Big buckets of scattered oranges.

The way I described it to a friend was that I felt like I’ve been sitting on a see-saw for the last little while.

Instead of the see-saw being for two people, though, I told her to imagine it a see-saw for about 20. Imagine the lines of wood overlapping and crisscrossing, and imagine them lifting and falling on command.

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Emma Hackett
There's something about Jess.

There's something about Jess Quinn.

If you follow the 26-year-old on Instagram, you don't need me to tell you that. The influencer and disability advocate has a certain no-bullshit panache to her; she's raw without being overly earnest, honest without being blunt.

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Emma Hackett
But it was a joke of course.

What kind of woman do you have to be, to be the woman we allow to complain?

That’s the question I’ve been sitting on for a day or two now, in the wake of two things happening: The first was ABC presenter Leigh Sales being forcibly kissed against her will at a charity ball she was hosting on Saturday night. When introduced to the stage, director of the multiple sclerosis charity, Phil Newman, turned and planted an unwanted kiss on her lips in front of 200 people.

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Emma Hackett
Losing someone who's still here.

Today, our newsletter column comes from me, Annabelle Lee. These past few weeks have left me feeling uncharacteristically content. Since starting in an exciting new role as Shameless' Community Manager, I've been stupidly smiley. Most of the time, anyway. See, it's in the high moments that you tend to remember what - or who - you've lost. Who you wish you were celebrating with. And as it usually goes when the feelings hit hard, I wrote it all down...

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Emma Hackett
The fourth side of cheating.

This week's column comes from our lovely Shameless community member Jade. After listening to the Love Etc. episode, "cheating from all sides", she felt compelled to share her own story. A huge thank you to Jade for being so raw and honest with all of us...

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Emma Hackett
Pondering success.

This week, we’ve spent quite a bit of time with people who seem to really know who they are and what they are doing.

On Sunday, Mich and I flew to Sydney to conduct a whole bunch of In Conversation interviews with people we find interesting and inspiring and influential. You know, people you would define as objectively successful, people with inarguable influence, people who have interesting stories and interesting ways of telling them.

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Emma Hackett
Listen to your body.

Today's newsletter is written by Shameless listener and writer Ailsa Traves...

I got my first period during a school swimming lesson.

Great timing, right? 

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Emma Hackett
Treasuring the trash.

In case you missed it (how COULD you), Love Island UK 2019 is over.

It's gone. It's done. It'll be months before I can delight in new contestants with hair extensions that slightly differ from the colour of their actual hair, or who have veneers so shiny I fear the retinal damage they could cause upon meeting sunlight. There won't be any more proclamations that a "teeeexxxxxt" just arrived, or dramatic breakups set to absolute bangers from my new favourite Spotify playlist.

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Emma Hackett
That thing will come.

If you were to ask me what centres me the most, if you were to ask me what levels my frazzled mind, I think I’d throw you an answer that had something to do with writing.

I think I would say that getting lost in a crater of words, that spending my days trying to delicately stitch sentences together is the one thing that blocks my mind from the pace of the world. That in a realm where push notifications interrupt the most dedicated streams of thought, writing is the one thing that forces my focus, that settles flimsy and harried thoughts, that encourages concentration and calm in equal measure.

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Emma Hackett
Your gut isn't always right.

It's me (Mich) again!

I know I wrote the column last Thursday, and that the natural order of things is for Zara to take the reins this week, but today is a *special* day and so this is a *special* column.

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Emma Hackett
Your bank balance.

What is sitting in your bank account right now?

You might look at that number and feel proud. You might feel ambivalent. You might look at it and feel overwhelming, gut-wrenching, sweaty-palmed concern. You might feel so sick about it that you don't actually look at the number at all - you go about your life and hope for the best, reflexively closing your eyes when you touch your debit card to the eftpos machine, breathing a sigh of relief when the 'accepted' notification beeps onto the screen.

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Emma Hackett
Last Friday.

I’m not especially sure why, but I’ve always had a personality that is a little closed off from the world.

Growing up, my privacy was my holy grail, my ability to keep my stress and my sadness and my troubles to myself the ultimate badge of honour.

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Emma Hackett
Tsunamis and bruises.

Hi wonderful podcast friends,

I'm sitting on my couch in my shoebox apartment, taking in the last few days. I'm not quite sure how to articulate what I'm thinking and feeling so that it's productive and helpful, but I will try my best.

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Emma Hackett
A note on love and loss.

It’s a funny thing, becoming single when you’ve spent the better part of your adult life with someone else.

At the very beginning of this year, I found myself staring down the barrel of a 2019 that had nothing in its detail apart from shards of heartbreak, loneliness and a sense that the year belonged to no one but my single (pardon the pun) ambition.

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Emma Hackett
Confessions of a push over.

I wish I was better at confrontation.

Whenever something - or someone - makes me feel uncomfortable, I don’t respond the way characters in books do. I don’t offer a whip-smart retort, roll my eyes, or curl my lips into a snarl; instead, I typically fall back on something childish and weak like a giggle, or a befuddled smile.

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Emma Hackett
Oh, calamity.

It’s not been a great week for conversations around politics in the country, I think that much is obvious.

It has been, too, a hard week moderating conversations in our Facebook group.

With an election result that few saw coming, emotions are heightened, conversations flammable and despair for the future among many pervasive.

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Emma Hackett
Tati, Tati, Tati.

I seriously hope someone is taking care of James Charles right now.

That might make me sound overly sympathetic for someone who ruthlessly and unashamedly pursues young men for sexual reward. For someone who, on multiple occasions, has unwittingly exposed himself to be a narcissist. For someone who - to the outside world at least - appears to be motivated by money more than kindness.

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Emma Hackett
Ramadan with an eating disorder.

This week, we've passed the column baton over to our wonderful listener, Rahma El Sayed. You might know Rahma's name from our Facebook group, where she starts some searing conversations on everything from cultural appropriation, MAFS and burn out. On Sunday, a quarter of the world's population began observing Ramadan. So, we asked Rahma to write about her complex relationship with this time of year. This is what she had to say...

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Emma Hackett
Bubblewrap and overwhelm.

Is it bad if I want to insulate myself from the buzzing news cycle with a bubble wrap of silence?

Because - confession - I really haven't been reading the news much lately. When it comes to writing this newsletter every week, Zara is armed with a bevy of 'reads' to recommend to you all. As far as I can tell, she's been squeezing intellectual articles into every nook and cranny of her downtime. Her trusty pals the New York Times and The Atlantic have got her across what's what. She's got her "smart woman" cap on. She's raring to go.

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Emma Hackett
Call time on us.

I’m sitting on a couch in an apartment on the Gold Coast, staring through a window and through the rain, my eyes falling on the beach ahead. It’s the Easter long weekend, and I’m on holiday with my family.

For someone who grew up by the beach, whose family is fixated on the beach, whose identity is very much tied up in her relationship with sand and water, the irony of being kept from the water by a wall of a different kind of water isn’t lost on me.

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Emma Hackett