In Another Life

I went through a big period of my life thinking ‘what if?’. I became obsessed with the notion, and the very simple sentence starter quickly turned into a poisonous dagger to my young heart.

You see, I had big plans when I was in high school (but then again, who doesn’t?). I struggled for years trying to pinpoint exactly what I wanted to be (i.e. what job did I want to study for that was sufficiently going to pay the bills and support my elaborate fashion and travel expenses) and would feel shit at the beginning of every school year when we had to select the subjects that would support our chosen university course – or in my case, which ones I found mildly interesting and knew I could get good grades in. 

My guidance councillors were oh so naive, and didn’t even give me brochures for universities out of the state. Online courses were dismissed and taking a gap year was frowned upon and when it came round to applying I had no fucking clue what my calling was yet. 

In the end, applied for a Bachelor of Creative Writing, majoring in Journalism (or something similar to that) at QUT, an excellent university in Brisbane. I wasn’t writing regularly, but I hadn’t found any other passions that I thought I could turn into a money machine, so journalism was where I landed on. Thankfully, I had plenty of encouragement from my teachers, who would happily accept second and third and fourth drafts for English assignments to push me that little bit further. I remember one of my teachers saying he was excited to see me in five years time, being a badass music journalist working at Rolling Stone (a solid dream of mine, so you can imagine how chuffed I was). I thought that hey, if these educated adults could believe in me, then maybe I had a shot.

Brisbane was my one way ticket out of my home town, and a place I had often visited and longed to call home. I considered it as my new leaf, and the opportunity to really be me without the small town judgements hanging over my head. I was excited to meet people who liked the same music as I, and show me all of the local treasures, and throw picnics in pretty little parks and spend every other weekend dancing my pants off at gigs. 

I would get a cool job in the meantime (probably at a fashion store or working for as an assist for a local magazine) and have a cute little flat somewhere close to the city and I would head up to the Sunshine Coast during holidays, and then when I was graduated and good and ready, I would head down to Melbourne and work at a rad magazine and have a generally cool life.

But then graduation rolled around, and I knew I wasn’t ready for all of that just yet. I had always said I was taking a gap year, and wanted to go to Bali and other exotic places. But I stayed with my stupid high school boyfriend (being naive and in your first relationship is NOT a good mix) and basically just spent the whole year online shopping and working and hanging out with him.

No grand adventures were had, that’s for sure. And after a year of supposed soul searching, I came up with nada. I had barely written a word, and I began to doubt myself. How can I even call myself a writer if I don’t even fucking WRITE?!, I would think in despair. What if I showed up to the course and everyone else was more experienced and passionate and better connected than I was? I shoud’ve just gave the finger to my inner voice and pursued it anyway, but I didn’t. Journalism was off the cards, for now at least.

After endless researching, and cursing myself for not saving up to study abroad, I came across a very cool course that seemed like it would not only be practical, but satisfy my bubbling creative urges. A Bachelor of Business & Creative Industries (majoring in Fashion) sounded like the perfect mix for a lost gal like myself, and as fashion was something I have always enjoyed, I thought it would be the ideal way to check out the industry without having to pretend I could design clothes (hint: I am a TERRIBLE drawer). 

I left my home of 13 years with an overflowing suitcase and a lot of excitement. I won’t go into all the Brisbane details, because that’s a whole other story, but basically the Business half sucked (so bloody boring!) and the Creative classes fascinated me beyond comprehension. I had no idea about the industry that had been hidden from me for all those years. Everyone was so stylish and eclectic and had done SO MUCH STUFF. I was inspired and determined and couldn’t wait to see where this world took me. 

One of our guest lecturers spoke about her career so far, and she had already worked in Sydney, London and Brisbane and was only 27 or so. She seemed like such a remarkable and hardworking woman and I knew instantly that I wanted to be like her as she combined fashion, branding and journalism into her repertoire. 

But then I left the course. Six months in, and I vanished without a trace (although honestly I think my Economics teacher expected that one) and moved back home. Looking back, I want to throw that Vivienne out of her city view window (the fall would only rattle her) and give her a stern talking to. She left a city that she loved and a course that she enjoyed to make a horrible relationship work. She gave up everything she wanted to do and lost herself completely in order to be a ‘good girlfriend’, but again, that’s another story entirely. 

She consoled herself (and the questioning others, as there always are) that she wasn’t really into that degree and wanted to become a primary school teacher instead. Which was all well and good, until a year and a half into that degree and she realised that the Australian education system is corrupt and it will never nurture everyone accordingly. 

I have to admit that I’m doing alright now – hell, I even managed to go to Bali since all of that! – and am now studying for a career that both fascinates and inspires me and has me bloody excited for the future.

But what if? What if I had stayed in my Creative Industries course? What if I had graduated when I was supposed to and landed a job at a fashion publication or working for an e-commerce store. What if I shined at this job, and was fast-tracked to work for a glamourous company in Melbourne that would set the foundations for my eventual move to New York and/or London? What if I never came home?

Like I said, I used to be obsessed with this idea. When things were going horribly, I would often think about what could’ve been, and romanticise the shit outta that wistful situation. 

Nowadays, I’m in a much better mindset, and I don’t think about the choices I should’ve/could’ve made back then. I was young and impressionable, and under the finger of a not-so-great partner, and my self-esteem was practically non-existent. No wonder why I regretted my decisions and questioned my thoughts. I was lost! I thought that if only I had the chance, things could work out how I once wanted them to. 

But you know what I think about that – *lots of swear words and cussing*. There’s absolutely no point! I’ve become quite the little mystical gal of late, and genuinely believe in fate, and things happening for a bloody reason. How that if I didn’t make all of those silly decisions that I wouldn’t be where I am now, feeling confident and calm and happy. How I would never have had this cute place or ran into my lovely boyfriend at a nightclub (that story is actually the textbook definition of fate, even if James continues to deny its existence) or got to form special bonds with my two little brothers. 

I could go on and on about the things that wouldn’t have happened if I stayed in that degree. It now almost scares me to think how differently things could’ve gone, because I am so proud of how I’ve grown and of all the things I’ve done in these past few years. 

Sure, maybe all of my wildest dreams would’ve come true and I’d be living somewhere fantastically foreign right now, running around a beautiful city in a trendy trench, moulding seamlessly into the crowds of a busy subway station. I would be busy out of my mind, but happy, but of course, distracted by my multiple devices going off, chiming about the different elements of my life struggling to gain my attention. I would stop for a moment, attempting to silence the chaos whilst juggling all of my belongings, and in the midst of it all I wouldn’t hear the boarding call for my train, and end up late for the remainder of the day. 

But what if I never missed the train?

Addicted to Eco-Bags: Easy, Achievable Tips to Be A Little Greener

Hi pals,

I don’t know if I’ve ever spoken about this on the blog before, but being environmentally conscious – and aware! – is something I’ve become pretty passionate about since moving into my own place; and although I haven’t transitioned to wind power or have my own vege patch (yet!) I do try to be considerate and kind when it comes to products I by/actions I take. So here are a few very simple but effective ways to be a little more green and reduce your pollution on our beautiful planet. 

 

1. Recycling

Living in Weipa we never had a recycling service, and as far as I’m aware there still isn’t one available yet (that’s over 14 years – that I know of – of nobody recycling up there 😦 ) – so THAT SUCKS. In my current apartment complex, we only have a skip available, so again my rubbish doesn’t get disposed of as well as it could. So if you DO have a recycling bin, please use it! And use those triangle-option bins at the shops, too! It really doesn’t take much extra time to sort your rubbish at the time of disposing it, so yeah, start with that one.

2. Turning the lights off

This one is also pretty self-explanatory, but sooooo many people aren’t bothered by it. Not only are you SAVING YOURSELF MONEY by flicking a switch once you’re finished in the room, but it’s also reducing your overall energy consumption. Imagine how much power a city could save if we all turned out every light we weren’t using every night. Crazy.

3. Using eco bags when doing your groceries

I’ve never really liked the feeling after you do a massive shopping/grocery haul and you’re left with all of the empty plastic bags. Yes, you can definitely reuse them, but I rarely have the need to, and since living in our apartment we accumulated an entire cupboard of unused plastic bags. I simply couldnt’t use them fast enough to compensate for the amount I would bring home with each grocery shop. So one day at Woolworths I finally bit the bullet and bought some of their super-sturdy hessian bags and haven’t looked back (I actually get super grumpy if I leave them at home/have bought too many things to fit into them). I won’t lie – I still bring home plastic bags from various stores, usually if I’m running errands and didn’t bring a bag big enough to fit everything in, but at least I’m TRYING. With the upcoming plastic bag ban in QLD, now’s the best time to start training yourself to say no to plastic and remember to grab your reusables out of the car. 

4. Swapping to receive your bills via email

This is another easy way to reduce your paper waste, plus it makes the whole depressing ordeal quicker and easier to keep track of. The amount of times I’ve gone searching for a reference number in the past is ridiculous, but now I can just do a search in my emails (or through my company account) and everything is readily accessible. 

5. Hang out your clothes

Don’t be so lazy, man. Okay, so anyone with a baby/small children gets a free pass from this one, because those little bastards take up a LOT of your time (and go through a lot of outfits), so sometimes a parent/guardian/excellent big sister has to do what they’ve gotta do. Otherwise: get a washing schedule in place and take advantage of warm, sunny days. 

6. Only buy what you will actually eat

When I first moved to Cairns my brother and I discovered the local farmer’s market and basically lost our shit over how much fruit/veges were available at such a low cost. So, we went a little bananas and bought a LOT of food. Food that unfortunately went off well before we could manage to consume it, resulting in WASTE. It’s actually such a crappy feeling having to throw out food that you never even got to touch, simply because you overcompensated and bought too much of it. Now I try to only shop for fresh stuff as I’m going to need it, and plan out dinner ingredients before I go to the supermarket to avoid getting shit because it was on sale/I saw someone’s instagram salad that I had vague plans to recreate.

7. Donate your clothes

C’mon guys, if you’re still not doing this then you don’t even deserve to be buying them in the first place. I’m trying to be realistic when I say that no one keeps everything they buy forever. Sometimes, it’s a simple as the item being beautiful but completely inappropriate for your everyday climate. Sometimes you buy the wrong size and they won’t let you return a sale item. Sometimes you fall in love with the piece but grow out of that fashion style altogether. Look, it happens, and when it does it’s our job to be conscious and smart about where our clothes end up. Donating them is fun because the clothes are getting a second chance at life (and love!), and it’s nice to know that someone out there is going to appreciate what you don’t.

8. Shop less & limit those fast fashion purchases

Yes, I know that we can’t all afford the original or designer pieces, so we settle for something similar at a sliver of the cost. There’s no shame in having to dress to suit your budget. But there is shame in supporting companies who outsource to factories with hellish working conditions and who create mountains of waste with every new line they drop. It’s not sustainable, or ethical, and usually the clothes don’t last as long, so it’s definitely worth doing your research and sticking to brands you know produce mindfully and who make quality clothing. I’m planning to make a blog post about all of my favourite brands, and how they are being eco-conscious with their products, so stay tuned for that!

9. Reduce your animal product consumption

Don’t worry, I’m not about to start preaching veganism to you (even though it sounds amazing and is something I am very much looking into), but the time for denial is over. We don’t NEED meat and dairy to survive. We’ve grown up with it and we’ve become accustomed to using it as the foundations for all of our meals. But we don’t need to. Over the past couple of years I’ve began exploring how I can create vege based meals, and on the days that I do eat completely vegetarian (usually unintentionally, because I bloody love my vegetables) I don’t feel any less energised or full. I don’t expect anyone to go completely cold turkey immediately, but it’s worth reducing your consumption and experimenting with a couple of dinners a week that are completely vegetarian/vegan (it’s surprisingly easy to do!). And if you’re still not convinced, I urge you to try the vege burrito from Guzman Y Gomez. You’ll thank me later. 

10. Buy organic cleaning/skincare products

We all know that organic produce isn’t always cheap, but being eco-friendly with your cleaning supplies and skincare DEFINITELY IS. Coles and Woolworths (in Aus) both have various organic cleaning/household product brands (Earth’s Choice, Thankyou and Organic are my faves) and it’s actually only a dollar or so more to shop for these products that are not only better for your skin but better for our waterways. In terms of skincare, there is a mountain-load of readily available products that don’t use nasties and are perfectly safe to be washed down the drain (Go-To, Sukin and Lush have won my heart over).

 

Now I’ve gotten onto my grass-fed high horse it’s hard to get off. Sometimes I just get so damn mad that people can be so careless when it comes to our planet. Because, hellllooo?! We don’t have a backup!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post, and it either gave you some useful tips or confirmed that you are in fact amazing for already doing all of these things (you go, Glen Coco!), and if you think it’s irrelevant, well, go sit in the corner with Donald Trump, eh?

Kidding. Sort of.

Till next time,

Viv  x

Why Being An Adult Actually Rocks

Hiya reader!

In case you didn’t know, I am 22 years old, aka a fully-fledged adult. I have never been in denial that finishing school and/or moving out of home (or in my case, both, at the same time) makes you a (under)qualified adult. I knew that I would have to pay bills and rent and remember to wash my clothes regularly, and none of that stuff really bothered me. In fact, I was excited. Adulthood sounded like a lot of freedom and a complete lack of curfews and bedtimes. What wasn’t there to like?

Four years in (man, how fast that’s gone!) and I’m still kicking. Responsibilities have been added and changed, and tax debts have been and gone. I’ve fucked up on forms and managed to escape a jury duty, and accidentally forgot to vote once. I’ve started planning overseas trips 2 years in advance, because I still don’t have a full time job and still enjoy online shopping. 

Sure, at times shit has been stressful (I’m talking about you, shared electricity bill) and some of my neighbours are a little batshit crazy, but the pressure of it all still hasn’t made me utter those nasty little words my 16-year-old self would punch me for: “Oh, being an adult is so hard! I miss high school!”

Ugh.

And again, ugh. I’ve been seeing that incredibly silly phrase posted as instagram captions and facebook posts way too often lately, and I’m not even going to deny that those people inspired this post. I look at those people and think “man, you’re totally doing it wrong”. Unless they were spoilt little brats, then being a teenager couldn’t have been that glamourous. We had all of these yucky hormones trying to find a home in our bodies, plus the everyday peer pressures and endless mountain of useless homework, and not to mention having to constantly beg to be allowed out drinking multiple weekends in a row (no, thank you for that one, Dad and Kylie, if you gave in easier I’d probably have liver failure by now). Life was a constant battle of trying to fit in and get those (essentially useless) good grades and not get suspended, even though at-home suspensions looked like the crusiest things EVER.

I had a lot of fun as as teenager, and have quite a few good stories to tell out of it, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten all of the things I despised and longed to be ridden of (mostly just being told what to do, which is still very much an issue, haha). Sure, everything seems simpler looking back, and even though I do miss the days of endless Skins marathons and that period where Hilary Duff was killing it in the film industry, it still isn’t enough to make me want to jump in a temperamental time machine and hang out as a 15 year old again.

Being an adult has been the best thing that’s happened to me. I’ve learnt how to get creative, and deliver a stellar sob story to Telstra when I’ve overspent on my data (thank god for home wifi now!), build a lot of kmart flat pack furniture and so much more. I’ve organised holidays all from the comfort of my own bed, and saved up for those holidays with no other financial support. I’ve handled more hungover days at work than I can count, and have learnt to reign in my impulse-purchasing habits. I’ve decorated my house, exactly how I wanted it, and have covered the walls with artwork that I adore. I have a collection of cameras that I don’t get to use enough, and bookcases full of novels that’ve become friends during tough times. 

I’ve learnt that you can’t hide behind a screen forever, and if you want to make friends you have to kick aside those nerves and just make conversation. Hot tip: People love talking about themselves! Unless you’re a self-absorbed asshole who makes sure every conversation revolves around them and their views, then you’ve probably got some things left to share. Especially to strangers. Getting to know people is actually the best, and it’s so nice to reflect on how friendships have formed and pat yourself on the back for making that happen in the real world. 

Since being an adult, I’ve gone to gigs and festivals whenever I’ve wanted. I’ve made amazing new friends and rekindled friendships with old ones. I’ve made one of my favourite cities my second home-base, and have made my life-long dreams of visiting Melbourne a reality. I’ve become a lot braver than I used to be, and now look forward to the prospect of solo travel as a way to self reflect and explore without the hassle of having to leave/stay because someone else wants to (this is particularly important when it comes to art galleries and coffee shops. Sometimes a girl just likes to hang out, ya know?). 

I can’t even begin to describe how much my personal style has changed. I was always a fan of dressing differently, but also had to try and do this in a way that avoided getting bullied at school for it, so it was a fine line that I was constantly tripping on. Now, I try not to give a fuck what other people think of my choices. I still have a shitty little voice in my head that comments on other people’s dress sense (mostly just thinking how unflattering something is for their body shape – bloody Trinny and Susannah have brainwashed me!) but I always follow it up with thinking “as long as they feel comfortable/good that’s all that matters”. I think my dress sense is pretty tame on the world scale, but unfortunately most people in small towns/cities don’t actually consider that to be a thing, and enjoy the odd stare here and there because they simply don’t get it.  Being an adult has taught me that, and given me the confidence to wear things that I love and not care about the irrelevant stares. 

This mindset also affects your personal appearance too. It takes time to build up confidence and resilience against the stares of strangers. When you’re young and vulnerable and haven’t seen much of the world (or understand it yet), it’s hard not to be constantly worrying how you are reflected in others’ eyes. Getting tattoos was something that really flipped this switch for me. I knew people were going to stare. I knew they were going to comment. I knew they weren’t going to understand the meaning even when I told them “it’s lyrics from a song I like”, but I got the suckers anyway. And I love each and every one of my tattoos and wouldn’t remove them for anyone. 

As usual, this post has kind of strayed from the original focus, but it also hasn’t. Reflecting on all of these aspects of my life just proves how much I’ve grown and bloomed since becoming an adult. I’m never going to be I’m the poster girl for how it’s done, or pretend like I didn’t screw up here and there, but I’ve made it this far and certainly don’t want to look back. 

I like having the space and freedom to come home and take my bra and pants off and make tea at all hours and write when I’m feeling inspired. I like not having to care about school politics or getting in trouble for not wearing my ugly formal uniform on Fridays. I like being able to sleep next to my boyfriend without having to ask for permission for a sleepover. I like it all, honestly. Even the bill paying. It’s kind of satisfying knowing that I’m doing okay enough to pay my bills and eat and have fun money left on the side. Hell, it’s just nice not having to do the dishes every night.

 

The Topic No One Wants To Talk About

Hi friends,

I’m going to slap a warning label on right here and now: if you’re uncomfortable reading about suicide, then this post isn’t for you. But then again, who can say they are 100% comfortable with discussing and/or reading about such a grim topic?

I know this is quite different from my usual content, but I like to write about things that are important to me, and this topic is something I not only feel strongly about bringing awareness to, but have felt the after effects of firsthand. 

Thinking about it now, I don’t think I’ve ever properly written down my feelings or experiences regarding this. I’ve talked about it, because not talking about it would’ve sent me mad, but it’s not something you can just bring up at a dinner party or ask your friends about. 

It’s a yucky topic. An uncomfortable word. Suicide. Oh, the taboos that surround that phrase. I guess you’re probably wondering why I decided to discuss it now, and if everything is okay.

Am I okay? Yes, absolutely. Was I always okay? No. Have I been directed affected by suicide? Unfortunately, yes. Now I don’t know who exactly does read this blog, and how many of you know me personally (and how well), but it’s possible that me talking about this is going to ruffle some feathers. Although, seriously, fuck that. Because every year I have to put up with the Facebook posts and the pictures accompanied by thoughts and short stories about how close all these people were to her and how quickly time has gone by. And I don’t have anything against this method of coping, but it does always disappoint me that no one has the guts to talk about how she was “taken from this earth too soon”. Why try and sugar coat it? Our friend was 12-years-old, and she killed herself. I never got to ultimately know the finer details, but it sounded like it was an accident. Like you didn’t really understand what you were doing until it was too late.

It’s an extremely sensitive topic, and one that effects everyone differently. You’ll never begin to imagine how it feels to be related to or be friends with someone who’s taken their own life, until you are, and you’re left behind to figure out what comes next.

The worst part about the whole situation was afterwards. How the teachers didn’t really know who her close friends were. How I was told by my friends before school started, before I had even sat down at our usual spot. How I didn’t believe what I was hearing. How afterward all of these people who barely knew her came forward and made the biggest fuss out of all of us, trying to grab attention for something they should’ve left alone. I remember not being able to fly down for her funeral, so I had to settle for going to a wake in a church that I had never stepped foot in, and one that I would never go near again.

That how later on we were told about the signs. The signs that they needed help. The signs that we were supposed to look out for, even though we weren’t even teenagers and barely knew what was going on in our own heads, let alone someone elses’. How now looking back, you did seem distant. You were upset because some of the older girls were teasing you (assholes). How, at one of our swimming lessons you gave me a little dragon ornament tied on a friendship bracelet; a trinket I thought you had so deeply treasured, given to me as a gift without a second of hesitation. 

Being close to you and not even considering that something was that wrong, is the thing I regret the most. But at the other end of the spectrum, I wish you had reached out to me. We shared a lot of things with each other, and I wish you had felt you could come to me with any doubts you had. 

If anything good has come out of this, it’s how much more empathetic I’ve become. How that if I see someone seeming down, I make a point to ask them if they’re okay, and show that I’ll be there if they’re not. I’m proud of how seriously I take depression, and refuse to brush it under the rug with prescription meds and reckless thoughts such as, “they’re just having a hard time right now”. How I am eerily drawn to books that involve young adults suffering mental health problems, and how most of the time, I have absolutely no idea that’s what the story line surrounds when I pick it up (seriously, it’s bizarre how many times this has happened. Just from reading a god-damned blurb). It almost seems as if I am unconsciously searching, to be able to understand what was going on in your head in those last few days, because you never told me why. 

If you’re wondering what prompted this post, it was watching 13 Reasons Why. I’m sure most of you would’ve seen it by now, but after reading the book a while ago I was pretty excited to see it brought to life, and boy did they do a spectacular job at it. I knew what I was in for, but it didn’t make it any easier to watch, or stop the tears from falling during those scenes. It’s an amazing show, and Netflix did a brilliant job making sure everything was raw and authentic, and they didn’t try to sugar coat the bad shit. After watching Episode 14, which is kind of a bonus segment of interviews, I was completely moved. I won’t go too much into it, but even if you weren’t a fan of the show you should watch that episode.

I think I’ve summed up everything I needed to say, and it feels good to finally document it and not be afraid to air my thoughts. Year after year, on the anniversary of her death, and her birthday, I see post after post and I always keep quiet because well, what the hell can I say to make any of it better? It’s been 10 years since our world got flipped upside down, and now I think the most important thing is to spread awareness about suicide. I know a lot of people joking say, “oh, I could kill myself!” because they’re having a shit day, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dig a little deeper. Just in case. 

Because it’s all well and good to write these kinds of posts and repost pictures on Facebook, but if you’re not out there actually asking people if they’re okay, or if they need to talk, then you’re not really helping at all. It’s crazy something as simple as a question can make someone feel valued, and it seriously costs fucking nothing to be kind. 

So I hope this helps you. I can’t say that reading other people’s thoughts can fix everything, but at least it might help you understand a little better. Everyone is going through shit, so be nice 🙂

Till next time,

Viv  xo

Not From This Decade

I’ve always been a girl who dreams about the past. Not my past, specifically, but the past of this planet. Of times throughout the ages and what the people were like then. How did they feel without technology? Were they bored, or did they feel more free?

I’ve always had a soft spot for the 60’s, 70’s and 90’s. I don’t know why, but I’ve been obsessed with the styling and the lifestyles and what everyday life was like since as long as I can remember. I know I can ask people who grew up in these decades for their personal recounts, but it will never be the same as experiencing it first hand. If time travel was a thing I would totally be one of those lame people who simply wanted to stroll around looking at everything, and admiring all of the ornate details like plate sizes and shop fit outs and hair styles.

If I could corner one of the locals, I would pretend that I fit in, ordering a black coffee and a slab of pie (okay, I know I grew up in Australia but still – what a classic dish!) and then badger them with the most appearingly-mundane questions I could come up with. What did it feel like to be going to the first cinema in the state? What was the most forward-thinking thing a teacher said to you in high school? How do you spend your evenings? What is your current favourite book? How expensive is it to fly to Paris?

I don’t know why I haven’t just asked my grandparents these things. They’ve lived through it all, and have quite a few stories up their sleeves. I just find it so fascinating that back in the 70’s, there were 22-year-olds walking around in their ‘present day’, with big dreams and driving now-vintage cars. Did they feel like they were living in an advanced world, or did they still recognise that we had much further to go? Did they still believe that they should be married by now, or did they give a finger to the man and run away from home at 18? 

Did they feel overwhelmed, with how big and innovative the world was becoming? How old were they when they got their first job, and did they like the one they were in now? Did their parents encourage them to chase their dreams, or did they settle for a suitable job in their hometown because it was ‘safe’?

Of course I would want to know about the festivals. Oh, the festivals. And the gigs. And the world tours. Tell me everything. What was it like seeing Blink 182 play in their early days? How loud did people scream at AC/DC concerts? Did they ever cry seeing their favourite band for the first time? How captivating was Jimi Hendrix in real life? Please tell me you got a chance to see The Smiths?!

I would also want to know every little detail about New York. Tell me about how wild it really was at Studio 54? How did the men dress? How did the women dress? What was it like to be in the LGBT in such crazy times? What makeup did people wear? Hell, did business women even give a damn about makeup? What was it like to walk down the streets at 3am on a Tuesday night? How did Times Square feel back then? Were you feeling inundated with advertisements, or filled with wonder by all the pretty lights? 

And how often do you talk to your friends on the phone? Do you still write to your childhood best friend, or have you drifted apart? How important do you think it is to have real connection with the people you surround yourself with? Could you ever imagine relying on a piece of metal and glass to keep you connected to the world? 

What do you do with your free time? Do you holiday often, or do you save up for that family vacation to the same spot every year? Have you ever been to a lake house and gazed at the stars? How does the air feel? Do you ever have any breathing problems, or get hay fever in the spring? Have you ever been on an airplane, or even out of the country? Where have you always dreamed of going, and why haven’t you been yet?

I know these may seem like weird questions, but I can only imagine how diverse the answers would be compared to that of a young adult in 2017. I would want to know everything. What was their biggest problem in life? If they could do one thing tomorrow, what would it be? Did they feel like they were born in the wrong decade too?

Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful to be this age, living in this year, with the luxuries that I have. But it doesn’t matter how many history books I read, or how many films use 1960’s inspired sets, or how many times I Pin stills from Empire Records, I will never have been in those times at this age. And I never will. Weird isn’t it, to think on this level. It’s also incredibly cool too, because well, we get to imagine the best of past, and didn’t have to experience the worst of it.

If you’re still with me, then thanks. Maybe this piece gave you wave of nostalgia for a time you never lived in. Maybe it only made you wish how desperately you were born earlier, in “simpler” times. Or maybe it just made you feel content, and glad to be apart of it all.

 

Till next time,

Viv  x

 

REMINDER: Stop Being So F**king Hard on Yourself

I jotted the idea for this post down a while ago, probably in a moment when I was literally thinking these exact words to myself: stop being so fucking hard on yourself! I have no idea what I was doing or why my brain had resorted back to auto-asshole mode, but unfortunately I can’t say it was the last time something like this happened.

The truth is, I am way too fucking hard on myself. My “ideal” discipline levels rival that of a drill sergeant, and I am still yet to stay up past my bedtime (12am) without feeling guilty or like I am cheating on my routine.

Quite frankly, it’s a little pathetic, but it’s something that I think all of us can relate to. Going to a friend’s house when you’re behind on a deadline. Saying no to an extra shift at work because you already have plans. Picking out a block of chocolate and the good old “junk food guilt” setting in. And that’s before we’ve even left the aisle! 

The instant we make decisions (and usually beforehand), our brain likes to assess if we’ve done something good or bad. Right or wrong. Positive or negative. Basically, does it align with our moral code or not? 

It’s a rickety bridge to cross, and one that I find myself slipping on all too often. I hate that I am constantly critiquing myself and my decisions, and questioning how I spend every minute of my time awake (and when I’m supposed to be asleep) and if it is “productive”. Ugh. Even I’m feeling bored typing that.

If you don’t quite know where I’m coming from (and boy, must that be nice) here are some examples of self-crituqing/questioning that I come across on the daily:

Pouring milk into my cereal/tea: Am I consuming too much milk? Am I a horrible person for using it? Will I get enough calcium if I stop? Why can’t my tastebuds just accept almond milk already?!

Buying takeaway/going out for food: Do you really need to be spending this much on food? Think of what you could do with all of this saved up! Why don’t you have any self control? Why do you even care about eating nice things? 

Not working on assignments: Why are you so lazy? Don’t you realise that you’re only hurting yourself by wasting time now and stressing out later? Why can’t you be more motivated? This is why you’re not at the top of your game.

Looking at online stores: Why do you even bother when you don’t have the money to buy that stuff? This is just asking to be tempted. Look how much time you’ve wasted with nothing to show for it?

Again, ugh. This whole self-loathing/brain-bashing(me) thing is simply not cute. Reading back on that makes me want to tell the person saying those things to fuck off. It really is true when they say that your worst critic is yourself. I can 100% relate to that, and it sucks. Writing this is making me feel annoyed that I still give time to the part of my brain that comes up with this bullshit. And by this bullshit, I mean negativity. Again: NOT CUTE.

It’s interesting how some of these critiques have actually stemmed from other people’s opinions. And not necessarily ones of me, but opinions of other people not meeting their high standards – if that makes any sense at all. The term school rings a few bells there.

School was definitely the worst when it came to constantly trying to live up to other’s expectations and rules, and I guess that after being trapped in the classroom for 12 years we’ve walked away not only with a diploma, but some unwanted standards that we still try to live up to.

It’s silly, I know, but that’s just the reality of it. There’s always someone expecting something from us, whether that be a teacher, a parent or a boss. We’re constantly trying to cycle through information and regulations and darn dress codes that it sometimes leaves little room for some much needed soul searching. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sell all your shit and jump on a plane to India, but it does mean you need some time out to reflect. 

I’ve found one thing in particular that really helps is doing a social media cleanse. AKA sorting through your “follow” lists and getting rid of all the assholes who make you feel bad about yourself. I’m sure they’re lovely people, but if they’re posting about getting up at 5am everyday and this results in you feeling guilty for waking up at 7, well…there’s no feed aesthetically pleasing enough to fix that. They’ve gotta go!

If they genuinely are your be all and end all of “goals” then sure, keep them around, but don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you look up to them that you will ever have the same routine/lifestyle as them. If only it were that easy, hey. 

I guess all that I wanted to say with this post is to stop feeling bad about the occasional chocolate bar. YES, I KNOW SUGAR IS BAD FOR ME, PETE EVANS. But that’s not going to stop me from putting it in my cup of tea because i enjoy it. Of course, everything in moderation, but comparing ourselves to others when we’re feeling guilty about an action is only going to make things a shit-tonne worse. So let’s all take a deep breath, admit that maybe we should’ve done things a little differently and MOVE THE FUCK ON.

Sorry, I know there’s been a lot of swearing in this, but it’s the kind of pep talk that NEEDS swearing. All the best ones have them, didn’t you know?

I’m going to stop here, before I go off on a tangent about god knows what next, haha. I hope you found this piece enlightening, or at the very least you can finish reading it and think “at least I’m not as screwed up as her”. Therapy for me and a pick-me-up for you, it’s a win win 🙂

Till next time (if I haven’t scared you off with my ranting), 

Viv   x

 

 

Why It’s Important To Have Those Lazy Days

NOTE: This post was first written in January, but still oh so relevant now.

 

Hi all,

So, to set the scene: I am currently in my last few weeks of uni holidays and have been nowhere near as productive as I’d hoped.

When the semester wrapped up in December, I wrote myself a list of all of the things I wanted to accomplish each week until I went ‘back to school’. The short story: it didn’t get done.

As I sit here writing this, I’m looking at a pile of unfolded clothes, a floor that desperately needs vacuuming (what’s new?) and an overnight bag that never quite gets unpacked these days. I’ve taken an unplanned break from devouring my #SummerReadingList and am rewatching Sex and The City for the zillionth time (real time update: two months later and I’m only up to season 5, so I’m not complete addict).

But what relevance does any of this have in regards to well, anything? Well, as usual, my brain works in random and let’s face it, completely bizarre ways, and my train of thought can jump from a good song to a grocery item to needing to get my hair done (always). 

I was mid-house clean when I got thinking about all of the rad mums that I follow on Instagram. They of course, all have eerily adorable babies, and are often posting charming pictures and videos of themselves and their little ones doing the general everyday stuff that seems boring by yourself but is utterly sweet with a small human in tow.

At first I thought “I hope I’m in a good enough financial position when I [EVENTUALLY] have a baby so I can stay at home and hang out with them while they’re little” and then it clicked – those mums are literally with their kids ALL OF THE FUCKING TIME.

You’re probably shaking your head at me right now, but hear me out, alright! It’s so easy to look at all those cute family snaps and forget that these women would be grateful to have an uninterrupted shower, let alone having whole entire nights of vegging out and binge-watching their favourite TV shows.

I’m not saying that parenting looks like hell – hard work, sure – but it made me realise how bloody lucky I am to have nights like these where I can be as lazy as I want, without having to worry about putting anyone to sleep but myself. Being young and childless is actually so damn blissful compared to the whole saga of responsibilities and choices that come with raising little gremlins, and yes I can say that because I am the oldest of 8 and know how much of a handful children can be. 

Anyway, I’m off point (again: what’s new?) – but what I’m trying to say is that it’s easy to take all this easiness for granted. And on the other end of the stick – it’s also incredibly easy to feel guilty about these ‘lazy nights’. Hell, I’ve been silently cursing myself since the day I put away my uni books. 

It’s no secret that we put a bit too much pressure on ourselves to be constantly working towards our goals and going to this place and catching up with that friend that we forget to just have some darn downtime and enjoy it.

Right now, whilst we’re child/business/study free, is the time to take a deep breath and RELAX. Do all the things you crave when life gets that little bit too hectic. If you’re feeling tired after a big day at work you should rest. It’s not exactly rocket science, and yet we all make excuses or find ways to feel guilty for taking time out. Despite how very efficient it would be, we can’t expect ourselves to run at 100% all of the time; at least not without completely malfunctioning down the track (refer to Mr Robot further visuals).

So if you’re reading this and 2017 is already feeling a little bit too crazy (or you’re like me, and still can’t quite understand how it’s MARCH ALREADY), then please put everything aside and just chill out for a while. Take a walk. Phone a friend. Lay on the floor. Listen to a record. Watch the moon. Sit in a comfy chair in an empty room. Enjoy the nothingness.

Because I guarantee you in 10 years time, when things are full steam ahead and we’ve all got our shit together, we’ll both be squishing some time in to read that book and wishing for the good old lazy days of our 20’s. 

 

Till next time,

Viv  x

2017 Goals

It’s a funny thing, isn’t it, turning another year older? Since my birthday falls on New Years Day, I often find myself reflecting on the past year and whether or not I feel any older on the day. And the truth is, I never do. I don’t suppose anyone really does, not immediately anyway. Because to me January 1st is just another day in our lives, and yet it is so heavily romanticised to be “that fresh start” and giving everyone hope that “this year will be better than the last” (even though I quite enjoyed 2016 anyway). 

Yet despite these conflicting thoughts, I sit down at the end of each year and write out my goals in attempted seriousness and assume that I will stick to them if they remain in a random notebook on my beside table (this never works) and feebly attempt to “exercise more” and “not let things get to me” (it doesn’t happen) and by the end of February I’ll be grateful if I’ve managed to water the plants once a week and not splurge every time a cute dress appears on Princess Polly. 

 A little dramatic? Maybe. But I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that having BIG yearly goals just doesn’t cut it for me. I thrive on ‘To Do’ lists and ticking off tedious tasks, and am much more inclined to do something when I have to look at it on my wardrobe door everyday until it’s been accomplished. This is partly why I’m so excited to begin my Happiness Project this year, and although I am already a little behind, I’m excited to see how monthly/daily checklists will impact how well I still to the resolutions. I’m planning to do a whole other post relating to this, and the life-changing book by Gretchen Rubin that has inspired it all.

But in the meantime, I still wanted to have some overall goals for the year. Things that aren’t monumental or particularly hard to do, but things that I often overlook when I start getting busy. Some of them are really simple reminders, whilst others are skills I want to develop or habits I want to create. I’m planning to type these up and make them look cute enough to stick up on the old wardrobe door, with another copy in my planner, so I’m being constantly reminded of the things that I want to achieve because I’m passionate about them.

So without anymore blabbering, here are my goals for 2017, which are quite heavily creativity-based – something I don’t mind one bit.

 

On the blog front:

  • Become more organised and have content scheduled in advance
  • Look at getting a custom layout & a custom domain name
  • Use my blooming graphic design skills to spice up my posts 

And the rest:

  • Get back into film photography & post more photography on the blog (if Kmart ever finds my Rubens snaps)
  • Continue on with my Graphic Design course at full speed and 100% commitment and passion
  • Practice meditation & gratitude daily
  • Get back into weekly yoga classes
  • Collaborate!
  • Create for fun
  • Read EVERY DAY
  • Write more
  • Learn to make/edit videos
  • Learn to skate
  • Save for big ticket items & always put away some money for a “rainy”(catastrophic) day
  • Cook more at home and have lunches organised for each week 
  • Look after my plants
  • Get my ideas down straight away
  • Be more organised with “life admin” stuff

 

Like I said, it’s not an extensive or extravagant list, but they’re realistic goals that I can incorporate into my everyday life, which is how I think they’ll best get achieved. None of these can be ticked off after one attempt, which is probably why they work best as yearly goals, as I will constantly have things to work towards that will make me a happier little human. 

 

Wishing you a happy, full & adventurous new year,

Viv  x

22 Things I’ve Learnt After 22 Trips Around The Sun

  1. Not everyone is going to like your music –  but fuck em. They don’t have to.
  2. A good pair of Converse will get you a LONG way.
  3. Always tie up your docs extra tight, and wear bandaids on your heels if it’s been a while.
  4. Make the first move, ESPECIALLY if you’re a girl. Boys these days aren’t as tough as they seem.
  5. Everyone wants friends, but doesn’t mean they’ll go to the effort to stay as one of yours.
  6. If you think someone is cool, ask them out for coffee. It’s surprisingly not that hard to make friends when you share common ground, even if you are complete strangers.
  7. Stop expecting things to be like they are in the books and movies. Refer back to THAT scene in 500 Days of Summer when necessary.
  8. Sometimes the girls you didn’t know in school become some of the best ones you know as an adult.
  9. Never regret buying art.
  10. There is no greater feeling than seeing your favourite band play your favourite song live.
  11. It’s important to have girlfriends, but seriously hard to find good ones. But don’t give up looking, because they probably live in Brisbane.
  12. Attending Groovin the Moo is one of the few traditions that I actually have (aside from watching Love Actually at Christmas time, of course).
  13. Sitting at a desk/table with a cup of tea and a nice candle burning will instantly make you feel more motivated. 
  14. NEVER give away that band shirt that you once really liked, because you’re guaranteed to fall in love with it again later on in life.
  15. Boys shirts are always better.
  16. Watercolour painting and listening to music is very therapeutic.
  17. Sometimes you’ve just gotta get in your car and drive.
  18. Fisherman’s caps are great for all occasions.
  19. Be friends with people who encourage your creativity.
  20. Really LISTEN to what children say – they are actually the most fascinating people you’ll ever meet.
  21. If you ever feel cranky or pissed off with your partner, just take a pause and hug each other PROPERLY. It’s crazy what a good hug does to your mood.
  22. Loving yourself doesn’t just happen straight away; so don’t feel bad about making splurges on clothing that makes you feel good, because every little bit of self-confidence helps.

 

I like these so much, I think I’ll stick them on the wall.

 

Till next time, 

Viv  x

The 2016 Round Up

For me, 2016 was a year of some pretty big changes, and thankfully they were all for the better. I went from being single to having a boyfriend, I went from being the eldest of 7 to the eldest of 8 and I became a student once again – juuuuuuust to name a few. I don’t know why there are so many memes on Facebook about 2016 being rubbish, because aside from the whole Brexit/U.S. election disaster, I didn’t really notice much difference in the overall ‘vibe’ of the year. But that’s just me.

So in light of actually enjoying 2016, my 21st year around this sun, I decided to do a round up post of all the notable moments, faves and general cool things that I loved in 2016. Enjoy!

 

Notable “Moments”

I got a baby brother!

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Soren being born was actually the greatest gift we could receive. He’s the most adorable baby and so well behaved, and despite being a surprise he has fit into our giant family so well and it feels like he was always destined to join us. Everyone always comments about how clucky I am around him, when in fact it’s just him I want, not some other baby, not right now. I just love the kid so darn much and it’s actually so amazing watching him taste things for the first time, and reach milestones and listen to songs that he’s never heard before (Clair de Lune by Flight Facilities was the first song he ever heard btw – courtesy of his fab big sister :P). Babies are actually a bucket load of fun if you don’t mind the spew.

 

James officially became “my boyfriend”!

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m sappy and lame. Getoverit. After such a disastrous first serious relationship, I can’t deny that I was cautious about how this one would work out, or more importantly, how we would handle living an hour away from each other. But 7 months in, it’s been great. It just feels so easy and good and it’s nice to know that we can be happy together and apart and still have our own interests, but mostly it’s just great having someone to spoon you at night ❤

 

I started a Diploma of Graphic Design!

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And whilst I’m writing this I’ve just completed my first trimester of the course, and couldn’t be happier with where it’s taking me. It’s bloody hard work, and you’ll often find me moaning about how guilty I’ve felt when I’ve chosen an episode of Criminal Minds over studying, but all in all I’m loving it. It’s so nice to feel like you’re actually learning each week, and that even the assessments are furthering your skills in the field. I still have days when I doubt myself, and get disheartened when I see that my work isn’t up to the same standards as some of the other more practiced students, but then I remind myself – 12 weeks ago I’d barely touched Photoshop. Now I can fumble around Illustrator, InDesign and Ps, along with having gained a world of knowledge on the business side of being a graphic designer, so it’s only good things to come. I’ll be trying to post more of my projects/creations on here in the future to continue with my momentum.

 

I FINALLY visited Melbourne!

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Another bucket list item was officially ticked off in September. I still can’t quite believe that I did it, but also I’m so darn proud of myself for biting the bullet and doing a solo trip to a place I’d never been to with no one there to guide or house me. Melbourne was everything I expected it to be and more. Everyone I know who’s visited have always commented how much I would like it and suit it down there, and boy they weren’t wrong. I became instantly obsessed with the people and the architecture and the food and the gardens and the public transport and the food options (except how no one in Fitzroy seemed to sell soup in 10 degree weather, but that’s another story). Despite the cold, I really did feel at home and can’t wait to make another trip back, hopefully with more time and warmer socks.

 

My family’s house was FINALLY built!

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If I could add the celebratory party popper emoji on here, I would. After nearly 2 years of delays and planning and more delays, we finally have a beautiful new house for my family to live in. It’s up in the rainforest, has huge windows throughout and a kitchen that I could’ve conjured up in my dreams. My parents were definitely put to the limits with their patience, but now we have a lovely home for my two little brothers to grow up in. And a comfortable trundle bed for me to regularly crash on. 

 

I got a fringe!

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Not that exciting to some, but pretty flipping exciting for me. After debating for years, I finally just threw my worries to the wind and got a nice full fringe cut in just in time for MMVAF in September, and since then I’ve had to get it cut fortnightly to avoid it engulfing my eyes. I’m not gonna lie, it requires a lot more effort on the hair front than I’m used to (i.e. none) but I still like how it looks and that it makes my face seem more interesting (if that makes sense). I’m yet to see how friendly we remain during summer, so fingers crossed it doesn’t break us up.

 

I moved my room around – and finally got a desk!

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There’s a lot of “finally”s being mentioned in this post, and that’s because I feel like this year was the year that shit got done. Not everything, but a lot of things that slipped through the cracks last year were tied up during 2016, and there’s nothing I love more than ticking items off a list. I’d been contemplating moving my room around for a while, but didn’t know how it would look any other way (my bed is heavy af so it wasn’t a quick task), but once I started uni again I quickly realised how valuable a functioning workspace would be (sitting on my bed was nice…for a while). I had decided that the desk wasn’t a priority over other things, but one Friday afternoon I remember cracking the shits and calling Kmart to see if they had the desk I wanted in stock. Well they did, so cue the next 4 hours of room rearranging and feeling better than ever. Not only is the desk decorated super cutely, but now it makes my room look a lot more spacious than it is. Winner!

 

I got 3 more tattoos!

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A wave for my 21st birthday in Bali
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For Amity, one which was long overdue
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Still a newbie, for Catfish and the Bottlemen 

 

Favourites

Band: Not including my forever faves, it was definitely Trophy Eyes. I decided to give them a listen to when I realised that they were opening for an Amity gig back in August, and I instantly fell in love with Chlorine. And when I say instantly, I seriously mean it. I played that song over and over again until I knew all the lyrics, and lost my shit when they played it live in Brisbane. Following the gig they released the album, Chemical Miracle, which has been heaven to my ears ever since.

Album: Chemical Miracle by Trophy Eyes & This Could Be Heartbreak by The Amity Affliction

Books: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (full post on this life changing book to come!), Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle, The Younger Man by Zoe Foster Blake (there were more but I can’t remember what I read last year vs. this year. I really must start a log).

Films: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Doctor Strange, How to be Single, Captain America: Civil War

TV Shows: Stranger Things, Narcos, The Wrong Girl

Foods: Acai bowls

Gigs: The Amity Affliction @ The Tivoli, Bring Me The Horizon @ Riverstage

Music Festivals: Laneway (Feb), Groovin the Moo (May), MMVAF (Sep)

Place I visited: Melbourne (are you surprised?)

 

Things I wish I’d done

I added this section in when I initially drafted up this post, but now can’t really think of anything. Obviously, I wish I’d been more organised and went to more local gigs, and I wish I was able to go to Splendour again, but as always you can’t realistically do everything each year. So next year will be full of different adventures again. I guess I wish I’d been more organised on the blog front, and was able to maintain my weekly posting schedule, but again, sometimes things like that can’t be helped. This year seemed like such a giant blur, and when you reflect on a year at the end of it it’s easy to forget about all the amazing things you’ve done, and how much you’ve grown. Hell, I started out the year in Bali! How do I keep forgetting about that?!

I guess that just serves as a lesson for 2017: work hard, set your goals, have fun, document, and enjoy things in the moment. Our brains are expected to retain so darn much information as it is, so it’s understandable when we forget how it felt in a certain moment, or forgot what day it was every now and then. 

 

All in all, 2016 was great. I felt much better mentally, and feel like I’m finally on the right path career wise. Although I’ve still got another 18 months to go, it’s good to know that by the end of 2018, nearly turning 24 (eek!) I’ll be finally able to start a career that I’m passionate about. Of course there were some shit times, and there’s always going to be, but thinking back over the past 12 months, I honestly can’t think of any that were too dramatic. So that’s gotta count for something, right?

I hope you all had a lovely year, and by the time you’re reading this Christmas would’ve come and gone, so I hope you got to take time to relax and enjoy being around family and friends. And watched Love Actually, of course.

 

Till next time,

Viv   x