Real Life

Jessica Rowe: I no longer feel compelled to hide behind a mask

Rowe no longer feels compelled to hide behind a mask.

Rosemarie Milsom   Jessica Rowe has endured a challenging childhood, personal setbacks and public humiliation. But she won't be kept down.

Benjamin Law: Why I love Natural history museums

Benjamin Law.

Benjamin Law   I left my first day at the American Museum of Natural History with a grin on my face. But I also felt weirdly melancholy.

Carly Findlay

How working in retail helped me deal with appearance trolls

Writer and disability activist, Carly Findlay.

Carly Findlay   "I learnt there was a wider world out there - and people were nicer than I'd experienced at school," writes Carly Findlay.

The hidden cost of being on a reality TV talent show

Feminist cabaret act 'Lady Sings it Better'.

Maeve Marsden   A shot at $250,000 and overnight fame isn't as lucrative as it seems.

Why I had a breast reduction

Jo Hartley can identify with Modern Family actress Ariel Winter's decision to have breast reduction surgery.

Jo Hartley   Jo Hartley can identify with Modern Family actress Ariel Winter's decision to have breast reduction surgery.

It gets better

Benjamin Law: Why do we idolise youth so much?

Benjamin Law.

Benjamin Law   "My 'youth' years were my ugliest, an era in which I'd scan every room I entered and ask myself whether I had the worst acne in the room."

Things I need to tell you about my brother

We've ended up somewhere very different in life and neither of us is wholly responsible for that.

Julie Stevens*   To see the grey area in drug addiction can be overwhelming. But that is what I ask here.

The joy of ageing

The freedom that comes with finally saying 'I'm too old for this'

"The key to life is resilience, and I'm old enough to make such a bald statement."

Dominique Browning   This line is about to become my personal mantra, writes Dominique Browning.

Miscarriage

'I'd miscarried but I couldn't tell anyone'

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

Louisa Pritchard   Louisa Pritchard is full of admiration that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have helped to break the taboo surrounding the loss of a baby.

Real-life story

My temporary marriage in Tehran

"For all its magic, Iran has pushed us into exile."

Jennifer Klinec   "In Iran, there are women for fun and women for marriage. I was not in the latter category."

Do younger sisters always have it easier?

Amal Alamuddin Clooney during a

Claire Cohen   When it comes to family hierarchy, we all have our set roles. Which is why I'd gladly change places with any younger sister.

When amnesia is brought on my emotional trauma

"Sam" appeared on US television to try to solve the mystery of her past. She has now been identified as Ashley Menatta.

Ruth Skilbeck   Dissociative fugue is a rare psychological condition that causes people to forget who they are, their past life, where they come from, and their family.

How to graciously deal with being 'called out' online

As most people with an internet connection know, the culture of 'calling out' can be a frightening one.

Amy Middleton   *From someone who's been there.

'Coming out'

Why I stayed in the closet about my HIV

"I was a proud gay man, but I hid a terrible shame."

Jamie Brickhouse   I was a proud gay man, but I hid a terrible shame. I came out slowly until I could do the unthinkable: Tell my dad.

Can you repair a friendship with a single text?

"Since that initial conversation, barely a day goes by that Jenn and I don't talk.

Elizabeth King   After almost four years of estrangement, I've let my older sister back into my life again.

Do you always pick up the slack in a share house?

Bevers, the near dormant housemate in Broad City.

Kasey Edwards   A new study reveals the psychology behind the domestic work divide.

Being treated as a disability 'poster child'

Lilith Black: "I fight hard for privacy, dignity and choices in my lifestyle. And people expect me to look normal."

Carly Findlay   Growing up, Lilith Black was the face of a large disability organisation. But the experience was ultimately damaging.

Postnatal care

Mother and baby units are not a luxury, they are a necessity

Baby

Hoa Pham   "I have had two postnatal psychotic episodes. The first when my eldest child was six weeks old. And another after my second child was born."

Real life

Memoirs of a female pilot

"I'm reminded of what I've lost every time I go to an airport," writes Helene Young.

Helene Young   Helene Young has given up flying, but her heart still soars at the memory of her days as a pilot.

Best Friends Forever

Why do some friendships outlast others?

Kate Ryan (left) and Nikki Quarry, aged 9, in Nikki's parents' backyard in St Ives, Sydney.

Robyn Doreian and Erin O'Dwyer   Why do some friendships endure? Robyn Doreian and Erin O'Dwyer talk to BFFs who have gone the distance.

Self-identification

How many groups do you belong to?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 12:  Writer, broadcaster and music critic Clem Bastow poses for a photo with the jars of jam she makes and the ribbons and awards she has won in jam-making competitions on May 12, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Arsineh Houspian/Fairfax Media)

Clem Bastow   How the answer affects your happiness and self-worth.

Odd compliments

Asking if I've lost weight isn't a compliment

"People are so conditioned to equate 'fat' with 'bad', they can't tell a woman she looks good without providing size-based commentary," writes Maeve Marsden.

Maeve Marsden   "People are so conditioned to equate 'fat' with 'bad', they can't tell a woman she looks good without providing size-based commentary," writes Maeve Marsden.

Team Sports

Joining a women's soccer team changed my life

Matildas teammates celebrate after a goal during a friendly with Vietnam earlier this year.

Maeve Marsden   Maeve Marsden won't be watching the Matildas on Saturday, but when it comes to actually playing sport, she's an evangelist.

Domestic Violence

Why I didn't tell you he was hitting me

As friends and supporters of abuse victims, we need to be more educated about the dynamics and mechanics of domestic violence.

Janice Fuller-Roberts   Understanding the mindset of a victim of domestic violence is almost impossible to do. Unless, like this writer, you’ve been one.

A difficult letter to my unborn daughter

Writer and disability activist Carly Findlay.

Carly Findlay   Carly Findlay: "You've inspired me to think about disability and genetics and the value of a life."

Naomi Jacobs: How 17 years of my life went missing overnight

Naomi Jacobs

Beck Eleven   Naomi Jacobs, 32, woke up one morning thinking she was 15. And she'd forgotten her son.

Benjamin Law: Confessions of a (mildly dangerous) klutz

While my clumsiness can come across as hilarious sometimes, it can actually put the safety of others in jeopardy.

Benjamin Law   While my clumsiness can come across as hilarious, it can actually hurt those around me.

I'm 15 and there's a simple reason I'm not on social media

Unwired: Keira Baker says there are many upsides to not being a "screenager".

Keira Baker   The best thing about not being a "screenager" is that I don't have an online persona to keep up.

Do we only reach our true potential in our 40s?

Women "with a business degree but no job" mentioned waiting for the "year end" to shop for clothes, or buy a table at a charity event.

Catherine Rodie   Meet three women who transformed their lives after the milestone of turning 40.

Passing Pressure

Living as a transgender woman who doesn't yet 'pass'

Kate Doak says the pressure to 'pass' is a process that never stops.

Kate Doak   Although awareness and acceptance is growing, transgender women like Kate Doak remain under immense pressure to pass the appearance test.

Aboriginal groups distressed at high rate of Indigenous children removed from families in Victoria

More Indigenous children are being removed from their families in Victoria.

Daniel Flitton   Domestic violence is almost a uniform experience in families where Indigenous children are removed from their families.

Home Truths

The stories that our rooms tell about us

Walls might not talk, but the objects we adorn them with are a window on our personalities.

Sarah Whyte   Walls might not talk, but the objects we adorn them with are a window on our personalities.

Just Words

The four letter word that's holding you back

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Kristin U.   There's just one little word we use to undermine ourselves.

Friendship fix

When your best friends become best friends – without you

"It's so exhausting existing in a world that repeatedly tells you your identity is invalid, or a phase, or a front to attract heterosexual men."

Mia Timpano   Even after we grow up, navigating friendships can be a political minefield.

A Shared Body

Why my body is not my body

"I am a patchwork quilt of evolution built from the genetics of women who lived remarkably unremarkable lives."

Katie Racine   These aren't my hips, breasts, calves, skin, or hair. They don't tell my story.

Benjamin Law

Why hanging with your friends' kids is the best natural high

The best new high I've discovered is hanging around my friends' kids.

Benjamin Law   It's not a coincidence that I stopped partying around the time my friends started having babies, writes Ben Law.

How returning to work helped me cope with grief

For shy people, public transport chats are to be avoided at all costs.

Lindsay Nicholson   It's only when you confront imminent mortality that you appreciate the blessings of an ordinary day at the office.

A man of letters

Benjamin Law.

Benjamin Law   My body may be young, but my soul is that of an irritated pensioner named Beryl.

Why you should skip your 25-year school reunion

Jo Stanley.

Jo Stanley   No matter how happy we might be, it's impossible to summarise our life into a tidy top-three achievements.

Women in their 60s care about fashion too

Sarah Jane Adams wears Adidas Originals x Farm leggings, tee and windbreaker; a hand-made skirt using fabrics from Chiang Mai, Thailand; a hand-made belt of antique Afghani fabrics, beadwork and coins; Adidas Originals high-top sneakers.

Jane Rocca   Turning 60 does not have to mean joining the sensible shoes and slacks brigade. Meet three women who walk on the wild side.

Other Mothers

How I learned to embrace being 'the other mum'

"Eventually, Hanno stopped calling me Dad. Instead, he began referring to his friends' fathers as their 'Mamas'."

Adele Levine   As the non-biological one of two mums, Adele Levine will take any praise she gets (even a Father's Day card).

Crafty Life

A crafty life

She's crafty: Pip Lincolne at home in Melbourne.

Pip Lincolne   Pip Lincolne is never happier than when she's making something from nothing.

Amanda Hooton

Amanda Hooton

Amanda Hooton   It's nice to have friends who can convince you there's still time to become rich and famous.

Verbal banana skins

Benjamin Law.

Benjamin Law   There are all sorts of names for people like me: an Australian child of migrants who can't speak his parents' language.

Spanx wants you all to know it is now 'feminist'

Spanx has had a 'feminist' rebrand.

Kasey Edwards   Yes, we're talking about the same Spanx that makes body-shaping underwear for hiding women's lumps.

Dear concerned trolls, fat people are trying

Nelly Thomas

Nelly Thomas   Telling fat people we're ugly and toxic isn't going to suddenly make us want to slim down.

Losing both of your parents in your 20s

"If you get to 26 and both your parents are dead, you will  spend a lot of time worrying about your own life expectancy."

Jenna Price   if you get to 26 and both your parents are dead, you will spend a lot of time worrying about your own life expectancy.

Living with narcolepsy

Some days I fall to the ground paralysed without warning

"I can power through a busy day, but my body demands two hours of sleep when I get home."

Alanna Kellam   My life differs in often silent but profound ways from my peers. I live a part-time life.

Latika Bourke

The life in India Latika Bourke might have had

Returning to the orphanage in Bihar.

Latika Bourke   Journalist Latika Bourke writes about the teenage Indian mother she never knew.

My life as a transgender woman in Sydney

"It was a feeling that, as a young transgender woman, I never thought I'd experience again."

Kate Doak   A few months ago, a shiver went down my spine. It was a feeling that, as a young transgender woman, I never thought I'd experience again.

The perils of being critical while female

Tina Fey

Natalie Reilly   It seems to me that all a girl has to do is call shit out and look plain doing it to be considered hateful.

Real life

What life is like when you are allergic to everything

I was a "universal reactor" – allergic or sensitive to everything on earth except porcelain, glass and steel.

Diane Thomas   I was a "universal reactor" – allergic or sensitive to everything on earth except porcelain, glass and steel.

Making my daughter's outfit: expectations vs reality

GW.  Portrait Dinkus of Amanda Hooton Good Weekend Writer. Photographed at Sun Studios.  Pic by Nic Walker.  Date 22nd November 2014.

Amanda Hooton   "The inside of the dress seemed to be ominously scratchy. And scratchiness to a child is sartorial death."

Grammar jerks who find imperfect English hilarious

cr: James Brickwood Benjamin Law, columnist photo for Good Weekend

Benjamin Law   I don't have time for people who snicker at bad English while getting tattoos in foreign languages they can't even read.

Starting over

What it's like to start your life over and over again

Cathryn Hein in the snow in Lyon.

Cathryn Hein   Starting your life from scratch means losing a lot. But you can also lead to profound gains in unanticipated ways.

Clementine Ford

In praise of women only spaces

The magic of female friendships depicted in the film Frances Ha.

Clementine Ford   I like the company of women. Given a choice, I probably value it more than the company of men.

Cerebral Palsy

Taking care of my sister wasn't a burden

Sisters

Kellie C. Murphy   "We didn't need you to feel sorry for us. We never pitied her, and we never pitied ourselves."

I didn't 'always know' I was gay

"When I first came out of the closet... I had this uneasy feeling that I wasn't quite fulfilling the brief."

Joel Meares   Everyone’s journey out of the closet is different, and it’s important to hear – and welcome – all of them.

Kasey Edwards

The five words most people dread hearing from friends

Fossicking for problems in other people's lives isn't friendship.

Kasey Edwards   It’s arrogant to assume you know a friend better than they know themselves, so leave the therapy to the experts.