Being Happy and Single Are Not Mutually Exclusive 

When I tell people that I’ll be single forever, most of them scoff or laugh. Others just put on their best pity face and say things like “oh don’t be like that, you’ll find someone one day.” as if being single were the worst thing in the world. Weird how that’s the general consensus, huh? I’m sure we all know that person that seems content on their own (*raises hand), and yet that person is judged, even if it’s only silently, by the people in relationships, and the ones who can’t comprehend being happy without someone else. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s where you’re at and it works for you, I think that’s fantastic. You do you, buddies! It’s just not necessarily for me.

What is it that scares people so much about being alone? Is it something inherent within them that tells them they need to be with another person? I’m sure there are studies on this, where medical professionals and scientists have delved into the human psyche and biology and worked out the reason we crave companionship. But I can’t help thinking that this is, at least in part, to do with society and expectation. If you can’t get a partner, there must be something wrong with you. Because it can’t possibly be an active decision, right? I mean, to think that you have control over your own romantic situation is just absurd.

I’ve always been happy on my own. No, really. I balk at the idea of being in a long term relationship with a single person for the rest of my life, and yet similarly don’t engage in casual sex because one night stands don’t appeal to me either. I’m pretty much the worst at commitment, get sick of other people very quickly, and I’ve never been happier than when I was living on my own. 

Bar maybe one complicated exception, my ultimate plan is to move somewhere, get a dog for companionship, and spend my life travelling, creating, and learning entirely on my own. I don’t mean I’m not going to have friends, or see my family or anything like that. I simply don’t envision myself spending much, or any time at all, being with another person in the romantic sense. And guys? Seriously, I’m happy with that.


Aradale Lunatic Asylum

On Friday night, three friends and I went for a three hour night time investigation of the Aradale Lunatic Asylum. Each of us is what you might call open minded, and for my part at least, I have had several paranormal encounters with different entities throughout my life. There is a distinctly male presence in the house I grew up in, and I have written about my experiences before. However our investigation on Friday was the first opportunity I have had to play with some tools and gadgets designed for the purposes of detecting spirit activity, and it was an absolutely insane experience…pun not intended.

Our first look at the asylum. Photo by me.

We started the night with a little bit of background history into the asylum. As we drove up, the front was lit up just enough gauge the sheer size of the building, and despite the mild weather, there was a buzz of anticipation in the air. Construction of the asylum began in 1860 and was completed in 1865. The Aradale site, along with its two sister asylums at Kew and Beechworth, were built at the time of the Australian Gold Rush, to accommodate for the increasing number of people coming into the state at the time. Aradale continued to operate until 1998, and housed up to 900 patients a year at it’s peak. Of course, not all of those patients were necessarily legitimately mentally ill. As our lovely lead investigator/tour guide pointed out, a woman could be sent to the asylum in the early years if she dared to wear pants instead of traditional feminine dress. Those early doctors were experimental in their methods of treatment and certainly uneducated about what constitutes actual mental illness.

We started our investigation in the morgue, where the spookiest thing to occur was a disturbed baby bat flying around erratically when we entered, to avoid the light. Whilst the morgue was fascinating, it wasn’t until our next stop that our curiosity was rewarded. Our first contact happened in the men’s ward, at the back of the complex, where our guide informed us that the back of any ward was where the so called “worst of the worst” were housed. Immediately upon entering the ward (which we would continue to experience in each of the other buildings we visited) we noticed a discernible drop in temperature. When we reached the top floor, she asked for two volunteers, who each took an EMF detector and walked down the hallway in darkness, while the rest of us waited and our guide played gentle music on a wind up music box. 

Previously silent, as soon as our guide began to play, there was a distinct commotion down the end of the hall, into the next room. The noises came from within the ward, and we determined it was not a result of any wind. Only a moment later, the EMF detector lit up for the first time. We operated on a simple “flash once for yes, twice for no” question system, and had a conversation with what we believed was a former doctor of the ward. This would continue to happen throughout the night, as we managed to connect with spirits in other places throughout our investigation. 

The morgue fridges. Photo by Jess. 

Our next stop was the women’s ward. Here we were able to explore on our own a little. Our first stop was down one end of the ward, which is where Morgan, our tour guide, informed us was where doctors would give the patients shock baths. An early method of treatment was to submerge a patient in a bath filled with water, pull a tarp of sorts over them, and subject the body to drastic changed in temperature. The idea, of course, being that if you could shock the body, you could shock the mind and therefore cure mental illness. Just one example of early medical experimentation.

Shock bath. Photo by Jess

Anyway, we got there and all we saw were sinks. There was a door at the end of the room, closed. As I turned the doorknob and put weight against the door, we discovered it was locked. My friend Jess did the same thing, and the door wouldn’t budge. When Morgan asked us shortly after if we had seen anything, we told her that there was no bath. She went into the room, followed closely by our group, opened the very same door that had been locked – without a key – as if it had been open the whole time. There was no one else on the floor who could have unlocked that door in the building. We figured the spirits were trying to mess with us…and succeeding!

As we progressed through our tour, we were down the other end of the ward trying to communicate with the “other side” if you will. In the next room, Morgan had unlocked a few doors, and without warning we heard the sound of a door slamming shut. When we looked, all the doors were still open, and the rest firmly locked. The sound of a slamming door occurred twice more in the space of ten minutes, each time without warning or explanation. And each time, none of the doors in the room the sounds came from, had been disturbed.

Row of cells. Photo by Jess

We managed to get some responses in the women’s ward as well, but for me the most irrefutable encounter occurred in our final stop, at the building that housed the employees of the asylum. As we wandered off again in our own groups, I took possession of a device that enhances sound. It had a name but I can’t recall, and in any case I kept calling it “the sound thingy” anyway! So, as we were walking along the corridor, pretty much all of our equipment started firing up. Me, with the sound thingy, didn’t see or hear anything…at first.

After perhaps a minute or two of standing in the same spot, hearing nothing but static and the voices of my friends, I heard something else. It was very distinctly the word “no”. It was vaguely raspy, the way your voice sounds when you’re unwell, and strangely it sounded like someone was shouting the word from a distance, but paradoxically right in my ear. It’s hard to explain exactly what it sounded like, but I’m not going to lie; it gave me the wiggins. In the best way! I believe I actually heard the voice of someone speak through the veil, if you will. It was a hair raising, spine tingling, bizarre, incredibly cool experience.

Some of the equipment we used (sans sound thingy). Photo by Jess.

By the time our tour finished, each of us that went was buzzed. It was such an educational, interesting experience and I think we each took something from it, at the very least a desire to do further exploration. I know there are sceptics, and you are entitled to your disbelief. But for me, I find it impossible to dent the existence of a life beyond our own. Of lingering spirits and energies in places where the corporeal bodies once walked. Honestly, it was incredible, and I can’t wait to visit again.

Sunday Musings

I am lost in disharmony, discord, and discontent. The world seems to large, so exhausting, and I tire of existing within it this way. I long for slowness, where nothing demands of me either my attention or my time. I wish to shed the weight of expectation and responsibility, and simply…be.

Life is so fast. It travels by before you have time to take stock of it, and it can fall heavily upon your shoulders and take from you any true sense of calm. I think I’m feeling this way today, because I have had very little in the way of a proper weekend, and tomorrow I return to work and I am exhausted at the mere inevitability of the morning.

Self Drafted Summer PJ’s

It’s coming into warmer weather here. As few of my clothes fit me anymore, I’ve gone on a bit of a sewing plan, starting with a pair of cotton pyjamas. I don’t wear pyjamas to sleep in; I’m 100% a “sleep in the nude” kinda girl. However, as I no longer live alone, it is unacceptable to chill in the public spaces of the house without clothes. Thus, the necessity for pyjamas.
I went to Spotlight a couple of weeks ago and,as with almost every craft store trip, I saw too many cute things and spent way too much money on fabric. Amongst the stash I purchased was this cute woodland print with tiny foxes and other cute little animals. So I had to buy it. And I did. Along with some other fabric I also just had to have, but still haven’t worked out what to make with.

So with the fabric in mind, I decided that pyjamas was the way to go. I’m very much into loose fitting cloathing lately, comfortable items that don’t sit too tight or cut in in unwanted places. Shorts are easy to make, but I made one fundamental mistake; I made them way too big! Once I tried them on, I realised that I could fit both legs into one of the shorts legs, so I had to bring the seams in at the sides and the crotch. They’re still a bit too big around the legs, but the waist fits fine and comfort is key, after all.

The top was also self drafted, and I just kinda winged it. I took some rough measurements and sketched up a quick design. What I ended up with was an oversized, vaguely old fashioned sleeveless shirt, perfect for those hot summer nights. Overall I was pretty happy with the result. I’m trying to challenge myself with creating my own patterns, so this was one of those attempts. A few tweaks I think, but otherwise I’m glad to say I can see constant improvements in my skill. Anyway, here’s the finished result! 

Only Thursday 

I woke up this morning, late and disgruntled. Why? Because today is only Thursday. It has been a very long few weeks at work, as I have been working two straight weeks of late shifts. And when there can be up to three minutes between calls at that late stage in the day, believe me, those 8.5 hours can feel like 28.5. 

It is at this point in the fortnight that I knew my tolerance for anything would be stretched to the limit. I am unmotivated, irritable, and that back pain from a few weeks ago has decided to come back with a vengeance so, on top of everything else, I’m uncomfortable. This is not a good combination for a happy and productive Amy.

Add to this the strange, disjointed dreams. The quickly decreasing funds in my bank account, and long stretch of days before I get paid again. The similar situition with my phone data, where every time I check the ‘net, I am brought closer to going over my limit and being charged an extra GB for $10 (which, frankly, is something of a rip off if you ask me). And, of course, the real cherry atop this grumpy fortnight cake; my weekend is still two days away!

Now, I’ve been trying not to eat a lot of crap food lately, in an attempt to encourage a healthier and more active change in habits. But guys, with still two days left in this week, it’s time to bring out the big guns to get me through. It’s time…for tea and chocolate!

Anyway, I hope your day/week/fortnight is going better than mine, in any case. And, because I’m feeling a little emotional and sappy right now, thank you for reading. You guys are the bomb diggity.

Love-Hate Relationships; Body Edition 

I’m chubby. There’s really no denying it now. Softer around the edges, wider around the hips, wobblier around the thighs, and all of my clothes range from just a little bit too tight, to blazingly uncomfortable. I am sometimes ok with it, sometimes not ok with it. Existing within a changing body is a strange thing.

I’m not used to carrying this extra weight, and I’ve spent a lot of time prodding and poking these newfound chubby bits, trying to make sense of them, and the way I now fit this new, heavier form. 

I used to be an incredibly active person. Everywhere I could go, I would walk. And then I got my license and I got lazy. And then I moved to the city and I didn’t trust the area enough to walk at my preferred time…which is and has always been in darkness. And then I got a job working in a call centre, where I spend most of my day sitting down. Slowly but surely, my weight crept up and up until I realised that it wasn’t just me noticing, but other people too. Now, I’m still perfectly healthy and all, I’m just all over rounder.

I feel uncomfortable a lot of the time. Conspicuous. I have taken to wearing increasingly looser fitting clothing, both because I don’t like super tight fitting clothes and because I feel less obvious that way. This new insecurity is very unusual for me, who has always been fairly confident…if somewhat awkward. I’m not sure I like it all that much either. And I think that has a lot to do with my irritation at allowing myself to become so lazy. I think complacency can be a dangerous habit, and I’m annoyed that I’ve become that way.

I’ve been making more of a conscious effort of late, though. Trying to see the good things about this different figure, whilst simultaneously making an effort to get more regular exercise into my somewhat monotonous routine. I see a lot of beautiful curvy women and I see how comfortable and happy and confident they are, and I envy them a little, because I’m still not 100% happy with my own reflection at the moment. Everywhere I look I see slogans about body positivity, and I am doing my best to love my chubby body as much as I loved my un-chubby one. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I guess it’s human nature to feel uncomfortable in our own skin from time to time.

Sleepless, Grumpy, Positive Girl

I slept badly last night. There was a time when that was not uncommon. From the age of 16, right through to maybe 23, I got anywhere between no hours, and four hours of sleep a night. There was no logical reason why, and I tried everything short of medicinal solutions to help my body get the rest it needed. But nothing really worked so I just grew used to getting by on very little sleep. Then, sometime in the last 2 years, my brain just had this huge reset, and I started getting into a more regular sleeping pattern again. These days, I get about six or seven hours a night and that is normal and fine. So when I do have a bad night sleep, it hits me hard.

I barely slept, and when I did I had strange, disjointed dreams. I was engaged, the ring weighing heavily on my hand and not quite fitting with the other two I wore on the same finger. I was at a fancy hotel and in a dark room and I was trying to perform acrobatic tricks and an old Asian man was telling me I should become a monk and I had to rescue my brother and bring him home and my family was fighting and…well, it was all very bizarre. 

I have a lot of things to do today, and after the Friday I had, and a week of early starts, I was really looking forward to sleeping in a little before I had to get up and do all the things! But nope. Bad sleep means irritable Amy, which is probably not a good combination when I have to drive to the city today (and if you’re a long time follower of the blog, you’ll know that the city is definitely not my favourite place).

But, I have decided that I will not be grumpy today. An early start when I don’t have to go to work is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, it’s going to be warm today, so I can wear a dress without tights. And getting up early means I can do my errands early and not have to worry about them when I return to the city. And dad is making breakfast this morning, so that’s always a win! So, despite my lack of sleep and my weird dreams and the fact that I got up earlier on my day off that I did to go to work this week, I am determined to make the most of this fine Saturday. Enjoy your weekend, readerinos!

House Dreams 

Recently I’ve become obsessed with the notion of owning a home. I’ve started walking again lately, in a twofold attempt to both return to a semi fit state of being, and to hopefully ease the back pain that is now into the third week. On these walks I’ve been paying attention to the houses I pass, and some of them are so tidy and quaint and cute and lovely that I can’t help but fantasise about one day owning one. 

It is at times like this that Pinterest is in equal measures an excellent tool for inspiration, and a blazing reminder of everything I do not (yet) have. I have been scouring the site for the last hour, pinning everything that catches my eye…and where my “home” board is concerned, that’s a lot of pins. I do not need a giant house, and rather have been more drawn to smaller, more unique structures than larger and more modern designs. I am a fan of Tudor cottages, of stone structures with a red doors (Rolling Stones, anyone?), of quaint little places with wide verandas shaded by large trees. Basically, anything small, unique and potentially fairytale-like, and I’m all over it like glitter on a gay pride parade.

My desire to own a house has come in large part from the realisation that, at nearly 25, I am not only back living at home, but without any real savings. At the moment what savings I do have is going towards a trip to the U.S next year, but after that? Put it this way, I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend the rest of my life paying someone else’s mortgage. I want a house of my own because I want to be able to hang art on the walls without fear of losing a bond. I want to be able to own a dog without repercussion from a landlord. I want to be able to set up a sewing room with all the bits and bobs to make it easy and accessible and a complete creative space. 

I have decided that now is the time to start being a proper adult…about certain things, in any case. So I guess, amidst all the repayments I’m making, the tax deductions, the fees I’m paying, the money I’m trying to save and the general cost of living, I’m going to try and set some money aside for the “future house fund”. And since its gonna take me a million years to do it on my wage, I guess I have a lot of time to scour Pinterest and perfect the idea of what I want. Red door and giant veranda, here I come!

IT (2017)

A fear of clowns is one if the most common phobias, but for Stephen King fans, the first word that comes to mind when they think of clowns is not coulrophobia. The word is IT. Written in 1986, the paving slab of a novel about Pennywise the Dancing Clown gave people a whole new reason to be afraid. Then in 1990, it was first adapted to screen, starring Tim Curry as the title character. I have neither read the book, or seen the first adaptation. But the other night, I saw the rehashed version of the film. The trailers looked sufficiently hair raising (even to those of us not afraid of clowns) and the reviews were good, so I braved the Friday night cinema to give it a look.

Unlike the original, which was set in 1960, the 2017 version, starring Bill Skarsgård as the malevolent clown, was brought forward to 1988. Set in Derry (Maine), IT tells the story of seven teenage friends over one summer as they are terrorized by different manifestations of their own worst fears. Led by Bill Denbrough, whose own younger brother Georgie disappears, the friends – collectively known as The Losers Club – band together to try and bring an end to the horror, and to the murderous clown responsible for causing it.

IT opens really well, and the scenes where young Georgie encounters Pennywise in the sewer are in fact some of the best (and more affecting) parts in the entire film. But from there, it kinds of drops off. The first portion of the film is largely just an introduction to The Losers Club, interspersed with individual scenes where Pennywise appears to the kids in the forms of their worst fears. It had the potential to flow nicely but these scenes are singular and feel disjointed, not really building on each other enough to really work properly. The latter half of the film is where it all starts to finally come together, and where the Losers face evil not just from the shape shifting fiend who wants to devour them, but from the bully who is at the very least, equally intent on causing suffering. 

In terms of graphics and the special effects, IT does quite well. It’s a bit of a step up from the fake teeth and face paint of the original (no offence, Tim) and I actually think it’s the kind of film that could benefit from a 3D viewing to make it really pop, so to speak. There’s a particular scene involving Pennywise emerging ferociously from a projector screen that I’m fairly certain made the entire cinema jump. One thing I did really appreciate was that the film wasn’t heavy on the gratuitous gore. The violent or bloody aspects of the film (keep an eye out for the bathroom scene) were almost tasteful in comparison to some modern ideals of horror, and I think in this case it definitely worked to the movie’s advantage. 

In terms of actual scares though, I rather felt IT to be somewhat lacking. There were a couple of mildly tense moments, and there was at least one scene that got a scream from one of the other people in the cinema. But rather than the clown, for me it was his other forms that were more unnerving. In particular, the painted woman that plagues Stanley had a kind of menacing presence that gave me the wiggins, and Eddie’s leper was especially gruesome. As for Pennywise himself, I found no true horror there. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the voice adopted by Skarsgård is a kind of raspy lisp, which I found more grating than spooky. 

Honestly, IT felt a lot more like a kind of coming of age drama than a real horror, with perhaps more focus on the themes of friendship and (loss of) innocence, and less actual scares. Whilst the film was still enjoyable despite its shortfalls, I think I was expecting something a little more…creepy. With a second instalment in the works, I hope that chapter two will not skimp on the heart (and the charm) of the Losers, but improve on the scares, and give the opportunity to make something genuinely terrifying. 

Hello, Spring

Yesterday was the first day of spring, and the first time I’ve taken a day off work due to illness in…well, years actually. I don’t get sick very often, but this time, whoa mama. I’ve been so unwell that I actually spent all day in bed yesterday – another thing I don’t ever do. I do not like being sick. Especially when it throws me around like this has. But, I am hoping I will improve by Monday. It’s very difficult to take calls when you have to stop every ten seconds to cough so hard that you give yourself a headache. Hence the day off yesterday.

Anyway, today is the second day of spring. Which makes sense, given how the second day usually comes after the first. I’ve missed spring, if I’m being honest. I mean, I love winter. But lately it seems to have gone too long. I wanna wear a dress without tights, a tee without a jumper. I wanna make cute clothes that I don’t have to layer. And also, the non fashion related reasons of course. Day trips to cute little towns to explore without the risk of getting rained out. Picnics with my friends under blooming cherry blossom trees. Getting a little vitamin D into my pale (oh so pale) body. And being motivated to get out and walk, and lose a little of this chubby I’ve been carrying around all winter.

My birthday is in spring. I will be 25 this year. A quarter century…shit, I’m getting old, y’all. But it’s such a nice, solid number. And to be honest, I won’t really be all that sad to say goodbye to 24. It’s not been a super spectacular year and so, since my birthday is in November, I get to wave goodbye to 24 and then to 2017 shortly after. Not that I necessarily think turning a year older will make any exceptional difference, but ageing is kinda like the natural and unavoidable version of white sage cleansing; new year, rid yourself of old demons and begin again anew. Yeah, I get a little New Agey from time to time, so sue me.
Little side note before I wrap things up here. I applied for a house this week. A cute, small little two bedroom unit close to town. If I get it, it means my savings will be gone, and I will have very little money to spare until I look for a better paying job after my contract runs out. But wish me luck anyway, because it’s been a long time since I lived on my own, and I miss it.

Anyway, that’s it from me today. This sick girl has to pee, and eat, and then get back into bed and start watching the latest series of Game of Thrones. Is it Spring for you too? Regardless of the season, have a good weekend (if it’s applicable) and remember to stay well!