Category Archives: The World According To Kat

My opinion on your opinion. You may not like it…

Your opinion is probably right and no doubt well researched, comes from a deep well of experience and is just bursting out of you full of passion and certainty. Or it is wrong, borne out of ignorance and fear or sourced from the writings of people as misguided as yourself. Either way, it is needy for the ears and eyes of strangers, for the sage nods of recognition and the digital thumbs up that pass for agreement these days.

Here’s the thing. Whether you’re en pointe and bang on and pitching perfectly, or dangerously wrong and flailing about like Trump at a hastily called press conference, do feel free to stop adding your sanctimonious judgement to your opinion.

You check out your opinion in the mirror. It looks good on you. It hugs in all the right places. In the light you’re standing in, it makes you look a little taller, and accentuates all your best assets. But I tried it on after you left, and you said it looked great as you left, but it made me feel small. It didn’t take my history into account and I felt uncomfortable at how constricting it was around my throat. It just didn’t fit me, but it was so right on you.

Look, maybe I’m banging on with too many neat turns of phrase here. I just feel like there are too many instructions disguised as musings in the world. There are a thousand ways to be a good person, a good mum, a good boss, a good runner, a good human, a good Australian, a good TV star, a good dad, and good divorcee, a good consumer, a good Christian, a good gender equality advocate, a good whatever the hell you’re trying to be. It’s confusing these days. All the easy labels and definitions are gone. All the boundaries are shifting and we’re all trying to figure out how to be happy (or at least not miserable) and not be an arsehole. At least, those are my main goals. Again, they may not be yours, and there I go telling you what should be toppermost of your poppermost.

It’s the difference between ‘this is my experience of raising a child’ and ‘all good parents do XYZ’, between ‘If I was an athlete, I wouldn’t choose to use my beauty to promote my sport’ and ‘that man/woman is not empowered because they’re in a tight outfit’. It’s ‘I got through my anxiety by doing the following’ and ‘you’re weak if you choose medication/ meditation/whatever..’.

Don’t get me wrong. Please have an opinion. And please put it in front of me, particularly if it’s different to mine. Please disagree with me and show me facts I didn’t know, or may have misinterpreted. Please tell me what is going on in your head, what you’ve discovered, or are figuring out, and why you think you might be on track or lost in the dark. There’s one women’s site I’m thinking of as I write that does this so much it makes my teeth ache. It will tell the story of an event in the lives of some humans and break down how right, wrong, significant or trivial those experiences are and why that is so. Is it the way writing is heading? Is it important to draw a conclusion, a moral imperative, before you sign off? Maybe it is. Maybe I’m wrong…

 

He Said She Said – December 10 – 12 Brisbane Powerhouse

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors in someone else’s relationship? Whether the things that go in in your heart and in your house are normal? Us too. And I think we’re about to find out. My husband Stav and I are opening our metaphorical doors to you in December at the Powerhouse in our show He Said She Said. We’ll be talking about our lives together, about meeting, falling in love, getting married, having a baby and about the thousands of little moments in between.

We’ve both been comedians for a collective 34 years, worked on radio for over 20 and been together for 15. But this is the first time we’ll be on stage together. During the writing of this show, we’ve talked about sleeping with the other’s best friend, farting in public, the nature of love, the overwhelming need to protect our child, why I fear marsupials and given each other right of reply on material we’ve done about each other over the years. It’s a can of worms we’ll be serving up hot and tasty December 10  -12 at the Powerhouse as part of the Wonderland Festival. Whether you already know us, or meet us for the first time during He Said She Said, we can’t wait  to show you our world, and hopefully catch a glimpse of yours.

For bookings click here –  Brisbane Powerhouse.

 

Clear eyes, anxious hearts..

It’s R U OK Day. People are asking each other how they’re doing, hopefully they’re taking a little internal inventory as well. Me? Well, thanks for asking. I’m good today. Really good. I’ve just come back from a cruise spent with old friends, made a new one, made lots of people laugh and came home to my beautiful daughter and handsome husband. Why would I be anything other than sensational?

Because chemicals, that’s why. In my brain lives an evil bingo caller who occasionally likes to pull out random emotions and energy levels and see whether anyone gets a full card. You’d think anxiety, or depression, if you roll that way, would be attached to something. You know – I’m worried about a job coming up, or something specific about my daughter, or Syrian airstrikes, or entertaining 300 people in a noisy nightclub. Nope. I’m all sweet with that. Calm as a cucumber. But whether I have time to get the milk on my way home, how to spell cucumber, or why some people can’t remember to indicate on a roundabout? Chaos. Heart pumping, stomach churning chaos. If its a Tuesday. On a Wednesday, it may not register. I’ll be worrying about my daughter. Or I might be entirely normal for months and have a panic attack sneak up on me like a vicious magpie on a main road (a real one just got me, by the way – no reaction from me other than an impressive impromptu war dance. Whatevs, fly boy).

I’m not sharing this with you for your sympathy. I am legitimately fine. I’ve got modern medicine on my side, a support network and the knowledge that this too shall pass. I’m hoping it might humanise a common ailment, or make you feel like you’re not the only crazy on the planet. I might need you to remind me of that on one of the days the magpie attack feels personal, and universal, or I feel like my body is trying to shake itself apart. Please don’t think of yourself or your friends whose mental health is a little on the shaky side as being weak. Getting through life can be tricky. Getting through it with a chemical sharknado that can come out of a clear blue sky is impressive and worthy of a standing ovation.

How can you help someone in the long dark teatime of the soul, or the short but horrendous morning tea of anxiety? Remind them that they don’t always feel this way.  That they’re likely in the majority – I don’t know many people who would describe themselves as 100% stable. That they’re doing a stellar job of not hiding under the table or climbing the curtains. Talk to them about something else. Don’t tell them their physical symptoms aren’t real. They are, but they’ll pass. Don’t make decisions for them about what they can handle. They’re likely stronger than you know.

 

Do you hear a soundtrack to your life, too?

Not all the time, not even always when I want it, my brain provides a soundtrack to my life. I am a 38 year old working mother, wife, all round responsible human being. My brain is about 23, I think. Which places her in 1999. She’s a bit of a loose cannon, a little unreliable, easily distracted by shiny things and prone to procrastination and wearing too much black while giggling in alcoves.

I was running in a half marathon tonight (well, half of one thanks to some terrible weather), and my brain (which was quietly amused that my life has come to this, when exercise was just something I did while dancing for so many years) and I had carefully chosen a running playlist. The songs which really took me away while I ran soaking wet through a Brisbane storm were Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” (I was so very in love with John Cusack in “Say Anything. He was and still is my idea of the perfect romantic hero. Flawed, devoted, slightly broken), Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic” (that song is a musical glass of wine at sunset) and Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do” (yep, the one from 50 Shades. Sexy as hell, that song). There was some Mark Ronson and Tijuana Cartel in there that made me pick up my feet, but they didn’t transport.

I’m helpless against Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” – it’s Stav and my song. The first time we heard it together, we were at a music festival with thousands of other people, but we were in our own world. We’d not been together long, but he was already John Cusack in Say Anything, all of the ballads Nick Cave wrote (I’d eventually walk down the aisle to The Ship Song), he’s the familiarity of Barenaked Ladies’ The Old Apartment, and he’ll always be the magnetism of Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter”.

When I’m angry, I hear Nine Inch Nails. Or sometimes, incongruously, They Might Be Giants. Which is a good thing. It’s hard to be full of rage when “Birdhouse in Your Soul” is in your head. Or, even better, “Your Racist Friend”. Which also takes me straight back to my first house after I left home – good friends, too much tofu, a cat who enjoyed leaving possum parts strewn through the house and my first taste of what being a grown up looks like.

When I need to come up with a soothing song in a hurry for Rors, its either “Castle On A Cloud” from Les Mis, “Patience” or “Sweet Child of Mine” by GnR or that really creepy song about a cradle falling from a tree and killing the baby. What the hell is all that about?

There are more tracks, of course. More triggers, more ways for my 23 year old brain to act out. Am I alone in this? Do other people have errant jukeboxes in their heads?

Right, 2015. Your turn.

2014 has been a tricky old beast. Planes keep falling out of unsuspecting skies, one unhinged lunatic makes Australia feel the spiky fear of terrorism and the acid aftertaste of xenophobia, Ebola gets mobile, Robin Williams takes this own life and we all try chia seeds to make it all feel better. All the good news gets a little lost in the more primal morass of loss, war and death. But good things did happen in 2014. Really good things. A Colorado man made history at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory  when he became the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two of the Laboratory’s Modular Prosthetic Limbs. Simply, he made both his new arms move by thinking about moving them. An Ohio teen took his great grandmother to the prom because she was far too poor to go to such a thing when she was young. Couples who fought through multiple miscarriages finally made their miracle children. People who should be dead from cancer are still with us. 

I’m not here to give you a modern history lesson. I’m just saying, globally, we had our highs and lows. And my year failed to buck that trend. I ran over my 20 year old cat on the way to a gig and still had to do the gig with the image of her final moments on a loop in my head. I’ve been ill more than I’ve been well and spent quite a deal of time and money getting my physical and mental health on track. I didn’t get the job I’ve long dreamed of and worked my ass off to earn. But I’ve also spent the year getting to know my daughter. She was a cute baby, but she’s an astonishingly awesome little girl. She’s funny, she’s crazy smart, just plain crazy and now looks me in the eye and says “I love you very much, Mumma”. Those exact words. With those meltingly beautiful hazel eyes. And followed by a “big huge cuddle”. I’ve had some great words said directly at my eyes before. “You got the gig”, “its not thyroid cancer”, “your mum and dad will both make it out of this awful day alive”, “I do”. But nothing prepared me for the incredible lightness of her love. And falling more in love with her daddy as I see him through her eyes.

My closest friends saw me laid completely low. And they still love me. I went back to sea for the first time since Rorsa was born. My beautiful husband has had his livelihood challenged, and his heart bruised.  I’m just hoping 2015 is a little less mercurial for all of us. And that I have the strength to be clearer in what I need from the people in my life, and what I can’t and won’t accept. I’ve never been good at that. It’s equal parts not wanting to hurt them, and garden variety cowardice, I think.  But it isn’t serving me well. I hope all the promises I’ve made myself about listening better, running more and stressing less come to fruition. That I do well in my new course, that I get to teach more lovely students this year, that my Rors and her dad stay healthy and happy and that a new kitty might be in our futures would all be tops. Of course, an end to the fighting in the Middle East, no planes falling out of the sky, less bigotry and fear mongering in my beloved Australia and a good year for all the people I love would be good too.