Archive for Canada

Fuck off, we’re full…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2014 by Waylon

We have all heard it and many of us have said it. I know i have.

As Australians, there is this notion that we aren’t racist, we are patriotic or “proudly Australian”, or some other ridiculous excuse to convince ourselves that we don’t deserve this big, bad nasty “Racist” tag. Racism is so firmly bred into our language, our culture and our lifestyle, over a long term basis, that we don’t even know that we are doing it. And if we don’t know that we are doing it, of course we aren’t going to admit that we are racist.

Don’t for a second think that i think i haven’t fallen into this category. I stand guilty as charged your honour. For years, i vehemently denied my racist tendencies by prefacing “Im not racist” with “Oh its a joke, i don’t really mean it”, “Yeah but i was born here”, “But there’s more of them here than there is us”, “Jesus, its spot the aussie”….

Its all the same shit just wrapped in a different flag.

Something happened my very first night in Canada that changed all this. Something so simple, so honest and so sincere, it hit me like a sledgehammer to the face.

I had met my mate earlier that day and we headed out to dinner to meet some of his mates and see title bit of Toronto. I met one of his friends, who is now a good friend of mine, who had come over to Syd earlier in the year and commented that he noticed that everyone was so blatanty racist. Obviously i denied it. “Nah its just a joke”. Later we went to a club, I’d had a few drinks and was feeling comfortable and starting to get into holiday mode. As we went upstairs i noticed that the club was, literally half white people and half black people. I said to the Canadian who was in Sydney earlier in the year (as a “joke”) “Hey, since when are “they” allowed up here with “us”?”

The response was immediate, swift and honest. He turned around looked me right in the eye with an amount of disgust, disbelief, and sickness that i couldn’t comprehend at the time and said “You can’t say that here. It might be OK in Sydney but not here”.

I probably responded with a “Oh its only a joke” and he may have said something back, but either way it hit me before this. I was racist. Australians are racist. And we don’t even know it. (yes i realise this is a generalisation.) Once i realised this i realised a lot more about both Canada and Australia.

Canada is grey. There is no colour. Everyone is Canadian. Everyone is covered by the Canadian flag. And those who aren’t Canadian are welcomed (including, although begrudgingly, Americans lol). So much so that its like they literally don’t even notice colour. They don’t notice that someone isn’t white, and in the bigger scheme, they don’t notice they are gay, or female or a non white gay female.

It just doesn’t register. And it shouldn’t.

Australia on the other hand, calls itself white but notices every single colour other than white. Yellow, black, non tanned brown, red, everything. They notice gay, they, we, notice female, we notice everything thats not white, straight and male. And we act accordingly. We say “well you need to assimilate and stop grouping in one place” we say “speak our language or don’t come here”.

Lets think about how fucking ridiculous that is:

If you come to a new country where you don’t know anyone, you are going to go where there is something familiar. Like we do. Remember those Aussie pubs in Thailand, Bali and the UK? Isn’t that the same thing? Yeah, we go elsewhere but we tend to congregate where the familiar is. Where the other Aussies are. Remember the terrorist attacks in Bali in 2002 (?)? It was targeted towards aussies. Why did they hit the club they hit? Because thats where we congregated. WE do the same thing we hate here, in other countries but tend to think its OK.

As for the language issue, i have been on the other side of it overseas, and it was a very different story. When i was in Macau for three months in 2004, i spoke very little to no cantonese for most of the time i was there. While i was learning it, i was terrified to speak it to strangers. I thought they are going to get pissed off that i didn’t speak the language, like we do. But when i did, instead of being pissed off, they were extremely appreciative of the fact that i had tried AND once they knew what i was trying to say, they helped me say it correctly.

We, as Australians, could not do it any more differently. We get annoyed (“Speak the language freshy”), we certainly make no attempt to help them learn the language (kind of ridiculous when thats what we say we want), and this is only if we actually bother to speak to them. So again, they go to where they feel safe, where they find familiarity, then we get annoyed at that.

We are breeding and feeding our own problems.

And its not just the “immigrants” that we are confused about. How many times have you heard someone speaking with an accent of another country, not necessarily a “non-white country”, (I’m thinking lebanon, Italy, Greece, pick a country), saying “This is our country bro, go fucking home”, while living in a “lebanese/Greek/Italian” suburb but calling themselves “lebanese/italian/greek/wog/leb” etc? Again why is this OK but for a “non-white” who has as much claim to being an Australian as they do are called immigrants, FOB’s, and a million other derogatory, racially motivated slurs?

If you argue that these “immigrants” are taking our jobs, grow up. They usually take the jobs that you think you are too good to do, the jobs that you think are below you, the jobs that you give up and then stay on welfare, not working, while giving shit to these people who come here and work to build a life for themselves and then have the nerve to say you are above them. Grow up.

This isn’t just a “general populace” issue. Now i don’t mean to be political, and i certainly don’t care to start a political argument, but this whole stop the boats policy crap is so ridiculous and shows that Australia and its law makers really don’t understand the whole thing . That racism is so deeply embedded in our culture and our thinking, that its now being put into law. It shows that they don’t understand the reality of the world and how it works. It shows that we haven’t make a distinction between “illegal immigrants” and Asylum seekers”, and we are really bordering on ing viewed as a country that has no compassion for anyone other than ourselves. For a country that is already looked upon as a racist one, is this really something we want to do?

When is Australia going to get with the times and realise that we have been for a long time, currently are, and will be even more so in the future, a multicultural country?

If you think that immigrants are taking your job, If you think that immigrants are ruining the country, if you think that all Aussies are white, if you think that the boats should be stopped, if you think that being white gives you some sort of superiority over everyone that isn’t…. then i have one thing to say to you.

Fuck off, we’re full.

We are full with people that love the diversity of the place. We are full of people that love this country enough to uproot their whole life and that see our country as a good place to start again. We are full of people that are compassionate enough to realise that, in some countries, they aren’t as lucky as us. We are of full of people who are yellow, and black, and red, and brown, and white.

And they can ALL be Australian.

Now that i have written this, I’m going to go get some dinner, I’m tossing up between Thai and Chinese…. I hope they don’t tell me to “go home, we are full”, because i hear Ireland is a bit of a shit hole place to live at the moment.

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2013 – The year that shouldn’t have been

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2014 by Waylon

I guess the whole story of 2013 actually begins in November 2012, when I met someone who I would realize was one of the most amazing people that is walking the face of this earth. We hit it off pretty much straight away and I was done. If he asked me to marry him I probably would have straight away.

At the same time, my brand new business was starting and it was off to a great start. Before I start I had 3 people in my outdoor, a couple of PT clients signed on, and so many ideas I didn’t know where to start.

I was still working full time at Superdry. Hated every minute of it due to a completely incompetent and egotisical manager making life hell for everyone but he was more and more absent from the store, giving me a chance to prove I was up for the job when he was inevitably terminated.

And this was the year I was going to Canada. My first holiday in years and years and it was ridiculously exciting. And I couldn’t wait.

2013 was off to pretty good start!

By February the rollercoaster ride to the pits of hell that was 2013 had begun.

It started well. My Birthday on the 2nd started with the guy that made me happier than I had been for a while taking me to lunch, then lawn bowls with some of my favorite people, then dinner with some of the most important people in my life. After dinner, the ride started.

By February 14, it was all over, and he was gone. Yup Valentines day. I was inconsolably devastated and heartbroken. Why he?  To this day, I don’t say his name. He’s the furtherest thing from an asshole to walk this earth, and that’s what makes it so painful.

Some may say 3 months isn’t long enough to know someone for them to change your life. I disagree completely. This guy not only changed my life, he changed me as a person. Fundamentally. From day 1.

Without realising it for a long time, the day I walked out of his apartment was the day I gave up. On everything. The business, relationships, success, life.

Canada was the only carrot. And, fuck me I would need it.

The business wasn’t growing. I still had some great ideas (I even surprised myself with some of them), the clients I had were great, but I didn’t care enough to work on it. I was going through the motions. I was numb. And it didn’t feel right.

I was broke, more broke than normal, in mountains of debt that seemed to keep growing, I was lonely, I was failing at business. I was failing at life. And I didn’t care. I was numb.

I fucking HATED everyday at my job. Retail is the most soul sucking industry you could work in. And when your view of the human race as a whole is already pretty negative, when you fail to be able to, or want to, empathise with anyone because of your own numbness and bitterness, retail just strengthens the idea that people are shit.

Canada. Just make it to Canada.

The manager at Superdry was eventually terminated and the replacement manager was not installed for another month, a month that I ran the place. A month that garnered better results than the store had seen since I had been there. Results, I wrongly assumed, that would cement the promise of the job that was made to me months before.

The new manager started, another from the clique attached to the Retail general manager. Egostisitcal, lazy and total company bitch. And totally protected. Needless to say we didn’t get on. A lack of respect for anyone other than those who could get her what she wanted. Anyone else was dirt underneath her cheap shoes.

Close your eyes and think of Canada.

By this time, Canada was in jeopardy. How was I going to pay for it? How was I going to survive while i was there. It was all I had to hang on to. It was getting me through the year, it was getting me through day to day. It was literally keeping me alive. What would happen if it was no longer there?

Through an amazing helping hand from a mate (I only use amazing because I can’t think of a word that adequately describes him) I got my tickets. Canada was a reality. I just had to get on that plane. I just had to survive till July. Ill figure out everything else after that. At least I could get to Canada. God knows how I’d pay for the actual time in Canada.

Day by Day. Step by Step. Breath by Breath.

A few months into the year, the business felt like it was going backwards. No PT clients, 2 people in Outdoor. It was becoming a burden. And I was becoming poorer. By this time I was living, if you can call it that, on a basic retail wage, had god knows how many parking fines, behind on ALL my bills, and getting poorer by the week.

JUST GET TO THE PLANE

Then a letter came from Credit Corp collection Agency chasing a $5000 debt on an old credit card I spent weeks chasing down (and hitting brick walls) a year ago. And I had to pay it now. The collection agency didn’t understand the meaning of broke. “What do you mean you don’t have, or can’t borrow $2000 as a down payment?”. Another very honest email about the reality of the lives of the people they are dealing with, was sent with a new contact person I had signed authorization over too. I’d had enough and was on the edge with one foot dangling, and the other leg broken. No reply, no further conversation with me.

JUST. GET. TO. THE.PLANE.

A month out from Canada. I got a new client. An amazing client with amazing potential. And an up front payment that paid some of the bills I was behind. It was like a drop in the ocean. Numb.

Canada wasn’t helping as much as it used to. The string that carrot was on, was fraying. The broken leg was getting tired.

I remember driving home one night and as I came around a corner a little too fast I felt the car slide. My first thought was to let go of the steering wheel and step on the accelerator. Hopefully I would hit the tree just off the side of the road. Goodbye work stress, Goodbye financial stress, goodbye loneliness, goodbye fatigue.Hello permanent rest and happiness. It wasn’t the first time this year.

I didn’t. It didn’t.

Instead I kept driving home, parked the car. And cried. And then cried some more. I had nothing.

GET.TO.THE…..oh fuck off.

I was on complete auto pilot. I was numb but at the same time i was angry. I was distant at the same time I needed to be close. I was completely lost, and as Patrick Bateman says, “The mask of sanity was slipping”. I was absolutely depressed.

It was about 10 days out from Canada. Breakfast to sort out finances with the friend that organised my tickets. My numbness and lack of caring about my situation packed a little dose of honesty with the friend that organized my tickets. I was so low, and so deep into a bad financial situation, more financial stress couldn’t make me feel any worse. I told him I hadn’t lodged a tax return for 3 years and I hadn’t put away any money for it. Food always wins over tax.

Apparently this was agood thing. The day I left for Canada, the equivalent of 4 months wages, my tax return, was deposited into my account. The same day as my last shift at Superdry. Ever.

Of course Superdry didn’t know this. They assumed i’d be back to swallow a little bit more disrespect and incompetent management. The only thing id be coming back to do was resign. And it would be in a way that hurt them the most. I was bitter, I was angry. I was tired. I was depressed.

But I had made it to Canada. I’d made it. I went back to the coast for the night so mum could drive me to the airport the next morning. And breathed. And cried. Somehow, I’d made it. The next morning, in the car was a reflective couple of hours. Small talk with mum was interspersed with silence where I was thinking about what I had been through in the last few months.

A couple of hours later, I was on the plane, in my seat and the pressure was off. I’d made it to the plane. With the actual sigh of relief, came tears and a smile. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it felt that for 24 hours I couldn’t be touched. No emails for money, no phone calls from collections, no more stress, nothing but what I designed.

It felt fucking amazing.

Landing in Dallas, I connected to Wifi and had received an email from my ticket friend (who was dealing with the credit card debt collectors while I was in the air). He had settled it for a fraction of the $5000. I told you amazing didn’t cover it.

I felt free. Holidays had started.

Canada was exactly the holiday I needed. 5 weeks completely stress free to breath, refind myself and take some much needed time out. And I did. I met some amazing amazing people, had some amazing experiences and when I left I felt alive and recharged. This is in no small part due to the people i had met. Canadians, Canada, NYC, New Yorkers, Montreal, Montrealians (?), you saved my life. Literally.This is why there were tears when i left Canadian soil. It felt like home should feel.

When I got home, I felt like me. I felt like I was back to who I was. I’d shed years of stress and the fog had lifted and I was seeing clearly again. How wrong I had gone, and how amazing it felt to be back on track. I knew what I wanted, I knew who I was, I knew who I loved and I knew where I wanted to be.

I’d quit my job a week before I was meant to be back with a short, but honest email to Superdry while sitting at a Red Sox vs. Blue Jays baseball game (we won) with one of my favorite Canadians. It was amazing, and I haven’t regretted it since. I was no longer angry, the job meant nothing. The company meant nothing. All but 4 people in the company (If you’re on my facebook, that’s you) meant nothing.Their money meant nothing. I was better off without it in my life.

My focus now was on building the business. I had enough money to cover my bills for a month without any money coming in, and I still had outdoor, 2 clients now and a fresh focus to make it a success.

6 weeks later, I was broke. Nothing I did on the business bought in any new business. The new WRun program was building slowly, which helped me get rid of the weight i’d put on over the last year and in Canada, but nothing else was building. Every opportunity turned into dust and the ups and downs were killing my focus.

The spare time did have one amazing, so far permanent effect. My car was cleaned from top to bottom, I spent a whole week declutering and clearing out my whole collection of crap I had acquired. Boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff I was just holding on to just to hold on to. I deep cleaned (except dusting, Thanks Robynne lol) every inch of my space, I had cleared out my computer hard drive, cleared out my facebook page and my phone. All of these changes have remained and feel normal.

Financially it was just as sparse. I was eating once a day and that once a day was McDonalds. I had about $5 a day to spend on food. No idea where petrol was coming from, and I was very quickly falling stupidly behind on rent (which I HATE. Rent has always been number 1). I was living on nothing and it was financially worse week to week then before I left, but mentally I was in a much better place to deal with it, but it was starting to take its toll.

‘Just give me abreak, just a little one. Give me a sign that I’m on the right track or the wrong track”

Then my appendix exploded in my stomach. The pain was fuckin stupid. I wouldn’t wish it on Superdry. Thanks to some amazing motherly thinking, my housemate, came home to make sure I was OK after I was up all night throwing up. I wasn’t.

I’d been given a sign.I was on the wrong track.

I was in hospital for 12 nights. Some days barely being able to move, Some days not wanting to talk to anyone through fatigue or pain. But every day being fed three meals a day, not having to worry about growing the business or where I’m going to get petrol. My life outside the hospital had been, once again put on hold.

And think I did. And it was confronting. I realized in most cases, what i thought I wanted, I didn’t want at all. In other cases I was spot on and I needed to put everything on the line to get it. In the two weeks I was in hospital and the week I spent at home with family a plan was put into place to rebuild a cracked and almost non existing foundation in every corner of my life.

Since I got out of hospital, The clarity has been amazing. Changes have been made and plans have been set in motion. The clearing out that I started after Canada has continued further than I could ever imagine when I decided that I had to clean the bird shit off my car that one day.

The criteria is pretty simple. If it doesn’t make me happy, or have a positive purpose, it goes. No ifs, buts or maybe’s. And it applies everywhere. From possessions to people and everything in between. If its gotta go, its gotta go. Simple.

So what have I learned from 2013?

1. Hitting rock bottom helps you find your top priorities

When you have nothing, it helps you see what you value more than anything. Because even when you have nothing, you have something. And that something is what you absolutely value above anything else. For me, its family, friends, respect, honesty and loyalty. Everything else comes second. A paycheck, success, ego, pride…it ALL comes second.

Once you know what you value, your whole life revolves around these, without any regret or sense of loss. It all just makes sense. I don’t regret leaving Superdry, or leaving Fitness First in 2012 (in any role), or Energize this year because it went against what I truly value. Simple. It doesn’t need a second thought.

If you are honest to your values, its easier to have that difficult conversation, its easier to make that difficult decision, its easier to do all the hard stuff, because its just doing the right thing.

2. Asking for help shows strength, not weakness

This year showed me that it really, really is OK to ask for help. Yes it can be scary to let go of the façade of strength that we put up, but when you do, you find out a few things.

–      You find out that everyone is dealing with something. Maybe not what you are, but something, and they may believe your façade and not talk because they don’t think you’d get it or they don’t want to disturb your perceived utopian life.

–      You will find that people CAN and are willing to help you out. And the issue may not actually be as big as you think it is and the fix is really simple

–      It frees YOU from your façade. Building it, maintaining it, and hiding behind it, takes energy. A FUCK LOAD of energy. Energy that could be used to solve it.

3. I have some amazing people in my life.

No.

I have some FUCKING amazing people in my life. And there is no way I would even be here without them. They pulled me back from the edge, put my feet back on the ground and healed the broken leg. Then made me some dangling carrot soup and held me close and told me it was going to be OK.

They are all responsible for one less gravestone in the ground this year.

(There are some events that happened this year, both good and bad, that I haven’t included here as its just more of the same OR its not really up to me to publicise details as im only a part of someone else’s story.)

Here’s hoping 2014 is a better year for me and you. I have big plans that are ALL about what I really want. And I plan on completing them.

I hope you do too.

Waylon