The Inbetweeners.

Whenever I’m between great loves in my life (which is often) I find myself in these inbetween relationships. You know, those relationships that never get defined. There’s never a “talk” and they generally just peter out with neither you or them feeling very sad about it. 

Because when I’m in love, I’m in LOVE. I’m not one of those people who falls for someone easily. In fact, I find it stupidly hard to like people or to want to be in a relationship. Because of this I find myself in these weird little hook ups all the time. They’re fun, the sex is good, but I know I don’t really like them, or respect them. And I most definitely do not let them in. 

If you’re like me, and you’re waiting for a real, deep love connection – it’s lonely. And you need these inbetweeners, even if just for orgasms, or spoons, or head pats, or someone to text so you don’t feel so alone. 

I wanted to write a post about these relationships, because I always forget them. They get left by the wayside, forgotten amongst the fond memories I hold of those “real loves”. The real relationships. 

Just because they were inbetweeners, it shouldn’t belittle their role in my life any less. It doesn’t mean they didn’t play an important part, it was just one filled with less drama, and less feelings and therefore less memories, or writing. 

I’m in one of those in-between relationships at the moment. And it’s nice. He’s nice. I’m nice to him. He’s young. But the sex is fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. 

There are no feelings at all. 

Nada. 

Nothing more than friendship at all. And it’s the same for him. We’re both still getting over past hurts, so it’s nice to have a friend. Who you can bang the brains out of and also get spoons whenever you need. 

Win. Win.

The real cost of fast fashion

After a long wait I had finally arrived at my destination.

I paused in the doorway to take it all in: a gold ornate chandelier dangled from a two-story high ceiling, all framed by beautiful white archways. A harlequin tiled floor peeked through the rubble with green foliage dotted about in random clumps. It was beautiful, it was majestic, it was… “Hey, watch it!” someone shoved past me, “you’re blocking the door.”

No, I wasn’t in some grand, yet peaceful, church in Europe, I was in Swedish retail giant, H&M, on the hectic second day their doors had opened to the Australian public.

The promise of cheap prices and on-trend, fast fashion had lured me in. Same as every woman, man, child and their dog. So lured in I had stood in that ridiculous line over two hours for the chance to grab one $15 top and a $20 pair of pants.

On the tram ride home I reflected on the past five hours, thoughts swirling around in my head. I may have saved $100 plus, but how could they offer these unbelievable low prices? What impact would this have on local Australian businesses and designers? And – as I hung the top and pants up in my already full and bursting wardrobe next to a similar top and an even more similar pair of pants – I wondered what fast fashion meant for the future of the environment.

If you’ve ever bought clothing from Sportsgirl, Dotti, H&M or Zara, you’ve purchased fast fashion. Fast fashion means retailers no longer stick to seasonal selling and instead churn out new stock on a regular basis.

Although still a relatively new concept in Australia, we have had enough time for it to alter our consumption habits.

Britain’s Topshop landed in Melbourne during 2011 and Spanish megastore Zara followed a few months behind. With H&M’s plans to open more than 55 stores in Australia, fast fashion well and truly has us in its grip.

But what does this really mean? Why should we oppose cheaper clothes and why should we deny ourselves a wider variety of immediate trends?

Because fast fashion has no long-term sustainability.

In Elizabeth L. Cline’s book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, she describes overflowing waste in America’s landfills and extra costs to charities for recycling your unwanted donations. She talks of garment factories in polluted China, and sweatshops in Bangladesh.

And, according to Cline, the industry in China is showing signs of distress.

“Because of the country’s one-child policy, the labor pool of young workers is finally shrinking, and young people, many of them children of first-generation migrant factory workers, are choosing to better their lives by going to college and looking for office jobs instead of factory-line work,” says Cline.

“As a result of this confluence of massive changes in China, labor costs are surging, by as much as 10 percent to 30 percent per year.”

Michael Kane, of American brand, Karen Kane, attests to this, “In China, prices have really started to go up incredibly. The rate it’s occurred is phenomenal. It’s not even competitive to produce there anymore.”

To keep providing low prices, says Cline, retailers have moved to poorer countries – like Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and Vietnam. These places lack the infrastructure of China to support the exponential growth of the industry.

Relaxed labour laws and no union support mean factory workers work a minimum 12 hours a day, with one day off a week. Or, in even worse cases, one day off per month.

An even bigger factor to consider is the safety of the workers.

In 2013, at least 200 Bangladeshi garment workers died when their eight-story factory collapsed on them.

“Global buyers who buy cheap apparel from Bangladesh do audit safety issues in factories, but these audits are often not actual inspections,” says Babul Akhter, head of the Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation.

The Clean Clothes Campaign, an Amsterdam-based textile rights group, estimates at least 700 workers have died since 2006.
The safety and rights of the low-paid unskilled workers who make our garments are not the only factors to consider, there is also the huge environmental impact.

In Australia a 2010 study by Constanza Bianchi and Grete Birtwistle found textiles make up four per cent of current landfill.

This may not seem like a huge number but if you consider that nearly 100 percent of textile waste is made up on recyclable materials, why is any of it ending up there?

In America – where fast fashion has been around much longer – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found textile waste had increased by 40 percent since 1999.

We also need to think of the environmental impact to the countries that churn out our must-have trends.

Polyester makes up around 50 percent of garments. Polyester is, in effect, just plastic. Plastic that carries a heavy ecological footprint.

I did a Google search on “pollution in China caused by garment factories” and turned up article after article on the negative effects caused by the large scale manufacturing.

In January this year, Greenpeace found a textile treatment plant had discharged toxic waste into the ocean roughly the size of 50 Olympic pools.

“From China to Bangladesh, rivers run purple, blue and black with waste from garment factories. Locals say they can tell what colors are in fashion by looking at the river. Meanwhile, the air is so thick with toxic fumes- it causes regular nosebleeds, fainting, and retching- especially in children,” writes Goldman Staff on the Goldman Environmental Prize blog.

And this is only beginning to scrape the surface.

Fast fashion has also had a negative impact on the quality of vintage items in America, says Cline.

Decent second-hand clothing has become harder to find due to low-quality, fast fashion. This gives consumers less reason to shop second-hand and has a negative impact on recycling.

When faced with a decision between a $7 second-hand H&M top with a missing button, and a brand new H&M top for just a few dollars more, I know what I would have previously chosen.

In protest to the increasing rise of fast fashion, the concept of slow fashion is now gaining traction.

Slow fashion “celebrates personal style, encourages education, promotes conscious consumption, values quality and asks us to slow down,” says website, SlowFashioned.org.

It’s about becoming educated and asking where, how and who has produced your garment. It means paying more for pieces that will last longer. It means mending, sewing, altering or designing your own clothes. It means thinking long and hard about the far reaching consequences of that $10 top. It means considering the real cost (hint: it’s much more than the label price).

An advocate of the slow fashion movement is Elaine Briggs, founder of Australian label, Cosi.

“In the UK, cheap, mass-produced clothing has had a major impact on a large number of high-end European designers. Some survived, many did not. I believe that the Australian market is soon to mirror the UK experience,” says Briggs.

“A fast fashion shawl is one of maybe 400 made in one day by machine-operating, low-paid, unskilled workers. We strive to create products treasured for generations and handed down – the antidote to the throw-away society. Fast fashion is not evil, but its constant need for ‘new’ is just not sustainable.”

Armed with my new knowledge I returned to H&M a few weeks later to see if it was still teaming with people. Although thankful that the line had disappeared, the busy hoards of shoppers that greeted me was saddening.

Where once I had grabbed armfuls of the latest fashions to try on in the change-room, I now looked around and saw only a vast array of poorly manufactured clothes.

When once I filled with awe at the styling of mannequins, who looked as though they had just stepped off a Paris runway, I now felt only disgust with myself for buying into the shoddy illusion.

As I touched the cheap material, seams almost falling apart in my hands, I saw the blood, sweat and tears of the workers in China, in Bangladesh, in Cambodia. I smelled the musty, rotting scent of landfills, slowly bloating with textiles around me. I heard the sounds of marine life drowning under colourful toxic waste dumped in the ocean.

And I tasted our collective regret for the future if we continued along our current path.

Later.

And I looked at him in that moment and saw it clearly. Him, thirty years on. I saw everything he was and everything he would be. I glimpsed the future, and it scared me. No longer young and innocent, he was now a caricature of his former life.

Washed up.
Used.
Alone.
Jaded.

His youth lost on wayward ventures. Or ventures never taken. Scared of change and scared of failure. A life and talent wasted. I saw all this in a fleeting moment, surrounded by laughter and drunks kissing sloppily over G&Ts. I saw him properly.

It broke my heart.

Wednesday.

The Drums are playing in the background and I realise that I’ll probably never listen to this band in the same way again. Your mouth is moving but I’m not really comprehending the words and, although I think they’re saying something like “I don’t love you anymore”, I’m not sure and my brain isn’t really making sense of it. The music keeps going, but it sounds further away now. You’re gesturing and you look concerned, your eyes darting side to side. I don’t think you’re sure how to process this – maybe my silence has caught you off guard. I notice a fly out of the corner of my eye and its rubbing its two front legs together and in front of me you’re fidgeting. I think you probably just want to leave but I don’t want you to leave because this may be the last time I see you. The music is still playing in the background. I’m freezing cold.

But then I left and I lost you forever

I wrote this back in December 2011. I’ve just refreshed it a little.


then i lost you forever sardinia analog photo love
We met at Christmas and I liked you straight away.

I imagined you liked me as well – but conversations we have had since then have indicated otherwise. I imagined you couldn’t keep your eyes off me. I imagined you flirted with me. I imagined there was a spark.

I couldn’t stop wanting to touch you and when you lay on my legs I had butterflies while your hair was tickling my shins.

You told me later you didn’t really notice me at first; I was quiet and didn’t talk much. But at the end I was drunk and got bold. I asked for your number and you gave it to me. I decided from that moment you would be mine.

We texted back and forth; I liked our rapport.

I imagined a life with you – cuddles, shower talks on the floor. We would get drunk and share all our stories. You would tell me all your secrets and I would trust you. You would be someone I could love. I imagined one day we’d travel together, have kids, get married.

I thought about all these things.
We hadn’t even been on our first date yet.

You don’t know these things.
I never told you.

We started dating. I spoke about you to a friend – I told her I didn’t really like you, but I would “textbook romance” you as an experiment.

That was a lie.

I was embarrassed to admit I had actually fallen for a boy. I had been single for so long and was adept at pretending I was happy. I had always wanted people to think that I was strong and if people knew how miserable I was, how hard it was to get through life from time to time, they wouldn’t be friends with me.

I fooled you into thinking I was a happy, normal, functioning human being.

But I wasn’t.

The first time you experienced me – the real and crazy, sad and miserable me – you were shocked. I thought I would lose you. I loved you so much. I had come to rely on you for my happiness.

I cried for so long – soul-wrenching tears that exploded from the black hole inside me. I cried not for just for thinking I had lost you, I cried for myself, for all the pain inside. For all the loathing.

It didn’t last though and we moved in together. The day you agreed I was over the moon – we would be together forever! You really wanted to be with me.

You wanted to be with me!

You had accepted me. You had seen the crazy but yet you stuck around. Even when I tried to manipulate you. Even when I tried to push you away.

You didn’t leave.

I thought: he must really love me. No one else has ever stuck around; no one else could put up with it.

I would be ecstatic in your company, but in a matter of seconds I could hate you. I could hate you so bad and hurt so hard that my heart would feel as though it would shatter into a million pieces.

How does one let a person have so much power over their self?

You never showed me your emotions, not even when drunk. I constantly wondered how you felt about me, I was constantly unsure. Always teetering on the edge of trying to seem blasé about the uncertainty or demanding you express yourself to me.

Did you love me?
Did you want to be with me?
Did you even care?

Would I ever be able to break your heart? Or could I ever make you so happy that you felt your face would split from the huge smile on your face?

I would lie with you in bed and touch your cheeks. Run my hands through your hair and trail my finger along your brow. I would look into your eyes and feel your body wrapped around mine.

My heart would try to beat out of my chest.

You are so beautiful.
Your skin is so soft.
Your body is perfect.

I loved to watch the mole on your bum and the cute way you squirmed when I touched your feet. The way you would wrinkle so easily in the shower.

You are my best friend.
But then I left.

And now I’ve lost you forever.

Why you should wear the feminist label with pride

feminst feminism pop culture sexist hipster

My friends have started introducing me, and writing off my rage at the inequalities in society, by explaining that I am “sort of a feminist”. As though it’s a bad thing to believe that women deserve everything that men have. As though by way of excusing away my forthrightness on the topic, they’re separating themselves from me – labelling me and shoving me away in that dirty little box where they themselves definitely do not reside.

Feminist shouldn’t be a dirty word; feminist should be a label that all women wear proudly.

I’m yet to come across any of my friends who don’t want equality in the workplace and who don’t want to vote. I’m yet to come across any of my friends who believe that their rightful place is in the kitchen, and I don’t know any who don’t have career aspirations, drives or goals.

There’s a lot of shit I’ve put up with and even believed – listening to my numerous guy friends through the years talk rudely about girls – making jokes about being a good housewife, or only being good for one thing.

And yeah, it’s fucking disgusting, but when it’s something that’s so accepted in society, and you’re young, you don’t know how to deal with those kinds of comments. And so you let them slide, and you may even let them seep into your psyche, altering your own view of yourself.

You let these comments affect you – but who is to blame?

We are a product of the media; we are a product of advertising, society and the imagery and popular culture that surrounds us.

So if it’s all around us, how do we get out of it?

We start small.

Instead of berating the women around us, we embrace them. We start to love the little flawed things about their bodies, about their faces, about each other. The things that make us unique, and different to the overly Photoshopped mannequins on the pages found in our magazines, on our TV’s and in our newsfeeds.

We refuse to buy and laugh at celebrity women who are belittled in gossip magazines for their bodies – whether they’re “scary skinny” or “obese”.

We recognise that every woman has a right to walk through life without being judged for the clothes she wears.

We look up to older women as mentors and role models. And we view younger women, not as threats, but with respect and kindness.

We refuse to stay quiet when someone is degrading a woman and we refuse to judge women on their sexual adventures (or lack thereof).

We remain open minded. And honest. And we are not afraid to stand up for what we believe is fair and right.

We keep our respect for men, because we love them. And we remember that feminism is not hating men.

We start small. Because just by changing our opinion, and our voices, we can have a positive impact on those around us.

We start small.

We start by embracing ourselves as Feminists.

Writing dribble when drunk and being so drunk you literally dribble

It’s a fine line.

Many a morning after a big night I wake up to iPhone notes, texts to myself (and others), half finished blog posts and unsaved word docs (dependent on where I was drinking the night before), of complete and utter dribble.

From time to time I am able to pull from this dribble some amazing insight into the world around me (and other pretentious bullshit) and turn it into something worthy of posting. This is a real rarity though.

Here’s some of my top picks from the last two years (Note: Some of the times look like acceptable hours, they’re not. They’re saved as the time it was in Melbourne, when I was overseas)asdf fast food is bad for you drunk ramblings social media retarded drunken ramblings feminism stone ages drunk ramblings deep drunk ramblings learning drunk drunk drunk love triangles obssessed with clapping travelling sucks sometimes drunk ramblings weird dreams ramblings feminism and why it's insulting drunk weird ramblings toilet wall ramblings rty miley cyrus white pants barbie dolls sexulised media drunk ramblings dead fashion funeral fashion always see the positives ramblings drunk the future life drunk ramblings

Quote

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), “On Reading and Writing”

Finding out your ex has moved on with a girl who shares your name, being told your ex-boyfriend’s best friend who is also your best friend’s ex-boyfriend likes you, and other awkward stories from my weekend..

So Saturday night saw me lying in a park swigging red wine straight from the bottle at 3am with a friend who shall remain nameless. Said friend had just got nude and ran through sprinklers and said park was barely a park, and more a strip of grass lying under a motorway bridge.

Said friend is on his back (fully clothed now) and I was struck by a sad thought. Me and him are almost one in the same person.

Let’s rewind.

Tonight was the night I discovered that my ex-boyfriend, yes the same ex-boyfriend that is contained in all my rambles on here, has a new girlfriend. Did I cry.. no. Did I feel angry.. yes. Kind of a strange feeling and not one I was expecting. Some social media digging later (PS I WAITED ALMOST 3 DAYS TO DO THIS – this is progress!), and she shares my name. She was also a budding journalist, who comments things like “your funny”.

I hate her.

I also hate him.

But more in a “I can’t believe you’ve moved on before me” type way. And I hate her in the “you have my name but really bad grammar” type way. She’s pretty, but nothing amazing. I just keep picturing them doing things like sitting in the shower together like we did, and I bet they never fight. She’s probably all perfect and would never do anything like get drunk and chuck his clothes out of the second story window and then end up vomiting in the shower. Only classy girls such as myself embark on such endeavours.

Anyway. If he’s happy, I’m happy. Moving on has gotta be in the not so distant future for me now. Our love is dead and gone. He’s moved onto bigger and better things.

So that takes me to the question, how are you meant to act when you inadvertently run into them together at some point, probably in the not so distant future, considering he lives down the road.

Do I:

a) run and hide behind a bush

b) smoothly and suavely say, “Hihowareyouthat’sgoodihavetogo,” and hightail it the fuck out of there, or

c) act like a normal human being, say hello and then walk on my merry way as if it’s the most normal thing in the world to meet your ex-boyfriend’s, who you’re still totally in love with and pine over, new girlfriend..

Once upon a time, upon hearing this sort of news, I probably would have turned around and sexed some random dude that night. Instead I yelled at said naked friend from earlier, stormed off and tried to walk two hours home in broken sandals with 10% battery on my phone and $3 to my name. Because that is so much more mature..

So back to the park, and we’re lying there in the grass, I’m swigging the red wine, we’re playing The Jezebels and, I’m not really sure if this actually happened at this stage of the night but the dramatic effect is better, all of a sudden I’m being told that my naked friend (who is now clothed) possibly has a thing for me. This friend who is not only my ex-boyfriend’s friend, but is also my best friend’s ex-boyfriend. In fact, we all used to hang out together in some sort of sick, double happy couple-type scenario.

I’ve always liked him, but never like that. We share a mutual respect for each other, born out of, what I always assumed, was an entirely platonic relationship.

My ex-boyfriend (who was my boyfriend at the time) once said to me, “You’re not going to move to London and hook up with *bleep* are you.”

Outraged and disgusted by the thought, I vehemently said NO. And feelings have not changed on that. Nevertheless the fact that my best friend once dated him.

Good grief.

Anyway he probably (hopefully) doesn’t remember any of this, and he probably (hopefully) is just feeling lonely. After all, his two best friends (who I used to date – did I forget to mention that one?) are all loved up now.

So, instead of dwelling on all this, I’ma drink a bottle of red and dance in the lounge.