R U OK? A Rant About Why This Is An Important Question But Shouldn’t Be Asked By Some People

Today is September 8 – R U Ok? Day.

For those of you that may not have heard about it, it’s a day for recognition, conversation understanding, and support. It’s a day for checking in with your friends, family, coworkers and asking the question ‘R U Ok?’. The concept is to generate a conversation with somebody who might actually not be okay, and prompt them to talk about what’s concerning them; what’s weighing them down; what’s making them feel sad etc.

It’s by facilitating this conversation that somebody might have a better opportunity for ‘opening up’ rather than continue suffering in silence and keeping their problem(s) to themselves, in turn creating more issues.

Whilst I think it’s good to create a national campaign and a social ‘movement’, I don’t think it’s something that should be predominantly advertised and spoken about on just one day. It’s a conversation starter that should be had on a regular basis, well, providing you’re a decent human being who actually gives a shit about other people. And no, asking somebody if they are okay, before commenting on their hairstyle or fashion choices doesn’t count.


Browsing social media today, all I saw were posts about it. Images like the one above and all these people on my feed were making comments about ‘asking the question’ and ‘having the conversation’; linking to the RUOK website, and using #as #many #hashtags #as #possible, because #socialmedia.

But there was one post I saw that really struck a nerve, and it went along the lines of:

‘R U Ok?’

‘Well, actually, no I’m really not, I’ve been feeling…’

‘Okay my work here is done’

‘But I haven’t even told you what’s wrong’

And I realised that there were actually a number of people making posts about this day, that immediately fall into that particular category. The people who want to portray an image of being socially / morally responsible and caring etc, but really just do it to look good and ensure they get enough likes for their own validation and self worth. They are the sort of people that ask the question without any actual interest or concern in how the other person is feeling (when sometimes I think they are the ones who should be asked the question… ‘R U OK? I’ve noticed that you’re constantly concerned with how many selfies you’re posting on Instagram, and I’m concerned that you have absolutely zero self worth, and instead are trying to find self worth and validation from countless numbers of absolute strangers on the internet… ‘

Millennials and social media narcissists… I’m look at you!

Personally speaking, I’ve also found that a number of the people publishing these posts are also the people with the biggest gossipy mouths, so are automatically the WORST people to be having such sensitive conversations with, because that then works to their advantage within their social circles, and gives them plenty of gossipy ammunition with which to talk about you behind your back.

And for anybody that has previously, or is currently, going through a tough time, having people talking and gossiping about you behind your back is only going to make things worse.

Let’s pause for a moment. Could this sense of hostility possibly be coming from previous personal experience? Perhaps? 

Could it be based on observation of actual human behaviour within certain social circles? Absolutely.

Do I perhaps have trust issues with people from previous experiences? Undeniably.

Could this be making me sound quite biased? Shut up – nobody asked you!

To avoid any confusion moving forward, I’ll openly admit that I don’t currently classify myself as okay.

I M NT OK. 😕😩😞

#HotMess #WhereDoIBegin #WhatIsWrongWithMe #Numb #DeadInside

So there I am, sitting at my desk watching these posts pass through my newsfeed and each person that mentioned RUOK? I asked myself whether I could (a) comfortably open up to them about what is on my mind, (b) could I actually trust them enough to have a REAL in depth conversation with me about what’s wrong, or (c) would they just pass the buck and be like gurl, you just need to go see a #shrink or something, because you are #BatshitCrazy which completely defeats the purpose of the whole concept.

I’m not denying that there aren’t people in my life that I could open up to, but I’m not entirely sure I could trust them with the information that I would be divulging. Should I maybe go see a professional instead? Absolutely. However, that shit is ridiculously expensive, and it’s a luxury I simply cannot afford right now.

I, for one, can confidently say that if I ask you if you’re okay, I’m genuinely concerned about your response. I care about your wellbeing. Even if we might not necessarily be close friends. Sometimes you mind find it’s actually easier to speak to somebody outside you’re social circle, or working environment / industry, to be able to listen to what you have to say, and then be unbiased about it. Sometimes we need somebody to play Devil’s Advocate. Sometimes it’s easier to open up to a stranger. If you ever feel like something has got you down, I’ll always make time to hear you out and provide support, and know that whatever is said between us will remain between us. Shoot me a message and I’ll organise a time to talk!

I care about those suffering from mental illness. As somebody diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety, I completely understand anybody who says they’re having a rough time, or they’re feeling depressed or sad etc. I sympathise because I’ve been there. I’ve hung out with the Black Dog a number of times before, and am currently hanging out with him.

For anybody that is serious about asking somebody R U OK?, I would highly recommend watching this video before hand to be more consciously aware of what you could potentially be getting yourself into. Having somebody trust you enough to really open up for you is more than just unwrapping a bandage and showing you a wound; it’s breaking the stitches and cutting through the scar tissue to really get into it in depth. This is something that makes the person feel extremely vulnerable; baring their soul. For the person asking, it can become an extremely uncomfortable and confronting position to be in so I would suggest you make sure that you’re committed and ready enough to ask the question, because it’s so much more than just asking the question. It can open a can of worms and show you a completely different side of somebody that you never thought existed, but they need to know that you’re there to support them no matter what.

We all need to feel supported, especially at our most vulnerable.

So please don’t just let RUOK? be a question reserved for one day of the year. Don’t let it be the reason you’re trying to get attention and likes on social media. Ask the question on a regular basis, but actually mean it when you ask. Pay more attention to the people around you, and if you notice a change in behaviour, don’t ignore it. Confront it.

It could be nothing. Or it could be something .

It could change a life. But not asking could cost a life.

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The Post-Dinner Journey Home (Or  ‘How I Found Myself Waiting For a Bus In North Melbourne at 11:30pm on a Tuesday!’)

Tonight I had dinner with a girlfriend of mine in the city post-gym (yes, I’m already noticing that I’m using ‘post-‘ too much, but I can’t control myself).

It was one of those dinners that had always been talked about (“So, next week, lets catch up for dinner!”)… But inevitably doesn’t happen for a multitude of reasons – too busy, too sick, too tired, too broke, other commitments etc. there’s always an excuse. But unlike some people, I also acknolwedge that these things happen (read: life!) and we’re not capable of doing absolutely everything we’d like to, because, well, we don’t have 35hrs in the day. 

So after weeks and weeks and weeks of postponing our dinner date, we finally locked it in. A chance to finally sit down and have a real catch up and actually have some real conversation for a change, something that I have particularly been craving. 

And it was so much more than I thought it would be. We ended up talking about blogging – the ins and outs of it, like a very generalised ‘how-to’ and I ended up inspiring a fellow creative person to start writing a blog – and if she’s reading this, I hope she knows how much I’m looking forward to reading her future content, just as I’m very nervous about having her read my content, which was something that we spoke about also. 

However, this interaction made me realise something: just how foreign it felt to have somebody that you know, express their interest and excitement in reading something that I’ve written, let alone inspire them to do the same. But further to that, I realised how foreign it felt just to have somebody you know support you in doing something that is quite personal and creates so much vulnerability. 

It was support and encouragement that I’ve not had for quite some time. Support and encouragement that I’ve only ever gotten from one other person, and unfortunately not the person I was in a relationship with. I’m not saying that I’m a needy person, or that I need somebody to constantly blow smoke up my arse and tell me how ‘amazing’ I am. Instead it’s more about getting acknowledgement and recognition for something that is quite personal, and an aspect of me that not everybody knows exists. Usually when I tell somebody about my blog, they’re quite surprised because I rarely mention it; I don’t shout it from the rooftops. Then when they read some of my content, there’s more surprise – generally because it’s so unexpected and yet completely complements my personality. So it’s always nice when somebody genuinely shows an interest / support / encouragement in something that I’m doing. You know, like being an actual human. 

So after much conversation and excitement and food, it was getting late and we said our goodbyes and I began my journey home. Usually a late night in the city would make me choose the convenience of getting a taxi home, but in comparing the cost to the convenience, I opted for public transport. 

Riding the escalator to the train station I merely glimpsed at the board and saw one of my train lines and 2min on the board. Did I actually read the board properly? No.  So there’s me, full from dinner and running through the station like a crazy person, trying to get down the escalator to the platform without falling over and breaking my neck, I arrive on Platform 3 only to discover the train arriving, isn’t actually the train I thought I would be catching. My next immediate assumption is that perhaps the board said to catch this train, and then change at a further station. 

I jumped on the train and took a seat, trying not to be too distracted by the woman staring at me whilst she was on the phone, and jumped off at the station you generally change trains on and I look at the boards there. My next train: 26mins. 

😳😩😫😖😤☹️😠😡🤔🤔🤔

I open my phone and work out when the next bus home is insted. So I start walking. Walking around the back streets of North Melbourne late at night is certainly a new experience for me, but not one I’m in any hurry to repeat. 

I walk and I walk, and eventually come across the bus stop. The eerie thing is that there’s nobody around. No people. No cars. And for a moment I feel like I’ve stepped into some kind of scary movie. But then the lights changed and headlights peeked over the hill and that sign of civilisation brought me back to reality. 


Admittedly I did jump when I got tapped on the shoulder by 3 Japanese tourists – I don’t know who was more startled, me or them when I jumped and gasped at the same time. They were wanting to know if the bus would take them to Footscray. 

It wasn’t until after midnight that I got home, but I spent the whole ride feeling inspired. It really opened my eyes to something outside the tightly-wound bubble I currently live in and I need more of those moments. 

Daily Prompt – Long Exposure

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

There are a number of people that I know that have gone through significant changes in their time – marriage, divorce, kids, deaths, sickness and injuries etc and they’re all and amazing test of character and resilience, however there is one type of person I’d particularly like to focus on…

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Daily Prompt – Last but Not Least

In your imaginary award acceptance speech (yes, we know you have one), who’s the very last — and most important — person you thank?

‘…and last, but certainly not least, I need to thank my mum. The person who has always been there for me. The person who has always supported me. The person who has always been there when I just need to vent, or when I need advice, or sometimes when I just needed a cuddle because I was feeling like shit. She’s always there when I just need to talk, or when I need to bounce ideas off somebody. She’s the one who let’s me know when I’m getting a bit ridiculous, or when I need a bit of a reality check. She has always encouraged my uniqueness, my creativity, and my talent, and I simply wouldn’t be the person that I am today if it weren’t for having her in my life, giving me advise and helping me keep my life on track – even when, at times, it’s felt like it was completely falling apart. Mum, words don’t even do justice as to how I feel about you, and how much love I have for you. You mean the world to me, and I’d be completely lost without you. I love you so much. Thankyou!’

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/last-but-not-least/

Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time

If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?

This is something that I’ve previously touched upon in a previous post.

There are a number of aspects of my life that I’d like to go back and do-over, but it’s quite hard to pinpoint just one. I guess if I had to pick just one, I think one of the major ones would be to go back in time and change my dancing focus to begin at a younger age, and at a different school. Part of that change would also incorporate my parents being able to afford to send me to dance school or at the least, a performing arts high school so I could purely focus on dance and dramatically increase my skill level and range of talent from being able to study and train with some incredibly talented mentors.

It’s one of the biggest regrets that I have in my life – not heavily developing my skills at a much younger age, but at the same time, I’m glad that I didn’t. I know so many kids who were pushed and pushed through the dance world by their parents and they ended up resenting them because they got to miss out on so much of their childhood. My parents on the other hand were more than happy to support my venture as best as they could, but they most certainly didn’t want to force me to do something that I didn’t want to, and I’ll always love them for that. It allowed me to still enjoy being a kid and doing kid stuff with my friends and creating memories that weren’t revolving purely around dancing.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/prompt-turn-back-time/

Daily Prompt: If You Leave

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

Sometimes I wish I could just quit life, have an endless supply of money, and run away to some kind of deserted island, with a wifi signal so I can just sleep, swim, sunbake and write… even just for a couple of months or so.

…however, that’s merely a pipe dream (unless somebody wants to give me half a million dollars to make it a reality… meh, no harm in asking!).

The last thing that I contemplated leaving was my job. I’ve been there for a while now, and I’m stuck in a role that really doesn’t have room to grow. I do happen to enjoy what I do, but I’m sometimes unsure if it’s because I actually do a good job, or if it’s merely because most of the people around me are so completely hopeless, they just make me look so good by comparison.

The only problem though, is that if I left my current job, I have absolutely no idea what I would want to pursue next. I have no qualifications or formal study to fall back on – I didn’t go to uni, I didn’t even finish my TAFE courses because I let it all fall by the wayside to pursue a career in dancing… which, in turn, fell on it’s arse and left me with a spinal injury.

I’ve actually take a few steps to investigate studying towards the end of this year, and my understanding is that my employers have given it a green light, as they would be paying for the course. I just don’t actually know how I’d manage to balance intense study, plus working full time, plus my my second job, plus maintain a relationship, AND find time to write my blog posts… hehehe, because let’s face it, that’s what’s really important!!

At least by studying, it’ll allow me to gain the first step towards gaining some kind of certification, which could then lead to a diploma, and in turn, would allow my career opportunities to broaden, and I would then be able to take on a similar role within other organisations… however, that would all hinge on whether I actually manage to pass the course. I don’t exactly have the best ability to focus and concentrate, and I’m quite easily distracted.

Then, there’s always the question of whether the course would be so intense I’d need to take regular time off work – that would require reducing my hours, perhaps even by a day or two, which would considerably reduce my salary… and then that raises the question of whether I’m prepared to make that sacrifice, and whether Hulk is prepared to support that decision.

All of that is something that I would have to consider if and when the time comes to make those kind of decisions.

In an ideal world, I’d love to quit my current job and go work for another company, except Hulk and I would pretty much sack most of the employees there, and hire competent, and logical people to run the place with us, and hopefully, completely transform it. Oh, and relocate its office to Melbourne.

Again, it’s only a pipe dream, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming, right?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/daily-prompt-if-you-leave/

Daily Prompt – My Hero

Who’s your hero? Tell us a story about why that person plays such an important role in your life.

It’s taken four attempts to write and re-write this, no thanks to a glitch in the WP app, so let’s try for number 5… And see if I can remember what I wrote…
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