I have a confession.

I have a confession.

Around this time last year, I posted a picture on the ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied’ Instagram account that expressed my mourning for an opportunity lost, or missed. I felt like I had once again let myself down by not rising to the occasion. I wondered if when it came to interviewing for jobs in London, would this always be a pattern of mine: I got the things I didn’t care about and fucked up the things I really did.

You see, since being here, I’ve done a handful of various roles but my background is in media, predominantly radio and TV. In the past, I’ve been a breakfast co-host, a presenter, an executive producer, an associate producer, a casting researcher, a talent coordinator, a coffee/lunch-get-er, full-time file-er/staple-er; you name it, I’ve done it all!

And when I first arrived in London, I did a few of these things but since I’ve been back for the second time (particularly over the last year and a half), I’ve dabbled in the corporate game as a personal assistant and project manager.

Actually, over the last four years, I’ve done a whole bunch of weird stuff, things I never thought I’d do. I’ve been a waitress, a bartender, a shop assistant, a receptionist at a hair salon… I’ve stretched myself and pushed myself into things for the sake of money and the fear of being unemployed. I’ve had work contracts that have lasted 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months… I’ve worked with many different groups of people, many very different to who I am. I’ve had to put on numerous new hats, gather a range of new skill-sets and find/adjust to my new personality (this is mostly me refraining from singing in the office and mastering my inside voice).

When people asked what I was doing for a job, I would always tell them exactly what I was doing because I wasn’t ashamed of it but I also wasn’t overly proud.

Money aside: it was time for a change too. I needed a break after some pretty awful working experiences/relationships in the media world. Having gone through that, it was necessary for me to take a step back and evaluate my own worth away from working in media. And don’t even get me started on massively needing to improve ones work/life balance. Full disclosure: some job applications weren’t even cutting through to the job interview stage, so I really didn’t have a choice to do anything but something else.

Again, when asked ‘what I was doing in London’, I would follow it with all these long winded reasons for why I was doing what I was doing. I even got really good at convincing people job-interview-wise that I didn’t want to go back to media; insisting that I was done. Basically, I was putting a lot more shine on it then I needed to, I was making my new career path sound much better than it was but here’s the kicker, it wasn’t for them or you, it was for me.

For a while now, I’ve known what I was doing with my time wasn’t right, it was a pass at best. It did what it was supposed to do. I could pay my rent, I could buy my groceries, I could survive in London for another month, and that was really my end game, to stay in London for as long as I possibly could.

I do not want to move back to Australia. Such is my desire to remain in London that when anyone ever asks how long I plan on being here, I always respond with “Forever, as long as there is work”.

The truth: as much as I want to stay in London, deep down I am a creative; it’s a big part of the reason why ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied’ was birthed, I could get my creative fix running this and then go back to my 9-to-5 clinical day job. So the real end game is to create a life here, like the one I had in Sydney. The opportunity to have and be blessed with both, to do what I love, in a place that I love.

So, I’m sorry but I have been lying to you but more importantly, I have been lying to myself. I am a radio person. Radio to me is all the cringy things that people say when they’re ‘into’ something. It’s my passion, my drive, my first love, my first love/hate relationship and at moments, it’s been my everything.

But like all ‘firsts’, radio has also hurt me, it’s disappointed me, it’s broken my heart, yeah you get it… it’s defiantly scarred me. And just like anything toxic in your life, you do need to cleanse and then slowly dip your toe back into that dangerous water when you’re stronger, wiser and just plain, better.

At times I did genuinely think I was doing fine, I was drinking my own kool-aid. I was content with most parts of my life but it’s very clear to me now that every time I would get another office gig over the radio/TV one, I was settling and fiercely protecting myself. I was protecting myself, when I would go on my rants about not missing radio, not needing radio, not wanting radio, that this was now the new life for me. Because deep down, it wasn’t.

And hell, don’t get me wrong, there are some definite media-evils that I will never return to. I will no longer work with someone who speaks to me or treats me like a piece of shit; I now know my worth and I know that I can survive without it (the surprising bonus of taking a break, right?). I will no longer be overworked and underpaid. I will no longer not be valued or appreciated in my role or in my life.

I was lying to protect myself because I knew that I wasn’t happy. Yes, my time, my day-to-day life wasn’t matching what I thought I’d be doing at this age. My heart was in pieces but I was too scared to say anything to anyone, especially myself. Because then it would be real.

I can not express in words really the feeling of thinking that your best self may be behind you. That maybe you’ve already peaked and maybe, just maybe it was all down hill from here.

Now, if you have ever felt this way, a little lost, a little off-centre, not focused, not where you thought you would be in life, that you’re going through the motions. I just want to help remind you that ‘the best is yet to come’ but please don’t wait for things to get better, life will always be complicated. Make the most of what you have right now, and keep putting yourself out there, otherwise you’ll run out of time. The cliché ‘everything happens for a reason’ couldn’t honestly ring more true. I know, lame. But, seriously.

When you’re in a dark place, you sometimes think you’ve been buried. Perhaps you’ve been planted. Bloom!

Recently, I received a phone call that offered me a dream role, it was something I wanted so badly that I had to prepare myself mainly for the fall out (in fear of how I would react if I didn’t get it, again). I still can’t believe it’s mine!! I’m back doing what I do best, doing what excites me, doing what I love, and I’m just so fucking emotional about it.

It’s still terrifying to write this. Nothing in life is certain and there may be a time when things change for me again.

The best part: over the last 16 months, I’ve learnt that I’m actually good at other things. I’ve learnt to be thankful for an eight-hour workday and to enjoy my one-hour lunch break. I’ve had my weekends back to myself and I’ve had the pleasure of working for some totally impressive yet kind professionals (restoring my faith in humanity). I’ve thrown myself into the unknown deep-end multiple times and managed to swim to the top every single time too. And I’m here to tell you, so can you.

I do believe though, that going corporate has really been what’s prepared me for this moment. That actually, everything I’ve done or been through has lead me to this point. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that when it wasn’t all going my way, I felt like an absolute failure. Or worse, a liar. You too? Seriously, hang in there!

I don’t want to lie anymore. And I don’t want to worry that I shouldn’t shout this from the rooftops because it may all go away again. I’m so fucking thrilled, I could burst into tears at just the thought of it. I know, that sounds dramatic but I think it’s my body finally relaxing, breathing for the first time (in a while) with the hope that everything really is going to be ok.

Kweens, believe me, there is no such thing as missed opportunities, except the ones you never put your hand up for in the first place. YOU are so full of potential. Timing is just a bitch. Keep trying. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Never give up. (Boy, how many clichés can one person use in one blog? Spoiler alert: A LOT)

No, I don’t want to be someone whose job ‘defines’ them or ‘completes’ them and trust me, I’ve been working on that waaaay before the recent events in my career. But I also pride myself in what I do. Shouldn’t we all?

I want to be more than the girl who works in radio but that doesn’t mean this girl can’t work in radio at the same time too, right? Ha!

Shout out to my main Kween Jane for writing this to me a couple of months ago:

‘I want you to know that I know who you are. I see you. And I know what you’re meant to be doing. Darling you are meant for a BIG life. 

You are not meant for a 9-to-5 job. You are not meant for behind-the-scenes. And while it might seem like the easier, safer option: it’s not really working out is it? Because that life is too small for you my love.’ 

It still chokes me up today. If you’re in a rut, I hope you have a Jane. Reach out to your Jane. ‘Janes’ are just like the sun. Utter golden treasure. Hold on to your Jane.

Also, big ups to my mate Mikey, who has been my own personal cheerleader and put my CV in front of many people he’s worked with over the past few years. What a legend! He has met up with me after interviews, taken my super annoying stress calls and answered back every one of my long neurotic texts. Poor bastard. He’s yet to realise he’ll soon be working in the same building as that psycho. Lol! I promise, after-work beers are on me, always!

The best part of trying to be more than what you do is… you actually become that. And you work out the people that adore you regardless. Those people know who they are (Kelly and Paul to name a few) and I am forever indebted to them.

At last, today, I can exhale and be proud of who I am, what I’ve been through and what’s going to happen next. Watch this space Kweens.

Big love,

Cliché Carmela

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

Is your inner cheerleader doing her job properly?

Is your inner cheerleader doing her job properly?

What’s the first thing you do when your friend is feeling down?

Or is not being very kind to themselves?

What’s the first thing you do when someone offends your friend?

Or even looks at them the wrong way?

YOU GO INNNNN.

Yep, you’re their personal cheerleader.

You tell em, ‘shut it!’ Cos you’re ain’t having any of that nonsense!!

You follow it up with every compliment under the sun. “You’re fucking gorgeous. Your body is bang-in. You’re stunning on the inside and out. If I was into women, I’d do you!”

At times you even go down the tough love route. “Oh stop it, you silly cow!!”

Now, what’s the first thing you do when you’re not ‘feeling it’?

Or catch yourself in a pic someone else took?

Or Facebook decides to show you a memory from 5 years ago AKA ‘a photo of when you were much thinner but thought you were fat and gross and disgusting then too’?

You do not go into cheerleader mode.

You say, think and feel some truly horrid things about yourself.

What a shame.

In the last two years, I was asked by both my best friends if I would be in their bridal party.

Something I felt truly touched by. I was honoured, privileged, thrilled, you name it: I had all the feels. Unlike my sister who has been in countless bridal parties, I have been in a total of three.

So how did I wear that pride?

“I have to lose weight, like yesterday.”

“Fuck, how awful if I’m this size for the wedding.”

“Shit the other bridesmaids are so much skinner than me; I’m going to look huge.”

This dialogue went on inside my head for 14 months in the lead up to my beautiful friend Effie’s wedding. Every month I would calculate the time I had left to be skinner, prettier, better.

I feared seeing Effie weeks before the wedding because I already felt like I had let her down. Why? Because I hadn’t organised the Bachelorette party or I hadn’t given a second thought to the wedding d-floor playlist? Oh no: because I hadn’t lost enough weight!!

On the morning of the wedding, the last thing I said to her before we left for the church was: “Do I look ok? I don’t want to embarrass you.” In hindsight I’m more embarrassed for actually saying that to her. What the fuck did it matter how I looked or felt? This was her day. 🤦🏻‍♀️

When my beautiful friend Pippa asked me to be in her bridal party, I was determined to get it right this time. I was not going to be fat at her wedding. Oh god, I was even bigger. 🤣

I just ballooned in the lead up to it. I had put on so much more weight whilst living in London that when I landed back in Australia two weeks before the wedding, I really had to put on a brave face.

At the time I never said a word to Pippa (a lesson learnt from Effie’s wedding) yet she constantly told me throughout the day how gorgeous ‘I’ looked and she let me get changed half-way through the reception. Am I the most high-maintenance bridesmaid or what? No wonder I never get asked. Ha!

When I got back to London, I was secretly dreading the release of Pip’s bridal photos. I was fixated on what I would look like and I couldn’t stop thinking how once again, I had let a close friend down.

When the photos did finally emerge, what I’d been dreading was to be expected.

Some of the photos I’m in are lovely. Others have so many chins and back rolls, I have to now laugh, otherwise, well you know how this sentence ends.

The day I went through her wedding gallery for the first time, I tried to do the cheerleader thing.

“They’re ok babe.”

“Jesus, calm it, they’re not that bad!”

“Look how much love is in these photos!? Who gives a fuck what size you are?”

And a bit of the tough stuff too: “No one is looking at that. YOU are looking at that. Get over yourself.”

But I couldn’t stop torturing myself and admittedly, I didn’t sleep much that night. I was wracked with guilt.

I reached out to Pippa a few times to confess how sorry I was (I felt like I owed it to her). She responded with:

Fuck me. Is this not the worst part?

Isn’t she a diamond? Am I not the luckiest mole in the whole damn world?!

What the hell have I been putting myself through over the last few years? My friends didn’t pick me to be in their bridal party because I take a nice photo. They picked me for so many other reasons. Why couldn’t I just focus on that?

What a shame.

The first wedding I was ever in was my beautiful friend Caitlyn’s. I was 15-20 kilos lighter but I felt the same then too.

When will this stop? What’s it going to take?

Kweens, it really is this simple: if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, then don’t you dare say it, think it and feel it about yourself!!!

Now, it’s not every day I do this. I’m actually getting a lot better at being kind to myself. I’m definitely a lot better then I was.

These days, I’m better at letting things go. Where before I would see it as I was letting myself go. I would punish myself for having any feelings of self-love (like maybe I was just lying to myself).

Today, I’m wearing skinny blue jeans with a black singlet tucked into it. This is a black singlet I would normally wear under tops to keep everything in and tight.

Lately I have been following some accounts on Instagram where women have been showcasing and embracing their size and curves. Each and every one of these women are sexy AF.

So I feel like the script really is changing. Am I more confident now by chance? By age? Or by the examples around me? The kind of examples that weren’t around me when I younger?

I got up this morning and I put on an outfit that totally emphasized my boobs, butt, waist, stomach and thighs. You should have seen me strutting across London Bridge, I was owning it!

The reality: I packed another looser top too, as I wasn’t sure how long today’s new found confidence would last.

The important thing: you would not have caught me dead in something like that a year ago, let alone 5 years ago (when I was thinner: thanks Facebook).

Growing up as a ‘bigger’ girl you get used to things.

Like: obsessing in the mirror and securitising every angle before heading out.

Like: pulling at your top every time you sit down.

Like: making excuses when your friends invite you to the beach.

Like: walking down the street and constantly fiddling because your dress is sticking to the wrong parts of your body.

Like: having mini-meltdowns in bathrooms during a party because you feel so uncomfortable.

Like: not getting changed EVER in front of ANYONE.

Like: dreading seeing an old mate because you’re not the same size you were the last time you saw them.

Where was my inner cheerleader then?

Where is my inner cheerleader now?

Well, she’s pretty strong today. She’s getting stronger and louder every day. She’s doing high-kicks and all kinds of fancy shit.

If you’re the same, can’t you see a pattern? You weren’t happy when you were 5 kilos lighter. You weren’t content when you 10 kilos lighter. You were still miserable when you were at your lightest.

When’s it going to stop? What’s it going to take?

Will my inner cheerleader always be around? No. But I genuinely believe that if I’m ever going to be truly happy that I need to love her just the way she is right now.

I need to learn to let my inner cheerleader do cartwheels, no matter what size she is!

Will my inner cheerleader be around tomorrow? Oh, I bloody hope so!! And I hope yours is too.

Goooo ‘Team You’!! Yaasss!

Big love,

Carmela

The reality of being unemployed past your thirties.

The reality of being unemployed past your thirties.

friends-unemployed

In my twenties I hit the ground running, I was focused, zealous and fearless. Some would even say I ‘peaked’ too soon. I landed my dream job at the age of 23 and was on more money than my parents combined at 24, but by 25 it all came crashing down. It wasn’t completely dire afterwards, though I had to rebuild. Everything I thought I knew was no longer. Everything that used to be, now was different. I went from co-hosting a Sydney radio breakfast show which had me interviewing celebrities and getting dressed up for red carpet events to someone who worked at a newsagents, a clothes shop and a jewelry store just to make her rent.

Eventually I got another job in radio, but it came with half the profile and therefore half the money: so I had to keep working one of my part-time gigs. I was also lucky enough to land a manager who booked me regular spots on national TV shows (which straight after I would run to the newsagents and be confronted by customers with: “Didn’t I just see you on TV?”).

Slowly but surely and by that, I mean with a hell of a lot of persistence and tears, everything went back to the way it had been. Bigger radio and TV jobs came along. Some would even say I was ‘back on top’.

My point is, this definitely isn’t a bust out the violins story but, in my twenties, I thought I knew what it meant to struggle and to have ups and downs in my career.

Enter my thirties.

When I was 29, I left my life in Sydney and risked it all for a new, happier life in London. Looking back on it now I can understand why my friends were constantly saying “I don’t know how you’re doing this, I could never!” “Are you fucking mad?” “You brave bitch!” I was moving to a new city, with nowhere to live, no job prospects and no support network.

Also enter a new phase of my career: where I was basically starting all over again. I became familiar with the term the ‘British guard’ meaning: anything I did in Australia didn’t count unless I had done it in the UK. So, while I took meeting after meeting with different TV/production companies and radio stations, I was working in a pub earning a minimum wage of 6 pounds an hour, pouring beers, rolling cutlery and dodging mice.

I came over with some coin to get me started but the conversion rate at the time was shocking: so more than half of what I saved was just gone. Yes, I should have researched more. Yes, I should have put aside more money before I left and I know I’m ultimately responsible for my own life, my own choices, my own actions and therefore my own shortcomings but in my (slight) defense: I was the first in my immediate family to do this. My Mum and Dad had just as much of a clue as I did. Cousins who had done it before did talk about their own ‘London war stories’ but they were from over a decade ago (therefore outdated) and I guess if I had really looked into how fucking hard this was all going to be, I may have chickened out and never done it. Blind hope and a little bit of that fearlessness that I had when I first moved to Sydney at the age of 21 was what I needed again at the age of 31.

So, slowly but surely (but with a hell of A LOT more persistence and tears this time) everything went back to the way it was, I started to get those TV and radio jobs again. I bet you’re thinking that this is where the story ends but either there’s something wrong with me or the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ really is true.

After 8 months of being ‘back in the game’ I was more miserable than I was when I first moved to London. I was working 14-hour days, 6-7 days a week, my time was filled with catering for the same narcissistic evil radio hosts I came to know and loathe in Sydney and my life was no different to what it was in Australia. “Why was I here?” “What was I trying to prove?” “Was I really doing this for me? Or was I doing it to show those assholes back home that I could do it without them?” (even though the folklore goes that they were ones responsible for my success overseas **eye roll**).

So once again, I packed it all in for the search of something more. I returned home to Australia. I was back under my parents’ roof. I was living in my childhood bedroom (that I shared with my nephew whenever he would sleep over). I went on the dole. I then got a full-time job at the first radio station I ever worked at (which ignited that bright-eyed naive-of-sorts passion again). I got my Italian passport. Cleared my credit card debt. Saved more money to come back over to London with (this time fully aware of what the f**king conversion rate was). Reconnected with my family and friends and prepared for London 2.0.

Initially, I thought I had ‘cracked the code’. Yep, thanks to my new-found research and life experiences London 2.0 was off to a much better start. I aligned myself with recruitment agencies that got me work in environments that were not media-based. I was on better money. I had a better work-life-balance. I was home by 6pm every night. I didn’t work weekends. I had savings for the ‘just in case’ and most of my travels booked for the rest of the year were already paid for. More importantly, I learnt that what I did for a job didn’t define me. I was kicking London in the dick.

So I thought.

Unfortunately London 2.0 hasn’t also been without its psychotic flatmates and work contracts ending unexpectedly.

In the last few months, I was let go at work, forced to move out of the flat I was living in, put all my belongings into black plastic bags and have had them sitting at Carly’s place while I rent out her Airbnb room. I also had to finance two trips back home to Australia. In this time I applied for 60 jobs on LinkedIn alone and woke most mornings with the anxiety that if I don’t find a job soon, I would be homeless and broke in the very near future. Fun! Yeah, London 2.0 has been just as hard at times too.

The good news? I have finally secured another job and I’ll move into my new pad at the beginning of next month. Phew! Today also marks another year that I’ve survived this bad-ass city. Yaasss!!

So the real moral of the story is: while I was home back in Australia for those months in 2016, I witnessed my 60-year-old Dad (who also happened to find himself unemployed) get up every morning, look at the job vacancies online, check his emails (to find no response from any of the jobs he applied for the previous day), and muster up the courage to do it all over again: it nearly broke him.

There is something utterly soul-shattering when you find yourself unemployed past the age of 30. The constant putting yourself out there. The way your heart skips a beat and then sinks when you check your inbox. The realisation that there’s now a much higher chance of someone younger and possibly more qualified than you going for the same role. The acknowledgement of how big the gap is getting from when you last did the job you love. But mostly, ignoring the constant feeling that you’re failing. It got me real dark most days and I had to really try to find the quick wins in life. I can only imagine how my poor Dad felt during his period. If I was struggling with this at 30, what was going through his mind at 60?

The truth: I’d love to wrap this up with something hopeful and with the reassurance that everything is always going to be ok, but I didn’t have the courage or the energy to put this down on paper till I was employed again. It’s funny how that 9-5 life gives you that feeling of purpose and how necessary that is for your mental health and self-care. So I get it: if you’re going through this or have gone through this in the past, it’s hard to hear or take comfort in those words, especially when you’re in the thick of it.

The real truth: I can’t guarantee everything is going to be ok, no one can, in my experience it hasn’t always been. Things that make it a hell of a lot easier? Take those FaceTime calls from your family (even when you can’t bear to actually ‘face’ them), have a good chin-wag with your nearest and dearest and get that ugly off your chest, have someone in your life that encourages you to remember all the things you should be grateful for and have those cups of peppermint tea on the reg.

One piece of advice: in these times of trouble try and avoid alcohol and drugs, if you can. I’m not a saint and it’s absolutely the first thing I reach for whenever I’m in despair, but I read this great quote and it’s really changed my mind set.

‘If you drink to numb all the difficult things in life, you’ll numb all the good bits too.’

Remember, every next level of your life will determine a different you.

Peace out Kweens!

Stay strong.

Big love,

Carmela.

x

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

Girl code: what to do with the ones that break it?

Girl code: what to do with the ones that break it?

So, full disclosure, this venture called ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ is about real, honest, warts-and-all stories. Stories you don’t normally see on social media. It’s also about supporting and uplifting women. We love women and men in equal measure. You’re all our #Kweens and we’re so stoked with the little community that we’ve created.

So forgive me for what I’m about to express, as it’s not overly in line with my usual feeling and comments towards our dear sisters.

Unfortunately of late, I haven’t been treated as well as I’d like to by some of my female friends. Some of those friends were ‘my people’. They weren’t just acquaintances but almost like family. But recently some of their actions has had me question…

“Why are women so awful to each other?”

“Why are women so competitive with each other?”

“Am I the only person honouring the ‘girl code’?”

“Does treating your female friends with the love and respect they deserve not a thing guaranteed from everyone?”

Bold questions I know. But I’d be lying to you and mostly to myself if I didn’t confess to it. I’m not proud of it and mostly want to know where these thoughts come from.

I mean, we’ve all had it. Our worlds rocked by the disloyalty of a friend. Friends that have not kept their word, friends that have not been entirely honest to your face, friends that have hooked up with the guy you really like.

Yep, that one stings a lot.

That happened to me recently and on my birthday (of all nights). I spent most of the evening confiding in my friend about how much I liked this guy and then the next minute her tongue was down his throat!

Why?

What makes it ok in someone’s head and heart that allows them to do that to another (let alone to a friend)? Embarrassing as it is to admit, this has actually happened to me more than a few times; mostly when I was in my teens. I guess I reserved that behaviour for immature teenagers or just being too young to know better but when it’s still happening in your 30s? Oh gosh!!

Also I’d never done that to a friend and won’t have to worry about doing it to one in the future because I would never. So I guess it’s really weird that I’ve accepted it from other people like I didn’t deserve better.

Well, not anymore.

I don’t expect everyone to treat me the way I treat them but I do except my friends to love and respect me. To consider my feelings. To be accountable for their actions. I can’t have the response be “I’m sorry but I was really really drunk.” I’m so sick of hearing that. How is that an excuse? That’s not good enough. I refuse to accept that as an apology.

The way I see it is, let’s please stop blaming alcohol for our awful behavior. If alcohol brings out the truth in people then has all it really done is just confirm how much of truly awful person you are? Maybe not.

So I ask, Kweens, when faced with betrayal, what do we do next? Do we forgive? Do we forget? Are some things unforgivable or unforgettable? Are we just as much to blame if we continue to allow these toxic people in our lives? How do we move forward? I’m struggling to just erase these feelings and act like it doesn’t bother me. Because it does. But I can erase these people from my life. Is that the answer?

What should be acknowledged too are the numerous women in my life that have never done this to me. Also the women that have, admitted they’re sorry and after working through it, our friendship has become stronger because of it. That counts as well.

So why am I so distraught when it initially happens? Do we hold the women in our lives to a higher esteem than we do men? Is that even ok? Why do we forgive the men in our lives a lot sooner than women? Have numerous bad dates and bad break-ups conditioned us this way? How unhealthy is that!?

Either way, can we please restore the girl code? Nothing is more powerful than women united. Empowered women, empower women.

So please, let’s be kind and always keep the well-being of our sisters in mind (Jesus. Did that just rhyme?). 😉

Big love,

Carmela

x

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

Screw having a New Year’s resolution.

Screw having a New Year’s resolution.

Dear Kweens,

I’ll try and keep this short as we’re on the cusp of a New Year and there’s plenty of bubbles, laughter, dancing and misbehaving to be had.

But I wanted to share something with you and hope in doing so, I will not only help you but help myself.

Every time it gets to this point of the year I ask the same 3 questions.

“Have I done enough this year?”

“Was it more than I did the year before?”

And lastly…

“How can I evolve again next year?” Basically, what can I change about myself?

And for all the achievements and life goals accomplished, maybe this was my biggest problem all along: this ridiculous competition and constant struggle with myself. I mean, as if the temptation of comparing yourself with the rest of the world wasn’t draining enough. It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted.

So here I started to go again, picking at what went wrong, despising myself over not just the big things but the little things too (like my point of view in conversations or the bad jokes I had told), putting myself down, sizing myself up against this and that. And speaking of size, this also includes looking back on what I was wearing last year verses this year. Putting a whole bunch of clothes to the side of the wardrobe that I never got to wear again, even though I swore this would be the year I’d fit back into them. Examining how many more bumps and lumps and marks have formed on my body and despite all my talk, how I’ve once again done nothing about it, if not, just contributed to it more.

Now, not that self-development and self-growth aren’t necessary, but I guess it’s whether it’s necessary in spades and with such scrutiny; especially when’s it’s coming from deep inside. What about self-love?

If you too are single, in your 30s and scarily reaching the high-end of that age bracket, I encourage we try something a little different next year.

Let’s make our resolution to not change what we don’t like but to accept it instead.

Let’s embrace who we are.

Yep. Let’s grow ‘fully’ into our own skin.

Let’s be so much on the side of comfortable that it could also be a little too uncomfortable.

I know it’s cliche as hell and I’m not the first female to lead this charge but let’s fucking love-the-shit-out-of-ourselves, shall we?

I mean utterly and totally and unapologetically love ourselves.

Let’s be our own best friend.

Christ, let’s date ourselves! Take ourselves out for walks, to the movies, to dinner…

Let’s take the time to look after ourselves as much as we look after everyone else.

Let’s give the pep talks that we give to our nearest and dearest to ourselves every time life gets a little too hard next year.

Let’s try and I mean god damn try to burst with pride and celebrate even the little-wins. And every now and then let’s stop and reflect on just how far we’ve come or what we’ve overcome; especially if you’re doing it on your own.

What’s a Kween without her King you ask? Well, historically speaking, more powerful. But that power can only come from within my friend. You can’t buy it, you can’t eat it, you can’t drink it, you can’t smoke it, you can’t force it. You need to have a quiet word with you body and mind, and remind it that it is enough. Because, you are enough.

Good luck in 2018, my Kweens. May we learn to appreciate every flaw, crease, nook and cranny in our life, personality and body; from the top of our crown-wearing head, right down to our fat baby toe.

Be brave. Be bold. Be you.

Big love,

Carmela

x

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

Things people say to single thirty-something year olds.

Things people say to single thirty-something year olds.

“What do you mean you can’t afford it? It’s not like you’ve got 3 kids to feed at home?”– No, I don’t. Thank you Capitan Obvious. But that doesn’t mean things aren’t expensive for me too. I’m responsible for my rent, my bills, my groceries (which don’t come at a ‘discount rate’ because I’m single) and I don’t have the luxury of sharing those costs with someone else.

“I don’t know how you travel so much, don’t you want to buy a house?”– To quote the little Mexican girl in Old El Paso ad, “Why don’t we have both?” It doesn’t have to be one, or the other. And even if I wasn’t traveling so much, I’m sure all my money would be going on smashed-avo-on-toast right?

“You’re soooo lucky, you have all this free time to yourself, you get to do whatever you want.”- Yes, I do. That’s my choice. You had that option too and you chose a different lifestyle. Accept it. The grass isn’t always greener.

“I wish I had your life. I miss having one-night stands.”- Ha! I spend most weekends at home. I hardly ever go out. I haven’t been to a club since Ja Rule was a thing. I’ve had sex once this year.

“Let me go on your Tinder and choose a guy for you.”- Oh, what a fun ‘game’ for you. Go ahead.

“Do you think you’re just too fussy? Loosen up a bit and date someone!”- Forgive me for not throwing myself in front of every bachelor. If choosing to be single over shacking-up with ‘Basic Barry’ (because I don’t fear being alone) is wrong, sue me.

“So, why don’t you have a boyfriend?” Followed by “Oh my god, don’t get a boyfriend, they’re so annoying.”- Stop asking single people ‘why’ they don’t have a boyfriend. 98% of the single-population don’t know why and the other 2%, well… be prepared for a 5-hour conversation about dating apps, how dating is harder these days, how no one dates anymore etc. Also, there’s no need to play-down your relationship in front of your single friends. You’ll find most of your single friends are happy that you’re in a relationship- even if they’re not in one. Seriously.

“So, don’t you want kids?” Followed by “Honestly, don’t do it, kids are the worst, mine is being such a little shit today.”- You don’t have to talk your single friends into having kids. You also don’t have to tell them about the bad stuff in order to make them feel better about not having kids. Single people aren’t getting around all ‘single’ because they don’t want to reproduce. For some, that might be the case, but majority of singletons just haven’t found someone they want to start a family with yet. And some are struggling to get to the 3rd date stage, let alone the baby-making stage. OR maybe, just maybe they’re not ready yet and have other things they want to get out of the way first. Like, numerous Sunday bottomless brunches that involve smashed-avo-on-toast.

“Can we go on a girls night? I just wanna get drunk and do random stuff like you.”- I’m in bed by 7pm most nights. Is that random enough for you?

“Are you one of those weird feminist types? When will you people stop complaining?”- You first.

“Are you a lesbian?”- Lol! I wish. But since your sexuality isn’t a choice, let’s just settle for the fact that it’s not as simple as switching teams and Bob’s your uncle, your single days are over. Thanks anyway Detective Dickhead.

So to conclude, try some of these instead…

“Wanna just have a night at home instead? I can’t afford to go out and you probably can’t as well?”

“Where are you off to next?”

“I’m free this weekend, let’s drink all the wine!”

“Fuck, how shit is Tinder? And how many dic pics are you gettin’ on the reg? Not cool man!”

“Hey, congratulations on surviving any single-person stereotypes today!”

“Screw the haters, you do you boo!”

“You’re amazing and your life is amazing just the way it is.”

“Slay girl, slay all day!!”

Ok, ok. I think you get my point. 😉

Big love,

Carmela

x

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼

2am phone calls: what we don’t share on social media.

2am phone calls: what we don’t share on social media.

I’m Carmela. This year, I packed up my life and moved back to London for the second time. I’ve also spent numerous weekends in Brighton, traveled to Dublin with my two besties, been to Ibiza for a wedding, spent a long weekend in Cyprus, celebrated a birthday with an old friend in Berlin, eaten every kind of gelato in Florence, did that weird pose next to that tower in Pisa, indulged in too much pasta while checking out the Cinqua Terra, drank Chianti dry, swanned around in Paris, pretended to be Mariah Carey in Capri and had way too much fun in Positano. I just came back from Prague and I’ll be in Copenhagen before Christmas. Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with the ‘socials’. All my escapades are thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) documented on every social platform: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Friends in Australia are constantly messaging me with curiosity ‘do you have a job yet?’ as it would seem all I’ve done since I left was exchange currency and plane hop from country to country. Friends I’ve made in London are constantly saying “If I have to see one more photo on Facebook” or “Of course you’re going on holiday again”.

This made me start to evaluate the kinds of things I was putting out into the big-bad-world-of-web and whether it was reflective of what my day-to-day life was like since I had put everything I owned into two suitcases and made my way to this cold, dark city.

The answer: obviously not.

On one hand, I wasn’t ashamed of the things I had accomplished and I guess ‘boasted about’ on social media this year. This was a result of (as a 31 year old) spending the previous year back in my hometown, in my parents’ home, in my old bedroom (which was shared with my 2-year-old nephew whenever he would sleep over) and it definitely took its toll.

To give you some background, this exercise was so I could secure an Italian passport (as my working visa had come to an end) but mostly it was to save enough money so I could return to the UK this time round and not find myself broke, job-to-job, miserable and a little lost. But considering everything I’ve ‘posted’ about since I landed back in London, how could anyone possibly know that?

How could they possibly know that in some sense I was here because I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere anymore? How could they know that maybe I was sadly and selfishly reveling in the fact that I had no one to be accountable for: no partner, no children, no mortgage, so it was easy yet somewhat necessary to make this choice? I wasn’t showing that aspect of my life on social media now, was I?

To think of it, was I really showing anything that was going on in my world? Maybe not. Maybe, it was just highly-filtered travel pics and funny hashtags. Maybe, it was lacking of the struggle to be alone, the struggle to find somewhere to live, the struggle to find work and the constant struggle with money.

The moment that really hit me was when I received a phone call at 2am from my Mother on a Thursday. I was living with Carly. I answered thinking Mum, the silly woman, had gotten the time-difference wrong. A minute into the conversation I could see she was in a car and looking pale (still oblivious to what that could mean). She continued on about how my Uncle Tony was taken to hospital earlier that day and even at that point I didn’t register that something could be wrong. I thought that my Aunty’s brothers and sisters were just on their way to the hospital because it was a close call. That’s how wonderfully naive I was in that moment.

It’d been 15 years since we had lost anyone in our family, so I was out of action when it came to thinking the worst in these situations. I remember saying “So he’s ok right?” Mum broke down in tears and started to shake her head “No, he’s gone” (actually, I don’t know if that’s what she said, but it was something of that nature). Immediately, whether it was the shock or the sudden sadness, I started crying and screaming, waking Carly up in the process.

“Carmela, what’s going on?” She shouted. “My Uncle just died” I replied.

With those 4 words it was like time froze. Did those words just come out of my mouth? My Uncle? My favourite Uncle? The one that would always ask me, never if I had a boyfriend but how work was going? Or how life in Sydney with his son was?

Carly and I lived in an open space, our bedrooms were like cabins on a cruise ship but with no doors. I spent the next 3 hours in the bathroom crying, trying to not to wake her. I dreaded the next morning, worried of how this would feel in the light and how I would even broach the subject with my Aunty and cousins (one cousin in particular that had become like a brother to me). It didn’t feel real. It still doesn’t feel real.

Carly and I have had numerous conversations in the past about what we saw on social media but mostly, about what we didn’t see. Was it a mask? Was it a lie? Was it just the shiny stuff? Or was sharing about the difficult things just too hard and portals like Facebook an escape?

I was apprehensive about sharing my Uncle’s story on social media. Thoughts of it being cheap and cruel ran through my head. But this was my life. This possibly was the real story of my life since I returned to London. It was clear now, that it was never about overseas travel, disposable cash, copious amounts of alcohol and naked dancing. It was about something more. There were lessons to be learnt here.

I had to hear about the news of my Uncle passing via FaceTime. I went to work the next day, puffy faced and red-eyed because I had just started a new job but most importantly, I desperately needed the money. I had missed out on grieving with my family. I missed out on being at my Uncle’s funeral. So yes, this was the real story of leaving your old life and moving overseas. This was what it was really like to be away from home. Suddenly, my passport wasn’t shining so bright anymore, the days felt long and the nights even longer.

So these days, whenever my Mum calls me at an ungodly hour, my heart skips a beat, it’s almost like I can’t breathe. Phone calls at 2am from now on will never be the same.

I still catch myself crying in the most ridiculous places because they remind me of my Uncle (a deli section of a supermarket) because I haven’t dealt with this properly yet. And the truth is I may never. Because I wasn’t there. I’m going to have to live with that forever.

I read his eulogy over a pint in a London pub. I called my cousins after the wake. I message my Aunty most days to see how she is. It sucks.

So, I’m Carmela. This year I moved back to London from Australia for the second time. I’ve traveled numerous parts of Europe and it’s been amazing but it’s also been fucking hard too. I’m not sure if my social footprint reflects this. I’m not even sure if it should or if it has to. I just know if you asked me you’d always get the truth and so maybe I need to continue telling my truth on here too.

Big love,

Carmela

x

Introducing Carmela Contarino, the #PowerKween behind ‘So The Fairy Tales Lied…’ 👸🏻♥️✨

Carmela is an Aussie in London with wanderlust. A TV/Radio rebel. Fierce feminist. Loud laugh-er. Emotional eat-er. Pop culture cat. Red wine wooer and karaoke kween. She hopes that her experiences are just like yours, funny, warm, loud, raw and that maybe you can figure out this thing called ‘life’ together. #YasssKween 🙌🏼