Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Maccas Delivery

I'm going to start here by warning all parents and parent figures away. I'm telling you right now that if you continue, you'll likely regret it. 




Now that that's over, let's talk about MacDonald's. Or if you live Down Under, like me, 'Maccas'. I think every country has it's own nickname for the Golden Arches, but that's ours and has been for years. Its usually a point of call on a night out or the morning after, a late night snack, comfort meal or even just the old 'I don't even care' dinner. When we were kids it used to be an after school or weekend treat, usually to get whatever cool toy was in the Happy Meal that week, but it was really mostly about the fact that it was bad for you but you got to eat it. The foods that are worst for you always taste so good; like you'll sit there eating thinking about how bad it is for you but it tastes so good that you don't care. What can we say - sometimes being bad feels so good. Its human nature. Doing something you know is wrong is virtually, in a sense, the Original Sin. Even though I'm not religious and I sort of think you have to take that kind of thing with a truckload of salt. 

Speaking of, the salty flavour of fries combined with soft serve anyone? 

As I've gotten older there has been so many changes and additions to the fast food chain depending on what happens to be en vogue at the time. Like when Super Size Me came out and Maccas was suddenly forced to start including healthier options, declare calorie content in each food item and disband the whole 'Super Size' thing they never did in Australia to begin with. It was a pretty massive change and with revolutionary breakthroughs in the health and fitness industries people were a lot more conscious of what they were eating than ever before, and for many of us the guilty pleasure of Maccas wasn't enough to sustain eating it blindly anymore. I myself even went off it for that very reason - not that I ever did get skinny anyway. 

Another rather revolutionary business venture that the big M has come out with in the last few years is of course, you guessed from the title, home delivery. Now I don't even have to get out of my pyjamas to eat my Maccas or get out of my comfy blanket to procure it in the first place. I could have done that back in WA - just bundled myself into the car - but living in Central Sydney I can't walk the few kilometres to the nearest store in my fuzzy slippers without a few odd looks. Even in Newtown that's still weird during the day. 

So Macca's home delivery is something I've used a few times now, and man is it satisfying. My hot nuggets come to me and I can enjoy them from the comfort of my own bed whenever I want. They even remember to include the sauce.

I will say one thing though, and that's Maccas is and has always been busy. Especially on a weekend morning when chances are some hungover person is using that home delivery like its going out of style - I've been there. 

So, let me tell you a little story.

A few weeks ago after a night out, the UnBF and I decided we could go for some all day breakfast, nuggets and burgers. So, we ordered it online through an app (I won't say which, but you've probably used it before if you live in the city) and waited. Order confirmed, excellent. ETA received, awesome. Food never arrived. By the time it had almost been 2 hours I was getting hangry (that's the hungry kind of anger when I'd sell you to your devil for food), and more pointedly so was the UnBF. He was the perfect mixture of hungry, angry and hopeful but was quick to get on the phone and discover that Maccas had decided to cancel our order because they were too busy to deliver it. Only they didn't think to let us know. 

We got a refund and drove to another Maccas, grudgingly so because it had been hours now and we were starving, and were not opposed to telling Maccas what we thought about them charging us then neglecting us. Plus when we got back to the house we were locked out - so there's that. And to make matters even better my antibiotics and inhaler were still inside - I was not feeling good when I finally got back inside. 

That's your context there; we were hesitant to order delivery again after being so badly burned the time before and figured we would take the chance. We had a fail safe in that we'd ring around the ETA to see that it was definitely coming. When you resign yourself to wanting nugs you want your nugs, it's heartbreaking if they just don't show up. There's such a thing in 2017 called the Nug Life, and you don't choose it - it chooses you. We ordered but there was still that fear that maybe those sweet nugs wouldn't arrive like the last time,  and what could we do if they didn't? A refund wouldn't replace the void left by those nugs never turning up for a second time. 

I guess you could then say that when we got the ETA we figured we may as well relieve the tension a bit. 

PARENTS STOP READING - I've told you already!

So, yeah, ok, we may have indulged in each other while we anxiously waited to hopefully indulge in our nugs. There's nothing like a little shag to make the time go quicker. 

The Maccas delivery man, who arrived 45 minutes early, probably didn't agree. 

My room is right at the front of the house, my window was ajar for the fresh air, and yes, our Nug lord and saviour probably heard more than he'd bargained for. At least he didn't see anything...That I know of. So maybe the fable here is somewhere along the lines of the dangers of technology and being careful what you wish for. Oh we got out nugs for sure, but that might be the last time that delivery man comes to my house. 

You could say that our nugs did arrive this time and it was glorious. But we didn't. 

Sam xox

Friday, June 16, 2017

Nightmare

This isn't the first time that I've mentioned that I am superstitious at times and that I have a strong belief in things like the supernatural (and I don't mean the show), the afterlife, spirituality, etc (though not religion). This isn't the first time either that I've blogged about something creepy that has happened to me, that I've felt or that I've otherwise experienced. In case you were wondering this is indeed your pre-warning that this is going to be another one of those posts, so if you have some fundamental issue with that then maybe don't continue reading. I speak from experience both in what happens to me, how I feel, and the nasty reactions to my personal thoughts that other people have had in the past. Consider yourselves warned that many of you will only think I'm crazy.

We all know that I gave up ages ago in apologising for going so long between each post, or going on sudden hiatuses. I'll spare you the sulk there though I will say it has been a particularly unexciting few months for the most part - I've mostly just been sick, injured or stressed and ready to rage quit my job. Not the most uplifting or positive period though I did go on holiday - but that's another story and I'll get to that.

To begin I want to tell you a little story based on a dream I had a few nights ago; it was the kind of dream that freaked me out enough that it woke me up which really doesn't happen to me often. There are not many dreams that I can remember that have actively frightened me - disturbed or upset, perhaps, but not frightened. Most of my nightmares happen when I'm awake.

My dream took place either in the present or the not-too distant future. I and my UnBoyfriend (that's still what we're calling him, its complicated) were visiting a historical complex similar to a church or cathedral. I couldn't say where it was in the world or what sort of culture except that it was a large complex and contained statues including those from Christian/Jewish iconography such as the Virgin Mary. As a twist though they were dark stone, possibly basalt or something similar, and almost geometric styled. For example, the Virgin Mary, as the most memorable statue in my dream, seemed to be almost the shape of a sarcophagus - like a post-modern interpretation.

The two of us were taken through the complex by a guide who explained to us what the statues were of and when they were created etc. When we came to a doorway I couldn't go any further; there was something about it, I could hear things - sort of like the 'Get Out' moment in the original 1970's Amityville Horror. After looking around and very quickly becoming distressed, my UnBoyfriend was quick to point out that the only was out was through the very doorway I was so afraid of - dream logic isn't real logic, I have no idea why. Fortunately though it did work and I got out of there in tact.

It doesn't end there, and in true dream fashion there was a time jump of maybe an hour or two which then saw us at the front entrance to what was either a gift shop or cafe. We had been speaking to some security or police officers about what we had experienced. UnBF had his back to me and as he was speaking the tone and inflection of his voice totally changed along with what he was saying. As this happened he turned to face me, his face morphed as well to that of an angry, supernaturally demonic older man not un-similar to the Bill Wilkins character in the Conjuring 2. That might have been in a movie which is fine on screen, but to have that kind of creeper dive right for you, dream or not, is horrifying though that isn't the part that woke me up.

The part of the dream that woke me up was right afterwards; the security guards grabbed UnBF and dragged him off before he could do any real damage, but as they did he went back to normal and the demonic kind of face that I had seen transferred to a ball that was knocked off a shelf and to the floor. It was gone in an instant, but I was left shook and said - which still resonates so clearly in my mind - that 'there's evil here'.

It's a very movie moment sort of line but it woke me up, heart racing, in deep night and it took me a while to get back to sleep when I already find it so hard to fall asleep in the first place. There's more though to it that perhaps makes it bother me so much more than it should.

I returned from the UK last Monday, still sick as I had been since probably around the time of my last post in March albeit on and off. I was due back in the office on Wednesday but only made it a half hour before being sent back home to bed where I stayed the rest of the week, through the long weekend and finally made it back to reality the Tuesday just gone. I had a good time away, and I will post about it soon, but the trip threw me for a loop and my sometimes sickness really hit me hard.

The reason that I mention this is because as I said I was mostly housebound for about 7 days after I got back to Sydney, and the cocktail of being antibiotic-level sick, jetlagged, post-holiday blue and PMS suffering really left me feeling kind of craptastic for the majority of the time. Weird, creepy shit always happens to people who are not on their mental or physical game - its a movie trope, I promise.

I don't know what got me onto it in the first place or when, but for a little while now I have been getting progressively more and more uncomfortable with a particular room in my house. Its actually locked so that no one can get into it as its a private little area for our landlord if he has guests come to stay, but you can see inside it to the foyer part of it as the room itself has glass walls like a fish bowl. In the foyer is a dining table, some bookcases and a staircase up to the main part of the room which is kind of like a converted attic loft. Its the staircase, really, that bothers me the most.

The other night I got up at around 4 in the morning to use the bathroom, as we do, and had to pass the fishbowl to get there. I didn't turn on the light, so on the way back I was given quite a shock to see sitting on the staircase what seemed to be a little boy. It gave me a jolt and I quickly ran back to bed to hide under the covers, telling myself I'd been dreaming. But in bed under the covers, arms around UnBF like a teddy bear, I could still feel the odd cold and feel the presence of someone, a little boy, right behind me. I even heard him speak though I was too afraid to listen.

I'll take with a grain of salt that even though I believe I am still a little sceptical, but that comes from a place of fear more so than anything. I want the things that go bump in the night to be real, and I think that they are, but I am afraid of them. I always feel that I am right on the verge of seeing much more than I want to.

I feel much better than I did last week though I am still afraid of the fishbowl. I turn all the lights on at night now and though I feel well I still feel vulnerable. I suppose I'm the only one that can fix that. No one can save you from nightmares though, and there can be a million interpretations for what they mean.

Sam xox



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Harley & Joker

This is not going to be a popular opinion given the hype that arose after last year's Suicide Squad came out, even if the movie as a whole is not widely considered to be that good. 

But what the hell does everyone see in Harley Quinn, and for that matter the Joker, and their whole manipulative messed up relationship, that is so great? 

As a comic book, or a cartoon series, yes they make great villains and are definitely colourful to watch, but translated to the big screen the result is disturbing as hell. It's an abusive, frightening bad romance to the max and I just don't get it. 

In a modern world of pop culture when people are so ready to take up their pitchforks against the very poorly written 50 Shades series and it's depiction of abuse, why are people so seemingly accepting of Harley and Joker in Suicide Squad? I don't get it. 

Now the Joker has never been my favourite Batman villain - I tend to think I prefer the more fun ones like Poison Ivy, the Riddler and Catwoman - but I can respect that the Joker is often seen to be one, if not THE, of the Bat's arch nemeses. I couldn't say exactly where it began, not being an avid comic book fan, but if it was before Tim Burton's 1989 epic with the character played by the amazing Jack Nicholson then I would like to know. Nicholson, famous for playing Jack Torrance in the Shining (which was amazing), plays the Joker in a dark, yet true to form cartoon villain and gangster. Harley doesn't make any obvious appearance in the film, but it is a great antithesis into the mentality and creation of the Joker - much more faithful than the later Heath Ledger (RIP) adaptation almost 20 years later. 

The thing about the Joker is that he is a manipulator. He was a mob boss before his acid accident, and after that when he was truly insane he became the worst kind of villain - he would kill you in inventive ways and laugh as he did so. Plus he was iconic in his character design like all comic book villains were, that he was purposely drawn to appear like a clown. Clowns are after all a very American phobia, and the Joker was a very American villain he may as well have been Al Capone in drag. 

The Joker didn't start out to be, but has become the Bat's most notorious nemesis because he is so manipulative and how he goes about it. Every plan he comes up with is insane and would have required so much foresight Poirot would have struggled to solve his crimes if he didn't tell all at the end like a Bond villain. The Joker's ego is arguably his one weakness. His manipulation is so strong with Harley that he entire character genesis consists of the Joker pulling the strings; she exists because he made her, not because he loved her. We should feel sorry for her as a victim not want to be like her.

What is it about 2016's Harley Quinn that has so many people excited? Kudos to Margot Robbie because she is a babe, but surely there has to be more to a character than how she looks in tiny shorts for us to be impressed. Or at least I sincerely hope there needs to be because though I can appreciate an attractive person she's still annoying as all hell. 10 minutes in her company I'd have triggered either her nano bomb or my own just to be away from it. 

Is it that she's so hardcore? Granted seeing a woman kick ass is always great, but Harley Quinn's badassery, at least in Suicide Squad, is complete overshadowed by her relationship with the Joker in flashbacks. It's through these that we learn how she came to be and it's this genesis that confuses me the most by how obvious it is. Harley is a product of abuse, plain and simple. She falls in love with the wrong man who manipulates her for his own gain to get what he wants - and it never stops. He's physically abusive - in all adaptations - he's egotistical, cruel, and leaves her behind to take the fall in just about every situation. Yet Harley is completely overcome by him; everything she does is determined by his opinion, his stance and his actions. What about that is so great? Where does the role model aspect come in that I seem to keep seeing? 

Is it because that at the end of the day for all her psychotic nature and action she just wants to settle down with the Joker and have babies? She's relatable? Isn't that what women warn each other about in trying to change their man and thinking that they're the exception all time? 

In 2017 why are we suddenly looking up to a female figure who prances around in tiny shorts, literally went insane for her man and their bad romance, kills people, throws over her comrades at the first opportunity, and should be locked up in an asylum til the end of time. Why would you want to be like Harley Quinn? She's not feminist, she's not a positive role model - she's just a crazy hot chick. The kind of crazy hot chick that we shouldn't elevate like we do. 

Like I said I can appreciate that Harley is hot, she's a bad ass, and Margot Robbie is pretty great. But for me, that doesn't change the fact that Harley Quinn is a horrible role model, batshit crazy and a complete pain in the ass. 

Don't forget guys, Harley Quinn was still written by men and not with women's best interests. Don't let it fool you. 

Sam xox 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

You who drive fate and send the signs, point me in the right direction, or the wrong one as may be, and lead me to my destiny will know that it is another time of somewhat change. 

I am moving house, I mentioned that briefly a few days ago, and it is a positive move. The housemate turned friend I have lived with the past 18 months and are still friends, however circumstances have changed and we have decided that now is a good time to separate. The decision wasn't initially mine but the potential opened up a lot more freedom, possibility and positive energy that we had needed not only for our relationship but myself personally. As the house is due to undergo some major renovations in coming months and our neighbours have recently had an empty room, it seemed best for me to move. Whilst the move is only to next door (easiest house move of all time that suits me just fine) the positive outcome will be huge. Especially, as I've said, for my soon-to-be former housemate and I - our relationship has occasionally hit rocky times due to our differing natures, approach to life and current values. For example I am very social, outgoing and extroverted, she is not and there's nothing at all wrong with either but it might be better to have each of our own space now. We won't lose our friendship but we will gain a little more independence of each other, and I think that that's a good thing. 

The move has so far been exciting for me. It tempts with a higher level of freedom and independence than before, it gives me the opportunity to delve into a few domestic fantasies and my new room is flash with big mirrors, plenty of storage space and a big window that I am most excited for. I will miss aspects of my old house but with it being right next door I won't be too far away that I can't still see it and hang out with my friend. It's the best of both worlds, you see. 

Another thing that I find, when I think about it, that really is the best of both worlds is my 'relationship', or rather my 'unrelationship' with my 'unboyfriend'. Whilst yes, I have said before and I will continue to say, that I want more than I have right now eventually he is not ready for more. In fact that is good for me. I feel strongly and I can be oftimes insecure of his feelings, due to my history, but when you think about it this whole 'unrelationship' keeps me from freaking out myself and running. 

I am fickle, I am a dillentente, I am a flight risk. I don't settle down, I don't settle for anything less than what I think I deserve (at least not intentionally), and I am very much my Gemini starsign from head to toe. Myself and everyone I speak to focus too much on him, when we should focus on me - I am far too easily able to ignore my issues with settling down when I am in this best of both worlds 'unrelationship' that given the circumstances I don't have to be committed to. I am the one with all the power, all the choice, the ability to walk away and yet I choose to stay. I can go and kiss someone else if I wanted, but I don't, and for that matter I won't be that hypocrite (it seems unfaithful to me, whether it technically is or not). I am the one who has the option here even if my insecurities and fears make me forget it - destiny and fate have always granted me the escapes I wanted or needed at the last moment. 

Ironically when I want this to be real so much, who isn't to say that as soon as it does become so (if it does) I won't be back to my old self and high-tailing it out of Dodge. We don't know if I'll run. We don't know if I'm capable of settling down and truly giving my heart away on a deeper note. Right now I don't have to know - because he won't ask. I feel unsatisfied and I want more, but that's not new - you, fate, have always had me chasing a completeness I've never felt. 

I am at a stage in live when I find that I am changing. I am both committed and uncommitted, settled and unsettled - it is a bizarre feeling to have. There have been signs everywhere to indicate that something is coming, changing, and I can feel it - I know it. I just feel there is more to it than what I can see on the surface. 

Another scary but exhilarating thought is that maybe the Tarot, once again, was right. And I'm not sure how that makes me feel that isn't the fickle, skittish side of me just poising to run away. 

It is that same part of me that makes it easy, as well, to speak to Shadow Man - who is still present (albeit grudgingly given my real world man is around). I don't have to commit, I can tell secrets and bounce ideas and thoughts and I don't have to be afraid. The same can be said of my ex-man in England and the plans I had made to see him this June, those of which I don't think I will be able to follow through with given the way that I do feel about my unboyfriend. This is very much the fickle, empowered and uncommitted side of me that dances around the idea of being bad, of making bad choices and making the most out of the situation that I could if I were a different person. I couldn't do it, I wouldn't do it, but there is a little imp inside me that would and fantasises and considers it. There is a small part of me that whispers 'you don't owe anyone anything' 'do what you want' 'be bad', 'kiss the boys' 'you can do anything' - and you know what, that voice isn't wrong. But is it right? No, not by my standards and not by my conscience - and you know that. You wrote me this way, didn't you? 

With great power comes great responsibility. Just because you can doesn't mean that you should. 

So, tell me, how am I changing right now? How is this moving house making for such a huge change in independence, freedom and power? I can speculate, I don't really know. Will it settle me? No. Will it reign me in? No. Will it turn me into less of a potential runaway? Absolutely not. 

I'm not sure how this change will go, and how having the best of both worlds will propel me into this next stage of my life, but one thing's for sure is that I'm looking forward to finding out. 

Sam xox

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What did they say?

I like to go see psychics sometimes and have readings done, usually by Tarot. I can be skeptical sometimes, as can we all, and sometimes I genuinely just choose to either heed or ignore their advice. That's my perogative. 

I went yesterday with a friend for fun, but the moment I walked in and the psychic cut the deck he cut straight to the heart. He told me that I was seeing someone that whilst cared about me was keeping things way too close to his chest, and that he wouldn't be able to give me what I wanted soon enough. He told me that there was someone else, not too far away, that was everything I had always wanted and would be that everything for me. 

I can't even begin to properly describe how that made me feel - I was happy to hear for once that the person was finally, supposedly, around the corner. But at the same time a little heartbroken because this person that I'm seeing is important to me. I feel so strongly about him and I already knew that he wouldn't be able to give me everything right now - that wasn't news to me. Yet even so I wanted to help him, and I wanted to be with him when he was ready. I sort of love him already. 

How can I just leave on this fantastical whim that someone else is supposed to be better for me? 

There were some other things that he said as well, relating to my moving house and all which was correct, but I don't want to just give up on this person I care about. The idea of that hurts too much. 

Now that I have managed to successfully better control my anxiety where my 'relationship' is concerned, I don't want to keep this stuff in my head to mess me around. I am committed to having faith in my future and giving this man the space he needs without pushing him. He knows what I feel and where I stand, maybe not to the degree, but he knows. 

He might not be my forever, but he's my right now and I want to give it everything that I have. I don't just quit on people because they can't meet my expectations right away. 

Sam xox

Monday, February 6, 2017

Snapchat Karaoke

I love to sing and dance, especially if I'm in a good mood or my inhibitions are lowered (i.e. under the influence). If I can sing out loud in front of you that means I'm probably comfortable with you and if you can join in with me well then you're a keeper in my opinion.

I love to karaoke along to music I already like, making up my own lyrics to existing songs and making up entirely new songs in the spot. A friend of mine and I even held an entire argument through song once or twice. I also love to imagine film clips for songs and usually specific songs remind me of specific things - people, events, parts of my history. Some songs I actually can't listen to, and some I've only just become able to listen to again because they reminded me too strongly of painful things. 

These days one of my favourite outlets is a little thing I like to call 'Snapchat Karaoke'. 

If you remember the post I wrote about taking Selfies last September, I mentioned that took Selfies as part of a coping mechanism in dealing with my self esteem. It comes across conceited - sure. But the reason I take them in the first place is usually to make myself feel better and remind myself you know what, you aren't as ugly as you feel which is important because I grew up feeling pretty ugly, pretty second best. I lacked a lot of self worth and this is one method I've found that helps. A little vanity after all never hurt anyone, though a lot can kill you. Call me vain, if you will, but I'd rather this than the old Sam who'd avoid mirrors when out and about, or cry at night that I'm just not pretty enough for someone to want to be with me someday. Just like Charlotte Lucas. I remedy through selfies and a little makeup to make me feel lot more comfortable in my own skin, and you know I'm really ok with that. 

Snapchat Karaoke is kind of similar, but it's more about my having fun and having a laugh at myself rather than anything too serious. Like I said, I love to sing and mess around with music especially after exercise or when I'm in a good mood generally. If I have excess energy and I'm feeling good about myself I like to fool around to the music I'm listening to - like I'm in a musical (which has always been a fantasy of mine). I'll sing all the time albeit mostly off camera because though I love to do it, I don't think my voice is all that great. Hence why in most Snapchat Karaoke videos that I make I'm lip syncing along to with the actual artist. I post them because they make me laugh and I know that they make other people laugh too, plus it's nice to go back and watch them when maybe I'm feeling down later on. Singing and dancing always seems to improve my mood whether I'm doing so in the moment or reliving it through a video I've made previously. When I lived in Perth I would drive most places and always cranked the music up loud to sing along; one time I got caught on the freeway by some tradies because I was singing and dancing along to Harry Belafonte's 'Jump in the Line' - which is a really fun song, by the way, and one I should do a snap to in the future.

Of all the snaps I film, I especially love the goofier ones; either to a goofy song, like a show tune (i.e. Shrek the Musical), or an ordinary song with a face/voice morph filter in play. Another personal favourite is to be standing in front of the fan and let it blow my hair back - those are the ones that feel like a real music video and make me giggle the hardest. There's also something kind of thrilling and freeing about singing your little heart out in front of a fan - don't ask me what, but it's there. Try it!

Just like with selfies that I take, Snapchat Karaoke is really more for me than for anyone else though I post them for friends and family to see. In a not so unsimilar way to how I cope with fear, I have over the years forced myself to confront my issues with my body image by using tools like selfies and videos as a coping mechanism. I used to be much worse than I am now though still I don't usually like it when other people take photos of me - I feel like I always look horrible in them and that hacks away at the sometime precarious self esteem I've worked so hard to build. If they take it as a selfie and I can see it then I find it's not so bad, but if, for example, I'm travelling alone (as I often do) and someone offers to take a photo of me somewhere perhaps 8/10 times I'll decline and stick to the selfies. You see, sometimes having myself in my own holiday photos will ruin them for me - do you understand? 

If you think that's bad I actually used to have a bit of a complex about my voice. In a nutshell: I hated it. I don't mind it so much now, but a lot of people have commented on my accent and how it sounds because they want to pick where I'm from. I'm from Tasmania originally, grew up in Perth and now live in Sydney. My family is English, Australian and Indian (as in from Calcutta). Why in the hell people sometimes ask if I'm from Canada or the US I have no idea except that I can pick up accents quite quickly as seen when I spend more than a week in the UK (I'm instantly a Londoner). The only real likelihood is that maybe I'd been watching too much US TV at the time and have picked up on inflections of the accent. I don't know other than that because I've never lived in North America. 

I don't mind how my voice sounds so much now because I play back recordings that I've made all the time, though there was a period when I would cringe to hear it. My voice when I speak aloud actually sounds very different to my ears in real time then it does on a recording. If I didn't already know that it was me I doubt that I would even be able to tell. 

At the end of the day Snapchat Karaoke is just for fun; I get a laugh out of it, I feel better about myself, and I enjoy doing it. I love to take song requests and to film them even if they look silly - actually, I love them especially if they look silly. I do it all the time anyway - why not share it and potentially make someone else laugh or smile as well? My tomfoolery might improve someone else's day, you never know, and it may encourage people to try my methods. In fact I would love it if people sent Snapchat Karaoke videos to me as well - it would make my day! 

Sam xox




Thursday, February 2, 2017

Valentine's Day

It's February again and that means it is almost my least favourite card holiday of the entire year: Valentine's Day.

I don't like Valentine's Day. I have never been a fan of it, and generally I just don't really want to be a part of it - all my friends know and I think they gear up for it every year. Depending on the year we may watch horror movies, get drunk, watch romantic comedies or dramas, or we'll go for a meal or to a festival or occasionally I may just turn off my phone and skip the whole day. It can be done believe me, I know. Once we even went to Disney World.

Over the years I've received cards from well meaning friends and 'secret admirers', care packages and one time a ladybird stuffed toy. It's always lovely to be thought of and reminded that the people you care about love you, but is that really what Valentine's Day is about? 

I have only ever been single on Valentine's Day, and this year will still technically be no different. Whilst I do have plans (my constant Valentine/Lover/Best Friend KA will be visiting then directly after so will my brother) I'm not really sure how to feel about the day this year. I'm not disgusted, horrified, hurting, sad, angry or feeling ironic this year. I'm not loved up with someone (technically) and yet I'm not viewing the day with a gimlet eye like usual. I'm almost looking forward to it which is a weird feeling for me: a known advocate for how much Valentine's Day sucks. 

I've actually already bought cards and presents. One of course for my annual Valentine, KA. The other? Well...

The history of Valentine's Day is kind of misleading and confusing thing to determine. There are so many mythologies and folklore stories that don't entirely show up in the history or archaeology outside of word of mouth and legend - but that of course doesn't make it necessarily false. 

Image result for st valentineFunnily enough, unlike most traditional holidays, Valentine's Day actually does come from Christian origins in the forms of not one but two St Valentines, Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni, during the Roman period. Both St Valentines were martyrs and killed for their faith which makes it a weird origin for a day dedicated to candy hearts and roses. The St Valentine that we do stem the holiday from however is St Valentine of Rome, who, due to popular legend, not only became  martyr but symbol of romantic love by marrying Roman soldiers against the law of the time. He was executed because tried and failed to convert Emperor Claudius to Christianity, supposedly healing a blind woman in the process. The night before he was executed he is said to have written the very first Valentine card to the woman he restored sight to, signing it as 'your Valentine'. Probably totally innocent, but uncomfortable nonetheless. Also, not hugely romantic or much of a display of romantic love. Familial, altruistic and spiritual love yes, but Valentine was not in love with the girl that he healed even if you could say he was an advocate for couples to be together in marriage. Though when another part of the legend suggests that he cut heart shapes out of the parchment he was writing on to remind men of their love for god I can see how society got confused about this. 

It wasn't really until Chaucer and the Love Birds came along that Valentine's Day really became historically traceable as a holiday to celebrate romantic love. During this period of the Middle Ages when courtly life was rife with romance, sex and scandal (and would continue to be so for centuries) it only made sense for an annual day relating to exactly the kind of frivolity that Valentine's Day represented - especially when an ever more present Christian society meant that Beltane (the much older Pagan holiday) was not as acceptable to celebrate openly anymore. It was also Chaucer who first really made the connection between St Valentine and romantic love in the aforementioned works and then onwards through the Canterbury Tales

Being the most recognised works of the Middle Ages besides the Magna Carta, it isn't surprising that our connections and romanticism of the time come from Chaucer in hindsight, just like the Odyssey and the Iliad did for Ancient Greece. I mean of course that in looking back and drawing interpretations of the past about society we infer from popular works thus affecting how Valentine's Day is structured today. It's debatable in whether the tradition is hindsight romanticism or a consistent but changing ideology. 

At any rate, from then on it became a popular culture sort of thing; revered by Kings of Europe (Especially the French), enjoyed by the wealthy and utilised by writers, playwrights, and poets including, but not limited to, my buddy William Shakespeare. Just look at this snippet from Hamlet of all plays:

To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
— William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5

Truly touching, Bard. Nothing like a little de-flowering on Valentine's Day.

By the time we made it to the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries, Valentine's Day evolved in a similar way to Christmas, Halloween, Easter and Mother's Day. The initial meaning and purpose behind the day faded into the background in lieu of the popular culture meaning. For Valentine's Day it's 99% of the time more about the flowers, hearts, cards, picnics, red, pink and presents between couples than anything else. The day of and days surrounding become saturated with the stuff which for those unattached, lonely or heartbreaking can be somewhat cruel - I've been there. There is nothing less fun than seeing hundreds of happy couples out and about, doing kitsch activities and swapping gifts if you envy them.

I don't envy the couples every year, and it isn't why I don't like Valentine's Day. The truth is Valentine's Day makes me sort of uncomfortable and anxious. Of course it would be sweet to spend it with someone I loved that loved me in return but when there are 364 other days of the year that we can do the same things that isn't really a reason. Valentine's Day isn't the only day you can express your love for someone - it's just the one day of the year it has seemed to become ok to rub it in the faces of other people who don't. 

And yet, in the right context (yes there is a wrong context), it is kind of nice to receive a present, flowers or a card. I had someone send me flowers at work a few weeks ago, for the first time in my life, and I was so happy and touched that I cried at my desk for the better part of an hour. I had never realised how much I had wished for someone do to that for me just because. Now that Valentine's Day is around the corner and the fact that I am going to be surrounded by couples exchanging those sorts of gifts is an eventuality, I think I am a little envious. 

Before I explain that more I just want to make it clear that I am happy with where I am at. I am not in a relationship, I don't have a significant other, though I do have someone I care about and the context of that is not something I need to go into bigger detail with right now. But I am happy and at peace with the way things are today. I am envious because as always I want it more, so much more, and I have so much to give in return. I am envious because for once I want the flowers. But not because I want them. Not because it will be Valentine's Day, not because it's expected. I want the flowers because someone wants to send them to me because they want me to have them, they want to show that they care and they want me to smile. That's why I want the flowers. 

I have never been a fan of Valentine's Day but this year I don't want to avoid it or ignore it or replace it with horror movies. Weirdly for once I want to enjoy it and be a part of it, and not even as irony. I want to buy myself something pretty to show myself how much I care, I want to send some flowers, give cards and presents and express a little love I just don't feel like hiding right now. Not just to one person but to everyone and not just because it's Valentine's Day but because I love every day. 

Does all of this sound crazy in general, or crazy because it's coming from me? Did the Valentine Grinch finally make peace with Valentine's Day? Or, am I just at peace and much too infatuated to be distressed?

Sam xox