Musical Queen Lizzy- The Treasure Of Kyabram

Musical Queen Lizzy- The Treasure Of Kyabram

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

A small town often holds within it a treasure. Humble treasure in the form of a person.

Golden humans who go beyond care and into a level of compassion and dedication that fills hearts. In a world that can often feel self-serving and lonely, this kind of treasure is vital. Why? Because when acts of kindness and kinship enter a person’s life for no other reason than the recognition that they need a little help- it changes lives. In Kyabram Victoria, Liz Dillon is this treasure. 

  

Liz is a vocal and performance coach and the founder of The Gift. The Gift started as a passion project to help raise funds to support local people living with Cancer. It is now a fully teamed Charity that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars alongside community bonding through social events and fundraisers. She is humble and whilst I know she will cringe at this article’s title, she is a Queen of hearts for many people. (She’s also very funny) Liz has been the heart and soul for many aspiring musicians in the area and according to locals has been a life support for many burgeoning artists.

 

How do you unwind and reflect?

Reflection- well, it’s funny you ask; my daughter and I recently pulled up at a new set of traffic lights in a town we tutor in, and she said how much she didn’t like them ( the new lights). I said, “I like them…it gives me time to reflect” she looked at me frowning, and I smiled. I reflect every moment I get to pause. 

These lights are on our way home, and I usually drive solo. I get to these lights, and if they are red, they remind me to breath and reflect on the day.

 

How do I unwind? – Look, I don’t think I actually ever do completely. Music is a huge part of my day; I often turn to it as a distraction for what else needs be done. ( best procrastinator in the world). Classical music does take me to the closest level of relaxation and unwinding. -And Gin. 

Knowledge is powerful. Do you have a gem of wisdom you now know that you wish you knew when you were younger? Something you want young women could know too? 

Many things- why stop at one? 

That I am worthy. Yeah ….. we are worthy, and talking about periods is normal. Whoops, that was two.

Your incredible dedication to the town of Kyabram extends well past the town boundary and into hearts everywhere. Your pursuit of musical education and joy through Dillmac entertainment, as well as The Gift, is more than a smidge inspiring. What part of you spurs you on to lead on these projects? Has this always been a part of your personality?

That’s hard to answer simply because I find all these things to be just a normal part of life. Shouldn’t everyone do this? YES – every town needs a Gift. 

Every child should have access to an education in music and charity begins in the home….(that’s what my  mum always said- I used to think it meant our home as a kid.) 

My mum taught me about charity and empathy. Whether she knows it or not, I wouldn’t be doing what I do with the Gift if it wasn’t for her. My mum is charitable and still, at 81 years old, gets out there supporting the community. We did meals on wheels together for a few years that really opened my eyes to a different part of our community.

But what drives me to keep going with the Gift?~ just the people. Their stories. Their fight.

Why should families have to drain their life savings for expenses associated with everything cancer brings? Why can’t our community pay for that? So we do. Our community does that. And otter towns help too. We raise funds all year. And it helps. It’s a gift. 

My music. It was my Saviour. Always. I couldn’t have gotten through school without it. Through life so far without it. I see the joy, feel the joy it brings to not only the amazing humans we have at Dillmac but their family, friends and us tutors.

I think this deep heavy ( wrong word ) feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear and see the kids perform. And I cry – ha! Yeah, I cry a lot from pure joy and such great pride. And admiration and even still a bit of disbelief that this is my life and these kids can do this.? Music and these amazing beings. So lucky. So privileged.

This month we are looking at the practice of Hygge – the Danes have it down like a boss. What is your ideal cosy corner? What would it look like? 

So much comes to mind. My constant go-to is, of course, my family. They are my comfort zone. But I am my own cozy corner. Wow. Did I just say that? 

I just love to be alone. Not always, but I enjoy my time being alone. I’m never lonely when I’m alone.  I feel safe. There are a few certain people in my life that I feel the same whilst in their company. I can count them on the one hand. My corner would be my family, my five on the one hand – music and a month of Sundays.

If you wrote a letter to Cancer, what would the first sentence say? 

 

Dear Cancer. I hate your stinking guts. 

You make me vomit; you are the scum between my toes. 

Liz 

( letter from alfalfa to Darla – little rascals) 

 

If I had a chance to write two?

 

Dear Cancer 

How does get @#*ked sound?

Liz

 

I took that chance and wrote two.

 

What are you reading right now? 

Honestly? My new timetable for work …. three weeks it’s taken me. No time for reading until the term is well on its way, and then I have a pile of books to catch up on. A pile. All survival stories. Surviving against the odds. 

What is your favourite way to celebrate your successes in life? 

My husband and family are my successes. They are my happiness. I celebrate life with them whenever I am with them. Alive for many days- but dead once. 

Who are you listening to right now? 

At this time of the year…everything. We are picking songs for our students to learn. But I always revisit, no doubt – Baby Animals and Pink.

Moulin Rouge the movie version, She used to be mine from Waitress (Sara Bareilles singing it, not the musical version ) and Jagged Little Pill – the musical and the whole album, ( yes Alanis Morissette’s music in a musical ) 

They- by Jem ( who are they – ), ok stopping now. 

Best sad song?

Everybody Hurts- the REM version is good, but the Corrs version, wow! Need a cry? Get on it! 

Most romantic?

The Story -Brandi Carlile – 

Feels like home -Chantel Kreviak 

Even when I’m sleeping -Leonardo’s Bride. 

When it comes to romance, you can not stop at one…

What is that musical Earworm that gives you the shits, but you sing to it anyway? 

Anything ABBA

What is the song that gets you moving? 

Dance wise…omg, not a dancer, but… I love a private jive to ~ I Will Survive!

Treehouse or cubbyhouse?

Never treehouse afraid of heights. Thinking about a balcony in a unit on holidays weakens my knees and stomach… so much so it nearly makes me cancel every time and just book the ground floor! So cubby house for sure! And now I play in the cubby house with my grandkids,… well I would if I could fit in it. 🤣

What do you love about living in a country town? 

Easy -My family. And the community spirit. Anytime someone needs help, this community will rally…. all small towns do the same, but I’m in this one …so yeah, it’s the best. I’ve done Melbourne and Sydney. Regional is the best kick out the rest, and around the corner really means around the corner.

If you want to listen to Liz’s Playlist- click here; we compiled her curation in our Music Playlist for the month. 

Thank you to our sponsors Australian Skin Face Body- click here to find out more about them!

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The Real Cost Of Grey Pride-More Than Just Root Deep

The Real Cost Of Grey Pride-More Than Just Root Deep

Written by Kate O’Donnell

Whilst “going grey” is a natural progression, humankind has fought it defiantly. The weaponry? Hair dye, henna concoctions, boot polish (we’re not joking), hairpieces, and wigs to name a few.

Concealing and hiding greys has been a long-standing battle. In the 20’s and 40’s talking grey was taboo and one tended to their grey secretly. Now, however, there is a building momentum to ditch the hair dye and embrace the grey. The trend of grey pride is building, and with icons such as Jamie Lee Curtis, George Clooney, Tara Moss, Tracey Spicer, Selma Hayek, and Gwenyth Paltrow embracing the grey, we thought it an interesting topic to ponder.

According to Penn Medicine, the average age to begin going grey is in your 30’s. After 30, your chances of having grey hair goes up to 10 to 20% every decade. Most studies suggest half of the population will have 50% grey hair by the age of 50. 

It seems that fighting grey is a rather uphill battle. And an expensive one at that! 

Given the statistics, it does seem rather silly to consider how going grey naturally is becoming a phenomenon! From interviews with celebs to support groups on Facebook, Women (predominantly) have taken to social media and rallied. For what? For some going grey naturally has given a sense of empowerment, self-acceptance, and radical defiance of not conforming to an outdated ideal. For others, grey hair was liberating. Not wasting time and money at the hairdressers or worrying about maintaining hair colour and covering grey roots.

In a Ted talk, Tracey Spicer stunned viewers when she un-transformed. Her goal was to show how many hours it takes and how much income is spent on looking the way society thinks you should. 

“I started going grey in my late 20’s, we have it in the family it’s genetic so I’ve always dyed my hair. When I was in my last 40’s I thought my God this is time-consuming, it’s expensive and it’s inauthentic.”

 

Rise of the silver Vixen!

Grey hair can be seen from many different lenses. Some cultures view grey alongside wisdom, elder leadership, and right of passage. However, in the western world, we predominantly relate grey hair with ageing and no longer standing in our prime.

Whilst there have been many positive stories of going grey gracefully, it has not been without backlash. 

Sue, an Australian woman in her 60’s spoke with Ponderings about her grey- journey. Sue chose to stop dyeing her hair in her 50’s and was shocked when she received  hurtful comments of “letting herself go” and being advised to dye her hair so she didn’t look so old. These comments were from her workplace AND friends. Perhaps 50 with shades of Grey is not nearly as exciting as the movie…

In her 60’s, with a complete head of silver, we asked Sue if embracing her grey was as empowering as it was cracked up to be.

The answer may disappoint.

Turns out since going grey naturally, Sue feels invisible in the community. Often dismissed and considered old and out of touch.

 

“I’ve been referred to as an old lady more times than i’d like to count. Now all of my hair is grey I am talked down to in shops, referred to as “Sweety, Dear and Darling”. None of these titles are endearing and rather patronising. 

 

It appears that with grey pride, comes a free invisibility cloak and a ticket to ageism.

Perhaps it’s not the colour that is the problem, but rather the reflection of grey = ageing and in the Western world’s view on age.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if the attitude towards age was like the   same appreciation of an aged good wine with rich tannins?  

We ponder on the movement of women claiming back their grooming en masse and if it will alter acceptance and a higher level of respect rather than a lesser one. 

What are some of your experiences? We would love to ponder these with you…let’s start a conversation!

P.S personally we think you should  rock that silver or dye your hair purple if it brings you joy. 

Check out this insta profile- very cool https://www.instagram.com/grombre/ 

Check out our Ponderings Pinterest Style Guide : https://pin.it/3DTfSIs

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Invisible Disability Stigma Signals Need For Change

Invisible Disability Stigma Signals Need For Change

Disability discrimination accounts for the highest volume of complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission annually.

This can potentially lead to those living with an invisible disability to decide to hide their condition from prospective employers in fear of discrimination and social stigma, according to leading Disability Employment Services experts atWork Australia. In order to create inclusive workplaces, the need for support, open conversation and businesses to see the ability in disability, has never been more important.

The International Day of People with Disability will be observed on 3 December, with the theme ‘seeing the ability in disability’. With this in mind, it’s key to note that not all disabilities are visible and therefore conversations should be widely encouraged, promoting empowerment and inclusiveness. It needs to be said that focussing on abilities is positive, however labelling and the stigma attached to ‘dis’ rings loud and clear across the country regardless. 

Research shows that mental health conditions are at least twice as prevalent than they were in non-pandemic circumstances. With another 700,0002 Australians said to live with a brain injury and approximately 3.95 million experiencing hearing loss, invisible disabilities are affecting more people each day. 

“Invisible disabilities, or hidden disabilities, are those that are not immediately obvious including mental and/or neurological conditions, impairments to the senses, chronic pain and issues that restrict movement,” says Shaun Pianta, atWork Australia DES Ambassador & Disability Awareness Trainer. “For example, people who live with a mental health condition may not ‘appear’ to have a disability but much of their daily life is affected by their condition. It’s the same with chronic pain, or diabetes. As a result of these conditions not being instantly apparent, this can lead to a multitude of misconceptions, judgements and sadly, discrimination,” he adds.

In a recent study on the people who experience the highest rate of employment restrictions, those living with ‘invisible’ disabilities reported highest, with 91% experiencing mental ill health, 88% for emotional and nervous conditions and 78%  experiencing chronic pain.

Sharah Smith, a client of atWork Australia lives with depression and anxiety which at one point led to a severe social phobia and agoraphobia. “I was unable to leave my house alone, and even if I had company to help me, the anxiety would be unbearable. I was beginning to be unable to go grocery shopping. I lost contact with friends which led to loneliness and increased depression,” says Sharah. 

“The fact that I couldn’t leave my home made it incredibly hard to even consider employment, and I worried that while people are usually understanding, some may still judge and think that I was ‘lazy’ or needed to ‘get over it’. When I began speaking with atWork Australia however, I began to trust them and the process due to their understanding of my illness.

“I eventually became comfortable around my Job Coaches who encouraged me to try new things, like going to appointments and catching public transport alone. I attended a resilience group atWork Australia hosted and regained some of my social skills. They also referred me to counselling and coached me before interviews, even driving me to meetings and my first day of work. They also helped me gain my licence, which was a requisite for my current job,” Sharah adds. 

Business leaders have a pivotal role in educating themselves and their employees on the benefits of employing someone living with disability and changing the focus to seeing the abilities that these workers bring to their roles. In celebration of the International Day of People with Disability, the Department of Social Services has produced a number of resources which can encourage workplaces to promote and acknowledge the achievements and contributions of people with disability. While many organisations will still be working remotely, businesses can get involved online, celebrating staff members who may be living with disability and inspiring other staff members to join in the conversation. 

Beyond supporting those living with disability, businesses also gain a lot of benefit from creating inclusive workplaces, as research shows that in 9 out of 10 cases (90%), employees with disability, injury or health condition are as, or more, productive than their peers and almost the same number (86%)  show superior attendance. 

Disability Employment Services, an Australian Government initiative delivered by atWork Australia, aims to support businesses by offering bespoke inclusive recruitment advice (from development of position description through to retention of staff) based on their needs, and to connect them with job-ready candidates. atWork Australia works with prospective employees to prepare them for interviews, while assisting employers with the hiring and onboarding process through screening candidates based on skills, abilities and organisational fit. Once in place, the provider continues to monitor the placement and offers assistance to both employer and employee over the first year, and beyond if required.

“I now actually work for atWork Australia and love my job,” says Sharah. “While I still struggle with tasks such as making phone contact with clients when there are other people in the room, my experience as a client and living with an invisible disability has benefited both myself and my clients, as I am able to empathise with their situations and service them in a way that helps their progress.”

“Our aim is to shape a society and the future of work, that is inclusive for all people living with disability, injury or a health condition,” says Shaun. “That starts by recognising that not all disabilities are visible and that no matter the condition, we need to remove stigma to create better relationships for all,” Shaun concludes.

For more information, please visit https://www.atworkaustralia.com.au/des

 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

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THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

A size 12 in one store isn’t always the right fit or style for a real size 12, and who can really afford a personal stylist? An Aussie app has taken this problem and created a breathtaking solution. Meet, Mys Tyler. 

When it comes to shopping, returns are a huge problem. Clothing and shoes bought online are the worst offenders, with 30-40% returned. According to research, 91 percent of those who ordered clothing online are not satisfied with fit. In the US alone, return deliveries will cost $550B in 2020 with this cost expected to soar globally into a $1 trillion issue3. Not to mention the often demoralising fitting room experience most women face thanks to the disparity between how clothes look on a model compared to real bodies of myriad sizes, heights and ethnicities. 

Mys Tyler (@mys.tyler) is revolutionising online shopping by offering women of all body types a new way to find clothing that actually fits their shape, size, and style. The free app matches users with like-bodied women across the globe, already shopping for clothes that will suit them.

Mys Tyler’s FIT algorithm and data from 40,000 real women is set to fix a $1 Trillion problem

Mys Tyler contributor April Watson

By creating an accurate picture of how items will look and fit on your own body, Mys Tyler will take the guesswork out of shopping, and save women from the inefficient (and often demoralising) trial, error and return cycle. A cycle that also has negative economic and environmental impacts. 

“We’re fixing a critical flaw in the world of fashion that has meant women have had to buy clothes off models or influencers who look nothing like them,” says Mys Tyler founder & CEO, Sarah Neill. “Until now women have had to imagine what clothes would look like on themselves, only to try them on with a shockingly low success rate.”

Sarah, a Sydney born and raised serial entrepreneur has returned home after a decade living and working in top tier startups in the US to build Mys Tyler. She explains that the industry has been trying to solve fit with size, with solutions like body scanning and virtual fitting rooms. “These tech solutions aren’t solving the human problem. As women we know fit is more than just size, it’s how clothes flatter our shape, complement our colouring and knowing how to style them. While current solutions have fallen short on solving fit, we believe that real women and a little bit of innovation can.”

Photo above:Mys Tyler founder & CEO, Sarah Neill.

The first-of-its-kind fashion app works in three simple steps:

  • A body quiz and Mys Tyler’s FIT algorithm matches women of similar heights, sizes, and skin tones;
  • Users choose to “follow” women whose style they like to create a personalised feed of fashion content that is both body and style relevant;
  • They can then shop their favourite items directly through the app.

“There are millions of women around the world who look like you, love shopping, and know what clothes best flatter your body. We help you find them”, says Sarah. At this time, Mys Tyler matches women to a database of hundreds of celebrities with a true range of heights, shapes and ethnicities

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

But while celebrities are real people, not all real people are celebrities, and so Mys Tyler is actively recruiting women from across the globe to share their fashion wins and help their #sizesisters, while also earning commission.

User-generated content from Mys Tyler contributors will be available on the app in the next app release. As Mys Tyler continues to grow, the app will make a move to focus purely on contributed content from real, diverse women across the globe. Mys Tyler is already resonating with women who have jumped on board to become contributors. Contributors, like these women below, who join early will receive “founding contributor” status and additional perks.

Above image: Robyn- contributor to Mys Tyler

“I love Mys Tyler for normalizing every body type. In a world where social media is rampant, has filters to ‘perfect’ your physical appearance, sets ridiculous standards for women, this is a much needed app to bring us back to reality. Show us that we are all beautiful no matter what our size is,” says @thebodzilla AKA April Watson.

 

Holly Richards @hollynrichards says: “As a plus-size woman, I was dubious that Mys Tyler would be a place for me. But then when I took the Fit quiz and was matched with a celebrity the same size and shape as me, I was so emotional! Finally, an app that includes all bodies. I immediately signed up as a contributor because I want to help people like me who don’t fit the “norm” find clothes that actually fit, make them feel good and look good!” 

“I absolutely love the concept because it’s important to realize that not everyone has the easiest time finding things that properly fit their body shape. It seems easy to go on Instagram or Pinterest and find styles and outfits you love, but sometimes when you try them on yourself you feel uncomfortable or even upset with the way it looks. Mys Tyler is a great way to find outfits that will look amazing on your body and to help find your personal style!” says Robyn @missrobynelizabeth_.

The revolutionary fashion app is a transparent and honest representation of how fashion looks on different shapes and bodies and it’s empowering the way women shop while combating the fashion industry’s trillion-dollar returns problem.

Mys Tyler is now available on the App Store and Google Play as a free download.

www.mys-tyler.com

@mys.tyler

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Follow Us

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Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

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