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Alex

R U Okay?

Is it wrong that Im enjoying using a Mac for blogging? I mean, I hate the things but I have no idea how to use it so I can’t get distracted or fuck with anything else while I’m on it like I do with my pc. Maybe this is why uni students and writers use them, there’s nothing to have fun with on there.

Anyway…

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Every year “RU Okay?” day rolls around, and it’s the same old story. Everyone posts something on social media that they support mental health, and that we need to be more accepting of it. I noticed it go up, and at the end of the day, my phone wad dry as fuck. Not a single text, and it’s been like that for a year. I think once you tell people you have mental health problems, they cast you aside and treat you differently. I barely hear from anyone anymore, other than those who have always been there. To the point where I’ve culled most of these people off my social media, but haven’t noticed. Despite that they are trolling instagram or whatever 4 or 5 times a day.

It’s been shitty that most of these people have used me like a pitstop therapist. I never hear from them unless they have a problem and then they come flying back in like I’m going to accept it. I think thats everyones attitude towards me, because I don’t have any commitments like every one else, a partner, kids, house/mortgage to pay. They can come and go as they please with the attitude of “oh, that’s just Alex. He’ll be fine”, but that’s been changed over the past year, I’m not fine with it. I’m not a doormat, I’m not your therapist and I’m not your life guru to help you out. I made that decision to see a therapist to help grab hold of the things I couldn’t handle and maybe it’s time other people do too. While it’s a harsh lesson, I ignore phone calls, texts, messages from other apps. I don’t give people a reason to contact me by staying quiet. I have snapchat, but I only have 4 people on it, why would I let people send me snap after snap of useless shit I don’t care about when they can’t reply to a text message? Sending them to people gives them an opening to know I’m free for them to use me like that pit stop therapist again.

There are a lot of people around me who do both of these things, they treat me like a pitstop therapist, but also post about R U Okay day. But I never hear from them to check up how I am, considering that I’m quiet and I barely talk to anyone anymore. I have all of 5 people I speak to regularly and that’s pretty much it. These people don’t seem to practice a lot of what they preach, which is why I’m all slowly pushing them out and letting them do their own thing. But I’ll sit back and wait quietly until they contact me and they’ll know why when it comes time. I’m honest and I don’t have anything to hide, but I’m not going to seek people out if they’ve done something wrong. They can ask and I’ll tell them, but I don’t sugar coat it.

I certainly haven’t been okay the last 12 months, nothing has felt right, or in place. I’ve only felt out of place and struggling to find anything that would resemble normality within my life.

While I was in Scotland, I was trying to have myself a holiday. I can count the amount of holidays I’ve had on one hand in the last 10 years and still have some fingers left over. Some people don’t understand that it isn’t just a break from work, it’s a break from everything. The people, the day to day routine and stress that comes with it. And for me it was a break from those that used me as that pitstop when their problems arise. I had one friend who at least once a week would message me about her insecurities, or that her ex had contacted her, or because some other girl on Instagram was prettier. But I can’t help with those problems, and I’m not going to anymore. Despite that I’ve suggested she go and see a counsellor, offered to drive her there and wait and drive her back. Two years on, she still hasn’t been and continues to do nothing about them other than think that a magic anti-depressant is going to make everything better. You can’t make things better if you’re not going to put in the work.

My closest friend has finally seeked out help, and now I get the vibe that she loves it and should have done it sooner. If you’re the kind of person who thinks you need it, do it. Go regularly, take in things you want to work on, it’s going to suck. You’ll be torn down and built back up to the person you were meant to be.

Scotland

When someone travels overseas they are more than likely hoping they’ll find some “meaning of life”, “find themselves” or to feel like they’ll find some kind of purpose. More often than not, it won’t reap any of those thoughts that were sewn.

The past year has been tough, to say the least. Leading up to heading overseas was added stress on top of the stress I was already under. I kept pushing through, every day seemingly that little bit harder than the last, and that little bit longer.

I’m sitting down, looking at some grey skies and now 3 weeks into a month in Scotland, in the town that all the family has come from. And I can say I am to the bone, and Aussie. Coming here is great, I’ve met relatives, learnt history and seen some fantastic sights.

But I miss the warm weather, the cold beer, the beach, and the few people I call my friends. I’ve found no purpose in life, but I have found more appreciation for what I have, who I spend my time with, and where I live.
Granted, the plane ride home will be long and tiring, but what awaits at the end will be worth it.

I haven’t driven for nearly a month, I haven’t had to answer a phone call for work. Just deal with some routine maintenance and a few emails. But I guess we all need to pay the bills, right? So some work had to be done.

I’ve seen massive, amazing Castles. But the best is yet to come, Edinburgh. I’ve had interesting food, haggis, black pudding, smokies. I’ve had more sugar that I can poke a stick at, I’ve walked more kilometres than I can think. But I’m hanging out for the gym, good coffee and even better food when I get back.

I’ve seen the greenest country sides, had the freshest sea breezes, but I’m looking forward to some dead grass, dust, and warm blistering summers down the beach, and beer at the pub on hot days watching the cricket. I couldn’t live here, but I could visit again. I’ve seen the oldest golf course in the world, St Andrews. But miss that hallowed ground that is Adelaide Oval.

My relatives have all been awesome, and accommodating. My grand uncle Bob who’s been kind enough to let us stay with him, has been more than hospitable. Plenty of food and Scottish ones at that. And my first cousin Lexi; who, while is only 10. She has been a barrel of fun and kept me sane, and helped me remember my inner child with colouring in, hide and seek, and piggy back rides.

This is the most time I’ve spent with Dad, and I do love him. But he can drive me up the fucking wall. I’m looking forward to my own space, my own time, decompressing from people, being able to drive and having some independence back rather than being driven everywhere. I could have had a hire car, but it’s not really cost effective and we haven’t needed it so much. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, between Dad driving me nuts, some people didn’t seem to know boundaries. I’m on holiday, I shouldn’t need to hear about people’s problems and have them expect me to offer some kind of advice. I’m not a therapist, life coach or a guru who can help, I’m simply me. And if you have issues you need to talk to someone about, that’s what therapists and the like are for. Let me enjoy my holidays and don’t push the boundaries of a friendship. As they were already strained before I left, and not giving me the time to decompress and headspace to get away from all that shit has only made things worse. Surprisingly, while things have been terrible with Riss, she’s used the opportunity to take hold of her life and make changes and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

I’ve a week left, I’m looking forward to Edinburgh Castle, and the Natural History Museum. I’m looking forward to meeting Katherine after 10 years of just abusing each other online, but I appreciate her honesty and bluntness when I’ve needed advice from a neutral party not in Australia. I’m looking forward to cuddles with Seth and Eli, hugging the crap out of Riss. Beer with Dave and Erin, and obnoxious talk with Luke at the gym. I’m looking forward to all the things I do daily that I now appreciate a lot more for that down time.

There’s going to be a lot of changes when I get back, good ones. The only thing that won’t change is $4.50 pints of Coopers lager, because that stuff is awesome and the beer here is shit. Maybe I should have a Fosters Lager before I go just for proof. Everyone here thinks it’s Australia’s great beer, but it’s an Aussie label that’s brewed in Manchester and we never have it anywhere I look in Aus, although I’ve been told they brand it as Crown Lager and rip us off with it.

I’ll get some photos into my 500px Gallery at some stage, but I still need to rifle through them and weed out all the shit ones. But most of the good stuff is on Instagram anyway.

P.S. I didn’t find myself, but I did find some donuts.

Cut my life into pizza

There’s a lot of things you don’t get taught in life, like doing your taxes or filling out a passport. There are a lot of things you’ll be told in life, like to “expect the unexpected”. There’s irony in expecting the unexpected, you can do everything in your power to be prepared but then it’ll hit you in some silly little way.

Saturday morning I slept in, one of the few times my body let me sleep long enough. Did my usual things around the house, then went to get my laptop out of my backpack to do some work on it. I couldn’t find it where I left it, I searched the house high and low. Drove to the office to check, checked the house again. Gone. So I logged into my Google account, and saw activity on the laptop while I was asleep, from an IP address that wasn’t mine.

Stolen.

Trace the IP, find it’s location via latitude and longitude. Call the police and follow up on the report I made when I first found it was gone. Give them the details, the CIB head off to the address given. No luck on finding the laptop, but sounds like it had been there.

I’m not worried about the physical laptop itself, or the cost or replacing it. But that people were going through my email, my bank accounts, searching my car registration details and number plate. It’s left me in a very anxious state knowing they could come back to try for my car, it left me on edge and unable to sleep.

Also in my backpack was some work stuff, so I had to contact clients and get them to revoke my security access. Change passwords to all my accounts, removing syncing on browsers. All this over the sake of a $60 backpack and 4 year old laptop I paid $400 for. Of which by the way, they were trying to load Windows 10 on it, and it doesn’t run it. Morons.

Never the less, it took me less than a few hours to get all the information needed to pass onto detectives for them to investigate and gain entry to the place of the IP address.

I also had my notepad in the backpack, which was used with my counselor. It contained two years of my thoughts and work with them and it was all written down for a stranger to read. It’s a massive invasion of my headspace, and honestly I don’t care about the laptop either. Just the breach of my own privacy and the stuff in the note pad. If I had the chance I’d smash it in front of them. I’m more attached to the photos I had on there (which are backed up anyway), and my blog posts and what not that were still in drafts. My emails etc. I don’t have anything to hide, but anyone just waltzing through my personal stuff isn’t great for the mental health. It’s left me rethinking a lot of things, and I don’t want to be one of those hypochondriacs who get bars all over the windows and security alarms. But now I do feel like I need something in place. Some contents insurance, a camera, and probably some tracking for my valuables (mainly my pc’s).

I’m not really sure how to handle it, or what to do. I’ve been anxious since it happens and all the doors end up locked and checked before I go to sleep or leave the house.

What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

I came across this post sometime early in 2017, and it made a lot of sense. I thought it’s worth reposting, not only for others but also to reference for myself at some stage. Just in case the post disappears I guess.


What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?

The world is such a noisy place. Loud, haranguing voices lecturing me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. For bigger and better. Sacrifice sleep for productivity. Strive for excellence. Go big or go home. Have a huge impact in the world. Make your life count.

But what if I just don’t have it in me. What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted. Drained of joy. Am I simply not enough?

What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up – beyond mom and sister and wife. But these people in my primary circle of impact know they are loved and that I would choose them again, given the choice. Can this be enough?

What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship. What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough.

What if I don’t want to write a cookbook or build a six-figure business or speak before thousands. But I write because I have something to say and I invest in a small community of women I care about and encourage them to love and care for themselves well. Because bigger isn’t always better and the individual matters. She is enough.

What if I just accept this mediocre body of mine that is neither big nor small. Just in between. And I embrace that I have no desire to work for rock hard abs or 18% body fat. And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me. Take me or leave me.

What if I am a mediocre home manager who rarely dusts and mostly maintains order and makes real food but sometimes buys pizza and who is horrified at moments by the utter mess in some areas of her home. Who loves to menu plan and budget but then breaks her own rules and pushes back against rigidity. Who doesn’t care about decorating and fancy things. Whose home is humble but safe.

What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up. And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, Spirit, Soul healthy. Am I enough?

What if I am too religious for some and not spiritual enough for others. Non-evangelistic. Not bold enough. Yet willing to share in quiet ways, in genuine relationship, my deeply rooted faith. And my doubts and insecurities. This will have to be enough.

And if I have been married 21 years and love my husband more today than yesterday but have never had a fairy tale romance and break the “experts” marriage rules about doing a ton of activities together and having a bunch in common. And we don’t. And we like time apart and time together. Is our marriage good enough?

What if I am a mom who delights in her kids but needs time for herself and sometimes just wants to be first and doesn’t like to play but who hugs and affirms and supports her kids in their passions. A mediocre mom who can never live up to her own expectations of good enough, let alone yours.

What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same. Accept that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough.


Source: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/want-mediocre-life/

Green Thumb

Someone once told me I need a plant by my back door, 30 minutes at Bunnings for some seeds and cheap ass soil in a bag. A week later, boom.

Only shortly after I discovered rabbits in the park were coming and eating it, you could at least eat my lawn too you fuckers. I guess the distraction is welcome given recent circumstances and it gets me outside.

 

Grand Chancellor… of life, love, and all that comes with it

In 2016, I made the decision to see a counselor. A holistic one at that, I didn’t want to go and see a psych who would just shove me on some kind of anti-depressants and peddle me out the door “come see me next week”, and then talk about my childhood.

The seed was initially planted after several heated arguments with friends, one suggesting I get some help. Some people can take that on negatively, but I can only see someone that genuinely cares about the person and their mental health.

I don’t see going to a counselor or psych because some may have mental health issues, that’s where a bad stigma exists. Some people use them for a career change and seek advice, advice with families and relationships. Not just all those who have a mental health issue.

Seeing a counselor was the worst, and the best decision I’d ever made. It taught me and gave me the tools I needed to deal with the past, present and future problems. It helped me be more mindful of what I’m doing and the things around me. Like how much plastic goes into landfill, how much ends up in the ocean and from that, I worked to have less general waste. Everything now goes into recycling or compost. I haven’t had any general waste in over 6 months. It’s also made me more mindful of the people I have around me in my life. But it also presented me with new issues, events and feelings I hadn’t dealt with before. But it’s certainly made things a rollercoaster ride with everything new, and even old experiences when it comes to managing them.

Prior to seeing the counselor, I’d had a relationship that had ended very badly. Badly enough that I had mentally checked out for about six weeks or so. There are only three or four events during that time that I remember. I know I barely ate and lost a lot of weight, and I don’t have any other recollections of what happened during that time. I do, however, feel guilty that the people I care about and consider close, sat by and tried to help someone that wasn’t aware they were being helped or even walking on the face of the planet.

I’ve never been into the conventional views of relationships, like the man going to work to earn and provide. Nor have I been the same of people’s views of having a successful life and relationship, be it marriage, kids, car, house successful job/ well-payed career.

I’d like to be happy with who I am, where I am, and what I do. Not measured by other people’s standards. Marriage, a house, and all that pressure externally from others hadn’t been in my mind until my last relationship. I miss that relationship because I could be myself, there were no fears for the future, wanting to marry her and all of the above weren’t pressure from the outside world. They were on my own terms, and I wanted to see the relationship and those involved flourish because the deserved happiness, as much as I deserve happiness too.

When you spend time with someone and get to know them, you fall in love with every part of them. You only want them to have endless happiness, to give them things that make them happy. For me it was also a want, to give her happiness, inner peace, and contentment.

I would have happily given her a house, not just for a place to live. But a place of peace and content. Something that could be built to our own morals, and hearts. A place for a garden, a place for peaceful activities. While I like gardening, I don’t have many options in a rental. But I know it was her form of relaxation, and meditation, an off switch when she needed it most. I would have loved that chance to give her that space. For me, designing a house is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s an off switch for me, even watching tv shows about architecture. I can immerse myself and be lost in it. A house with recycled materials, big jetty pylons, and blocks of concrete. Earthy tones and a warm feeling, big windows to bring outside into the house so you never feel complete shut inside, or outside. If it was at all possible, I’d have tried to get the land that I grew up on, but now it’s part of a conservation park. It’s still a peaceful place for me to go.

Happiness and peace are important to my life, I never got a lot of it growing up. It was only until my late twenties that I was starting to experience it and felt I’d find that in a relationship. My mental health suffered during this time, and while I’m told I’m good at masking it. I should have been open about it, and not let it affect the relationship as it’s no excuse. It was my responsibility to look after it and I didn’t. It only got worse when the relationship ended with the most wonderful woman I’ve ever set my heart on.

The road to recovery will be long, hard, and confusing. I will have to find patience again. I’d like to find my passion again as I’ve lost it. There isn’t much that interests me anymore and I feel like I’m wasting away and wasting my time. I’m also not sure what I’m passionate about anymore either.

I do know I’d love to get a chance to be a husband, partner, sidekick, educator and role model, a Dad. But the word “father” never really comes to mind. Just because you can bring a child into this world does not make you a Father. Regardless of whoever’s child, it is, I’ll always take time to listen, educate and be a role model.

But where is my passion, and my heart supposed to go? If you observe the people around you, a lot of them are the same. Live the same lifestyle, do the same things over and over again without much thought to their own growth as a person. It’s the different ones I take notice of. Am I mean to stay in one place? Work in I.T. and do the same things over and over again? Am I meant for something different? Give up the rat race and live out a van like a nomad? Become someone who travels full time and blogs? Live in a different country as a writer about whatever the fuck that feels right? These are the people I take notice of, the “round peg in the square hole’.

 

That night, I thanked God for seeing me through that day of days and prayed I would make it through D plus 1. I also promised that if some way I could get home again, I would find a nice peaceful town and spend the rest of my life in peace.

Richard Winters

 

Even music can soothe the savage beast

I’ve been surrounded by music for as long as I can remember, I guess that’s what happens when the house you grow up in has a recording studio attached to it. I got a guiatar for my 16th birthday, although that didnt last long and I broke 3 fingers. Now I play it badly. I can pick up the drums, and play that badly too. But I’m still surrounded up until now, there isn’t a moment where I don’t have something going. The realisation is that I listen to a lot of music since a teenager through to now is to block out the noise, either the outside world or the torment that goes on in my head on a daily basis. It’s a good block for mental clutter.

It’s funny how certain albums or artists come along at times of need though. I remember having to deal with a lot of heavy stuff through 2013 and 2014, and I spent most of that listening to Deftones ‘Koi No Yokan’. It got me through a tough time in my life.

I hit another tough time in my life recently, and I thought maybe it would help again. But this time it didn’t, being a long-time Deftones fan usually any of their music can settle me down and put me back in good headspace. But this time it didn’t.

It’s been harder this time around, but I’ve found some comfort in Northlanes new album ‘Mesmer’.

I still struggle with a lot, but I guess listening to music helps me push through. But sometimes a string of lyrics and words can remind you of people, lost loves, lost friends and hard times you’ve come upon through life.

I can only imagine what will come the next time I need music like this again.

With a little help from my friends

I’ve found over the past few years I have a lot of people who come to me for advice, more specifically relationships, mental health and dealing with situations they’ve run out of ideas with. I’ve been told a few times I think a bit more than other people. Higher capacity? I’m not sure, I can’t really think of the words right now.
I’ve always been the one who holds up to be strong and still able to think when there’s disaster. Even with my own life, but that’s not always the case. While these people are friends, it got to the stage where I felt like an emotional drop in house. People would have no contact with me for a while, and then I’d get a text, a call or something out of nowhere because something in life has caused them a problem. After a while I had to say no, it was costing me friendships and relationships.

It’s probably cost more recently, because I’m that person everyone comes to for advice they seem to have this expectation that I can always help and always give advice. But there’s no forethought that I too, can be dealing with my own issues.

It’s like I guess that because of who I am, I’m not allowed to have a break down, ever.

For the first time in a long time, I struggled to handle something in my own life. But all those who were dependant on me when they needed help, have shut me out. I already had very little friends at that stage, and I guess that shows who the people are in your life. Whether they are there to support you when it gets tough, or they are ready to run.

Three Abstractions – Part III (Death)

Dear Death,

You, of all of you, I fear the least. I welcome you with open arms, you are an end to the torment of love and time.
You do not scare me, I have accepted you.
If life has taught me anything, it’s that death is certain and we will meet, eventually.

Dear Death, I’m coming for you.

 

How beautiful is it to live in a world where nothing lasts forever. We must learn to fall in love with the love inside us, only then will every living moment be worth dying for. – r.m.drake

Three Abstractions – Part II (Time)

Dear Time,

You are the longest thing we have, and we do not have enough of it. I fear that I will run out of time before I can accomplish that which drives everything inside me.
We all fear you the most, we fear that we will always run out of time. It does not matter if it’s a second, minute, a day or even a year. We will feel as though we have not used you as intended and make us pay the price. But we will only realise this when it’s too late.
You are everything to those who look to the future, and nothing to those who not care about the past.
You are everything to those who look to the past, and nothing to those who not care about the future.

Dear time, I fear you, but I’m coming for you.

One day, you’ll make peace with your demons, and the chaos in your heart will settle flat. And maybe for the first time in your life, life will smile back at you and welcome you home. – r.m. drake