FREEEEEEDOM

You know that scene in Braveheart where William Wallace bellows “FREEDOOOOOMMMMM!!!”?

Of course you do. Everyone knows that scene, even if they haven’t actually seen the movie. It’s iconic.

Well, I was embodying William Wallace/Mel Gibson as I walked away from what was formerly my shop last Saturday afternoon. Admittedly there was less disembowelment on my part, and more dancing, but that’s not the point. The point is that I was finally free from the cage that had – for several years – made me miserable, sapped my time and energy, tried to simultaneously destroy my spirit and my bank balance, and led me to almost drive myself into oncoming traffic on at least two seperate occasions. And no, that’s not a funny little metaphor or an exaggeration; the job made me, quite literally, suicidally depressed.

As I handed over the keys and walked away for the final time ever, I was so elated I swore I could have started to fly. It was as if a weight had been lifted. I danced. I hugged my friends. I went out that night and partied like it was 2019, before Covid happened and the world went mad…der than it already was.

Nary a card nor handshake was offered in exchange for 6 years of service. I didn’t get so much as a thank you or a good luck from my employer. Yet it seems I’ve yet to be removed from the weekly email updates, and thus, keep receiving notifications about which shops are meeting budget and how many KPI’s each store has yet to achieve. Go figure.

But rest assured, all this extra time I’ve got is not wasted. I’m currently in the middle of rehearsing for a play, which I also need to make three costumes for in the next few weeks. Plus I’ve been asked to be in a music video for a local band at some point, I have a skirt to make for a friend for her birthday, various clothing repairs to complete, and somewhere in there still need to find time to exercise so I don’t look like the Goodyear blimp in my brother’s wedding come August. Not to mention that since that final walk, my other job has been ramping up. I’ve taken on another client, am about to potentially take on two more, and just today received an email offering me an interview for another job I applied for. When it rains it pours, I guess!

What I mean to say is, I’m flat out and a little tired, but I am happier than I have been in a long time. I highly recommend being made redundant, it does wonders for your mental health and wellbeing. And the most important thing of all, is that I am finally free from that toxic environment. Now I can actually dedicate my time to doing things that are constructive. And where I don’t have to endure daily misogyny whilst being forced to wear a fuck ugly uniform. Freedom indeed.

Oh, Honey…

I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know when it started. All I know, is that I have become the kind of person who calls people honey unironically. I’m not quite sure when my language changed. When I progressed from bro and dude and oi, dickhead! to words like doll and sweetheart and most recently, perhaps one of my least favourite condiments; the infamous honey.

I wonder if this is an age thing. Did turning 28 turn me into someone who uses actual terms of endearment when referring to people I like? Or is it something else, a change in my molecular makeup perhaps? Whatever the reason for this change, I have to admit that it’s far from being the only, or the most significant change in my life of late!

The thing is, I actually seem to be experiencing a kind of cosmic shift. In one week from today, I will no longer be employed with the company I have spent 6 years working for. I have been saying I’m going to walk out for years now, and since being made redundant, have been literally counting down the days until my ultimate exit. I’m planning a celebration, such is my excitement at being free from this particular cage. To say I’m looking forward to my unemployment is an understatement.

Resulting from this change comes another, in the form of taking on more clients with my second job. I started working for a friend of mine late last year as a social media manager, and between the two jobs I have to admit that I haven’t had the time or energy to dedicate to both jobs equally. It has also meant that I have very little of my own time, between working six days a week and spending much of my spare time doing other life things. What can I say, I’m a busy gal! But with one job going by the wayside, I am hoping I’ll be able to better and more effectively manage my time. And, y’know, actually HAVE time to manage.

Perhaps the change in my language is the result of actually embracing the softer side of myself. After coaching sessions with a friend of mine (which I wrote about a few posts back) I discovered that I had been presenting myself outwardly as this dark, tough, loveless individual. And, in an attempt to keep myself at a distance from anything that might make me vulnerable, I kept myself detached from all things soft and ‘mushy’. But since taking that first step on my journey to self discovery, and opening myself up to vulnerability and authenticity, things in my life began to change, and one of those things, it would appear, is how I speak and the language I use.

Anyway, I’m OK with it. As a lover of words, I have no objection to expanding my vocabulary. And this is the person I am now, affectionate names and all. But nevertheless, there will always be a place for the bros and the dudes and the dickheads. I may have grown as a person, but I my vulnerability does not negate my vulgarity.

Embracing my Authentic Self

Super Moon Night - Free photo on Pixabay

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.

Leaps and Bounds

6,000+ Free Journey & Travel Images - Pixabay

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.

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.

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.

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.

Adios, 2018

Here we are. December 31st. The final day of the 365 that made up 2018. I, like many others I’m sure, am feeling a little reflective.

It occurs to me that at the end of every year, I focus on the bad. Even though the last few years haven’t been all bad, the culmination of each of these years has been negative. Though I’ve been fighting many battles, and even winning a few, it seems I’m constantly losing the great big war. So recently I’ve been doing a bit of…well, soul searching if you will. Trying to understand why I am where I am, and what I’m supposed to do. And if there’s one thing that I have discovered about myself in these last couple of weeks, it’s that I’ve been lost for a long time.

It’s difficult to put into words how I’m feeling. I feel like I’ve lost sight of the world around me, and the infinite possibilities that come with being human, with being alive. Imagine being in a room filled with hundreds of doors, and meticulously, systematically locking each of them in turn. That’s kind of where I am. I’ve allowed myself, however unintentionally, to become locked into a tiny space, and in turn locked out the world. Maybe I thought it was safer, maybe I thought I didn’t deserve more, maybe I’m just scared. Whatever the cause, I’ve realised that it’s time to start unlocking those doors again. Look, maybe it’s a hokey metaphor but I can’t think of any other way to put it.

I think setting goals can be an intensely personal thing. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because, as I’ve said before, the obligation to make them negates the possibility of improvement. What I do believe in, is setting achievable goals at any time of the year, so long as those goals are for you and not resulting from outside pressure to conform. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m setting a few personal goals myself. But I’m not going to share them here.

What I will say, is that I feel like I’ve been walking through a foggy mire, stumbling blindly through heaviness and all manner of things determined to hold me back, and drag me down. And I’ve been lost in that fog for the longest time, but now I’m ready to be found.

Expectations

Sometimes I find myself so caught up in who I’m “supposed” to be, that I forget who I am. I find myself constantly either battling expectations, or trying to meet them, and end up emotionally exhausted from the effort. I mean, come on; existing is hard enough, without having to try and conform to the version of you that other people think you are.

I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure lately, to be the person other people expect. And I don’t mean that I’m actively going out of my way to change who I am for someone else, but rather that I feel the weight of everyone else’s expectations of who I am meant to be.

See, a couple of days ago, I cut off most of my hair. Before the big snip, my hair was somewhere around waist length, and was dyed a dark red. When I said I had booked in to cut it, almost everyone that I told expressed disappointment. “But your hair is so beautiful”, “but you’ve been growing it for so long” and “you’ll regret it” were the things I heard the most. I felt as if I had to constantly explain that I needed a change, that I wanted something lighter for summer, that it’s my goddamn hair and I can do what I want with it.

When I felt the weight of my locks disappear, I felt literally and metaphorically lighter. By the time the hairdresser was finished, and my long red hair had become a jet black bob, I knew that this was the change I had been craving. And the first in a series of changes I plan to make, in an effort to improve and progress.

It’s not just about my hair though. At work, I fight the endless battle against customer expectations that I can’t do my job because of my gender. When I tell people I don’t want kids, I get smug sneers and condescending comments about how I’ll change my mind, because women my age are expected to want families. I’ve been too afraid to admit that I might be a little bit lonely, because I feel like I need to be this strong, confidently single woman who don’t need no…other woman. Because for so long, that’s who I have been, and my brain keeps telling me that to admit that secret aloud is akin to selling out. It’s a heavily ingrained mindset and a hard habit to break.

The truth is, lately I’ve just been overwhelmed. Between an ongoing (and long drawn out) rental dispute and the accompanying anxiety, a weighty frustration at how this year has turned out, a heavy dose of newfound and unfamiliar self loathing, and the absolute wretchedness that is Christmas, I just want everything to stop. I want to run away to a quiet little cabin somewhere and get my bearings. And to shrug off all the expectation, to start fresh. But since I can’t do that, maybe the next best thing is to stand naked and barefoot on the grass under tonight’s bright full moon, and ground myself. Because, let’s be real, everything is better when you’re naked.

I made a change, don’t carry on; I left my locks at the hair salon.

Weeds and Woes

Ugh.

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

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

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

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

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

Above image is the property of Leigh Rubin

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