Letting Go

I let you go, not because I wanted to, not because it was easy, but because it was the only way I could survive.

I shattered the illusion of happiness in that single message, and brought into sharp relief that which had been weighing heavy on my heart for the longest time.

I told myself I could live with it if everything stayed the same, but I knew in my heart I was lying to myself. I couldn’t do it. I knew only that my happiness would be temporary, until such time as I became overwhelmed with sadness again.

I let you go, not because I no longer love you, not because I have found someone else, but because it was the only way I could try to move forward.

I broke the foundation of this thing we have created together, and left us both to pick up the pieces and try to forge this new reality from the shards of the old one.

I have hated myself, and the decision I made, from the very second I made it. I wish things were different. I wish things were simple. I am sorry that I have hurt you, that I have ruined things so spectacularly. I have to live with it, and that is my punishment.

I let you go, and I wish, desperately, that I didn’t have to. But I know that the one thing I want more than anything, is the one thing I can never have.

Just Call Me Amy Valentine

I got a notification today. Apparently I have been blogging with WordPress for seven years. That definitely takes the medal for the longest relationship I’ve ever had! Not that it’s much of a competition, mind. You are reading the words of the more serially single person to have ever walked the planet! *and we laugh, because let’s not take ourselves too seriously here, OK?*

I’ve been getting a lot of hassle from people lately about the fact that I’m single. It’s like that quote from Shirley Valentine – a most excellent film from 1989 starring Pauline Collins that you should immediately go out and watch. The quote always comes to me when someone makes a big deal about the fact that I’m not dating.

Funny, isn’t it? That if you’re a woman on your own, it doesn’t half seem to upset people.

My singleness is like a beacon. Like the worst bat signal ever. It means that I have to endure countless lectures from insistent, if well meaning people, all under the guise of “we just want you to be happy”. As if what they want should be more important than how I feel. But really, it’s not about me. It’s about the fact that apparently everyone else knows more about me and what I want than I do. Because if I say I’m fine being on my own, and I’m not looking for a relationship, then it’s clearly nothing more than the sad ramblings of a lonely person who is just saying those things to hide the fact that she wants to be like everyone else. Cue the eye roll and heaving sigh of irritation.

The pushiness always comes with an explanation. It’s the “I was like you once, and then I met Bob…” which effectively means I’m in a position to lecture because one day you’ll be just like me. Or it’s the “I just think you’re running away” which means I can’t comprehend that you and I have differing opinions. Or my personal favourite, the good old “you just need to put yourself out there” which means hey, you better put yourself in uncomfortable situations with strangers and try to force a connection, because the fact that you’re not actively seeking a partner is just, like, really weird, man.

It’s always the same. Like my singleness makes the couples in the world uncomfortable. Because they’re all sooo happy and so everyone else should be too, right? And you can’t possibly be happy on your own, right? It’s infuriating. I don’t want to be set up, or even persistently nudged toward someone that another person has gotten into their head that I would be a good match with. I am 28 and far beyond the adolescent game playing and match making that was rife in my teenage years. And the annoying part is, if I do end up in a relationship with someone at any point, I’m just going to have to endure all the “I told you so” comments that will inevitably follow. There’s just no winning.

I think what it comes down to is a basic lack of understanding. Society has drilled into us that happiness lies in the partner, and the kids, and the white picket fence. But amidst all these romantic notions, the idea of being happy alone is persistently overlooked. Happiness and contentment come in many forms. And for me, that just happens to look like a single woman in her late twenties, just out here trying to live her best life.

Maybe I’ll just follow Shirley’s lead, and run away to a foreign country and enjoy romance with my own damn self. It’s bound to be less taxing than having to deal with the heavy expectations and well meaning demands of the people who keep trying to force their coupledom on me.

Paranoia or Thievery?

One of my favourite dresses has gone missing.

This might seem a trivial problem. You’re probably thinking “come on, Amy. Who cares about a dress anyway?” The issue is however, that I have a strong suspicion that my dress has not just gone missing. I firmly believe that it has been stolen.

My friend thinks I’m paranoid, but I’ve looked literally everywhere the dress could possibly have ended up, and the one thing I HAVE found is the very distinct absence of said dress. And here’s the thing. I remember hanging it out to dry on the line a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t recall pulling it in or putting it away. It was only when I went to find it to wear yesterday that I noticed it was gone. And we’ve recently had a number of thefts at home. Just a month or so ago, someone jacked up my dad’s car which was parked on the street, and stole an entire wheel. So the idea that someone walked into the backyard and casually took my dress off the line is not as far fetched as it sounds.

The thing is, I had resigned myself to the fact that it has vanished and, despite the fact that it’s only new, and the fact that it cost me about $70, I was prepared to buy a new one. But the more I think about it, the angrier I become. I purchased the dress as a kind of treat to myself, not something I often do. And it’s one of the few items of clothing I own that I don’t feel uncomfortable in. So the notion that someone has stolen it is fuel to a slow burning rage bubbling beneath the surface of my skin.

People are honestly just shit. Who steals stuff?! If it is, as I suspect, an act of thievery in the strangest and most creepy sense (I don’t like the idea of anyone coming into my space that I haven’t granted permission to), I wish I had have caught the person. Like Vincent Vega says in Pulp Fiction, it would almost be worth them doing it, just so I could catch them in the act.

If it was indeed stolen, I hope the thief gets hit in the face by karma. And if it is, in fact, just misplaced – though if it shows up now, I may still believe it was stolen, just by fairies instead of a person – then I will not only be greatly surprised, but I will concede to the fact that I’m just paranoid.

Happy Little Daydream

I’m a simple creature. I don’t want for much. Just a house with a room to sew, and a kettle to make my cups of tea, and maybe a little stream nearby so I always have the sound of running water to soothe and calm. I want a cat and a dog so that they can be friends, and so that I have something soft and gentle to love.

I want space, away from the people and the hustle and bustle of 9-5 life, because 9-5 is never just that. Your job always demands more of you than you want to give and slowly, piece by piece, you will start to fade away, embodying only monotony and unhappiness.

I want quiet, and warm breezes through open windows as I sit in a soft sunny patch of daylight and write without expectation or demand. I want books, walls of books, to read at my leisure and know that I can, at any time, find comfort in the words on a page.

I want a big bath, big enough to stretch out in so that the water covers me completely. I want music and candlelight and moonlight and the freedom to be unclothed without judgement. And I want a front porch, where I can sit and just watch when it rains.

I’ve been overwhelmed with work and a lack of time lately, and so sometimes I just lose myself in this happy little daydream of the life I would live if I could. And this little dream is about simple pleasures and contentment in experience, not material things. And I don’t know, I guess I find some kind of strange comfort in that.

What do you daydream about?

Embracing my Authentic Self

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So. If you are a follower of my blog, you will have read that I have been making some changes in my life. I’ve been vague about it, partly because y’all are probably not all that invested in the random goings on of a person you sometimes see write stuff on the internet. And also partly because it has taken me this long to just finally stop hiding behind past iterations of myself, and fully be the person I am.

I have come to the realisation, through months of coaching (more on that in a minute), self development and taking chances, that I am 28 and far too old to be playing pretend anymore, at least where my ‘self’ is concerned. It’s time I started showing up as exactly who I am. So, I would like to (re)introduce you to Amy. Not new and improved, but simply more honest and authentic.

A couple of months ago, I began coaching with a friend of mine, who is a qualified coach, with a focus on spirituality and self development for millennials. To quote her, she is “Ushering in the Spiritual Rebellion where everybody gets a seat at the table” and guys, as if that doesn’t set your soul on fire just reading it. Anyway, I have a final session to go before I reach the end of my coaching and holy shit, it’s been a wild ride from start to (almost) finish. I have experienced such a massive shift, it’s like a heavy veil has been lifted and suddenly I can see things clearly. To be clear, we’re not talking a religious experience – one thing that hasn’t changed is my complete disinterest in any kind of organised religion. No, this is a spiritual awakening, and I can practically hear the Universe saying “it’s about fucking time”.

I learned years ago that there is nothing to be gained from playing a role, to make someone else more comfortable. But it took me this long to realise that by not accepting all the parts of myself – good, bad or otherwise – that I was doing myself a disservice. See, I have been hiding the softer parts of myself for a long time, playing into a version of me that has been safe, and distant, and perhaps not 100 percent authentic. This is for many reasons. I’ve spent so long being one version of myself, that I had almost begun to believe that that’s all that I was. I have kept myself at a distance because it’s easier than being involved with all the messy spectrum of human emotion and personal connection. And yes, I guess there was a big part of me that was afraid that if I came out of the spiritual closet, that I would be judged. So for a long time, I kept myself limited to being a certain way. But now I am finally here to say that whilst those aspects of my personality are still me, I am so much more than just the parts I’ve let people see.

So, yes. I mostly hate people, and I don’t like Christmas, and I would rather stick needles in my eyeballs than have children. I listen to heavy music, I wear all black, I swear like a trooper, and I think that love is an adulated concept and I will probably live my life on my own. Which, for the record, suits me down to the ground. But these are the things that you already know about me. What you might not know – and what I am trying to fully embrace about myself, and share – is that I enjoy romantic movies, and yes, sometimes they even make me cry. I have a somewhat large obsession with glitter. I believe in magic, and I collect crystals, and I sometimes like to go outside and stand barefoot in the grass and just bask in the beauty of the moon. I love to be naked, and I also love pretty dresses – even when they’re not black. My music tastes are generally pretty obscure, but I actually like many popular and more mainstream musicians (Dua Lipa anyone?). I sometimes get incredibly lonely, and sometimes I get incredibly sad, and I’m still learning how to talk about that instead of keeping it all to myself.

I wish you could feel how I was feeling. I wish I knew how to tell you about the positive energy I have begun to carry with me, through the simple act of embracing change and accepting opportunity. I simply don’t have the words to tell you what this is, and how it has awakened in me something I hadn’t even realised was there, buzzing beneath the surface of my skin.

I am learning, I am growing, I am blooming and I am here, in my flawed, vulnerable, beautiful authenticity.

Have I Taken on Too Much?

Student Laptop Stressed - Free image on Pixabay

Y’all, I fucked up.

So, it’s been a little while since I last posted. You may have gathered from my last post that things in my life have taken a sudden, somewhat drastic upswing. I feel like I have been busier in the last two months than I have been in a really long time. This has nothing to do with the fact that things in Australia are picking up in the wake of COVID, and everything to do with the fact that I have suddenly taken on a whole lot of new things.

Perhaps it’s some kind of subconscious attempt to make up for lost time, but in the last couple of months I have started coaching with a friend of mine, I have started a new job, I have finally – after over a year of owning roller skates – started to slowly practice my skating skills (I’m still as wobbly as a baby giraffe, but I’m sure I’ll improve), I have started singing with some gals, and even started sporadically practicing the guitar again. Basically I have gone from having a pretty empty schedule, to having an almost over filled one.

And therein lies my problem. There’s a lot going on. I got distracted, I was unobservant; I made a big mistake at my new job. It’s a fixable mistake, but it’s not a small one and I feel pretty shitty about it. I have let down the client, and let down the gal I work for, and honestly when I realised what I had done, I nearly cried. Which is extremely unlike me usually, but I’m learning to embrace the softer side of me (another blog for another time) and so I am admitting openly, to a bunch of strangers on the internet, that I fucked up and I got pretty emotional about it. You’re welcome, this means we’re friends now.

The thing is, I’ve been pretty overwhelmed with everything going on in my life. I just had four ‘days off’, and I spent two and half of those working anyway, so really I had one day off, and then I was so exhausted that I just got into bed and watched the final two films in the Twilight saga in the remainder of my final day (there I go again, admitting vaguely embarrassing things out loud). With things at my main job picking up due to people getting out and about – plus the fact that it’s retail and also the weeks leading up to Christmas – I sort of feel like I haven’t had time to breathe.

I think this problem of being overwhelmed is easily rectified by being more organised. But the problem is, I am having trouble finding the time to get anything done. I blink, and three hours have passed. I sit down to do one thing, and then it’s the end of the day and I have achieved nothing. Wait. I turned 28 a week ago, is this quickening time thing a result of ageing? Am I going to wake up tomorrow and be ninety?!

*sigh* Despite everything that has been going on, I still believe that the things I am doing now and going to set me up for the future. I know that the choices I have made, and the changes I am making are going to be for the better in the long run. But right now, I’m just struggling a little.

Well, thanks for listening to me vent a bit. I’m going to go and spend the next blink (*read, three hours) trying to fix the mistake that I made. Wish me luck.

Leaps and Bounds

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You know how you can be at work, and not serve a single customer for three hours, and then suddenly get a rush of twenty people all at once, in the space of about fifteen minutes? That’s how I feel about 2020. With all the strangeness surrounding Life in the Times of Covid, this year certainly hasn’t been anything like I was expecting. To be honest, I kind of feel like I have spent most of this year just living the daily grind, dying slowly from monotony and boredom, and then all of a sudden in the last few weeks, BAM! Changes flying at me from every direction, smacking me in the face like a ten tonne truck…only without the complete obliteration that would come with actually being hit with a ten tonne truck.

So what has caused this sudden massive change? Well first of all, I got a new job. It is effectively a social media manager, working for this suuuper amazing little company based in my home town. It’s not a full time position, more of a side hustle really. But it was one of those things that just spoke to me, and when I took a chance on it, and invested in myself enough to put in the application, it paid off. It has been a whirlwind of excitement and mild terror (I may or may not be prone to occasional bouts of senseless panic, don’t judge me) but I feel, definitively, that it was the right move. I am so pumped up about the future of this new venture that I can’t actually put it into words! But if I could, all the words would be positive ones!

The second of these massive changes is that I have started coaching with a very good friend of mine and hoooly shit, what a ride that has been already. To give you a bit of an insight, this friend has recently completed a life coaching course, which has enabled her to move forward in her own niche coaching market, and start taking on clients. Which is amazing for her and I am so stoked that I get to be a part of her journey, whilst she helps me begin mine. To quote her, because she will categorise it far more accurately and succinctly than me, she is a spirituality and self discovery guide. I mean listen to that, aren’t you inspired already?!

What this means for me, is that in the two sessions I have had with her already, I have made some personal goals and taken actions to move towards achieving them. I have begun to feel a change in my person, not like I have become someone else, but rather that I have opened the door to the aspects of my personality that I have been too scared or conditioned to show up until now. These changes are not necessarily physical ones. You could say that I am opening my arms to embrace my own spirituality, and that in doing so, I am setting my very soul alight. It has been a powerful experience already, and I have noticed the effects in ways I never would have expected.

Finally, I have started singing with people again. It kind of happened out of the blue one day, when I was asked to have a jam with a couple of my friends. It’s been so long since I actually sang for anyone other than my shower head, so I threw myself into the opportunity wholeheartedly. We’ve been working on a couple of songs and it has given me all the warm fuzzies, because I am SO proud of what we’ve achieved so far. Seriously, the last jam we had I was so effing jazzed by the whole thing, that I couldn’t stand still. I had those moves like Jagger, and let me tell you, I was Jaggering all over the place.

So, that’s me. After months of nothin’, the last 6 weeks have made me a social media managing, spirituality discovering, slick dance moving (which here means entirely graceless but enthusiastic) singer and I am fucking here for it. 2020, you may not have been what anyone expected, but as I begin to move forward in leaps and bounds, I can’t help but think maybe you’re not all bad.

Shopping Centre Wars

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There’s kind of an etiquette that comes with working in a shopping centre. For example, you always get your coffee from the same place, and make friends with the people who serve you on a daily basis. You say hello to the custodial staff if they pass you, even if they only give you a quick nod in response. And you try to maintain a polite kind of peace with the other shop owners and stall holders, because these are people you will likely have to see on a daily, if not weekly basis. I’m good at sticking to the first two of these rules, but that last one is…something else.

I have a vendetta, you see. Across the way from my kiosk is a coffee shop. And the owners are a surly older couple who seem to dislike me as much as I dislike them. We face off in silent loathing, pitted against each other like mortal enemies on a battlefield. Well, ok so maybe it’s not that dramatic. Certainly there are no swords involved…yet. What I mean is that we don’t really engage, and I make a point of walking right past them every day to get my coffee from a rival coffee shop. Even though they are the closest, I refuse to buy anything from them, and they are two of the few people that I won’t offer a casual hello to if they pass close by my shop.

This silent war kind of began some time last year. My former employer had issues with them for his own various reasons, but up until late last year I had no real issue with them, except that they seemed rather stand offish. But then came the weirdness. The guy who was one half of the Dreaded Duo started coming up to my shop to chat to me. Which is, in and of itself, nothing to write home about. It wasn’t that he was talking to me that was the problem, but rather the type of things he was saying. He was too familiar with me too quickly, which is one of my pet hates, but beyond that he would often stop by and make strange or inappropriate comments, which largely made me feel uncomfortable. But I’ve dealt with creepy older men many times before, and I knew how to handle him. Eventually he must have picked up on my – admittedly not very well hidden – loathing, and he stopped coming to talk to me altogether. Success! The wife though…well, she’s a whole other kettle of really horrible fish.

I had never had much to do with her really, but last year I began training a new person for my store. We are a shop that makes a bit of noise, not constantly, but you can’t do what I do without making a little bit of racket from time to time. Last year, whilst training my new girl on her engraving, the other half of the Dreaded Duo, who I shall now evermore refer to as the Wretched Wife, came over to complain. She insisted that the engraving was simultaneously driving away her customers and making them complain (if they weren’t coming in, I wonder how they could complain?). I politely informed her that I couldn’t stop the training, as it was necessary for her job development. Besides this, my girl had been engraving for barely five minutes at this point. The Wretched Wife left and shortly later I was approached by one of the men from centre management. She had gone to complain to them, and he came by to demand that I cease the engraving, effectively halting the necessary training that was required.

If you know anything about me at all, you’ll know that this just made me even more irritated. I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I wasn’t going to stop doing my job just because some grumpy old woman thought she had a right to make demands of me. And thus began The War. Yesterday though, after months of not speaking and ignoring each other, I was really craving a muffin. I thought, hell, I’ll be the bigger person and bury the hatchet. I went over, was served by one of the staff who was actually really personable. Later, when I happened to run into the Wretched Wife at the bins later in the afternoon, she said a begrudging hello and I replied, and then said “I had one of your muffins earlier, it was really good!” Her response was to completely ignore me, and I remembered in that moment why I had never bothered to try and be nice to her previously. Some people are just born surly, and stay that way I guess. And so, hatchet or no hatchet, The War has resumed. To hell with her, and her muffins.

Customer Service in the Times of COVID

I work in customer service. Ever since I was fifteen, I have been standing behind one counter or another, serving the general public, and dealing with all the awfulness that comes with it. I do not love my current job, and I certainly have no passion for it. My crowning achievement is that I have so far managed to make it through a 13 year retail career – or perhaps retail sentence is more applicable? – without punching a customer in the face. Which I rather think deserves some kind of award, honestly.

Here’s the thing. Customer service is never an especially thrilling or positive experience. Most of it is boredom, dealing with rude people, and trying hard not to let all the expletives you’re thinking come flying out of your mouth when confronted with jerks. Sure, we get nice customers sometimes, and in my current job (I’m a cobbler, of sorts), I take pride in the work I am doing. But, after five years in the same job, it’s well and truly time for me to move on and find some other hell to suffer in.

What is the tipping point, you may be wondering? Well, lately things seem to have gotten increasingly worse, and I am 100% blaming COVID-19. I live in Australia, and currently live in the only state where face masks are mandatory when leaving the house. Which means, for 8 hours a day, five days a week, I have to not only stand behind a counter dealing with all manner of rude people, but I also have to do it whilst wearing a face covering that limits my breathing, fogs my glasses, and generally just itches and irritates. The state of disaster declared in my home state means that people are confined to their homes, unable to go to school or work in a lot of cases, unable to leave their homes without a mask. It’s not a fun time for anyone right now. And I would be willing to bet money that this myriad of restrictions in place across the country is, in part, responsible for the attitudes of the people I have been serving lately.

I have had, in recent weeks, more horrible customer interactions than I have had in a long time. Almost as if every customer I have served has gotten together and said “hey, let’s go and be as horrible to the girl behind the counter as we possibly can, and see how long it takes to break her.” I don’t know if it is because I am serving less people as a result of the restrictions, and so I am more aware of the bad ones, or whether people are simply taking their own frustrations about the restrictions out on whoever happens to be in front of them. But regardless of the reason, my job has become increasingly unbearable of late, to the point where I have almost quit on the spot more than once. Usually I can brush it off, and then vent to my friends about it afterwards, but in this last week alone I have encountered some truly heinous individuals that have stuck

To those of you who work in customer service, I’m sure you can relate. To those of you who don’t, I beg of you; be nice to your customer service people. We work hard, and we put up with a lot of shit from people, often without the benefit of being able to bite back or defend ourselves. And I understand your frustrations about…well, everything in this strange time I suppose, but none of the things that you are frustrated about have anything to do with me. I am polite to everyone who approaches my counter (at least up until I can’t be anymore) and I would love it if people would offer me the same courtesy. I think a lot of people forget, particularly now that we have become anonymous and featureless behind our masks, that those of us behind the counter are still people. We are not lesser citizens, and we do not deserve the abuse or the sometimes violent attitudes of people who can’t handle their emotions.

Basically what I’m saying is that COVID sucks, customer service people deserve more respect, and, as always, don’t be a dick!

Why I Don’t Identify Myself By My Sexual Orientation

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I had a discussion with a friend recently about my sexual orientation. For the most part, I try to avoid discussing it. This is for a few reasons; firstly, I don’t think it really matters. Who I am attracted to isn’t anyone else’s concern, and it really makes no difference to the person I am. Secondly, I find it hard to categorise without then being subjected to questions, and in some cases, the obvious disbelief.

At the heart of it, I am predominantly attracted to women. I’m just not ruling out the possibility that I might one day meet a man who ticks all my boxes (so to speak). I like men, some of my closest friends are men, and I can certainly appreciate a good looking man. It’s just that I’ve yet to meet one that I would like to get to know on a more…unclothed level. I generally describe myself as being “mostly gay”.

The other reason I tend to avoid discussing my sexual orientation, is because I am a predominantly singular individual. In that I’ve never really had much luck on the dating front, and I rather enjoy the pleasure of my own company. And I do mean that in every possible sense of the word! (*wink*) Being on my own suits me just fine, despite the insistence of many of my friends that I “just need to find the right person”. But again, I’m not ruling out the possibility that I might just meet someone with whom I can sustain a relationship for longer than three months – which is, to date, my longest romantic relationship.

Sometimes I think romance is overrated. Which is not to say that it doesn’t serve a purpose! Just that perhaps people put too much emphasis on the idea that the only true happiness lies in being with someone else. In my life, and in the last few years especially, I have cultivated and nurtured many platonic relationships that I get as much out of, if not more, than any romantic relationship I have ever had – barring the one relationship with a former partner who remains to this day, one of my closest and dearest friends.

I just think that, in the scheme of things, who we are attracted to is such a small part of who we are. For some people, their sexual orientation is such a big part of their identity, and that’s absolutely fine! But for me personally, who I would like to go to bed with is just one small aspect of who I am, and falls far behind other things in terms of my identity. When asked to describe myself, I never actually say “Hi, I’m Amy and I like women”. More often than not I will discuss my creativity, my distrust of garden gnomes, my misanthropy, my love of 80’s music…anything else that I feel paints a better picture of the person I am.