Friday, September 18, 2015

SOS



I’ve got this sink-ship feeling, I don’t know what to do with myself.

Bluejuice’s song ‘SOS’ has seen me through some tough moments since the first time I heard it, and every time it has it has made me feel better just by singing. Although the lyrics aren’t the most positive:

SOS, send some help, nobody saves you from yourself; SOS, rescue me, I’m not the man I want to be.

There’s something about the tone, melody and pace of the song that despite its somewhat sad, yet relatable, lyrics it works to fix the things it actually talks about. At least it does for me.

I have been feeling down again – and before you start to think I am down all the time, because I suppose sometimes it must seem that way from my blog, just try to remember that a huge part of my writing is for release. Whether it’s to release the pent up emotions in my heart and mind, or the stories bouncing around just ready to be written, it is still a huge release for me.

Writing works for me like stretching a muscle I haven’t used for a little while; it’s a relief and it feels like the weight lessens on my shoulders, my muscles loose some of their tension, and my mind is a little clearer of its jumble. It my writing ever bores or saddens you – don’t read it. I write for myself.

Since Rueben was killed things haven’t improved; I won’t go into all the details since it won’t really make me feel better to rehash everything when I’ve already spoken to people about it, but suffice it to say it was pretty miserable. I will however say that one of those things was the death of my sick, yet beloved Nana.

Anyone who has suffered a loved one’s demise to Dementia will know that there is no cure, no real bright side and no choice but to do all you can to make them comfortable. It is a slow, terminal disease that can turn the strongest minds to colanders and fantasies.

My Nana wasn’t the only person I’d come across with this disease, my grandfather in Tazzie for another, but she was the closest and the most devastating. It happened slowly at first, but increased rapidly the past 12 months since our ill-fated family cruise last September meant to make her happy for a little while. There would be moments when my Nana wouldn’t remember me, or other members of the family, and moments still when her memories of the past would become so blurred and fictionalised it would be beyond anyone to fathom what the truth was when she spoke it.

In the midst of misery, her stories were the best part. My Nana loved Russia and the old stories of the unfortunate Romanov family, so when I was younger we’d say that one day we would go there. Of course we never got the opportunity, everyone thinks they have more time than they do, and when she died she had never seen Russia. But that never stopped her imagination from conjuring some amazing false-truths for her to tell me. Of all her stories the best one she ever told me was that she was a good friend of Tsar Nicholas, and that he had given her a chest of Diamonds which she wanted to share with me. She thought she might have been the missing Grand Duchess Anastasia, but she couldn’t remember well enough. My Nana was born in 1943, 25 years after the Romanov family were executed in Ekaterinburg and since 2008 all 7 bodies have been accounted for.

My Nana was a tough, feisty and occasionally cackly old woman who all of us around her loved dearly until the very last. I’m devastated to have had to see her go, though I am consoled that she won’t be suffering anymore. My Nana was so proud and was happened to her made her so frightened, so frustrated, that I would rather she be free of it then suffering still here with me.

The loss of Nana and Rueben were not the only things that contributed to my melancholy leading up until now, but they were certainly the worst of the lot. I have days when I’m better than others, and days when I feel so low I don’t know what I’m going to do to pick myself up again.

I have friends, more than a few, and all of them are wonderful. If I said ‘I need your help’, I have no doubt that they would come so please don’t think for a moment that I think that I have no one. I feel lonelier than others some days but not because I don’t think I couldn’t surround myself if that is what I felt I needed. That being said my friends aren’t psychic, and unless I tell them I need them I could never be angry or hurt that they don’t come. I know that. And yet sometimes I know that people can’t always hold my hand whether I want them to or not; everyone has their own demons, I am no exception, and sometimes we are the only ones that can fight them off. It’s one thing to call and say I need a hand, it’s another thing to know I very easily could but it’s still something I’ll need to fix myself. This is the latter.

And I’m finding a way; I’m muddling through to construct a better plan of action since the old one didn’t work. This is one step, just writing it out and releasing the pent up feeling of it. Like pouring the contaminated water out of a jug and down the sink.

I’ve been in a rut, brought on by a series of unfortunate events, loss, heartbreak and disillusion, and now it’s time to try a little harder to snap out of it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Melancholia is nothing to scoff at, so I don’t think for a minute that this expose will act like a miracle cure and fix me at once. No, it will take time, conscious effort and baby steps to pick myself up this time. Here’s what I’m thinking:

-          Cleaner eating, exercise: I do these a little already, but an increase in clean eating will make me feel better internally and exercise will not only raise my energy levels but tire me out in a far healthier way. Considering I’ve been sleeping badly, a lot of my happiness can be reclaimed by just being better rested.

-          Writing: I’m writing here, but it always seems to correlate with times of trial that I don’t write enough. Ironic when writing makes me feel better and more myself, but it becomes harder to keep going when I’m not feeling well. When you’re down, sometimes the hardest things to do are the ones that will be the most important.

-          Be more social: I am a very social person, I like people. I spend a lot of time on my own, and mostly by choice, but I love to spend time with people as well. I like to meet new people, connect with current and old friends, and spend time trying new activities. Spending too much time on the couch watching TV or reading is definitely fabulous, but the feeling that life is passing me by just staying there does nothing in the way of improving my mental health.

Now, these are the top three I can achieve immediately. All three of those things can be started today, no exceptions, but there are other things on my list that I haven’t mentioned. Not because I don’t think they’re worth mentioning but because I want to keep them to myself a little longer.

A wise man once said ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results’.

Wallowing, waiting for my life to begin on the couch will keep me down and the way that I’ve been feeling I can’t afford that. I need to change, do something different, shake it up, and I have a plan to do it.

Sam xox


Monday, July 13, 2015

Settle Down

Apparently, I'm almost 30. 

I'm not - 25 is not actually quite as close to 30 as the 19th century might seem to think; especially in a world when I hear they've decided that 40 is the new 30. 

So why, I have to ask, do I keep hearing I'm at the age when I need to settle down? 

Sure my mother was married with me at this age, about to graduate as a lawyer, and living as far from home she could get without actually leaving the country. However when you compare the common rate of younger marriages and childbirth of 1990 with those of today then it's definitely not the same world it was when my parents settled down with me.

But what is 'settling down'? 

I'd check the Oxford or Maquarie dictionary to give you a quote but it's more of a slang term so I figured this one could take a swing from the urban dictionary. Or rather Google.

Our search database friend defines 'settling down' as: 

to become established in a dwelling place or in a permanent job, profession, or business : begin to live a normal life. 2. : to become inactive or sluggish.

First of all, what constitues a 'normal life' anymore? If we're talking white picket fence, kids, minivan, husband, dog and a mortgage I'll never pay off then I guess we'd be scraping right in on that 'settling down' scenario most of us are probably familiar with. Staying in a permanent place like a good sedentary human and having a stable job that pays the bills are definitely two things our parents and grandparents secretly hope we'll have since we're in highschool. But what about that last part of the definition that those same family members always like to overlook? 'To become inactive or sluggish' ? There is such a thing as being too settled but we'll come back to that. 

I've done a lot with my life by 25. I've been to university and gotten my degree in what I love (archaeology), spent two years doing fly in and fly out work in the outback, written a couple of books (it's not as easy to publish as movies make you think), travelled a good portion of the world, practically run a business and done very well, and I bought my own brand new car. Sure, I don't have a lot of money to my name, a house, a husband or a baby on the way but welcome to the 21st century where this is not an unusual thing. 

In fact, this is so usual now that a huge percentage of women are marrying later (if ever) and not having babies until later because they're focused on doing their own thing. In vitro and stem cell research now means we can even have babies a) without a man and b) much later than ever before that in turn leads us even greater to the conclusion that hey we've got time. 

And it's not just when it comes to marriages or babies. Although let's face it when you grow up with more than 50% of your friends with divorced parents and you're the weird one then you're probably not that positive about your own future marriage prospects. Especially when the world is so desperate to convince you love and fairy tales don't exist that it brings you some of the most disappointing pep talks of all time. 

Meeting someone is hard - no matter how happy a girl is with herself and how much she enjoys the single life, every single girl will at one time or another bemoan the complete lack of prospects she's has. It's universal and doesn't mean she loves herself any less, but love, companionship and sex are quite literally biological needs that women have to satiate before we can even think of settling down. Anyone who thinks we can just skip that step is either a little stupid of sorely misinformed (and companionship, love or sex don't always have to be in the romantic sense, men don't need to complete us, for this to be true). So when I still feel totally unsatisfied as a single woman for all of the above, how could I even think of settling down? I've got way too many boxes left to tick on that one. 

And speaking of boxes, moving in to your own place or buying a property is probably the biggest pipe dream every young person has driven mostly by what their parents think they should have. It's economical, yes, and the perfect foundation for a new family, and obviously the sneaky way of having us settle into a permanent place. But in 2015 not so long after the Global Financial Crisis and mining boom ended, where is the logic in trying to break into the market and begging for a mortgage? I don't know about you but even when I worked in the mines it would have taken me a little while to save the necessary amounts needed to pay a deposit on a house id have spent the next 40 or more years paying off on my solo salary. Now, in a far less well-paying job it would take me maybe twice as long if I start right now. But for what purpose? Yes, it's the proper thing to do, the old world thing, but when I've got so many boxes left to tick on the life experience chart then why bother chucking in my hat by myself and settling down prematurely? If I had a husband and 2.5 kids then I'm sure that would be different, but as a young 20something who can barely meet a guy I've got far more interesting things to spend my money on (like travel!) that enrichens my life and makes me far happier than spending the next 40 years broke. I'd rather be poor and well travelled, than poor with a house the bank still mostly owns. 

Moving out of home at a younger age isn't even as prevalent anymore on the piggy back of the GFC. Of my closest friends the only ones who have gone on to get their own place have either done so because of locational logistics, bad relationships with their family or very good ones with a special someone. And even then most of them are still living in the parental unit and apathetic about it. I haven't spent more than 6 months in the same place since university and keep seeming to find a next adventure needs to be had before feeling the desire to live in a crappy apartment of my own purely for the fact that society thinks I should. Obviously I will eventually, like next year hopefully in the UK as per current plans, but not just for the sake of it. I'd have to downgrade to a smaller place, pay more in rent and bills, not have pets (I've always had pets) and have to go through the laborious process of moving all my stuff. Call me lazy if you will, but unless I'm intending to entertain and orgy I'm perfectly content to stay where I am whilst I'm waiting it out in this city. I'm only here half the time anyway which leads me to my next point. 

We live in an almost back to basic kind of world in 2015. Like our predecessors way back in the Palaeolothic and before (Stone Age, if you will) we lived in groups, the young stayed with their parents for ages like lion prides because there was not as much logic in going off on their own as there is today. And in our groups we roamed in a nomad life style for survival without settling down because hey, when you don't have agriculture or a permanent food source you kind of have to keep searching for it. Today we do have those things, but we aren't so different as you might think. Our ancestors roamed in search of one kind of sustenance, and today we continue to do the same - we search for satisfaction in knowledge, cultural diversity, amusement, ideology and altruism. Why do you think so many young people travel now? And it's not just because it's easier to, because that never stopped the Victorians, but so many of us live in pursuit of pleasure, knowledge, ourselves. So many things. 

It's not what our parents or grandparents want to here but we are hugely different from their generations. Point of fact: the entire world is different to the way it was then. Why do we keep having older world terminology and expectations attributed to us? 

Why am I 25 going on 30 who despite all I've accomplished and all I've got planned for my life still come off like a spinster with no property like I'm Charlottle fricking Lucas? 

At the end of the day I'm happy not settling down like so many other people my age. I'll get married if and when I meet someone I love that much (who feels the same). I'll buy a house if and when I ever feel the drive to, can afford it and want to actually live there permanently (I'm not an economist enough to think about investment properties just yet). And most importantly of all I will settle down if and when I am damn ready to do so. 

Gwen Stefani said it pretty well, too:


Well, sort of.

Sam xox

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pawprint

I have grown up an animal lover. I can't become a vet or visit the RSPCA because it hurts me too much to see them suffer. And my retirement plan consists of myself, a big property and all the dogs I can possibly adopt from various shelters so that they may live out their lives in peace. 

I've always had pets; a cat who outdated me and would glower at me above my crib, my first. Shortly followed by big dogs, then little dogs, more cats, fish, birds and guinea pigs, rabbits, mice. I'm sure in my 25 years of life we've had just about every animal aside from snakes we could have fit in our suburban block. 

But every animal lover knows that a pet is never just a pet; he or she is family. A sibling, a child, a best friend. There is a reason that dogs are considered to be 'Man's best friend' and the truth of that can be seen as far back as the Palaeolithic period in Europe (or the Holocene in Australia). Whilst cats were occasionally treated as godly or like deities, dogs have always been right beside us. We brought them on ships to new lands, they hunted and gathered beside us, they protected us from threats and most importantly of all they loved us unconditionally and showed us every day. 

There are famous examples worldwide or love and loyalty to people as shown by dogs: Hatchi in Japan, Red Dog in Australia, Balto in North America. Each has been passed down and retold over the years, fantasised and reimagines. But what has always stayed the same is how much those dogs have been remembered and will never been forgotten. Loved.

This is Rueben.


His names is misspelt here on purpose, as having grown up with him I always thought it was spelt differently. Even when I learnt I was mistaken it never changed in my mind because he was my Rueben and that was how I spelt his name.

Rueben was born in my house in the year 2000. He was the son of my other dog, Holly, and one fourth of the unintended pregnancy that occurred during the Sydney Olympics. Whilst his siblings went to live with friends and family members, Rueben (Olly as he was first known) never left. I remember it, when he was the last one left, and how I'd already claimed him. There was never any question of if he would stay with us - he just belonged. 

For the next 9 years mother and son lived with us. We had so many adventures and laughs together, so many good times. I've got hundreds of silly photos, memories and stories I could tell about all the good times we all had. 

In 2009 poor Holly's heart gave out and we had to let her go. It was horrible and sad, but she had been unwell for a little while. In the end it was her time. 

We eventually got past it, we added new members to the family like Alice the Staffy and Anubis the lazy ex-racing Greyhound. 



For all his worth and size, Anubis (named for the God of Judgement and Underworld in Ancient Egyptian culture), was perhaps the most unexpected pet. He was afraid of floorboards, loud noises, vacuum cleaners and so much more. He wasn't energetic or necessarily excitable even if he was always happy to see you at the end of the day. 

If anyone ever tells you that a Greyhound is a vicious or agressive dog - don't believe them. They've got long legs and they're fast so they race them but different trainers have different methods for getting them to run, as most Australians will know after a recent expose into the industry. But remember dogs aren't evil, they are primal like humanity once was and the have known us ever since. Believe me when I say what happened last night was by no means an act of aggression. Anyone who thinks otherwise can go through me.

Last night I came home from work late, the first one to as my mother was visiting my Nana in her new home (but that is another post for another time). I did what I would usually do, I put on some music and wandered around whilst I got dinner ready for all the animals. I called for Rueben but he never came but at 14 and somewhat deaf this wasn't unusual. Anubis and Alice didn't bark when I went outside, and then there was that moment when I knew, deep down that something was very wrong. 

I turned a corner, stepped into the patio light and screamed. 

Nothing will ever remove that image from my mind no matter how much I keep wishing it was a nightmare. It was already too late, and no amounting of thinking if only I'd just been home an hour earlier will bring him back. 

I called my brother, he came, and others soon after. While I waited I cried, devastated, and I shouted at Anubis as if he could reply though I know he understood. He knew he had made a very big mistake, so did Alice, I have never seen them look so depressed. 

Rueben was cleaned up so we could say goodbye and covered up to be taken to the vet. His wounds weren't fatal but as such a little old dog the shock killed him, and chances are even if I had got home in time I couldn't have saved him from that. 

It is never easy to lose a beloved pet, friend and family member. Especially not when it comes in such a sudden and traumatic way as this - it will take me some time to move past this and to stop replaying images in my mind. But I will never forget about him, never love Anubis any less for his horrible mistake, or hold off from any pets in the future. It hurts like hell to lose Rueben - but he was 14, I knew it was coming eventually. We had a almost 15 full years together and he was my constant best friend, my partner in crime and my adventure sidekick. I wouldn't trade any one of those memories. 

If you have a pet - go and hug it for me. Tell him or her you love them. You never know when it will be the last time. 

Eventually I will forget about last night. What I hope I never forget is the night before when we were sitting on the couch together watching a movie for what I couldn't have known was the last time. I hugged him, kissed him, told him I loved him and that's all that matters. 


Rueben 
November 12th 2000 - June 29th 2015

Sam xox

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cinderella

I'd say I was sorry for keeping you on suspense again for so long, but I think by now we'd both know that when the going gets crazy I'm ridiculously slack with blog updates.

Not that I don't love you.

In some ways nothing has changed since we were last together, although in others the world has titles drastically. I'll leave the specifics to the imagination but suffice it to say, as always, I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.

I still work out 3 times a week. I'm a lot stronger and muscular than when I started, not particularly any skinnier or lighter but I haven't had a lot of focus on cardio to get there. I've decided to increase that side of things this week - a trial as I'm not exactly fond of cardio after all. Health wise - things are as they have been. I'm healthier than I was and my intensive gym membership is paying off heavily in confidence boost, friendships and wellbeing. The crazy weight loss will come later, once we shake up the cardio a little more. 

When we come to work, life and love - what is the number one thing I have to say? I have no idea.

That's it: I have no idea. 

I made some wishes that came true, to a T, almost in spite of me and whilst I am so happy for what I received I am...well, unsatisfied. I got my wish but I wished for the wrong thing. It was a classic example of being careful what you wish for; to be more specific or else pay the devil. My wish was everything I had asked for, but I definitely sold myself short in the asking. 

Though now that those days (a crazy couple of weeks surrounding my 25th birthday in Perth and Tokyo) have ended, I am almost like a new woman. I feel, act and think far differently to the way I did back then. Like a veil or lid was removed on this whole other part of me that I never knew about. I like this new version of me, I'm still getting to know her, but I like her. 

I've thought of myself, all attempted arrogance aside, as an ugly duckling. For so long I considered myself less than attractive or worthy or loveable. I strived to be a good person because I figured I was nothing if not kind, and unattractive people had no reason to be cruel. I still think so, and I still strive to be kind, but I no longer think that I am so unattractive that I need to compensate with politeness. I think that this ugly duckling finally became a swan. 

I am the independent woman, princess and sex goddess I always hoped I would be growing up. It just took a little time and perseverance to get myself there. That is not to say that I'm my ideal weight, I suddenly know how to put makeup on properly or that I've survived a bikini wax. But what it does mean is that I am happy with myself; I came out of my box (Pandora's), I am unleashed. 

And all just in time for a ball. 

A work ball.

There was no evil stepmother, no step sisters and no crazy tasks to achieve. No animal friends to make my dress. No pumpkin. And perhaps no Prince Charming waiting in Melbourne for me by the stroke of midnight.

But it doesn't matter. I overcame odds, I conjured my own dress, I saved my own day with the help of a very unlikely fairy godmother, and I will show my own self a good time. 

I feel just like Cinderella - a modern one. An independent one. Far from the Brother's Grimm fairytale steeped in misery and much more like the romantic Disney version. 

Perhaps I will leave a shoe on the stairs for the future to find. 

Sam xox

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cramp my style

If you're a guy and squeamish on girl things then I suggest turning back now because this is not going to be pretty. 

Every now and then every woman has those days when she thinks 'hooray not pregnant, but now I'm dying' before resuming fetal position and abandoning all plans for the afternoon. This is one of those days. 

If you're blessed with regular, easy periods that come like clockwork and are pretty alright to handle then good for you. I'm not one of you. When mine come, always super late and always out of the blue, they hit me like a freight train and bowl me over. They range in intensity, but on a bad day I'm down for the count and sometimes I just wish it would kill me off already so it stops. 

It wasn't always like this; there was a time when I'd get it at least every month even if it wasn't always around the same time and although some cramps were worse than others it didn't make me feel like I needed to curl up around a heat pack, take as many drugs as possible and cry myself to sleep. Whether I was just better at dealing with the pain back then or they just hurt less I couldn't really say, only that they were easier days. 

Now? Not so much. 

Whilst I am grateful when they do come, because they're so few and far between these days it's stressful and highly concerning (the only thing worse than getting your period is not getting your period) especially since I'm not actually having sex anyway, when they do they're so much worse. Maybe it's like my body skips so many cycles it just mashes them altogether into one debilitating super period with mega cramps to knock me out every 3 months instead of every month. I don't even think that's better despite having so much time between them spent a little freaked about what the absence means for my health. Like, what if I'm sick? What if there's something not working properly? What if I can't get pregnant someday? And since they're always so unpredictable I can never really plan ahead because I'm just never sure when to expect it - like the world's worst house guest. 

I have no choice but to always be prepared with supplies, and if not have an emergency action plan in place that will probably save the life of whoever is near me at the time. But I can only be so prepared because how can I know I'm upset because PMS or not when I have no flipping clue when PMS is supposed to be visiting? Right now, it's always the week after, always hindsight. I might sit and have a big cry and freak out my depression is clawing back and not know for another 7 days that it was just my hormones flailing about so it'll be ok. I can't know that at the time, only after its all over because it's hard to anticipate when you're fumbling around in the dark. 

Give me a clock work period any day. 

I have been through tests before, I've asked doctors and I've spoken to almost every female friend that I have about what I can do and what might be wrong with me. Technically? Nothing, but it sucks to be me. I can go on the pill, hope that might work, it was once suggested I see if pregnancy helps (no) but other than that what can I really do? 

Sometimes all I can do is curl up with a heat pack, drug up and cry myself to sleep because it's all I can do. I'll joke that at least I'm not pregnant, secretly terrified maybe I never will be, and wish like every other irregular, spontaneous time it would just come normally every month. I'll wait it out, mark it on my calendar and wonder when, if ever, the next time is going to be.

You know, some aspects of being a woman really, really suck. And not just because the organic, sugar-free chocolate is nowhere near as satisfying as the real stuff. Diet periods really are the worst.

Sam xox

Monday, February 2, 2015

Reasons I can probably never get married

Aside from the most obvious - I don't actually have a groom - there's more than one reason I can probably never get married. They're things that people have told me, I've come to the realisation on my own, and some that I've seen on the telly. But one thing they all have in common is that it's probably for the best. 


My cousin is getting married this year, my oldest friend, and so the impending drama with her nuptials is what makes me kind of happy to be single. Here a my top 5:

5. 

My family is full on. And I know most people would say the same about their own, but you don't hail from an Anglo-Indian upbringing then let me just say that you are going to have to fight off your relatives sending invitations to 500 people you've probably never met. Unless you did meet them, but at the highly ripe old age of three. Seriously. Forget trying to even look at a seating plan and go straight for the buffet because no matter what you do you'll need food for an army and when I picture my wedding I don't like the chances of my literary book theme with canap├ęs, sushi and high tea cakes matching too well with the curries my uncle is no doubt going to tell me he'll cook. It's easier to maybe just not get married.

4. 

I have a tattoo on my shoulder. Ye of little faith who think that this one is a joke. Since first stating my intention to have a tattoo of any kind on my shoulder blade, I have been met time and time again with the question of 'what if you get married?' Obviously if I do make it to first base and find a groom, then surely by the time we decide to go for broke he'll know I've got some ink. And even then, how big a deal is it really that my dress doesn't cover the whole thing? Is it bad luck to have the Cheshire Cat peeking over the hem of my gown? Who will care? And yet this is a question I've been met with more than once that leads me to thinking that my ability to wear an amazingly gorgeous wedding dress is vetoed by the fact that I have a tattoo. Of course I couldn't just wear my hair over it, cover it with makeup or have a high-backed dress. I'll just have to remain a spinster.

3. 

Two of my best friends want the same wedding theme as me. We have different tastes and ideas of how to pull off our own literary weddings, planned depending on the nature of the literature we'll use as a base. But as the only one of the three of us who is yet to see the light of a relationship, I don't like my chances of being able to have the wedding I want and seeming in any way original. If I go third, then for all I know it would turn into an episode of 4 weddings with my guests wondering who of the 3 of us did it better. Goodbye perfect wedding, hello recycled material. Better keep the books on the shelf. 

2. 

I don't want to get married in a church, because I'm no where close to religious. In the 21st century, having a civil marriage ceremony under law rather than God is not that uncommon. People come from all cultural backgrounds so in a multicultural country like Australia no one is actually expected to get married in a church unless their family dictates. Whilst I have never been of that culture, my family has and I have been warned before that my refusal not to marry in a sacred place (read: church) when the time comes would not be seen as acceptable. In fact, I'd be a lot worried it would give my grandad a heart attack. There is little chance of compromise there when I feel so strongly against the church for a venue and my family is staunchly for it, so the best thing for everyone to both stay happy and alive might just be to skip the whole thing. And I've tossed out the idea of eloping before that just about had the same level of disdain in response. My family would just feel robbed. No where to have the ceremony, can't get married.

1. 

You can't ignore the people you don't like. It's no ones favourite topic, and it's funnily enough not remembered as much about weddings because everyone is always so blaze and getting along, but I would find sending out wedding invitations a particularly harrowing experience. How do you get away with not inviting the people you don't want to invite? Weddings are a showcase, especially for parents and family, which is why we end up with randoms there you haven't seen since before you were born. But that works the same the other way, and you can't just not invite someone because you don't like them. If they're a friend or friend of a friend it's bad enough because they'll find out, cut you snubbed them and vowing some sort of revenge, but God forbid they be someone you're actually related to be it an estranged uncle or aunt, or step-something you've met once. It might be your day, but did you really think it would just be your friends and close family? Can I hear a hell no? There is a handful of people I know I would actively not want present, but be forced to invite. Better not have a wedding then. 

So sometimes I think whilst watching a bridal series or when I see a gorgeous wedding gown that I can't wait to have a wedding, but when faced with the realities of the situation I figure it's a kindess to have not met anyone. Call me lazy, or controlling, or even a future bridezilla, but I know my own mind and staying single might be the best thing for everyone. Bare necessities, hakuna matata, whistle while you work and all that. 

I'd probably never make it past the first date anyway. 

Sam xox

Sunday, January 25, 2015

12 Week Challenge

To say I got a little lax over the Chrjstmas and New Year period might be a bit of an overstatement when you consider I ate half of the teapot cake myself. 


And ate some crap each day because I was too busy to make a good lunch and too lazy to get up earlier to make it anyway. But some things did remain: breakfast daily consisted of protein shakes mixed with Garcinia cambogia, and when I did get time I turned to sandwiches, subway or homemade, sushi on Fridays, and a ridiculous amount of fruit. Seriously I was sucking on berries like some kind of fruit bear. 

And not the Fruit Eating Bears band from the 90's. 

Being a frugivore is apparently a real thing, and some days a work I practically was one with the amount of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and the occasional melon I stuffed the fridge with.  

Other than that, let's just forgive me of my bad food sins and move on. 

Today the 12 week challenge begins. The idea is to work out and eat healthy, but as per the strict regime of a set plan when the gain is not only self satisfaction and health benefits but the potential to also win some money. 

So I hired a personal trainer, did some shopping and now I'm ready to go. I won't pretend I didn't overstuff with sugar and crap yesterday - deliberately pushing it so I'd feel gross afterwards and be leaving it behind gladly. But with the shake down of my system I kind of felt the need for a last hurrah before I moved on anyway. 

And so here it is: 


Are you ready? 

Sam xox 


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Old Flame

I've been in love before. Only once and a long time ago now that it's almost like a distant dream. Something that happened in another life, to another Sam. A younger Sam, a more enchanted Sam. 

Things are different now. 

In the 3 years since that dreadful morning I've been infatuated and I've meet lovely guys all over the world. I've batted my lashes, I've tripped over my own feet, I've kissed, danced, giggled, cried and sometimes just wished on a star for something new. It's been fun, it's been lonely, it's been exciting and it's been disenchanting, but in all this time not one person has made me feel the way that he did. 

He never knew how I felt, I could never tell him how strong my feelings were or how much he was everything I had ever wanted. Not because I didn't want to but because at the time I was afraid and things were complicated as in the real world they always are. It seemed there was never the right time, that he wouldn't want to know. And for a long time afterwards I wondered if I had just been honest then things never would have turned out the way that they had. That maybe he'd have known that I didn't want anyone else and that I would have just about done anything for him. Maybe he'd have thought I was enough then. 

But like I said, that was another time. I am not that person anymore and I know that if he had been as worthy as all that then what happened would not have happened. My starry eyes didn't deserve that fate, or that heartache. 

I've been single all my life - never had a partner before, not even him, and despite it all he didn't actually put me off. I used to hope that someone would come along and think the world of me like I had of him, that I would feel that intensely again. And for a little while I even grew anxious, afraid, that I never would again. What if no one made me feel that way again?  Would I live out the rest of my life with lukewarm feelings moving from one fickle infatuation to the next each time I snapped out of it? 

It was the fear of missing out more than anything, knowing that I had lived almost 25 years without this huge part of daily life because I'd just not experienced it and I simply could not do it alone. I am a very independent person, having to miss out because I am single has never been acceptable to me. But when being single for my entire life span meant that I was forced to miss out on so much over the years, that did not suit. I had no choice and I've missed out on so much I would sometimes become a like a puppy at the pet shop just waiting to be adopted. And I hated that. 

It goes against everything that the 21at century independent woman in me stands for, and when I don't lose sleep backpacking for months on end on my own it almost kills me to know that I can't do everything. It's limiting. 

What if I run out of things that I can do on my own?

I was in love once. I felt strongly and passionately with everything I had. It took a long time to reclaim what I lost, but still when you try to tape all the jagged pieces back together you don't always get everything. No heart smashes cleanly. You can't always find every tiny sliver and pick it up for the pile to mend later. Something always gets lost. What if I never find it? What if I never feel that way again? What if I never have the chance?

I'm not sworn off men. I tried it once when I was younger but being a young independent woman who doesn't need a man doesn't mean that I wouldn't like one someday. I suffered enough, I paid for it, I mended. I've done so much on my own and I buy whatever I want with my own money. But if I never feel that way again in my lifetime I will never be satisfied. I am a sensitive, emotional human being and I have so much care, passion and love to give that will be so much more than a shame to waste. 

It doesn't have to be today, or tomorrow, or next week or even this year, but at the end of the day it's been almost 25 years of doing my own thing. 3 years since I've felt passionate and strongly about another person. Life is only passing me by. 

It's not something I wish on stars for anymore, I don't ask for it in my tarot or hope for it with my horoscope. I don't make it a resolution or a goal for the year. I don't waste the breath or the wish or the energy. I just have faith that when the time is right and it's my turn, and I've earnt it, then it'll be so. 

Just, not another 25 years. I'd appreciate it.

He never truly loved me, but I deserve to be loved. I'll never be able to forget him or what happened entirely, but at least he showed me that I could feel. Someday I just want to feel that way again. 

Sam xox 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The clock

Time is a strange thing. As one character from Angel once said, "there is so little and so much of it". Now that is completely true, as we all know. How often do we think time flies or time crawls? It's the one thing that will consistently do the opposite of what you want it to do; speed up when you're having fun because you're not aware of it, and slow right down when you're hoping for it to pass more quickly. 

Time can be hell on earth, or nirvana depending on how you look at it. It can be jaded, understanding and comforting. It can be the difference between unbelievable pain and ultimate salvation. But you know what else it can be? A limit, an expiry. A countdown. 

How many of us countdown, every day, in one way or another. Most of the time it's us who count down time, but what about those other instances when time counts us down? 

Fate, destiny, body clock. Time might be relative but we never have control of it even if we trick ourselves into believing we can by inventing clocks and sundials and keeping busy. We can't stop it, we can't rewind. But most importantly of all we can't predict what time will do. 

Sometimes I think about that. That time is running out and the clock is ticking. But it's not always this frightening as it has been recently. I'm not usually afraid of the future, but sometimes, even for a little while, I am. And right now is one of those times. What will happen to me when this clock runs out? It was easier to ignore when it was a year ago, a safety net almost. But now?

There's so little time left and for once I'm terrified of that unknown. 

Sam xox

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome to 2015

I've seen a lot of end of year posts on Facebook recently, as you do every year, but the thing that gets me is that the majority of them are pretty pessimistic. Hey, I get that everyone can have a rough year every now and then - mine have been average at best since I can remember - but 2014 was the first year that I really felt like things were kind of going alright for me. When everyone else, as it would seem, has had such a miserable year, how do I say that things have actually been pretty good for once without seeming like an a**hole?

The year started off pretty great, I'll admit. I was travelling again, optimising the office down time in January like I was supposed to and decided to spent it over the New Year back in London. It was a great week, despite the traditional disappointing New Year's Eve (this time spent freezing my extremities off in Charring Cross waiting for the trains with a terrible view of the fireworks). As my second New Year in a row not only in Europe, but with my friend N, it was a far better start to the year than the crappy night suggested and was not up-heaved by the following day or the rest of the week. In fact it was a pretty sweet week in London, filled with musicals and fun, then when the week had ended I simply nipped across the pond to the City of Angels.

I'd been to LA twice before, but there was something so nice and uncomplicated about rocking up in the US with no plan. I had a week at a hostel and a ticket back to Oz a few weeks away but aside from that I was completely free. I met some amazing people and i revelled in the snapshot of freedom, but then I got the email that sort of changed everything.

Sitting at a table in the Hard Rock Cafe on Hollywood boulevard, I used the free wifi to check my inbox and was beaten over the head with a notice of redundancy from work. Whilst I was on the holiday I'd not only been encouraged to take but had paid leave approved for. Tough call. It was a very hard moment, sitting in the restaurant by myself crying into my cocktail, and when I got home there were long minutes spent skyping my parents to explain the situation and receiving a lot of tough love in return. But the next morning even though I didn't have a clue about what I was going to do next I knew it was going to be alright, in fact not only did I know it would be fine I was also kind of glad.

My old job was great. I had less office hours, and I got to go adventuring in the untamed fields of the Pilbara, but it wasn't all roses. Office politics made for a difficult living situation sometimes and by the end it became very much the masses versus the upper management. In a nutshell, combined with changing laws and outside forces alongside the problems within, I was already feeling like I wanted things to end a bit. Plus the outback was cool, but it had never encompassed the goals I'd set for myself in life.

It was tough and kind of a rude wake up call that most definitely left me in the lurch - especially since I already had the return ticket to Oz - but guess what? It was sort of the kick in the pants that I needed. I was going nowhere fast continuing the way that I was, I didn't have a plan anymore and time was rolling along without me.

I spent the rest of the month kicking about in the US before splashing out in Disneyland and coming home, then immediately booked myself to leave again. I shopped around for work, I did some things around the house and I just floated, but when I say my heart wasn't really in it I'm not joking. It took me longer to figure out how to reconstruct my life, but I knew how I wanted the year to pan out and that was by taking all my savings and travelling until I literally couldn't any more without help. I did do some constructive things in that time though like crashing a course at my old university and brushing up on my Greek Mythology, writing, and having a very well worth it LOTR marathon. I did plenty of other stuff too like volunteering and working back at the coffee shop, but when I was trying to desperately pinch every penny it was a little hard to use money for much else.

It took 3 months and finally the day came to wave my house goodbye. It felt like an eternity before it came, but when it did I was so eager to pack up my bags again and run to the airport with my new journal that if it had been a film I'm sure I'd have made some comic fail. Which when I think back to how I'd spent the night before trying to fix my phone after iOS updates decided to make it explode and still ended up having to manual reload I suppose there was.

For almost 5 months I wandered around Europe, Morocco, and South East Asia. I wrote all about my adventures already so all I can really say here is how completely wonderful the whole thing was. It was far from perfect and not everything went according to plan, but I virtually got to pick it back up and spend the better part of the year doing exactly what I wanted the way I wanted. I saw so much I never had before, meet more amazing people and achieved some goals I'd been placing along the way. Who could fault that even if I struggled some days, missed some trains, got upset sometimes, and hulked out my biceps a little with my heavy case (I don't do backpacks). For better and worse this adventure is going to stay with me like the tattoo I got to commemorate the way the adventure made me feel.

So, 2014? Regardless of whether or not the past few weeks having been a little up and down, I refuse to remember this year for the bad when it has been so monumental to my life and personality. My 2014 will always have a very special place, especially after 2011, 2012 and parts of 2013...

But the adventure wasn't even the end of it. I walked straight into a job when I got home that I actually like and get to refer to myself as Agent Sam, which I didn't think was a possibility after I had to give up on my dreams of joining MI6. I was totally capable as a dual citizen, but I'd have had to give up my Australian side and that might've been too big a decision for me.

This year has been a whirlwind and it really has gone so fast. I started off quite different to the way that I ended and no matter how I can feel sometimes I regret nothing. 2014 was a good year for me. I'm sorry if it wasn't for you, and I wish you the best this year, but I needed what came to me in my 24th. I can only hope, with a terribly cliched sentiment, that 2015 does not erase the good that has been done.

I don't have any set resolutions or goals like I usually do, but I just hope that I stay happy. I hope you can keep it or find it if you need it.

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2015.

Cupid, you keep staying away. Dionysus, you come with me but bring your mate Artemis along for the ride.

Sam xox