On Fear, and (Lessons From) Dimmu Borgir

Image result for dimmu borgir

Everyone is scared of something. Clowns, spiders, penguins….it takes all kinds, as they say. I have to confess that I am not particularly fond of moths, with their propensity for flying at my face at full speed, and their general creepy demeanour. But the thing that really, truly scares me is mediocrity. The idea that I will spend my life never getting to experience anything beyond mundane, everyday average-ness terrifies the absolute hell out of me.

I know you have all heard this story before. Twenty something working in a boring job just to pay the bills, seemingly the only single person in a world filled with couples, struggling to save for nice things whilst elsewhere, people are buying houses and travelling the world and living their best lives. They’ve literally made movies about my exact predicament, and mostly those movies are shit. Though, in the Hollywood way, most of the protagonists in those stories have some kind of life changing experience and they all live happily ever after, blah blah blah.

Look, it’s entirely possible that I’m being a little dramatic, and largely unrealistic. Am I, perhaps, putting too much faith in the idea that I am ‘on the right path’? Am I overlooking the fact that life itself is messy and unpredictable? Am I spending too much time simply wondering when my life is going to start, instead of realising that it already has, and that I am entirely responsible for my own happiness? The answers to all of these questions is a resounding yes. See, I have this infallible tendency to overthink, and then overreach, whilst simultaneously doubting myself. The result has never been anything less than a spectacular failure, which in turn leads to a rut that I find harder to climb out of each time.

There are so many things that I want to do, to see, to learn. My brain is like a sponge, wanting to soak up as much as I possibly can. I want to curate a life of experiences so that when I die, I can say that the time I had was well spent. Is it morbid to be thinking about my death at the ripe old age of 26? Probably. The thing is, I often find it hard to remember that there is plenty of time and opportunity ahead of me. I need to stop beating myself up about the fact that I am here, when I want to be over there. More importantly, I have to learn to be kinder to myself, which is not an easy thing when the only pet you’ve ever had is the proverbial black dog.

The thing that scares me above all else, is the notion of existing without actually living. It is a kind of underlying, insidious fear that permeates every little aspect of my life. But, in the same way I overcame my fear of spiders a few years ago, I know I can overcome this too. I just need to take things one day at a time, go slowly, and remember what Dimmu Borgir taught me;

“The keys are in your hands. Realise you are your own sole creator of your own master plan.”

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Alone at a Wedding

It’s official. My life has finally become a bad comedy for real.

Yesterday my friend got married. I was invited to the wedding sans a plus one, because I don’t have a significant other. But I knew that another couple from our old work place were invited, and I always got on with them very well, so I knew I would have someone to sit with, and talk to.

So when yesterday arrived, I got myself dolled up and drove an hour to the venue. I got there and gave my friend a hug (I’m not usually a hugger, but I made an exception because it was his wedding, duh). Then he said the words that made my heart sink. Our other work friends weren’t coming. I didn’t know a single other person besides the bride and groom. I was very much alone, in a room full of strangers. Aaaaand cue my social anxiety.

The ceremony was fine; short and sweet. The bride looked lovely in a simple, yet elegant dress of tulle and lace. The venue itself was a school camp, and despite my initial thoughts upon hearing that, it was actually quite a lovely spot. During all that talking, it was ok to sit there quietly, alone. Afterwards, whilst the bridal party did all the official stuff, another guest came to sit with me and we started chatting. As it turns out, her cousin actually runs the networking event that I attended a few months ago, and we had a laugh about a few remembered moments from the night in question. She was quite a character, and I enjoyed talking with her. But when it came time to go inside for dinner, she and her husband were seated far away from me, and I was put on a table with a bunch of middle aged strangers.

The meals were brought out – a serve yourself kind of deal, with roast meat and vegetables – but my stomach was churning and I was unable to eat. Which of course only served to draw unwanted attention, as people questioned why I wasn’t eating, and then cast sideways glances at me while they all conversed. I could read the looks on their faces, and practically hear them thinking how strange and rude I was. I attempted conversation with a few guests at my table, but none were particularly interested and I fell into sitting in silence.

My friend did come to chat to me a few times, but it was his wedding and he had many other people to talk to, so I didn’t want to monopolize his time. A couple of the groomsmen also came to chat a little, but for the most part I sat there very much alone, one of the few single people in a room of couples, and groups of friends. Am I glad I went, to celebrate the wedding for my friend? Yes. Did my solo presence stick out like the proverbial sore thumb? Absolutely. Was I acutely uncomfortable and anxious? You bet your ass I was.

Weddings are not traditionally events that one attends alone. They are a celebration of the very nature of being in a relationship. And there I was, sitting like the loser in every bad comedy you’ve ever watched. The only difference is that my actual life doesn’t come with that story arc and happy ending!

Honestly, it was a lovely wedding and I’m so very happy for my friend and his new bride. But I don’t think I’d be in a hurry to repeat the experience.

Weeds and Woes

Ugh.

I’m awake. Which would be fine at a reasonable hour, but it’s 2:45am, and I’ve already been awake a while at this point. Why am I awake, you ask? Well, for two reasons; gardening, and finances.

Moving house is a time consuming and expensive process. It is even more expensive when you’re breaking a lease. As some of you may know, I moved six months ago to a new town for a job. Things were looking up; I had money saved, I made new friends, I was finally out on my own again. Then it all pretty much went south. I no longer have that job, but for a while I was managing fine. Until five months passed, and still no one would employ me full time. Which brings me to November.

Finally, I had to concede. I emailed the real estate to inform them that I regrettably have to break my lease. I said it was due to a ‘change in circumstances’, which is a polite way of saying I am broke. I’ve hired a storage shed for my stuff (cost) and started to move it over. The constant back and forth travel between the two towns requires having to refuel my car weekly (cost). I had to pay an advertising fee (cost), and will have to pay an additional cost of one week’s rent, plus what the real estate called a pro rata fee (whatever that is) that can only be calculated once the new tenant moves in. Then there’s going to be the truck hire to move, and fuelling it up on return (cost, cost). So with all of this piling up, plus my usual expenses (car repayment, bills, food etc), you can understand why I’m awake at an ungodly hour.

And then comes the second part of the equation; gardening. I’m not an outdoorsy person. I don’t have a passion for gardening, and in the three houses I’ve rented away from home, I’ve pretty much never set foot in any of the respective backyards. But this time that’s coming back to bite me. As normal when you leave a rental property, you are required to leave it in much the same state as when you moved in. This includes the gardens. When I moved into this house, I mowed lawns for the first time in my life. That part, not so much the problem. But the garden beds (or weed beds, is perhaps more accurate) are a whole different beast altogether.

Annoyingly, my temporary town has the right combo of sunshine and rain. The result, of course, is a wild, knee high jungle of various grasses, and weeds, and little stabby plants that leave barbs stuck in my fingers, despite wearing gloves. Every week since giving my notice, I’ve been pulling up weeds and trying to make the place more presentable, but that shit is hard. Especially when I’m going up against Mother Nature herself! I’ve made progress over the last week, and whilst it certainly looks better than it did, the yards still look untidy. My mum is coming to stay next weekend so she can help, but I’m still stressed about it, partly because people are starting to inspect the property next week and the pressure is on.

Above image is the property of Leigh Rubin

I’m sure this all sounds very boring to you and frankly, it does to me too. But since I’m awake and all, I figured I’d vent it out anyway. *sigh*. Financial woes, and weeds. This is what my life has come to. And I gotta say, if this is what being an adult is all about, I quit!

Shift

I feel strange. I’m not sure if it’s the change in the weather, or my pending move, or something that will simply reveal itself in time. But I woke this morning with a curious feeling that I cannot quite put a name to. I feel as if something is coming; a shift of some kind. As yet, I’m not sure whether this is a good thing, or bad. I’ll just have to wait and see how everything progresses.

Frankly, there is something about this time of year that makes me reflective. And I don’t just mean because the year is waning, and drawing ever closer to it’s end. Time seems to be slipping away from me faster than ever before, and the list of things I want to do grows ever bigger and seemingly more unattainable. I can’t help but feel like I’ve wasted the opportunities this year has given me, and yet on the other hand it feels as though the Universe is conspiring to drive me constantly back to the same places, both literally and figuratively. If there’s a reason for this, I’ve yet to discover what it is, but I no longer have the energy to fight it. Perhaps this has been my problem all along. Fighting against the tide only works for so long, before you must resign yourself to the fact that perhaps it is better to just let the current take you wherever it intends you to go.

I have to believe that whatever this change is that I can sense coming, is going to be for a good reason, even if that reason is not immediately apparent to me. I have to remember that there are some things I have no control over, and try to just go with the flow, whatever comes.

I can only hope that this shift brings with it something positive. I’ve had quite enough negative for this year, thank you very much.

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my 26th birthday. I had breakfast with a friend, and I was going to go see a movie before I realised I was out of cash. So I went home, where I put on some washing and began to box up my books pending my move back home. Yes, after only six months, I’m moving again. Shaddup.

Birthdays aren’t a big deal for me anymore, but this year I decided that I’m going to have a small birthday bash with a few close friends in my backyard. Because sometimes you just gotta get drunk with your pals and forget that you’re nowhere near where you want to be.

I’m trying not to beat myself up about the fact that I’ve been on this earth 26 years and I’m in the worst position financially and mentally that I’ve ever been. And today was a good day, so it’s easy to be in a good mood, fortunately. I’m trying to remember that it’s ok to not have my whole life figured out yet, and that no matter how old I feel, 26 is still pretty young.

I’m not big on presents and if you ask, I’ll tell you I don’t want anything for my birthday. But if the Universe is into gift giving, all I would ask for for my birthday, is to get the funeral director job I applied for. I’m sure not every person wants a full time job for their birthday, but I sure would. Cross your fingers for me, guys.

People Are the F*cking Worst

You know, I really fucking hate people.

I was raised to be a decent human being. I offer petrol money if I get a lift somewhere. I help out my friends if and when they need it. I accept responsibility for the things I do wrong, admit my fault, and graciously accept the repercussions. But apparently not everyone has the same conscience that I do. And it’s those people; those inconsiderate, conscience-less individuals, that really make me angry.

I work at a shopping centre. There is no staff car park, and the parking bays themselves are not particularly wide. Nevertheless, I am constantly in disgusted awe of the people who simply cannot park properly. I’ve seen all manner of terrible parking, from crooked angles, to parking completely the wrong way across three bays. Trust me, I’ve seen it all. Today, I left work and went to my car, passing several bad parks on the walk. I got to my car, and there it was. A series of long, deep gauges across the front and back doors of the left side of my car.

My photography skills are shit, much like the person who did the damage

Some idiot, probably in a 4WD or large SVU judging by the height of the scratch marks, has tried to pull into the park beside mine, obviously misjudged the distance, and hit me. But then, instead of backing out and realigning the car, they’ve just kept going, scraping their car along the side of mine and leaving both doors noticeably scarred. This in itself is bad enough, but the bad driver clearly didn’t think anything of damaging my car, and then driving away. No note. No apology. No accepting of responsibility.

My car is not quite three years old. I managed to avoid any serious damage for two and a half years. But this damage today is the second time in as many months that someone else has hit my car, in a car park. The first woman didn’t put her handbrake on, and buckled my rear bumper when her car hit mine from behind. I got it fixed through my insurance, the first time I had ever made any kind of claim for anything. But she at least had the common decency to give me her details (even though she was driving unregistered and her plates belonged to a completely different vehicle). But this person today really grinds my gears, for the sheer fact that they didn’t give me the basic common courtesy of accepting their mistake.

Broken bumper.

It’s been hours and I’m still seething. Yes, the damage can be repaired, but it’s going to be at my own cost. And, since the fault isn’t mine, that really smarts.

Seriously. People fucking suck.

The Mystery of Online Dating

I’ve talked about this before, but I don’t date. Eternally confused as to how people meet people, I tend to give anything involving (potential) romance a rather wide berth. Two parts awkwardness, one part self sabotage, and a heavy dollop of social anxiety. But I spent this weekend sewing for a small start up business, and the owner mentioned in casual conversation how she and her boyfriend of nearly two years, met on Tinder. Shortly after that conversation, I got a text from my brother’s girlfriend, who he met on Tinder. And so I got to thinking; since finding love on the internet is just considered the norm these days, how does the whole thing work?

Without the physical person there, you essentially have to trust that the profile you’re looking at is a) legit and b) honest. I mean, let’s be real; that pretty blonde girl you’ve been chatting up could very well be a 70 year old dude. But that aside, the popularity of internet dating sites comes with a few questions. What is it about dating online that has such an appeal? Is it because trying to meet people without that common platform is hard? Is it because it’s convenient? Or is it because, in this modern age of technology, it’s the only way we know how?

When you meet someone in real life, you can have a conversation – or no conversation – and it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly, whether you and that person have what the movies call a ‘spark’. But again, without that personal interaction and physical response, you have to trust the profile. So what kind of information do people look for in a dating site profile? Do you put your interests and hobbies down, or is that, like, so ten years ago? Do you put down no information at all, and hope that your photos are enough to pique interest? If some of the profiles I’ve seen* are anything to go by, it would appear that the more obscene your bio, the more likely you are to have people ‘swipe right’ (and yes, I did just have to Google that to make sure I got the direction correct).

I suppose it comes down to what you’re looking for. If you just want kinky sex, the profile declaring “FIST ME” in bold letters might be more your thing than the profile that reads “I love kitties and Jesus and I just wanna cuddle”. I mean, I’m not saying that being sexually experimental and loving Jesus are mutually exclusive, but what you attract all depends on what you put out there.

In a way, internet dating reminds me of advertising. Dating sites are asking people to literally take you at face value, and with so many gazillions of products profiles out there, you have to have something that sets you apart from the rest. Whether you’re looking for love, or just someone to knock boots with, you have to make yourself seem appealing to potential bang buddies/your one true love. Because you’re not just competing with the other singles in this one shitty club; you’re competing with all the available people on an infinitely huge website.

I think the dating world, either online or in real life, will forever remain a mystery to me. I mean, my ideal date is a horror movie, munchies and a warm blanket on the couch. Entirely. By. Myself.

*I obviously don’t have a dating profile, but friends of mine do. And man, I’ve seen some shit.