After my mum died, I dedicated myself to gardening. I cleared a huge amount of space, resulting in four fairly massive garden beds. I wanted to grow vegetables.

I decided to prepare the beds using the “no weed” method that my mum and dad use. Basically, you dig up the soil, then cover it in layers of wet newspaper. It needs to be around 4-5 pages thick. Once you have the newspaper layer down, you cover it in mushroom compost or straw. Then you water it. The newspaper and the topping soak up all the water, meaning that whatever you plant doesn’t really get to dry out too much. The newspaper also means that weeds don’t grow.

I very clearly remember what was in the newspaper at that time: Schapelle Corby.

Page after page about this girl. Wetted down, and covered in compost. The irony didn’t escape me, that I was using Schapelle to stop weed. Again and again, shovel after shovel of compost. Then the water. Sprinklers, several of them. This was also around the time when the impact of the drought meant that people had signs in their front yard, explaining where the water they used on their garden came from. I didn’t bother with a sign. But for what it’s worth, it was dam water.

When it came time to plant, I’d make holes in the paper and tuck my seedlings into the soil.

That garden thrived.

Humid, moist, stinking of decay and compost. Again, it seems pretty ironic that at the base of that stink was Schapelle. After all, not a soul has suggested that a Balinese prison is a comfortable and pleasant place to dwell. 

That was the extent of my interest in her story. i guess even then I couldn’t get my head around why it is that we get so caught up in the lives of other people. I couldn’t understand why this girl was attracting so much international attention, yet my mum didn’t rate even a flicker.

Everyone is somebody’s someone. Every person is important, has relevance, has a story. There is grief for each person, love for each person. Why do some people warrant more attention than others? 

Now that Schapelle has been released, the circus has gained momentum. The discussions about whether or not she did it. Paying disgusting amounts of money for exclusives. From what it looks like, she’s left one prison and entered another. One that is perhaps worse: she’s free in world where she is completely and utterly under the spotlight.

Could you imagine what it would be like?

If you think about it, the hard work has really only just begun for this girl. I can only guess at the state of her mental health. Her physical health. Her self-esteem and social confidence. Because I wouldn’t dare assume that Kerobokan would have been an environment that would encourage thriving.

Regardless of whether she did it or not, at the end of the day she has served time. We need to back the fuck off, and leave her alone. Let her piece together what the world is like now. Let her try to work out where she can slot back in. If she can slot back in.

The stories in the paper represent the information that is fed to us. Meanwhile, there’s a world of people and humanity out there that matter just as much. Don’t get so distracted by the headlines that you miss them. People matter, regardless of what page they’re on. People matter, regardless of whether they’re on TV or not.

People matter.

Focus on your people.

Help them thrive. Let them help you thrive. Tend to them regularly. Nurture them. Praise them as they grow.

It puts some girl with a boogie board back into perspective.


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