An Open Letter To NZ High School Students

Dear Young Adult,

For me high school was quite a while ago (class of 2002). Things were different back then, there was no NCEA and internal assessment was only a small component of our final year – everything else was externally examined. Great for kids like me who excelled at memorising information for exams and then immediately forgetting it, and terrible for kids who struggled with rote learning. My year was the last year to have this system; NCEA was introduced the following year.
From my understanding of recent media, one thing that doesn’t appear to have changed is the pressure put on high school students to perform well in assessments/exams as part of a wider fear that your entire life hinges on your ability to score highly at school.
I promise you; your life does not depend upon how many “Excellents” you achieve in NCEA. This is something that school does drum into you subconsciously, but the amount of people out there in the world who had their life plans actually derailed by average school marks is incredibly minimal.
I’m going to assume that the stress people are feeling is because they want to get into university, as literally nothing else takes any school grades into account (trust me, no employer gives a flying fuck how you went in Year 13 art history).
Did you know that New Zealand universities have avenues to welcome almost everybody? Universities are a business and trust me; they want your money.
Achieving Level 3 NCEA is not the only way to get into university. It’s merely the fastest. If you passed Level 2 but bombed out in Level 3 (because let’s face it; the school system is not the most effective learning environment for everyone) yet are a motivated student, you can gain entry to university through completing a foundation year. This will allow you to enter any first year program, including those notorious health sciences.
Perhaps you didn’t do so well in Year 12 either. No biggie – once you are 20 years old, you can apply through special admission – again, if you are the kind of person who really wants to attain that tertiary education, they will most likely accept you. Not only that, but you can use the time in between to save money, go travelling, get life experience and just give yourself a motherfucking break from academic learning (seriously, you’ve been at it for 13 years in a row)!
I’m not advising you to abandon your efforts in high school, because obviously it’s important to challenge ourselves, and passing your Level 3 is the fastest route into university – I just want each and every one of you to know that failure to perform in a system that was designed for the masses does not in any way pertain to your worth, or ability to succeed in achieving the things you want out of life.
I’m a 31 year old who is studying a bachelor of science, involving maths and chemistry papers – I didn’t take any science in high school after 6th form biology, and I scored 23% for Bursary (Year 13) calculus. Yet here I am, studying science, after a solid decade of partying and forgetting literally anything I ever learned at high school. And guess what – I’m (more or less) an A student. Why? Because:
a. I want to be there; and
b. Universities have systems in place to assist people like me – they have papers like “general maths” and “concepts in chemistry” (which are still 18 point papers that count toward your degree) that consolidate the high school syllabus to prepare you for the harder papers.
Universities kind of realise that when we are 15 years old and are expected to know what we want to do with our lives in order to pick the correct subjects for NCEA, we might choose something totally inconsistent with what we end up wanting to do later in life. On that note; do not go to university unless you have a really clear plan of what you want out of your study there. It’s a huge waste of your money if you are just going because your parents expect it, or because you feel like you “should”, for lack of any other ideas.
The decisions you make, and the results you achieve while you are a high school student, will not haunt your future – no matter what your teachers and parents tell you (I promise!). What’s more important is the adult that you are becoming at this stage in your life. A student who might have to work their ass off to achieve a “Merit” is immediately going to be more prepared for tertiary education or the workforce, than the student who is naturally well-suited to exams and rote memorisation, who sails through school without learning about work ethic. Almost everyone I know who got to uni on the latter (myself included), got a very rude awakening and ate a bunch of humble pie when the “Credit/Merit” level students from school were the ones casually beating us out in the competitive programs like law and health sci.
So try to forget the end marks and instead focus on the process of learning. Practice time management and effective study habits – not in order to get the highest grade, but for their own sake – to prepare yourself better for adulthood, whether that involves tertiary education, working, or travelling. Learn at a young age how to sensibly overcome setbacks and perceived “failure” without emotional meltdown – because resilience is one of the most valuable things that money cannot buy. Things will happen in this life that you cannot predict nor change, and being able to deal with obstacles and failures in a way that keeps your stress levels steady and your self-esteem intact is probably the best marker of a great mind. Those are the real-life exams you want to be prepared for.
You have so much to offer the world, but don’t forget just how much the world has to offer you in return. We only get one life, and to spend any part of it getting unhealthily stressed about smaller things within the bigger picture is a real disservice to the wonderful human that you are. Celebrate the great things about yourself and your friends, 99% of them won’t have anything to do with your academic prowess. Enjoy weaving what will be a long and winding path – make it one filled with abundance, and don’t let fear become a motivator.

Love, Chelle xoxooxoxoxooxoxoxoxxo







Celebrate Your Girlfronds Please

Recently my sister-in-law gave birth for the first time, and I was accordingly introduced to the world of judgement that mothers have placed on them in every single aspect of motherhood – from how you decide to deliver, to how you choose to feed, sleep, clothe and entertain your baby. My poor sis-in-law (let’s just call her “Lisa”) was not only sleep-deprived and new to parenting, she was also having to expend energy worrying about what she was doing, due to the myriad of conflicting and judgmental advice flying around the internet, hospital and anywhere that mothers with 2c may lurk. Luckily she has a great bunch of friends who were real and assuring with her about their experiences, but not every new mother gets to have the kind of support network that “Lisa” has.

I was feeling pretty aghast at the bullshit that new mothers get judged on when it also hit me: the judgement starts far before motherhood. As women, our very choice as to whether or not to have children is judged and held up for public opinion at every turn. And it sucks to say this, but the perpetrators are often other women.
As a single 31 year old female, I have been constantly encouraged “not to worry – for I will meet someone to have children with soon!” I’m really pissed off about this. Why? Because literally everyone who knows me should know me well enough to know that I have stated since I was ca. 12 years old that I did not have any maternal instincts. Many people would patronisingly tell me that I would change my mind when I was older – and this is still happening to this very day.


To be fair, it would be a very lucky baby.

I am so incredibly fucking insulted by this, in ways that I can’t even express.
Who the hell are people to insinuate that I don’t have intelligent agency on my own decisions?
What the actual fuck is wrong with wanting to be childfree?
We don’t live in an age of marginalised population – far from it. We could do with a heck of a lot less people on this planet, and I’m more than happy to refrain from adding to the current population clusterfuck that is pillaging all of our natural resources. Not to mention that I’d much rather take my $250,000 and my free time and spend it on travel, 3D art gadgets, designer furniture, low-purity Australian-grade cocaine, bibles and literally anything other than raising a child.
I have considered telling people that I have some kind of horrible illness that prevents me from having children, just to make them think twice about the invasively judgmental words that come out of their mouths – but in doing that, I would be further perpetuating the notion that women who don’t have children are only that way because they medically can’t. And I’m not even going to waste my breath talking about the injustice of safe abortions not being free and available to every woman on this planet.

So why, in 2016, are women that choose not to have children still considered inherently faulty and suspicious? I promise you; we’re not. (I’ll tell you what actually is suspicious though; chicken nibbles. The ratio of labour-intensive “nibbling” to projected meat payload is a grim travesty indeed. Who is making money from this betrayal? Who is laughing all the way to the bank at your fervent insistence that the nibbling is worth it? We’ll discuss this issue in depth another time.)
I’m finding that the reason feminism still has a long way to go is because there is too much goddamn in-house bickering.
TLDR: Live and let live. Before you go around judging what other people are doing, try shutting the hell up and living your own life. To the womenfolk out there, you are doing a sound job – whether you have kids, don’t have kids, go travelling without your kid, are out of work, don’t breastfeed, co-sleep, go back to uni, work a lame job to get by, work a high pressure job, put your child in daycare, or watch Buzzy Bee in your PJs with (or without) a baby all day. We only get one life and very few people on this planet are incapable of deciding their own way to navigate it. You’re all great, you’re all wonderful and we all have so much exciting stuff ahead of us. Is it not the biggest waste of our beautiful minds to focus so intently on irrelevant shit!? We’re better than that. Call your girlfrans and tell them how rad they are.


See what we can accomplish when we lift each other up? We could wear pineapples on our heads and everything.

Love, Chelle xoxoxoxoxo







Catching Feelings Is A No.

I am another month into sobriety and the past month has been difficult and lonely and scary. Let me preface this post by saying that this will probably be the last you’ll hear about my new life of sobriety because we all know that this isn’t why you started reading about my foibles in the first place. In fact, most of what you like to hear (judging by site traffic) revolves around tales about how much I hate clutter and/or women’s magazines, how I prefer to do housework on drugs, good tips for sneaking alcohol into events, Karen’s $20 and other fun lowbrow stuff like that. So after this post I will definitely try to keep it more lowbrow or at the very least, not too serious.


Remember the simpler times, when my blog was about fun stuff like terrible Backstreet Boys tribute tattoos?

But, today, I’m feeling pretty rubbish. And since I can’t drink about it, I’m going to have to write about it. I could just write this in a private document on my computer, but writing about it here actually forces me to organise my thoughts and examine them, rather than just freeballing all over a Notepad document (because y’all KNOW I’m too gangsta to pay for MS Office). I’m sure at some point in the future, I’ll be embarrassed by this post and subsequently take it down. But for now, I’m feeling raw and shit, so that’s what you will receive. If you can’t deal with that, then stop reading right now and go check out one of my lighter posts instead!

Usually, when people engage in behaviours that they can’t moderate, it’s because they are literally forcing down their emotions – I’ve always known this theoretically, and yet I never actually applied that same logic to my own drinking habits. Why? Because I didn’t see myself as having a problem (until recently). As an aside, where do you even draw that line? Drinking thrice a week? Drinking every night if it’s more than a couple? I honestly don’t know and I think that that line gets drawn at different places for everybody. The main point here is that it’s almost impossible to know why you are doing something destructive unless you can accept that what you are doing is actually destructive. Which is why I never thought about why I drank, I just did it, because it worked for me.


Boy howdy!

So imagine how jarring it was for me when after quitting drinking, I started feeling out of control emotionally. What was going on? I thought that I was supposed to be making things better by not drinking, and now everything was worse. I found myself crying my eyes out over not being able to understand geological maps – I absolutely couldn’t handle the fact that for the first time in my life, I was unable to understand something academically. The air was vacuumed out of me in a split-second as I began panicking that I had overestimated my intellectual capacity, and realised that there is actually a high chance that I might no longer be smart enough to study science. Like a runaway ferris wheel, my thoughts escalated very quickly into catastrophic situations and I realised that I was not going to be able to drink my way out of this one. So I went home and cried myself to sleep, because what the fuck else can you do.


Previous me would have gotten drunk and learned how to do it while drunk, while having an awesome time. Current me waahs into her pillow like a full-blown loser.

A couple of weeks later, I was looking at pictures of my Perth friends and fell into full-body-wracking sobs at how lonely I felt without this special group of rad, unique souls that totally understood me and loved me for who I am. I wasn’t able to comprehend how I had just upped and left an entire life behind without really feeling anything (apart from the last two days because I was exhausted from a bender). But I had adopted a “she’ll be right” attitude and just bounced off on a plane, leaving the people I love so dearly without any real accompanying emotion.

It seems strange to me that I was able to make so many swift decisions from a place of emotional barrenness. But that’s pretty much what I have been doing for the last year or two – emotional withdrawal had become my default setting, and alcohol was the software package that I was running. Often, sobriety feels like an obnoxious, relentless Windows 10 upgrade offer – why the fuck would I want this annoying new thing to have to adjust to, when the old operating system suited me so much better?
Wait, I can’t use Windows 10 as an analogy here because that would imply that like sobriety, Windows 10 will eventually be something that I have a positive relationship with. Not happening Windows 10, you irritating jerk.



So now, without being able to drink away any feeling that pesters me with it’s existence, I now have to feel these feelings….. and they are HUGE feelings. Feelings about death and grief, self-esteem, relationship breakdown, loneliness, self-confidence, the intense need to accomplish stuff. All of which are interrelated on some level, I’m sure – but none of which are useful or helpful. I’m not going to start drinking again, logic tells me that this is no longer an option. But I am feeling really exhausted and raw and ready to crawl into a hole and hide. I’m sure this will all pass and get better and I hope it does soon.


Panic! At The Black Parade.

Ugh. Next post won’t be so shitty I promise.

Love, Chelle xoxox

It Really Is That Black And White: An Open Letter To All People Who Need To Change Shit Up.

I have had so many friends confide in me about how shitty their abusive partners make them feel on a regular basis so I figured that since I was spouting the same advice every single time, I may as well write a blog post about it. Much like the old adage, “he’s just not that into you”, what I have to say is very blunt and aims to rebut all the bullshit excuses you give yourself to justify sticking with the scumbag that treats you like his emotional or physical punching bag. For the sake of minimising pronouns, I’m going to write like I am talking to a female in a hetero relationship but this advice knows no gender, and is equally applicable whether you are a woman, dude, agendered, transgendered, bigendered, omnigendered, pangendered or otherkin (apologies if I have missed anybody out, gender description is not my specialty).

So. If you are with a person who treats you like dirt, calls you names, physically hurts you or makes you feel worthless, chances are that you and he have argued over this and he has apologised and lured you back in, time and time again. Firstly, and most importantly, HE DOES NOT LOVE YOU AND HE IS NOT ACTUALLY SORRY THAT HE HURT YOU. If you are genuinely sorry for something, you apologise sincerely and then you NEVER DO THAT THING AGAIN – because you can actually acknowledge why what you did was fucked up. This guy is probably the world’s best apologiser, and he sucks you back in every time. Why? Because he is genuinely concerned that he will lose you – but not because he loves you. He is freaking out because treating you like shit is one way that he can feel superior and take out his own shitty issues, and he is scared of not having that nice, safe, convenient, easily controllable outlet.

It’s SO important to grasp this fully: HE DOES NOT LOVE YOU. If there is any glimmer of love in there, it’s not a healthy, caring love – so again, you should get the hell away from that. If somebody actually loves you and cares about you they will make the effort to be kind to you and not pound you into the dirt repeatedly.
There are no exceptions to this.
Anything else is not love, it is insecurity and baggage and deep personal issues disguised as love. Actual love feels good. Love is not crying half the time and having the same conversation with your friends over and over and over for the billionth time because he did it again.

The reason that you stick around is because you have low self esteem. And believe me, HE KNOWS THIS. He NEEDS this to be the case. Because if you had a higher sense of self esteem, you would have been gone long ago. What you have to feel (and concentrate on getting professional help for if need be) is that YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT. EVERYBODY DESERVES BETTER THAN THAT. And if you stick around, guess what – he will NEVER magically change. For change to occur, there needs to be a catalyst – and you subtly reinforcing and validating his behaviour every time you go back there, is NEVER going to make him change. I know it sucks being single if you are one of those people that crave emotional tenderness and shit. I know personally how much it sucks having low self esteem. But the only way you will ever be able to build self-esteem is by NOT BEING WITH SOMEONE WHO KEEPS YOU DOWNTRODDEN. If you truly think that being made to feel like a piece of shit is a better option than being single, then you need to get counselling immediately. Because that’s the most heartbreaking shit I have ever heard.
On a side note, why are people so scared of not being in a relationship? Ask yourself this question and think about it very critically. There are other ways you can probably get your various needs met that don’t involve you being abused.
Just know this; if you stay with this dude, you will never feel good about yourself and you will never lead a happy life. It’s as black and white as that – there’s no point trying to dress it up.

If he is a repeat offender, you are fooling yourself if you think that you can help him change or that he will change out of love for you. HE WON’T. And if he truly loves you (which he doesn’t), he should be able to be apart from you for a very long time to fix his myriad of fucked-up issues, and then demonstrate that change by treating you with nothing but the utmost respect and care. But again, you’d be stupid to expect that to happen – and life is far too short to take a gamble with such ridiculously long odds.
Life is so short, dude. How fucked off will Future You be with Past You if you have to look back on your life and acknowledge how much of it you wasted being with someone that treated you so badly? What if it were your friend in this situation? Would you think that it was all G?

Look; I know it’s not as simple as “just leave him”. I’m not telling you that it is. I’m just trying to get you to look at this with a shred of critical thinking, because that could be the spark you need to set up some therapy, or do something else which will set off a chain reaction of events that will finally get you to wake up and fuck this guy off for good.

I’m too bummed about this subject to write a well-flowing piece so I will just sum it up in a few bulletpoints – forgive me for not sugarcoating anything. I care about my friends too much to be gentle when what they really need is a huge shake.


Love, Chelle xoxoxoxooxox



The Best Movies Ever If Your Brain Is The Same As Mine

The other day I watched a movie that really got me excited for films again and I realised that I’ve never actually compiled a list of some of my favourite films – which for someone who loves lists, is kind of odd. So, I figured I may as well put it on here for people to read and hopefully some of you will perhaps sample parts of this list. Also I guess that if I meet some new friend who asks about my taste in movies, I can lazily point them in the direction of this post (and if you are here because of that, then might I warn you that I’m definitely not as cool as you seem to think I am). I will do my best to give enough pertinent information about these films without giving away much plot, because much like sex without a condom, films are far more satisfying without too much premise. So sheath up buckeroo, and take a hearty dive into my top 15 film recommendations, which are in no particular order. I should add that I am going to refrain from including my favourite comfort movies which include (but are not limited to) things like The Mummy, Con Air, Almost Famous, National Treasure, Lara Croft and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, because although entertaining and easy go-tos, they don’t really get me truly excited about the world of film like the ones below.

Donnie Darko
This film is just fantastic. It is a sparkling orgy of all of my favourite things – exploring the fabric of spacetime, inter-dimensional abilities, excellent humour, top-notch acting, time period nostalgia, a beautiful soundtrack and visual spectacularity. It’s one of those films that you definitely need to watch more than once, as you aren’t likely to fully comprehend some of the deeper plotlines the first time around (or the second, or the third). I drunkenly posted a video on Youtube once, ranting for ca. 13 minutes about what the actual fuck is going on in Donnie Darko, and there are countless other videos along the same lines.


Oh, you thought I was kidding? Nope. Here’s me just casually nerding out about my fave film, complete with chalkboard of notes.

Across The Universe
Perhaps I’m biased because I like 20th century history, LSD and The Beatles, but this movie really stood out for me as an achingly gorgeous love story offset by a politically restless yet totally vibrant, psychedelic era. The singing is off chops – Joe Cocker absolutely nails the shit out of Come Together, which is sandwiched between other stellar vocal cameos from the likes of Eddie Izzard, Salma Hayek and Bono. It’s a very bright and colourful film with a soundtrack featuring nothing but Beatles songs in various styles. It’s a yes from me Simon.


SUCH good art direction.

Chasing Mavericks
I’ve always loved surfing films and this one is based on the true story of Jay Moriarity, a young surfer from Santa Cruz who was the unknown local who made the cover of Surfer magazine in the 90s when he wiped out on Mavericks during a massive swell. This film is a testament to hard work and dedication to your goals and is motivating as heck.


The inspiring story of how Jay arrived at the point of this shot, at just 16 years of age.

The Man From Earth
This film is literally a bunch of academics sitting around a fire talking after one of them reveals himself to be a Cro-Magnon man who has survived ever since his day. It’s kind of a philosophical thought experiment and is really fascinating. Low budget as all heck but has a pretty dedicated intellectual sci-fi fanbase.


Trippy story.

The Prestige
This one is a very clever Christopher Nolan effort, so you know it’s going to try to mess with you good and proper. The film is a story of intense tragic rivalry between two magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) and it dissects the nuances of stage magic along the way. It’s not until after you watch it that you realise that the film is actually a magic illusion in and of itself. Are you watching closely?


Bonus: the late David Bowie features as the late Nikola Tesla…. two absolute legends.

NB: In fact anything by Christopher Nolan is insanely boss – Interstellar and Inception are also two firm favourites of mine. Watch those too if you know what’s good for you.

JK Simmons, oh my god. That man can be SO chilling when he wants to be, and in Whiplash he is a megalomaniac music conservatory instructor who abuses the shit out of a promising young pupil. It’s really intense, yet the ending is so incredibly triumphant that I found myself inadvertently holding my breath during the final scene. SO GOOD.



The Blues Brothers
Man, I really like a lot of music-themed films. The Blues Brothers is hilarious and vividly pretty and the music is nothing short of simply joyful. I have a huge crush on Dan Aykroyd in this one.


Also, Ray’s shirt.

Jurassic Park
The theme of scientific advancement vs social ethics will be a winning combination every single time. Add in some skilled Michael Crichton plot, some INCREDIBLE Steven Spielberg effects, some dinosaurs, Jeff Goldblum, and you have yourself a classic. If you haven’t seen Jurassic Park then what the fuck is wrong with you, get out of my blog and go watch it. Run don’t walk.


Because life finds a way.

Interview With The Vampire
This was that one time that I quite liked Tom Cruise – his character Lestat is really rather funny. This is a pretty well-made film that gives a glimpse into the human aspects of traditional monsters, showing the ever-present duality of nature among all creatures. The acting is excellent and the pacing is perfect.


So this is what happens inside the church of Scientology.

Disney’s Fantasia (1940)
I watched this a couple of years ago and couldn’t for the life of me reconcile with the fact that it was made in 1940. It is such an unbelievably rad achievement for it’s time! There is no dialogue whatsoever, just music and animation, so it’s a real audio visual treat to get lost in.


“I don’t need drugs to enjoy this … just to enhance it!”

American Beauty
I love this movie for many of the same reasons that I love Donnie Darko, and one day after watching them both on LSD, I realised how eerily similar they actually are, and subsequently found a guy who was able to communicate what I was far too high to at the time. Also, Kevin Spacey is probably one of the sexiest people of all time, which is so weird because he always looks a bit like a tired accountant on his day off. Maybe it’s the way he speaks, I dunno. But his inherent quiet sexiness only adds to American Beauty and I think Mena Suvari’s character missed out by not getting all up in that for real.


I rule.

Based on the book by our lord and saviour Carl Sagan, this film is about the reaches of radio astronomy, presenting some interesting ideas about how shit might go down if we received communication from out there. Jodie Foster is a radio astronomer working for SETI (aka bae) who receives and manages to decipher communication from extraterrestials. Her scientific nature is frustratingly cockblocked at many turns by Matthew McConaughey, a religious philosopher. But fuck that guy, because Jodie Foster is going to get amongst some otherwordly interaction! This one is directed by Robert Zemeckis, so you know it’s good.



Back To The Future
Speaking of Zemeckis, This one has been my best friend since it came out – which is the year in which I was born (I am going to just assume that my parents watched it with me as a baby in the room because it has been a part of my life ever since I can remember). It’s a playful time travel classic, with fun, bright visual design and a corking good soundtrack (thanks to Alan Silvestri and Huey Lewis) – and the attention to detail in what on the surface seems to be a pretty one-dimensional film, is actually very lovely.


All the best artistry of the 80s in one film.

Ex Machina
I only just saw this one a couple of days ago and it’s what prompted me to write this post, and to try seeking out more like it. Ex Machina is a recent indie sci-fi film about artificial intelligence, involving a multi-faceted Turing test that is ongoing throughout the whole film. I started to subvert the Turing test back onto the other characters in my mind and for some time I started wondering whether the characters presented as human were actually human or not. I started to suspect that I was unknowingly participating in the test, and I am still thinking about Turing’s test parameters and the real-world applications in a future where “computers will overtake humans with artificial intelligence at some point within the next 100 years”, according to Stephen Hawking. A true mindfuck, plus the dialogue is actually believable, which you don’t come across all that often.


It’s pretty dope.

Band of Brothers
Not actually so much a movie as a 10 part HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers is one of my all-time favourite pieces of narrative ever. The portrayal of the men of Easy Company throughout their WWII campaign is just incredible, and really captures the grim horror of war in juxtaposition with the good-humoured nature of these adolescent men who were a long way from home. I must have watched this at least fifty times and will probably watch it many more. A phenomonal production effort from Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg with outstanding acting and visually stunning shots.


Just chilling in Hitler’s Eagles Nest drinking his wine, as you do.

So that’s it – 15 of my favourite movies. Feel free to suggest any to me that you think i’d like, based on the above list!

Love, Chelle xoxoxoxo