Unintentional Hipster

I just like wearing women's jeans, not eating animal products and writing shit nobody cares about. It was an accident, I swear

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

What I learned in Faro: The Kindness of Strangers and Peace

I have never, not in my whole life of (admittedly very limited) travels been somewhere as sleepy, gentle and, most notably, peaceful as Faro in my life. Faro has been my first stop in Portugal before I trek around the coast up to Lisbon and Porto (via some shiny beaches, of course) and initially, I wasn’t too sure if I really wanted to come here.

There is next to no tourist influence on this city, even though I have still only met one person in two days who actually speaks Portugese. A few guided tour officials roaming about the place trying to sell boat tours to the beach in the vastest multitude of languages I’ve ever seen before, but that’s really it.

I chose to come and spend two days here because I really wanted to relax somewhere and get my head put on straight. The last few weeks for me have been very tumultous and confusing, a lot of things have changed in a very small period of time for me since Madrid. I guess that”s what we travel for, to help find ourselves somewhere that we are completely lost.

The first thing I learned in Faro actually began at Gatwick Airport, at 1am, trying to find the shuttle from the South terminal to the North terminal. I became wildly lost in what I can only imagine was the staff carpark, looking for this terminal. I met a French girl who was also flying out to Faro. We chatted a little bit, she was a very sweet girl. We finally found our way there in the end and we sat out the front of the airport for about four hours, just chain smoking cigaretes.

We talked about travelling to learn (she was living in London to improve her English so she could work as a stewardess), crazy and intolerant people in the world and some absolute rubbish. But if you talk with a stranger for four straight hours in the freezing cold with nothing but a few packs of cigarettes, some rubbish is bound to come up. She offered me cake and coke (the drink!) and it was nice.

We got to Faro and her parents were picking her up from the airport. I was terribly confused, I had no idea how to get to the hostel from the airport (there were no signs for buses or trains or anything else of the matter). I met her parents, they didn’t speak a word of English  but they were very sweet and bought me orange juice. Then, they drove me to my hostel.

Faith in humanity: very much restored.

Then, after a good nine hours of wandering the terribly beautiful and wonderfully boring streets of Faro, I came back to the hostel and met the owners. We went out to have a look at buying a guitar for the hostel, then for some dinner and wine. Today, they took me for sandwiches and coffee. They are a wonderfully sweet couple and outrageously hospitable. I don’t have any other word to describe how hospitable they are except outrageous, they’ve taken great care of me in the last two days, even offering to help me find gigs in Faro.

Mixed about with a few people in the hostel who have been very generous with their wine and cigarettes, I learned my first lesson of Faro: the kindness of strangers is truly limitless, as long as you show the same kindness back. Without these people I had never met before in my life, I would have had the most miserable two days here. I mean yeah-the sunshine is beautiful but it can only cure so much loneliness in a man. Never again will I take for granted how good people can be. This city has made cynicism seem like a joke.

The next thing I learned was on my very, very long walk through a very, very small town. I had nothing with me, barre a bottle of water and a packet of cigarettes. Nothing but me, a seaside landscape, the sun beating down and my thoughts. It was incredibly peaceful.

There is no way to be in this town, I feel, and to not be instilled with a great sense of peace about the world. Yeah, there’s good. Yeah, there’s bad. But here in Faro, there’s just peace everywhere.

So I soaked it in, and I began to come to peace with something. Now, these little black bubbles of spiritual disconcertion that have been hanging over me have not been come to peace with. But, I became at peace with the fact that I have to face up to them and ‘pop’ these problems. To me, I think accepting and preparing yourself to deal with your problems is as important as dealing with them in itself.

So, I have come to peace with the fact that I have to make peace. And I’m ready to do that now. What’s that, remnant teenage angst of an immature 21 year old? You wanna fight?

Bring it on bro. I’m ready for ya.

Toby Fredkin

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What I Learned In Brighton

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Brighton is a wonderfully beautiful little city. There’s just absolutely no way to describe how swiftly and how heavily I fell in love with this place and I really wish I’d invested some more time in being there during my stay in England. Before I planned on traveling about Europe and returning back home, I had the full intention of relocating my life from London to Brighton in search of spiritual greener pastures.

So I’ve only ever spent three days in Brighton and I’m terribly unfamiliar with not only the streets and the nightlife but wholly unfamiliar with the locals. I mean, I’ve met a decent few people from Brighton whilst I’ve been out and about but not people from Brighton in Brighton, if you know what I mean.

Whilst I was in Brighton, I sort of began to develop a sounder understanding of what it is I wanted out of life, there was an atmosphere there that I simply couldn’t put into words. In a manner of speaking, minus the fact that it still has English weather, Brighton was exactly what a city needed to be for me. No more and no less perfectly suited for me.

First of all, it was jam packed full of music, veganism and too numerous to count shops promoting ethical consumerism and manufacturing. Just to stress again, I LOVE MUSIC, ANIMALS, MOTHER EARTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS! AND BRIGHTON LOVES THEM TOO! It’s dreadfully fun to imagine being somewhere where I don’t have to preach anything to anybody who’s curious because everybody knows! As I’m fairly sure people in most every language in the world but English say: Super Cool!!!!! Me and my best friend got lost on a walk from the Pier to Race Hill (where we were staying) and it took us well over an hour to complete a half hour walk, in the most heinous rain I’ve ever been out in in my life. It was a Wednesday night and every single bar and cafe we walked past had live music pumping. Amazing!
So, the obvious little part aside, down to the little things.

The way the city is set up and decorated is beautiful. It’s nothing grand and magnanimous like London or Madrid (my only focal points) but it’s quaint and colourful. It doesn’t scream out, “Hey! Look at me, I’m gorgeous!” because it’s not that sort of place, but you walk through and just think, “Hey…Look at it, it’s gorgeous!” Yet underneath all of this understated beauty was this strange feeling all around me. And I simply couldn’t pick up where it came from…it was just…right. Kind of like when you can’t figure out the next chord in a progression you’re writing, so you just stick your fingers down in random places and push it out and get your answer.

Most of you will know I’ve been going fairly crazy in/on/about life right now and it’s been like that for a while, but every time that I sneak off to Brighton, everything’s just totally fine.

I had 99 problems. Brightoned up, got none.

What I learned in Brighton is very difficult for me to adequately put into words-it’s not like the Madrid or London or Sydney, which I’d find blogging on easier (to verbalize, not to get it right!). Most of what I learned was very internalised, it was very strongly to do with myself and not so much a grander scale of things.

I learned that no matter how crazy I am, there’ll always be a place I’ll fit in, even if it’s for not all the right reasons.

I learned that happiness can be as simple as jumping on a train to the beach.

I learned that no matter how much I learn about and struggle to obtain knowledge of what’s right, and then to practice is, I’ll always be wrong…

…And I learned that being wrong is most often the right thing to do.

And finally, I learned that I’m not as stupid as I’d always thought myself to be. Which was…well, nice.

How did I learn this from three days wondering through shops and a beach? I don’t know. Nor do I particularly care, I’m just glad for the experience!

I feel much better about myself after today. Cheers Brighton, I’ll really miss you! You really do Brighton up my days!

Toby Fredkin

Veganism vs. Health vs. Travel Expenses: A Losing Battle?

So I love animals.

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Through and through. If there’s one thing you know about me that isn’t I like music and I’m Jewish, I absolutely love the bleeding hell out of animals. All of them-even the gigantic spiders in my backyard that terrify me. So much so that I recently converted from being a vegetarian to a vegan. And I’m not going to lie to you, the journey hasn’t been easy on my body. Or exactly my wallet either. And now, in the coming month, as I prepare myself for a few months abroad through Europe-I have to try and decide what my priorities are.

Do my priorities lie within my life choices?
Now, I’ve had some very long discussions with a lot of people over time about what ethics one should live their life by…for the sake of me avoiding offending anybody and time we’re going to leave out religion (things that are specific to religion, not shared by religion and other) and talk about the other stuff. I’m a big fan of Mother Earth in its entirety. I’m also a big fan of animal rights and human rights, especially those of children. And maybe I’m just too accommodated to the life style but I find it completely impossible to live strictly to my love of these three parts of our world. My friend and I discussed this a while ago, there’s a little link to a blog where she talks about it here (these thoughts on ethical labor in here are pretty much exactly the same as mine so I won’t repeat them):
http://www.marleyisranting.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/yayyyyy-having-an-ethical-meltdown-2/

So let’s take me in my current situation: I’m vegan. Because my body isn’t particularly well-suited to this lifestyle, there are extra expenses associated with supplements and also, sometimes but not always, in finding an appropriately filling and healthy meal whilst out. If I was still living back in Sydney with my parents, that would be fine and dandy. I could definitely make enough money to support such a life style choice.

Do my priorities lie in my health?
If you aren’t already aware, by the by, one of the staples of most vegan diets are soy products, like tofu and soy milk. However, in high enough doses, soy can produce such a dramatic amount of estrogen that it makes men become irrationally moody, develop breasts and sometimes even become infertile. But soy isn’t the only viable substitute right?

That’s true, there are plenty of other sources of vegetable protein out there. But, again, my body is about as ectomorphic as it gets-I can put on or lose seven kilos in a week without too much difficulty-and that is in the 50-60kg weight class. So more money has to be spent to be sure I’m eating the proper foods and more than enough of them.

Or do my priorities lie in my experience?
And again, this is more than achievable in a homely setting. But here’s where the concern sinks in:
I want to spend the next three months abroad. I want to keep to a very, very strict budget in terms of my food. And I want to be as healthy as possible so as to be able to enjoy my trip as much as possible.

No matter whichever way I look at it, without turning my life into a heinously wild inconvenience in a country I don’t speak the language in, I can pick two of each of these three choices:
Veganism
Health
Low Travel Expenses.

Where do my priorities lie?
The simplest thing to do is obviously to not be vegan-this would result in optimal health and the ability to save a great deal on my food budget, since I could practically live off of tinned fish, bread and canned vegetables.

But that’s not the simplest thing. I love animals. I love them so much bro, like, you don’t even know! I could travel for a shorter period of time and eat healthy vegan styles! But then I lose out on so much experience. Not only of the food of the nations but also, I won’t be able to travel as far. I’d have to cut a few weeks out of my journey based upon budget.

And there will be very well educated vegans who will tell me that this isn’t the case. And for the majority of people-that’s true. But I’ve been to see a doctor. My body can’t support the lifestyle without having full access to a proper kitchen or finances for proper meals.

The obvious choice seems to be, “Oh, just eat less of the animal products, only eat them when you need to.” I know that I tell this to people who are trying to gradually become vegetarian or vegan all the time. And that’s wonderful that people try to do that-every little bit counts. But for me, I’d personally feel wrong half-assing it. It’s either all or nothing for me and it’s always been that way with everything I do. School, friends, love, ethics and diet-if I go for something I’m either all in or all out.

I think I have to take the logical choice…but I don’t know. Last Monday night, I sat on the steps outside my hostel, at 7am in the morning with my best friend and a pack of cigarettes after what can only be described as a very, very long night out and she held my hand while I cried over how I don’t want to stop being vegan.

First world problems huh?

To all my new followers (all what is so far today forty of you and hopefully more to come soon!), enjoy yourself! Leave as much love as you see fit! Or hate…I’d kind of rather not get the hatred but I’ll deal 🙂

Peace,
Toby Fredkin

Madrid Riots-Changing the World

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One of my friends took this photo from the balcony in my room at the hostel we stayed at in Madrid. This was later in the night, around 11:30. It’s just off of the Grand Via and, although the photo quality is a little poor (my bad, still learning to set the camera up properly), you can see riot police speckled everywhere and people running about. Earlier in the evening, all you could see were tens of thousands of people running to and fro-there were enough people to fill a football stadium with ease!

I’m considering creating a new category for my blogs after this and the last blog. If I did, it would be called, “The Wrong Life Lessons I Learned in the Right Places to Learn Life Lessons,” because that’s what I’m doing.

A quick little pre-cursor for anybody who may be viewing this blog under a different impression of what it will be-it’s not so much to do with the riots because realistically, we kept completely out of them. It’s about what they got me thinking about. Cool? Sweet. I’ll hop on with it.

Obviously, I’m one confused little boy. My life is awash with indecision and unmade judgements of things. The reason I’ve been overseas is to try and piece together the little puzzle pieces that is my future. Not the distant future, things slightly closer at hand. Though despite how much closer they may be, they’re still as difficult to figure out.

The main thing that’s been tugging on me isn’t love, because that’s just something I gotta leave alone for it to sort itself out. There are far, far more intelligent and emotionally mature men and women out there getting destroyed by the concept, so I’ma dust my hands and have none of it! And the “where” of everything hasn’t been a problem either-I figured that out over the last three months that I know where my home is-at least my home right now-the sunny and gorgeous Sydney. And I wanna be back there to get sorted on the thing that has been really grindin’ my gears…

What am I going to be when I grow up??

There are so many options and I definitely don’t want what I want two years ago (I guess it’s kind of good that I dropped out of university huh?). Two years ago, I wanted to work strictly in the music industry, although my path was undecided. I absolutely love and adore music in near all its forms, and the music that I don’t like I adore the fact that somewhere, people out there are adoring it, just adorable. And I still want to work in music I guess, it’s just I got thinking about something else.

The riots in Madrid occurred because the Spanish government passed a bill that would see huge and sweeping cuts to public funding all across the country, affecting most, if not all, public services. And the people were, quite obviously, a little bit unhappy about the whole ordeal. So all across Spain, people lined the streets to shout their protests. They weren’t having any of it for themselves or their fellow men and, in their seemingly infinite Spanish passion, they tried to change the world.

Change the world.

So the riots really got me thinking about the world-about how big and how small it is. About what the world actually is, how do we define it? And then once we’ve defined it, what do we do with it?

I would love to grow up and play guitar in a rock’n’roll or blues band. That would just be the coolest thing ever in ever. I’d just have such a whale of time-and one of the cute whales, like a killer whale! Ohh I feel a bit tingly just thinking about how awesome that would be!

But then I step back and think hey-I wanna have a wife and kids one day-I really want to actually be there for all of it, which I can’t do if I’m on the road all the time.

And then I step back even further and think, “Oi, Toby. Why are you looking at so much of this as just yourself? Isn’t there kind of like…a bigger picture at hand? Like the sort of thing that a-hundred thousand people line the streets to kick up their feet at?”

So I think about myself a little bit…I’m a pretty smart guy, truth be told. I always have been. This isn’t me being conceited, just honest. I try and do most things (if you barre anything post-2am on Oxford Street…) with the absolute best intentions for everybody in mind, whether they be friends or complete strangers.

So um…why aren’t I trying to do this with my life as a whole? No no, refocus. Why aren’t I trying to do this with my career? It’s very difficult for me to put this in a way that doesn’t just sound wildly, in every sense of the world, condescending to other people but right now, I don’t think I want to spend my time working towards a career that won’t help other people. Now, this isn’t to say that music doesn’t help people but I really don’t think, unless I were to become a music teacher, that I would have the ability to impact on anybody’s world. Maybe my own, maybe it’d help me write a song to make a girl fall in love with me or help a student to do the same thing but it won’t change anybody’s world.

I want to change the world, whichever world that may be. I’d love to be a writer maybe, but I’m not sure how I could use that to help the world-maybe a generous reader could tell me what to do? I’ve been toying around with the idea of going to law school and working for Legal Aid, helping those who are unable to help themselves. I considered social work or psychology and in all honesty, I just don’t think that that’s what I want to be doing with myself.

Truth be told, I don’t think I’m strong enough to do that. And that’s okay, at least I realize that.

Thanks to anybody who stuck around long enough to read all of this! Not sure if anybody noticed really, but I talked about sort of defining what the world was. I learned a fantastic lesson about that from one of my friends, without her even knowing I pinched this knowledge ;D So my next blog is going to be about that.

It’s 5am and I’m not sure if I should bother getting some sleep or just rolling through the day and crashing early. Ehh, that’s a decision in my life that is, most definitely, unimportant.

Toby Fredkin

What I learned in Madrid

On Monday evening just passed, me and one of my friends from home hopped on a plane from London to Madrid to go and meet other friends from home, who we had(for the most part) not seen in months. Five nights and, by a rough calculation, seventeen hours of sleep later, I was back in sunny ole’ London! (Sarcasm aside, the weather this week is actually amaaazing[for London standards…twenty-seven degrees whoop!)

It’s the sort of place you go to and come home from rethinking-why on Earth have I been living my life this way?

Madrid was the first time in my life I’ve ever been to a place where the dominant language spoken was not English. Although I had briefly holidayed in Fiji when I was younger with the family, Madrid was my first real experience of being in a place that wasn’t strictly under an American/British influence. And really, although I know Madrid doesn’t stand up to other places in the world like India or Brazil, it was the first time that I had ever actually been anywhere so influenced by poverty. And it wasn’t a rampant or sweeping poverty but just hundreds upon hundreds of beggars and buskers lining the street.

In the main plaza, the Puerto de Sol, every day from around eight in the morning until the wee hours of the morning, there would be a group of ten buskers dressed head to toe in thick Sesame Street and Disney outfits. This is how these people made a living-they hung out in the square in these huge costumes all day and had tourists and kids take photos with them in exchange for some loose change. On my last morning, I sat in the plaza, eating breakfast and just soaking in a bit more of the beauty of the city before I left. I was there for about an hour and not a single one of these buskers had any success.
It was around 11am at this point. And, at a rough estimate, I’d say it was thirty-three degrees. Easily that hot.

And I know that almost nobody at home I know would ever, EVER even dream of doing a job like that without any certainty of payment. And these guys were doing it day in, day out, every single night and day I was there, they were there.

Then on the train to the airport, a guy who would have been no older than my brother hops on with an accordion and a little set of speakers and tears into some Ray Charles, Hit the Road Jack. He took a full blasted solo in the middle of it and holy shit, this guy was like Chick Corea on a keytar except he was playing the accordion. And he probably had no job-this was how he made a living. He would’ve made about 4 or 5 euros on that train trip. If anybody even remotely as talented as him was busking on Pitt St Mall, they’d have pulled in hundreds of dollars. It was strange to see, I suppose. I could never imagine putting myself out there like that.
Then again, I guess that’s why I’m not Spanish.

Money aside, there was the most amazing energy! (Except during siesta when everybody slept) Yet the whole place was so calm and relaxed. Energetic, bustling but without stress. And everybody so cheerful and in each others faces, but not in at all of a bad way. When people would come up to you and talk to you, they would be fully in your face but terribly polite about the whole ordeal.

Walking through the streets and parks, listening to the language with the superb backdrop that is the architecture of Madrid, it felt like I was in some sort of musical…or dream. Everything and everyone was just bouncy and charming and ahh!

These locals wondering the streets seemed to be living life in a way that almost nobody I’ve ever met has before: for the sake of living it. I saw it, I soaked it in and I questioned why I hadn’t been following suit.

So now, I’m trying to. A genuine, conceited effort.

I’ve spent so much time in my life fucking about and it’s cause I feel like I don’t know what the meaning of my life is yet, what the fuck am I meant to be doing with myself? Where am I meant to be doing it? Who am I meant to be doing it with? And I’ve spent so much time over so many years trying to figure this out and on that sleepy Saturday morning just before I hopped a train to the airport, it sort of hit me.
“Hey bro, you’ve been doing this shit all wrong.” None of that junk really matters that much. Gotta stop being such a self-entwined little bitch and just enjoy myself. Do things with my life of course-but stop worrying too much over the who, the what and the where and more on the how.

So I’ma try.

Next blog will probably be about how that’s all going. Truly ravishing stuff huh?

Peace out, have a good week everybody!
Toby

Personal Expression

So I grew up kind of weirdly, I won’t lie to you guys. There were some things that went very awry in my younger years, and I guess that a lot of them are realistically still going on now to this day. But I guess I’m still a very, very long way away from being anywhere near grown up, however long it is that I’ve spent pretending that I’m more mature and more understanding and more grown up than I should be.

It wasn’t anything weird my parents or any of my family members did. It would have been nice to have been something so simple, but realistically I can’t blame them for anything. I feel like if I went to a shrink they’d be completely dumbfounded cause there’s just nothing. Yeah, we had some fights. Nothing dramatic. Yeah, we had some money issues but we’ve never, ever been without anything.

And it certainly wasn’t anything to do with bad friends. My friends growing up were great-nothing out of the ordinary. I cared too much for certain friends and took on a lot of their pain and problems as my own yet it was in a very stereotypical way. You know, leaving my phone on at three o’clock in the morning so my crush could call me in tears to have somebody to talk to about her devastating boyfriend issues (“He didn’t say he loved me today omfg my life is over.” “Well, anybody who wouldn’t love you would be insane.” “Aww thanks! BFFL!”).

And it wasn’t poor luck in romance. Yeah, I went through some pretty bad relationships and developed what can only be described as an intimate relationship with fear of rejection, but I was a teenager. Of course I was going to get cheated on. Of course I was going to date girls more mentally unstable than I was, with whom I was simply too incapable of taking care of myself to take care of them as well. If any man hasn’t dated a woman who is crazier than he is, he’s probably been dating the wrong women. It’s the crazy that makes the love real.

It was some sort of self-entranced, artistic soul, bent on a discovery of things that people weren’t willing to talk about and share with me. Things that I didn’t understand and could not live without knowing. Experiences that nobody really need inflict upon themselves. But I was comfortably middle-class and without any objective-or even subjective-reason to feel how I did. And if I was feeling things that were realistically reasonless, what difference would living the experiences that should make me feel that way make?

The self-discovery that immanently presented itself to me over time through those things I constantly subjected myself to started to sort of…twist away from the end goal it should have reached.

They didn’t make the feelings any worse. But they didn’t make them any better either. Things started to sort of crack. I got really confused, because all of my emotions seemed be dictated under absolutely no logical formula. Good things happened-bad things happened-neutral things happened-it was all the same. But the way I felt was never dependent on it. Then the confusion ceased because it seemed that the confusion was just a slight figment of my imagination as well.

Now, this was only a phase. Admittedly a very long phase-and I think my conscious mind is far more to blame for that than my unconscious mind ever could be. But something cracked during that time. I sort of became somewhat unattached from my own emotions-I liked to try and focus on what I knew was real and at that time all I knew was that I really liked bourbon and cigarettes. I started losing a connection with how to express myself with other people. Words would flash about in my head and then they just simply couldn’t materialize in my mouth.

I lost a lot of friends. I drove a lot of lovers away. I alienated my family. I completely lost myself.

I immersed myself wholly in the guitar, adamant not to lose all forms of self-expression. I lived my entire life within a few notebooks sprawled all over my room and word documents slyly hidden all through my computer. In those, I found I was actually able to understand why things were happening and what they were doing to me and the others around me. Shit started to make a bit more sense.

I started my first blog-it was on Myspace. I used to get people arguing every single point I made, questioning the basis of my “knowledge” and then having other people who agreed with it argue with them. It was nice, I felt like a successful, coloured blogger on youtube. I used to publish all the songs I wrote on there too-in hindsight it was a terrible idea (if you can’t tell already cause you haven’t been reading my shit for very long or at all, I’m a dreadful poet…but I like doing it I guess and I’ve always liked to share things I liked). Haw well.

I couldn’t express myself through any other medium. I spent so much time in my regular life pretending like nothing was wrong, so when things began going right I couldn’t remember how to show emotions because I’d spent so long trying not to. To this day, I still can’t cry. I’ve cried about three times in five years-not including the time I got caffeine poisoning on the side of the road at two in the morning on Oxford Street waiting to play a gig.

It’s funny how things go. So many years after that last blog-here I am again. Finding myself brimming with emotions befitting a thirteen year-old girl and having to take it all out on a blog again. Jolly good then.

I still find it kind of strange. I find it incredibly easy now to put my feelings into words. Of course, they don’t really possess the poetic brilliance of…well, a poet (am I making my point here?). But I say what I mean and it’s efficient. I find it near impossible to raise my voice in anger and difficult at best to cry in joy. I can’t cry and my eyes won’t show anything. But I can verbalize everything.

You won’t notice a waver in my voice between I hate you and I love you. And you’d never know which it was until you heard it.

This has been a very personal blog for me, take it however you please. I felt like sharing another little piece of my life with y’all, friends or strangers or otherwise. It’s been on my mind for quite a few months as of late.

Hope the coming week treats us all well, wherever in the world we are.

Peace!
Toby Fredkin

Gotta have faith

i really find bravery to be a very particular and very strange thing. I really don’t understand what is actually is. I hear the word all the time and I use it all the time but I’m still a bit unsure.

 

There’s all those cheesy things about how bravery isn’t courage or strong-will or the absence of fear but the willingness to stand up in the face of your fear and fight up against it. But if somebody isn’t afraid of anything, does that make them brave? I’d have thought that would make them stupid but I guess maybe that’s just me. Maybe that’s why the word ‘brave’ isn’t often one that precedes a description of me.

 

Every day, with all the little writings and doodles I make, either on here or in my little Nanushka journals, I feel like I’m getting to understand myself just that little bit better enough to better grasp what bravery is. And I don’t think that bravery is courage or strong-will or an absence of fear.

 

I think that it’s faith. Faith that what you’re doing is the right thing. Faith that what you’re doing isn’t stupid and everything is going to come out okay on the other side. Or just faith in knowing that even though everything won’t come out okay on the other side, you still just have to bear with yourself and have faith.

 

Especially when you know what you’re doing is exceptionally stupid but you have faith that it has to get done.

 

It’s not really a belief in yourself so much as it is faith in the lack of stupidity of what you’re doing. Anybody can stand up and volunteer to go bungee jumping, talk to somebody cute in a club or even moon the police. I could do that, no worries. 

But only the brave will throw their entire lives into the poor metaphor of a black hole that is the uncertain, certain only of that and have faith that what they’re doing is the right thing to be doing, even if it gets the wrong results.

 

Today, I’m going to do something that is either the bravest thing I’ve ever done, or the stupidest. I think it’s both.

 

Wish me luck.

Flamenco!

Hola everybody! How´s we all doing?

 

So I´m in Spain, Madrid at the moment, chilling with Muffy, Miffy, Ricki and Nicole and it´s just a swell old time. I´m not going to write too much about the city now, or about how stupid it is that I just became legally allowed to drink in the United States of America (also, this keyboard as a right bloody hassle to figure out how to actually use it properly) so I´m just going to write about the evening I had last night on my birthday (but again, not the actualy birthday).

Last night, as a complete and wonderful surprise, my friends took me to go see an authentic Flamenco show in the heart of Madrid, at a little, apparently very famous (I feel awful in myself now for not even remembering the name-but I´ll explain that in a tick) Flamenco bar. Now, I´ve been to see some very moving and personally important concerts in my time. To say yesterday that Flamenco was close to my heart would be a lie-I mean, I liked the recordings I´d heard on record and youtube, but I really knew very little about it all except how to file your nails for it. Never, until last night, had I experienced love at first sight.

So we started the evening by leaving the hostel at around 11 and went walking through the centre of the city for fifteen minutes till we got to a little out of the way bar. We went in, I closed my eyes whilst the girls (so wonderfully and thankingyou’ly!) paid for it all so I wouldn´t know how much it was and we grabbed a seat. After my first glass of Sangria in Madrid (good God, no wonder people in this part of the world drink so much!), three very serious looking guitarists with deadly nails walked up onto stage, grabbed three chairs and sat themselves in a line. They then started the most technically proficient tune up I have ever heard in my life and then without warning, suddenly all kicked into it. It was, for lack of any better term, chaos. There was just the most beautiful music emananting out of these three men-not plugged into anything but just sitting there with their guitars playing away and for all I knew, they were all just playing their own little things, till every so often without warning, there´d be the quickest snap you´d ever heard and perfectly timed 32nd notes in unison then back into chaos. Sitting there watching that, it was almost like imagining the hypothetical of God creating the world. All of a sudden, wild chaos, everything is happening and everything is crazy, then perfect and beautiful order before he/she would tear off into another chaotic bit of creation, seemingly unrelated but perfectly fitting with its predecessor until it would snap into perfection and continue on and on.

These were then followed by a group three very Spanish looking men and three of the most beautiful women I´ve seen in my life. Wait, let me rephrase-one woman was gorgeous and the other two seemed nothing special from the outset-nothing to drive me into a stupor certainly.

Then, the clapping began. The dancers faces lit up and you could see them driving into the groove.
Then, the guitars set the backdrop. Sitting so strongly against yet perfectly with the stomp claps of the dancers and singers.
Then the singers, singing the most desperate yet beautiful songs you´ll ever began (still, nobody has been amplified) and the dancers smiled.
And the dancers danced.
Holy mother of…I don´t even have swear words to use.

This show really let me understand how beautiful sexuality truly is. Not how I´ve always seemed to perceive it before, as something almost wrong and dirty, that is to be enjoyed only in ostensibly appropriate company or in private. I saw and heard passion. I can´t describe it…I spent the entire night in a total and utter state of wild infatuation. I was entranced, I felt things deep in me in places that I never even knew I could feel things, let alone that I could feel those things. Extraordinary is the most incorrect word I could possibly use, because it was so far beyond the ordinary.

The way they moved. The way they expressed these things that nobody can without using a single word (at the very least, a word I understood), it was…ahhhh. It was sexy! I ain´t got nothing else I can say about it. It was just so sexy.

My God, whoever you are, how on Earth have you not spread this culture everywhere?! I can´t understand it. It was just the most wonderful thing ever.

I sat down to write this thinking that I would have something far more incredulous and dramatic to write, something more…fitting on something so beautiful. But again, I simply don´t feel I possess the talent to do any such thing. I really wish that I did, but I just don´t.

I´m totally head over heels in love…

Wait, I’m turning WHAT next week?!

So, it looks like I’m getting old.
Yeah sure, not old by old people standards(totally PC) but old by my standards. And old by my whole hermited-in-a-city-I-have-become-very-socially-awkward-in-without-many-people-I-know mindset of “House, I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my life, so lock me in maybe?” Yeah, worst reference to that ever made. At least I made one without a dick or drugs or stabbing. Yeah, watchu got punk?! Nothin’, s’what I thought.

I turn twenty-one in eight days. Not that big a deal. Seriously, I’m not that old. I have no wrinkles, no age related illness or physical problems, got the quarter life crisis going on nicely but that’s really it. The problem I’m having is like…oh shit, I’m turning twenty-one in eight days and I haven’t done ANYTHING with my life. “Anything” in this context being defined as furthering myself in terms of education, creativity or  career. I moved to London…but in my mindset that’s fairly short lived. Fuck the job-I wanna go to Spain and get some sunshine while shit’s still going. The job won’t further my career either, just give me something to do and people to meet whilst I’m in London. Meh. Fuck that, I hate everything! 😀 (haven’t you seen the cat?! It’s cute look him up). Going to Spain, getting drunk and forcing myself into flamenco jams-that’s doing shit yo.

I dunno if I wanna stay here that much longer, not cause this place isn’t lovely or nothing. This is just a bad case of first world problems really…but here’s the new problem I’m having(totally better than the old one-it has actual face value!). I’m twenty-one and I’ve done NOTHING with my career or education (leave culture and creativity for later). I’m not really sure if I want to be turning twenty-three when I go back to uni…I was planning on being back there kinda soon-ish (on a gap yah-making munnee and shiz) but it’s sort of backfired and turned into a gap-three-yah! That’s too much.

Gettin’ old son. Got my first grey hair. Time to start worrying about the future? Maybe. I miss my friends and home enough to say that it matters a great deal. Even if that means just going back to music/arts at UNSW, that’s sweet. I’ll transfer across to something else when I get good marks cause I’ll be mature and do good at shit and shit yeah!

I wish I had something to write about besides missing shit. I don’t know, I guess that’s all that’s really on my mind right now. I wanna write about music and life and the universe and films and birds and nature and stuff but I guess that’ll have to wait until I literally and figuratively harden the fuck up!

Much love y’all!

Toby x

Get Big: Blog One-A little promise to myself

So, I’m pretty thin. Saying that I’m just a little bit on the slim-side would be a vast understatement, I’m heinously underweight. If you knew me back home in Sydney, you’d know this has been true for roughly twenty of my twenty-one years of my life (there was that year I dated a Korean girl whose mum used to cook me fried pork with white rice all the time and I took up drinking beer as a hobby…I miss being chubz =[ ) and I’m starting to feel a bit like, hey, this is enough of this hootananny. I am a man gosh darned it and I will represent myself as one!

…I’m sorry for the language, I wish none of you ever had to see me like that. But it’s gotten a little bit too far and my weight has never been anything I’ve made a really solid commitment to fixing. Right now, I’m just over 51kg (or pretty much directly on 8 stone for my UK frenz) and I don’t think being any height over 5ft at my age justifies that sort of weight.

Soooooo! I got some personal training sessions! Yay! I’m super stoked cause I’ve never had personal training before, even though my sessions with Kieran would give be DOMS so bad…once after a session of squats, I couldn’t sit down or stand still for 40 minutes. Just had to keep walking around swearing like a drunk and stoned, middle-aged Australian police officer whom, whilst on vacation to Byron Bay, has discovered the wonders of tetrahyrdocannibol with a talented pub covers band playing in the background. Yeah, it was THAT dramatic. The point is, I’m getting a diet plan worked out, getting solid measurements to see if I’m actually growing muscles and shiz. SO STOKED.

Turns out I currently have a 6.7% body fat percentage. Which is again, heinously low. Thankfully I’ve found out that a lot of my weight loss can probably be attributed to me trying to eat healthy! (Marley, you should read this bit). This is the first time I’ve ever lived out of home and realistically, the first time I’ve ever provided or cooked for myself. Call me spoilt or whatever, but fact of the matter is I didn’t really know what to do with myself. So I decided to try and call upon all the knowledge I’ve gained over the year of what is considered healthy eating styles (minus animals and what not..) and be a healthy little vegemite! So, all my pasta/bread/rice is wholemeal, I was cooking using low cholesterol oils and trying not to make everything too oily, lots of fresh vegetables and chili and garlic and what not. So, it turns out, my average diet is pretty much the perfect recommendation of a diet for somebody looking to slim up and slim up as quickly as possible.

Well….shit.

So, the purpose of this little rant is that I’m starting another little sub-section of blog: Get Big! A little promise to myself that this time I’m going to dedicate myself hard to this goal and I’m going to gain weight. I’m not sure whether to set an obscene goal but I’d rather do that than undershoot. I plan on gaining an average of a kilo a week minimum for the next two months, at which point I’ll be roughly cracking 60 kilos. If I can keep that up for another 2 months, I’ll get to 68 (jeez, this sounds a bit like a Rebecca Black weight gain blog…) and then I’ll be the heaviest I’ve ever been.

I’ve never really tried to be all conformist and that shiz and try to confine myself to what society thinks is beautiful, like I should be my own person and love myself the way I am. I shouldn’t let the way I look affect my self esteem, right? Yeah, no. No offense to my previous self but I think that mindset is for overly fat or over skinny people who don’t wanna admit they got shit that needs sorting out. I look ridiculous. I don’t want to look ridiculous. I fucking want to be pretty. It’s not that weird of a thing in truth, when I think about it. I mean, judging other people for what they do with themselves is wrong.

Yeah, that girl might have lost her feminine edge when she shaved her head and dyed her eyebrows green, whilst wearing boots that a Nazi would call brutal but unless she worries about giving off a feminine image, what’s the issue?

I could make a counter statement about this for males but I think I’ve talked about myself enough.

So yeah, here’s my promise. I am going to get big. I’m going to feel pretty. Get the testosterone flowing and stop using words like pretty so much 🙂

Peace out everybody, hope you’re having a swell weekend!

Toby

p.s. My PT suggested drinking lots of Guinness to aid in the weight gain…my life right now>your life

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