I haven’t gone for a walk in a long time. It’s been months since I first bought a gym membership, and I still hate going. I’m beginning to think this fitness thing isn’t for me. But tonight, after stuffing my face full of dinner (and leftover cheesecake for dessert) Igot a flash of motivation. I laced up my runners, put my headphones in, and took off. Nothing intensive and full on, but I’m keeping a nice pace nevertheless.
I think thats the thing. Fitness on someone else’s terms doesn’t work for me. I prefer to go on my own; music in my ears and the night air on my skin. Instead of getting up early to go through rigorous training regimes that seem to have little effect for me so far, I find its better to go for a walk after the day has ended, a wind down instead of a wake up.
It gives me time to think, without the upcoming day clogging my brain with thoughts. And lately, with a long string of mini existential crises sapping all my energy, a little quiet reflection time is a relief. The exercise is simply an added bonus.
It’s the middle of summer. It’s 10pm and still 30 degrees. There’s not even a breath of wind, and there’s a sheen of sweat coating my brow, and pooling in the hollow of my throat. There’s few cars around, no people. My breath comes steadily, and I am very aware of the blood pumping in my veins. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this.
This weekend we performed our play, and it was one of the most fun and incredible things I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Written by my incredibly talented friend, the one act play, titled Max Pry, Private Eye, is set in the late 1930’s and follows the story of Max Pry; a detective who dreams of becoming a famous private investigator. The problem is, Max is a terrible detective. In fact, his greatest bust (discovering Frankie “The Cruncher” Pavlov’s hideout in a down town laundromat) was purely by accident. So, when Max’s boss gives him an ultimatum that could see him demoted, Max teams up with some (equally terrible) gangsters to stage the bust of a lifetime!
After three months of rehearsals, we took to the stage on Friday night for the first time and it went off without a hitch. Me, who has previously sang in front of crowds utterly shaking with nerves, found myself stepping onto the theatre stage confidently and without fear. Admittedly, that may have been because there is more involved in theatre that I had to focus on, but nevertheless! Our lines on-stage were delivered to perfection, and as I listened backstage in between my scenes, the other scenes ran just as smoothly. The couple of times we did forget a line, the ad libs were so good that nobody noticed a thing.
We had three performances that each had the theatre almost full, and a good few of my friends and family showed up to see us perform, which was really awesome. The costumes, made by myself and our lovely production manager, looked fantastic and really helped make the show. The set, designed and made by our playwright’s father, looked sensational. Honestly, everyone involved did such a wonderful job and I am so proud of everyone that had a hand in bringing Max Pry to life.
We even made it to the paper a couple of times, and we got a fantastic write-up about how the play was working to encourage neurodiversity in the arts. For those of you that may be unfamiliar with the word, neurodiverse is a blanket term used to describe autism spectrum disorders, ADD and mental health disorders, amongst others. The idea was a shorter play with a longer rehearsal time, to allow for those who may be suffering from neurodiverse disorders to be able to participate in a production that doesn’t have the high demand and stress level of a full length play. And I can’t even begin to tell you how kind and considerate the cast and crew were.
My role in the play was that of Dotty, the femme fatale if you will, and I loved playing the character. Though, with her sass, wit and penchant for casting a dirty look, it was pretty much just like being myself…in a blonde wig. In fact, I was offered the role purely because the playwright and her parter (both good friends of mine) thought that the character would be perfect for me. And, in an attempt to step outside my comfort zone, I took on the role without hesitation.
Honestly, it was such an incredible experience and I think I’d be keen to get back on the stage again at some point. But, for now, it’s been a long and busy weekend, and I think what I really need is a cup of tea, and a nice relaxing Sunday.
There’s a few things I want to do. Firstly, I want to update my blog. I feel it’s looking a little stagnant; so now is as good a time as any to give it an overhaul. Of course, that requires an actual computer and proper internet, not just data on my phone. So, I need to somehow organise that, despite having no funds to actually connect the ‘net at home…but I digress!
Secondly – and I’ve been contemplating this for a while now – I want to cut my hair. I realised today that I have been actively growing my hair for almost six years. I love it long, but it just kind of…hangs there. I mean, not that I expect it to tap dance atop my head or anything but I, like my blog, feel a bit same same. I’ve been doing a lot of reflection about my appearance in recent weeks, actually.
I wear a lot of black, almost exclusively if I’m being honest. I feel very strange and conspicuous in colour, and tend to avoid wearing it. But I get dressed every morning, and look in the mirror, and almost immediately look away again because I am just so tired of all this….same.
I need some change, y’all. I’m not in a bad place right now, but nevertheless, I feel like I need something to invigorate and energise me. A big fat injection of something new, y’know? It doesn’t even necessarily need to be anything drastic, just different. Maybe it’s as simple as a new shirt, or the aforementioned haircut. Maybe it’s about cleaning my car and rearranging my bedroom, and tossing out the old clothes that have faded, or no longer fit. Just something, anything to break up the monotony a little, and get me out of this rut.
The one thing that is different than normal, is the play. We perform next week, and I have one final costume to finish by Sunday. Our production has been written about and will be in today’s paper, complete with interviews from the other lead actor and myself, as well as a whole bunch of photos where we look just a little bit ridiculous, but in a good way. I’m not nervous, but give it a week and I’ll be shaking in my burgundy heels. Not least because my costume is pink! I mean, I know I said I need to wear less black, but pink is not what I had in mind!
Anyway, the sun is shining out there in the real world, so I guess I better get out and enjoy the day. Have a good weekend, guys!
We are once again at the last day of the year. As with all years preceding it, this day is a time for reflection and, for those that participate, resolutions. For me, 2017 was…complicated.
R E F L E C T I O N
I’m a very ‘glass half empty’ kind of person. I don’t mean to be, but it’s an inherent part of my nature and I can’t help it. So, when December 31st rolls around and I think about the year, my thoughts automatically default to the negative things that happened this year. And in 2017, believe me, there were plenty. I spent some of the most miserable months of my life living in the city, working 17 day stretches and 10 hour days, only to go ‘home’ to a living situation that was equally unsatisfactory. I slumped into a depression that affected not just me, but my relationships with those around me. And amidst all of that, I came very close to doing something I always swore to myself I wouldn’t. In June, to keep both my sanity and my health, I quit my job and moved back home.
2017 brought with it many challenges and setbacks, I won’t deny. Too many, (and a lot of them too personal) to delve into on a public platform. In recent days, I have been fighting with a feeling of loneliness that I can’t shake, whilst simultaneously longing to be living on my own and away from people. See what I mean about complicated? But despite all the negative, there were some good times too. The highlight of the year was the week I spent in Tasmania. The beautiful country, the amazing places I visited, the wonderful friends I have there, and the innate feeling that I was home, made it one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I think longingly of the day I get to go back.
In terms of sewing, I didn’t quite manage my ‘one make a month’ project. Instead, I made 11 projects, ranging from pyjama pants to a wedding dress. I think I did well, all things considered. I took on some challenges and surprised myself with how much I managed to achieve. I’ve come a long way from the early days of apron making, years ago when my sewing journey began.
All in all, I can’t say that 2017 was especially good. It had its moments, absolutely. I saw some great bands, made some new friends (and fell out with some old ones). I expanded my skills, took on new and frightening things, and went out of my comfort zone in a lot of aspects. But, nevertheless, I’m not sorry to see 2017 go.
R E S O L U T I O N S
As for resolutions, I don’t make them. What I am making, however, are plans. First, I am taking a tactical approach to sewing next year. This year I just winged it, and stitched anything that took my fancy. Next year, I am going to set myself nine projects that are different to anything I’ve made before, and I am finally going to take on the knit fabric beast. I have avoided it in the past because I’m scared of it, to be honest. Woven is so much easier. However, I know that Tilly Walnes, of Tilly and the Buttons, is bringing out a book on sewing with stretch fabric and so I am going to buy it when it comes out, and tackle the beast head on. Tilly really helped me when I first started sewing, with simple instructions and cute patterns, so I’m excited to see how I can continue to expand my skills with her second book.
Next on my list of plans is to do some research and find out where I plan to live next. As I explained to my best friend, the city didn’t work out for me so I think my next move will be coastal. But, learning from my mistakes, I will look around, visit and explore any potential homes before I barrel in head on and end up back in the City Situation. What will help, is that I plan once again to be living on my own, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am at that prospect.
The rest of my plans are sketchy at best. I refuse to say I’ll write a certain amount, or read so many books, or lose any weight or any other thing that I know I won’t stick to. I have a tendency to take on too much too soon, and get overwhelmed and end up doing none. The only other thing I want to do is take my director up on the plan we made to have her teach me the violin. Once the play is over, and we have more time, I am going to ask her to help me learn the instrument. Because honestly, it’s about time I made the effort, since my string collection remains sadly unplayed and unlearned. My final plan for 2018 is to take things slow. To try not to take on too much, and to remember to breathe. That’s not too much to ask from myself, I feel.
To you, dear readers, I simply wish to say thank you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for sticking with me on this blogging journey. A particular thank you to two that, in the words of Anne Shirley, I feel are my kindred spirits. To Quinn, for not only your wonderful writing, but also for your lovely comments when I needed words of encouragement. And to Arbie, who has been with me since the early days, thank you for your creative mind, the adorable photos of your ferrets, and your kind words, always. I look forward to reading both of your blogs in the coming year!
Well, that’s it. Happy New Year to you all. I leave you with this comic from Sarah Andersen, which I feel sufficiently sums up my feelings about the coming year.
*spoiler; if you love Christmas, and a Grinch is likely to ruin your festive mood, read no further. I don’t want to be responsible for bringing any gloom to your day.*
Christmas is over, and I’m not sad to see it go. With each passing year, it gets less and less appealing. Far more of an obligation than an excitement, and a day I would much rather spend hiding from the people and the sun (I’m Australian, there’s no such thing as a white Christmas for us), than going off and visiting twenty groups of people in a day.
Christmas lost any meaning for me years ago. It’s almost lonely actually. This year, I literally spent almost the entire day sitting on my bed and reading Harry Potter. So, whilst everyone else was celebrating Christmas, I was simply having a Monday off. I’m hoping that by the time I get back to work tomorrow, they will have ceased the awful carols over the speakers, and that chocolate will be half price at the supermarket. The best part of Christmas is when it’s over.
This time of year does have a tendency to make me get reflective, however. Not nostalgic (it’s not really my thing), but seeing everyone else with their big Christmas gatherings and exchanging of gifts and seasons greetings will always inevitably make me think of a younger Amy, and the wonder that she used to have as a child.
To be honest, these days I can’t recall what age, or at what point, I started to hate Christmas. I certainly remember being a child and being too excited to sleep because Santa was coming. But somewhere in my (early) teenage years, it turned into something else. I’m still a kid in a lot of ways, but I think in certain aspects, I grew up incredibly quickly, and whatever magic there used to be in Christmas dissipated years ago.
I know, it’s not the Christmas tale you expect (or want) to hear. But if you look, you will see that there are more people that dislike Christmas than you might think. Perhaps there are those not as vocal about their hatred as me, but for some of us, there is nothing joyous about December 25th. And that’s ok, and we’re ok, and if you love Christmas then I’m glad for you, and I do hope it’s full of the love and joy and laughter that most people enjoy.
It’s early. I’m hungry. For a fleeting moment, I considered going for a walk. That was half an hour ago, and instead all I did was look up “fitness tips” on Pinterest. Definitely not conducive to actual fitness, and going for a walk would have inevitably been the better option. I’ve slacked off. I tried to go to the gym three times last week, but my friend hasn’t been well, and I’m still too anxious to walk in there on my own, so I only went one and a half times. And I’m fairly certain I’ve eaten my body weight in chocolate related items this week, which kind of renders the gym redundant. Plus, my weight is slowly creeping up and I feel very conspicuous and large, even though I’m really not fat, just all over more chubby. People have commented on it and each time, I feel a flush creep into my cheeks, as if I should be ashamed of myself or something.
It’s not just my fitness plans that have fallen by the wayside. My writing has stopped…again. Though I did start a new book (Joe Hill’s TheFireman) and a new series (Mindhunter, much to my best friend’s delight). My sewing has all but ceased, and I actually closed down the Elegant Fox Facebook page, because I have neither the time nor the motivation to be sewing for other people anymore, and I simply don’t get a chance to post my makes often enough. I felt the added pressure of expectation just became too much, and I feel infinitely better for cancelling it. Instead, I am working on costumes for the play, and after a fitting (and once I get the fabric), can start on the first. Oh, didn’t I tell you guys? Yes, I’m in a play!
I was originally asked to do the costume work for the play, and shortly thereafter was offered a role and figured, why not? I love new things, even when they terrify me! So that’s how I ended up playing a character in a one act play written by my friend, set to be performed in January. Should be cool, new experiences and all that.
And then, I have decided that in the early months of next year, I will be taking some time off work to visit some coastal towns. I kind of have this notion that my next big move will be to the beach. Since the city didn’t work out so well for me, I figured the next step is to go coastal. Only, unlike with the move to the city, I’m going to do my research and find a good fit before I make a move.
Anyway, I have just remembered I have a mango, so I’m going to go eat that for breakfast (I’m still hungry) and then try and enjoy the last day of the weekend before I have to return to my mind numbingly dull day job. Maybe I’ll quit and become a yoga teacher (says the girl who has never even done so much as a yoga class her entire life…hey, maybe I should take it up!).
If I don’t see you, have a good Christmas y’all. I mean, I hate this time of year, but there’s always the food, the drink, the company of great people, and the food. Did I mention the food? Enjoy it all, and happy holidays!
Take a breath. Do you feel that? The way your lungs inflate with the oxygen that fills them upon inhale? Hold it for a moment. Now, let it out. Feel your body change as the air is released.
Do you know what that is? That breath, and all others you take, is life. You are alive. And sometimes, that’s enough. You don’t need to be rich or famous or the smartest person in the room. You just need to be, and to keep being, and that is ok. I know it’s hard sometimes, and I know it hurts sometimes. I know you don’t want to move from bed, or that the weight of everything feels like is crushing you. I know you might feel weak, or powerless, or a failure. Sometimes you mind makes you feel those things, and it’s ok to struggle and to feel the way you do. So long as you don’t give up. Because the world needs you, even if you don’t feel like it does.
You know the saying, you sound like a broken record? Well, I’m kind of like that, except my record isn’t broken. It’s just really short, and the player is damaged so it just keeps playing that short album on repeat. You may be familiar with some of my greatest hits, such as “I hate my job” and “I feel so unfulfilled” and, my personal favourite, “what am I supposed to do with my life?”.
I feel as though I’m never fully satisfied, wherever I am, and whatever I’m doing; it’s never enough. When I lived in the city, all I wanted to do was quit my job and move back home. When I got my job back here, I was thrilled. It felt like a step up from my last stressful position, and I not only got regular breaks, but an actual weekend. Now, almost six months into that job, I dread going in. It is mind numbing and soul crushing. The work is monotonous, and about as far from stimulating as a job could possibly be. As I said to my best friend yesterday, I feel like I lose all my colour and vibrancy the minute I step in the door.
I am considering quitting, but the thing that is holding me back at the moment is that one thought I can’t shake; what’s the point? So I quit this job and find another that seems like a better one for a few months, until I get to that same stage of boredom and discontent, and start looking again. It is an endless circle, chasing fulfilment and satisfaction, or at the very least, a job that doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the face. But decent jobs are scarce, especially without a qualification, and more to the point, I have no idea what I want to do.
I turned 25 this month, and I feel like I’m no better off now than when I was 20, except when I was 20 I was working in a job I actually loved, and I hadn’t yet become so jaded. I know, I know. 25 is still young, and I have opportunity and all that. But the thing that terrifies me more than anything, is the notion that this will be my life. Going from job to job, living in rented houses and scrounging money fortnight to fortnight just to get by, until I eventually die. I mean, what kind of life is that? So I have decided that something needs to change.
I need to start being an adult about this, and work out a bit of a plan. I need to decide if I want to stay in this rut, and get progressively more bitter and angry about my life, or if I want to go, and make the life I want for myself. I need to start thinking seriously about whether my writing is good enough to take me the places I want to go, or whether I need to start working on a backup plan. And more than anything, I need to start finding joy in things again. Because at the rate I’m going, all this pent up rage and bitterness I have is going to end up killing me. I’ve had a bad year. I’ve changed, and not in a good way, and I’m not sure I like who I’m turning into. I need to get back to that idealistic 20 year old Amy, have a chat with her and get some perspective.
I know how I want my life to be. I just have to figure out a way to achieve it.
Anyway, that’s my current existential crisis. I hope you’re all well, and that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, it’s something you love.
The world had a different feel at 6 in the morning. If you leave your house at 9, or even 8am, a larger portion of people are awake. Cars speed past with ever increasing frequency, the sun rises higher and, at this stage in the year, brings with it the cloying heat that makes you feel in equal measures heavy and gross. But things are different at 6am.
Today is my last day of 8am starts at work for a while, after two weeks of it. I started back at the gym last week, having not been for months. So, in order to fit in the gym before work, I’ve been getting up early, well before six. And I think I could get used to it. There’s something about getting up early that makes me feel motivated, like I’m starting the day off positively. Of course, my body clock hasn’t quite worked itself out yet, and so I fall asleep earlier but then wake up at four so…I guess I gotta work on that. But, nevertheless, getting in some regular exercise and starting my day with something proactive is certainly the best thing I’ve been able to do for my physical and mental well-being. And makes me feel infinitely better about sitting my chubby butt on an office chair for the better part of the day!
When I don’t go to the gym, I go for a walk. As a self professed hater of people, this is actually preferable. I can put in my headphones, and listen to tunes that I actually like, instead of the crap that they blast over the gym speakers. I don’t have to worry about looking or feeling awkward, because there’s generally no one else around, and it helps to get into a routine.