Falling Through Spiderwebs

A couple of months ago BrokeGIRLrich wrote a fantastic post called Falling Through Spiderwebs. Melissa was one of the first (in fact, I think she was the first) finance blogger that I discovered in the big ol’ world of the interwebs, and I’ve always enjoyed her posts because her career as a stage manager makes it feel like I’m looking into a dark little corner of the acting world that doesn’t often get the glory (now would be the time to read Let’s Hear It For The Crew! if you haven’t had the chance).

I normally read the BrokeGIRLrich updates as they land in my inbox and then delete them, but Falling Through Spiderwebs struck a chord, and it’s been left floating around in my inbox. I sometimes get questioned on my ‘obsession’ with money – holidays or unpaid jobs can get a little stressful as I work out how much paid work I will miss out on to take them, and budgeting makes me do a happy dance.

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(seriously)

Mel’s post is such an accurate summary of one of the reasons why I have a healthy interest in squirreling money away. As a starving student, and a now a not-quite-starving actor, having a cushion between me & impending doom really does make it feel like I have a few spider-webs carefully spun to catch me if something goes wrong. Well, last week…something went wrong.

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I woke up at about 6.30am with a niggly tooth. In a sleepy haze, I mentally made a note to book a dental appointment for my next day off. Within 30 minutes that had become, ‘make a dental appointment now‘, and by 7.30 I was in pain. Like, serious pain. I couldn’t sit still, couldn’t string together a sentence, could barely muster enough mental focus to google the closest dentist.

Is anyone else getting that sinking feeling? You guessed it…

…Root Canal

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I always thought the air of horror surrounding root canals was related to the amount of pain involved with completely gutting a tooth. As a functioning adult, I can finally say that I know better-  because if there’s anything that my trip to the dentist hurt, it was my savings goals.

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Me thinking about my $3,000

For someone who takes home approx. $800 a week, $3,000 could have been catastrophic – four years ago, it would have been. So as much as those three visits hurt to the very core of my being, there’s a little sense of pride that I will be able to pay them off without resorting to credit.

Would I rather see that money safe in my Acorns or home deposit fund? You betcha. BUT thanks to my Acorns, my piddly little house deposit saving, and a few other emergency funds here and there, there are enough layers of webbing to catch me, turning a dental disaster into a slightly unfortunate setback. And for me, that security is worth all of the budgeting in the world. What do you think?


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Falling Through Spiderwebs

Who gives a crap?

There are some things that it’s probably better not to skip on in life. Dental hygiene is definitely one, delicious treats are absolutely another.

Toilet paper also falls into this category, which is why I was so pleased to come on board when Who Gives A Crap reached out to me regarding their latest limited release. I’ve ordered their loo rolls before, and I was already a huge fan of their company ethos. 

The founders started Who Gives A Crap after learning that 2.4 billion people across the world don’t have access to a toilet. That’s roughly 40% of the global population and means that diarrhoea related diseases kill 900 children under five every day- pretty sobering statistics.

Who Gives A Crap have donated almost $500,000 to help fund hygiene and sanitation projects so far, and they’re hoping to turn that figure into $1 million by the end of this limited release. That’s a pretty ambitious goal, which is where WE- the users of toilet paper- come in. After all, everyone needs to poop! And since we do have to do it, you may as well save the world at the same time. It’s consistent small choices being made by a large group of people that will add up to an overwhelming effect.

WGAC aren’t just about saving the world through donations- their toilet paper is made from 100% recycled paper, and in my experience is delivered almost completely plastic free (the sticky tape on the box is literally the only exception). And look how fun the wrapping is! Seriously, I was giggling way too much as I stacked my poetic toilet paper in the bathroom.

I swear this one was a lucky co-incidence.

This all sounds pretty tempting to you, so Aussies can head HERE to start that loo paper on it’s way to you. You’ll even get $10 off your first subscription box if you follow my link! I’m afraid the rest of the world is being denied the poetic rolls at the moment, but those in the US or UK can still get their hands on the original fun prints. The biggest trouble you’re going to have is finding a place to stack it all!

Who gives a crap?

What do you called an unemployed Actor?

….still an actor

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Greetings! And welcome to my Monday evening post, fuelled by the realisation that we are now almost at the end of June. For the duration of this post, I will be portrayed by the fabulous Titus Andromedon, a fellow struggling actor who accurately represents where I am in life at the moment.

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Life as an actor can be a pretty big roller-coaster – one week you’re drowning in auditions, dashing from place to place and feeling like the whole world wants a piece of you and your big break is mere moments away, and the next you’re watching the dust bunnies roll through your voicemail as you wait for that call from your agent that never seems to arrive.

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And with the unique combination of unfailing confidence and endless self-doubt that only artists seemed to have mastered, the quiet periods can be hard.

If you’re the sort of person that still has bills to pay between gigs (ie. probably everyone- if this isn’t you, please let me know how you’re doing it), the lull probably also means that you’re working twice as much at your day job, which can be draining. Sometimes you get home after a full day, look at your optimistic ‘to-do’ list of self tapes, acting classes and unpaid work, and then accidentally end up four hours deep in YouTube documentaries on the minutiae of life as a Mennonite (or is that just me?)

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I mean, you’re past the age of 23, so it’s probably too late to make a serious go of it anyway. Maybe you should just spend the rest of the evening with some Korean fried chicken and the course prospectus of a grown-up degree in something practical. You’re fine with this change of path. Totally fine.

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But then you hear that Kathy Bates didn’t score her breakout role until the age of 43. And that usher from the cinema down the road just had a feature role in Alien: Covenant!

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Maybe you’re not a dried-up, shrivelled old hag after all! And while I might be past my prime Home & Away high-schooler age, I guess there’s still hope that I can replace Dame Judy in the Bond franchise.

So what do you call an unemployed actor? Maybe foolish, maybe unrealistic. But also driven, dedicated, and above all things – still an actor.

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What do you called an unemployed Actor?

Gratuitous Gratitude Time

I’ve been doing some writing recently for a great little startup that involved creating a series of emails to guide their customers through a very basic mindfulness practice. The most recent dispatch introduced the idea of gratitude and the importance of acknowledging the great things in life as you look back (or forward) over the day. It was only as I sat down to write this post that I realised that’s not something I’ve been practicing regularly in my own life! So here they are, the three things I’m grateful for today:

  1. That the $13 I have left in my wallet to last the weekend just means that I’m sticking to my budget and watching my savings grow
  2. That I can afford to rent my beautiful little apartment to share with my sassy little fluffball and no-one else (introverts unite!). It’s been 18 months now and I still get an overwhelming sense of peace every time I put my key in the front door.
  3. That I have a week in Tasmania coming up with a bunch of amazing girls! Two weeks to go until whiskey tours, endless cheese and late nights around a fire with the best company a gal could ask for.

You know what? It felt really great to write that list! I think it’s so easy to get swept up in what I still need to achieve, that it’s nice to sit back and look at what I’ve already got.

What are you grateful for this week? Let me know in the comments below!

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Gratuitous Gratitude Time

The danger of a single story

This post was inspired by a fantastic talk of the same name by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I will embed below for your viewing pleasure.

The single story creates stereotypes,and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

For a period of time a while back, I worked at a disruptive transport startup company that we will call…Youba. Brought on as a general hand around the office while they set up a local branch, I ended up staying for twelve months and watched the company grow from an incredibly hands-on approach to the more remote systems that one would expect from a technology company.

The thing is, during my time at…Youba…I accidentally ended up exposing myself to just one story, over and over again, and as Chimamanda says, it became my only story.

Let me explain.

As you may have noticed during your own experiences with this company, while drivers come from a range of ethnic backgrounds, the majority do seem to be what politicians would describe as ‘immigrants’. And most of them were lovely! Unfortunately they weren’t the drivers I got to hang out with. The majority of the drivers that came to spend time in our offices were the ones that had to be brought in to be ‘spoken to’. The ones that were brash, argumentative, frequently dismissive of me as a female, and occasionally very upsetting. The troublemakers. And these trouble makers were more often than not middle aged men with an ethnicity other than my own, who spoke English as a second language. Day in, day out, this was the story I was exposed to. It’s been years since I left that role, but I still struggle with the stereotype I built every time I interact (or even walk near) someone who matches the demographic of those drivers. It’s been ingrained and it is sometimes incredibly hard for me to put those thoughts aside and focus on the personality traits of the person actually in front of me.

But that’s a real-life series of interactions that led to my misleading impression of an entire group of people (and to be completely fair to myself, I had to deal with a -lot- of horrible people in that job). As Chimamamda points out, it’s the stories we are told that are much more instrumental in shaping our views of the world.

Like many people, I went to see Hidden Figures when it was in the cinemas (mostly because the costumes looked amazeballs. I was not disappointed). For those not in the know, Hidden Figures tells the stories of some of the ‘Coloured’ female mathematicians who helped to put man into space. It’s a great movie, I highly recommend.

But it wasn’t the way the women were treated in this movie that shook me, it was something much more subtle than that. As a couple kissed on the screen, it occurred to me that I had never seen a black couple kiss on film before.

Hand on heart, I have been racking my brains for the past few months, and I still haven’t come up with a single film I have watched where two lead characters of colour were allowed to express themselves in a romantic way. Please send me your examples so that I can track them down, please.

I know that as a white female, I enjoy a privilege. The stories I see told are my own. The histories I learn are those of my people (except for my Maori blood, but that’s a story for another time). I see my life reflected back at me in every medium I choose to consume. The only stories I have about people different from myself are those the media has chosen to present to me.

If we are what we eat, then we are also the information we digest. In the technologically driven age, that information is force fed to us – when was the last time you had to actively searched beyond your phone screen for your news?

The classic example is the Muslim terrorist. You may not be the sort of person who thinks that everyone who practices one of the largest religions in the world is a terrorist, but how many times has that image been presented to you as the truth?

There is an advertising rule of thumb that says that a products advertising has to reach a consumer at least seven times before it makes an impact on them. After that point, I guess the brand has managed to imprint on your brain, forever reminding you of hot, salty fries when you see the golden arches.  So if I can think of seven times I’ve been presented with a Muslim stereotype in the last week, what truth am I being convinced of?

When it seems that every force in the world wants us to barrel towards WWIII at the moment, how do we become the bigger person? How do we fight back against the single story?

As the old adage says- Our first thought is who we were conditioned to be, our first action is who we are.

Challenge yourself. Reach beyond what the popular culture is preparing for you. Read from authors of a different country, watch movies that weren’t specifically created for you.

Prior to meeting me, my other half discovered that he held a negative stereotype of Asian baristas (yes, he takes his coffee seriously). What did he do about it? He went out of his way to only drink coffee made by the many many wonderful (and some terrible) Asian baristas of our fair city  until he had taught his subconscious the lesson I think we all still need to learn- some people make fantastic coffee. Some people make terrible coffee. Race has nothing to do with it.

I refuse to let the media tell me what to think as the world seems to descend into chaos around me- because if we’re learned anything from pop culture, that is definitely how any apocalypse starts.

 

 

 

*If you find any of the terms I have used above to refer to people of various ethnicities offensive or derogatory, please enlighten me so that I can be sure to make appropriate corrections. Please also accept this clip from comedian Aziz Ansari, because I find him hilarious *

 


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The danger of a single story