Living Beyond The Human Filter

The concept of the Great Filter goes a long way toward explaining the Fermi Paradox and is pretty interesting. Basically, the Great Filter is a theoretical barrier that all civilizations approach at some point, ultimately either dooming that group or giving it free reign to advance. According to Tim Urban, “we’re rare, we’re first, or we’re fucked”. The Great Filter is essentially a wall in time that makes or breaks a civilization, if you will. When it comes to human interpretation of this concept, on one side tends to lie the somewhat naive (often religious) people who believe we are special (or, ‘rare’) and that the Great Filter is already behind us. The other two options postulate that the Great Filter is still ahead of us, which is why many scientists, including Stephen Hawking, are vocally alarmed about humankind’s destiny.

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Man, he must feel frustrated with people.

The Great Filter could be ahead of us in one of two ways; the first (as Urban puts it) is that we are first. ‘First’ meaning that we are the most advanced civilization in the entire universe, which when you consider the age of the Earth (4.6Ga) compared to the observable universe (13.8 Ga), can feel a little unbelievable – but still not a giant leap to think that we could be one of, (if not THE), first to find ourselves approaching the Filter.
The second way in which the Great Filter is in our future is that We Are Fucked. This is not a stretch when you consider the smorgasbord of skidmarks soiling the rag that is our current planetary underwear – nuclear annihilation, artificial superintelligence, impact events, and of course, human-driven climate change, to name the most identifiable few. This concept means we are neither rare, nor quicker to evolve than anyone else – which makes a lot of sense when you consider how many galaxies and suns exist, giving us our boring address on the nondescript outer arm of an unremarkable spiral galaxy.

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She sure is pretty though – that’s the view from our outer arm, looking through a cross-section toward the centre of the Milky Way. (Photo by Roger Groom, incredible astrophotographer from Western Australia).

Just as the concept of the Great Filter can be applied to a civilization, it is applicable at the individual human level as well – in our human lives we are all capable of standing before a Great Filter; not a three-option theory, but a simple two-parter.
The Great Filter for humans (we’ll call it the Human Filter), rather than obliterating us at a certain point, would merely be the point at which you truly shed anything fucking absurd that doesn’t positively contribute to your life in a demonstrable way. Those who haven’t passed the Human Filter are those who haven’t managed to simplify their lives to the point of immediately understanding whether their current situation in life is beneficial or detrimental, to themselves and others. There are an overwhelming number of people who seem to make their lives far more difficult or complicated than necessary, and these people are usually the unhappiest overall (people who tend to stagnate in their misery – for example an unhappy/ambiguous relationship or an unhappy workplace). These situations can be solved with a simple calculation that usually results in removing the unsatisfactory factor (leaving the bad job, getting clarification or removing the bad relationship altogether), yet the person involved seldom makes these changes and instead remains firm in their misery, confusing as that seems.
The simple answer is that these people are still living in front of the Human Filter, and are in some way comfortable in their dissatisfaction – after all, who doesn’t love to have a good wee sense of indignant outrage? Can you imagine how some might deal with finishing their day with no sense of annoyance or injustice? Besides, it’s so much easier to use our time and energy dealing with our trivial problems and gripes than to expend real energy trying to tackle real problems.

The troubling thing about the Human Filter is that time is of the essence. None of the aforementioned people are bad people at all, they are all as wonderful and beautiful and kind and thoughtful as the next person – they just haven’t been morbidly consumed by one or more of the following four thought processes:

  1. We only have ONE LIFE to live. That’s roughly 90 years, in the best case scenario. Think about this minus your current age, and take into account your shifting perspective of how fast time moves as you grow older (each year feels faster than it’s predecessor). Put down your phone/computer for a minute, close your eyes and really, really, TRULY give yourself a moment to understand that when your time is up, it’s up. There is almost definitely no afterlife (sorry, but science says no – also, the probability of your special fabulous religion being the winner out of all the other special fabulous religions out there is just a simple matter of statistics; meaning that you have a low chance of having chosen the correct religion, therefore are likely wrong in accordance with the mathematics of probability). So, suck it up and realise that the probable outcome is that you are going to cease to exist – just like before you were born, your consciousness  will cease and it won’t be horrible or painful; it will just “be” (so think carefully about the regrets that you definitely don’t want to have before you are no longer conscious, and work on those ASAP).
  2. Being that we experience such a teeny speck of life in the vastness of infinity, you should know that nothing that you do matters in any form whatsoever – as long as you do not harm, or impede upon the enjoyment of, any other living creature, then you should do exactly as you please. You need to immediately stop caring what other people think about boring arbitrary shit like what you are wearing or what you do for a living. Seriously, if someone is going to think any less of you for living in a non-harmful and happy way, then those people are the ones that are in trouble, not you. Don’t waste your tiny precious sliver of time being alive manipulating your one life to conform to the standards imposed and upheld by other people (many of whom are still living in front of the Human Filter).
  3. The known universe is ridiculously vast. You’re a fucking speck of dust on one of the smallest planets on the one of the most inconsequential stars in one of the smallest galaxies. That Hubble Ultra Deep Field photo shows us about 10,000 galaxies – and the patch of sky in that shot is less than 2 percent of the area of the full Moon as seen from Earth. It’s pretty hard to get this scale across in writing, so do yourself a favour and watch this just for an entry-level understanding of how much of a nothing in space our sun (let alone the Earth, and all of us on it) actually are.

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    Frighteningly awesome.

  4. We have no idea whether our civilization has passed our own Great Filter or not (unlikely), so it would behoove us to do everything we can to ensure that we actually manage to surpass it when that time comes. That’s why we have incredible people like Elon Musk trying to take some of our eggs out of this one planetary basket by becoming an interplanetary species – starting with Mars. That’s not the easiest thing to achieve and not everyone is going to be able to go to Mars anytime soon, so in the meantime, it’s now considered officially fuckwitted to ignore all of the compounding data about climate change, which means that if you’re not at least feeling guilty about doing nothing to help our ailing environment, then you’re probably firmly in front of the Human Filter.

The bummer is that we have neither knowledge nor control over when, and how, the Great Filter will present itself to us as a species – that event (hopefully) remains to be seen.
However, the awesome thing is that on an individual level, we very much have control over our own Human Filter – we can quite easily jump it safely – and if we all manage to pass the Human Filter, then these actions in and of themselves are going to help us negate at least a couple of the unnecessary and totally avoidable Great Filter scenarios, like self-destruction, climate change and death by post-human superintelligence.
By the way, I’m hovering around outside my own Human Filter, having a ciggie, chatting to the bouncer, waiting to sober up a little before he lets me in. As preachy as this post sounds, I’m not there yet. But I’m starting to think very hard about it, and the first step in overcoming the Great Filter as a civilization, is to think about how you can overcome your own Human Filter as a person.

Love, Chelle xoxoxoxoxo

Science Communication, A.K.A. I’m Starting To Feel Like Doing Something Somewhat Unselfish With My Life For The First Time Ever And It Feels Somewhat Not Horrid (But I’m Still A Self-Serving Jerk For The Most Part)

This year, I have been becoming more and more preoccupied with the idea of taking science communication as a separate postgrad qualification after my geology MSc. I hated science at school, as it was never presented to me in a way that interested me – and so I slipped quietly through the years believing that science was just “not my thing”. The thing is, science is EVERYBODY’S thing, in some form or other. Science is the detailed exploration of the very foundation upon which every aspect of our existence operates, and there is definitely bound to be an area of science that excites you on some level, whether you realise it right now or not.

Something that heavily frustrates me are the limited ways in which science is being presented to the masses. There are scholarly journal reports which, although factual and highly important, are inaccessible intellectually for 95% of people, as the understanding of these usually requires experience in the specific field of the journal, or lengthy side-reading. Then there are the well-written science articles and blogs which are not nearly well-known enough, due to lack of exposure. Then you have your immensely popular sites such as “I Fucking Love Science”, which has many Facebook followers (showing that people are on some level trying to enjoy science), yet often offers clickbaity headlines and misleading statements (and by the way, if the title is presented in question format, the answer is almost always no, so stop getting your hopes up about pyramids on Mars).
Sure, these borderline pseudoscience articles offer links to follow, which are usually firstly links to other “news” sites, and if you follow the links back far enough you can usually arrive at a legit science report, which often does not state anything nearly as sensational as what the front end “science news site” is claiming. The problem with this is that the majority will not play “follow the hyperlinks”, and will just take the first article as fact (because hey, the news wouldn’t lie, right? It’s a proper website! I can’t wait to tell my friends all about the amazing new discovery of the “new Earth” that is definitely the same as us in every way).

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The thing is, people don’t go sifting through all the garbage in the internet to correctly inform themselves. They simply don’t have time – and why should they? They aren’t scientists or the Information Police, they are regular people, with lives going on and relationship problems and work deadlines and kids to deal with and all sorts of pressing bullshit that doesn’t afford them time to read three hours of articles to ascertain whether the shit that I Fucking Love Science is feeding them is actually legit.
So why aren’t we, as a society, reporting science more accurately? I mean, I get it – clickbait headlines serve to get people to visit your website. There are so many dollars to be made from this that people who aren’t really science journalists can be easily persuaded to start shoddily writing about science for a crust. It’s just sad that it’s being done under that guise of “loving science”. The thing is though, science is REALLY FUCKING EXCITING in its own right. You don’t NEED to make bullshit stretches of the truth to captivate and inform people. Look at Carl Sagan, arguably the most effective science communicator of all time – nary a sensationalist thing would cross his lips, yet he could bring to life a picture of the physical world at infinite scale in both directions, giving you a sense of wonder whilst pounding you balls-deep with scientific fact. That torch was passed forward to Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who not only upheld Sagan’s incredible vision, but brought it to the new generation in a spectacular way (and with much better CGI).

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What a pair of heroes! (art by Matt McManis)

Science communication is first and foremost, a middle-man role. It’s the task of undertaking the grunt work of reading ALL of the available facts and opinions, understanding them properly and then presenting them to the public in a way that excites and interests, without resorting to misleading or misinformation (a.k.a. bad scientific conduct).

All is not lost, there are many people out there doing this very thing and doing a great job of it – Ethan at http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/, Ed Young at http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/blog/not-exactly-rocket-science/ and Tim Urban at www.waitbutwhy.com, to name a few. It’s still an overwhelmingly male-dominated field – not because it’s an inherently sexist field in and of itself, but more because those of us reaching the age of career journalism, and those before us, still grew up in a society which on some level discouraged little girls from pursuing maths and science. I’m hoping I’m correct in considering my generation to be the last gasp of these attitudes, however there are bound to be some of us that are still blind to it and will continue instilling subtle gender roles into their kids. In general, sexism in science is beginning to taper off and hopefully will be gone within a couple of generations – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and all that idiomatic shit.

I’ve been growing more and more alarmed at the state of the world and from my perspective, the biggest underlying issue facing us today is a lack of knowledge. In a world oversaturated with the loudest voices and the most well-paid agendas, we are losing our ability as individuals to easily identify the truth on the most important matters. Although the internet is an incredible thing, it has made it so easy for the facts to become overshadowed or hidden, giving voice to anybody who wants their voice heard. Given this, how is the average person supposed to understand the important issues without doing a whole fuckload of additional reading? Ain’t nobody got time for that. So what happens when someone is overloaded with too many conflicting pieces of information or too much scientific jargon? They shut it off and place it in the “too hard/don’t care” box. And there are simply too many important issues facing our species today to be placing shit in the “too hard/don’t care” box.

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So, what I want is to be a strong part of the solution – to be the change I want to see in the world, and many other similar overused motivational phrases. I love to write, I love the truth, I love objectivity, I love entertaining people, I love edutainment. I’d love to shift my writing from glib inane thoughts about being a boring white woman with insecurities and whatnot, to earnestly readable pieces of scientific interest. I want to make someone feel the same way that watching Cosmos made me feel as a jaded 28 year old woman, and to spark determination in people to take issues like climate change seriously. I want to contribute to shutting down the confusion about critical topics created by self-interested organisations who have desperately greedy agendas that rely on the public being shielded from the truth.
I want to help, even if it’s just one person who reads.

Love, Chelle xoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxox

Priorities, Which I Started Thinking About During A Really Long Tangential Explanation of Why I Don’t Watch The Kardashians.

The other day someone asked me why I don’t like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and while I can’t in good conscience enjoy a show that negatively impacts humanity more than it positively impacts us, I realised that saying this just makes me sound like an elitist dickhead – especially to people that love the show and would take it as a direct affront to themselves. So I thought about it further, and decided to write out a logic-based reason why I don’t like this show – one which people cannot logically derive offense from.

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How could the show be funnier than this?

The Kardashians may be totally decent and lovely people, and that’s awesome. It’s also redundant, because we will never know the real them due to the fact that they are all carefully constructed personalities in one big old brand. My issue with the show is not a beef with any particular person. What I see is the sum of its parts – including the consequences of its existence in a world already oversaturated with materialism, judgmental attitudes, capitalism, greed, jealousy and low self-esteem.
If there was a show about Elon Musk swanning around the house with his family and talking all sorts of shit about dick, I would definitely watch it – because that’s a person I respect the shit out of. But that would also be a paradox because Elon Musk devotes all of his available resources – time, money and mentality – to continually trying to make the world a better place with concrete plans and products, and his involvement in a TV show about himself doing mundane things would be so far beneath his character that if it did happen, he would probably no longer be someone I respect. He is so engrossed in the work that he is trying to achieve, that he was pretty unenthusiastic that a recent biography was being written about him – he’s simply more concerned with getting people to understand what his companies really do and why it is important for mankind. He could not give a fuck about social things like branding and self-image (he hates the idea of advertising and abhors sales tactics so much that he refuses to sell Tesla cars in dealerships).

Getting back to the Kardashians ….
Priorities: everyone’s are different and that is totally okay. Maybe you don’t give a shit about anything beyond what you do in your immediate day, and the highlight of that day might be watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I get it; life totally sucks for a lot of people a lot of the time and we all need to do whatever we can to hang in there, so I’m not going to lambaste anybody for deriving pleasure from this show. The thing is, nothing about watching these Kardashians designing waist trainers and taking selfies aligns with any of my desires and priorities, which means that if I have a choice to watch it or not, why would I choose to do something that not only doesn’t serve my desires and priorities, but actively takes time away from the things that do? That’s it – that’s my reason. Nothing against the show, and nothing against those who watch it. I wish that more people could be cool with everyone having different priorities and stop trying to casually, jokingly, (but also why do you fucking persist with this) pressure people into sinking bulk time into a TV show. If I sat down and watched every TV show that someone raved at me about how amazing and special and different it is, I would be finished school before I was done with watching TV. Guess what; it’s 2016. Almost all TV shows are really good. Here’s one way you can be a better person; stop trying to force other people to watch your special show.

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Unless it’s Cosmos.

The fascinating thing about priorities though, is that they are like opinions – vastly different depending upon who you are speaking to. I’m not a vegan – I buy and consume animal products. That makes me a questionable person in the eyes of the more militant animal rights activists, but then on the flipside, they maybe don’t donate regularly to cancer research, or to Astronomers Without Borders, or any of the stuff that I’m passionate about. I do white collar volunteer work cataloging Maori artefacts in a museum, for fuck’s sake. That’s not helping anybody get a hot meal, or lowering global pollution levels, or saving any species. But Maori cultural preservation is a thing that is important to me (because historically speaking, most of the world fails in the treatment of, and importance placed upon, indigenous cultures), therefore that is where I prefer to direct my time.
And all of this is a good thing. Because if we all had the same priorities, then only some of the stuff in this world would be taken care of. Wouldn’t that be a fucked up situation? Cancer cured, but runaway climate change scheduled to kill us all within a few hundred years. Veganism adopted across the board, but all women’s shelters closed globally due to lack of funding and volunteers.
The key thing is that as long as everyone cares about something enough to make a decent effort to help that one cause, and can do their best to make smaller changes to other areas that might be on their radar (like buying one of those $5 KeepCups for your coffee), then on the whole, we are tackling most things across the board. That’s the whole thing. So, nobody’s priorities are more important than anyone else’s, what matters is how much conviction you have for your personal desires and concerns, and whether that conviction is enough for you to live a life that aligns with the core of who you are, and what you want. Pretty much like the Elon Musks of this world.

Priorities can, however, lead us into all sorts of places that we may never have intended on being. Following your priorities can be a slippery slope, so it’s really important to have a really good understanding of the things you want and the things you do. I feel like there is a high possibility that if humans colonise other planets in the future, the consensus might (should) be that religion is an Earthly construct for people who are unable to adapt to a more scientific way of thinking and is better left here, much like walking out of a playground to catch the bus, letting the infants squabble in their sandbox. Who wants to reach an age of science where we colonise a planet only to be followed to it by stubborn people who insist that their fictional religion should dictate the new way of life and its new laws? That’s archaic as fuck and it needs to stop. Faith is a lovely personal choice and can help some people immensely; organised religion is just destructive, limiting, and foolish. So if your top priority is religion, you need to have such conviction in that religion that you will happily stay on Earth with yo brethren in order to keep it, while the rest of humanity ventures forth into a new age of enlightenment, free from bullshit religious-driven politics and pettiness. By the way, I’m not foolish enough to state that there is no possibility of a higher force acting upon us, it’s just that you have to be missing a lot of critical thinking skills to believe blindly in a current man-made religion.
Welp, that was a hell of a tangent.

Anyway, back to priorities. Priorities lead us to places. My priorities are scientific, therefore someday I may end up helping to terraform Mars. Your priorities may be more Kardashian-esque, so you may end up with incredible hair and makeup skills and a sex tape. Your priorities are no more or less important than mine are, as long as it’s not something either of us wind up regretting on our deathbeds. The closer you align your priorities with who you are at your core and what you truly desire, the more you are going to love your life. Here are some combinations of priority and desire, and how they can fuck with us.

Priorities + Your innermost desires = A life of general contentedness and purpose.
This is the deal with people that seem to always be in the right place at the right time, people that are generally fulfilled, happy, stress-free and not obsessed with what others think of them. This is where I’m striving to be, which is a pretty stupid thing to say because this state is something that will only happen as a byproduct of acting in accordance with your true desires. You can’t strive to “be” here anymore than you can strive to be smart by reading one book. On a side note, one could argue that this is how psychopaths can remain so full of happiness and purpose while executing the stuff that most people consider dastardly and inhumane – because they actually are working from a place where they prioritise their innermost desires. That oughta give a few people nightmares tonight.
Priorities + No innermost desires = A “busy” life that leaves you feeling unfulfilled.
This is probably best shown by the “workaholic” stereotype, someone who would just work and work and work, miss out on their kids growing up, and all for what? A few extra thousand in the bank that you can never spend because you’re constantly working? On that note, this state can lead to many forms of “excessive” behaviour, ie. substance abuse, overexercising, overworking, fastidious cleaning, etc. Because when you are just “doing stuff” when your heart’s not in it, there’s never much satisfaction.
No priorities + Your innermost desires = A hedonistic life of wistful dreaming, followed by regrets.
This is a worrisome combination because the act of simply dreaming about stuff we want is usually enough to give us the instant dopamine/gratification we are after – and so it can go unchecked for a very long time. I know this, because this is how I spent literally all of my twenties, making bulk plans that I never followed through on, dreaming about all the cool shit I wanted out of life but never actually getting anything done. It definitely sucks to lose so much time to being “that guy”.
No priorities + No innermost desires = A life of empty hedonism, possibly with a good side of substance addiction
This is worrying, but at least you maybe blissfully unaware of this while it’s all happening, and you may even die in a happy stupor, knowing that you enjoyed your life. I feel like it would be an almost ecstatic experience to pinpoint your true desires and priorities after being in this state. It’s also probably the state where people are most vulnerable to religion and cults.

Basically, my recommendation is to pinpoint your innermost desire(s) and make your priorities feed into that. The pinpointing of desires is the hardest part (and not everybody even gets there), because we live in a very loud world where you can’t always be sure whether your desires are the things you truly want, or whether they are false desires that lead to social approval. Self-awareness is the hardest part, and maybe this is why people go off into the wilderness to “find themselves”, to quiet the obnoxious voices and opinions of the wider community. But what would I know? I’m just a regular jackoff that will probably never figure it out either!
Oh no … I have crazy-ranted my way through a blog that could easily be summed up in one motivational poster with the catchphrase “Happiness is knowing you you are”. That’s pretty embarrassing, but I’m still publishing this anyway because I can’t in good conscience throw away a 2000 word post, especially when that time should have been used to complete an assignment.
If you’re confused, that’s ok – this wasn’t a very well-written post and you’re probably quite disappointed that you didn’t get the vitriolic Kardashian rant you were so eagerly coveting. I’m terribly sorry my friend.

Love, Chelle xoxooxoxoxoxooxxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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

Love, Chelle xoxoxoxoxo