Years ago I took my father to the Guggenheim exhibition at the NGV. At a table piled with teeth he looked at me and said he’d much prefer to revisit the gallery’s permanent collection. I told him: you don’t need to like what you see, Dad, but appreciate the simple fact someone thought to do this. He took it on board and later I heard him relay to a friend, I didn’t like it, but I could appreciate it.
Last night I went to Project Respect’s annual general meeting. This is a non-profit organisation which supports women in the sex industry, including women trafficked to Australia. It was engaging, meaningful, depressing.
Before you roll your eyes and log out, this isn’t going to be about me and my feminist soapbox. Instead, this spiel is about extra-curricular activity. Everyone I know works hard and long hours. Some of us are in fast-paced industries. We’re under stress and our jobs are demanding.
Yesterday, after spending six hours with a milk carton model of Flinders Street Station and a colleague in a cow costume, the last thing I wanted was to sit in an ill-fitting chair at Fitzroy Town Hall for a two-hour AGM I expected would run over.
I did attend. It was worthwhile. Rather than head home to trash MasterChef and eat a lovely home-cooked meal, I stepped outside my comfort zone to listen to incredible stories and people. I was educated on an issue which pushes my boundaries and deepen my understanding and sensitivity for an industry and criminal activities which exist outside my reality.
Whether it’s art, or music or information, it’s so important we continue to challenge ourselves because not only does it make us better at what we do, but also better people. And I think that last point, is so very important.