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Sugar Man

Writing is like a puzzle, it's an attempt to piece together ideas until they fit. The beginning is easy like the outer edges, but the sticking point always occurs in the middle. When ideas are followed like breadcrumbs it can often be frustrating when the result looks nothing like what you had originally intended. For example, I was supposed to be working on another article that is now overdue but my subconscious had other ideas and I can't help myself when the pieces fit.

This time last year I was volunteering at a surf camp called Dreamsea in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. One night I was sitting on my bunk when a new volunteer walked in with a swarm of mosquitoes around him. Clearly frustrated, the man threw his bag to the floor uttering something in French. In what would have been a lethal slap to the arm he said outraged, “the mosquitoes love me, I am sugar man!” Amused that Sugar Man would become his moniker, I watched as he set about gassing the room in a cloud of repellent. Observing the barricade-less shelter Sugar Man said, “we’re living no better than refugees.” Admittedly Dreamsea was hardly glamping which became a running joke among volunteers. However, Sugar Man was taking it harder than most, “this is shit” he said resolutely. The definitive tone reminding me of a conversation I’d had with a lead journalist years earlier.

I graduated from a Communications Degree majoring in Journalism in 2016. While I would love to act surprised that I didn't see the steady demise of Journalism coming, I was actually warned in my first lecture by a defeated Professor who confessed it was "a dying profession." It's no wonder that when I called a newsroom about a job following graduation the Lead Journalist said, “you want my advice? Choose another career.” Followed shortly by a ‘click’ and dial tone. I decided to take the jaded Journalist's advice and pursued a career in media instead. I realised early on that my skill-set as a story teller suited media as perceived success is essential in maintaining clientele. Inadvertently I became good at telling clients what they wanted to hear which was rewarded with more budget. One night I was recalling this fun new discovery with my mum when she kindly pointed out that just a few months before I had said that made me uncomfortable. “Shit.” I conceded, “you're right…” We had a moment of silence for my integrity until I changed the topic with, “I’m getting a raise!”

There's a part of me that enjoys fucking myself up just a little bit and I leaned into this inclination fully when I took a Sales role. Naturally, I failed to mention in my interview that I suck at maths and hate crunching numbers. The evasion of which was never going to end well. Although in retrospect I guess we both lied to one another in the interview, as I didn't realise that “we love money” was a euphemism for don't fuck with our commission. I felt stifled in a Sales environment where micromanagement reigned supreme and failure wasn't an option. In just three months this led me to have the first honest conversation I had in that building when I handed in my resignation.

Taking a risk and failing has been the only thing that has inspired me to write again. I have no fucking clue what I’m doing or where I’ll be in five years (something I probably won't mention in future interviews). If the current climate has taught us anything it is that life will take your carefully laid plans as seriously as my subconscious took writing this article. I’m not sure why I feel a need to share my thoughts so openly, I am often uncomfortable in doing so. It doesn't come easy to me to be vulnerable but I know that a life lived fully won't experience comfortably throughout it.


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