Monday, December 5, 2016

Festive Season

Will you meet me at the Miseltoe?

It has been a surprisingly long while since I was last here and whilst I was busy - again, always my excuse - there really isn't reason enough for me to give you that really explains enough where I've been since Halloween. 

The truth is a lot has been going on and writing, even NaNo, has fallen behind in my priorities this year. I didn't really...feel it. Does that make sense? I just didn't feel inspired in that way enough to fight through the exhaustion at the end of the day and continue to write whether it was here on my blog or towards my 50k. I didn't finish NaNo for the third time in my life, and I didn't even keep on top of my blog. I'd hang my head in shame if I felt that bad but I actually really don't - which is a weird thought of it's own.

Who even am I if I don't write? What makes me me?

Well it's not as dramatic as all that, I still have plenty of ideas and I still love to tell stories, I just think maybe I've grown past that time in my life which I can write all night anymore. Scary. 

Do I still want to publish? Absolutely. But it is starting to seem more like a pipe dream now when I'm 26 and have 15 stories but only 1 manuscript that I've submitted exactly once. It's not an unattainable goal and I know that I am a good writer (I'm no Dickens but I'm sure as hell better than Stephanie Meyer), so what other than my own distraction and probable laziness is really stopping me? 

Here's an idea, and bare with me through some more philosophical BS: I've actually started to live and just enjoy that. 

Aside from when I was travelling, and this is part of my desire to travel, I for so long just felt like I was waiting for my life to begin. Kind of like Rapunzel in the opening number of Tangled. I was just sort of going day to day, didn't really have too much of a purpose though I knew because I was alive I had to have one, but waiting to start actually living. The long periods between travel and adventure kind of felt like living in the pause screen though I continued to age. It kind of sucked. 

Now, particularly since moving to Sydney, I don't feel that way anymore. I still travel, I still write, I still read all the time, but sometimes those things are on pause because there is so much real life just happening around me. 

After Halloween I continued to go on more dates (some terrible, some great), I got busy at work and took on overtime, my mother came to visit, a good friend moved to Sydney, a friend from Canada came to visit and I actually met someone pretty lovely. NaNo was on the back burner quite early because I was more excited about the real world than my annual escape into my mind temple, and the next thing I knew it was time to deck the halls. Two trees, Christmas shopping and candy canes later I'm ready to just relax into the festive season. 

I am so excited for it this year as well. I am going home for Christmas, oddly so, and I'm looking forward to it (don't remind me of this, but yes I am keen to go to Perth - not something you'd think I'd say). I get to seem some friends, my family, and take a week off to hug all my animals, laze by the pool and drive my car down the freeway with Christmas carols as loud as they'll go. I could do that here with my headphones but it wouldn't have the same effect...

So get excited guys - I got my Santa hat out, my egg nog on the brew and I'm ready to jingle the hell of all the bells. 

Happy holidays! 

Sam xox

Monday, October 31, 2016

Recollection and Reconnection

Hindsight is 20/20 and I am, partly due to my love for history and partly because I am somewhat of a masochist, notoriously bad for reminiscing on the past. I reflect on it angrily, melancholically, nostalgically, romantically - you name it, I've done it. I can push memories aside and suppress them and I have been known to deliberately alter the way that I remember a situation on some occasions. 

It's not at all negative, mind, at least when it comes to reflection because I am a firm believer in actually trying to learn and interpret from the past. Hence the degree in archaeology. Even when I rearrange my own memories it is for my own greater good in preserving them. Think of it as cutting the dry part of the cake off so that you can enjoy the moist part just behind it rather than tossing the whole cake. Do you understand? 

I decided that the lyrics to Little Mix's 'Shout out to my Ex' were pretty valid of my past situation, and I kind of threw myself into just having fun being a singleton. I have had three dates in the  past weeks! Three! Nothing suss, just that I met up with a few very nice guys and got to have some great conversations with some new people - you know me, I love meeting new people. 

And whether or not I think that any of the dates are going anywhere the point is that I had fun and I am that step closer to my past affairs, especially that awful one over the winter, actually being lost to time. Am I erasing memories? No, they aren't that painful that I feel like I need to forget. But I am remembering the good parts of them - some a little differently to others. I can't change the past but I can control what I take from it, what I learn from it and how I view it. This is all part of moving on and just enjoying my life for what it is. 

I'm kind of enjoying being single and just dating - well, loving to hate the dating scene at least.

Meanwhile someone else, a fling from my past, was brought back into my life when they were funnily enough much harder (and less necessary) to forget than the other. I can't help how I feel and I found I missed them - so I figured why not let bygones be bygones? To be fair the only excommunication came from an intention to be more faithful and respectful to someone no longer around. Meh! I can talk to whomever I want to this holiday season especially when I really don't feel the need lately to settle down in anyway. 

I mean I don't need kids, I don't need a house and I don't need a husband in the next few years. Do I sometimes want those things? Sure. Do I want them today? No.

So it's all part of the reflection process in reevaluating what I really want from life and how I am going to get it. Reconnecting with people for better or worse, letting some things fly from mind, trying new things and meeting new people - that's all what life is about now, isn't it? 

At the end of the day I'm still in my 20's. I'm adult enough to make my own choices and deal with their consequences in my own way. If that's going on some average and terrible dates then great. At least when I'm old (if I make it that far) I'll have some interesting stories to tell.

Sam xox

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

One Year in Sydney

I remember what happened a year ago yesterday almost like it was yesterday.

Well, not really I only remember the night and that it was my last night living in Perth. My bags were packed, I said my farewells and I was spending my very last night in my old bed.

A year ago today was the beginning of an amazing new adventure as I boarded the plane, left my teary parents behind, and set off in pursuit of an entirely new life.

The decision to move to Sydney had come to me months earlier in July when I had started to become depressed in my current situation and my best friend had been called to office on the East Coast already. The will was there before the means and everything from that point was a twist of fate leading me in the right direction.

I've spoken about this before so I won't rehash it all, but in the year that followed from that moment boarding the plane to today I have seen and experienced so much that I have well and truly become a different person. I have met new people, tried new things, been new places, and had one of the most varied, colourful and unpredictable years of my entire life.

In the spirit of celebrating my amazing one year anniversary, let's have a look at the top twelve (one for every month) moments, experiences and events of my first year in the big city:

1. I started a brand new job. 


Starting a new job as you'll all know can be scary at first but also exciting. Depending on what you move from to begin it can even be anything from a change of pace to a different field or discipline and just ripe with more to learn and new experiences. Any new skill in life you learn will add to who you are and what you bring to the table so starting this new job has not only provided me with a different view of the world I hadn't had before but also new approaches to both management, support and customer service. And, what do you know, I'm pretty good at it!


2. I got to learn what it is like to permanently live out of home. 


Considering that this year I turned 26 this seems like a strange one to have in my top twelve. However as I come from a generation that does actually spend longer at home before moving on due to a lot of different variables I am going to include it. Before my move to the big city I had spent two weeks of every month living on a Pilbara mining camp, 6 months of a year living out of hostels in La Vie Europe, I managed an entire travel shop and the majority of my travels were solo - so I was hardly without independence.

This was still different, however, and the past year has seen me not only getting used to a lot of things but doing my best (more so on some days than others) to be more mindful of my home life so that I don't irritate the hell out of my flatmate (turned close friend). It as been a learning curve for me in some areas more so than others but it has also brought a huger aspect of freedom and independence in a totally different way than before. For example living out of home and 4000 km from my parents has sort of activated my dating life in a sense, has improved my ability to cook and bake, has amped up my need to eat healthily and sees me out most evenings after work either socially or in some form of exercise. I don't spend as much time watching TV on the couch and drinking tea as I used to - I miss it sometimes and so I do it, but I don't feel like life is passing me by quite so much any more.

Though I could write an entire post about what it has been like to live out of home in the big city but for today I won't, though suffice it to say that my flatmate and I, and our past third member, have had some amazing times, some totally crazy times, and some awkward times. I might do a top ten list of crazy, awkward or awesome housemate moments in the near future.

3. I drank a lot of wine. 



The benefits of moving in with a vino enthusiast is rather limitless especially since we tend to have our shelves stocked with appropriate bottles of not only wine but spirits, too. We frequently have events, create events or have drinks for the hell of it. Some of our craziest moments have involved red wine and venturing rather spontaneously out into the suburb for night time adventures. We have stolen Christmas trees, gone for classy nights, baked, ordered midnight pizza, bathed together and seen the sunrise under the influence and each occasion has been a fabulous story for the future.

Not to mention that more than one of my new friends have joined the party.

4. I played the not-so tourist. 


Even from the day after I arrived in the big city I have been known to go on explorations and adventures, often to places the locals don't seem too exciting at all. No offence to the New South Welsh, but most things here are new to me and one of the things I love is to get it there and see those. 

I have been on cruises, taken ferries or trains to unfamiliar territory, toured into the Blue Mountains and walked along the rocky beach inlets of the coast line. On the cultural side, I've been to museums, on historical tours, ghost tours, and to virtually every festival or free event that I could. The Sydney sights that are oh-so regular to the commuters were brand new to me such as the harbour bridge, Luna Park, Taronga, the Rocks and the Opera House have been taken over by my desire and thirst for soaking in the atmosphere of this new Wonderland. 

But since this was my home now I wouldn't consider myself a tourist - I was just new.

5. I finally enjoyed Australia Day. 


Before I lived in the big city, virtually the heart (at least in Colonial terms) of modern Australia, I used to hate our national holiday. Where I can from and from what I observed on the news it was nothing but a big booze up in which racially driven fights broke out every year and the less intelligent prejudiced would comment on immigration. White Australian pride always seemed to ruin my day and there was actively nothing about it that I really supported or enjoyed about it anymore. 

But this year, even sick, I got to really enjoy the proud, multicultural and fun side of the holiday. There were drinks, sure, it was hot - definitely - and being ill I wanted to die by the end of the day but it was so different to everything that had come before it. Instead of a cloudy blow up pool there was ferry races in the harbour. Instead of casual racism there was multicultural inclusion. Instead of angry there was fun. There was croquet, a photo booth, and so much more that I had a fantastic day. For the first time I didn't hate Australia Day after all and I was actually proud to be a part of it.

6. I nipped up and down the East Coast. 

Perhaps one of the sillier things I was most excited about in moving to the East Coast (you could say back to the East Coast as I do technically come from Tasmania) was the close proximity to Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmania where I have family and friends. There's also something to be said about being suddenly in the epicentre of Australiana whereas back in Perth everything seemed like it was happening so far away and when people though of Australia it was a culture not necessarily your own. You'd be surprised just how different Western Australia is to the rest of the country. 

So being able to travel only a short distance to these other places really kind of left me giddy. And although I have only travelled to Melbourne and Tasmania so far in the year that I have been here the option is truly there for the future. I've certainly got some fun that I should definitely keep having.

7. I went on dates and met new men. 

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to finally meet someone nice and I suppose in a sense I have met that requirement in that I have met lots of nice people and that includes nice guys. Not all the men I've dated this year or want to have dated have been nice, but they're out there.

I have met men all over the world and somehow I never felt quite so apart of it or noticeable until this year. I used to be this much more boring, wishful, hopeless romantic who barely got a date and had much less fun than I do now. Moving really changed that and in the past year I've had flirtation-ships, teeny relationships and - let's just say - other sorts of adventures as well. I've met great guys and I've met awful guys but the biggest thing to take away from it is that there's fun out there to be had. Also, well, hey being single is kind of awesome when the alternative is settling someone less than the kind of amazing that makes me want to break into song. 

There have been musical moments this year in more ways than one and although I've not met anyone to last I am hopeful and positive (on good days) that I'll either surely find one or I won't really care. I'm sort of enjoying this freedom without putting too much heart into it.

8. I started pole dancing. 

 

Yes, you read that right! 

Something I'd sort of always thought I would try someday came around via a new friend and now I'm hooked. The work outs are fun and new, the people are great and the adrenaline that pumps through my veins as a result really revs my engine. Some of the most fun I've had in recent months has been at pole classes or social events. 

Don't get me wrong but it does hurt like hell and I am far from being a pro, but I love it. It's healthy in more ways than one and I genuinely look forward to my time. I suggest trying it if you never have because you could be keen like me.

9. I ate a cricket. 

 
Let's not dwell on this one because it was so gross I never want to do it again even if it was an experience. In context on my recent trip to Cambodia I was offered crickets at dinner with a local community and despite being resistant I was challenged. I'd refused the tarantulas and scorpions days earlier so my tour mates figured I needed to eat something strange to me that trip. Don't recommend crickets, but I do dare you to try them if you're game.

10. I developed new traditions. 


This list is so brief that I can't relay everything or even all my new traditions but some major ones that has been modified is baking my own ham at Christmas, using different candles for different occasions, soaking in different bath salts for different healing purposes. 

It's only been a year and so traditionsnare still being built but I hope running down the street dressed as the White Rabbit at Easter or with a Christmas tree like the Grinch is one we get to repeat again. 

Here's to forming even more new traditions.

11. I went on an IKEA spree. 



Two days after arriving in Sydney I moved into my house and went on an epic IKEA shopping spree for furniture and the works. It was everything I'd ever dreamt of until I got home, the flat packs were delivered and I spent a solid two days assembling them all. Mostly alone. Buying the furniture? Dream come true, added all items to cart. Constructing my entire bedroom with an Allen key, wooden pegs and picture instructions? Nightmare. 

I don't need a man for much but constructing all my furniture would have been a good occasion for one. That in might I do however have the knowledge when I look at my bedroom that I did sort of make it all myself. 

Which is why some parts are not quite right.

12. I closed the door on things best left behind. 

 This never had to be a New Year's Resolution as we always talk about moving on from the bad things that we can't change, but as I mentioned I have changed a lot and left a lot behind this past twelve months. 

For example not all my friendships have survived the transition (only the weak ones tapered) though the majority have and proved how strong they are even with distance. There were friends I had that were unsustainable in one way or another and despite whether their loss was upsetting at the time or not they are best left behind. 

In another way of thinking aspects of my personality have suffered the same fate. I haven't changed enough that you wouldn't know me anymore or that I'd have lost the spark of what made me me, but my outlook is different and that old rose-coloured view of the world is not as applicable as before. That's not a bad thing - especially when you consider my view on ideologies such as romance have erred from Disney-fied to a more realistic approach. I've sort of been disenchanted and I digress that it is not a bad thing all the time. In order to grow and grow up a part of that Disney persona had to be left behind or continuing to survive in the modern would would not have worked so well. 

There have been other things I've left behind, other men as well, but we don't need to really talk about that when I have already in the past on more than one occasion. But leaving things behind, closing the door on things that don't help you or that actually encumber you is a healthy way to live. People say to forgive and forget, or to be the bigger person, but I don't think that's always the best option. If sometime hurts you and you have a choice to leave it behind? Consider it - it might be worth doing for your own sake. 

-

It's been a crazy year and I could go on and on about things that have happened, people I've met and things I've done that this year in my life could effectively be a book. Or a television series. Or a two-part movie. There is simply too much to say.

I will however leave you with this:

Some of the best moments of my life have occurred this year and some of the best people I have met have been here. My only regrets are from things that I didn't do and at the end of the day I am so proud to have done what I have in my own way. No one controlled me (those that tried got their butts handed to them, trust me) and I was so supported in everything I did that I only hope that the next twelve months bring just as much. 

So cheers to the future!



Sam xox

Thursday, October 20, 2016

My old bed

I sit at the Opera Bar sipping a cold glass of sparkling Janz . To those unaware that is both the bar beneath the Sydney Opera house and a glass of sparkling wine, like Chardonnay if you will though I don't know a lot about wine except for what tastes good and what I am happy to afford or not. 

I've just had a very busy few weeks in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand and then visiting back home in Perth for a long weekend. 

I sit here with my drink reassessing once again the best ways to draw enchantment out of my ordinary life because that's what keeps me going. I accepted that property and assets, the way that I spend and what I prioritise, are unlikely in my near future, and I have moved on from the recent 'heartbreak' that whilst was entirely hurtful was surprisingly shallow in nature. I do feel a little bored now that my adventures for the time being are over and whilst I know that I am a good person, I have a lot to give and that yes, sure, I suppose there's someone out there for me I won't need to convince myself to like or feel I am settling for; today I sort of don't really feel like anything. 

I'm sitting here just wondering what I should do with my weekend and why I feel so apathetic about everything. The noodle markets are on - id love to see that. Michael Macintyre is in town, he cracks me up and I can get a ticket if I want to. I have a date with an attractive guy, sure it might go really well. It's Halloween in less than a fortnight, then Dias de Los Meurtos, then NaNoWriMo, then my mum is visiting again and then next minute it's the Christmas season. We are very quickly approaching my favourite time of the year and yet I feel so disenchanted with life today. For zero reason at all. Why?

Last weekend I was back in Perth and managed to quite fluidly catch up with almost all of my friends still there bar one, see the majority of my family including my cousins new baby (we'll talk about that another time because I cried), and felt like no time at all had passed since I had seen any of them. It's intensely comforting to know that my friends are still exactly that - I didn't see them for a minimum of 6 months and yet it could have been a week. I've never felt so grateful to have the amazing friends that I do, and considering how grateful I usually am that says a lot (note: that's very grateful, my friends are amazing). 

Even at my old house everything was more or less the same and all the pets dived straight for me; the dogs on my bed, my old bed this time, the birds chirping I. English as the where the hell had I been and driving my car again required no awkwardness in rememberence in gears. It has almost been to the day one entire year since I left for Sydney and Perth felt like it had been maybe 2 days. It was safely comforting after what I had been through and I had been so very right in assuming my experience when booking my tickets in the first place. 

So when combined with the death and rebirth, metaphorically of course, that I somewhat experienced in Cambodia spending that time in Perth was like reconnecting with roots. I exorcised or killed off a negative entity, I was reborn in foundation, and I reconnected necessary wires to overall strengthen my rebirth. Like a robot or a house. 

So now my sitting here feeling disenchanted over a glass of wine sort of makes sense: I am rescanning data (to use the robot metaphor) for purpose. I wiped part of the slate clean and it's like writers block as to what I am going to replace it with - do you get me? Sort of an existential 'now what?'

Even just muddling through it makes me feel better already. 

So, what is the next step? 

Obviously snap myself out of it because the best time of the year is coming and I don't have time to be a sap. I have a lot to do and a lot of passion, albeit a little watered down today, with which to do it and I'd best get ready for it. 

Sometimes when you are feeling disenchanted or disheartened or bored with life it's worth sitting down over a glass of wine and pondering why that is, and how to fix it. Everyone is their own hero and worst enemy. You decide which one wins every day (unless of course we are delving into deep mental illness territory in which case for god's sake see a psychiatrist because I can't help you and don't listen to me). 

Sam xox

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

You Did Good, Kid

Have you ever made a decision, or a choice, that once you do and see it through it feels like the universe is smiling down on you? And friends and family alike are ready to pat you on the back?

Today I had to, for my sake, take that final step and sever the very last tie that I had to the man.

It was just time to end it all, and I am glad for it, especially after he made it very clear by posting more couples photos and videos of himself with this other woman. I wasn't angry, or sad, but I did realise that I just couldn't stand by it any more and that It was time to enact on the last part of my original plan over a month ago: to phase this whole thing out.

I went to Cambodia and I left some things behind, it changed me, and now I know for sure that I don't want to be in this situation at all any more. There is no use in hanging on to the hopes of a weak friendship any more. So I finally went and cut the cord.

The best part is that I did it on my own - I knew what I had to do and I did it, I didn't need any one to press the button for me and I knew without the shadow of a doubt that what I was doing was the right thing.

I feel now like a weight is off my shoulders and that this bad romance has finally been laid to rest.

Sam xox

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Angkor Wat: Cambodia Kampuchea Part Two

There are no proper words to adequately put into words the way it felt to walk through the temples of Angkor Wat in the dark through puddles in effective silence. To arrive before the main structure just as the sun began to rise and to find myself standing before this:

  

Breathtaking, spiritual, unbelievable. It felt like a pilgrimage to a place of sanctuary and quiet like I've felt before in Lascaux...even with the other tourists and selfie sticks crowding around. But after I glared at one women encroaching on my space no one bothered me again and I was able to remain content. It truly was a spiritual experience and the entire time we spent at the Angor complex over the following two days I was happy despite the heat and missed archaeology like hell. 

Contrary to popular belief, Angkor isn't just one temple and actually consists of hundreds of temples across a large area in Siem Reap throughout the juggles. They were built between the 9th and 15th centuries and each time period does have stylistic differences. The three major temples complexes that most will be familiar with include Angor Wat (see the sunrise picture above), Angkor Thom (probably my favourite), and Ta Prohm (or Bayon, or the Jungle temple). All three have featured prominitely in people's visits to Angkor, visual imagery from the area and generally what they'll show in films such as Tomb Raider. You know those iconic images of Lara Croft drop rolling through the ruins? That's the one. 

 

 
It had been my dream for ages to come to Angkor and see the temples, reenact out scenes from Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones as well, but most importantly to really reconnect with myself as an archaeologist and historian. It really was like balm for the soul.

I mentioned sunrises and possibility last time, and as a matter of fact from arriving in Siem Reap and spending so much time wandering through the ruins of what felt like archaeologist Disneyland I felt reborn. In a sense I let something die on the road from Phnom Penh and found closure. I gained perspective and I feel like a better person, a weight off my shoulders. 

And temple raiding wasn't the only thing that made me feel so at home, so completely in my element. We had massages, we went to the night markets, had a night out in Pub street at the Angkor What? Bar and the Temple Club (in case you didn't know I really love themed bars), relaxed by the pool, went for a quad bike run through the rice paddies of the countryside, and to the Phare Circus. I recommend all of these things and I would happily spend much more time doing just this. Even as hot and humid as it was I would have happily stayed for weeks longer in Siem Reap slowly rebuilding myself and relaxing. You could say Ive reaped what I've sown and if someone could have handed me an adventure suit and a pith helmet I'd have never stopped living in my imperial fantasy land. Why should I have? 

Between the Phare Circus and the New Hope, both institutions designed to education young Cambodians and offer them the opportunity for a better life, my time in Siem Reap brought a more positive perspective than Phnom Penh had - rather than perspective from the past there was vision for the future and the good person I want to continue to be. I prayed in the temples (not hypocritical because I am spiritual, just not religious) and I donated plenty of what I had to the people who so obviously needed it more than I. I asked the monks for blessings and the ties back on my wrists remind me of the wishes I made and peace of mind I asked for. If I can, by supporting the Cambodian people, try to bring an ounce of that to them then I will consider to have done the right thing. I can't donate everything I have but I can do my best to help when possible - everyone has a cause, right? 

Alongside my Amazon rainforest conservation dream I would like to come back to Cambodia and help the people more. How exactly I'm not sure, but I want to do something down the track. I keep saying that I have a purpose in life and maybe one of these adventures will lead me right to it - even if I never realise what it is. Maybe something that I do or say will end up being necessary to someone who does change the world even if I am not the one to change it. 

When I think back on it I can't believe I was even for a moment so upset about a man leaving me who was so obviously wrong for me. He wasn't for me, and all negative things i could say about it aside I really did know better. I wanted it so much because i thought it could be that which I have always wanted more than anything, but now I am ashamed of how I felt. Why even bother? It hurt and I was angry, but why cry over spilt milk anymore? The tarot cards, when I go to see someone, never predicts love in my future. They have however on occasion told me that I need a strong man in my life for that to work although I haven't come across one yet but why settle for a half-assed romance when I could dedicate my life to spreading out the incredible amount of love and passion that I have to help those less fortunate? Why waste any more time and energy on someone who brings nothing positive to me? Hang him, he can keep his untalented new girlfriend, and I don't need his watered down friendship or his patronising hippy comments. I am many things but a vigilante has always been one of them - I don't forgive those I don't deem to deserve it until I think they actually do. I'm a good person and I would fight to my death for what I believe in but I'm no Buddhist monk - I don't always channel my zen or a higher power to forgive all. I'm too human. Maybe one day I will, it wouldn't be the first time that years later I have reached a point when I can. Just in this situation not right now and I am not ascended so high that I can or actually care to. Some say life is too short to hold grudges, but I say that life is too short to read bad books and give your time to those that don't deserve it. Rant it out and file it away until you forget all about it in time. 

I want to retain my passion not ascend beyond it. Use it to save the world one UNESCO world heritage site at a time. 

Sam xox


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cambodia Kampuchea Part One

A year ago it started with Cambodia, and now at the end of the road for that man and I it ends with Cambodia.

I had briefly been to Cambodia before in 2014 at the end of La Vie during the cruise that eventually brought me home. We stopped in at the southern port of Siahnoukville and spent the day riding around on Tuk tuks and visiting the markets. 

My first experience of Cambodia had not been particularly immersive and so i found then that it was not really my thing. I didn't feel strongly about it at the time and not only because I had been unable to make it to Angkor. I was surprisingly and ashamedly ignorant of Cambodia outside of the picturesque and archaeologically desireable realm of Angkor Wat, and after briefly experiencing what had seemed to me like most other Asian countries I had visited, except for Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, that was culturally shocking and uncomfortable to me because I never knew what to do. It was not until after becoming an agent that I was first educated on the people of Cambodia and their tragic history by a representative of a tour company who came one day to visit me in store. He told me about the Khmer Rouge, the killing fields, the communist rise and I was horrified by my ignorance and that these genocides, similar to Rwanda, flew so far under the radar. A proud nation of people, not unlike India and Vietnam, that had had a party supposed to lead them to a better life only to betray them so painfully instead. Unfathomable to a 21st century Australia, granted from immigrant family stock, whom had been ensured to have the best that her ancestors could give her. 

Everyone faces a different humanitarian battle and mine has always been women's rights, ending rape culture, fighting for our right to be not only equal but globally respected. I support women of all ages and cultures and want the best for us. I also support finding cures for cancer, animal rights, childcare, proper and open-minded education, homosexual rights (like gay marriage), and generally equality amongst people. My dream is to go to the Amazon and help to rehabilitate animals, or to see justice for rape victims and to those who've mistreated women, children and animals. I know poverty exists, I don't like it, but my stance on poverty was always very clear: tax the church. Use that money to do the thing the church has for centuries been preaching and help the poor and the needy - religion, constructed by man for man, should not be exempt from contributing to things like medicine, housing, infrastructure and soup kitchens. It seems harsh, but look at how much money goes into the maintaining of this religious culture that, in my personal opinion, could be better spent on ensuring that the less fortunate have a future. Believing in something doesn't cost anything, and I implore it, but maintaining religion is costly in more ways than one. Not to mention the sheer amount of wars and discrimination it has caused over the Millenia.

So, that in mind, I've always felt that poverty was a rather solvable problem that whilst worth fighting for wasn't my fight. It feels bad to say but I am only one woman - I have my battles already and I can't fight them all. I contribute when I can and even if you can't always tell I do care - I care to my very soul. My great criticism by many is that I am too sensitive, I care too much. 

I met that man last year as he readied to spend time in Cambodia building infrastructure for the people. I don't remember where, though I had been impressed and humbled. He is that person - though let me tell you that person is not always the one you want to have at parties. Not everyone can save the world, although this may sound harsh sometimes the people who do nothing but bend over backwards to join every charity can be exhausting to be around. Not to mention how it feels when it makes you reflect on your own life. I am a 21st century woman lucky enough to have been born in the western world in a relatively well off family who worked their way to be there. I do my part to contribute when I can so I don't like to feel that it's never enough. It probably isn't, but I could sell everything I own and give away all of my money and it still wouldn't be enough. I don't like hanging around the people that make me feel like living my own life is wrong, or that I am a bad person for buying myself a lipstick instead of giving that $15.00 to charity. And you know, sometimes in comparison, I felt that way.

I knew though, even though it is over and buried, that Cambodia would remind me of him. I knew that it would and yet I also knew that as it had in Vietnam coming to Cambodia finally would not only bring me to that temple of Angkor that I had so longed to see, but to replace the associations I had with new memories and the most beloved perspective. 

We crossed from Vietnam to Cambodia by land two days ago now, our bus taking us straight from Saigon to Phnom Penh through the monsoon where we met with cyclos (similar to cycle rickshaws) that took us on a bit of a tour through the city. The prime minister, an uncomfortably paranoid man on very good terms with Nort Korea, lives in the city across from the monument for Independence erected back in the 1950's after France released, sort of, Indochina. We went past the marketplace and the Royal palace, both locations we would visit the following day, and had dinner at the FCC (foreign correspondents club) which felt very much like an imperial outpost quite similar to one you might have found in Cairo during the 1920's and been unsurprised to have encountered Poirot in. This very much set the tone for our time - the days in Phnom Penh filled with history and the evenings stimulating the economy in tourist driven establishments specifically designed to help us give back to the population. Friends, a hugely famous locale, consisted of a restaurant and shop run as a school for disadvantaged children to help train them in English and skills, the proceeds of which went back towards this education. 

Considering, also, that Phnom Penh was a ghost town for years just before the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror, it was one vibrant and happy town. At least during the day. 

It was not hard to imagine, however, that the city had seen some horror especially after visiting the Cheung Ek killing fields and the S-21 prison both on the outskirts of the modern city. Whilst the prime minister and the current king of Cambodia reside in the city now, so too did the Khmer Rouge in the 1970's up until the Vietnamese army - fresh from their own hell - stormed in and arrested the leaders of the communist party. Before I explain further for those unfamiliar let me start by saying that all those officially involved in the goings on of the Khmer Rouge until 1979 are either now dead or have been properly tried by the UN for war crimes and crimes against humanity. What happened cannot be undone but in a sense justice has been had. I'll let you make up your own mind on whether that was enough. 

The Khmer Rouge rose to power in the early 1970's as a communist party led by Pol Pot, whom in his youth had gone straight to Europe and learnt, as students often will, about politics and yearned for utopia. As we've seen with Adolf Hilter, already a historical figure by this point, utopia can very quickly become distopia at the hands of the wrong person. Pol Pot's communist Cambodia was fortunately short lived although so desperate to retain his harsh lifestyle the leader of the party became so paranoid to intercept any possible interference from either the CIA or the KGB that he led his own people to genocide. Just like Hitler before him he manipulated the people, predominantly intellectuals at first that he suspected of espionage, into his prisons (such as S-21) where they were promptly tortured for information that they didn't have and later led out to the fields to be executed violently. Between 1976 and 1979 the numbers of those who either disappeared or were sent 'to study' soared up to over 20,000 across multiple makeshift prisons and killing fields. Cheung Ek itself after being exhumed in 1980 was found to have the remains of over 8,000 individuals in 129 mass graves. Men, women and children - even infants. Pol Pot was so paranoid that these people could have been spies that he executed them, their families and their whole villages. The intention was to not only eliminate the threat but the possibility of future vengeance. Entire corners of Cambodia's people just gone - and for what? The Khmer Rouge was disbanded in 1979, Pol Pot placed in house arrest until he died in 1998 and the monarchy returned with constitution. Foreign aid from Japan, Vietnam and the US, a growing tourist boom and education increasing in their favour. It's a slow process but the Cambodians are improving, the genocide of their people in vain but never forgotten. 

My perspective was achieved and my own life humbled, just as it was as I stood in Auschwitz, the War Remnants museum of Saigon, and so many other places of tragedy before. I am grateful for what I have and that not only do I have a choice in life but that I can choose to help people less fortunate than myself. It might not be every day in the same way, it might not be monetary, and it might not be everlasting. I may never change the world but I owe it to the world to fight those battles that I do for I have much and I am free when there are millions who are not. 

So it starts and ends here with Cambodia. This first half of my time here has seen death, the rest will see life and sunrise and possibility. 

Sam xox

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Via Singapore to Saigon

Travelling for me is like a drug, and believe me when I say I have an addictive personality.

It has been over a year since I last left Australia for adventure, and although I love living in Sydney being back out on the road again is like stretching a muscle or having my humours all realigned. I feel the same when I get some action after seeing none in a little while (sorry mum, but that reminds me it's been almost 3 months and I need to stretch). Nonetheless it feels great to be back out seeing the world again even though this chilled trip is only set to last less than two weeks. 

To be honest, as you've seen, I've really needed it. Samtember is hours away from being over and though I said we could have Samtober there really shouldn't be a need to do so. Besides October is for Halloween, November for NaNoWriMo and December for Christmas. I don't want to overshadow or ruin these holidays and events by dwelling more on my past failures, disappointments and men that don't deserve me. Samtember was about picking myself up again and reclaiming some of that lost self esteem by reminding myself that not only am I amazing but that I've been riding solo my whole life already and shouldn't let that bother me.

At any rate I have been awake since the ungodly hour of 4am Sydney time and now finally sit here typing at 9pm local time in Saigon - I legitimately struggle with the city's proper name for no reason at all. It's been a very long but pretty great day since leaving Australia at dawn, cruising most of the light hours at high altitude and spending some very nostalgic quality time in Singapore's Changi airport. The last time I had spent much time there was at the very beginning of La Vie back in 2014 - also the last time I was in South East Asia.

It's been a long, entertaining day that really got off on the right foot when the Singapore Airlines lady took one look at my passport photo featuring myself as a brunette and told me to stay blonde. You win, hair, light it is for the foreseeable future. I started as a blonde, and now I'm just back to basics. 

It was made better by the number of cocktails I pushed on the plane and the comedies I watched to get me through (Angry Birds, Love & Friendship, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates). I had been down again the night before but damned if I am not leaving those woes behind on September 29th. Instead I embrace one moment after the next from the Sunflower Garden at Changi that looked just as I had left it, to the traffic in Saigon that crossing the road made me feel that perhaps I was going to die. I am not a religious person in any way, though I am spiritual/agnostic, and I was so scared of making a crossing at one point my knee-jerk reaction was to make the sign of the cross. Wow. This is not my first time in a place consisting of mental traffic, and in fact Cairo was worse, but I suppose that given the nature of the trips premise and theme I am not quite on my game as I have been in the past. For that matter Al, my best friend and frequent travel partner, and I rated styles of travel. We classes South East Asia a Level 3, with Level 1 being such as the United States and the UK, Level 2 being non-English speaking First world European countries (ie France). There were others, such as Morocco, Turkey and Egypt being close to Level 5. But that was based on our experiences entirely.

Arriving in Saigon was seamless and so much more relaxed than I anticipated; for once even as tourists it didn't feel too much like we stuck out. In such a contrast to our experiences in Turkey and Egypt we walked down the street without anyone seemingly to really care too much - it's refreshing to not be catcalled, stared at or propositioned in the street. Not to lie that occasionally by the right person that can be flattering (like maybe 5% of the time), though generally when travelling to places like this it really isn't. In fact it can get downright threatening and I have been known on occasion to get my back up about it, modern woman that I am. That in mind we still did have some lovely interactions for example with a coconut vendor who not only helped us cross the street but chatted to us and then handed Al and myself each an iced cold coconut, lopped off the top of it and handed us a straw. It was some of the freshest, tastiest coconut water I've ever had and the experience alone made the entire thing worth it. 

Considering the atrocities handed to the Vietnamese people of the last century by the French and US (Australia and the NZ-ers too by default) they are some of the nicest people I've ever met. 

At the War Remnants museum, which brought me to tears in a way I haven't been since Auschwitz, there was a very clear line in the sand about what the war has caused the people. Agent Orange, civilian massacres and unwanted interference during a fight for independence ravaged the proud nation and left hundreds of thousands dead, maimed and psychologically torn. There are plaques littered throughout the museum that piece together the beginning, middle and end to the war that became a bigger and nastier deal than it should have been because the US violated the terms of the agreement set out in the Geneva Convention. There is no sugar coating it - war crimes, crimes against humanity and effective genocide was committed because the US, originally funding the French, couldn't just stay out of it. And it's even worse knowing that Australia, hero worshipping its big brother US after the Second World War, let ourselves be dragged into it. It's disgusting, I'm ashamed, and I cannot fathom the level of unmitigated arrogance that must have come from the US officials to even consider that what they were doing was right. But then considering these same idiots are looking more and more like they will actually end up electing Donald Trump as president after all I am almost unsurprised. It's like watching a trainwreck involving a big, dumb jock who thinks that his tramping around is actually doing more good than harm. There is so much face-palm in effect I can't even begin.

War is not something I like to think about, though I think that world peace is an unattainable pipe dream as everyone's idea of utopia is different (um, Adolf Hitler, anyone?), and this museum really just reminded me of how much history seems to just repeat itself all the time. The human race is the best in the world for lying to itself, as I well know, that what it's doing isn't wrong like what happened before. Did the US miltary relate itself to the Nazi party in the 1960's when it was burning villages and disembowelling civilians in Vietnam? No, but they were stupid to think that they were at all better. The difference was that the Nazi party was more organised and clear in their goal. Think about it.

And yet Vietnam is one of the most friendly places I've ever visited to date that it is actually incredible. It's humbling and it stirs my need to fight for justice again like the not-so closet vigilante that I am. I may wear hippy pants today, friends, but I am no hippy. 

I do feel relaxed however in a way I haven't truly felt for a few months - all baggage in Sydney and filed back into perspective. I've strolled, chatted, snapped pictures, bargained in the market place and laughed a lot already. My only wish is that I could be away longer - oh, and that there had turned out to be an attractive, eligible bachelor on our tour for me to flirt with. The 'raincoats' that I very hopefully packed have gone out the window, but the welcoming and kind group of people we have joined are definitely a better balm for the soul. I do still need to wash that man right out of my hair, though - even just to kiss someone else again would be enough. He, who betrayed me, needs to be gone. 

I'll be back to the market place, relaxing, taking on every new experience that I can and immersing myself every step of the way. It's a whole new world. On a side note, however, it's a bizarre thing to walk through a public park in the heart of downtown Saigon and see crowds searching...for Pokémon. 

Sam xox

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Shadow Man

I've grown up always feeling that something has been watching out for me, pointing me in the right direction, and steering me towards my destiny. I believe that things happen for a reason and I always remind myself of that when times are hard for me. I have countless examples of something crumbling to make way for something else, often better.

I believe in Tarot, Karma, Fate and destiny, in addition, as well as that something be it the universe, the fates, a guardian angel or something generally other watches out for me, and has done so my whole life. I have had plenty of down times as well as coming close to death, quite literally, before that I know that my life has a purpose greater than what I sometimes think. I often, in times of strife, remind myself of this.

I also believe in true love, soul mates, happy ever afters and all the Rose coloured romantic ideals that people have criticised me for over and over again. Deep down that will never change, and I don't think it should have to. When I was younger, into my teen years, I used to imagine in the most enchanted and rose-coloured way possible that there was one person out there for me that I'd find someday. The capacity and extent of that has changed as I've grown older as I've previously spoken about in reference to what I call the 'Tanner Syndrome'. When I was a young girl it was the ideal of the Prince Charming archetype - someone to come and save me from me tower like Princess Fiona, if you will. As I've grown older the ideal has matured into something a lot more realistic and less fantastical; I dream about a partner, an equal, someone to challenge me and drive me crazy but to keep me interested as much as I do them.

I still have the ideals of a perfect relationship, and although I don't aspire to meet the Perfect Man because let's face it not only am I not the Perfect Woman (and would thus be hypocritical) but I don't think that the Perfect Man really exists. For that matter I don't want to meet someone who is perfect just perfect for me. Now, this thought process is not without criticism either as it does firstly leave me open to the idea that that man doesn't exist either or could face to my high standards, and it leaves me in the potentially disastrous situation again that my desire for a person to be perfect for me will cloud reality. My latest heartbreak/break up is exactly this example - I don't settle but I managed to almost convince myself that I wouldn't have been doing so. Red alert, people, divine intervention ensured as always.

It's sort of that idea of divine intervention, fate, destiny and all of the above that really leads me to my point today - the previous I'm sure you've heard me explain before. I might have mentioned that I often imagine that Cupid, or Eros, is a real entity still out there that for one reason or another likes to mess with me by always withholding that romantic relationship that I have always wanted. I used to actually speak aloud to 'him' as I would when in a particular location that I deemed to not be alone in - as if referencing a spirit directly. Think of it the same way that people will speak to their animals or to their god. Like a prayer.

Bear with me for a moment while I try to explain that all of these things I've mentioned (fate, guardian angels, perfect man, destiny, the Tanner Syndrome, and Cupid) are all connected and how they've led me to this brewing new story idea.

Imagine that I am definitely correct that there is someone, or something, other that is steering me in the right direction and has been from the beginning. That saved me from death as I have a purpose and points me towards my destiny even at the event of intervening seemingly divinely when I am about to stray. They stopped me from ever managing to be with someone because they are always wrong for me, they send me around the world for different things, I meet different people in different situations that always offer life lessons and wisdom. Every time something happens that threatens to derail my life for good or away from where I am supposed to be heading it seems like this other will intervene.

I almost, 5 years ago, slept with the first person I really loved even knowing he was all wrong for me? Divine, uncontrollable Intervention.

I had a job that I loved but didn't satisfy me and dreamt of travelling for months on end? Job redundancy, pay out to fund travel and suddenly all the time in the world to go.

My best friend moved to Sydney and I wanted to go too? Met some important people by chance and was offered the opportunity of a lifetime which included moving to Sydney.

I was never a huge believer in 'ask and you shall receive' but I definitely believe that my life is heading in a specific direction on purpose and when I look back on instances and things that have occurred I view them as foreshadowing and integral to the plot. That's my writer's brain, of course, but the point is the same.

So imagine that not only is there something, or someone, other that is guiding me personally in this specific direction. That this other turns me away from things that may distract me, like men, and intervenes when I unknowingly enter into a situation that could potentially stall, confuse or effectively derail me from the path that they have set me on. Interesting, right? And then raise the stakes on this in a romantic perspective, given the amount of supernatural romances that I have read, and imagine that this other is somewhere between a guardian angel and that perfect man for me.

Stay with me - I'm trying to explain something quite plainly that could realistically be a fully fleshed out book.

The idea came to me slowly over the years with things like the Tanner Syndrome and more recently a sort of, well, mystery man that approached me over the past year. I won't give you man specifics of this but this is someone that I have come to look to for advice, companionship and generally just harmless fun. You will read this so you will know who you are but to myself and everyone else he is known as Shadow Man. And it was this more recent experience that really drive home this idea more and propelled this back of the mind thought to the forefront of my mind as a story idea.



Image result for shadow manConsider that a woman is always unlucky in love and each time she comes close to thinking she's met someone there is some sort of divine intervention that drives her away. It can be anything, but not necessarily in order to keep her life on track as it does me (although that might add more to the story) but because this supernatural being, sort of like a guardian angel, loves her and turns away men that might distract her or pose a real threat to him. I imagine this 'Shadow Man' as a sort of mixture of an angel, a cupid figure, an immortal and a literal Peter Pan sort of shadow. Just maybe this 'Shadow Man' can never reveal himself for if he does it will end badly for the both of them but at the same time this woman will never meet the man of her dreams because he has already been there all along looking out for her and protecting her, steering her to destiny and purpose. It's almost bitter sweet.

I am generally an odd individual so that theory makes sense to me plus it makes me want to write it. In the 21st century I can't be the only woman to have thought of something like this or something similar - or even the first to have imagined it be conceivable truth.

If you're still with me, and I hope you are, please read on for the first excerpt of this new story idea. Adieu for now.

Prologue
London, England
1889

                Shadow was too late. He had failed again and for another 100 years the light was going to be gone – he would revert into something he may not be able to control this time.
                He leant against the back wall of the doss Penelope had slept in and struggled to calm himself amidst the unrecognizable grief inside threatening to tear his soul apart.
                Just like last time, 100 years ago, Shadow had brought Penelope to light and the dark had consumed her. This time it had been in the form of the mysterious Ripper that many Londoners still feared, and rightfully show, was out in the streets of Whitechapel searching for another victim.
                Penelope should never have been that victim – Shadow would never forgive himself for letting this happen. He should have never told her who he was knowing that when he did the Reapers would come for her in one way or another. He should have known better that light would always succumb to the darkness.
                The constables came around the corner with gas-lamps in hand and caught sight of where Penelope lay crumpled not far from where Shadow stood. They would not see him, blended to his namesake as he was, but Shadow would see them.
                So he stood and watched as the crime scene was looked over, Penelope covered up, the Inspector wrote notes and eventually, after hours, they all cleared and left Shadow right where he stood. Alone in the dark once more.
                A century or more would come and go before he felt the light again.

Chapter One
Sydney, Australia
Present Day

                When Sirena was a little girl she had had an imaginary friend. Well, she wouldn’t have entirely called the Shadow Man a friend but she remembered that he had always been around, sticking to the shadows so much she had wondered if that was all he was as she grew older.
                By the time she was an adult she had all but forgotten about him as most children did their own imaginary friends. She went to University, travelled the world, and eventually came home to Sydney to settle down for a little while not once considering that a trick of the mind as a child would come back to haunt her today.
                It was 3am, she was very drunk and there was the Shadow Man standing right in her closet looking as shocked to see her as she was him.
                Sirena shut the door with a loud slam, put a hand to her head and moaned. “Oh god, I need to stop drinking”.
                “That might be a good idea,” came the reply from the closet, the sound muffled by the clothes that had no doubt swung into his face. “Your perception is always ironically more acute to me when you are drunk. Or high. Or half asleep.”
                Sirena shook her head woodenly as to not anger the spinning tops residing there and stumbled across to her bed where she fell face down until morning. If there was one thing for sure there was no use in arguing with the man made of shadows waiting in her closet.
                Even with her mouth pressed to the bed sheets her mind just wouldn’t switch off and all she could think about was what purpose the Shadow Man had being in her closet. Was this figment of her imagination trying to tell her that she needed new clothes? Should she go shopping?
                A thought occurred to her and she sat bolt right up like a shot.
                Was the Shadow Man trying to tell her that she should crack out the big guns now that she was single again and to take matters into her own hands tonight?
                The sudden movement made her head swim a little but she hopped off the bed and threw the closet door open again only to find that her little black box of toys seemed to have been misplaced. The Shadow Man, on the other hand, was not.
                No, he stood there still, his body becoming more and more solid by the second as if he was being created from the shadows.
                Sirena pointed a finger in his nose. “Clear off, Imaginary Man, I don’t need you to help me spank it tonight, thank you. Hand me my BoB and no one gets hurt.”
                The Shadow Man had the decency to look pained by her language. “Your Battery Operated Boyfriend? Good lord, I don’t deserve this.” His eyes practically pointed to the sky like a prayer. “Saints, preserve me.”
                Sirena waved an arm in his face. “Hello? I’m sorry? You need to return to whatever recess of my mind and let me carry on with my night – I need some self-loving tonight.”

                With a proper eye-roll this time, the Shadow Man reached forward two fingers and pressed them to her forehead. Instantly Sirena swooned, eyes closing and sagging right into the waiting arms ahead of her.

Sam xox 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Say what you feel: Reprise

If you could say exactly what you feel today to someone you weren't entirely honest with, what would you say? 

I would say:

I love you.

I miss you.

I wish I had never met you.

I wish you had given me a real chance or have been honest with me that your heart was never there to give me. 

I wish I could forget you.

I wish I hadn't wanted it to work so much that I convinced myself that you were real.

I wish I didn't have to be strong and stay silent about it all; I know you'd never understand.

I wish that you would try to understand that the things you said hurt me, and that the things you did cut me. 

I wish I could forgive you. 

I wish I could be content to be your friend, but I'm not.

Those are the things I'd say if I could bear to, and if I thought you would listen. But I have to be strong about this, I can't say what I feel. You wouldn't hear me anyway.

Samtember will eventually wash you away. But even if it doesn't we can always pull Samtober and Samvember out. 

Sam xox

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Trigger Warning

I could sometimes be halfway through a conversation about something and something will set me off about those things I shouldn't be thinking about. I could be having a fabulous time and something will just cut straight to the heart and I will need to take a few moments to breathe and choke back tears that I determinedly refuse to let fall about this again. 

Next time I shouldn't be so gracious when the ex-object of my affection dials out of the blue to compliment me, I think. Whilst it's always nice to have someone tell you that you look great - especially the one who did you wrong - it's not as satisfying being amazing and over them when a stray thought about them or a reminder will hurt. Next time he calls I should just respond with the ever appreciated 'not today, Satan'. Hell knows he deserves that from me.

It's Samtember, after all, so I'm not healed yet even if I am doing everything in my power and flogging my body and mind into a better shape until I am. The hand isn't off the trigger just yet - to him or to myself. But I'm not letting any of that get the best of me.

It's Samtember and in the most confident way possible it's about me - about making me feel good about me. I don't care what those men think that did me wrong, though it gives me a sick satisfaction to know that they can see what I choose to allow them to see. I don't want to think about them, or see them, or have them tell me things that I already know about how great I am. You think I'm beautiful? Funny? Charming? Fun-loving? Passionate? Too little, too late.

Bye Felicia, bye Satan!

Trigger be damned, I'm going to be the only one to pull it in the end. 

Samtember is turning up great for me, I'm feeling better every day and I am not accepting it when it doesn't do me well. I wish it could always be Samtember!

I even weirdly like the pain I'm always in from my work outs and the bruises everywhere from the pole.

Sam xox 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Why I take Selfies

If you've ever wondered why I seem to take a lot of selfies or have a lot on my phone then the answer is incredibly simple. It is not even that original.

I have grown up with body and self esteem issues that I will most likely never really eradicate. Depending on the day I still will avoid my image in the mirror or avoid looking at a picture someone else takes of me. I don't like my reflection half the time and I definitely don't like to think that other people view me the way I see myself in those images. So as I got older I sort of figured that a little touch of vanity never killed anyone and I would embrace my looks and the way I dressed. A little effort, as my mother will no doubt tell you, goes a long way and the most attractive woman in the room is often the most confident. I didn't have to be beautiful - I just had to tell myself I was and take pride in that. There is nothing wrong in taking care and pride in your appearance if it brings you healthy self esteem and confidence. There is absolutely such thing as overconfidence and too much pride can lead to vanity - but since deep down I sometimes think I'm fat and ugly, I'm timid and shy to those I don't know, and I'm such a nerd sometimes I genuinely outdo myself I really don't think a huge ego is my problem.

Selfie culture has actually been quite a blessing for me, and the front facing camera is revolutionised the way I feel about my own looks. I may cringe at a photo someone else takes of me and secretly hope it burns but there is definitely something to be said about taking a nice selfie when you're feeling a little bad to remind you that 'hey, I'm not too bad'.

No one wants to be the girl who takes all the selfies but I guess I am sort of that girl. I don't post selfies to look like a snob, I don't do it to be vain and I certainly don't do it because I think it makes me cool. I just take them, sometimes post them if I feel like it, because maybe I needed that little self esteem boost that comes from seeing a nice picture of yourself. There's nothing like a picture to show your care and effort pays off to make you feel like it, or you, was worth it!

Some days there's nothing like a little #selfiesteem to make light in a bad situation. 

Just a little 'my personality drives people away, but hey at least I look pretty with that lipstick I bought, yay for me'. 

It's not hurting anyone and it makes a big difference for me.



Sam xox

Friday, September 9, 2016

Lush Luxe

This is just a quick little post to share with you the brand new website that my amazing flatemate (and friend) has put together for her (our) fabulous bath time creations. 



We are open for sale and I test them all out myself, so please check us out if you're tub enthusiasts like us!




Sam xox

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Samtember

Though I had my eye on someone that could've helped me through this month and beyond m, that went bust. But go figure it did, right? First of all its me, and secondly that would have been way too easy. Help steer me away from a massive  loss with someone fun and sexy? Nah, better nip that in the bud.

So here I am again back at square one with only myself and only myself to blame. I probably came on too strong but it's not as if that hasn't happened before, and in actuality I really just thought we were having a laugh. More fool me in the same spot with the 'more fish in the sea' story and the 'you should learn to enjoy being single'. You know my thoughts on the former there as I've spoken about it before, but the second is both ineffectual and not half a bad idea. 

Sure I should re-learn to be single, return to enjoying it, but it's getting actually pretty boring. Don't get me wrong being single can be great: I don't have to answer to anyone, I can go where I want to and when, I can dance with whomever I please and kiss whichever boy I fancy at the time. But you know I've been single for my entire life and it's been alright, I've done just about most things I've wanted to do (with some obvious exceptions) and I've really appreciated not only the time I have alone but also who I am on my own. I know exactly who I am and what I want from life, and I figured that out virtually all on my own and with the help of people I've met along the way. So I can say that with certainty I would like try something different - yes, you guessed it, with a man.

That's what Samtember was supposed to be about; trying new things, being healthy in mind and body, and getting to know one man whilst getting over another who hurt me deeply. There are major elements still here - I am still getting fit and staying healthy, still trying new things and still doing my best to keep my head above water and get past everything that happened. It's just made harder now without the distraction and the excitement of a new fling - they always say it's easier to get over someone by getting...ah, under...someone else. It is not impossible, mind you, just harder now without that.

So I'm sitting here having a bit of a cry because I'm disappointed, it's not the end of the world but I'm being positive. I just feel kind of like I ruined the opportunity by probably coming on too strong, I lost out on a chance to spend time with someone really great, and that the universe has not only ripped off my bandaid but taken my crutches away now too. Next minute I'll be pushed in a bag of lemon choice and rubbed in a mountain of salt, I feel. 

Good lord, I need a dog. I just know a dog would help so much.

But, look, I can't make anyone want to go out with me. I can't make anyone love me, and I can't make anyone want to spend time with me so even whilst I feel pretty sorry for myself now I know it isn't going to last forever. I'll get through this, I'll get healthier and I'll feel better. 

I'm not positive enough to be thinking well hey, I'll meet someone else eventually because in all honesty I'm really not liking my chances with my personality. I like me so I'm not going to change, and if that means that I'll never find someone? Well that's the hardest pill I'll ever have to swallow but it will have to be done. Hell knows I can't lie to myself again no matter how hard I want things to be different. 

So welcome to Samtember. 

I will be running and dancing on poles and drinking and working hard and leaning on my friends until I feel better. I will never out run my problems and I will only be able to confront them, it seems, head on until I stop hurting or caring. But I am a strong woman; I have come from strong women, faced my fair share of adversity and all I can do is continue to be strong. 

I don't need to 'fix myself' or 'work on' myself, but I do need to just continue being me and enjoying that. For what it's worth I have a purpose, even if I can't see it now and keep reminding myself that I am wonderful, and clearly it's still waiting on me.

Sam xox

Monday, September 5, 2016

Samtember: A Prelude

Consider this a very, very quick teaser.

I am a pole dancer now and together with my September steps challenge, my squat challenge and my general fitness I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up. 

If I am able to get out of bed tomorrow that will be an achievement. My everything hurts so much and I feel as still as a board. 

I can't out run my problems, but I can work force my body to work until I don't care. I'll shake my hips and body roll until I feel too sexy to worry about what I've done.

It's going to be a long September. Bit scared.

Sam xox

Block Mode

Facebook is a funny thing.

Sometimes when you hate someone or maybe they're odd, or you have some other reason to want them out of mind and out of sight you have the option to quite literally block them. As far as Facebook is then concerned that you don't exist to them and they don't exist to you. It usually goes without saying that in times of some big bust up the block feature gets a work out as it has for myself in the past. 

Oh over the years I've blocked ex-friends and lovers, I've blocked strangers I don't like the look of trying to contact me, and I've been blocked. One time I had a girlfriend of a male friend of mine hack into his account and block me. Do you see why I don't have many straight male friends? Somehow I am just so crazy threatening! I don't know, it must be my incredible good looks, charm and hot body (can you hear me rolling my eyes?). It's probably a lot more to do with their issues than mine, let's face it.

The most major person I blocked originally about 5 years ago was my ex best friend of 10 years, and to this day she is still blocked to me. Not because I miss her or I'm still angry, but because we have so many mutual friends still that the last thing I really need is to have her suddenly invading my Facebook with her incessant nature like a nuclear blast from the past. She remains blocked indefinitely.

Today I went to block someone for the first time in a long time, let's call her a nemesis for lack of a better term, but after jerking all over the place and not working properly that the profile was still there, I tried my IT Crowd skills and decided to turn it off and on again. Wrong! Now it won't let me block her at all like its mocking me. Who's side are you even on, Facebook?

So lesson learnt, kids. You can't always just delete your problems because sometimes that will come back to haunt you. I can try again in a few more days, but why even have that feature Favebook if you have to go onto a sort of probation when you unlock it? That's not fair. 

Life isn't fair, Sam, life isn't fair.

Sam xox

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Set to Freeze

My post last night is still valid, I stand by it all, except there have been more photos arise since then and I've decided that this can't continue. 

The photo is not good - it's a sketch rather - but it makes me feel like an idiot for even offering a peace treaty at all. He is well and truly taking the piss now so I have decided that am just going just accelerate the process more than initially intended.

He already made his choice; I don't need him, and he doesn't need me, so what's the harm in it? 

I was mad for a bit today but now I'm just kind of over all of this. I took a chance at remaining civil, at least for a bit, but that was my mistake.

Now I'm going.

Sam xox 

Single and Independent Woman

I have twice in the past few days posted something particularly truthful and deleted it after a few days. The first post was a furious cautionary tale and recounted history of me and my 'Snapchat Man' which came at the heels of some horrendous posts on Facebook from the very person who had thrown me over for another woman - I am a very passionate woman so hell hath no fury.

The second post came a few days later when I had had time to not only calm down but completely unravel the situation to the very core with some good friends of mine, only to realise that 'Snapchat Man' and the real man himself were not the same person. The image of my fictional perfect 'Snapchat Man' was truly who I felt that I had been in love with, and I came to terms quite painlessly with the realisation that he doesn't exist. It freed me, a massive weight lifted off my shoulders and I was able to pin-point what it was that I truly wanted. More importantly I was able to identify what I needed just as well as what I didn't want.

The post I deleted tagged on from the original angry post, and although if you hadn't read them the gist effectively was this: I would call a peace treaty, make my terms and expectations very clear, and then I would just wait for what I consider to be the natural future of our relationship with him. Given my history, my beliefs and my views I don't truly think that we can keep a lasting friendship; I laid down the law that I expect to be followed (quite brutally because he had patronised me and hurt my feelings as well as had the gall to laugh me off - he's lucky he's not dead) though it was closure for me. Now that the situation has been broken down and the romance stripped away, what is truly left that is tying us together? After thinking about it for sometime and having my friends question it I had no answer - there is just no niche that isn't already filled that he fits into. So I wrote about the Long Game - the fade to black end to all of it. Just a slow, natural finish to something that my passion isn't keeping alive anymore.

It is not dishonest or mean to say that I don't need him in my life. In fact keeping him close would be detrimental in more way than one and I am rather enjoying the catalyst for change again that crops up in these situations. I already know who I am and I already know what I want from life, I already put a lot of effort into my health and fitness, so what should I work on now? I don't feel heartbroken and I don't feel the need to change my hair or style or personality, or throw myself into a new project. And yet I still feel the change happening from within.

For the first time since moving to Sydney almost a year ago I am blissfully unattached and completely open to new adventure and new romance. There is no 'Snapchat Man' or other lingering men (even the ones I've met here have been deleted from my life as they are damaging, too), and I am almost unsure of how to feel about this. I want to meet someone new and exciting; experience real love. And try all the different things in the boudoir that I have yet to try. I have been making a list and let me tell you it is long. All I need is a willing slave...

I began a new hobby today as well - Pole Dancing. It's always something I'd wanted to try for both the fitness purposes and the huge boost to my self esteem and confidence. Not to mention how incredibly sexy it not only feels but looks. This hobby is not only good for me for multiple purposes but what a fantastic addition to the repertoire, right?

I know that I am worthy of meeting the right man someday to love - really love. Not a girly crush, not a fictionalised image of them, not lust. Real love. Someone who can equal me both in heart and mind, in and out of the bedroom, will make me laugh and understand me. As cliché as all hell I don't need someone perfect, just perfect for me.

He'll be tall and handsome (though beauty is in the eye of the beholder). Smart and funny. Kind and confident. He'll have sizzling throwdown but love to cuddle. Disney must be appreciated and he must love dogs. I'd rather he be here soon because I have waited so long, but I don't think the fact that he isn't means that there is anything wrong with me. I am impatient but worthy and I don't need to be perfect before my perfect man comes along, nor do I need to keep improving myself even though it doesn't hurt.

Life is short, even if you believe in reincarnation, and I can't waste this time that I have to myself to do what I want to do and when I want to do it.

I removed those two posts because writing them had been the real outlet. The first post stopped being valid quickly once I realised my error, and the second I sort of felt guilty about. I may have slayed this man but I'm not nasty - I just don't respond well to those that wrong me and I just don't need him. He got what he wanted but I got closure, and he will eventually realise that you really just can't have your cake and eat it too. I am not angry, I just truly don't believe that we can be the friends he wants us to be because I am not - invested. I want a lover and a partner - that is the niche that is yet to be filled. I have a collection of true friends that I am lucky to have and I wouldn't trade a single one of them. Together with my family they fill every nook and cranny in my heart except one. It will remain empty for now, but it is only a part - not all - of my heart. The truth is that I don't know where he fits in anymore.

There is someone new that I have my eye on - very different to previous - and the thought of getting closer to him excites me. But he is busy a lot and if I have learnt anything it is that if a man is genuinely interested in me he will make the time as I do for my friends, so I will leave it to chance and not try too hard. If nothing comes of it then so be it because that would be his loss - I am a strong independent woman and as much as I'd love a man I don't really need one.

Love has spurned me before but I believe that the right one will come along someday.

In the meantime, why not just have some fun?

Sam xox