Tiresome Antics

It’s 8:45pm on a Monday night and I’m tired. And not in a cute, oh, I’ve had such a big, busy, productive day kind of tired; more like a bone-numbing, mushy brain, sleepy eyes kind of tired. My energy levels are completely whacked at the moment. One day I can be alert and up till 12 reading or writing or watching things, whereas other nights I can have a zillion things to do (or on my mind) and are ready for a shower and sleep by 9pm.

Does anyone else have this kind of problem with their energy levels? I made it my mission last year to reign in my bedtimes to be asleep by 11:30pm-12am each night. With a few months worth of alarms (and many nights lying in a dark room wide awake) I was finally able to reboot my body clock and train myself to start feeling sleepy earlier (because my new job meant I had to wake up early – every damn day). 

I’ve been wondering for a while if it’s my iron levels. I had some blood tests done a couple of years ago that mentioned I was low in iron (but not drastically low), due to my primarily plant based diet. Nowadays, I eat fully plant based at home, indulging in seafood when I’m out and can’t comment on whether or not my dietary changes have affected this. I had more tests done recently and my doctor didn’t mention anything to do with said iron levels…so who knows?

Emotionally, it has nothing to do with anything. In fact, when I’m anxious or stressed I often struggle with sleep, not crave more of it. As I write this, I had a normal day at work, woke up to my first alarm, and ate enough food throughout the day. I had a lazy afternoon and had planned to do a few different things tonight…but I didn’t. The fog was there. That’s honestly the best way to describe it – a thick fog clouding your motivation and interest and energy. I feel fine with everything else and yet I feel like I barely slept last night. Is that normal? I don’t think so. 

I’m yet to pursue it medically due to my current rotation of doctors all being disinterested idiots (okay, a little harsh. They’re nice, but they’re bulk billers and mainly care about how quickly they can wrap up the appointment) who never seem to give me any decent advice. I’ve gone to them holding back tears and worrying that I might have something seriously wrong, only to be told to go get a blood test and take some Panadol.

Am I grateful that I even have access to doctors who can dish out nonsense advice? Yes. But I’d also be a lot happier if I was actually taken seriously for once. I often threaten to James that I’m giving up on modern medicine and that my next problem will be taken to a Chinese herbalist. I’m yet to make the switch, but stay tuned for if/when this happens (I’d still love to try acupuncture, but that’s a whole other story). 

This post probably won’t make a lot of sense to most people, but I’m sure that a few of my readers can sympathise. This weird tired thing doesn’t come with a schedule. It also has a total lack of manners and doesn’t care that you can’t have any more coffees today. It’s strange and a little scary, but nothing life threatening, I hope. 

If any of you have gone through something similar I’d love to know and chat (and if you found a cure that worked for you, even better!). Having an unidentified ‘something’ can be pretty lonely sometimes, especially when it doesn’t come with any physical symptoms and doesn’t technically feel bad or dangerous. 

I’m sure there’s an explanation out there, and if you happen to know any natural remedies that can help with fatigue then let a gal know! I’m open to weird herbs, essential oils, reiki – you name it, I’ll try it.

Wishing you good health and sleep,

Viv  xo

The Eternal Flame

Bands that I’ll love forever

There are some things that simply never go out of style. Doc Martens. Leather jackets. A red lip. Ray Bans. Fresh flowers. Clean sheets. Orange juice. You get the gist.

Among these timeless items, are a special group of groups. The people whose songs and lyrics and instrumental pieces are always amazing. You can hear them for the first time as a child, and dance along sillily, and then rekindle the flame in your teenage years, when you’re going through that phase of liking stuff that nobody else likes right now. And then, years later, you hear it again in the pub or the car or on a random Spotify playlist. You smile fondly. You sing along badly. If you’re feeling groovy, you might do some foot tapping and a bit of air guitar. For approximately three minutes and thirty seconds, you’re in a state of bliss.

Music always has been, and shall always remain, a huge part of my life. It’s the foundation of my upbringing, the influence of my tastes, my style, my personality. It’s connected me with people I would otherwise never have met. I have seen my idols live, and danced in sync with them. I have even met a couple of them (gawked awkwardly, said I loved their music – the usual witty banter). I’m yet to find anything as transfixing and euphoric as dancing in a crowd of joyous souls, chanting along to a brilliant song.

With this hefty realisation looming over my existence, it’s rather comforting to know that plenty of bands stand the test of time with me. In other words, we’ve been through a lot together. Plane rides. Overseas holidays. Camping trips. Break ups. New friends. Moving. Driving. Studying. Dancing. Drinking. The birth of my baby brother. You name it, there’s a song, band or playlist that accompanies that moment in my life. 

So, without any further rambling, here is my list. Some of it anyway. I’m never going to remember them all at the same moment (what an intense task!), but here are some of the greats that have been with me through it all. I’m 24, and I’ve loved some of these guys for 20 odd years (okay, so a couple, most for a solid 8-15). I hope we can continue our love affair right to the end. 

Blink 182*

Goo Goo Dolls

Aqua

Matchbox 20

Savage Garden

The Amity Affliction*

The Getaway Plan*

Foo Fighters*

The All-American Rejects

The Calling (Wherever You Will Go)

Fall Out Boy

The Fray

Howie Day (Collide)

In Hearts Wake*

The Killers

The Kooks*

Mayday Parade*

Muscles

Panic! At The Disco

Paramore

Spiderbait

Two Door Cinema Club

The Wombats*

You Me At Six*

 

* Indicates the wonderful nights I have spent seeing these legends live. 

I think I’ll update this list every 5 or so years, to see what bands continue to come along on this journey of life, and which ones I abandoned after a season or two.

Till next time,

Viv  xo

 

 

 

 

 

OK, so I’m only 20. It’s only been four years since I was sweet 16; having my first real taste of boys and alcohol but most importantly, good and varied music.

Lost in Translation

Hello, my dear sweet readers!

Firstly, thank you for actually reading this – it means that a) you stayed around despite my month-long hiatus, and b) you’re still interested in what I have to say. 

Let me start by saying that December did NOT go to plan. A few days after my last post, our lives had a giant fucking spanner thrown at them. In short, James’ mum got very sick very quickly and passed away. It’s taken me an entire month to be able to write that here. For those few days and weeks, time was suspended, and we operated on a necessities-only basis. I’ve had a lot of words swirling around about the experience, but it’s really not my place to write it here – and to be honest, I don’t even know if I could. 

So, as expected, things have been a little chaotic recently, and I spent a good 3 weeks avoiding even writing a sentence. I just couldn’t. Now James and I are both back at work. The house is still a half-unpacked bombsite, and Christmas and New Year’s went by with a lot of driving and good company. 

I had planned on doing a 2017 roundup, and I might still, just for my sake, as well as a selection of posts neatly wrapping up the year and plotting for the new one – but clearly, none of THAT happened.

To be honest, the whole hype surrounding the new year no longer interests me. It’s only a new day, after all. I suspect my beliefs are partly a result of being born on New Year’s Day, and feeling exactly the same as I did 12 hours prior to waking up (give or take a hangover). I like the idea of a clean slate and new goals and aspirations, but the whole “new year, new me” thing is a little bullshit if you ask me. 

Genuine change takes more than a fancy to do list and some #fitnessgoals on instagram. If there are things about yourself that you genuinely want to change, and habits that you’re desperate to kick, then you should be prepared to put in the hard work and time well past February. 

I used to do New Years Resolutions, which then transformed into goals, but this year they impromptuly manifested in the form of a painted list detailing a very loose plan. The ‘plan’ was supposed to be about career-related stuff but soon transpired into things such as ‘dance more’ and ‘don’t take shit from anyone’ and ‘go to local gigs’ and so forth. 

I like having reminders up around the house of what I like and what I want. It’s so easy to get squashed under the everyday drabness of bills and the 9-5 grind, so it’s nice to see that on a random night past-Vivienne wrote a list and decided she wanted to learn more about astronomy and wolves. 

After the events of last month, I was kind of left to evaluate my life and our lives. What we are supposed to do now, how to handle things, where we can go from here. There’s still so much technical stuff to be sorted, but during my time off work, I was forced to have a good hard think about what the hell I want out of this life. Family now feels more important than ever, but I also am really fucking scared of wasting time, and not taking opportunities/moving away because I want to be close to the ones I love. I’ve always had that guilt where you know you should be somewhere else (hello, child of divorce), but now I have a bigger urge than ever to run and explore. 

But enough of that rambling! I am dubbing 2018 the year of self-discovery – not because I don’t know who I am, but because I want to figure out where I want to be. I never set myself any fitness resolutions (because we all know the pressure alone squashes them out) but I am determined to get back into yoga and meditation this year, as well as hopefully taking up a new class, whether that be boxing or pilates or whatever. I’m also really keen to do some pottery workshops, as well as some textile design and screenprinting, so if you know of anyone in Cairns who does that kind of thing, hit me up!

Thank you once again for sticking around, and tuning in this year. It really means a lot. 

In terms of blog plans, I have a few little things I would like to accomplish, but mainly I just want to get off my ass and interview some more creatives. I’m aiming to publish one a month, which if all goes according to plan, will give you guys the sweet advice of 12 pros, as well as encouraging me to stop being a little wimp and approach new people! It’s a win-win!

Till next time (soon), 

Viv  xo

 

Image by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash

 

Monday Mood

Today is the first time in a LONG time where I haven’t had anything scheduled on the blog. I briefly thought about it yesterday, but assumed I had a back up post lying around…but I didn’t. 

I feel like I’ve definitely dropped the ball (man, I hate that expression) with all things non-essential. I’ve been doing the bare minimum at uni, struggling not to fall asleep whenever I sit down after a work day, and have been very lousy on the cooking front. 

I haven’t looked at my goals list in quite a while, but it’s kind of at that point where I’m no longer holding it against myself and throwing all caution and care to the wind. I’ll most likely do an assessment on the blog next week, so stay tuned for how dismally I may or may not have gone with those #2017goals.

On the home life front, things have been busy. My weekends have been filled with shopping trips and outings and visits and catch ups, and it’s been really bloody lovely. James and I finally found a spot at a beach that we both like, so we’re planning regular trips there for Sunday afternoon hot chips. 

We’re also blitzing through Brooklyn 99, which is definitely a contributing factor to my avoidance of other adulty things (i.e. dusting the ceilings and scanning my reciepts). As I write this I’m staring down the barrel of 2 assignments due and an interstate work Christmas party, which all coincidently are happening this weekend. We’re also supposed to be looking for a new place, and are THIS CLOSE to finishing our Christmas shopping – thank the universe for that!

I wish I had some sort of motivational or inspiring moral to this post – but I don’t. I’m as burnt out as them come – and not because I’ve been hanging out in the sun. I think it’s important to show this side though, to say ‘hey, we can all feel a little crap at times’ and get that all out on paper/electronically and be relieved from it.

It’s currently raining – the first proper storm of the summer. It’s loud and cooling, and endlessly relaxing. I just put my crystals out to cleanse them under the full moon, but now they are getting a freshwater soak as well – perfect. 

As I was driving home today I felt the heat – the true heat of summer. It wasn’t muggy, but it was intense. A solid 33 degrees with storm clouds overhead. It made me immensely nostalgic for the summers of my childhood. You could always tell when the wet season was coming. It would become unbearably hot, to the point where even wearing shoes was too much, so you would retreat to the pool/lake which was equally as warm as the outside air. And then you would wait. Right before the first drops, the scent would change. That first few minutes of rain always have the sweetest smell. I can never quite put my finger on it, but it’s one of my favourite scents in the world (a close tie with new books). 

All of our dry washing is now soaked, and the cat was stranded under the car for a good 20 minutes before we realised where she was. The heat has lifted, and all of the windows are open to hear the wonderful sound of rain hitting the pavement and tin rooves. My plants will certainly be enjoying this. 

I think I’ve rambled enough. This post is completely random, and mostly pointless, but now I can go to bed knowing that I didn’t miss an upload, which is a win to me.

Till next time,

Viv 

A Snapshot of Now: At 22

I’ve been putting off writing this for quite a damn while. I wish I had some extravagant excuse, like I’ve been so BUSY or my calendar has been colour-coded beyond despair, or that I’ve got so many creative projects in the works.

I can’t say any of that because in reality, this year has been one of the best, but also really tough. I’m not sure if I’ve ever discussed this on here, but over the last couple of years I worked out that being in love means that I let my guard down. What a fucking discovery, right? Well, it was a realisation for me for a number of reasons, but basically it means this: despite feeling happy and in love and having a great boyfriend, the darkness can still get to me. In fact, it feeds off of this love, because I’ve tripped the alarms – I’ve shown that I’ve opened myself up to someone and a few shards of the bad shit slithered their way back in. I’m okay, I promise – but it’s still daunting to know that it’s there again. 

How are things going now?

Honestly, I’m in a bit of a rut. I’ve been feeling like quite the little grump over things that shouldn’t affect me. I switched jobs and jumped into what I thought was my dream position…only to realise that once again I was playing Tom in 500 Days of Summer reenacting the expectations|reality scene. 

I’ve been feeling a lot of self-doubt, which isn’t good for anyone, but I’ve also read more books this year than I have combined in the last 3 (stay tuned for a full round up at the end of the year!). 

I picked up my new glasses – today in fact! – and they are clear and super cool and are making me feel more and more like myself. I feel like I need to start wearing more red lipstick and oversized silhouettes and be the curator at a super cool gallery. 

My family has been good. I’ve been trying to see them a lot more regularly now that James has moved down – oh yeah, that happened. Hooray! Love hearts and rainbows and no more 1.5 hr drives for a hug! – so that’s been awesome. Harrison somehow turned 10 this year which is INSANE and Soren is a non-stop bloody chatterbox. I love being able to watch them grow up and I’m soaking it up as much as possible while I can.

So – living with a boyfriend again. This time has gone TREMENDOUSLY better than the last, partly because James isn’t an asshole but mostly because we have a really good relationship and have grown up a lot together. We’re still totally shit at cleaning and it’s a constant battle to see who hates doing the dishes more, but aside from the icky housework stuff we’re having a great time. 

We’re definitely homebodies and are currently working on trying to coordinate better so we can actually see our friends (was that not the most senior sentence you’ve ever read?)  but we’re making an effort to get our butts outside and enjoy all the pretty nature around us. I’ve taken it upon myself to start us epic boardgame, puzzle and vinyl collections, so if that isn’t proof that I was supposed to be raised in the 80’s then I don’t know what is. 

Speaking of the 80’s… Stranger Things has taken over my life. Is that dramatic? Nope. This is the show that I’ve been missing all of my life. I love every single inch of it and as a result, I’m trying to find the coolest ways to inject ALL of the fan art into our flat. Before I move on, let’s all just take a moment to appreciate Mom Steve ❤

I’ve bought a lot more furniture this year, partly because Ethan moved out and we have an extra room, and partly because we were running out of storage space. I’m a big believer of knick knacks, but also like them to be displayed beautifully and dusted regularly (preferably not by me). 

Oh yeah, I also went plant-based this year. Not a lot of people know about it (as if it really matters) so I’m still in that stage of having to explain to people why I’m not eating meat or dairy and can’t eat anything with cheese. I’m still eating seafood maybe once a week, and am strictly vegan at home and a little more flexible when eating out (i.e. I know there’s a good chance that there’s egg hidden in the veggie pattie). So far it’s been great and I don’t ever want to revert back. I haven’t had any major health changes, good or bad, but my skin has certainly cleared up and I get less bloated after eating (unless I gulp down too many hot chips). 

I was going to go on about the trips I took and gigs I went to, but I might save that for an end of year post, just to really extend this whole ‘me, me me!’ theme we’ve got going on here. 

Being 23 is weird, and I feel like Blink hit the nail on the head when they sang “nobody likes you when you’re 23” because I feel like I’ve been a hermit/have hardly seen my friends this year. Okay, so I’ve seen them, but the catch ups have been few and far and it’s made me miss that sense of community and family that we had in school. We’re at the age now where people don’t feel as obliged to keep in contact and invite you to things, which is okay, but also kind of sad. I just to stop being such a big baby and make friends with the cool people that live in Cairns. 

On moving – I want to move. I’ve been in our unit for nearly 3 years and it’s time for a change. I need fresh walls and fresh inspiration and quieter neighbours. I crave the outdoors and the sound of waves and yes I know I’m dreaming thinking I can find a place like that here for under $300 a week. I think that feeling stagnant has contributed to my lack of motivation/creativity, so I’m going to be optimistic and say that we WILL find a place in the new year, and it will be everything I manifested and more. 

That’s probably enough waffling on. Big thank you to anyone who actually got to the end of this choppy diary entry, but it will be nice to look back on this guy and see how I’ve grown over the years.

P.S. Please appreciate how I wrote this entire post thinking I was 23😂😂😂I was going to take out the Blink reference, but it’s too damn funny. Clearly my math skills aren’t improving with age. 

Till next week,

Viv 

Bloggers, Unite!

The blogging world is a weird one indeed. It started as essentially an online diary, an extension of Myspace if you will, and now it’s become a multi-million dollar cash flow for bloggers and influencers alike. 

It still blows my mind how people are getting paid hundreds of dollars for simply giving brands a shout out on instagram. As I’m not in the fashion sector, I can’t really speak from experience, so I’m currently sitting on the sidelines gawking at how many pairs of shoes some women are sent. 

The road to becoming ‘someone’ always interested me because these girls started from the bottom – hell, we all had to. Unless you were already somewhat famous before launching an online platform, there’s a good chance that you’ve got a few years under your belt and a lot of squirm-worthy content to match. Which is all part of the fun! It’s quite nostalgic looking back through old posts and seeing how your writing style has evolved, right along with your taste. 

What I have been noticing lately, which really is unfortunate, is how little these established bloggers are helping out their baby cousins – the up and coming blogs. I’ve seen plenty of posts where women discuss other publications and podcasts they love (looking at you, Alice and Liv 🙂 ) but it’s a shame that although there is collaboration, it’s generally with other bloggers with a similar-sized following. 

Whatever happened to helping out the little guy?

Maybe it’s just me, but it sure would be refreshing to see more of these “big bloggers” working with fresh talent. To actually help launch these quality sites into the world and know you were a part of it. 

Other than a few unanswered emails, I can’t say I’ve been personally affected by this, but it would be nice to know that it’s happening in abundance, rather than watching the same groups of tight-knit girls taking selfies and doing #collabs because they both have 500k + followers.

Other than a few unanswered emails, I can’t say I’ve been personally affected by this, but it would be nice to know that it’s happening in abundance, rather than watching the same groups of tight-knit girls taking selfies and doing #collabs because they both have 500k + followers.

It’d be so cool to see these girls (and guys) using their platforms to lift others up. Is this free publicity? Sure, but is it really that hard to schedule a coffee date to chat with someone who is inspired by you? 

I really like the idea of mentoring, but I understand that not everyone has the time or resources to do so (let alone answering all of the emails that accompany it). So how can we contact these masters of the internet and start learning from them on a one-on-one basis? And should it be a paid thing? Are we wanting this to gain business experience or make friends?

As you can tell, I have a lot of unanswered questions surrounding this subject. I know that if I’d had the courage to take this thing up sooner, I could be in a very different position right now. Also, it’s a proven fact that working with and around other creative individuals boosts your own creativity levels (which I’m pretty sure is why everyone wants to move to NYC).

So leave this with me – I want to do a bit more research and see what’s available for the newbies out there in the way of networking, collaborations and courses. Since the industry is becoming increasingly saturated, it will be interesting to see if there’s much point – or hope – for more blogs to rise to the popularity of the current mix. But since these things are supposed to be a passion project, it definitely won’t hurt to try.

Reporting back soon,

Viv 🙂 

 

A Word on Creativity

I’ve always thought of someone complementing me as ‘creative’ as the highest of honours. Like really – is there actually anything lovelier that can be said to a person?

In my eyes, the creatives are the soul of our earth. We’re the inventors, the innovators, the collaborators, the artists looking for a lucky break. We come in all shapes and sizes and often hide our true talents away better than the stealthiest of superheroes ever could. We seem normal and clever and funny and happy – but sometimes this ‘gift’ can get the better of us.

We’ve all heard how some artists create their best work when they’re depressed or medicated. That how some how to retreat into themselves and face their darkest of demons to produce the work that hangs in the world’s most memorable galleries. We all know that the arts isn’t always (or often) deemed as the practical path to pursue at a young age – or any age for that matter.

We aren’t always guaranteed a steady income, and rarely achieve the figures of those working on Wall St, but we know we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, and what fufills us.

I’m writing this at a little bit of a crossroads – I’m three-quarters through a design course, and feel okay about everything, but not fuelled. I’m intimidated, unsure and doubtful. I pass all of my subjects and recieve praise but I still don’t feel like I’m nailing it. It’s like there’s something missing – but what exactly? I have the ideas, I have the patience to learn the skills and programs, but I lack the confidence in my work. I often dream of cool little side projects but rarely start them up, due to lack of time and energy.

Self doubt is like a parasite – when you give it what it wants (aka, sucummbing to the negative thoughts) you feed it and it grows. It starts to infiltrate every area that you’ve ever enjoyed. It makes you question every creative project you’ve ever worked on and chastises you for every one you never started. It compares and insults and generally makes you feel inadequate. It’s a really shitty thing – and a really viscious cycle.

Yet, despite all of this – the creative path is all I dream of. There isn’t a day that goes by without me wondering how the hell I can make this a full time gig…whilst working for myself and not being dirt poor. It’s exciting to know that there’s so many awesome possibilities and ways for me to be successful without conforming, but in the meantime I have to learn how to be patient. 

One of the best things I’ve ever done is purchase Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. That book has become a bible for those seeking fufillment off the beaten path, and has so many gems in it discussing living a creative life without fear.

Liz taught me to create for the sake of creating. I knew that this was a thing, of course, but I didn’t realise how valuable it could be for a person until reading it from another’s point of view. I’d like to say I’ve embraced this notion wholeheartedly, but I haven’t. I jot as many ideas down as I can, but often fall short with the execution side of things. But at least I’m allowing myself to dream, which is more than others can say.

Having this blog has helped tremendously with unleasing the creative beast. I’ve always been one to read and watch other people’s work, but now I have a space where I can share my own, and it keeps me accountable to stick to my weekly uploads. I’d love to step up to posting 2 times a week, but my inspiration often comes at weird times (usually when I should be studying) so I don’t know how consistent that would be. Maybe in the future, eh?

I’d love to know what your tips and tricks are for boosting your creativity and sourcing inspiration. I personally love putting on a good playlist, making a cup of tea and reading my favourite magazines, repotting my house plants or travelling. Kind of a random mix, but afterwards I always feel invigorated and ready to create.

Till next time,

Viv  

*Image by my cute friend @taylawebbxox

Just Another Confused Gal

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what I truly enjoy, and what my purpose is in life. Because truth be told – I have no fucking idea!

I hear so much about doing your dharma and finding your purpose and just generally being cosmically aware and on top of things. It sounds amazing, it truly does. I watch/read about certain people and think “YES, that is exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. You can see it in their eyes and in the way they speak. They are so passionate and joyful to be pursuing this path” and then I take a good hard look in the mirror.

Although I am inspired, and definitely find myself getting closer to doing what my soul wants, I’m still miles away from actually taking the steps to pursue it – if that makes sense? 

It seems like everytime I have an ‘aha’ moment, and think I’ve found what I’m destined to do, my heart gradually falls out of love with the idea. Trust me, I’ve got a good $20,000 + university debt to back me up. It appears that it’s what I want, until I actually pull back the curtain on the job/industry and realise it’s not all that everyone says it is. 

Maybe I just quit too easily? Or maybe I’m just not cut out for being a student, because as much as I love learning, it sure is tiresome. I used to see people studying in libraries or working on papers and think they looked so cool and passionate and like they had their shit together, when in reality they had probably left the house for the first time in 4 days and were working on a 12am deadline.

I’ve always seemed to romantise higher education, and that is 100% because of teen TV shows and young adult novels. Every bloody character seems to be looking at colleges or studying for exams, and there’s always the one annoying character who is completely confident about their 10 year plan. I’d like to say I once had one of those, but that’d be a joke. The extent of my planning is wanting to move to Melbourne by the time I’m 25, and to own a house at some point thereafter. And ya know, jetset off to Europe and New York in between.

We went through school thinking that university would have the answers. That we would flip through a catalogue, point to a degree, and 3 years later we’d be graduated with all of our problems solved. I remember sometime in grade 11 when I was at the school dentist and we had one of those rare moments before they wrench open your mouth where we got to chat. We were talking life after school (standard) and I must’ve confessed that I was torn between professions. Then she gave me an incredible yet realistic piece of advice: she was in her 30s and had moved throughout 3 separate careers, so if she could do it then I definitely could. 

It was such a simple concept but one that gave me ease. Okay, so I could do it all – now I just had to decide what to do first. 

Fast forward to now — and I am more fucking confused than ever. I know what I enjoy doing, but how do I make money out of it? For instance, I love writing for this blog, and writing in general. I’d love to make blogging/writing a full time thing, but how does one do that without being a fashion or beauty blogger? How can I sell you a product without getting a photographer on board, as well as lighting equipment and some cute flatlay backgrounds (not to mention a well lit apartment – because mine currently sucks in that department)? Or is that just all part of the job? Invest in gear, to be invested in by others – that kind of thing?

As you may know, I’m also currently studying graphic design, but I am quickly learning that taking in all kinds of clients isn’t exactly easy or rewarding. How can I be an independent business that attracts collaborations and clients who can appreciate my work?

I’m sure there are books out there with the answers I seek. There’s probably blogs, even. But right now I just need a sign. Tell me universe, what should my next move be? How will I know when it’s time to dive into the freelance world, and become a multi-hypened milennial? 

I’m not interested in building an empire, but I do want to grow a collective, and collaborate with all of the rad individuals that are only a message away. I think it’s time to do some serious goal writing, and work out what the hell to do next. I’m still young, I know that, but I feel like I’ve wasted so much time ‘career’ (ugh, I hate that word) wise already, so I want to get on the right path. And soon would be great.

If you have any books/blogs/articles/podcasts you can recommend on this kind of thing, that would be AMAZING. I surround myself with a lot of good content, but sometimes you need a fresh recommendation or perspective to do the trick.

Some of the publications/people that I love are:

Digital

Smack Bang Designs

Start Up Creative

By Lucinda

Lisa Messanger

Emma Gannon

Cartia Mallan

Julia George

Rochelle Fox & Chris Soll

 

Print

Collective Hub magazine

Money and Mindfulness – Lisa Messanger

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Frankie magazine

Material Girl, Mystical World by Ruby Warrington

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

If nothing else, I hope you like some of my recommendations. And don’t worry – we’ve got this! 

– It just may take a little time ❤

(Not So) Picture Perfect

Mental health is a really hard thing to talk about. Hell, it’s hard to even think about, let alone acknowledge that you are suffering. The stigma is real, my friends. 

I’ll be honest with you – I am luckier than most. I have good, albeit tired, days 95% of the time. Usually, I can manage this pesky little demon and go about my life worrying about regular dumb stuff like money and bills and not having been to Europe yet. But the other 5% of the time fucking sucks. My brain gets locked on, as JJ would say, and spirals again and again, leaping from one disastrous thought to another.

It’s at the point where it’s affecting others. There have been days where I haven’t been able to go to work, or went and left after a few hours because I was such a mess mentally. I break down in front of my boyfriend and start dissecting things that a normal person wouldn’t care about. My brain plays tricks on me saying this isn’t enough, how I’m living isn’t enough, and I begin to fret that I’m wasting my life away.

I’m too ashamed to talk to others about this because I’ve always been the strong one. Viv can keep her shit together, even though she has rotten genes and her brothers have suffered from much worse issues. Sure, she had a rough few years there back in high school, but she came through and now you can’t even tell how shattered she once was!

It’s so fucking easy for everyone around us to put pressure and expectations on us without considering how it affects our being. We all expect each other to just get on and do our jobs and keep the house tidy and mow the lawn and dust the cobwebs and laugh when it’s appropriate when really, it’s not always so simple.

I’ve learned that a messy space stresses me out – a reflection of my brain perhaps? – and yet I continue to end up in messy areas because I can’t keep up. I’m shit at housework, I’ll be the first to admit that, and whilst my house is still tidy from a general point of view, the little things irritate me and keep crawling deeper and deeper into the cracks. 

A really great example of this is our rug – it often gets moved out of place because it sits under two chairs that tend to move (really must get grips for their feet) and then once the rug is unstraightened/crumpled up I start fretting. I get distracted and can’t concentrate and continue to glance over at it wondering why James hasn’t moved it yet, over and over again until I jump up in a huff to fix up the whole room.

It’s strange, having a mental illness (even writing that was really uncomfortable to do). I get so upset and frustrated because James can’t pick up on the signs, and yet I rarely display any physical ones. I can appear perfectly fine, and feel perfectly fine one moment, and it only takes one weird comment or sprouted thought to send me into the darkness.

Writing and speaking about this in general is difficult, mostly because I know I have it better than most. I’m still able to maintain a steady job and work hard and appear fine, and I don’t often have a weight on my chest that refuses to let me out of bed. I’m not taking any medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed and I don’t see a therapist (although it’s something I’m looking into since those suckers are trained to listen to this shit and might even understand), so I’m pretty lucky that things haven’t reached that level. And I won’t ever let them, but it’s still not exactly a comforting thought.

I often find myself getting jealous of the people I follow on social media. Not because they have insanely cool houses or jobs – I know I can work hard and achieve that – but because of how happy they seem. And how everything seriously seems to go their way. Obviously, I’m not talking about everyone, and I know that a lot of shit goes on behind the scenes, but it’s still hard sometimes watching these bloggers get whisked off on paid trips Paris here and here, whilst I can’t rack up the courage to ask for a mental health day.

Mental health is tricky, because you know there are people suffering more intensely out there, and you know there are entire third world countries dealing with bucketloads of more catastrophic shit, but ultimately, knowing these facts don’t make you get better. Our brains are a complicated and intricate mess of thoughts and actions and magic. The things we can do because of them are phenomenal, but they can also turn us against ourselves.

I wish I could say I have some wonderful solution or ‘5 steps to…’ offering to say that I’ve got this figured out. But I don’t. Not having a backup plan worries me even more, because I know that when the demons do come, I don’t have a clear action plan on how to stop them.

I know there are lots of things I should be doing – exercise, meditation, healthy eating, yadda yadda – but half my problem is finding the motivation to make that first step, and then sticking to it. I feel like I have to work 5 times harder than most people to successfully complete a self-care task that I will benefit from – which is absolutely shocking and makes me feel even more shit about. It’s a vicious cycle. 

I think that’s all for now. I’m writing this on a day when I am feeling horrible. Crying, dark thoughts, lack of motivation, feelings of hopelessness, etc. etc. and writing has helped. I’m finding myself journalling a lot more now, which is a fantastic option when you don’t feel like “burdening” other people with your thoughts (because let’s face it, we’re all as fucked up as each other, and sometimes others can’t handle the emotional stress of it all). 

So that’s basically all the advice I can give. Write lots. Drink plenty of tea. Take a day off when your body tells you to. And then breathe, and find comfort through safe activities.

Till next time,

Viv  xo

 

Somewhere in the Middle

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed a certain shift in my likes. Okay, likes isn’t really the right word. It’s more the things I relate to – specifically, the books and articles I read. I’m finding myself very much in the middle of two massive shifts right now. 

The days of my youth are slowly fading into memories, yet the big leaps of adulthood (buying a house, getting married, children, etc.) are very much far off in the distance. It’s like I’m floating on a sea of confetti, and each piece I pick up is a completely different experience from the next. Does that make sense? Probably not, but hey, that’s where I’m hanging at the moment, what about you?

I’m finding it harder and harder to relate to Young Adult novels, which kills me because it has always been my favourite genre. There are some YA writers with phenomenal talents out there, and I still adore the way they loop and twist their words to create stories. But I’m struggling to really feel there. The storylines don’t necessarily reflect my life anymore. I’m not in year 12, I’m not kissing a boy for the first time, I’m not studying for finals or picking out university courses THANK GOD. 

So whilst I love the writing and genuinely look up to a lot of YA authors, I find myself searching for longer and longer to find a book that captures my interest via the cover and the blurb.

So why don’t I just check out the general fiction, you may ask. Well, I don’t know if anyone feels this way too, but it’s a bloody MINEFIELD. There are SO many authors, and titles and covers, and alphabetising has quickly become my arch nemesis. How can I possibly find a quirky, clever novel without spending 4 hours taking books on and off the shelves (okay, that wouldn’t actually be too bad, but a gal rarely has 4 hours of browsing up her sleeve)?

Browsing bookstores is one of my favourite past times. The smell of new books is one of my favourite smells in the world, if not my favourite, and it’s kind of become my happy place. How can anyone be pissed off in a bookstore, right? Books are the perfect distraction and the best of friends, so it’s really quite agonising to realise that I can’t find a book for me as quickly as I once could.

Plus, I feel too young to be reading about divorces and middle-aged suburban dramas and desperate housewives and rich CEOs (I have told several people to smack me if I ever pick up 50 Shades of Grey). I’m still a reckless young soul who wants stories filled with excitement and wonder and witty romances and badass characters. I still love Harry Potter and Maximum Ride and The Hunger Games and books about mental health and memoirs written by 20-somethings. Surely my interests are too spritely to warrant a trip to bestsellers?

In saying that, I do love anything written by James Patterson or Zoe Foster Blake, neither of whom write for a YA audience. So maybe there is some hope for me still. But in the meantime, if you can recommend any good books written about 20-somethings that would be FANTASTIC! I am in a serious literary slump at the moment and I need some inspiration ASAP.

Till next time,

Viv