A Letter To An Old Friend

Hi there.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Is it sad that I can remember the exact day when we last spoke? I guess not because you’ve always made a habit of hanging around in my mind, even when you weren’t wanted.

I’ve been wanting to write this for such a fucking long time, you have no idea. Things were never the same after you told me about you and her. When you actually admitted that you had lied to me. When you promised that you were happy and nothing would change, and the opportunities were endless.

We had such a whirlwind friendship. So close, then so far apart, and in love, then out of love. Holding hands and touching toes, secrets mumbled in the dark. Discussing everything and anything that we knew no one else would really understand.

Sleeping in til 1pm and dragging ourselves out for hot chips and gravy. Sprawling on the grass discussing the meaning of happiness, and if we would ever get there.

Unanswered texts and ignored calls, making my heart sink a little more each time. It’s just a phase, I would tell myself, you do this, but soon enough, you’ll find your way back to me again. I spent so long convincing myself that you were a good friend, my best friend and that despite all your flaws we were soulmates. Not in that way, of course, but in the way that we always knew we belonged to each other, and would just be there.

There were signs before, of course there were. Like that time you didn’t want me to come over because you felt like having a quiet night (meanwhile I could hear your music blasting from across the suburb) and I had to beg you to let me visit, because dark thoughts were clouding my head.

We rarely had the answers the other needed, and often were lost for words when it counted the most, but that didn’t really matter. We had each other, no matter what, and that always kept me going.

I’ve thought about messaging you so many times, to let bygones be bygones and all that shit, just so I could have someone to seriously discuss music with. After all, we had simply drifted apart, there was no reason I couldn’t reach out and strengthen our bonds once again.

But I haven’t. I’ve been strong, and have held my ground and didn’t come begging this time, because if you really wanted to be my friend then you would be. It’s as simple as that. I can’t pretend I’m perfect, life gets busy and the weeks blur by, but I always made time for you. Because that’s what you do. You make time for the people you care for.

I don’t know if this is coming off as angry or just downright pathetic, but it feels good to let it out and know that you’ll probably never see it (unless of course, one of our charming mutual friends decides to spread it around). You were my life raft for so long, but slowly drifted out of sight, and now, out of the sheer need to survive, I can swim on my own.

Ah yes, there’s a lot of water metaphors going on here. But isn’t that one of the reasons we loved Youngbloods so much? They just got it. They got us. Damaged souls trying to navigate the world, dreaming of big things whilst being stranded in a small town.

At least you had your beachside escape. You were my escape, and when you were gone things became a little harder, but hey, I adapted.

 

Cover image by Joel Birch.

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Seeking Soul Sisters

It saddens me to say that I haven’t had one, continuous best friend. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course – but man has it been hard.

All through primary school I suffered from this little thing called living in a transit town. I would make amazing friends, friends that I would run amuck with in our street every afternoon or have back to back sleepovers with every weekend we could, but then, one by one, all of these girls left. I went into high school having friends, but no one I could whole-heartedly say “yes, I am their best friend.”

Notice how I said their? That’s because I would often consider someone to be my best of friends, someone I got along with magnificantly and could share secrets with and ask for advice, but I always had this sinking feeling that the feeling wasn’t mutual. There was always someone else – for them at least. 

It didn’t help that one of the girls I was very close to, died when we were 12. That experience, dealing with grief at such a young age, had a waterfall effect for so many things, but now that I really think about it, it fucked me up friend-wise too.

Who knows, maybe some of the girls I was friends with in highschool did consider me to be their BFF (I know one did for certain, but we naturally drifted apart due to distance and having different interests – which is totally okay), but I was too emotionally striken to really believe it. Maybe I still blamed myself for not picking up on Kiara’s warning signs. Maybe I spent too much time creating too many expectations and wishing to escape. Maybe if I’d just got out of my head a little more and stopped thinking so fucking much, things could’ve been different.

But that’s the thing – I am a good friend. I know it. Despite all of my flaws, I care about the people in my life a lot. So why was it so difficult for girls to be my best friend?

Side note – before you think this is trivial – I never gave a shit about calling someone my best friend. I had a best guy friend, for quite a while, but I always longed for that kind of female friendship you always see in books and the movies. The one where the girls have each other’s backs no matter what, and can bitch to about anything and show up to your doorstep with some junk food and alcohol when you’ve had a prick of a week. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I knew something was missing.

I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining about the girls who were my friends in high school. There was a few who were truly amazing friends, and others who I never could quite figure out what they thought about me. I always had this rotten feeling of being second best, which is obviously some internal bullshit that I need to sort out, but it didn’t make things easier.

Maybe this all comes down to me – am I not putting myself out there enough? Do I come across as too whatever to other females? Are they intimidated because I dress a little left-centre and listen to bands they’ve never heard of?

I know my tribe is out there somewhere. I’ve managed to find some fantastic girlfriends already (Tayla, Kasey, Paula, Bea, Danielle, Lauren, Shiv and Tina – I’m looking at you!) but we either a) live plane rides away or b) have impossible schedules so we’re always scurring to try and organise a time to catch up where everyone is free. Adulthood is fucking hard. I never realised how much we took seeing our friends everyday for granted until I moved away from my hometown and had to rely on my shitty mobile phone to stay connected with everyone (which I have a weird love/hate relationship with – but that’s another story). 

In all honesty, I have no idea how to navigate this 21st century friendship game. I’m trying, but am I trying enough? I’m so fucking scared that I’m going to look back on my 20’s and regret not being social enough, or spending enough time with friends. I sit around on Instagram and watch everyone’s stories and see how they’ve all got amazing connections and are having such a fun time and yeah, it sucks.

I think I’ll wrap it up there. I wanted to write this post for a number of reasons, mainly because these thoughts have been lingering at the back of my mind for ages, but also because I know I can’t be the only one feeling like this. It’s definitely a hard topic to talk about, because no one wants to admit that they struggle with making friends, but I think it’s something that we SHOULD bring up in conversation. To banish the stigma and let spread a little more girl love around.

I dunno – maybe none of this makes sense? But it’s good to get it off my chest anyway.

Sending you good friendship vibes,

Viv  xo

 

P.S. Writing out all of the names of my female friends was SO theraputic, and also made me realise that I’m not that bad off at all. I just don’t get to see any of them enough. If you’re ever feeling crap about this sort of thing, I’d definitely recommend making a list. You might even surprise yourself ❤

The Conscious Shopper

Minimalism is still huge, right? Well, as far as I know it is, and whilst I genuinely admire and respect the movement (you’ll regularly find me purging our house to donate things we no longer use), I have my limits.

The truth is, I love to buy things. Not for the sake of buying things, but because I am a magpie and love having my surroundings filled with pretty things. Do these things need to be wildly expensive or one of a kind? No, but they do need to make me happy. 

When you talk about minimalism, a lot of people assume that you don’t own any furniture and your life revolves around the washing machine. I’m sure there are people like that in the world, but that’s not me. I like having my walls covered in art, and I like having my books on display and I like collecting things that have meaning to me. I like having options when I get dressed in the morning, and I like buying beautiful clothes that make me feel confident when I wear them.

I’d like to brag about how conscious I’ve always been, and how I’ve never bought a thing I didn’t wholeheartedly want or need in my entire life – but that would be a big fat lie. I’ve always had a strange relationship with money, because I know how to save it, I know how to spend it, and I know how to earn it, but I’ve been known to abuse it. To spend for the sake of spending. To buy garments because they were cheap and because they looked good on the mannequin (hint: they rarely look as good on you as they do on the plastic doll). To splurge on things I didn’t particularly want or need just for the sake of being able to buy them.

It’s such a gross mentality to have, but hey, I grew up in a consumerism-based society. It’s normal, right? It’s funny because I knew I had a problem and yet continued to shop anyway. One memory will always come to mind when I think of this – I had just moved to Cairns and was going to be staying here for 4-6 weeks before moving out to my parents house for the summer and I had a decent bit of money saved up. We were staying near a shopping complex, so naturally, when I was bored after the first couple of days I went shopping. I bought SO MANY THINGS that made my already overflowing suitcase now refused to close, and by the end of the 6 weeks I had barely worn any of them. What made this all worse is that I didn’t have any source of income at the time. I spent a huge chunk of my money on clothing, for the sake of being able to own something new. It was disgusting. I was an idiot. But I was also a teenager who didn’t know any better.

Fast forward three years and I don’t have that luxury of spending to feel better. Yes, I still LOVE buying things, especially the things I put on my wishlist and get to cross off after months of lusting over, but I’m definitely a lot more calculating about it now. As in, bills  and food first, leisure items last.

You’ve probably been reading this and wondering to yourself, what does this have to do with minimalism, Vivienne? Or conscious living, for that matter?

Well, I wanted to share that story because it’s important to remember that we aren’t perfect, but we can also change our ways if we want to. Even when I do save up and have a decent chunk of cash to spend, I only purchase the items I either instantly fall in love with, have been wanting for ages or things I know I’ll keep for years to come (books, records, overalls, etc.). 

Particularly with the fast fashion industry – we can no longer deny the negative impacts it’s having on our planet. It’s horrifying and makes me so disappointed that we are willing to sacrifice the environment and create such a substantial amount of waste for the sake of being on trend. I’ve never been one for trends, but this knowledge has made me avoid them that much more.

Sure, it’s great that gingham is cool again and 70’s silhouettes are easier to find, but it doesn’t mean that we have to buy these things for the sake of buying, only to wear them a couple of times before throwing them out. I hate that I was even a part of that culture, and am definitely paying for it now knowing that I’ve given up some truly great jackets and shirts over the years (oh, the regret!).

It’s hard, because I don’t like the idea of holding on to things simply because I may one day use/wear them again. But on the other end of the spectrum, I loathe the idea of getting rid of something only to long for it a few months later. Stupid, I know, but it’s a predicament many of us face which usually leads to buying another version of the item later on, only to end up in the same ridiculous cycle.

If you anything from this post than I hope it’s to be more concious when you shop. Actually think about how much you like the item, and how often it will be worn/used, what other items (in your wardrobe) it can work with, and if it’s a pricier item, will the cost per wear be worth it? 

I’ll never stop buying pretty things, and I’ll never stop decorating my house, but at least when I do, I can say that I did it with a clear conscious and a happy wallet.

Till next time,

Viv  x

The Eternal Struggle Of Wearing Glasses

From the Archives.

For all those lucky people who will never understand, and for all those brave souls that do.

 

I was 11 years old when certain coloured whiteboard markers became hard to read. I told my parents and teacher as soon as I realised it was ‘only me’ having these troubles, and after a few painstaking weeks of squinting whenever something was written in green, the optometrist finally came to town and demanded I on-the-spot pick one of the 8 pairs that I would regularly have to use for long-distance reading.

Annnnnd it all went downhill from there.

Well, my eyesight certainly did, but thankfully the frame styles drastically improved. I went from thin, metallic purple frames to a thicker black style, which I kept through high school and beyond; with the frames slowly getting thicker and chunkier. I only recently got a new pair and they finally feel like ‘me’. A little bit big, a little big vintage, a little bit kooky and 100% from the men’s section at Specsavers.

Yes, okay, I wear glasses. No big deal! Millions of people wear them for various optical issues, but no optometrist will ever tell you just how FUCKING ANNOYING they can be. So if you’re reading this with your genetically blessed eyeballs and have thought at least once, “ooh, I wish I needed glasses, they look so cute!” then SHADDUP and appreciate how lucky you are and go and buy some fake ones from the chemist.

But if you’re like me and regularly curse the inconvenience, then here are some very relatable issues that make me roll my damaged eyes in exasperation.

 

1. Fog

Everyone has a good old giggle at the poor soul whose glasses fog up when they go from a cold room into the heat or vice versa, but when this happens I secretly wish I was Scott Summers and could take off my foggy spectacles to turn their inconsiderate asses to dust. Okay maybe I don’t get THAT annoyed after 10 years of endurance, but boy does it suck! Especially when you wipe your glasses down and the IMMEDIATELY fog up again. What the hell is up with that?!

 

2. Fringes + Glasses = Frenemies

This is a new one I’ve only recently had to battle with, since getting a long fringe of my own. Without wearing glasses, this bad boy is easy to style and stays relatively well in place throughout the day, but with glasses? Oh boy. Be prepared to be constantly checking your face in reflective surfaces and trying to tuck it behind/under your glasses so it’s not sitting awkwardly on top. Sometimes, when the stars and planets align and there is a double rainbow in the sky, the combo works and your fringe and glasses actually look cute together, but this is rare my friends.

 

3. Hats

And wearing sunglasses with hats doesn’t count, because that’s a CHOICE. My choices are: get sunburnt OR fumble around blindly OR have your hat sit awkwardly looming right above your glasses rims. I do quite enjoy wearing hats for fashion purposes, but 95% of the time I’ll end up using my daily disposable contact lenses so I don’t have to worry about the classic hat/glasses clash. Which brings me to…

 

4. Prescription Sunglasses

An excellent idea in theory, or when you’re driving long distances during the day, but otherwise: a total pain in the ass. Especially when you’re shopping in a super sunny mall/wandering around the city because you’ve got the choice of either a) squinting the entire time and potentially bumping into things, or b) constantly taking your glasses on/off/on/off overtime you venture into a store. And want to add to the awkward shuffle? Be a good glasses owner and take them in and out of their case! Which is good for the lenses but not so good for your time.

 

5. Oily Nose

Yes, it’s gross. Yes, it happens. My nose pores are my biggest problem area and probably always will be, purely because of my bloody glasses slipping down all the time. Even when I wear contacts for a few days in a row, it’s still significantly oiler than the rest of my face (which is a ‘normal’ complexion). So. Not. Fair.

 

6. Finding Frames You Actually Like

In case you were wondering, this is really frigging hard to do, especially if you’re on a budget. Sure, Specsavers have good 2 for 1 deals, and there now are a lot more online glasses retailers that have a ‘try before you buy’ option for their frames, but finding a pair that you genuinely like AND aren’t $500 AND actually suit your face is a fine fucking art.

 

7. Knowing That In A Zombie Apocalypse, You Would Be Totally Screwed

Glasses break? Due for a check up? Run out of contacts? Well you’re utterly 100% SHIT OUT OF LUCK, because even if you do happen to have an optometrist in your survival gang, whose gonna make said glasses/contacts for ya? It honestly scares me, just how much I rely on my glasses to get me through the day, and unfortunately I am yet to be bitten by a radioactive spider that will help with my vision/web making/enhance my skateboarding skills, etc.

 

I think it’s time to wrap this little bitch fest up. Also, disclaimer: I know it could be worse. Despite how much I whinge about wearing glasses (i.e. often) I am grateful that there’s an available solution for my eye deterioration. And that I’m not completely blind. Some days I actually like wearing them, because my current pair and cute and quirky and like my tattoos they add a little something to an outfit without actually having to make any effort. So it’s not all bad!

 

Till next time,

Viv  x

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Human instincts are a funny thing. If you’re not tuned into your gut, they can be a real mess to identify. Hell, even if you are aware and listen in, does it mean that you have to follow them?

I’ve always had a lot of trouble with my flight or fight responses. Or rather, they’ve given me a lot of trouble in the past. I don’t know if a genetics thing, or a reaction to certain environments, but for a good while there when anything got too much for me to handle my body would kick into emergency mode and switch into autopilot to suit the situation.

That sounds kind of vague, but it’s hard to describe without going into the grimy details and shitty stories – so here’s me trying to simplify it. When things went wrong, I would panic. In a bad situation, 9 times out of 10 I would run – literally. I once spent an entire summer with an emergency backpack packed and glued to me at all times, just in case I needed to escape.

The other 1/10 times – I would fight. It would be messy. I would get angry, punching and kicking things (often alone, and deeply frustrated with not being able to do anything). I had this anger simmering inside of me for so long, eating away at me, feeding off the times I let it free.

I’ve learnt to block things out, things that still make me sad when I’m reminded of them, or bad things that happened that I couldn’t control. I think that’s the worst part of it all – being angry and not being able to do anything. It’s not a good combination, that’s for sure.

Things escalated once I finished school, and I was lost in the turmoil of trying to discover who I was and navigating a relationship that I never should’ve pursued. I let my erratic tendancies get the better of me, and I have never felt shittier in my life. I always heard of people bringing out the best in each other, but never understood what it was like to bring out the worst until that year.

I remember everything feeling so urgent, like it was life or death when it most certainly wasn’t. My reactions were intense and my mind a crumbling mess. I didn’t know what I wanted or how to be happy. I kept landing in bad situations and hanging around because I was naive and didn’t know any better.

Eventually, I learnt. I left. I healed. It took a while, and there was a lot of internal battles in the meantime, but I healed myself, and I’m so proud of that. Well, at least I thought I did.

I was single for a good 8 months when I ran into a boy I once fancied. I tried to be cool and refused to like-like him and act like he wasn’t important to me. But he was. We would fight with silences and I would take everything the wrong way. One wrong move on his end would result in me freaking out and threatening to end it all. It was idiotic, but I was trying to protect us both from breaking each other’s hearts, even though I would immediately regret ever suggesting such a thing.

Everything used to be so final. We would have different views on a topic – maybe we should break up. He didn’t know if he loved me yet – well, there’s no point continuing then. He didn’t like going to gigs – what was the bloody point then?

Bloody hell, I used to be so dramatic. 

I say used to because I can wholeheartedly say that’s not me anymore. It took a lot of time and patience (from both of us) to get here, but I have finally learnt to quieten those panicked voices. They’re still there of course, lingering in the back of my head, trying to weave poison into my thoughts. But I can battle them off now, and I do. I cry a lot more now, but I’d rather cry when I’m upset than get angry and break things.

We talk a lot about feelings, even if we both have no fucking clue what we’re feeling. But I think it’s important just to talk, to be there for each other even if we’ve got no words to make things okay. Just knowing that I have someone who understands me has made such a huge difference. But learning to understand myself has been the key to it all.

It’s strange that I’ve never written about this before, but I guess it’s not exactly a quality I like to flaunt. I’m flawed, my brain plays tricks on me, the internal battles still wager on. But I’m getting there. And I hope you are too. ❤

 

 

A Crash Course on Adulting

As I sit here typing this, it’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting at my desk surrounded by knick-knacks and photographs and the greenery both outside and in. I slept in, did some reading and went out for acai bowls for brunch with James. We wandered into some independent stores and came home to upgrade his computer with new hardware *shudders* (not my area of expertise, let’s say that!).

We all have visions and dreams and expectations of what it’ll be like when we “grow up” and then suddenly you’re here…and everything seems pretty normal. The bills have been paid, I’m up to date with Game of Thrones and I’m successfully passing my degree. 

But it hasn’t always been acai bowls and plant shopping – after graduating high school I had no fucking clue about ANY OF IT. 

Sure, I could do some basic cooking and knew how to chuck on a load of laundry, but my ‘street smarts’, if you will, were pitiful at that. I didn’t realise how bloody difficult times could be when you didn’t have a job, or when your fortnightly study allowance was mostly taken up by rent (meaning after rent I had a little over $100 a week to live off – in Brisbane). Or that time that I didn’t pay my tax property and ended up in over $1000 worth of debt…

Could things have been worse? Absolutely. I always had a warm bed to sleep in and decent clothes to wear and food in my belly. But was I enjoying life and living it to my potential? Absolutely NOT. I learned pretty darn quickly about the value of a good budget and how to cook in bulk (and the importance of freezing said bulk meals). 

Having those ups and downs, and being in multiple different living situations in a few short years really put everything into perspective for me. You have no idea how excited I was when I purchased my first bed frame. Hell, I drove to bloody Townsville and back so I could get the exact one I wanted. 

Since then, I’ve bought a LOT of house stuff. There’s been too many plants to count, copious amounts of tea mugs, art prints, photo frames, cushions, bookshelves, rugs…You name it, I’ve probably invested in it (or have it on my list – our home is still a work in progress). I know that the whole decluttering and minimalism thing is HUGE at the moment, and whilst I totally respect that lifestyle and have incorporated elements of it into my ethos, I like decorating too darn much to give it up completely. 

Okay, so the furniture ramble was off topic, but I think it’s a fine example of just how adulty I’ve become – 17-year-old Vivienne would’ve blown all her cash on band merch, vodka, and a takeaway parmy at her first chance (still all things I enjoy, I must add). It still blows my mind to look back over the years and remember not only how much I’ve done (and spent), but how much I’ve matured and how my tastes/desires have aligned with that. 

I had planned to write a whole “things you didn’t know about being an adult” list-style post, but I feel like there are enough of those around already. I’ve previously written about ways to be more environmentally friendly and important tips on renting for the first time (both VERY SERIOUS adult topics!) so aside from letting you know that it IS easy to do your own tax online (and you get it back a lot faster too) I really don’t know what else I can offer you that doesn’t relate directly to my own experiences. 

But I guess that’s the whole point of this blog, right? To share things from MY point of view. To give you my honest, swear word-ridden opinions and level with you all as best as I can. 

I do have one gemstone of knowledge though, and that’s to remember that even if life feels hellish at the moment – never ending bills, shithole roommate, out of washing powder, major hangover – it’s going to get better. You’re going to learn from your mistakes and discover planning, and not take the first apartment you look at, and pay your bills before you buy new shoes. One day you’re going to end up living exactly where you want to, on your own terms, in your own bed and eat spaghetti on toast for dinner not because it’s all you have left until payday, but because it’s damn well delicious!

Always glad to be of service,

Viv  xo

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?

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