Nothing of Me

I have a quote tattooed on my ribs, by Chuck Palahniuk, back when his writing was cutting and edgy, and full of vitriol, and good. His more recent novels have been amongst the worst books I’ve ever read, but there was a time when he was at the peak of nihilism and barely contained rage. Those books are amongst the best books I’ve ever read, so I guess it balances out in the end. Regardless of his waning talent, there was a quote I read in one of his earlier novels, titled Invisible Monsters. The quote reads “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known.” I liked it so much that I went out and got it inked into my skin forever.

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Like much of Palahniuk’s earlier works, Invisible Monsters brought forth questions that teenage Amy was determined to seek answers for. Certainly, I wondered how I would have been different if it were not for the people around me, and their ultimate influence. I still think about it today, which I suppose is why I got tattooed in the first place. I often wonder how my life would have been altered had I never met my best friends. Or if my bookshop had never closed down. Or if I had have moved away and not ever come back. I think about the bands I like, the movies I’ve seen, the books I’ve read. And I wonder whether I would have had those same interest if I had have been born in another time, in another country, or even to different parents.

It’s easy to ignore the influence of other people, or pretend that it doesn’t exist when you’re determined to come across as independent. But even the most self certain people in the world have taken some measure of influence from the people around them. It’s impossible not to. Every discussion you ever have with another person is an opportunity for them to introduce you to a new way of thinking, or a new interest that you may not have previously had. And you hold that same power when you talk to other people. Maybe you make a statement and the person you’re talking to suddenly had their eyes opened to a new idea that they had never considered before.

I grew up listening to music from when my parents were teenagers, the music that they brought with them into adulthood, and parenthood. Would I have loved music from the 70’s and 80’s if I had not had that particular influence from the very moment I was born? Would I have come to find a liking for it entirely on my own, if it was not something I had developed an interest in as a direct result of my parents? These are the questions I find myself thinking at least semi regularly, when I wonder if my life would be better if. Admittedly that whole grass being greener thing is just a matter of perception, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering how I got to this point as the person I am. Who influenced me, who made me? The answer is probably everyone, myself included. I am not a person made of nothing, I am a person made from every experience, every interaction, every thing.

6am Ramblings 

It’s early. I’m hungry. For a fleeting moment, I considered going for a walk. That was half an hour ago, and instead all I did was look up “fitness tips” on Pinterest. Definitely not conducive to actual fitness, and going for a walk would have inevitably been the better option. I’ve slacked off. I tried to go to the gym three times last week, but my friend hasn’t been well, and I’m still too anxious to walk in there on my own, so I only went one and a half times. And I’m fairly certain I’ve eaten my body weight in chocolate related items this week, which kind of renders the gym redundant. Plus, my weight is slowly creeping up and I feel very conspicuous and large, even though I’m really not fat, just all over more chubby. People have commented on it and each time, I feel a flush creep into my cheeks, as if I should be ashamed of myself or something.

It’s not just my fitness plans that have fallen by the wayside. My writing has stopped…again. Though I did start a new book (Joe Hill’s The Fireman) and a new series (Mindhunter, much to my best friend’s delight). My sewing has all but ceased, and I actually closed down the Elegant Fox Facebook page, because I have neither the time nor the motivation to be sewing for other people anymore, and I simply don’t get a chance to post my makes often enough. I felt the added pressure of expectation just became too much, and I feel infinitely better for cancelling it. Instead, I am working on costumes for the play, and after a fitting (and once I get the fabric), can start on the first. Oh, didn’t I tell you guys? Yes, I’m in a play!

I was originally asked to do the costume work for the play, and shortly thereafter was offered a role and figured, why not? I love new things, even when they terrify me! So that’s how I ended up playing a character in a one act play written by my friend, set to be performed in January. Should be cool, new experiences and all that.

And then, I have decided that in the early months of next year, I will be taking some time off work to visit some coastal towns. I kind of have this notion that my next big move will be to the beach. Since the city didn’t work out so well for me, I figured the next step is to go coastal. Only, unlike with the move to the city, I’m going to do my research and find a good fit before I make a move.

Anyway, I have just remembered I have a mango, so I’m going to go eat that for breakfast (I’m still hungry) and then try and enjoy the last day of the weekend before I have to return to my mind numbingly dull day job. Maybe I’ll quit and become a yoga teacher (says the girl who has never even done so much as a yoga class her entire life…hey, maybe I should take it up!).

If I don’t see you, have a good Christmas y’all. I mean, I hate this time of year, but there’s always the food, the drink, the company of great people, and the food. Did I mention the food? Enjoy it all, and happy holidays!

Only Thursday 


I woke up this morning, late and disgruntled. Why? Because today is only Thursday. It has been a very long few weeks at work, as I have been working two straight weeks of late shifts. And when there can be up to three minutes between calls at that late stage in the day, believe me, those 8.5 hours can feel like 28.5. 

It is at this point in the fortnight that I knew my tolerance for anything would be stretched to the limit. I am unmotivated, irritable, and that back pain from a few weeks ago has decided to come back with a vengeance so, on top of everything else, I’m uncomfortable. This is not a good combination for a happy and productive Amy.

Add to this the strange, disjointed dreams. The quickly decreasing funds in my bank account, and long stretch of days before I get paid again. The similar situition with my phone data, where every time I check the ‘net, I am brought closer to going over my limit and being charged an extra GB for $10 (which, frankly, is something of a rip off if you ask me). And, of course, the real cherry atop this grumpy fortnight cake; my weekend is still two days away!

Now, I’ve been trying not to eat a lot of crap food lately, in an attempt to encourage a healthier and more active change in habits. But guys, with still two days left in this week, it’s time to bring out the big guns to get me through. It’s time…for tea and chocolate!

Anyway, I hope your day/week/fortnight is going better than mine, in any case. And, because I’m feeling a little emotional and sappy right now, thank you for reading. You guys are the bomb diggity.

Sleepless, Grumpy, Positive Girl

I slept badly last night. There was a time when that was not uncommon. From the age of 16, right through to maybe 23, I got anywhere between no hours, and four hours of sleep a night. There was no logical reason why, and I tried everything short of medicinal solutions to help my body get the rest it needed. But nothing really worked so I just grew used to getting by on very little sleep. Then, sometime in the last 2 years, my brain just had this huge reset, and I started getting into a more regular sleeping pattern again. These days, I get about six or seven hours a night and that is normal and fine. So when I do have a bad night sleep, it hits me hard.

I barely slept, and when I did I had strange, disjointed dreams. I was engaged, the ring weighing heavily on my hand and not quite fitting with the other two I wore on the same finger. I was at a fancy hotel and in a dark room and I was trying to perform acrobatic tricks and an old Asian man was telling me I should become a monk and I had to rescue my brother and bring him home and my family was fighting and…well, it was all very bizarre. 

I have a lot of things to do today, and after the Friday I had, and a week of early starts, I was really looking forward to sleeping in a little before I had to get up and do all the things! But nope. Bad sleep means irritable Amy, which is probably not a good combination when I have to drive to the city today (and if you’re a long time follower of the blog, you’ll know that the city is definitely not my favourite place).

But, I have decided that I will not be grumpy today. An early start when I don’t have to go to work is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, it’s going to be warm today, so I can wear a dress without tights. And getting up early means I can do my errands early and not have to worry about them when I return to the city. And dad is making breakfast this morning, so that’s always a win! So, despite my lack of sleep and my weird dreams and the fact that I got up earlier on my day off that I did to go to work this week, I am determined to make the most of this fine Saturday. Enjoy your weekend, readerinos!

Bad Decisions, and Not-So-Green Grass

Do you ever have a run of seriously bad decision making? I’ve been having one of those for…well, pretty much this whole year. I’ve been in this cycle of feeling stuck, and making changes to try to better my situation, only to have it completely backfire and turn out worse than before. That whole thing about the grass not being greener on the other side has definitely hit home with me lately.

I have stuck around where I should have walked, and walked away from things I should have stuck with. I have completely uprooted my life for the possibility of something better, and had it be a huge disappointment. I’m no happier now than I was at the start of the year, and I think that’s what is really getting to me recently. I just turned 24 and I think I am the unhappiest I have ever been, and it is all the result of decisions I’ve made that I thought were going to improve my situation. Oh, I had grand plans. But one by one, they have failed and both my life, and the dreams I had have withered away and turned to dust. How’s that for some emo teenage regression?

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m having this giant existential crisis and trying to battle the ever increasing numbness that has damn near engulfed me entirely. The energy is drained out of me and what life I had has been swallowed up by the daily grind. I feel like my future isn’t even in my hands. When I’ve tried to be strong and take control of it, somehow it always fails spectacularly, and I find myself right back at the start again. It’s like driving along an endless highway, with no destination, no rest in sight, and nothing to look at but the bleak expanses of my own mundane existence.

And see the thing is, they keep telling you that if you don’t like something about your life, then you should change it. Well, I did change it, but that doesn’t seem to be working too well for me. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong?

I’m Calm, and You’re a Jerk

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hate being told to calm down. It’s like red rag to a very angry bull, especially when I’m perfectly calm to begin with. I feel like there’s nothing more condescending than being told to calm down. It’s like saying “I understand that you think there is an issue here, but you’re just being hysterical and your so called problem isn’t that big of a deal”. It’s a criticism of your behavior and makes you feel like you need to justify your emotions. It’s like being told that your concerns are invalid, and thus you aren’t worthy of the other person’s time.

I had that experience yesterday. I had a problem, I rang someone to discuss it so I could sort it out, and the very first thing he said to me was “calm down, I got this”. Now, a quick bit of context here. I had expressly asked this person to do something, and when I returned, discovered that he had completely disregarded my (very clear) instruction, and done things a completely different way. Now, people doing things their way rather than mine doesn’t bother me, if the job ends up done correctly. But in this instance, the person in question had taken it upon himself to do things that a) made giant problems for me,  b) left me completely out of the loop, and c) was entirely the wrong thing.

It took a great deal of self control to not call him some nasty names over the phone. Instead, I told him not to minimise the problems at hand, or tell me to calm down when I hadn’t even been remotely not calm. He responded with further condescension and a blase attitude that tested my level emotions. And even more infuriatingly, didn’t seem to acknowledge that he had made a mistake. It’s frustrating to have your work and your authority questioned, but those two little, seemingly innocent words have the power to make everything so much worse.

Think about it. There are very few situations where telling someone to calm down is a helpful solution. Your friend is upset because her partner has just broken up with her? Give her ice cream, give her hugs, tell her she’s better off without the ex and let her cry and rage and get her emotions out, but do not tell her to calm down. Your workmate is stressing about a job they have to do? Offer to help, get them a cup of tea/coffee and remember that telling them to calm down will seem disingenuous and like you don’t really care. A loved one is in hospital? Be there for you family/friends, cry if you all need to, and be mindful of telling grieving or anxious people to be calm. Because I think in times of sadness and stress, you are entitled to your wild emotions and no one has the right to tell you otherwise.

Calm has its place, definitely. Ask Manny, he’ll tell you, But it is something that you control and something that no one else can tell you to do, or be. Unless they want to be punched in the head for being insensitive, dismissive jerks.

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One Hour Friend

As you may have read, a couple of weeks ago my laptop decided it no longer wanted to cooperate with me, and stopped working. I was kind of distraught, considering I was certain I had just lost the book I’ve been working on for the last year, as well as a whole bunch of other important…stuff. So a couple of days ago, I Googled laptop repair and went with the one that had the best reviews (Geeks2U by the way, and I cannot recommend them enough). Yesterday, following a lovely phone conversation with one of the most helpful telephone people I have ever spoken to, they sent out a technician to my house to fix my problem.

The technician in question shares a name with my best friend, so to be honest I think I had a positive image in my mind before I’d even laid eyes on him. It has something to do with name association; if someone I am about to meet shares a name with someone I like, chances are my brain is going to associate that person with good things. This also works the same way for someone I don’t like. Many a potential character has had a name change on the basis of it reminding me of someone that I am not especially fond of! Anyway, that’s not the point. He came to the house, had a look at my laptop, worked some magic and I almost proposed to him when I saw that he had managed to fix it. In fact I’m pretty sure I may actually have professed my love for him a little bit, such was my excitement.

He was at the house for maybe an hour and we chatted whilst he fixed my poor broken down Atticus and salvaged my life’s work (or at least the last year of it!). The thing was, despite my penchant for, y’know, hating everyone and being somewhat anxious in social situations involving people I have never met, I was perfectly comfortable talking to him. I mean, I talked way  too much, which actually is a reaction to the nervousness I feel around strangers, but he seemed to take it in his stride. It was one of those rare experiences that made me realise that perhaps not all people are that bad. But I swear, if you tell anyone I said that, I’ll deny it and claim that this post was written by a robot or something.

I have a difficult time being around people without wanting to throw either them, or myself off a bridge. And I have a tendency to rub people the wrong way, which is why I find it such a struggle to make new friends. A combination of making a bad first impression, and not liking many people enough to want to spend significant amounts of time with them. But I think if I were to meet more people like the Laptop Rescuer Who Saved My Life(tm), perhaps I would have a better chance of making friends. Plus, not only did he seem like a genuinely decent human being, he was great at the customer service part of his job. Which, if you read my last post, is a pleasant change from the customer service people I have been dealing with lately.

So here’s to you, my one hour friend. You saved my laptop, therefore allowing me to write/create and thus securing my sanity…for a while at least, and all the while provided excellent conversation. You sir, are a rad dude, and I thank you.

The Mighty Pen

I’ve been writing a lot these past two weeks. Not working on my future famous novel, because my laptop is still as dead as a doornail, but instead I’ve been kicking it old school, and writing down a stream of consciousness by hand in a notebook. I’ve written before about how keeping a diary has kept me sane. This is kind of like that.

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The new shop can get pretty quiet in the mornings, and I figured bringing a book to read would be a bit conspicuous. So instead, I purchased a cheap notebook. If I’m writing, to passers by it would just look like I’m working. It also has the bonus of, y’know…being writing. Writing, in any form, is the thing getting me by at the moment. It’s been difficult to find time to sew, and even though I started trying to learn the violin the other day, I still need to work out how to tune it before I can practice properly. Writing in this notebook is easy because I can do it at work.

I’ve been going through a pretty confusing and difficult adjustment, the details of which I won’t bore you with…again. But suffice to say, I’m in a pretty low state for a lot of reasons. So I’ve been writing down the things in my head, to get them down on paper and clear out the murky mess that is my headspace. It’s helped more than I could have hoped. I’ve been able to work through some issues objectively and rationally. I’ve been able to make sense of things that have been messing with my head. I’ve been able to deal with this giant whirlwind of emotions that has been threatening to engulf me for months, if I’m being honest.

In addition to the therapeutic side of this exercise, it’s also a good way to keep creative. I write about people I meet and things I see. I’ve been drafting patterns ideas for projects I want to make. I’ve even begun developing some characters for a new story I have forming in my brain bits. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, and in my case that rings true. Which is lucky, really, because I was never coordinated enough to play with swords anyway.

Misc – A Collection of Thoughts From an Overactive Mind

I have a lot of things going on inside my head that I want to write about. I want to talk about the pen in my hair, and why that is important. I want to talk about the rain, and the things I would prefer to be doing on a rainy day than working. I want to talk about why my gay friend is starting to grate on my nerves. I want to talk about conquering fears, and achieving small goals. But none of these things really flow together as part of one blog. It’s not one topic to discuss, it’s many, and there is no way to segue from one to the other seamlessly. So, I’m afraid this post may be a touch rambling, but let’s just call it Misc.

First of all, the pen. I have a pen in my hair every day at work, because I often need to write things down, and it’s easier to carry one on my person than to have to hunt around for one whenever I have cause to use it. The pen remains in my hair while it is necessary, and I have a tendency to keep it there, even when it is no longer of any particular use to me. Now, I tend to go for walks at night, because it’s cooler, and it’s the only time I have, and I feel more comfortable getting all hot and sweaty under the cover of darkness. (so vanity is my sin, whatever). However, if the rumours are true, walking alone at night with headphones in is a dangerous habit for a young woman to have. And this is where the pen comes in. It is illegal to carry concealed weapons, so I cannot walk around with a pocket knife, or a bludgeoning tool, or mace. So instead, I keep the pen in my hair. It isn’t much, just a tube of ink in a plastic case, really. But it makes me feel safer to have one. Funny, isn’t it? How something so small can make such a difference. I’m not saying a pen is going to be much use against a gun, or a particularly violent attacker, should I bump into such a person, but if you’ve ever been stabbed in the eye with a pen, you’ll understand how a well placed jab can be useful. And thus, the pen is quite literally mightier than the sword… though mostly that’s because I can actually legally walk around with one.

Secondly, and with no common ground whatsoever with the pen, the rain. It is raining today. When I woke up, comfortable in bed this morning, I most assuredly did not want to move, especially not to get up and go to work. Alas, working casual means I don’t have the luxury of taking any time off, so I begrudgingly got up, and got dressed, and  went to work, and felt momentarily miserable that I was missing the weather. I enjoy the rain. Grey days bring me an insurmountable measure of happiness. When it rains, I love nothing more than curling up with a cup of tea and a book, or sleeping in, or even just listening to the sounds of cars as they pass. So today, while some people are doing that very thing, I am at work, suffering through a boring day. And the worst part? I left the shop before to go outside for a moment, and the blasted sun was out. There were hints of blue poking through the cloud blanket, and my heart broke just a little. Sounds weird, I know. But unlike a lot of people, the sun after the rain makes me a little sad.

Thirdly, my gay friend. I am at a point, where I have decided to unfollow his Facebook posts. Because he doesn’t know how to be gay, without getting on his high horse about it. Now, this is a touchy subject but I want to point out that I myself am physically, and sexually attracted to other women. This is not a homophobic attack. And I like this person, he just happens to be irritating me lately. You see, ever since getting a boyfriend, it is as if he has developed an anti-straight personality. He throws his sexual orientation in everyone’s face, adopting every gay cliche imaginable, simply in an attempt to make straight people uncomfortable. It is almost like he is hoping someone will say something to him, so he can turn around and make himself a victim and say ‘well you’re only saying that because I’m gay’. And that mentality really bugs me. If someone is a jerk to you on the basis of your sexual orientation, fuck yeah man, give ’em hell. But if you’re just saying things, hoping to incite violence or discriminatory words/actions, then you’re bringing it on yourself, and I have no sympathy for you. I don’t condone being an asshole, regardless of what side of that battle you’re on. And honey, we know you’re gay. You don’t need to keep reminding us.

And finally, fear conquering. I am afraid of spiders. Or at least, I used to be. These days, I think I’m more wary of them. You see, ever since moving out and having to kill spiders on my own, I find them less frightening. Yeah, they’re creepy as fuck and their weird eight legged movements across my kitchen floor make me recoil. But now at least, I can kill them calmly and without running away from them. Actually, I recently referred to myself on Facebook as the Spider Killer King, and frankly, after killing twenty or so spiders in the last six months (I swear to you, that’s not an exaggeration!) I think that title is well deserved.

And finally, for the couple of people who asked, I finally moved with the times and stopped writing down every book I read in a notebook. I now have a Goodreads account, which you can find here.

And on that note, I’m out. Peace, y’all.

Not a Wasted Weekend After All

Tonight, I am drinking inferior wine from the bottle because it’s in the fridge and I feel like it. I’ve chucked frozen chips in the oven for dinner because it’s the easiest option, and I’m lazy and don’t have a car to drive the supermarket. I’m going to put on a movie, chosen from my small DVD collection, and I will inevitably pass out on the couch, probably mid textual conversation with my best friend, and wake up an hour and a half later to a goodnight text before stumbling to bed and laying awake until three am.

I have done very little all day, besides get a haircut and visit my dad and play with my best friend’s new puppy, and finish reading High Fidelity. I cleaned my house, and the bunny house, and they are about the only productive things I’ve managed. The Amy that spends her weekends doing an endless list of things, has gone on holiday this week, it seems.

I suppose the weekend is for doing nothing. I work all week, why not take the weekend to relax? It’s a good idea in theory, but now I don’t know whether to feel good about my day or regretful that I haven’t sewed anything, or attempted to work on my writing, or…something. Guys, I think I might be broken. I think I need to learn to enjoy my down time, and stop feeling so dejected if I take a day to do nothing. And with that in mind, I have decided that today may have been exactly what I needed.