Cultivating Your Peoplehood

We all have our people. You know, the friends and/or family members that just…get it. Those people who understand and accept you as exactly who you are. Those people who you can be totally open, and honest, and raw with. The people that will hear you without judgement, and allow you to be your most authentic self. My friend and I have a word for this group of folks that you surround yourself with. More than just “mates” or people that you just happen to know. Not necessarily family either, though not explicitly excluding those individuals. An all encompassing term we coined to describe your tribe/friends/soul mates all in one. We call them your peoplehood.

I’ve had many different groups of friends in my life. School friends, long distance friends, work friends. Some people I have associated with purely due to circumstance, and others that I have grown fond friendships with after meeting in completely unexpected ways. There has certainly been cases of friendships based solely on proximity, that end without animosity when the situation changes. Friends I had at one job, that I lost contact with when I changed jobs, for example. I’ve had friends that I thought I would have forever – like the group of girls I went to highschool with – that I have grown apart from. I suppose you could easily sum it up by saying that I have had different people along for the ride in different times in my life, and many were in my life for only as long as they needed to be. Hey, the Universe works in mysterious ways, what can I say.

Now, it’s no secret that I don’t particularly like people as a whole. I’m an introvert at heart, and largely impatient and easily frustrated by humanity. However in recent times, I have come to realise that I actually have a much wider group of friends than I had ever really considered. This realisation, and indeed, reality, is at odds with my overwhelming misanthropy. But, at almost 28 years old, I have long since learned that it is not about the amount of friends you have (be that a large or small number) but about the quality of those relationships. And reflecting upon my close group of friends – my peoplehood – and the wider circle of friends I associate with, I have to say that I have succeeded in surrounding myself with some truly stellar folks.

I think it is important – nay, essential – to make sure that the people around you are good people. And by that, I mean people with whom you are comfortable, and safe, and happy. People who support you and raise you up, instead of dragging you down. People who you can turn to, and who can be comfortable turning to you. A relationship in any measure is, after all, a joint effort. It is also important to recognise when a relationship is no longer a healthy one. Toxic, unhealthy relationships not only affect you on a base level, but on a spiritual level too. It can sometimes be hard to step away from something, and see it without rose coloured glasses, but being able to do so will benefit you in unimaginable ways.

The message here is essentially that you need to find your people. Spend time with folks who make you happy. But more than that, surround yourself with people who understand you, and who light your soul on fire. Your time and your energy are precious commodities, and wasting them on people who bring you down, or leave you feeling drained will only hurt you in the long run. I’ll say it again for the people in the back; cultivate, and nurture your peoplehood. You’ll thank yourself for it, and you will get back as much as you give, every time.

High School Reunion? Not a Chance.

I’ve never understood the concept of high school reunions. And I can not think of a single thing that I’d want to do less, than attend a gathering of former classmates ten years after graduating. It seems such a pointless and mundane idea, not to mention entirely unappealing. I knew it was coming. It’s been ten years since I finished my last year of school, and I knew it was only a matter of time before someone decided to organise a get together.

I briefly logged into Facebook tonight, searching for a photo of the wedding dress I made a couple of years ago. I didn’t find it, but I did get a pop up notification for a ten year school reunion event/group, which is what inspired this post. Now, I wasn’t actually invited, which is down to a couple of things. First of all, the name on my Facebook page is not my real name, so I’m not the easiest to find. Second, I keep my account permanently deactivated, only logging in perhaps once every 12 months for no more than ten minutes. And third, I’m actually kind of an asshole, so I don’t imagine I’d be high on the list of invitees, which doesn’t upset me in the slightest. Really, what is it about the idea of a reunion that gets so many people all hyped up? I mean, high school wasn’t exactly a stellar time, and quite frankly I’m happy to leave it in the past.

I think about the people I went to high school with, and the few times I have seen them in the years since. I have occasionally run into old classmates either at work, or in random unexpected situations. There is always polite, somewhat forced conversation, wherein the other party seems far more interested in talking about themselves, with the obligatory “so what have you been up to?” tacked on the end. So a whole night filled with those same conversations isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. The thing is, I wasn’t particularly sociable in high school, and I’ve gotten even less so as I’ve gotten older, so I honestly don’t care what a bunch of strangers are up to now, nor do I want to spend an evening with them. And I can’t understand how any of that is even remotely appealing.

I think what it comes down to, is a pissing contest. People attend their high school reunions under the guise of friendly catch up, to see who is successful and happy, and who isn’t. It’s nothing more than an opportunity to try and outdo everyone else in the room. It’s a big competition to see who has the biggest rock in their wedding ring, who makes the most money, who has the most stereotypically boring suburban lifestyle that people in their late 20’s seem to froth over. Who has put on the most weight? Who is still single? Who is gay now? I can just picture a room full of people who are now married with children, chatting idly about their identically uninteresting lives, unsure of how to relate to former classmates outside of the designated cliques that seemed to dominate the high school years. Dull conversation, silent competition, and the inevitable drunken mess who can’t hold their liquor, and has to be led stumbling to a taxi in a fog of vomit scented embarrassment. Ugh. Thanks, but that’s one event I plan to avoid.

I Need a New Job

My life has turned into this endless search for alternative employment. I check the recruitment websites daily, I’ve applied for a number of jobs since the start of the year – and have subsequently received a number of rejections. I am desperately seeking a change, and at this point almost anything will do.

I’ve had a bad week. And it’s only Wednesday! My need for a new job is the most pressing issue in my life currently, and I’m hoping that something presents itself soon. I am trying to think positively about it, because I know that my time with my current employer is coming to an end. Recent events have made that even more clear, and so I know that the right job will come to me at the right time. Or at least, I have to believe that it will, because it’s the only thing I can focus on at the moment. And if things continue they way they are for much longer, I’m going to do something stupid and just quit on the spot. I’ve come extremely close to doing just that, particularly in the last couple of weeks.

At the crux of it, my problem is a lack of work/life balance. Six days of work and one day off is not enough, particularly if you’re like me, and cannot do nothing. I am endlessly filling every ounce of spare time I have with extraneous activities, and then I wonder why I am so exhausted all the time. It’s all a part of my restless nature, but I’m not helping my cause any. And the days I spend at work are dull, monotonous, and equally draining. I’m not expecting my dream job to just pop up out of nowhere, not least because I’m still not sure what my dream job would be. But if not that, I would at least settle for a job that doesn’t make me want to carve my eyeballs out with a rusty spoon.

So, because a little extra luck never hurt anyone, cross your fingers for me, friends. May a new job present itself soon, and may my life become something more than a long, endless grind.

My Sexual Preference is Not a Waste

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This one is for any same sex attracted person out there who has been on the receiving end of unwanted comments by strangers who think they have the right to cast judgement, and give opinions where they are not wanted.

The other day at work, I served an older male customer. I put a battery in his watch, the same way I do countless times in a day. Apparently he was impressed with how quickly I completed the task, and proceeded to tell me that I was a “good girl” and that “your husband is a lucky man.” Now, I should have just let it go, but, in typical Amy fashion, I bit back at the assumption, and stated that I wasn’t married. The old man laughed, as though this was the funniest thing he had ever heard and responded with “ah well, your boyfriend then.” Again, I should have just shut my mouth but again, my sass won out and I replied with “I don’t have one of those either.”

Now, in a way, the resulting conversation was of my own doing. Had I just shut up and let the man go on with his archaic assumptions, it would have been just another dull interaction with another ignorant customer. But alas, I am argumentative, to a fault. And I wasn’t in the mood for this guy, and his attempts to be funny. So, when he proceeded to go on about how a “pretty girl [like me] should be married”, and how “any man would be lucky to take you out” I snapped and said “Well, I don’t really like men, so it’s a moot point”. And then it really began. I was barraged with comments, questions, further insistence that I should be with a man. Then it got worse.

While all this unsolicited bombardment was going on, a younger man approached, who it turned out was the son of the ignorant twit I was dealing with. And said ignorant twit then turned around and tried to set me up with his son. Let me repeat that; the old man, who by this point was highly aware that I was in no way interested in men, tried to get me to go on a date with his very male son. The son looked a little bewildered as his father went on about how attractive he was, and how we would look nice together, and how “even though you say that’s not your thing, how could you say no?” And finally, he told me that my being attracted to women is a waste. At this, his son ushered him away with a mumbled apology to me and I was left to ponder what I had just experienced. I thought that was the end of it.

Today, that same old man walked past my shop. That same old man stopped me while I was working, and once again – as if he didn’t make it clear enough the first time – felt it necessary to reiterate his earlier contention. He said “I still think it’s a waste.” Now this time I just threw my hands up and walked away. Sir, I am sleep deprived and of a generally irritable disposition; I am not in the mood for your shit today. I mean, why is it such a supposed waste? It’s not like your crusty ass would be getting the benefit of it if I liked men anyway! I just grow increasingly tired of hearing the same old shit from jerks who think I care what they think.

So, to all the people who have told me it’s a waste. To all the people who have told me I just “need a good dicking”. To all the people who have asked “How do you know if you’ve never tried?” To all the people who have asked if they can watch me and another girl get it on. To all the people, past and future, who have ever or will ever give me an unsolicited opinion about who I am attracted to, the decisions I make regarding marriage, and the way I choose to live my life. Allow me to offer you an aggressive, and resounding FUCK YOU.

Low Battery vs the World

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My mind is swirling with a series of unrelated, half formed thoughts. I have tried to begin this post six times, and deleted the paragraph each time. I am thinking about the weight of expectation, and the way people have a tendency to disappoint us, and how unfulfilled I feel, and I am thinking about the clothes I want to make, and the places I want to travel, and the things I wish I had done. My mind is a very busy place at the moment, which is probably a good thing, because my workplace is very much the opposite of busy. That’s where I am, right at this very moment. I am sitting on my bench at work, writing this post whilst all around me, people are milling about, living their lives, doing their thing, and paying me absolutely no mind.

Truth be told, I don’t mind being invisible sometimes. It means no one is in my face, demanding things of me. My time, my attention, my affection, my energy. I think we often spend so much of our time giving to other people, that we don’t leave enough for ourselves. Then again, perhaps this is only true of people who are of a similar disposition to me. I have friends who seem to have boundless energy and sunlight to give to people, but I guard my energy more closely. It’s draining to give to much of yourself to other people, and I think sometimes we feel obligated to give more than we can afford to lose, just so we don’t have to incur any disappointment. They expect so much, don’t they?

I am running on an ever draining battery. Customer service has that effect too. I spend all day dealing with others, helping them with the things that need fixing, offering smiles and conversation and losing a little more of myself with each passing interaction. The nineteen year old girl I am training also requires my time and attention, and I try my best to fill the role of both manager and trainer, but I have found my tolerance for the everyday routine is waning, and I find it harder and harder to maintain the facade. Every part of me is screaming for a break from all the people. I need a quite place alone, where I can think and get my head straight, and refuel and recharge. Bukowski said it best when he wrote “People empty me. I have to get away to refill.”

Small things bring me joy, amidst all this loss of energy and self. A text from a friend brings me a smile. I am making progress with two particular financial goals I have set for myself. I started writing again. These things are the things I cling to, when everything else seems less than satisfactory. I guess that’s what it’s all about, in the end. You just have to appreciate the small things.

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?

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.

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.

Overworked

So, I just worked 14 days straight, and before my last day off – which wasn’t a day off because I still had to go to work anyway – I worked 13 days straight, and I had to go into work today on my “day off” and at this rate it seems as though I’m not getting a proper actual day away from work in the foreseeable future. I am back working for the company I spent 3.5 years with before things like this (see above re working every single day ever) sent me into an exhaustion fuelled, very nearly suicidal depression, and I quit. So why did I return, you ask? Well, desperation mainly. Unfortunately I have yet to win the lottery and so I have to work for a living, and since I never had any luck finding work with anyone else after my job at the ambulance call centre fell through, returning to my old/current job was the last resort.

I have been forced to neglect the things I love, because I am either too tired, too exhausted, or I simply don’t have the time. I have only sewn three garments this year. Three. For the entire year. One of them was a costume for a play so I don’t know that it really counts. And I’ve had a partially completed dress hanging on my mannequin, untouched for over a month. I haven’t written so much as a creative sentence in weeks, blogging notwithstanding. My paintbrushes have been left to collect dust and I have about 15 shows I need to catch up on, and a stack of books I haven’t even looked at for months. Today, all I wanted to do was make a blueberry pie and I couldn’t even find time in my day to manage that. I am in equal measures frustrated and exhausted, and I really just want to sleep for a week.

I can see myself heading for a crash. Like the Titanic barreling headlong into that iceberg, my path towards destruction seems imminent at this point. I feel like I’m drowning in mud and the more I struggle, the more bogged down I get. If I seem grumpy, don’t be offended. I am just physically and mentally worn down and, regrettably, cannot stop the verbal manifestation of that exhaustion from spilling out of my mouth.

Cross your fingers for that winning lottery ticket, y’all. Because if something doesn’t change soon, I’m afraid I’m going to literally get worked to death. I am creative dude, and when we creative dudes can’t vent out the problems of the world artistically, things can get pretty tense. Like a ticking time bomb, I might explode at any minute.