Simplicity

It looks as though, once again, I will be making a move within the next few months. If things turn out the way I’m hoping they will, I’ll be set to return to my home town, and wave goodbye to the town I have only recently moved to.

I moved away to be closer to a job I no longer have. That is the long and the short of it. It’s not where I expected to be at this time in the year, but it’s where I am nevertheless. Since the only friends I have in my current town are always working, I am very much by myself pretty much all the time. Which makes being in an unfamiliar town somewhat…dull. Add to this, the fact that I am desperately broke, and you have a recipe for misery.

I am also contemplating selling off much of my stuff. Furniture wise, there’s nothing I care too much to keep. Ideally, I’d like to move into a new place with a completely fresh start. Lately I’ve been aching for simplicity. To rid myself of all the complex things, material and immaterial alike, and and de-clutter my life. I feel that a large part of the reason why I seem to be floundering so much this year is because I’m holding onto heavy things. Subconsciously, my brain is feeling overcrowded and my life is much the same way.

If I do end up moving back home, I’ve made myself a promise to try and get my shit together. It’s not going to be easy, but I can start small and go from there. So long as I’m making progress, so long as I’m moving forward, even by tiny increments, then I think I’ll be ok.

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A Curated Life; Thoughts on Social Media

Instagram is probably my most used social media account. I recent got rid of Facebook again, because I find it insufferable and dull, but something about Instagram is hard to stay away from. However as I was doing my obligatory morning scroll through my feed today, I got increasingly disheartened and I’m considering taking a break from all social media altogether.

I follow quite a few different accounts. Some are for sewing, some for shopping, some for art, some for travel, and some because I just think the girls who own the accounts are pretty, and my homosexual heart is a sucker for a nice face. Many of these photos that come up that look so beautiful, are posed and edited and, in a lot of cases, fake. But it’s easy to forget that. It’s easy to look at all these carefully curated photos and think “why doesn’t my life look like that?” Comparatively, I feel like I’m a dull, grey person in a world full of shiny bright people and I can’t help but occasionally feel a bit boring. Which is, of course, no fault of the other account holders.

Let’s be honest here; many photos uploaded to social media are altered to appear better. That is the very nature of the beast, after all. And it’s easy to forget that the facade people put forward to the world only shows the happy shiny pieces of their lives that they want to share. It rarely discusses, in an open and honest way, about the other half of life. The struggles, the anxieties, the being awake at 3 in the morning and wondering if you’ll ever be good enough. Ok, so maybe not everyone feels that way, but my point stands.

We average people – that is to say, those of us who aren’t fantastic photographers, and have no idea how to edit a photo – must not appear very interesting in comparison. Where other accounts show a series of colour coordinated images and carefully posed and timed shots, my account is a cacophony of random images that I’ve shot very unprofessionally on my phone camera. Where they have an ‘aesthetic’, I have whatever I’ve taken a photo of at the time. Where they constantly dress in gorgeous clothing (often times made by companies they’re being sponsored by), I’m over here decked head to toe in K-Mart.

Sewing, books, Brooklyn 99…this is my life

I sometimes get caught up in the fantasy of social media, because it’s hard not to. All these accounts, many of which use their influence as their sole source of income, their entire purpose is to be beautiful. Because no one wants to see ‘ugly’ things on social media. But maybe if it was more realistic, more natural, then the supposed ugliness of being an everyday human being wouldn’t appear so different, or so uninteresting.

The thing is, life doesn’t have a filter. There’s no Photoshop application for the way you see the world, no cropping out the unhappy things, no turning up the saturation on a bleak outlook. Life is a mess. But at least it’s real, and I’ll take the messy real world over the bright, clean, designer world of social media any day.

Angry, Bitter Thoughts at 1am

I think I’m going insane. There’s a restless energy within me; insatiable, and infuriating in its endlessness. I want to run ten kilometers. Or beat a punching bag to death. Or fling myself out of a plane. Anything to release this toxic build up of emotion. I feel like I’m about to explode out of my skin, and I can’t make my brain stop. I just want it to stop.

I’ve been having nightmares. And during the day, I’m plagued by negative thoughts, and bad feelings I just can’t shake. All I want to do is shut my brain off, go to sleep, and wake up as someone else.

I’m suffocating.

On Being Positivity Adjacent, and Being Ok With It.

I am not what you would call an overly positive person. My brain is simply not wired that way. Part of this has to do with having a mental illness (depression, represent!), and part of it is because, on a fundamental level, it just isn’t who I am. I err on the side of pessimism, and I tend to find it a greater struggle, and much more of an effort to be positive and cheerful and optimistic about things.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this lately. A very good friend of mine has recently begun to immerse herself fully in a journey of self discovery, and she’s doing all the better because of it. I talk to her, and feel inspired to be better, to try harder, to push myself out of my comfort zone and throw myself into the deep end of human interaction and brand new experiences. And then the inner voice that lends itself to my decision making, reminds me that I don’t like people, and I feel uncomfortable in social situations, and that I am much happier just living my little hermit life. Then, for reasons beyond my understanding, I feel guilty about it. Why is it so hard for me to put myself out there? Why do I loathe the idea so much? Is there something wrong with me?

I’ve been asking myself these kinds of questions a lot in recent weeks, for a number of reasons. Firstly, there seems to be an influx of people lately, urging me to try dating sites, and to get out there and meet potential partners. And every time, I laugh it off, and tell them that I am happier on my own. Which brings a myriad of questions and doubts from the people trying to set me up. After all, it’s a truth universally acknowledged, that everyone else knows more about how you should live your life than you, the one actually living it. At least, they think they do. I’ve spent most of my life single, and the idea of dating is largely unappealing to me. But the major argument against this, is that I don’t know unless I try, and that I could be missing out on something great because I ‘cut myself off’ from any possibility of romance.

Secondly, I’ve been spending a lot more time on my own than normal, in my house, locked away. All the friends I made here are working in a job I no longer have, and I don’t know anyone else here. I’m still unfamiliar with this town, despite being here nearly five months, and my days off are mostly spent inside, or adventuring to other towns by myself. Again, the very idea of meeting new people is daunting. And, by the way, how do you even do that? I mean seriously, do people just approach others to strike up a conversation and end up with a friend?

I went to a networking event the other night, and the girl hosting it talked about finding your passion and rolling with it. Which sounds great in theory, but I don’t know that I’m passionate enough about anything to want to make it my job. All the women there seemed content to chat and plan and interact. And this is where I differ from the above mentioned friend. I think she took a lot more from the night than me, because she’s willing to be open to new experiences and to try new things. And I felt bad because I was acutely uncomfortable in this room full of strangers, and then I felt like I wasn’t trying hard enough, and that I had failed in some way. Why couldn’t I talk? Why did conversation make my throat tight, and my heart race? Why did I feel a little relieved when the headache that had plagued me all day intensified to the point where I couldn’t stay?

What I’ve come to realise, amidst all these self doubts and existential questions, is that whilst I may not be as socially outgoing as my friend, I do have an inherent curiosity, and thirst to learn more about…well, everything. I too am open to experience, and discovery, and knowledge. Just not with other people. And there is nothing wrong with that, and certainly nothing wrong with me. The fact that positivity doesn’t come naturally to me, is not necessarily a flaw. It is nothing more or less than a quirk of my nature, a part of my genetic makeup, if you will. It is me, and I’m good with the person I am.

I know what I want to do with my life. I want to adventure places, see the world, be inspired and create, in any way I can. But career wise? I got nothing. Romance? I’d prefer not to. People? Thanks, but I’ll pass. And whatever I may do, it isn’t likely to be with rose colored glasses and a positivity hat. But with pragmatism as my super power, I’ll do just fine.

Inspired

I haven’t written in probably 12 months. Somewhere in between new jobs, moving house a few times, trying to ‘maintain my sane’ and general, everyday life stuff, my inspiration to write fell by the wayside. Actually, ‘…fell screaming and tumbling down a ragged ravine to die slowly and painfully over the course of a few months’ is probably a more accurate description. Suffice to say, it’s been a while.

Recently, I’ve been strangely motivated. Where this motivation has come from, I can’t say. All I know is, over the last couple of weeks, Inspiration has returned from her year long hiatus, to slowly reintroduce herself into my life. Take, for example, my instruments. As I’ve said countless times before, I’m a collector of string instruments with no talent whatsoever for playing them. Last week, on a whim, I picked up my violin, got it in tune as best I could, found a tutor online, and started to practice. I’m not making music, mind. The sounds I’m coaxing from the strings are more akin to the wailing of a dying cat (sorry, neighbours), but I know how to hold the bow and where to place my fingers on the neck, which is a far cry from where I was. And I’m actually motivated to continue my practice.

Broken A string was subsequently replaced 😅

Then there’s my sewing. With all this free time on my hands (I’m still only working two full days a week), I’ve really been putting my time and effort into creating. I’ve made two skirts in two weeks, and soon I’m going to tackle sewing with knit fabric, which up until now, I’ve avoided.

Skirts a la Amy

And writing. As I said, it’s been a while. But lately, a couple of characters have started wandering through my head. It started with a casual, almost hesitant hello. I left them alone, allowed them time to develop and come to me. Now, those characters and I are on polite speaking terms, and over the next couple of days I plan to start moving them to a more tangible home on my tablet. The bones of a story are coming together in my mind, and I need to get it all down before the flighty Muse decides to go on another adventure and leave me inspiration-less again.

I’m feeling strangely positive about this, guys.

F*ck You, Aunt Flo

It’s 7:30pm. I just ate a bowl of pasta, and am now seriously contemplating eating an entire block of mint Kit Kat chocolate. And I’m riding the crimson wave, bitches, so nothing you can do or say is gonna make me feel shame.

I gotta tell you, I know all women hate getting their monthly subscription to pain and irritability, but I really think I drew the short straw. See, menstruation (and for those of you screwing your nose up in disgust, it’s not a dirty word) is all about baby making. By some flawed design of evolution, the female body is made to create life. Which is fine for those of you who actually want to bring a mewling infant into a world already overcrowded, but what about those of us who don’t want devil spawn?

A friend of mine once said, in a self -admitted moment of mental blankness, that she thought I was so lucky because ‘lesbians don’t get their period’. It was one of those things said without much thought, that had the entire table of our friends in uproarious laughter. I responded with something like “I wish I didn’t! I mean, it’s not like I need my uterus to make a baby, so I don’t think it’s fair I should have to suffer!” And, folks, therein lies my point.

I don’t want children. Despite how often I get told that I’ll change my mind, or that I’m too young to know what I want (I mean come on, really?) or that I ‘just haven’t met the right person yet’, I have not even the slightest hint of maternal instinct. Babies are kind of gross. It’s not their fault, of course, they’re tiny and largely helpless, and they didn’t exactly ask to be thrust into the world. But nevertheless, the desire to have one of my own simply isn’t there. So, I can’t help but feel personally victimised by my uterus every time it decides to punish me for not doing what this fine body of mine was supposedly built for.

If women had a choice, I am certain that not a single one would elect to have a period if they didn’t have to. It’s unpleasant, uncomfortable and, at least in my case, bloody unnecessary. Aching boobs, abdominal cramps, hyper emotionality, mood swings, and let’s not forget the incessant bleeding. It’s just buckets of fun.* But, as fate and unfortunate evolution would have it, those of us born into womanhood have to suffer monthly. Until we don’t bleed anymore, and then we just have menopause to look forward to. I tell you, whoever, or whatever designed the female body has a cruel sense of humor, and a lot to answer for. So, I’m turning to chocolate and wine and my couch for comfort. They might make me chubby, but at least they don’t feel like a tiny man with a chainsaw for one hand, and a jackhammer for the other, hammering and slicing into my midsection for kicks.

Image property of Sarah Anderson

*that was sarcasm. Having your period is not at all fun. It’s a great big bag of dicks. Or…vaginas, if we’re being accurate about it.

Behind Closed Doors

I almost started this post with “the problem with anxiety and depression is…” but the truth is, there isn’t just one problem. There’s about five billion. So, let’s begin again.

When an outgoing and gregarious friend unexpectedly tells you that they’ve been to see someone about anxiety and depression, it kind of knocks you for six. It’s easy, you see, to look at someone’s outward personality and assume everything is ok. It’s easier still, to not even consider the possibility that they may not be ok, because they’re not the kind of person you readily associate with the black cloud of mental illness.

Anxiety and depression can affect anyone. In fact, statistics show show that 1 in 4 Australians will experience anxiety, whilst 1 in 6 will experience depression at some point in their lives. That’s a fucking lot of people. And, unlike a physical ailment that can be fixed with a bandaid, mental illness is not so easily remedied. It’s all consuming and bleak and confronting, and there’s no easy fix.

I’m a ‘suffer in silence’ kind of person in most aspects of my life, so I can understand why it’s easier to pretend things are ok than to tell people that you’re having a difficult time. Why it’s easier to lock the bad things behind a door and pretend it doesn’t exist than talk about it, or face the hard reality of it. And that’s why it’s never a good idea to simply assume that someone is ok.

Ask. Check in. Be there to lend a shoulder, or an ear, or to just sit in silence. Because you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.