In Which Roller Skates Are the Only Thing Getting Me Through

I’m feeling overwhelmed. This is my first official week back as a shop manager (of sorts) with no one above me to take the fall should things go wrong. This week alone I’ve already told a would be customer to blow me, because he was so rude. With a massive stock delivery, and work coming in faster than I can do it, this week has been hectic. We’re starting a new trainee in a couple of weeks, but I plan on winning the lottery before then anyway. My job has never made me particularly happy, but this week it’s making me ruddy miserable.

This high strung tension may have something to do with my impending period too. My boobs ache like they’ve just been beaten with a mallet, and I’m all heavy and feeling somewhat lacklustre. Add to this the fact that I will be working 6 days a week every week until the end of time (or a new job) and it’s pretty much a recipe for a breakdown.

On an emotional, not work related topic, I’ve been feeling lately like I seem to be putting a lot of time and effort into things, only to yield very mediocre results – if any at all. This is true for creative endeavours, relationships, and adult stuff alike. I’m floundering a little at the moment, and I’m searching for some kind of answer to any of life’s big questions that plague me from time to time. I’m struggling to find the positive side in many situations which, whilst not altogether uncommon, is particularly frustrating right now because I’m actually trying for a change. I’m trying to believe that something good is coming soon, or that I’m on this particular path for a reason, but truly I’m mostly just exhausted, and more than a little fed up.

There is one shining light amidst all this bleakness, however. I ordered some roller skates last week and, despite a couple of speed humps (see what I did there?) in finalising the order, they should hopefully soon be on their way to me! I am incredibly excited for a myriad of reasons, not least because I cannot wait to skate around town like some kind of glorious 70’s goddess. I just need to find a gold, glittery helmet and I’ll be ready to go! It might not seem like much, but at the moment it’s the best thing I’ve got to cling to, and so cling to it I shall.

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Fractured (and a Little Bit Lost)

I’m not going to pretend I’m writing my second blog post in as many days because I have anything particularly interesting to say. The truth of the matter is that I have nothing to do at work, and I am kind of grumpy, and I am angry at myself for doing something last night that I told myself I wasn’t going to do anymore. Plus, in typical Amy fashion, I am wallowing in existential angst and wondering what the hell I am supposed to be doing with this life of mine, that seems to be casually passing me by.

Image result for pixabay fractured

Right now I feel about as fragile as a piece of glass, and the smallest amount of pressure is going to be enough to fracture me into a billion tiny pieces. My emotions feel like a raw, exposed wound and I am struggling to keep it all together, even though all I really want to do is explode out of my skin.

I am so, so very sick of feeling this way. I feel like I post about it periodically, which I’m sure you’re all tired of reading about. But no matter what I do, I can’t seem to shake this feeling. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am, and how I think who I am is being shaped by my circumstance, and my location. I said to a friend of mine on the weekend that I feel like I can’t really become the person I am meant to be until I get out of this state.

I don’t think it’s an uncommon thing, particularly amongst people in their 20’s, to feel like they’re still becoming. I think as a general rule, we have this notion that we’re not who we’re supposed to be yet, and that we have to spend the next however many years figuring that out. That’s certainly how I’ve been feeling lately. I feel like I’m not able to be authentically me yet, because I don’t have the freedom to reinvent myself into who I want to become. I feel as though I am living in this shell of myself, and that I need something explosive to break it open and reveal the real Amy underneath. Logically, I know that moving away isn’t going to change who I am. I know this, because I’ve moved away a few times, and I’ve always come back to my home town more or less the same person. But it doesn’t stop me from dreaming of the day I can finally have my own house. And when I think about that house, I think of it as being as far away from my home town as I can get without moving to another country.

What I think I need, is to move so far away that it isn’t easy to just come back home. I need something completely new and fresh, and different. Yes, wherever I go there will still be people who annoy me (thanks, customer service) and I know that wherever I go, my mental health is going to come along for the ride. I know that I will still have doubts, and states of depression, and fears and probably a lot of sleepless nights. I am not naive enough to think that moving away is going to change my life so drastically that I’ll wonder why I never did it sooner. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to believe that a fresh start can be cathartic, therapeutic even. At any rate, I have to believe that there is something better for me than what I have now.

I wrote this post today, because I needed to create something. I am stuck at work until 5:30 and every particle of my being is screaming out to make art, in one form or another. I feel trapped here, stuck in this godforsaken shopping centre, and this small square shop, and I am battling my very emotions, as well as my very irresponsible desire to just leave and never come back. But, as yesterday’s post will attest, I have a stupid adult obligation to stay where I am, at least until I have enough of a financial buffer behind to allow for the kind of freedom I so desperately crave.

Life is hard, and I’m angry and I kind of just want someone to bring me their dog so I can cuddle it.

Responsibility Sucks

There is nothing fun about being responsible. Being responsible means you stay at home when you really want to go to see a movie with your friend, because you know you can’t afford it. Being responsible means getting up and going to work every day, even though it makes you want to drive a fork through your eye. Being responsible means staying firm about decisions you make, when all you really want to do is give in with reckless abandon, and indulge in forbidden pleasures.

Whoever decided that it was up to us, as adults, to bear the weight of responsibility must have been a pretty uptight kinda dude. It certainly makes me miss aspects of my childhood, when hard decisions were up to other people to make. What I need is for someone else, someone smarter than me, to make my decisions and then deal with the aftermath and the responsibility of those decisions. Or, alternatively, I need to just be more carefree, and throw away responsibility altogether. To be fair, neither one of those options are sustainable in the long term, but right now I’m having a lover’s tiff with responsibility, and at this rate, one of us is going to end up sleeping on the couch.

In a perfect world, I would have everything I wanted. In a perfect world, having to choose between my sanity or a paycheck wouldn’t even be an issue. Nor would choosing between fun things, and adult things. In a perfect world I wouldn’t have to sacrifice one thing for another, or give up on things altogether. But alas, we don’t live in a perfect world, and being a responsible adult is about the only thing I am able to do, even when I hate it.

A Strange Kind of Luck

I have a strange kind of luck. I have never won the lottery, and I never win any of the competitions I occasionally enter. I haven’t had much luck with jobs, or romance, or any of the things that are a general measure of success (whatever that means). I am frightfully clumsy, and will generally find a way to embarrass myself in any situation. So I wouldn’t at all consider myself a particularly lucky person. But what I do have, is a curious ability to avoid serious injury by the very tiniest of margins. It’s my superpower, if you will. Which, as it turns out, is quite a super power to have.

Take a couple of years ago. I was driving my car around a corner on a wet road, when my tyres gave way and suddenly I was hydroplaning. I spun into oncoming traffic, was narrowly missed by a car coming in the other direction, and ended up on the gutter. It was a quick accident, over in a matter of seconds, though it felt infinitely longer to me at the time. My car was written off after the accident, but I was unscathed. Similarly, a few years ago I fell asleep behind the wheel of my car whilst my brother was in the passenger seat. Again, it would have been for no more than a few seconds, but I awoke as I was drifting slowly off the road. I righted myself, and my brother took over driving.

When I use those examples, it sounds like my close calls are all car related. I promise you, I’m actually a very good driver! And I’ve had more than a few close calls that didn’t occur behind the wheel of a vehicle! Today, I had another flirtation with injury. One of the things I do at my job is cutting keys. I’ve been quite ill the last few days, and so I was wearing a cardigan to work to keep warm. As I was cutting a key for a customer this afternoon, the sleeve of said cardigan got caught in the machine and jammed. The super sharp cutter was millimetres away from the delicate skin on the inside of my wrist just before I turned the power off. Fortunately the only thing that got damaged was my sleeve. No trips to the hospital for me (touch wood).

I have countless stories of how I have managed to, by either my own foolishness or by universal design, end up in a situation that could be potentially harmful, and somehow managed to escape said situation without so much as a scratch. I am constantly amazed by the sheer number of close calls I have had in my life. Certainly more than the average person, I’m sure! Somehow, this strange super power of mine manages to save the day (and my life more than once).

I realise as I’m writing this, that I’m probably tempting fate. My next close call could be the one that results in severed fingers, or broken bones, or some kind of hideous injury that will take months to recover from. But for now, at least, I can say that I am quite alright and completely uninjured!

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor (read, surgeon). Not because I wanted to help people, but because I wanted to see what they looked like inside. You could say I was a bit of a morbid child, but don’t panic; I didn’t turn into a serial killer. I was just curious about the way things worked. It was probably that curiosity that drove my brain subconsciously toward the fascination with the death care industry, and my desire to become a mortician.

When I got a little older, I decided that being a doctor wasn’t for me. I thought maybe I would like to be an archaeologist instead, because I was fascinated by history, and how things got to be where they ended up, and the stories that could be told by bones and all manner of things one finds in the ground. Plus, I had a huge crush on Indiana Jones, duh. Soon, that dream too fell by the wayside, as I was struck by the revelation that there was so much study involved, and school was gross.

Of course, I’ve thought of doing many things over the years. Amongst many others, I considered being a teacher, a stewardess, a vet, a vampire slayer and, like almost every child in the world at some point (I’m sure), a rock star. None of these career goals lasted very long, and when I reached the age where I could actually go out and find I job, I went into the most easy and accessible field available; retail.

Now, at 26, I’m still working in retail, and still no closer to deciding what it is I want to do. I mean, yes, my ultimate goal is still to be a mortician. But as with anything, getting a job in a particular field is not as easy as simply having an interest and a desire to work within that field. I’m working on it, nevertheless, but in the meantime I need to find something that doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the face every morning.

The one thing that has stuck with me all these years, is writing. I’ve always had a dream that maybe one day, I’ll write books for a living. This romantic notion comes complete with not having to wear pants, getting to work from home, being fabulous and reclusive, whilst also being friends with the likes of Neil Gaiman, J.K Rowling, and Gillian Flynn. And did I mention not having to wear pants? I lose motivation a lot, and I have writing lulls, and I doubt myself every time I put pen to paper. But one day, maybe.

For the moment, I have to content myself with the fact that I at least have a job, and a means to make money. I could certainly be a lot worse off, and I’m about to return to full time in the coming weeks, so I can at least go back to saving for a house sometime in the future. A job is better than no job, as they say. And unless I’m headed for some kind of untimely demise at any point soon, I’m sure I have plenty of time to follow my career dreams.

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.