Why you should vote as a 20’something.

It’s an election year and if you some how missed the past 7 months that have whizzed by, the election is fast approaching. I am currently inside a cafe, headphones in trying to get some study done. I am surrounded by Pon(SONB)y middle aged folk all who have picked up the paper and are reading the headlines. Squinting at their phones and discussing under their breath how we might just end up with a female prime minister.

Why you should vote comes down to more than just you and I. Voting is about the plans for the next 4 years and longer. What we want and who you vote for will make the difference not only for the country but god dammit for your career, the prospect of buying a house and eventually your retirement.

Look I am just going to say that you should vote. Most of my readers on here are between the ages 17-32. Y’all are the ones who should be voting and I am just going to throw it out there but people who are over the age of 85 shouldn’t vote. I love old people. Especially those horrible men who remember where they were when there was racial integration at school. But our world is developing and moving so quickly that not even the CEO’s of big companies know what the hell is going to happen in the next 10 years. I mean guys, Donald Trump is in the White House. And there is some grumpy bastard who is complaining about a woman who might just get elected. Ya. This is 2017. And for some bullshit reason, I am still fighting for equality as a woman.

Please, you can get voting papers sent to your house, you can look at policies online and you can interesting conversations with adults that challenge you. Voting benefits more than just you and I. It takes two minutes. Literally, you tick a couple of boxes and get on with your day.

I am going to go back to studying now. And ignore all old people comments by drowning them out with music. But seriously think about voting. It’s going to a good year for it.

 

 

How to politely tell someone to F**K OFF.

So I had the unfortunate experience of having an interaction with a woman who really didn’t understand the mutual societal agreement of waiting for a Tank juice in silence. I was on a break from work, I headed around to Tank to pick up a jungle juice for my partner who was still working (hustling that chef life). It was somewhat busy but when is it not at Tank. I ordered and sat down waiting for my name to be called out.

Does anyone else give a different name because you know its way to hard for them to even try to pronounce it? 

Any way, I perched myself on a stool and pulled out my phone and jumped onto the news. I may be 22 but I like to keep up with the news. Then this woman walked in.

To begin with I didn’t notice her. I was looking at the latest plan for Auckland’s traffic plans. But I noticed her because of her booming voice. Not to be a hater because I have a loud voice. However, she was blabbing on about being dairy free. Not that she had an allergy but she wanted the yogurt that was dairy free because “milk hinders the immune system”. Now to give you some context we are in Ponsonby. Known for its white majority and money. House wives who drive 4WD porches and put their kids in private schools. This is when I peaked at her. Lifted my gaze and to identify the noise maker. She was now smiling also perched on a stool and looking around.

Then we locked eyes.

And somehow her smile got wider.

“You’ll get a text neck”

Was this woman talking to me?

“You can thank me in years to come because your whole generation will have spine problems. Its welcomed advice I am sure”

And I thought for a second if she was being serious or if she was talking on the phone or if she was literally ignoring the fact that all of us in Tank were standing in silence ignoring each other. Because we came here for the juice not the conversation.

But then she nodded at me. And said “I am talking to you.”

And I replied with “I didn’t realise I was asking for your opinion”.

“Its called freedom of speech” she replied as if we are in America or something.

Followed with “you just don’t want a neck problem”.

All I wanted to say to this white pant wearing, smiling, dairy intolerant liar was a few words because if we are playing the game of freedom of speech this woman must think someone will bark back right?

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“No actually that is exactly what I was going for whilst I sit here minding my own business.”

That statement  is what my mother calls being facetious.

Please spot the girl in the background wishing she could just disappear.

And then my named was called. By my name I mean Sarah because Seren is just too much for some people.

The guy who was also on his phone now was just smiling and nodding his head. Us young people band together, and she didn’t like that.

She walked up to the counter and snatched her diary free, mango smoothie full of lies and as she walked past me said “having an opinion means you have a brain”.

And just like a great game of tennis I hit back with… “well thank god for that”.

Tank in hand she walked the opposite direction to where I was heading.

Moral of this story is that you cannot tell someone to f**k off. Not straight out in a public setting. In private, sure. That is your business.  You can be outspoken and make it a difference of opinion. Its just sometimes you have to remind people that there are different opinions out there.

You can’t dislike someone for having a different opinion to you. Its a human thing to be different. You can’t hate someone for being human. I mean you can, but that is also a matter of opinion.

 

 

They ruined my career. Sort of.

Okay so the title is a bit over dramatic but its called click bait and I know you all understand that I have to reel you in to read these blog posts.

I recently walked into my work only discover a film crew, two white people holding a glass of wine each, smiling as bright LED lights which hit their faces as they smiled and the director said ‘CUT’. A chef turned to me and told me to be quiet (like the Italian dude never listened to me once when I ramble about what I do outside of hospitality). All 4 of the chefs were all standing around. Unable to do work because of that ole nugget of being quiet on set. The restaurant was being used as a set for a commercial that was going to air in China. The showstopper of this little number was New Zealand beef. Cooked, steaming on a white plate being served by one of the staff members from the restaurant. You need to remember that this company has money, they are not cheap.

I walked back outside on the hunt for a coffee because you can’t steam milk with a film crew in your way. FFS. Latte in hand I was wondering back to the restaurant when I saw Thomas, the ‘server’ from the film shoot outside having a cigarette, a great french guy who actually works with me. I sat myself down next to him and asked if he was being paid for this work. He said no. Just being paid by the company we work for (I can’t name where I work on here because thats asking for trouble, but if you are smart you can just go look at my Facebook. #LoopHoles). I asked him if he had been asked to sign a media realise form? No. If he had seen a contract? No.

And thats when I started to get a bit shitty. Not at him, but at the industry.

Then the head chef walks outside. He had also been featured in the commercial. I asked him the same questions. He gave the same answers. And then I began to get really shitty.

You may be asking yourself why Seren are you getting cranky?

Are you jealous? No.

So what is it then?

You know of that thing called the butterfly effect? Ripple effect? One thing leads to another? That chain reaction?

Let us start at the beginning of an imaginary (or not) situation.

  1. You get asked to be on commercial/video/film/show and your role isn’t integral to the ‘thing’. Your there just to fill in the gap or your face is never shown.
  2. Your asked to turn up at the location or maybe you are even there.
  3. You walk in and are quite intimidated because of the people, the crew and everything that is going on around you.
  4. Someone asks you to get changed or to wait or to listen to instructions as to what you are expected to do.
  5. You listen and are asked to jump onto the set.
  6. The director lets you know what is going to happen.
  7. You listen and follow instructions. (p.s you are doing great)
  8. Time just slips by and the director calls cut and you are allowed to go.
  9. You ask if your needed at all. And its a no so you go home.
  10. You tell your friends of what you did.
  11. Then you tell me. (I am assuming we are friends here guys)
  12. And then I ask you if you were paid.
  13. You say no.
  14. I ask you if you signed a media realise form.
  15. You say no.
  16. Then I curse and walk away.
  17. You are now confused as what just happened and why I am now angry at you.

Well my lovely you just ruined my sustainable career because you took an unpaid job. How you might ask. Seems like a huge jump? Not really because you were just scammed.

What you need to realise is that at step 1 you should of had step 1.a, 1.b, 1.c all asking questions. Those questions help me and all others in the creative industry have a sustainable career. I am sure you would be shocked to think that some artists work for over 20 hours a week for free. With the expectation to keep working for free with no pay.

Remember I did not rack up a student loan to work for free for the rest of my life. As I am sure you can agree.

Questions like:

  • is this job paid?
  • if so how much? hourly, contract, casual?
  • where and when do you need me?
  • do i have a confidentially agreement?
  • do i have to have my hair and make up done? will I be paid for that time?
  • is travel included in my contract rate?
  • what are your expectations of me?
  • will i need to sign a media form?

What you need to realise is that this should all be transparent.  Because if this was your normal job (because this is my normal job) that you would ask all these questions, but sometimes due to the excitement and advantage taking of the fact that you might not know to ask these questions you end up doing it for free. Which means I might have to do it for free.

NOW HERE COMES THE RANT SO IF YOU WANT TO SKIP THIS THEN PLEASE HEAD TOWARDS THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.

What you need to know is we can’t strike. We don’t have a union to turn to. We do not have the law always on our side. We deal in mess, all day. We work outside of the law, all the time. We do not take breaks, we do not stop and look at the time for a break when everything is finally ready. In reality that does not happen. And I know you are not dumb. You know this but time and time again I get told we bring all these challenges on ourselves. When in reality you taking that free gig meant when I asked if I would be getting paid for this I seemed greedy.

When its not. I am not greedy. I do work for free and I when I do it is because I WANT TO. Not because I have to. I turn down jobs not because I don’t want them. But because my time costs. My house costs. My food costs. But this ideology of working for experience is utter bull shit. Yes for some time as an artist you might have to do the odd job for free however artist are expected to work for free after they have qualifications, awards, reputations.

END OF RANT: THIS IS WHERE IT IS OVER. 

My favourite part of this whole story is when I was on my way out of the restaurant in search of coffee and the director asked me if I knew how to turn the light on. I said “yes” and then he asked me if I would like to turn it on. I said “no sorry, I don’t work for you”.

I walked out and didn’t give a flying fuck.

 

 

10 Things We Should Of Been Taught At School

Now that I am 18 years into my education. That includes primary all the way through to my masters, I have discovered that I still do not know a lot (HAHA, my student loan doesn’t cover the fees to learn how to adult). That is in terms of life skills. You know those practical things that come in handy when you finally leave the nest and begin your own adventure.

I guess that wise man was wise by saying “you should never stop learning”. But I never thought that would mean that I might go into adulthood, not knowing how to do essential life skills. You might have those moments where you remember that you thought adults were all grown up by 25. Yet I speak to so many 20’somethings and they all laugh loudly and deeply at how they still do not know what they are doing. I feel if you go to the dentist once a year, like annually then you should hold a party to celebrate you. Because no one I know goes to the dentist once a year over the age of 18.

So here are my thoughts on what they should of taught in high school. Like I said in my previous post, what if they turned health class into life class. From sex education to knowing how political systems work. Below you will find 10 things we should of been taught at school.

  1. Knowing how to change a car tire. On the side of the road. In the rain. By yourself.
  2. How to budget. And add to that savings account. Not just live pay check to pay check.
  3. How to do your own taxes. How your taxes are broken down. E.d ACC, industry and infrastructure.
  4. How to vote. How the New Zealand political system works. Why you should read policies and inform yourself.
  5. To save for a big thing. Like a house or your retirement. I have a fear that I will get to the end of my working career and have no money.
  6. How to cook. I know too many kids who literally did not know how to make scramble eggs and I had to be the one to teach them.
  7. Taking care of yourself before others. Knowing when to see the doctor and when to seek professional advice without speaking to your parents.
  8. How to run a house hold. Your family does so much to ensure things keep running smoothly. We should really do the sims, but in real life. But without the weird shit.
  9. Understanding what a healthy relationship should look like. And how to walk away when it isn’t healthy.
  10. How to discover what you want to do for the rest of your life. You don’t need to go to University necessary.

Let me know in the comments what you wish you learnt at school. I would be super interested to know your thoughts and feelings.

Everyone is getting engaged, married or pregnant and I am over here trying to figure out my taxes.

Its been two year since we have spoken about this topic. By we. I mean me. And by speaking. I mean writing. If you would like to read the first part of this post click here.

But in those two years a lot has changed. For instance, I am now 22. I can now poach an egg and host adult dinner parties. With alcohol, on a Monday night.

Whilst my life has been taking a roller coaster of a ride, my friends have too.

Some friends will never be any of the things in the description because they were taken from us. Whilst some friends have ticked off all three in the space of a year. What surprises me is how many people it is happening to. At this rate, I feel I will be old by the time I finally get married, or announce that I am with child ( LOL, never thought that would be written here)

Now this post by all means is not a downer on those who are engaged, married or pregnant. You, do you. By all means. But I feel like once again I am well behind on the rat race we call life. Now I say this because this morning, another couple yet again got engaged. And another couple announced their new baby boy on Facebook. Kids I went to school with are getting their pre engagement photo shoots. And I am over here trying to not burn my mouth on a cup of tea.

It’s a funny situation because I often get told that I am mature for my age. That I seem more 27 than 22. Yet I feel I have been let down by society and our education system. Because I feel I don’t have the right set of tools to be my age.

There is no class on how to pick a husband/wife/life long partner in school. We don’t have any information on how to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives. Yet people are surprised when we have such a high rate of divorce. My ex boyfriend is in the middle of his divorce and he is 24. He’s twenty fucking four people. 

There is no one handing advice out to a 16 year old on what sort of financial situation you should be in to sustain a good life WITH a child. There is not one telling you how much you should be putting away for your retirement, let alone a house. There is no one saying how important a prenup is.

I feel I am becoming more and more infuriated with our education system and how it doesn’t teach you how to do your taxes, or change your oil in your car. I have always had the opinion that our education system is great in some aspects and absolutely bull shit in others. I had a math teacher who taught me how to work out hire purchase and that it is also not a good idea. I had a teacher who taught me how to iron any garment – properly and a teacher who taught me how to type. But then I also had a teacher who taught me that mushrooms reproduce with spores and that haikus make me a mad mad kid.

There is no class on budgeting that every student should have to take. Why not continue health class to life class? Ponder this: no one teaches you what abuse looks like.

Look I love the fact my best friend is getting married and is having a baby boy in 8 weeks. I can’t wait to be there to hold her hand as she becomes a mother or cry my eyes out when she becomes a wife. I am proud, happy, over the damn moon for her. I know she is ready. Beyond ready. Her and her soon to be husband are ready for this next step in their lives. Together.

Claire, if you are reading this. I am blessed to be your best friend. To see you take these steps. Keep growing Mr. Peanut, and I promise on your big day to fight your mother and all your family for baby sitting duties. I promise like we said that I will always be your best friend no matter what happens to each of us. 

But people. Listen. Do not freak out. I mean freak out by all means about not knowing how to do your taxes. I AM. Jesus I mean I have to deal with ACC as an independent contractor. You don’t want to do that. Yes, every week people are buying engagement rings and baby booties. Its a scary time when everyone around you is getting engaged, married or pregnant and you are single or just in a relationship with no intention of doing any of those things for at least a few years. I laugh when I think back to being married at 25. Its looking more and more like 30 people. Things to do, places to see. But being married I guess doesn’t stop you from doing that. It does however give you a best friend to do it with.

And that as an idea doesn’t seem that hard to swallow.

 

2016 The Year That Was

If you have been with me on this journey you will know how much of a roller coaster it’s been. I began to write this is September of 2016. Here are some of the things that happened to me in a very short, sweet, edible list. There is a story behind every bullet point but we can talk about that later. Perhaps. I am just so bloody thankful that 2016 is over and this year is off to a start. *I would say great, but it began rough, see conclusion for details.

This is the 2016, the year that was:

  • Moved house 4 times in the space of 6 months.
  • Had 2 friends die.
  • Broke up with 1 boyfriend.
  • Staged managed 6 different shows.
  • Choreographed 4 different dance works.
  • Traveled to Nelson twice.
  • Wrote over 50,000 words.
  • Gained 2 degrees (if I pass my dissertation).
  • Bought an new iPhone (finally, the iPhone 4 was dying).
  • Sprained one ankle.
  • Got a cold 6 times.
  • Went to 18 different shows.
  • Considered suicide seriously once.
  • Maintained a part time job.
  • Got two pay rises.
  • Gained two diagnoses of mental illness.
  • Attended over 20 counseling sessions.
  • Took 84 Sertraline tablets – but not all at once.
  • Started dating a new guy and fell head over heels.
  • Grew a vegetable patch (which is very successful).
  • Put on 6 kgs.
  • Wrote a 40 page research document.
  • Met many new friends.
  • Bought a new laptop.
  • Got another year older.
  • Admitted to hospital once for potential meningitis.
  • Took over 30 polaroids.
  • Visited 13 completely new locations.
  • Had the family dog die.
  • Went to 341 different places.

I will be honest with you, 2016 was not my year. Like completely, not at all. I mean I am not sure where I thought to myself, this year is great, fab, wonderful, best one yet.

No. That never happened.

I was asked on new years eve, what was the best thing that happened to me this year. Now this list came shooting through my head and I almost began to sing it because what else do you with all this bad information. You sing and  you do that little boogie on the spot and laugh to your insane self to make it all better. But then and there I looked to me left and Jordan was standing there. And for the first time in 365 days I thought to myself, there is something I can be thankful for.

SHOT JORDAN! Holding it down for 2016. You are the MVP.

So honestly, 2017 you can’t be a cock up. You can’t even be close. 2016 was a shit storm of a year.

*Re-admitted to hospital 2017 – there will be a story on this one.

Monday August 1st

I break the series of #TheFlateMatesFromHell to share this wee article. I ask that you forgive me for being so slack. There is another blog post that I have written that I won’t post openly that is very close to me. I ask you read this with an open mind and heart. I ask that you trust me when I say that, I am holding on. That 2016 is truly a hard year for me but it is almost over and 2017 has to be a lot better. So please read it here. Ground yourself and go and do something for someone else today.

Mondays are usually hard. They are hard to start. Waking up after a weekend is always difficult. The urge to stay in bed and roll over and fall back to sleep is all-consuming. You barter with yourself on how long you can stay there.

Today being the 1st of August I fought the urge to stay under the covers and let the world wake up around me. Though I knew I had already missed deadlines for my honours research I got up, hustled and drank two coffees.

2016 for me has been truly testing and I reveal that in my other blog post. I have moved house 4 times this year and felt like I have been running uphill since January. This weekend I packed my things into boxes, fell sick with a cold and then this happened.

I was on my way to university when my mum called me.

She was fighting the tears. She was short but clear. Our beloved furry family member, our dog Rosie passed away at 3pm. She was very loved, lived a full life and as I write with tears leaking out of my face I quietly remember how bad Mondays can be. Rosie was very sick and we were lucky to have her for so long.

My family is in mourning. I share this with you and ask for respect at this time.

I can’t really see the keyboard (ninjas cutting onions again) so if there is any spelling mistakes. Sorry about that.

I was talking to a friend of mine when he said to me that I have this ability to put on an act where everyone thinks I am okay. I laughed as I asked how did he figure it out. He said “Seren, you are crying and smiling at the same time. Yet you are asking me if I am okay.” I like to think that what I am going through isn’t as bad as it could be. I guess I always think there could be something worse. Though I know that this is a bad thing. I mask how bad things are and conceal it to those who care. I want to be there for other people. I like making people feel good. That is why I work in hospitality, that is why I got the nickname ‘Mother Duck’, that is why I will always ask you how you are. It is easier for me to take care of someone else rather than myself. I don’t let myself be sensitive. I am too busy for that and thankfully that saved my life. I struggle to be still, I struggle to switch off.

However being told your dog is being put down kinda brought me to a halt. I kept walking  up the hill in the rain to University because I had emails to send.

My Monday is hard, yes. But I have places to be, people to attend to, I put myself well down the list of things that are important. I do that because that is how I cope. if you read the second blog post I did for one day put myself first. I didn’t like it.

I want you to know that the image I give you is sweetened, edited, adjusted and palatable. What I share with you on Facebook, Instagram even Snapchat is all that I want you to see and I highly believe you do the same. I am not trying to preach but I do not want this to come across as shocking. I am not out here asking for sympathy votes, messages or hugs. I am asking you, the  readers who have supported me for over a year now. All 5275 of you to take deep breath and look at how you are doing.

Today is Monday. It is the 1st of August 2016.

Today was hard. Tomorrow will be hard. But it will not end us.