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Monday, 30 September 2013

Cacophonic Cancer.

I find writing difficult.

Not because I can't think of anything to write, but because of the opposite.

I have a million and one ideas buzzing through my brain, and I don't know which one to choose.

Where to start.

How to even get them to slow down enough to see one.

I've got a million posts I could write.

A thousand books.

Ten thousand songs.

A hundred plays.

A dozen dozen musicals.

A few hundred poems.

And I'd still have so much left, constantly churning, constantly growing and evolving.

Like a cacophonic cancer.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Drowning In It Part 2: Addiction.

Just in case you weren't aware, our world is ridiculously sexualised. You can't hide from it - it's on TV, in ads, radio, newspapers, the Internet, Facebook.
You go to the shops, and you're presented with larger-than-life images of lingerie models. One of the top books of recent times is 50 Shades of Grey. The TV show everyone seems to be watching is Game of Thrones. And that's not just adults watching it.
There's pretty much nothing to stop it, not at the level it's at. You see it everywhere, whether you're six, sixteen or twenty-six. You just don't process it the same way.

And yet, despite this sex-sodden society, people seem to be constantly surprised by the number of younger and younger people that are becoming addicted to pornography. And not just the softer stuff. 

There are some studies and questionnaires that have shown that in schools, at ages of 15 (and sometimes even less - going down to as low as 12), in a random group of 100 boys and girls, most of them will have seen pornography. Many of them not just a couple of times. 

Boys and girls in early high school are starting to have a sex vocabulary that is....alarming. Frightening. For more on that and a couple of the previous points, click the link at the bottom of this post when you're done. 

I was in the middle of all of this. I'd been raised by a Christian family, with Christian values and that sort of thing. And they did a fantastic job - they helped me to develop a lot of the gifts that I had, which have largely contributed to where I am today. 
But it also meant that I'd been in a bit of a bubble. Some of the words and the jokes that the other kids were using I didn't get, and I didn't want to get. And that part of me is still around. These days, he has to fight pretty hard. 

It was curiosity that started it. Nothing else. Just plain old, simple curiosity. Puberty hadn't really come along full ball (I was a bit of a late bloomer), and I'd only just started to notice those strange creatures that are girls. 
I was thirteen, and in year nine. It was early 2006.

I knew it was illegal. I knew I shouldn't have been doing it. And it's probably one of the worst decisions that I've ever made - one of the worst things that have happened to me. I'm still feeling the repercussions today - I'm not speaking as someone recovered, but someone very much still in over my head and struggling with this. 

But. In saying that. I am very thankful for a couple of things that I went in already knowing, from somewhere. I'm not really sure where, because I certainly didn't have anyone talking to me about this stuff. And I'm scared to think of where I'd be without these. 

1. It's not real. No matter how real it looks, or sounds, or seems, it's not. It seems real because the best lies have grains of truth in them. But they've been so perverted and twisted that it's unrecognisable. 
2. People are not objects. Never, ever, ever. You even begin to start to say that they might be, and I might need to stop myself from punching you. 
3. Never put money into it. If you're at that stage, it becomes a lot harder to get out. In this monetarily-crazed world, people like to protect their investments. 

There are too many people that have gone into porn without knowing these points, particularly the first two. And they start believing it. They believe that that's the way it's supposed to be - that it's always picture perfect. Porn sex becomes their idea of real sex. 
And, perhaps worse, they start to objectify people. They use them up and throw them out, to be recycled by somebody else.
At this point, I'm really hoping that this is making you as angry as it's making me.

So, stop it, you say. Just stop.
And yes, that is part of the solution. We do need to fight to get better legislation and censoring around this material, particularly so that it's not out in the public where anyone can see it. 

But that's also quite difficult, in two respects. 
Firstly, it's very good business. And there's a lot of wealthy people that are very happy with it being the way it is. It's going to be very tricky to work around or against them. 
And secondly - it's addictive. As much as substance addiction is hard to shake, so is this. 

Particularly for a couple of reasons. 
Firstly, because it's so easy. You don't need to be a genius to find this stuff. Even if there are filters, or it's a shared computer, that isn't hard to work around. Admittedly, coming from a bit of a computer geek - but you really only need to want to do it, and you'll figure something out quite easily. I have, many times over, in many different circumstances. I never got found out, for over seven years. Came close once or twice, but never there. 
And secondly, because even if you take it all away - if you lock me in a room with no phone, no magazines, no Internet, nothing. I still have my mind. I still have my imagination. 
And that, honestly, is the hardest part. Because there are times when I haven't looked at porn for a month or more. But my imagination - it doesn't let up. Just in case you're not aware, my imagination is pretty good.

You're not just fighting the world around you. You're fighting your own mind.

And it's hard. Because part of you really doesn't want to give it up. It enjoys it, funnily enough. It's addicted, and it keeps pulling you back. 

You're drowning in it.

I don't know if you've ever experienced nearly drowning. I hope you don't. I got closer than I'd like to once, and it's one of the scariest things that have ever happened to me. Thankfully, it didn't end badly, and it was just in my backyard pool. 
But when you're drowning - your whole body is screaming. It's being deprived of oxygen, which isn't just essential for you - every single cell in your body needs it! You fight as hard as you can, but you get absolutely nowhere. You just keep sinking. Unless you have help. 

And it's the same for this - it's the same for most addictions. If you try and get out of it by yourself, you'll fight and fight and fight - and maybe even get close - but you can't make it. You need help. I need help. 

And that's why I'm doing this post. I'm struggling with this, just as I'm sure many people reading this are struggling. We all need help, and I think we can help each other. 

Every day; every week; every month - however often you choose, I'll check up on you to see how you're doing. And, if it's OK with you, I'll get you to check up on me too. Maybe not at the same time, or it could get a bit much all at once. But we both get to share what we're struggling with, and help and grow with someone else who is struggling too. You can stay anonymous if you want, and I won't be telling anyone anything you tell me without your specific and express consent. You don't have to talk about anything that you don't want to; I know that I won't be talking about specific details of what I've seen, heard, or thought. I don't have that expectation on you either. 

I am aware that what I have said in this post about my own porn addiction will be startling to quite a few people. It may lose me a few friends, endanger my future job prospects, tarnish my public image. (What public image? :P ) But I think that this is important. I think that secrets are poisonous, and addictions can be deadly. This is one that I want to get out of, and want other people to get out of as well. By and large, a lot that you know about me is still true. I'm just struggling with much more than you'd realise. 

This dual post (mainly the second; the first was a necessary lead-up, so that I could actually get into the mind frame to write about it) was largely inspired by this article, which expands upon and clarifies a couple of the points I made earlier (warning; not for kids, and quite possibly NSFW). Definitely worth a read.

UPDATE: Writing this now from the present day, three years and three weeks (almost exactly) after I originally wrote this. When I wrote this, I had talked about it to a grand total of eight or nine people. A few months on, I doubled that almost instantly; and these days, it's something that I talk about relatively openly (though still choosing my audience). It's been rather a long journey (which I wrote a poem about, by the way!), and not an easy one. And it's one that's still going, big time. I've been struggling over these last few months more than I have since....well, probably since I wrote this! But I'm still doing a lot better than I was before I started opening up to people. And knowing that I'm living without secrets - is pretty darn awesome, let me tell you. :) So why am I sharing this now? Because it's still a major issue. It's getting a bit more press and traction these days, but much too little for what we need to make a decent dent in this. It's a big issue. Let's start getting to work on it.

Drowning In It Part 1: Secrets.

I'm not sure when I'll be putting this up. I know I need to. But it's not something you can un-say - once this horn is blown, you can't un-blow it. It's written in big lights for everyone to see. But, I think it needs to be said, to be heard. For a few reasons.

Not entirely sure where to start with this, or what good will come of it. But here goes.

People have secrets. That's a given. You expect it. Even if you know someone really well, chances are they have secrets that they haven't told you yet. They might never tell you. That's up to them.

And some of these secrets are little things. Things like stuff that happened awhile ago that they'd rather forget; habits they have that aren't particularly nice; their half-brother who no-one knows about who lives in the basement, and eats only green get it. And generally, these little things don't matter that much, and don't affect them or you that much. They might act a bit weird when you ask why they have their basement locked up, which might seem a bit shifty to you, and you might get annoyed that they're keeping things from you - but that's generally about it. And that can be annoying sometimes, particularly if it's frequent, but most of the time isn't a biggie.

Some secrets, though, are a lot bigger. You spend time and energy making sure that no-one finds out about them. At all. Ever. You get ridiculously paranoid about people finding out about it. But paranoia tends to show, so you act. And you act so much, you almost start to get a bit of a split personality.
Depending upon who you are, that split could be quite large, or nearly imperceptible. Like a bit of a Venn diagram, if you like.

Secrets like these don't just affect you; they can affect those around you as well. Sometimes, quite significantly. 

Because, the thing is. Even if you try to keep that bit of you separate to everything else - you can't. It leaks through into everything, permeating your personality, thoughts, actions and feelings. 

And if it's a positive secret - like loving someone - then yes, the effect won't be so bad. But you'll still get all of the guilt and weight from keeping that from everyone, the effort that takes. 

All too often, however, these secrets aren't positive. Some people call them skeletons in the closet. Personally, I don't think that's an adequate metaphor. I see it more like water. Muddy, dirty, stinky water. First you're dripping. Then you're soaking. Then you're swimming. And, before you know it, you're drowning in it. 

At this point, you're probably thinking a couple of different things. Because pretty much everyone has one of these secrets. So, number one, you're thinking that you feel fine. 
If that's you, then there's one of two options; either you haven't gotten in that deep yet, or you're too scared to really look at yourself, and what you're becoming.
If it's the first, fantastic! Run. Run while you still can. Secrets are poisonous. If it's the second - you should be scared. But if you don't look, if you don't do anything, you're going to be even more scared. It will only get harder. 

The second thing you might be thinking is this; who am I to know this sort of thing, talk about this sort of thing?
For those of you who do know me, I come across as a pretty innocent kind of guy. Look like a kid, like I haven't grown up yet. Laugh a lot, super smart, kinda weird sometimes. Couple of not that great physical habits that are a bit disgusting, and not particularly chatty/social. Nice family, Christian background, et cetera. But that's all, right?

No, it's not. Because I've kept a secret. For much too long. Two, actually, but if you look hard enough you can find the other one, if not the specifics. 
It's time for this one to come into the light. 

I'm a porn addict.

And now, please continue over to Part 2. Because this was too much for one post. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Bush Skills/Life Skills.

I've been doing this camping/bushwalking/Duke of Ed thing for about eight months or so now. I've seen a lot of groups, a lot of different ages, personalities, people. I've been to a lot of different places, and both learned and taught a fair bit.

This last group I had taught me something, in a sense; or, made me realise what I think I already knew, rather. I just didn't know how to word it before.

When we take the guys out on camp, or Duke of Edinburgh, it's not just about teaching them stuff like how to set up a tent, how to use a trangia, or how to paddle a canoe. It's not even about making them super-duper bushwalkers/campers/canoers, though if that does happen that's pretty cool.

What we teach them goes a lot deeper than that. It's values; mindsets; attitudes; a way to think. Things like perseverance through adversity and self-doubt; keeping a positive attitude; putting others, and the group, above yourself; appreciating the journey as much, if not more, than the destination; prioritising what's important in life, and at the time; and even taking care of the environment.

Each of these things are more than just bush skills; they are life skills. And I'm so thankful that I've had the opportunity to see that potential there, for both teaching and learning.


You can be white as a sheet; be a white collar worker; tell a white lie; or fly the white flag.

White is the colour of purity. Of emptiness; of a blank sheet. It is simplicity; and also cleanliness, often due to hospitals. It can also be related to health, life and death for that same reason. It is also bright, and light.

Common associations with white are good, pure, dove, peace, truce, flag, empty, nothing, blank, clean, fresh, snow, ice, cold, sheet, hospital, light, bright, health, life, death, fear, and sickness.

White, to me, doesn't have much to say for itself, funnily enough. You can't have variants of white. It's either white, or not. It doesn't seem to have much character; and it's trying a bit hard to be clean, and fresh, and all this sort of thing.

The song for today is White Wine in the Sun, by Tim Minchin.

Friday, 20 September 2013


Well, I just came back from camp, had a look at my blog, and saw that I've gone over 100,000 views.


That's pretty awesome.

Now, granted; about 86,000 or so of those are because of the top two most viewed posts - my original Four Chords song list, and my Song Saturday for The Unspoken Name. And that's awesome that people are liking that stuff, that's great.

But I also know I've got a lot of other posts up on my blog - 388 other posts, in fact - and between them, that's about 14,000 views. Which averages out to about 36 views per post. But then, I know that I've got a fair few posts that are lucky to scrape ten views.

And I think I've got some stuff that I've written that is worth a look. I'm only 20, but I don't feel like twenty. My body is, but my mind flops around between eight and eighty.

But anyway. Awesome to have that many views :) Would be even more awesome if they could spread to some of my other posts :D

Will write again soon!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Extra Face.

I still haven't finished my Colours series. Just white left, and I'm hoping to do that either tonight or tomorrow. Out on program on the weekend. But this came up, and I wanted to do a post about it.

I went to an art exhibition today (to see the work of a good friend of mine, and largely thanks to another good friend of mine). I'm not much of an artist myself, though I love to try, and would love to be one. It's quite incredible what people can do with things like paint, paper, canvas, clay, wood, metal, glass, plastic, ink - it's pretty amazing, really.

But something I realised, as I was looking at the artwork, was the extra face in each piece. In each work, you could see a face - the face of the person who made it.
Not literally, of course (for the most part, anyway). But by looking at the pieces, you could see glimpses of who they were; their personalities, their hopes, their passions, their dreams.

And I think I've certainly been aware of that before, to some degree, in other creative forms; I'm a musician and writer myself, and am acutely aware of how much of myself I put into both the words I write and the sounds I make.

But I suppose I've never ventured much into the visual arts myself, and it was an interesting and eye-opening experience for me. Perhaps it's something I'll be able to look into a bit closer at some point.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Snow Days.

Last week, I went on my last trip for the year with Tafe. It was a bushwalking/navigation assessment, out in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park (near Kanangra Walls).

It was a bit of a slog for all of us, in some ways. We had two and a half days of practice before we got to do the assessment; pretty much all of us just wanted to get it over and done with. It was freezing cold, we had some pretty thick scrub, and two injuries that meant we had to backtrack a bit. And I was certainly feeling a bit of that as well at some points. I know there was one point in the navigation assessment that I was completely lost, had no idea where we were, and was pretty much almost in tears.

But. It snowed! On the first afternoon, it started snowing quite lightly. By the time we got into camp, we had some absolutely beautiful scenery. And then we got up in the morning - it just looked so amazing. I've been to the snow before, but the snow has never come to me!
One of the guys had never actually been in snow before, so he was absolutely loving that.

Of course, that did make it frightfully cold, particularly at night, but it was nice for a while. And it's certainly not something I'll forget in a hurry.
I also ended up doing fine for my written and navigation assessment, which was good.

And the thing is, it was my last trip with that bunch. We don't have any more trips left this year with Tafe, and next year is looking....different. Not quite sure how yet, but yeah. Will probably do another post on that when things are a bit more worked out.
But we've been through a fair bit together, as was mentioned a couple of times on the trip. We've had sun, rain, wind, hail, thunder, lightning, and then we had snow. But more than that, we'd been through all these experiences together; helped each other grow, and become better at what we were trying to do. We grew together as a group. We made each other laugh, and had some fun times together.

I've certainly got some great memories with those guys, and it is a bit sad that that's coming to a close. But hopefully this won't be the last I see of all of them, and I know that they're pretty happy doing what they're doing. Which is good :)

In other news, there are only four months left in the year. And most of it, for me, is looking very orange. Orange is camps and trips. I've got one almost every week from now until the end of the year. It's going to get pretty full-on.
Hopefully, that'll also mean that it passes by fairly quickly. Cause I'm getting pretty tired, and it's starting to get to me. But yeah. Got a few that I'm looking forward to, though. :)

In other other news, I've just released a new digital album! You can check it out here: