Tick My Box

It’s nearly 1am, on a Saturday. (Sunday, I guess technically). The moment I walked through the door today, I ate about three brownies, and fell into an accidental four hour nap. Tomorrow is my only day off, so naturally, i’ll be up for the next five hours bouncing back and forth between my book and podcasts. Tis the season!

It’s funny- these last couple weeks have been extremely challenging for me. I’ve started up at a new job that i’m very up in the air about. I love the people and the industry, but I keep having the sense that it’s not my place. Not that it’s not an amazing company to work for! It’s not you..it’s me.  I left my last job because I had this same wrenching feeling, and hoped to get fulfillment upon entering a new role. I get that a lot though, and it can be extremely aggravating feeling like I don’t have a place yet. Sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyone else seemingly having their “shit together” for lack of a better term, and here I am, floating around, hoping that someday something is just going to click. One can’t help but think, maybe its me? Maybe there is something wrong with me? Why can’t I just be happy?

I just quickly want to add here- I’m not one of those people that solely believes in fate, destiny, paths, yada yada yada, BUT, i’m more of a shy believer. Kind of reminds me of the time I bought my first Cosmopolitan magazine at a Walden’s bookstore. They were held behind the counter at the time and you had to ask the person at the til to grab one for you. I was maybe 13, and after mustering up the courage to ask, and letting out a squeak whisper, only to get said person on the loudspeaker asking for more Cosmo’s from the back. I probably wrote about it later in my Harry Potter diary. I had the one where it looked like The Monster Book of Monsters and would actually let out a horribly overly-electronic sounding growl of a monster when you opened it. Also had a key to get into it. Classic. This actually has nothing to do with fate or destiny. I just needed to talk about it.

I think some folks like to play the fate card when they have no idea what the fuck to do or are unsure on how to handle a situation that life throws, but it’s okay! It’s our destiny! It’s our fate.. it will all work out in the end. If it’s meant to happen, it’ll happen. I get it. Everyone has to believe in something, right? Somethin’s gotta help pull us through. However, that can be a tricky path to go down. For me personally, relying on fate, destiny, paths, etc, this can cause us to be bleak and desolate. We just exist and stop working at bettering ourselves because we are under the impression that it’ll all work out the way it’s supposed to- lazy, might be a better word. That being said, I can’t help but get a little caught up in some of this mumbo jumbo.  This whole, everything happens for a reason thing.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend whom I haven’t spoken to in a long time tonight that really enlightened me.  We chatted about a topic that was so out of the blue, so random, yet has also been so loudly present and reoccurring for me these last two weeks. A topic that i’ve been silently tossing around in my head and trying to navigate by myself. The topic was simply, following your dreams. I know how disney princess, la-la land that sounds, but it’s fuckin’ true and not taken as seriously as it should. We chatted about how life has this gross way of trying to rip our dreams and real ambitions out of our tightly grasped hands and filling our open, empty palms with distractions that don’t actually matter but are disguised as things that should matter. These ‘things’ are the gremlins that take up all of our time and energy, leaving us with exhaustion and not enough time to devote ourselves to our passions. We’re left confused, ushered on, and following the rest of the heard. Like cows being corralled up for feeding time. Mmm..slop for dinner! By the way, that friend of mine has left his corporatey bullshitty job and has gone freelance now. His lasting words to me tonight were: It’s always fear that keeps you in the same position. But once you break out, life is 1000x better because the universe actually wants you to succeed. Ha! Killer.

But what happens when you have so many dreams and so many different things that interest you? How can you possibly narrow it down to one thing for the rest of your life to fulfill your emotional, spiritual, and physical needs? How could anyone confidently answer that question?!

Here I was, in my post-brownie coma, 1:15am, reading an email from the director at Creative Hub sent two days ago, informing me that I had missed the deadline to enroll for my creative writing course that was starting up next week. I felt a huge rush of devastation fall over me. I had been so occupied and caught up in work, doing 6 day work weeks, life admin, etc, that I had completely missed the deadline for the enrollment fee for the one thing that I wanted to do. The one thing that was for me. For itching my creative scratch. Tuning in and logging off. Luckily, he has enrolled me for the next semester, which I WILL be at, and will be 100% ready for. Anyway, after reading that email, I received a random follow from an author on instagram. Her name is Marianne Cantwell and I stared at her name for a good minute because it seemed very familiar. I quickly stalked her profile, as ya do, and discovered, oh! She’s the author of “Be A Free Range Human” that’s been on my “To Read” list for quite some time. I also saw that she had done a TED Talk called “Hidden Power Of Not (Always) Fitting In.”

‘Hmm’.. I thought. First my thoughts in my head of not fitting in, then my random chat with a friend, now an even more random trail that has brought me to this TED talk that was SO relatable. I highly encourage you to check it out, btw.

Marianne talks about “Liminality.” This word is actually a little bit hard to find a definition on the web, or even in dictionaries. Liminal Space is like this massive in-between state. The word “liminal” is actually derived from the latin word limen, which means “a threshold.” During a liminal stage, people hover at a threshold between their previous ways, but not yet onto future ways. This can be anything from, forming your identity, a relationship, a new job, etc. At least that’s my understanding of the word. The way Marianne talks about Liminality, is in a positive one. She expresses that it’s totally OK to be a liminal. If you’re different than all the rest, bravo! This is good! Don’t suppress your differences or the things that make you unique. Don’t shush those attributes. Shed light on them. Pull them up and assemble them. People don’t have to feel like they need to have one main purpose in life or know exactly what they should be doing. Not all of us are like that. What about the others? Those are the badass creative people that inspire us! Those are the people moving mountains and setting themselves apart. The people that seem to have their hands in different baskets, grasping for straws, trying to figure out where they fit in. The only reason, I think, that this causes disorientation, is because we are living in a society that makes us believe that we should all be on a path and stick to that path. Find one thing and stay with it. A little chaos and uncertainty is a good thing. A mess can create beautiful new opportunities that never would have arisen had it been white picket fences and begonias. I fucking HATE begonias.

Well, I haven’t found that “one thing” and I don’t think I ever will, thank you very much. I have such a wide range of interests and things that fascinate me..it would be impossible to try and narrow that down! I love writing, singing, acting, making coffee, traveling, performing, eating, growing plants, being a homebody and alone, but also out and amongst it all, extroverted but also highly introverted, happy but depressed, stable but very emotional.. I have it all. And i’m done trying to narrow that down to one thing.

I think i’m doing the right thing by exploring my creative flares and even if it doesn’t fit into my schedule whatsoever, i’m making it fit, because this is what I want to do. I don’t know where it will lead or what will come of it, but I have to do something! I can’t just waste this and let it rot at the bottom of the fridge. I don’t want any of the other stuff that takes up my day. How is that fair? How does life get to dictate what takes up our time? I’m doing my best to demand the time for myself and I feel everyone should. Fight back on what life tries to claim as “normality” and get back whats yours. This is your life. Not anyone else’s. Not everyone has one box to tick. Or one genre to stick to. Tick all of the boxes! As mom always says and as Anne Rice has famously said, “Don’t be a pawn in somebody’s game. Find the attitude which gives you the maximum strength and the maximum dignity, no matter what else is going on.”

Don’t follow the herd. Don’t follow the line to the same barrier of a  water trough. Don’t let barriers turn into barricades. Venture off and find your own fresh water stream that leads to much better things.

Photo credit: The amazing, Sally Nixon @sallustration

New Stress, Who Dis?

IMG_5815When I am suuuuuper stressed out, I seem to take on more jobs and tasks to basically turn my stress ball into a stress planet. I’m not sure why this has always been my “coping mechanism” or why I thought it would ever work.. but I keep doing it and i’m still alive, so, I guess something good is coming from it.

Like most people out there, I’ve currently got a lot of shit on my plate. I’m not talking, tiny chihuahua in an orange sweater shit- I’m talking giant mammoth/T-Rex hybrid shit.  I’m applying for residency here in NZ, which, contrary to belief, is really FUCKING hard and extremely time consuming; think of.. applying for admission to Harvard.. a bit like that.

Aside from requesting FBI reports, birth certificates, writing up essays, finding receipts, ALL in the name of seeking residency, I’ve also started up at a new job. Yay!  Timing is an actual bitch. As most know, i’ve been working behind a coffee machine for most of my working life. This has always worked in my favor, er most of the time at least, because of my anxiety and sometimes anti-social tendencies. A big coffee machine is a great shield to hide behind. Fantastically enough, after trying for a few years now, i’ve been accepted on with my favourite coffee company in NZ, Coffee Supreme! I’ve laid the tools to rest, and am now apart of the salary world, working in the head office. The only glitch? There’s no big coffee machine to hide behind. I’m thrown out onto center stage and i’m a flaming ball of fire.

(Ima just take a deep breath right here real quick..)

On top of all that shit, my mom has been going through a big rough patch in her life and i’m not able to physically be there to help. This has been weighing me down quite a lot and it’s hard to be 100% focused on anything else right now/for the last month, other than that. I keep buying lotto tickets, but for some fucking reason, i’m not winning a damn thing!

I’ve put my health/fitness on the back burner, my relationship at arms length, my mom and the rest of my family is clear across the globe, my fate is literally resting in the hands of NZ Immigration, oh- and I have a visa that is about to run out in about six months time, which doesn’t line up with the one i’m applying for now. To break that down for anyone confused, if I don’t get a yay or a nay by immigration before my current visa runs out, I am considered an “illegal immigrant” and will be chucked back over the wall into Trumpland.

Starting at this new job, I can slowly feel myself starting to recluse a little bit when thrown into social settings which is a huge no-no. Everyone I work with is awesome, super outgoing, friendly, and positive. Although I would love to be all of these things, I have to constantly bicker with my brain, back and forth back and forth, to put on this face and try my best. Before work each day this week, I arrive to work about a half hour early. I sit in my car, without any music on, and try to mentally calm myself down. My heart is pounding through the roof, and often feel as if I could throw up. I so desperately want to burst through the doors and be the confident, careless, passionate woman that I know I feel and want to be, but it’s held down by the demanding vines of insecurity and anxiety. This whole anxious thing isn’t really new to me, but it definitely has slipped through the cracks and grown back up like a reoccurring weed.

I want to reach out to anyone that experiences thoughts like this or thoughts of dark sadness that seems to cloud over when the time is never right. I’ve contemplated anti-depressants, but I seem to shy away because of horror stories from friends in the past. What are some ways that you deal with stress? How do I calm the shy and sad girl down and help the passionate and happy girl rise?

 

I want to be better on here, and I apologize for how all over the show this blurb is. When i’m insanely stressed, feel like I have no time, not sleeping well, feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day..THIS is when I want to write. This is when I want to make time for the good stuff. The juicy bits. Life can be so greedy and it will try to dictate what is priority and what consumes your time. It will try to takeover your ambitions and hobbies, things that keep you grounded, things that make you who you really are. It will try to throw you in the deep end and drown you with work, life admin, and things that don’t fulfill you. Acknowledge these times and fight back. Say, “fuck you, world! I do what I want!”  I’m not completely myself right now, but I feel it’s vital to speak about it for others and.. for me.

And for FOX (Scottish accent) sake-  write about it.

Holiday Hangover.

A lot of people back home think that I live some lucky and adventurous life living abroad…that it’s like a permanent holiday. Truth is, it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and is ALWAYS challenging. It is not easy in the slightest. Truth is, despite how I carry myself in the public eye, I have SEVERE anxiety. Despite how goofy I can be, slightly immature, sassy, confident, I still second guess nearly everything I do. I doubt myself, and can be really insecure. I can be so hard on myself that it’s disgusting and unfair. I have extreme trust issues. Im constantly having to calm myself down and try and gain control of my mind. What could be so hard? Definitely being away from my family. Not having that constant in-my-face love, support, and connection from my people. The people who really get me and ARE me. There is nothing in this world that means more to me than they do. Especially in times of need. I feel so helpless and alone sometimes that I’m overcome with emotions I can’t control. Calculating time differences.. Relying on Facebook messenger calls, Instagram comments, Snapchat stories.. it’s all seemingly so convenient yet so impersonal and vague. Connected but So disconnected. I wish more than anything I could be there for my mom, hug her, make her a coffee, watch Disney movies, make her laugh, see her smile. I wish I wasn’t so far away. I am grateful and love living here, but it doesn’t make it any easier, and it doesn’t stop the fear. I don’t ever want to pretend to be someone I’m not. Truth is, I’m trying to keep it together, and I’m sure plenty of people out there are as well. So please give others a break. Be an ear for a friend or listen to the story of a stranger. You never know what they’re personally going through. Also- be open and honest with yourself and take the time to understand your emotions. It is completely okay to have these feelings. What’s not okay is ignoring them. Write it down, talk to someone, be understood, and be yourself.

Let’s get real.

I can be quite a bitch.

Sorry- er, I mean, I can have quite the resting bitch face.

I get the phrase, “You should smile more”…or “Turn that frown upside down” as if we are back in kindergarten. How many times do I have to tell people that this is just my face? Or just a normal human face that is just there, expressionless, but relaxing, being totally fine in life. Let me just start by saying that I am an overall happy person. I’m extremely goofy, immature, all that fun jazz. I do have my days where I feel like an orc that’s just been born out of the mud at the base of Mordor, or sometimes have the odd day where I need to sneak off to have a little cry in the broom closet, (broom closet? Is that a thing), or moments where I feel like I don’t have a voice and am stuck in an unfair situation, but we all have these, and I usually just stay quiet like a little shy girl and then bitch about it later to an unfortunate soul that has to take it.

Do I think it’s necessary to have a permanent smile plastered on my face at all times? Walking around like a juiced-up clown at a 5 year old’s birthday pool party? Nah. That’s just not me. And to be honest, sometimes encountering people like that is just plain exhausting and unrealistic. My biggest dilemma is that I wear my heart on my sleeve, or rather, my face. If i’m upset, it shows. But i’m also not walking around like a beaming ray of fireball whistling Zippitydoodah when i’m in an okay mood.

I don’t think that showing your emotions is a bad thing at all. Quite the contrary, I strongly believe that hiding your true emotions or putting on a mask, fake smile, false overly-intense positivity, is waaaaay more detrimental that good. Why do we have to feel ashamed to FEEL and show emotions? Unfortunately, Women get so much shit on a daily basis for this. “Oh she’s just really dramatic” or “she’s crazy and super emotional”.. “here come the tears” .. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING EMOTIONAL! The worst one yet? Being called psychotic for simply voicing your opinions and sharing your feelings. Psychotic?! When people start hoarding their feelings and true thoughts instead of expressing them, they’re basically turning into Nancy from that show Hoarders who lives in a trailer with endless piles of trinkets and possibly deceased cats. Nobody wants to be Nancy, or even worse, her poor cats.

Please don’t get me wrong- i’m not trying to hop aboard the Intense Feminism ride here, but I do feel like men hoard their feelings and emotions constantly. Women get such shit for releasing these words or burdens that live inside of us, when men are actually holding onto the same things. Difference is, we don’t hear men’s emotions until they’re a bottle deep in Grandma’s gin at Thanksgiving.

Feel like having a little cry? DO IT. Personally, I love a good cry. I live for it. It’s almost like an orgasm. A release. Being an adult is hard, and crying doesn’t seem to happen all that often anymore. Remember when you were a kid and would fall down and skin your knee? You somehow feel WAY better after having a massive snot-filled cry into mom’s arms. We now have this hardened exterior for skin, and crying only occurs when we are truly at our breaking point. Think about it..when is the last time you really cried? I can tell you mine- this morning. I woke up with an overbearing homesickness and yearning to be a child again, so naturally, I watched Mulan. It was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and still to this day is. It brought me back to being a child and not having one single shit in the world. All I cared about was Disney movies, fruit roll-ups, horses, and the countdown to Christmas.  This made me cry. Oh have the times changed. But the comfort in knowing that I can tap into my inner-child whenever I feel like adulting is too hard, just made me so happy and sad at the same time that the tears just came flowing. It was a damn good cry. Afterwards, I decided to make a veggie soup that took about 6 hours in total instead of going to the gym. MOOD LIFT.

So please think next time you make the “you should smile more often” comment. No one is that perfect all the time. This isn’t some weird HBO show where we all live in a flowery bubble with puppies and kittens and white picket fences and the men have comb-overs and the women wear swing dresses with bright red lipstick. No. You know what happens in the next season of that show? Alien invasion. The main character, Joe, is revealed as some demonic cyborg who is taking over the world by mind control. Meanwhile, your husband? He’s actually Satan himself. BOOM. Season finale.

Long story not so short, we are all feeling some shit. Am I right? Wouldn’t we be better off as being open and honest with all of that? Be honest with yourself. Spill it. Acknowledge when you’re emotional and don’t be ashamed of it. You are a human being and what you’re feeling is completely natural. Use it as your super power. Write it down. Turn it into music. Poetry. Or just have a meaningful conversation with someone. Or you could be like me and just pop your headphones in and dance around your room listening to Tool circa 2005. (It’s the best).