Disheartened

Lately it seems like every time I try to get ahead, this adult life just keeps dragging me back. I’m living week to week, barely scraping though and hoarding every cent. I pay one bill, three more arrive in my email. I can’t even contribute to the everyday living costs at home yet, because I’m just not earning enough right now. The drama lies in breaking my lease. See, I’m paying rent on a house I don’t even live in anymore, and despite the rental demand, apparently the real estate agent and/or landlord ‘haven’t found a suitable tenant’. The house, mind you, has been on the market for five weeks. Five. Fucking. Weeks.

I’ve been travelling two hours each way to this house I used to call my home, scrambling to get everything done before I had to hand the keys back. I cleaned the entire house three weeks back, and moved everything out into a storage shed two weeks ago. The yard is the final thing, and I went back last week to try and finish it. I didn’t finish it, and have no more time. So now, I have to pay for a gardener to come in and complete it. Which is another cost to add to the every growing list. And still, they haven’t found someone to take over the lease. They’ve had inspections aplenty, because they email me and text me every time they do. So I find it very difficult to believe that they haven’t found someone suitable in over a month. Personally, I think they’re just biding their time because they know legally I have to keep paying rent until someone else moves in. So I expect to be paying rent on this house until well into next year.

It seems every time I move away from my home town, things go spectacularly wrong. Things were bad when I lived in the city, things turned sour when I moved to this new town. I just keep coming back to my home town, time and time again. Part of me wonders if I’m being drawn back for a reason, and another part of me is screaming that I am in charge of my own…fate, if you will. Whatever the reason, I think it’s gonna be a while before I’m brave enough to move away again.

The truth is, I’m just feeling really disheartened lately. For a myriad of reasons, not least being that I feel like I’m being a burden to my dad, who I’ve moved back in with, and the fact that I just can’t seem to catch up. I need a break in my bad luck. I’m not even talking winning the lottery, I’d just like to be able to get some sleep instead of lying awake because I’m so anxious. Or for the real estate to email me today and say they’ve found a tenant. Or, let’s be real, winning the lottery would be kind of awesome.

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On Fear, and (Lessons From) Dimmu Borgir

Image result for dimmu borgir

Everyone is scared of something. Clowns, spiders, penguins….it takes all kinds, as they say. I have to confess that I am not particularly fond of moths, with their propensity for flying at my face at full speed, and their general creepy demeanour. But the thing that really, truly scares me is mediocrity. The idea that I will spend my life never getting to experience anything beyond mundane, everyday average-ness terrifies the absolute hell out of me.

I know you have all heard this story before. Twenty something working in a boring job just to pay the bills, seemingly the only single person in a world filled with couples, struggling to save for nice things whilst elsewhere, people are buying houses and travelling the world and living their best lives. They’ve literally made movies about my exact predicament, and mostly those movies are shit. Though, in the Hollywood way, most of the protagonists in those stories have some kind of life changing experience and they all live happily ever after, blah blah blah.

Look, it’s entirely possible that I’m being a little dramatic, and largely unrealistic. Am I, perhaps, putting too much faith in the idea that I am ‘on the right path’? Am I overlooking the fact that life itself is messy and unpredictable? Am I spending too much time simply wondering when my life is going to start, instead of realising that it already has, and that I am entirely responsible for my own happiness? The answers to all of these questions is a resounding yes. See, I have this infallible tendency to overthink, and then overreach, whilst simultaneously doubting myself. The result has never been anything less than a spectacular failure, which in turn leads to a rut that I find harder to climb out of each time.

There are so many things that I want to do, to see, to learn. My brain is like a sponge, wanting to soak up as much as I possibly can. I want to curate a life of experiences so that when I die, I can say that the time I had was well spent. Is it morbid to be thinking about my death at the ripe old age of 26? Probably. The thing is, I often find it hard to remember that there is plenty of time and opportunity ahead of me. I need to stop beating myself up about the fact that I am here, when I want to be over there. More importantly, I have to learn to be kinder to myself, which is not an easy thing when the only pet you’ve ever had is the proverbial black dog.

The thing that scares me above all else, is the notion of existing without actually living. It is a kind of underlying, insidious fear that permeates every little aspect of my life. But, in the same way I overcame my fear of spiders a few years ago, I know I can overcome this too. I just need to take things one day at a time, go slowly, and remember what Dimmu Borgir taught me;

“The keys are in your hands. Realise you are your own sole creator of your own master plan.”

Forgotten Friends

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking lately, about the people in my life, and the people who aren’t in it anymore. As a self confessed hater of people, it’s not unusual for me to quietly remove myself from the lives of people I once knew. People with whom I have not had a conversation in a year. People that I no longer share common interests with, or who I can safely say I don’t even know anymore. People with whom I have simply mutually agreed not to talk to anymore. There are a lot of reasons why people come into our lives, and a lot of reasons why they leave.

I was thinking first of my school friends. I don’t recall the last time I really saw or spoke to any of them. Where once we were as close as family, I see the occasional social media post from these girls and realise, I have no idea how they got to where they are, or what they are currently doing with their respective lives. Sure, there have been halfhearted attempts to stay in contact in the years following high school, but those attempts have long since stopped entirely. And there’s certainly no malice in it. It’s not that I’ve had any kind of falling out with them. It’s more that a distance has grown between us, as happens to school friends as you get older. I bear none of these girls any ill will, and would hope that they feel the same way about me.

Then I think about people I used to work with. Friends who, at the time, felt as close to me as any person I had known. But, as happens, jobs change and people change and all of a sudden you realise it’s been months, or years since you last saw those people. And in a way, I’m saddened by that. I have made friends through work that I thought I would have forever. I’ve shared great times with them, and now I think of the people I worked with and I feel separate from them, in a way I didn’t realise would effect me quite so much as it does.

People live their lives in different ways, ways that take them in different directions from friends and family. Sometimes it’s worth holding onto friendships, and sometimes it’s better to just let them fade away into acquaintances. Then, of course, there are those people who it’s better to just walk away from altogether. More than once, I’ve ended a relationship (in this case, both romantic and non romantic relationships) bluntly and with no possible hope for reconciliation. When something is done, it’s done. And I’m all about letting go of the things that hold you back or drag you down.

I think a lot of us buy into the idea that ‘friends for life’ are the only kind of friends worth having. And certainly, when we meet and become close with someone, it’s difficult to imagine that there may be a time when that closeness is gone. No one likes to consider the possibility that a relationship might end, especially one that both parties get a lot out of. I know myself that I have people in my life that I can’t imaging being without. But you can’t predict the future (or at least, I can’t), and nothing is set in stone. And anyone can be a friend, regardless of whether you know them your entire life, or just for a week. We need to let go of the idea that we have to maintain failing relationships. Of course I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, but there comes a point when trying is futile. Letting go of useless or toxic people, might hurt initially but it’s going to be better in the long run.

As I got older, I came to realise that it’s not about the number of friends you have, or even necessarily about the amount of time you spend with them. I have two best friends, both of whom I mostly see at work. I have a very close friend that I talk to at least weekly, and a handful of friends I see semi regularly, or whenever we’re able. I have very few close friends, but those I have I am extraordinarily fond of. And even if something happens and my friendships with these people disintegrates over time, at least I can say that the people I have in my life at any given time, are the people who are meant to be there.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I got a hair cut yesterday. I’ve been hankering to chop off my locks for months, despite pretty much everyone I know telling me I shouldn’t. The salon finally called me back this week and I booked my appointment, much to my relief. I sat in the chair yesterday, and watched my hair fall to the floor. I felt better and better with every snip of the hairdressing scissors.

The change was not drastic. I lost maybe three inches of length, tidied all the layers and finally found a hairdresser who actually knows what a side fringe is. But it was enough to make me feel considerably better. And I didn’t even necessarily feel bad, just tired of the same old look. My hair, falling to somewhere around waist length, is the one feature I get complimented on most often. Which, I suppose, is why everyone was so hesitant to see it get hacked off (not that I care overly about other people’s opinions on what I should do with my own hair, mind you). But I’ve been growing it for five years, so for me the change was overdue.

It’s kind of funny how something as small as a haircut can make all the difference to one’s mental state. Now, if I could just lose ten kgs and actually fit into some of my old clothes again, I’d feel heaps better! But either way, a haircut is just the beginning. An overhaul is coming. I need to break free of the cycle of negative I’ve been trapped in for months, and with this new look, I feel I can focus on a new outlook.

A Curated Life; Thoughts on Social Media

Instagram is probably my most used social media account. I recent got rid of Facebook again, because I find it insufferable and dull, but something about Instagram is hard to stay away from. However as I was doing my obligatory morning scroll through my feed today, I got increasingly disheartened and I’m considering taking a break from all social media altogether.

I follow quite a few different accounts. Some are for sewing, some for shopping, some for art, some for travel, and some because I just think the girls who own the accounts are pretty, and my homosexual heart is a sucker for a nice face. Many of these photos that come up that look so beautiful, are posed and edited and, in a lot of cases, fake. But it’s easy to forget that. It’s easy to look at all these carefully curated photos and think “why doesn’t my life look like that?” Comparatively, I feel like I’m a dull, grey person in a world full of shiny bright people and I can’t help but occasionally feel a bit boring. Which is, of course, no fault of the other account holders.

Let’s be honest here; many photos uploaded to social media are altered to appear better. That is the very nature of the beast, after all. And it’s easy to forget that the facade people put forward to the world only shows the happy shiny pieces of their lives that they want to share. It rarely discusses, in an open and honest way, about the other half of life. The struggles, the anxieties, the being awake at 3 in the morning and wondering if you’ll ever be good enough. Ok, so maybe not everyone feels that way, but my point stands.

We average people – that is to say, those of us who aren’t fantastic photographers, and have no idea how to edit a photo – must not appear very interesting in comparison. Where other accounts show a series of colour coordinated images and carefully posed and timed shots, my account is a cacophony of random images that I’ve shot very unprofessionally on my phone camera. Where they have an ‘aesthetic’, I have whatever I’ve taken a photo of at the time. Where they constantly dress in gorgeous clothing (often times made by companies they’re being sponsored by), I’m over here decked head to toe in K-Mart.

Sewing, books, Brooklyn 99…this is my life

I sometimes get caught up in the fantasy of social media, because it’s hard not to. All these accounts, many of which use their influence as their sole source of income, their entire purpose is to be beautiful. Because no one wants to see ‘ugly’ things on social media. But maybe if it was more realistic, more natural, then the supposed ugliness of being an everyday human being wouldn’t appear so different, or so uninteresting.

The thing is, life doesn’t have a filter. There’s no Photoshop application for the way you see the world, no cropping out the unhappy things, no turning up the saturation on a bleak outlook. Life is a mess. But at least it’s real, and I’ll take the messy real world over the bright, clean, designer world of social media any day.

Why Doing What You Love is Never as Simple as it Sounds

“Just do what you love.”

I get this advice a lot. Being underemployed means I spend a lot of my time searching the internet for full time work. I’ve applied for a tonne in the last couple of months, had one interview for a job (which I was told yesterday I did get), a handful of rejection emails and a whole lot of silence. I’ve applied for anything and everything that doesn’t require a formal qualification (there are a lot of jobs for health professionals, accountants and lawyers in my area currently). And all people keep telling me is “just do what you love”, as if that in itself is easy.

Firstly, the things I love to do are hardly marketable. Sure, I enjoy writing and sewing, but the brutal truth is that I am not good enough at either of those things to make a living from them. And secondly, I don’t know what I’m really passionate about, enough to want to do it for a job. I’ve long since resigned myself to the fact that I will never have a job I love, but at this point I’d settle for a job that pays enough to survive on.

Some people love their jobs. I have friends that studied and are now working their dream jobs. J know people who got a job that turned out to be exactly what they wanted. And some people are just plain positive all the time, and would be happy working any job at all. Me, I would love to own a book shop. I would love to be a musician, playing in small venues to chill crowds all singing along. I would love to write books, or be a travel writer, or just get paid to travel. I would love to review films for a living, or hell, even star in films. And I’ve always kind of wanted to be a mortician. There’s a lot I would love to do, and a lot of reasons why I never could.

I know I’ve said this before, but I envy those who know what they want. And envy even more those who know what they want, and love it. I wish I loved my job, but the reality is that going to work makes me miserable. And since doing what I love isn’t going to make me enough money to live on, at least any point in the near future, I have to settle for any job that will actually employ me. So wish me luck, guys. And I hope the employment gods are listening, because a particular little misanthrope down here is starting to get desperate.

Common Things I Hear as a Shoe Repairer

I’m currently back working as a shoe repairer. Also a watch repairer, and a qualified engraver. And since I’ve been back, I’ve begun to hear again, all the things customers tend to say when they approach my counter. Some irritating, some funny, and some that leave me speechless for one reason or another.

“Do you repair shoes here?”
No, that wall of shoes behind me, and the giant sign out front advertising that we do, in fact, repair shoes, is all just there to trick you. This question always gets me, because its akin to walking into a coffee shop, and asking the barista if they serve coffee.

“Are you going to do a good job?”
Firstly, yes. Secondly, I’m very good at my job, and I take pride in my work, so to reiterate my first point…yes. This is one of the more regular questions I get. For some reason, when handing shoes over, people get paranoid that their items will come back in a worse shape than when they dropped them in. But the whole point of my job is literally to do the exact opposite; I’m a repairer, not a destroyer.

“But I only need one heel.”
This question often arises because people think it will be cheaper to only replace one of a pair. Whilst often one heel is actually more worn than the other, I have to repair them by the pair to make sure they’re an even height.

“Can’t you fit my shoes in? (I’m only here for the day)”
Sure. If you wanna call the ten people who brought in shoes ahead of you, and explain to each of them why you deserve preferential treatment, I will happily do your huge, time consuming job today. My biggest frustration with this question, is the sense of entitlement some people have. I don’t mind fitting in smaller jobs here and there, in between doing other shoes (while I wait for the glue to heat for example), but so often people come up, and as a result of their own poor time management, can’t wait around. They then get mad at me, because I genuinely don’t have time to do the work they require in the timeframes they demand.

“You’re a girl”
Yes. Yes I am. I generally get this from middle aged men, who still live in a time when women were deemed incapable of doing anything. I had a customer the other day who I assume meant to say this very thing, but fumbled his words and instead, ended up asking me if I was a girl.

“Do you actually work here?”
Yup. Hence the uniform. And…y’know, the whole standing behind the counter thing. This is a combination of asking if I repair shoes, and commenting that I’m a girl. Implied in the question is that I can’t possibly be employed as a repairer, and that I must simply be here to serve customers.

But don’t you need a man to supervise you?”
Well, now that you mention it…no. I have nearly three years experience, and managed various stores in the city, so I’m fully qualified and perfectly capable. Further examples of people not acknowledging my skill, on the basis that I don’t have a penis.

“Did it take a lot of training?”
People are always fascinated by how one gets into a job like mine, and because of the skills involved, are equally curious about the training it took to get to where I am. With the company I work for, it was mostly on the job stuff, with an assessment at three and twelve months respectively.

“That’s very expensive. Can’t you make it cheaper?”
This, I imagine, is common of many retail stores. Most of what we do has set pricing, standard across all stores. It takes into account time required, materials, and skills involved. There are always special circumstances and exceptions, but it’s not a regular occurrence.

But that’s not what the other girl said”
I’m sorry to tell you, but I am the other (and only) girl. And FYI there is no way I would ever say that the $80 repair job you have can be done for $15. This is another one particularly common in retail. Customers assume that a) you don’t communicate with your work mates and b) that you’ll take them on face value. In some cases, I concede that one customer may be given conflicting information by two staff members, but more often than not in my experience, it’s just a case of the customers thinking were dumb. We’re not dumb.

Do you know where the toilets are?”
This one comes up a lot, because I work in an open kiosk, in a busy shopping centre, and I guess I’m an easy point of access for questions unrelated to my job. Though sometimes, I can’t help but have a little chuckle to myself when they ask where the supermarket is, because my shop is literally right out the front of the supermarket.

I could honestly write a book about all the strange things I hear at my job. But for now, I’ll leave you with just a blog post!