Real Life

How returning to work helped me cope with grief


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


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.

Domestic violence

Teaching men respect is the only way to prevent violence against women

The reality is there is nowhere for women and girls to be safe.

Nelly Thomas   All credible researchers and qualified health professionals will tell you that the so-called "personal safety" strategy we force down the throats of young women is irrational nonsense.

Comments 1

Street harassment is one of the "most pervasive forms of sexualised violence"

<i>Illustration: Michael Mucci</i>

Judith Ireland   It's one of the most pervasive forms of sexualised violence so why isn't street harassment taken more seriously, asks Judith Ireland.


Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger's isn't just a 'male condition'

Women are often better able to adapt and mimic social cues - but it's exhausting trying to play a game when you don't know the rules.

Kay Kerr   "I'm not a Zooey Deschanel character, I was born with a complex neurological condition."

Newly divorced

Why are married couples afraid of the newly divorced?

"For some couples, I sensed my new state was perceived as dangerously contagious."

Andie Fox   "For some couples, I sensed my new state was perceived as dangerously contagious."

Fraidy Reiss

I help women get out of arranged marriages

Fraidy Reiss, founder of Unchained At Last, a nonprofit group that helps women extricate themselves from arranged marriages.

SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN   "I wanted to do something to give back. I wanted to use my pain to help others in the same situation."

Lady luck

In clover: is life a series of sliding-doors moments?

Susan Orlean   "I was shaken up realising that the way my life turned out was just a series of tiny, incremental bits of chance and choice."

Does being patient make you a happier person?

I made this vow about a week ago, and it's going okay so far.

Amanda Hooton   I made this vow about a week ago, and it's going okay so far.

Real life

This is what it's like to have a seizure

Imagine waking up from a blackout and you have no idea where you are.

Natalie Reilly   Unfortunately, when you're a theatrically-inclined person, it can take a moment for people to catch on.

Benjamin Law

The challenge of changing gender while in a relationship

We stick together: Greens senator Janet Rice (at left), with partner Penny Whetton.

Benjamin Law   Changing from one sex to another clearly involves an enormous physical and emotional upheaval, but for the long-term partners of transgender individuals the process often has an equally profound impact.

Great sabbaticals

I took a year off from my 'normal life'


Evelyn Lewin   Evelyn Lewin speaks to three women who donned their backpacks and came away transformed.

Meet Afghanistan's first female taxi driver

Sara Bahayi has had her taxi license for two years. The $10 to $20 she earns each day is enough to provide for her 15 relatives, including her ailing mother.

Sudarsan Raghavan   'If you don't feel shame, I feel shame for you,' a man told her when she went for her licence. She passed. He didn't.

Domestic violence

Our shelters for domestic violence victims are in crisis

Domestic violence support services are in crisis.

Louise Pascale   Under-funded crisis shelters are doing the best with the little they have. But it's a daily struggle.

I accidentally fed my mum magic mushrooms for dinner

Jana Hocking with her mother.

Jana Hocking   I have a confession to make. I fed my mother hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Unexpectedly expecting

Surprise pregnancies: When you're unexpectedly expecting

Researchers discovered that one in every 2455 births occurred where the mother was unaware she had been pregnant at all.

How do you adjust when suddenly, without warning, you’re someone’s mum or dad?

Can happily married parents be a burden?

To love and to cherish: Lionel Shriver's parents, Donald and Peggy, with their grandson Alan in 1993.

Author Lionel Shriver's parents have been besotted with each other for 61 years, inspiring her to hold out for her own happily ever after.

Intimate-partner violence

Starting a new relationships after intimate-partner violence

Helga and Don 65 have been in a defacto relationship for 31 years.

Danielle Binks   Before she met my uncle, my aunt Helga was in an abusive relationship for 13 years and it took her another 31 to be comfortable with even the idea of marriage.

The death of Barbie has been greatly exaggerated

Entrepreneur Barbie knows it's not time to give up the fight yet.

Leonid Bershidsky   Barbie is not going down without a fight.

Hey jealousy

When being envious of your friends can be a good thing


Kasey Edwards   New research suggests that not all envy is dastardly; some of it might even make you a better person.

Finders keepers

'Growing up, my mother was a chronic hoarder'

Meredith Fuller celebrates her 19th birthday with her mother, Judith.

Erin O'Dwyer   The psychological trauma from growing up in a hoarder's house.

Bad breakups

When your ex spreads toxic gossip

"Remember too that your old friends may have their own agendas."

Barton Goldsmith   After a breakup, it is not uncommon for past partners to do some trash talking about their exes...

Emily Ladau

I won't run your child over with my wheelchair

Writer Emily Ladau

Your children are watching you, mum and Dad. Who do you want them to be?

Breaking up with alcohol

I broke off a 20-year relationship in an hour

"It's not that complicated: we met, we became tempestuous lovers."

Bryony Gordon   What it feels like to break up with alcohol -- and how.

Carly Findlay

2015 will be the year of no apologies about my skin

Writer Carly Findlay

Carly Findlay   For years I’ve apologised about my skin interfering with others. And now I will stop.

What I learnt from throwing away my wedding ring

Lisa Pryor.

Lisa Pryor   I threw away my wedding ring. Not the marriage, I should clarify. Just the band of scratched white gold that has been with me for the past nine years.One morning it was there. Then in the afternoon I reached for it absentmindedly and felt nothing.

Clementine Ford

We need a positive guide to grieving

No one would want you to compound your grief any further, least of all the person you’ve loved and lost.

Clementine Ford   Our bodies and minds are much better equipped to deal with grief than we might imagine.

The most awful lie I've ever told is...

Economical with a lie: the author prefers to save her big lies for her fiction writing.

Years after she told it, Alexandra Cameron is still struck by the power of a fib.

Modern minimalists

Does having less make us happier?


Libby Hakim talks to people who have culled their way to an incredible lightness of being.

Benjamin Law: It's time to stop the Speedo shaming

Ben Law at a cafe in Spring Hill Brisbane. Ben has written an essay for AFR about how youg people are disenchanted with the Labor party.
Picture by Paul Harris.
Monday 14 May 2012

Benjamin Law   God help me, I will defend the right of our PM to wear his whatever he wants while swimming.



What your frenemies are doing to your health

DL woman

Alice Williams   Is it time to let go of that lingering half-friendship?

29 cats who are really enjoying Christmas


Behold the 2014 Furry Friday collection of cats enjoying Christmas time.

Dom Knight

Bromance was born: why do guys find it 'weird' to be enthusiastic about new friendships

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes Tony Abbott's hand.

Dom Knight   Dom Knight thinks it's time for men to drop their guards and show some affection. Tony and Stephen are forging the path ahead.

Friends with exes

The truth about being friends with the ex-love of your life


Mia Timpano   "The final time we broke up, we promised to be 'best friends'. This was by far the worst and most damaging incarnation of our friendship."

Grief at Xmas

What to give to someone who's grieving this Christmas

In the first few weeks of shock post her death I foolishly thought I could control when or where the tears would hit.

Rachael Oakes-Ash   You'll be surprised what a difference it makes.

Letters behind bars

I have a death row pen pal

Nicola Cameron and her pen pal Damon.

Nicola Cameron as told to Annabel Stafford   Aussie Nicola Cameron has been writing to an American prisoner since 2006.

I pretended to be a male gamer to avoid harassment

"I never thought of it as being deceptive, because why should anyone care?"

Brittany, as told to Alice Williams   "I never thought of it as being deceptive, because why should anyone care?"