months now, but at the end of last week an interview aired in which she revealed the true depths of her suffering. Although it must have been extremely difficult for her, she didn’t hold back in sharing any parts of her story. She admitted she had suffered from an eating disorder, and was also self harming. 

It was especially brave of her to admit to self harm. In today’s society, we are accepting of eating disorders, while not as ‘normal’ per se, but as well, just being acknowledged. We all know someone, or numerous someones who has suffered or is suffering from one, and there are foundations and articles and motivational speakers out there to raise awareness of them. Self harm, however, still has a massive stigma attached to it. No one really admits to it in public, lest they get shunned. We all know it’s there, but when you think of people who self harm your mind automatically goes towards weird emos or people who want to die. In society’s mind, self harm is for bizarre fringe dwellers who no one respectable would associate with, or be. We like to believe it’s a problem *normal* members of society wouldn’t dare suffer from. By telling her story, Demi is showing that you can be a superstar, absolutely gorgeous, dating a freaking Jonas Brother and still feel the urge to hurt yourself. That it’s not just an ’emo’ thing. That it’s a real problem suffered by real members of society and that it can happen to anyone, regardless of clique, hair colour, skin colour, bank balance, interests, intellect…She is helping to make everyone aware of it, talk about it, encourage people to admit to doing it. You can self harm for years, and if you cover it well enough, no one will ever know. You’re not losing weight, you’re not rushing to the bathroom after you eat. Unless someone sees your scars, everyone remains oblivious. By letting us know just what she went through, Demi is telling everyone that it’s an ok conversation to have. That you shouldn’t be afraid of the consequences of asking for help. That self harm exists and your gorgeous best friend could be hiding scars and awareness needs to be raised just as much, if not more than, it needs to be raised for eating disorders. 

Demi is working with a program called Love Is Louder which aims to spread the message that ‘love is louder than the pressure to be perfect’. The campaign let’s youth know that they always have someone there who loves and will accept them, and they never, ever have to resort to drastic measures to try and feel good about themselves. Another brilliant campaign is To Write Love On Her Arms which organises days of awareness where supporters write the word ‘Love’ on their arms to try and encourage self harmers to do that instead of cutting. The Butterfly Project, which is helped spread by Tumblr, is another great initiative to help give self harmers the motivation to quit. 

It was amazing of Demi to open up. If she even helps one girl, one person, who is hurting, then it will all be worth it. Hopefully her confessions will help to spread awareness and acceptance of self harm, and one day it can be talked about as openly as eating disorders are. It’s not something to be ashamed of, and I am just so happy, so relieved, Demi sees that. Now just for the rest of the world.

frangipani princess xoxo

On Paper Giants And Growing Up A Mag Junkie In A Land Of Dwindling Readership

I was born in 1994. By the time I was old enough to read a magazine it was 2000 (and it was Barbie Magazine), and by the time I was actually old enough to read a ‘proper’ magazine it was 2005. In magland years, this puts me at a severe disadvantage. Though I have always known this, watching ‘Paper Giants’ last night really drove the point home for me. Cleo started 22 years before I was born and in those 22 and the immediate years after, which I spent learning to walk and talk, were the key years for not only Cleo, but the entire industry. As I grew, so did technology, until by the time I started high school in 2007, just two years after really beginning to read magazines, the internet was taking over. 

I remember the tail end of the magazine hype, before the circulation and readership figures really started to decline, and how everyone at school would have the latest Girlfriend and Dolly. We’d all spend lunchtimes devouring the mags from cover to cover, and then discuss them in great detail. All our books were plastered with our favourite pages and our walls were covered with posters we found within. It was a giant love affair we all took part in and adored.
Then, and I’m not sure the exact moment when this happened, but I was suddenly the only one who still bought the mags. Weirdly enough, I was also the one who was the most into the internet, always being the first to read the gossip sites and blogs to discover all the latest celebrity news. For my peers, it wasn’t that the internet had taken over, it was just that they had stopped caring.

Ten or twenty years earlier, this wouldn’t have happened. Well, some people are always going to stop reading glossies, but before the noughties mags played a much larger part in people’s lives. Information wasn’t as easily accessible, especially on celebrities, in the days before Perez and Google so women of all ages turned to glossies for all the latest goss. Magazines were a required part of the media. They were at the forefront. In the spotlight. Informative. Controversial. They were revolutionary, daring to be different and to spread awareness of even the most risque of issues. And then one day they weren’t. 

Watching Paper Giants made me so sad. What I would give to be able to be a part of something so brilliant and life changing. Magazines today are still fabulous, but even I have to admit the content never changes. It never makes an impact. It’s just…there. In the early days of Cleo Ita Buttrose and her team were making a difference. They were giving women a voice and changing lives. Magazines today just can’t do that. 

In the comments of Mia Freedman’s post today on this topic, I found myself getting annoyed at people gushing over how Frankie will never die because unlike Cleo/Cosmo/Dolly it’s quality. As I’ve said before, I immensely dislike Frankie and find it frustrating that people honestly believe a niche magazine riding on the back of the success of the hipster trend can really survive longer than magazines that have been around for decades. Frankie may be the popular option, but as trends like ’emo’ have faded, so too will hipster, and once it’s gone, Frankie’s circulation and readership are going to find themselves in such a downfall, their office will be in cardboard boxes before they realise what hit them.   

Unlike Mia who, despite making her name in the glossies, continues to announce their death, I do believe magazines have a future. I have to believe magazines have a future, because if they don’t, I have no idea what I will do with mine. While I agree that they will play a different role, let’s be honest, in this technological age, they have to, I still believe they will play a role. While teens may not pour over the latest issue of Dolly devotedly every month, and twenty somethings may not be as interested in picking up the latest Cleo or Cosmo, they will still be there for the die hards. There will still be people in waiting rooms and on planes and in baths and on couches flicking through and enjoying glossies. There will always be an audience for mags, and they will always play a role in our society, no matter how technological it gets. I just pray that they will hold a role for me to play a part in when my turn comes to enter the workforce. 

frangipani princess xoxo

You. Are. Loved.

A girl at my school committed suicide today and even though I didn’t know her personally, I’m still pretty upset by it all. Nobody should feel they have to resort to suicide. Ever. It just doesn’t solve anything.

As I said the other day:

…Everyone deserves people to be there to push them back up, because life isn’t hopeless. There is always a silver lining, a new tomorrow, a fresh start. No matter how awful the world can feel at one particular moment, time keeps moving, the world keeps spinning, and before you know it, it’s a new day. 
To quote Looking For Alaska, “We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and falling. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail”

No teenager deserves to die, especially when their death could have been prevented. If we all just think, if we all just remember to Treat Others How We Would Like To Be Treated, if we bother to take a moment from our day to ask someone how they are and actually take time to listen to the answer, maybe we could all save a life. It’s up to us. We have to prove to people who are hurting, people like Hannah who feel everything is too much and the only way through is out, that there is more to life, more to live for. That they are loved and always will be loved and that love will never stop. If we all took a moment out of our day to tell everyone close to us that we love them, and not in a ‘ily’ kind of way, maybe the world would be a happier place.

 For the girl at my school, it’s too late, but it’s not too late to save other lives. Really. Life is this beautiful and amazing experience, and we were all wonderfully made to enjoy it. It’s meant to be brilliant and though yes, sometimes it’s hard, we are designed to make it through. I hate that some people feel like they can’t and that there’s just no more light. 

You are so loved.

Just remember that. 
You have people who will listen and talk to you and even if it’s the middle of the night. Laugh and smile and love and then, most importantly, remember to live. 
If today has taught me anything, it’s taught me life is amazingly short. We need to experience it and help everyone to experience it to the same degree of totally awesome, so no more schools have to be informed of a horrific loss. 


frangipani princess xoxo

Book Review: Th1rteen R3asons Why:

I’d been meaning to read Thirteen Reasons Why for a while, call me morbid, but there’s something about death as a main theme in a book that makes me want to read it. 

For those of you who don’t know, Thirteen Reasons Why follows the story of Clay Jensen, who arrives home from school one day to a package of cassette tapes which contain the voice of his crush, Hannah Baker. The only problem is, Hannah committed suicide two weeks before and the voice lets him know that if he’s listening to the tapes, he’s one of the thirteen reasons why she decided to die. There are seven tapes and each side contains one reason (the seventh tape is one sided) and one person who receives the tapes. After you listen to them all, you must send them to the person who’s story comes after yours. 
The book is written so that Hannah’s story is in italics and Clay’s narration and feelings are in normal font. It has a really strong impact, as Clay has the gift of hindsight on his side and his comments and view on things makes everything so much deeper.
At first, the reasons don’t seem like much. Sure, they’re not the nicest things in the world to go through, but they’re not what would make the average person want to kill themselves. As the tapes keep going, however, each story snowballs into the next one until you can see just how Hannah lost all hope.

Suicide is an awfully common occurrence amongst teens – and people – of today. I’m sure everyone reading this at least knows of someone who has attempted, or succeeded, in it. School and magazines can tell us the warning signs and what not to do and how to react if we think someone is suicidal, but what Thirteen Reasons Why helps do is make it real. I know it’s a story, but the way it’s written, the way Hannah narrates it while poor Clay who only ever wanted to love her listens on in horror, makes you realise that everything you do, everything you say to someone has an impact. You might not think that what you’re doing is affecting someone, but chances are it is. It might be negatively, or it might be positively. Maybe your smile just stopped someone from thinking harmful thoughts, just for a moment. Maybe taking time to ask someone how they are, and actually listen, gave them renewed hope. Or, on the flipside, maybe believing those rumours that everyone swears are true is slowly ruining someones life. Maybe the snide look you gave that girl just because everyone else does will push her one step closer to the edge.

The thirteen people featured in Thirteen Reasons Why would never have dreamed that their actions could cause someone to end their life, but they did. It’s a message to all of us. We need to think before we speak and act. Think before we believe rumours. Think before we spread gossip. Think before we judge. We just need to think.  
I know more than anyone how bitchy teenagers can be. I’ve been judged, and judged others, and I’m more than guilty of treating a rumour as gospel. I know how awful it is to be judged, I’ve changed groups and lost friends over it, numerous times, but thankfully there have always been people there for me to show me that life is not hopeless. Everyone deserves friends. Everyone deserves people to be there to push them back up, because life isn’t hopeless. There is always a silver lining, a new tomorrow, a fresh start. No matter how awful the world can feel at one particular moment, time keeps moving, the world keeps spinning, and before you know it, it’s a new day. 
To quote Looking For Alaska, “We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and falling. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail”

No teenager deserves to die, especially when their death could have been prevented. If we all just think, if we all just remember to Treat Others How We Would Like To Be Treated, if we bother to take a moment from our day to ask someone how they are and actually take time to listen to the answer, maybe we could all save a life. It’s up to us. We have to prove to people who are hurting, people like Hannah who feel everything is too much and the only way through is out, that there is more to life, more to live for. That they are loved and always will be loved and that love will never stop. If we all took a moment out of our day to tell everyone close to us that we love them, and not in a ‘ily’ kind of way, maybe the world would be a happier place.

Right near the end of the book, as Clay finishes the tapes, there is the following quote, “… I can’t believe I just heard the last words I’ll ever hear from Hannah Baker. ‘I’m Sorry’. Once again, those were the words. And now anytime someone says I’m sorry, I’m going to think of her. But some of us won’t be willing to say those words back. Some of us will be too angry at Hannah for killing herself and blaming everyone else. I would have helped her if she’d only let me. I would have helped her because I want her to be alive.”.  

In a way it’s so true. Hannah blames everyone else but in the end it is she who swallows the pills, she who decides that it’s not worth it anymore. As Clay says, he wants her to be alive. He would have helped her, she just didn’t give him the chance. And yes, sometimes that’s true. Sometimes people bury their feelings and we don’t know anything is wrong and they hide behind a mask until we get the news. That point makes everything so much more important. You don’t know which one of your friends are hurting, so help all of them. Don’t just be nice to someone because they are sad, be nice to them because you, and they, are human. As human’s we all deserve love and happiness and it’s our role to spread that joy.

So I challenge you, tell all your friends, and family, that you love them, truly love them, and will always be there for them to listen, as a shoulder to cry on, to laugh with, whatever. Just that you will always be there for them no matter what, and that nothing is ever hopeless. 

frangipani princess xoxo

I Don’t Like Labels.

I am sick of labels.

As teenagers, as society, today we are overly fond of lumping people together and sticking them under a heading. We pick up the tiniest similarities between people and then decide that those similarities define those people. We have this idea in our head that if a girl wears short skirts, make up and we’ve heard she has a lot of sex, then she must be a skank. If they enjoy partying then, obviously, they must be a drop-kick stoner. A guy dresses well or has lots of girl friends, or a girl enjoys sport and doesn’t care about ‘girlie’ things, then they’re certainly gay. And of course, at the other end of the spectrum, if you see someone who’s trying so hard not to be like everyone else then they must be a hipster (don’t get me started on ‘hipsters’. My friend Kate and I have a theory that hipsters don’t exist). 

Labels have likely been around forever (Currently learning about Ireland in Modern History. Defining people by their religion is an ancient form of labeling which cost millions of lives), but I’m certain they are getting worse as the years go on, to the point where today we label everyone so much that the term ‘individual’ is ceasing to exist. Every move you make is scrutinised by everyone around you and you are judged. Always judged. Every decision you make is under the microscope and then a label is slapped on you. A very sticky and hard to remove label. 

Of course, we could all just ignore the labels and live happily ever after, but sadly this is High School (or maybe just the Real World) and we manage to revolve our lives around them. For some reason popularity is still the most important thing in the world (though not to yours truly who spent her weekend with the friends she refers to as The Marauders, watching Buffy, staring at people in restaurants, going to Maccas wearing fezes and listening to Trock.) and an overwhelming majority of teenage girls are obsessed with doing everything and anything to achieve it. Friendships end. People are bullied. Others do things they promised themselves they never would. All for the sake of a stupid label. Ironically enough, once they achieve the much sought after popularity, they open themselves up to a whole new level of judgement and labeling; labeling by association. When you’re ‘popular’ (another term I hate and believe doesn’t really exist) people just assume you do a whole heap of crazy things and it doesn’t matter if you’re the purest nun in the convent, the rumours won’t stop.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if labels just didn’t exist? If we didn’t care if people liked boys or if they liked girls. If we ignored the colour of people’s skin. If we didn’t give a damn whether you smoke weed or refuse to party, if you have sex everyday or are saving yourself, if you’re flunking out or acing everything. It. Just. Shouldn’t. Matter. 

We are not soup cans or soft drink bottles. We do not need labels to be identified. We are our own people and should be allowed to be treated that way. Next time you find yourself going to stick a label on someone, think again. Get to know them. You might just find that what you were initially going to call Coke is really Fanta. And Fanta is your favourite. 

frangipani princess xoxo

Reflections On France Part Two

– We May Never Meet Again In This Lifetime
-G’day Mate! Throw Another Shrimp On The Barbie!
The friend’s I have made on this exchange are some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. From the moment I stepped on the bus to go to camp and met my Kiwi friends, I knew this exchange was going to be something unforgettable. I’m going to break this part down into some sub-headings bitches love sub-headings.

Camp And The Times We Got Lost Finding McDonald’s (Or Better Than Paris):
 Although I talked to a gazillion (or you know, fifty) people at camp from all over the world, my days were mainly spent with three people: Hannah, Jon and Alicia. Say hi! (l-r same order as aforementioned names)
Even though we were only together for two weeks, we had so many crazy adventures. These mainly involved getting lost finding McDonald’s (it took us two entire days and even then we had to ask a lady in a shoe shop to draw us a map) and grossing ourselves out while eating camp food (I will never, ever be able to look at Coleslaw at my work the same way again). I will always hold the hilarious memories from the two days we spent in Paris close to my heart. And let’s face it, anyone who puts up with my hysterically panic attacks on the Eiffel Tower has to be worth staying friends with. I’m going to head over to New Zealand in July to visit them and you have no idea how excited I am for that reunion. 

 School Friends;Excessive Hot Chocolate Consumption; Just One More Waffle; No Kayla, You Can’t Have More Tic-Tacs; Learning To Swear In Spanish and Pretty Much The Most Hilarious and Random Conversations You Will Ever Have:
As I mentioned in part one, I got to my school and discovered I wasn’t the only exchange student; in fact, there were three others. Cassandra, Monika and Sandra made my life bearable and ensured I spent my lunch-times and free periods either having super deep conversations, laughing hysterically or eating junk food. I’m nearly 100% sure that if I hadn’t had all my hot-chocolate dates with Sandra in the first month or two of my exchange I would have gone crazy. There were other exchange students in my town and they made sure my weekends were as fun-filled as any I ever had in Australia (well, almost). As there was so many of us and we were so loud and…English speaking, the staff at our favourite cafe were less than fond of us, but it didn’t stop us going back all the time.
In November Kayla changed to our school and that just led to a whole new set of adventures. Suddenly our every move was being filmed and I finally had someone to fangirl with.
These girls have been vital to my sanity. You don’t understand how important it was to have someone to rant to, or just to know exactly how you were feeling. Our pig-out seshes were responsible for me not starving to death, even if we all felt extremely guilty afterwards. I’ll never forget the times we couldn’t answer questions in English class, or the hours we just aimlessly wandered around Monoprix. 
They’re definitely friends for life and I can’t wait to head to the USA and Canada to visit them hopefully this and definitely next year. 
In Which The Wicked Quote Begins To Make Sense:
I have plans to visit the Sandra (West Coast American), the Canadian and the Kiwi’s (June/July!!) but I made friends from lots of other countries which there is every chance I will never see again. This includes my classmates, who I spent up to nine hours a day with for six months. Also, as my American friends are off to college and we have different summers, there is a chance I won’t see them again, or if I do it may not be for a few years. With technology staying in touch is a lot easier, I mean, we can skype whenever time difference permits, but it’s just not the same. It’s hard to explain how this feels. You spend half a year with these people one thirty-second of my life thus far and then BAM, it’s over. You’re never going to see them again. Possibly never even be in the same country as them. It sucks, really. It’s very different to how I felt before I left Australia. It was hard leaving everyone there, but I knew I’d be back in six months and then everything would go back to how it was before. This time I’m leaving friends forever. As the quote and subheading reference, the song For Good from Wicked sums up my feelings pretty well:

The people I’ve met on this exchange have changed me for good and whether I do get to see them again or not, I’ll always keep the memories they helped create in my heart.

frangipani princess xoxo