Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy Anniversary (To Me)

My life encased in one hatchback

On this day, August 13th, one year ago, I'd just landed in Burnie. Actually, by this point I'd gotten here, and promptly passed out from fatigue and nerves.

Playing car-packing tetris

I'd had two days of driving from Sydney, and one night on the Spirit of Tasmania, on which I'd run amok. The ship had been delayed due to tornados, so we had a few-hour wait in the Spirit carpark. I made a new friend who I went to dinner with, and once aboard the ship we made a point of visiting every bar, singing along with the lounge singers, playing arcade games, pretending to be pirates, and just generally acting like we were 13 year olds who were able to legally drink. It was great.

But as I drove into Burnie, the general seediness and fatigue faded into a minor panic over the fact that I had no idea where I was. I had no bearings. I didn't know where certain roads lead. Hell, I didn't even know which one was MY road. I deliberately hadn't done any research on the place ("It's going to all be like one big surprise!! Tee hee..."), so I'd had no idea what to expect. That day, and that day only, was the time when I freaked out about my spontaneous decision to move. I was scared, I was tired, and I really wanted some eggs on toast.


And here I am. One year later, still going. I've had the most incredible opportunities thrown my way - things that I never could have anticipated. I've been involved in an inspirational craft group, I'm part of an awesomely fun and funky market, I have a job that I really dig (even after a spectacular lack of coordination at the interview), I'm part of the blogging world, I'm back into graphic design... hell, I've even been online dating. I feel so lucky that this has worked out so well, and I have absolutely no illusions about the fact that every move would be this good. I'm just one of the lucky ones.

I think one of the hardest things about moving is removing yourself from your social circle, your comfort zone of friends, and trying to start afresh. It's bloody hard. It can also lead to moments of desperation, and extending chance encounters with chatty people into one hour dialogues. Those poor bastards - they had no idea what was coming.

My first friend that I made was, of course, the lovely Michelle. After being here for a few weeks, I thought "new home, new hair colour", so I took myself down to the local hairdresser. I sat nervously while waiting for my appointment, and then tried not to be too unco whilst settling myself in the hairdresser's chair. I anxiously tried to come up with small talk, hoping against hope that I wouldn't come across as a tool. Until my friendly hairdresser leaned over, and whispered conspiratorially into my ear.

"Do you sew?"

It was stitching-love at first sight. Gone were the nerves - I talked crap like nobodies business. She tried to deter me by burning the back of my neck with peroxide, but it didn't work. She was stuck with me. And from that chance encounter, I became part of Stitch 'N' Bitch, and we started the Made With Love markets.


And that's what makes me lucky. I've met so many like-minded people since moving here, and have been able to prioritise the things that are really important to me. I've been given the chance to start again, and although I've still found myself in a few muddles, for the most part I'm relishing the challenge.

So hurray for one year - I hope that the next brings just as much goodness as the last. With or without peroxide burns.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Getting Out Of My Head


Ok, so, after having had my little whinge/flip out/existential crisis in a public forum yesterday, I'm feeling a bit better today. I spent a while last night taking deep breaths (of caffeine and nicotine), and wondering why the hell I was getting so worked up. And why I hadn't thought to buy more cigarettes after work.

Something that a friend and I had been discussing the other night came to mind - that sometimes it's too easy to get stuck inside your own head, and I think that's never more true than if you are a creative kind of kid. Being creative constantly forces you to challenge yourself, whether you're aware of it or not. You're thinking of new and innovative ways to do things, new designs, old ways to do new things, new ways to do old things, and your mind is constantly ticking over with all of this and more.

Add to that the usual concerns about how you look/think/sound, and you could end up a big bag of crazy. Like me.

Something, however, that calmed my fraying nerves was reading other people's blogs. There's something in the air at the moment - a lot of creatives seem to be going through exactly the same thing, and getting too much inside their own heads.

So I say - let go. Be the little free-range creative that you know you are. Sure, being creative can be stressful as hell, especially if there's a deadline. Or dinner needs to be cooked, the washing STILL hasn't been done, and you seem to have lost one of your kids. Or you have to attend work, and you've used all of your allocated brain power there, and now you're just running on standby.

This is what makes creating so satisfying in the end. It's why we do what we do. Because it's stressful, it's challenging, and when it works, it's euphoric, and we can be smug as much as we like.

Because we made that.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

When All Else Fails


Recently I was lucky enough to have a freelance graphic design job fall into my lap.

It brought about many emotions - pride, excitement, slight stress, motivation... and fear. A giant heaping bucketful of fear.

I haven't done design work for a fair while now, except for myself and friends, and they're pretty much obliged to say nice things. So I've been floating around in my slightly delusional state thinking that I'm competent. But now that it's come to the point where somebody will pay cash for my services in the design field, I'm not going to lie to you - I'm terrified.

What if I stuff it up? What if something that I think looks great actually looks like the demented scrawlings of a monkey on illegal substances? What if something that I think is a really, super-dooper, freaking clever idea, is in fact twee, sentimental, and vomit-worthy? What if I can't stop asking questions, and I end up having to be taken to the vet and shot?

I've started, at least. I have a few designs under my belt, but I've reached a point where my idea just ISN'T WORKING, and apart from desperately searching the net for inspiration, and headbutting the table, I don't know what to do.

Taking some deep breaths might help.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chicks Dig Scars

Shiny bits in my head

I dig piercings. Piercings lead to scars. Maybe one day chicks will dig me.

I’ve always been into piercings. My Mum has been less enthralled with my passion, but every now and then I’ll feel the need to go get something new pierced through my skin. I figure that due to my unfortunate un-coordinated nature, and occasionally ill-advised decision making (I put my foot in a heater when I was a little tyke), I’ll end up with plenty of scars anyway. What’s a few more?

My latest piercing acquisition is in fact not a new one, but a change to an old one. When I was 16 I stretched out my ear, and over the years have gone up a couple of millimeters. For ages I was at 10mm, but the last time I was Sydney I decided to go the next step, taking me up to 12mm.  So I bought me a 12mm tunnel*, and thought I was all set.

The last time I went up a size, I just pushed the bigger tunnel through without too much difficulty. This time was not to be as easy. But that’s cool, I can deal with that. I thought that I’d buy a stretcher^ for my ear, and do it gradually.

Initial thoughts: I’ll buy a stretcher as inconspicuous as possible, so that if I’m wearing it at work it’s not noticeable.

Process: Ok, so I’ll just have a look-see on E-Bay, and see if I can get something clear and not too obvious…. OH MY GOD THERE’S ONE WITH BLING!! I WANT THE BLING! IWANTITIWANTITIWANTIT!!!

Result: I received the stretcher. I put it in. I looked like what The Offspring were talking about with Pretty Fly For A White Guy, if the guy was in fact a chick, and if that chick were hoping to be gangster and hardcore. It was 12mm of bling, right there in my earlobe, with a tapered end long enough to be used as some sort of eye-gouging device.

You only wish that you could be this cool

In hindsight, I can spot my mistake. I was on E-Bay – at night time. Time plays a major factor in regretful online purchases. I’m normally very aware of the time, and try to limit any purchasing after certain times, but this one slipped by me. It also reinforced my rule – no shopping after 9pm.

Needless to say, I rocked the gangster look for about one day, shocked the hell out of somebody with it, and then swapped over to the tunnel. I’ve learnt my lesson – the hard way.

How about you? Have you participated in any late-night shopping that you regret?

*A flesh tunnel, also known as a spacer, is a type of body piercing jewellery. It is also sometimes referred to as a spool, fleshy, earlet, expander or eyelet. Wearers generally use them to show off the process of stretching that they have gone through.

^An ear stretcher is a round spike with a tapered end. Pushing the spike gradually through the ear stretches the piercing to the desired size.

Playing Pretend

I'm hoping that if I pretend hard enough, the rain and dismal weather will go away, and it'll all become a sunny afternoon.
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