Thursday, February 16, 2017

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam xox

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What did they say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam xox

Monday, February 6, 2017

Snapchat Karaoke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam xox

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Valentine's Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam xox