Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Introducing Marla Hansen: Valium Optional

What can be said about me that hasn’t already been said behind my back by my sisters? I suppose I should start with the basics, so I shall. My name is Marla Hansen and I love to write. I can’t promise you will enjoy or even agree with most things I write. I can guarantee, I will find my writings to be just what I needed to say.

I tend to write about what matters most to me. I might post about my relationship with my best friend who is also my husband. There is a lot to say about our thirty-eight years together. For instance, neither one of us has ever thought of divorce. No, seriously, never. Murder many times, but never divorce. Then there are my seven children. Having children too numerous to remember by name can become quite a story in itself. Add six grandchildren to the mix and well, it’s just plain mayhem.

Did I mention we live on a farm? Yep, we do, with chickens and horses and pigs and ….. Well, I am going to save the goat sleeping on the living room couch story for another day. Let’s just say it is a real funny farm in every sense.

I also care deeply about deep things ….like people. I am especially drawn to people who are not like me. I like different. Different cultures, races, viewpoints, and everything in-between. I am a Christian who truly loves Jesus with all my heart. I also love people who love Buddha, Mohammad or No One. Yep, I love them and invite them to dinner at our house. I want to hear about their lives and what makes them tick, so to speak. I guess that sums it up. I love because I am loved.

Now before you ask if those are wings on my back, look a little closer….at my head. Are you looking? Closely? My mom always said I was an angel…with horns. I think that is probably one of the truest statements about me ever spoken. I can be opinionated but only because I am right most the time. I can get angry, moody, silly, stupid, scary.

Speaking of scary, I am always looking for the next adventure involving humanity. Right now, it’s about The List. What’s that? You’re a crazy adventurer too! Awesome….feel free to jump right in and be a part of making a difference too.

A privileged perspective: slumdog Millionaire

-My response after watching Slumdog Millionaire last year,
it is my opinion, which means it is highly debateable :) -

Truth is, we're all the same
we all want to survive
and we all kill and steal and cheat
find loop holes
to get there

It's just that
when you are poor
what you do is obvious and
can be
obviously incarcible,
often that is the only
choice you're left
if its illegal, then illegal it is
no lawyers to sort you out
what you do is out on the street
what you do to just survive
and often what you have to do
to survive
seems so shocking and dirty
to those
who observe it on a screen, a newspaper, from the sidewalk
from behind their gate
from their car window
from their privilege

When you are protected by your privilege
what you do to survive is subtle
covered up by policy and cushioned by self-protectionist laws
and the "ways of the market"
and when not justified by suitable law
white collar crime seems so inocuous, so clean
well hidden under nice and tidy
under "decent family"
under "good people"
under nice clothes and
clean bodies

While we are watching slumdog and think of ourselves
and our culture perhaps
the developed or developing world
or your caste or class...
as better,
more moral perhaps?
it is because we are blind
by our privilege
because it is made to seem natural
a given
not something earned by colonial greed and massacre
we earned it, we are worth it. we are wise capitalists
we worked hard
sweat of our brow

This is what justifies
our lifestyle pursuits
makes us feel better
when we want a good deal,
when we buy cheap goods made cheap by cheap labour
materials and methods.

I do this.

But we are good, no?
and therefore whatever we the good do
is not made criminal,
not really
there are ways...
our market is God, no?
no question...

the priviledged are mostly
tourists in someone else's land
or tourists in their own land
as if on holiday
perpetual tourists
touring around
consuming the best like kings and queens

luxury an every-day commodity

our mouths open for more
 we are hungry, always hungry

we are good        as are they        as are we   

we are ONE

when the clothes fall off
when the privilege fades away

flesh and bones
spirit and eyes

the God of the market
the God of the privileged

see it that way                                             

Locked Out on Oxford Street!

I’ve been locked out, I’ve been locked in, 
But I always seem to come back again”
- Neil Finn
"Keys? Tools? Locksmiths - not on Oxford Street Darling!"
My lifelong friend Ailsa had just moved to Sydney.
I hadn’t caught up with my old mate from the OHT for eons.
I could hardly contain the excitement that she was heading over to my Darlinghurst apartment for a catch-up!
It started off with us getting a massage at the Chinese Masseuse joint across the road (one of the MAJOR things I miss about Sydney life) and then we decided we would get a DVD and some dinner.
Feeling a little out of it after the massage we headed back to my pad with DVD and Thai food in hand.
I rustled through my bag for what seemed like an eternity.
A familiar lump began to form in my throat.
I could not find the keys.
The contents of my handbag would make stock-take at Crazy Clint’s look like child’s play so I didn’t want to panic too soon.
I could tell Ailsa was  intrigued by what the hell must be in my handbag as I kept talking away nervously, every moment gaining more awareness of the fact I had locked us out.
My phone was inside and I had no money for a locksmith, no spare key no chance of climbing through a window as I lived on the third floor.
“Ummmmm… Ailsa….”
“Yeah?” she asked in her usual upbeat manner
“I haven’t got my keys”
“You sure?” she asked politely while I am convinced was thinking “Bloody hell you never change Montgomery”
I sat down on the pavement and preceded to empty out the contents of my bag.
This was an embarrassing moment, like I was emptying the contents of my soul.
Except my soul doesn’t contain excessive amounts of hairbands nor a glass I had inadvertently bagged from a nearby pub.
I felt terrible, there wasn’t a solution in sight...
Please visit here for the rest of the story 

You are not your job

Also on my blog.

I watched The Fight Club again after several years and it was interesting that different aspects of the movie resonated with me this time than when I had first seen it. Probably because of where I am in my life right now vis-a-vis a decade ago.

There are a lot of gems in this well-scripted movie, but what stayed with me most was this piece of monologue from Brad Pitt:
You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f*&%ing khakis.
Aren’t these, though, the things we identify our “selves” with the most? The brands, the paycheck, the number of rooms in a house, the front lawn, the backyard, the mortgage, the rent … but if these things don’t really matter then what does?

We judge people immediately by their titanium watches, their diamond earrings, their leather jackets. We nod our heads as they describe their professions. We “relate” with them when they talk about taxes, phone bills, and the rising cost of every consumable commodity. But do we ever look through to see the person they are?

Do we even look inward that way?

We let material things define us. Armani, Bebe, Gucci, Mercedes.

We let our jobs take over our lives.

We have no time for R&R and introspection because we’re so caught up in the “bling” of life.

We don’t look past the outer shell. We don’t seek answers. We don’t ask questions. We don’t think.

All we do is react.

We’ve let ourselves be shaped by things that don’t matter in the bigger scheme of life. Some people find their “calling” but a majority don’t even know the answer to “Who are you?” anymore. Not for anyone else, but for oneself.

And perhaps, most of us are ok with that. Perhaps, that’s how society can function “normally.” When folks don’t go out on a limb seeking answers. When people operate like machinery. Like puppets saying the same things in different languages. Pining for the same material comforts. Fighting for the same limited resources. Lusting. Hoarding.

Dying with just the clothes on their backs.

I’ve realized in the last two years that what makes me happiest are the simplest things in life. Things money can’t buy. Things corruption and greed can’t touch. Things like the twinkle in a person’s eyes. A baby’s toothless smile. The smell of the earth when it rains. A croaking frog. A blooming bud. The silence of the hills. The calmness of a lake. A sunset. Writing.

Satisfaction, I have found, comes from within. Peace follows closely behind.

It’s true that I am able to roam the world and enjoy its people and its beauty only because of the paycheck that comes with a 9-5 job. That monthly deposit to my bank account allows me to do the things I really love. But should I let it define who I am and what my life should be? Shouldn’t I let what I love define what I do?

There are things we want, and then there are things we need. Sometimes we confuse between the two.

It’s tough to let go of the lifestyle one has become used to, but it isn’t hard to review and let go of things that truly don’t matter.
This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.
You can choose to continue living it the only way you think you know how. Or you can ask the hard questions of your self and discover a way you never knew. In the process you might just find out who you really are.