Here and Now

I am heading towards a reincarnation. A reinvention. A revamping. A re-something or other. Whatever you want to call it, I am aching for it. Again, I find myself in a state or same-same, and I am looking for a way out of my slump. Yes, there is the obvious looking for a new job and trying to find time for my passions in between. But this is something more than just wanting out of my current situation. I am craving a full overhaul. I want to throw out my entire wardrobe and start from scratch. A part of me wants to go one further and just throw out everything I own, if I’m being honest. I am overwhelmed with negativity at the moment, and – if you’ll forgive me an overused cliche – I need a blank canvas to work with.

I am seeking some kind of enlightenment, perhaps. Or answers to questions I can’t even put into words yet. I am trying, in my own strange way, to improve. It’s not easy. I’m fact, as someone often bogged down by the very chemicals in my brain as well as an unsatisfactory life situation, at times it feels like a completely impossible task. But in this moment, filled with a peculiar energy that I can’t begin to describe, I’m suddenly positive that I can. It doesn’t need to be a massive change to be a significant one, but the realisation at least, that I need to change my mindset before I can take any steps forward, is enough to keep me going.

Here is not where I want to be. But I have to keep reminding myself that I am ever growing, moving forward, changing in tiny ways. Here and now does not mean forever. Things will get better. I need to remember to enjoy the small things, and more importantly, to find ways to reignite my passion for things I loved, once upon a time before here and now happened to me.

I don’t know where this has come from, but I am going to embrace it, and see where it takes me.

Missing Creative. If Found, Return to Amy

I feel like I haven’t been creative enough this year. Actually, it’s more than just a feeling; it’s a fact. I’ve spent so much of the last six months working with very little break, and the five months before that my work was so limited that time was in abundance, but my financial situation couldn’t accommodate. Since the beginning of this year, I have only successfully completed two sewing projects, and there’s one that I gave up on entirely. In previous years, I have made close to one project a month but I guess this year is a bit of a write off.

When the year began, I decided I wanted to expand my creative outlets. I took up embroidery, and I’ve made two little hoops. I find the repetition of the stitching rather calming, and it’s a good, relaxing way to try and stay creative. And yet, it’s been 7 months since I last picked up my needle and thread. Seven. I would love to start again, but I’m currently in a position where I simply don’t have enough time to sit for hours and hand stitch.

Another thing I decided that I wanted to learn was the art of watercolour painting. This one was a little harder, because it was completely outside the realms of my skill set. But I persevered and I’ve made a handful of small little paintings that are getting increasingly better. It is this that I am the most proud of, because I have finally managed to step outside of my creative comfort zone and teach myself something new. I’m no Picasso, but with a combination of YouTube tutorials and figuring things out on my own, I’m getting better.

I’ve always thought that I wanted to live a creative life. When I picture my future, I know what I want it to look like, and being able to express myself artistically plays a big part in that. I am an imaginative and creative person at heart, and it’s one of the things I find completely contentment in. I think part of my problem this year, apart from having so little time, is having very little space. Due to a change in my circumstances last year, I had to move in back home. Whilst I am saving to buy my own house, for the time being it means living with my dad. Yup, I’m that person in their late twenties still living at home. You can forward all judgements to the bin, thanks. I like to to think it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, but that being so doesn’t make the house any bigger. And all my attempts to win the lottery have failed so far!

I’m searching for a new job, with no success. But I just know that I can’t stay in my current job very much longer, because it is draining my time, my life, my creativity and my will to live. I have to hold on to the hope that something better is coming. I mean, I’m even considering the possibility of changing cities once again, but this is a new idea and one that I have to invest a lot more thought and research into before I make any kind of decision. Either way, I know that my lack of creation is directly linked to my situation, and that I shouldn’t feel so bad about it. But I feel like an integral part of me is missing, and my passionate, imaginative heart is going to wither and die unless I can break free of this rut I find myself in.

Someone once said to me that if you really want to do something, you’ll make time to do it. If someone knows of a way to add a few extra hours into the day, without having to feel the exhaustion that will inevitably result, will you let me know?

On Turning 27

Today is my 27th birthday. I have taken the day off, as is my custom, but I have no plans. I have gotten messages today from people I didn’t expect, and have heard nothing at all from people I would have assumed would be the first to call. I broke up with my girlfriend last night, and I’m still feeling like a jerk about it. The weather is going to be cloying and hot, and I’m honestly feeling a little bit strange, on the whole.

I am a person who needs to be constantly in motion. I can’t sit still, cannot stay in one place and do nothing for any length of time. My fingers itch to make something, my body yearns to go on an adventure somewhere. My best friend tells me I need to take some time for me, on the day that I can claim as my own. But doing nothing is at odds with my restless soul.

I don’t feel one way or another about birthdays, not anymore. Gone are the days when I would get excited. The last time I tried to have a birthday gathering, everyone cancelled on the day and it turned into a spectacular failure, so I don’t even bother with that anymore either. But there is a certain quality to the anniversary of the day I clawed my way out into the world, Alien style. (that’s how childbirth works, right? Chest Bursters all the way!). I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it feels different to any other day. I don’t know, perhaps I am just getting more contemplative in my old age. Regardless, today is a day, and whilst I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with it just yet, I think I might start with some breakfast. Seems like as good an idea as any!

26.10.19

I’m not who I used to be. Makes sense, really. People change every day, and when former versions of ourselves become memories, it just means we have changed into someone new. We evolve constantly, into new variations of who we are, as we become who we are meant to be.

I’m learning about myself as I take myself on this journey. Every day is a new opportunity to learn, to change, to grow. I yearn to be challenged and pushed, and not just in the typical adult ways. I want to learn new things, experience everything wholeheartedly. The good and the bad.

Part of me is in mourning for the person I once was, but only a small part. The larger part of me is grateful to her, the former Amy. Because I’ve learned a lot from her, and she has taught me a lot of lessons. I am moving forward, sometimes along the path, but mostly off the beaten track. Life isn’t easy, but the ones best lived never are.

18.10.19

It’s been a strange and tumultuous time for me lately. I cut my hair again (and hate it), I’m looking for a new job, most days I wake up and wish I didn’t have to wake up at all. I’ve started seeing someone (I know, I’m as surprised as you are) and everyone thinks that it means my feelings about love and relationships have drastically changed, but I’m still a cynic and I still think love is for losers. I’m saving to buy a house, and it’s a slow process but I’m sure it’ll be worth it in the end…probably.

I feel like I have lost direction. I feel like I’m always answering with a negative when people ask me how I am. I want to get off the grid, disappear for a while and not have to do anything or think about anything or see anyone or have any responsibility. I’m tired. I’m angry. I’m fucking drowning.

Joker (2019)

Starring Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, Joker, which was released in cinemas last week, takes a look at how the popular DC comic character becomes the villain; an origin story of sorts that takes place in Gotham long before the rise of Batman. This isn’t the glorified (and poorly portrayed) madness of Jared Leto’s Joker, nor the insane and yet somehow charming Joker portrayed by Heath Ledger. This is Phoenix like we have never seen him, in a grim look at the true darkness of mental illness, and the effects of poverty and ignorance on the city’s most underprivileged residents .

I’m honestly still not sure how I feel about the film. I think part of this comes down to the direction. Joker was directed by Todd Phillips, who is responsible for movies such as Road Trip, The Hangover trilogy and Due Date. As such, I felt he was put of his depth here, with a film that is not only considerably darker than his previous films, but also a completely different genre. Despite the title, this is no comedy. Whilst there were admittedly some funny moments, it was a kind of bleak humour, and far removed from any of the director’s previous works. The film as a whole is more of a psychological thriller, and I feel like this film would have benefitted from someone more used to this dark, gritty style of direction. Perhaps Fincher, or even Christopher Nolan (who, as we all know, directed the Dark Knight franchise, with much success.)

Director aside, Joaquin Phoenix does the best he can with what he’s got to work with, and to his credit, gives quite a brilliant and impressive performance. His portrayal of Arthur Fleck is truly something to see, and makes for somewhat uncomfortable viewing. He is a clown for hire with aspirations to become a comedian, who looks after his ailing mother (Played brilliantly by Frances Conroy), and he does the best he can despite the hand he’s been dealt. But this film is not your typical underdog story. It is a visceral and compelling look at the effects of ignorance and insensitivity, and paints a picture of a society that could quite conceivably drive a person over the edge. The main character is mentally unstable and in some ways quite childlike, and as the film progresses, the scales of feeling are evenly weighted between sympathy and revulsion. His slow descent further into madness, as he evolves into the villain he will inevitably become, is actually quite confronting to watch. In addition to this, Arthur’s penchant for bursting into uncontrollable, unsettling laughter – which happens consistently throughout the film – made me vaguely uneasy. His unkempt hair and sickly physique were in keeping with the overall grimy feel of the film, but it’s not until his emergence as the Joker, that he finally looks like he belongs. The costume and facepaint he wears as his Joker persona suddenly reflect the madness he’s had within him the whole time, and once he makes his new identity known, there’s no coming back from it.

There are no rose coloured gasses here. The world Arthur lives in is one of systemic oppression, and the significant gap between the rich and the poor. These are desperate people; underprivileged and angry at the system that is determined to keep them down. Whatever the spark that ignites the fire, revolution is inevitable. In some ways, Joker was a difficult movie to watch, because there was a heavy focus on how mental illness is perceived by society, and the tendency of people to make it into a joke, either out of cruelty, or simple lack of understanding. In the journal he carries with him – a physical manifestation of his innermost thoughts – Arthur writes “The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t“. It is a painfully accurate statement, and one that brings with it a floodgate of emotions. And yet, despite revelations that come to light regarding the origins of his psychological issues, it is hard to feel full sympathy for Arthur. He is a character ruled by delusions and guided by his absolute certainty that he is somehow special. It is a difficult protagonist to empathise with.

It did have some really great moments, and was thought provoking in a lot of ways. Amongst others, the movie touches on things like mob mentality, influence of the media, and how easily things can turn from love to hate or vice versa. There was some unexpected violence, which was utilised to great effect and surprisingly not overdone. That being said, there was a lot about the movie that didn’t quite work. There is one relationship in particular that just feels wrong and even though it is later explained, it left a bitter taste in my mouth. Whilst Joker managed to tackle some pretty big themes and really captured the darkness of a city on the brink of chaos, for me, this movie felt like a long lead up to a not especially satisfactory conclusion.

Unhappy, Chubby Girl

I hate looking at myself in the mirror lately. Everywhere I look, I see flaws. Thighs that wobble and rub together when I walk, a formerly taut tummy that now more closely resembles bread dough, little rolls at my side. I’m floating somewhere between a size 12 and a size 14, when once I was a size 6. Admittedly, looking back at those days, I was almost too thin, and yet I would comfortably settle for a happy medium. A nice size 10, when I didn’t feel conspicuous and heavy, and generally all over disgusting. Feeling like this is a relatively new experience for me, because I never used to hate the way I looked. But these days, I avoid the mirror unless I have to, and I hate photos of myself like I never did before.

All of this is a combination of a lot of things. In small part, genetics, and age. In large part, my own laziness. See, I used to walk everywhere. I was fit as hell, and it was never a bother to walk for an hour or more to get to my destination. Then I bought a car, and things have gone steadily downhill from there ever since, as I have slowly gained more and more weight. Recently I started walking again, but almost crippling pain in my calves made me stop, and I’ve once more lapsed into a largely sedentary lifestyle.

I want to be active, and eat well, and be one of those super fit people I see getting out there and active every morning. But I find myself consistently making excuses. I need an overhaul, something to motivate me and keep me motivated. Because I miss looking in the mirror and thinking “shit, girl. You look good” instead of “well fuck, this dress makes me look like I’m six months pregnant”.

Something needs to change. I need to set some goals, and make some serious lifestyle changes I think. With the change in weather, and having just earned Sundays off after months of working seven days a week, I think now is the best time to kick my own ass into gear. Let’s get it, girl.

Morning Walk, and Revelations

The morning air is crisp against my cheeks, painting them a fiery shade of pink. Nostalgia plays out scenes in my mind, as songs from my youth play accompaniment. There is a burn in my calves, always expected but not yet pleasant. Give it time.

As blood circulates and my heart rate increases, my hands are finally warm. They’re cold as ice so often lately. I pick up the pace as I pass a fluorescent shirt-clad road crew, as much uncomfortable at being seen as I am anxious about unsolicited comments. I’m sure they’re actually nice guys, but experience does make one wary.

Morning dew from the grass soaks the mesh of my shoes, and then my socks. I step over a used condom on the ground, and a pothole in the dirt that I almost tripped in two days ago. I walk into the familiar car lined street that I call home.

I’ve been starting my days with a walk lately. I regret every moment of the half hour that I push myself, after months of almost no exercise at all. But I forget how much better I feel when I start my days this way. Even if nothing else, I can at least say I’ve accomplished one thing. So, I have decided that today is going to be a good day. And it’s time to drag out the badass, punk rock babe that has been in hibernation for far too long. You’ll forgive me for posting twice in 12 hours, but goddamn am I ready to change my mindset, and tackle this new day with a whole new perspective. Here goes nothing.

Being is Hard

It is not an easy thing, to be alive. You’ve got to worry about breathing, and speaking, and managing the ins and outs of living every day. You have to deal with your emotions, and make sure you’re expressing the right ones at the right times. You have to find a job, and pay your bills, and remember to eat, and watch your weight, and try to carve out some semblance of a life within your existence. I mean, it’s an exhausting thing, being.

Maybe it’s just me. After 55 days without a proper day off (but who’s counting?), I think exhaustion is my new normal. My permanent state of being, I guess you might say. It’s hard to imagine a life where things aren’t complicated and just a little bit shit. But there is light at the end of the tunnel; I have a weekend off. I have plans already, because I don’t know how to have a day off without filling it with things, but the point is that there will be two consecutive days where I don’t have to go to work, or think about work, or deal with anything work related. As you can imagine, I am thrilled.

I’ve been having a bit of a bad time of it lately. Staving off impending blackness by throwing myself into my endless days of monotonous work which, paradoxically only add to the negative swirl of emotions circling me like ravenous vultures. It’s a vicious cycle, y’all. What I would really like is to win the lottery, move to Tasmania and sleep for a year, uninterrupted. It’s a record breaking lottery this week so you never know, maybe I’ll get lucky. Then again, knowing my luck – not to mention the statistical improbability of actually winning the lottery – I’ll probably win nothing.

Maybe I’ll feel better after I cry. Maybe all this exhaustion is getting to me, and my poor little broken heart will be able to start healing herself after I’ve let go of the negative energy I seem to have been unconsciously holding on to. Maybe being won’t seem so hard afterwards. Who knows, I might even start to feel normal again afterwards. I’ll let you know.

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019)

Chances are, you know of Quentin Tarantino. Bit of an oddball, painful to listen to, but he’s made some of the most iconic films…probably ever. Notable for his unique direction style, haphazard narratives and gratuitous violence, his films have made waves in the industry every time. His most recent film is no different. With a stellar cast, nearly three hours of screen time and a nostalgic look at Los Angeles in 1969, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood pays homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood, and one of the most profitable industries in the world.

Leonardo DiCaprio is Rick Dalton, the former lead actor of a popular TV western, now resigned to taking supporting roles in TV pilots. He is the embodiment of a fading star, clinging desperately to some semblance of his former fame and trying to carve out a career in film before it’s “too late”. At his side through it all is Brad Pitt as Dalton’s stunt double and friend, Cliff Booth. Casually, contentedly in the background of the film industry – with a somewhat unsavoury reputation – Cliff is cool as a cucumber from start to finish, and the antidote to Rick’s somewhat tumultuous, and often alcohol fuelled moods. The chemistry between the two is palpable, and there is a true sense of brotherhood that flows through the film as we follow the lives of these two showbusiness veterans, tetering on the edge of irrelevance.

Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, young and idealistic, and just breaking into the film industry as Rick Dalton (who, in this version of events, happens to be her next door neighbour) seems to be on his inevitable way out of it. This raised a few eyebrows in the lead up to the film’s release, as people were quick to jump to conclusions about how Tarantino may have handled that particularly sensitive issue. Anyone familiar with the Manson Family will understand the controversy, but the truth is that Robbie’s Sharon Tate is almost like a background character, more or less there for the purpose of juxtaposition between the old and the new.

Tarantino tackles a lot of really excellent themes in this film, particularly the bonds of friendship, and the effects of change. But with a run time of 161 minutes, the film itself is a bit meandering. Whilst the main story is that of Dalton and Booth, the film gets caught up in the Manson Family subplot which, for the most part, feels a little…lacklustre and at times, even pointless. The scenes involving the infamous cult have a tendency to drag, and not even the increasing undercurrent of tension, as the film builds to it’s inevitable conclusion, is quite enough to propel the scenes forward. Certainly, the movie would have benefited from losing at least a half hour of screen time. It feels like we’re being taken on a slow amble through the film, until the third act kind of explodes onto the screen with a pace and energy that the rest of the movie doesn’t quite manage to achieve.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed being taken on the nostalgic, and occasionally self indulgent ride back to the late 60’s. The era has been recreated with minute detail, and the movie is both stylistically and visually pleasing. With some familiar cameos (heyyyy Zoe Bell) and a supporting cast including Al Pacino, Timothy Olyphant and Emile Hirsch, it is the characters more so than the actual plot, who truly drive this film. Despite a few flaws with the film’s pace, it is worth watching for the explosive final act alone (if nothing else). In typical Tarantino style, is has some great dialogue, some funny moments interjected with the sincere, and truly unforgettable characters. The quirky director can be a little hit and miss for me, but in this case he scored a hit.