In all the time I have been active in the blogosphere, I have never done a ‘things about me’ post, let alone a ‘5o things about me’ post (though I have shared quite a few random facts via Instagram post captions 😛 ). However I thought it was an opportune time to take the plunge and do so now. Yesterday was my birthday and although I am not one for celebrating the occasion with fanfare, I always take the time on my birthday (and New Year’s Eve) to reflect on my life and practice gratitude. My general aversion to over-the-top celebrating has absolutely nothing to do with a fear of getting older. In fact my life today is the best it’s been, I don’t regret my past and I look forward to the future. It’s rather that I don’t like potentially unrealistic expectations placed on any one day; that everything should be perfect, or at least that I am supposed to be “happy” in accordance with the customary birthday wish.
But, for the record, I was happy yesterday 🙂 … and I am usually happy (or at least find things to be happy about) everyday. Things were actually rather perfect yesterday too, as I spent the day with my family, visiting a nearby town, getting treated to a beautiful specially cooked veggie meal at Freyja in Tucepi (thanks dad!), having a massage on the beach, and swimming in both pool and sea.
As a child, I believed I was unlucky on my birthday, that is before I realised that it was actually the expectation of how things “should” be that had me examining the minutiae of everything that went wrong with my day, thus preventing me from being grateful for what was amazing! To me, birthdays are a celebration of a person’s life… but it’s the actual “stuff” of that person’s life that really counts; the big, the little, the everyday. I have the same feeling about Valentine’s Day (i.e., that everyday should be a celebration of love). And I had a similar feeling when we got married, except it was amplified. I knew that our wedding day was special, but I didn’t expect it to be our one perfect “big day”. It was beautiful, no doubt… and it was fabulous to share it with others near and dear, but it was also one day of many days we would spend together. And, even as I prepared for the ceremony, I knew it was our actual life together that would really make our marriage, not one fairytale-ish day.
In any case, today seems a good day to share a little more about my life with you all.
Given the vast amount of randomness here, I have decided to split this post into two parts. And, by the way, I was tagged to participate in this blogging “challenge” by Cassie (aka superfitbabe) when I read her ’50 things’ post. So I’ll follow suit by tagging any interested parties who happen to be reading this post. If you feel so inclined, please feel free to join in and share your ’50 things’ via a blog/social media post too!
I was born in London and even though I moved to Australia at the age of 6, for many years I still felt British. I identified as such on a ‘heart level’ long after my British accent had been replaced by an Aussie one, and even after having been naturalised as an Australian citizen, a ceremony which ironically involved me having to swear allegiance to the Queen of England.
Oddly, I began to feel incredibly Aussie only after having met my Swedish boyfriend (now husband).
And even more strangely, after 12 years living in Europe, I feel more Australian than ever.
I know I can’t change the past and that having regrets is wasting energy, but I do occasionally wonder what my life would have been like if I had applied myself a little more diligently to extra-curricular activities and school work. For example, I took dance, ballet and jazz ballet lessons as a child, but I wasn’t particularly motivated to excel and was probably the only girl in the ballet school who never practiced during the week. I only danced on Saturday mornings and had to be bribed with the promise of stickers (which I used to collect) to leave home.
A few years later, however, you couldn’t drag me away from nightclub dance floors.
Even though I wasn’t bullied by so-called mean girls in high school, I didn’t like them. And if I catch a whiff of ‘mean girl’ off of someone, to this day the rebel in me reacts adversely, even if I don’t express it outwardly.
Once, when I was a little girl, my dad took me to a department store and allowed me to choose one toy. I chose a penguin that changed colour in the bath. I loved it and felt so happy that my dad had arranged a special day out for us. I took the penguin toy to church the next day and after the service an older boy who I had shown it to cornered me, aggressively pinned me to the wall and told me that I was a spoiled brat and that my family didn’t deserve what we had. The incident still makes me a little sad to this day… sadder perhaps that when I eventually decided to talk about it, I was dismissed as being overly emotional.
A couple of years after that incident, I attended a church camp with one of my best friends. It was organised by a different church and I bonded with a whole new group of friends. It was one of the most fun experiences of my early teens except for one sad factor. A male camp leader decided to target and harass me. He constantly tried to separate me from my friends, even locking me in a sauna with him at a swimming center on one occasion. My friends had to bang on the door and yell until he let me out. On another occasion he cornered me outside of a church hall and told me I was “exotic”. I was repulsed. For me, the word exotic translated as “strange”. I wanted to blend in. I wanted to look and be like everyone else… and not be targeted in such a way. I don’t know why my friends and I didn’t talk about the situation. I guess I felt ashamed that I had been targeted specifically and we probably all suspected that I wouldn’t be taken seriously if I did say something, especially as the harassment was verbal. It was one of several similar incidences that took place around the same time in my life. And even though I knew that there was something not right about the men involved, I also thought there was something not right with me. I don’t think it was about me in retrospect.
When I was growing up I felt weird.
I still do at times now, though I think it’s less obvious on the outside.
And sometimes I actually truly embrace my quirks and see them as assets that have helped me both personally and professionally… and led me to have a very colourful life.
I sometimes feel genuinely overwhelmed by my own sensitivity, my desire to fix the world and how insurmountable its problems are. It’s the main reason I tried to develop a tough facade as a teenager. I saw my sensitivity and my maternal instincts as HUGE weaknesses. Now I see those things as two of my greatest assets. Though they do mean I feel a lot of ‘feels’.
And because I am emotional, my face often betrays my real feelings.
I had issues when I was younger that I thought could be fixed by a change in circumstance/environment/relationship. I went from Melbourne to Seattle and within 24 hours I discovered that the same issues I’d had in Melbourne had followed me across the world. It really was the first time it dawned on me that everywhere I went I would take myself. And that I was the common denominator in all my problems.
I used to be make-up obsessed/addicted. When I was 18-19 years old, I thought I wanted to work with make-up as a profession and even studied to become a beauty therapist/make-up artist. It didn’t take long before I realised that it wasn’t really for me, but many years later I did end up working as an art director in the beauty industry.
When Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef first aired on television, I knew that something big had just happened. I still believe Jamie is responsible for revolutionising the way young people (at least in Western society) look at food. My mum had cookbooks that I would flick through and very occasionally even cook from when I was younger, but I couldn’t for the life of me imagine wanting to hang out with any of those cookbook authors, let alone see them as fun/exciting people. Jamie, on the other hand… well, I thought he was kinda cool. I still do.
The strangest assortment of jobs I had was during the period between graduating from university and embarking upon a grand backpacking adventure. In order to save up as much money as possible in as short a time as possible, I worked morning shifts in housekeeping at a 5 star hotel (worst. job. ever… or rather, terrible management), afternoon shifts as a teaching assistant, night shifts as a waitress in an Indian restaurant (worst. pay. ever… or rather, dodgy boss) and, on the side, I sold glow sticks for festivals and was a guinea pig at a hospital research clinic where they tested my pain threshold for a scientific study by submerging my arm in freezing cold water and giving me electric shocks.
The worst jobs I have ever had have something in common: an out-of-touch, narcissistic boss in the midst of a midlife crisis.
One job I had at a marketing bureau was beyond stressful. I’m talking working a 21-hour day (with only a 30-minute break) and walking home in a snow storm to sleep for an hour… before heading back to the office to do it all again! And that was just my first day there. NO joke! The pressure and the craziness in that environment took such a toll on my health that I had developed a nervous eye twitch around the time I left, which was only cured by a trip to India (followed by a job at which I was treated a little better!).
I love to draw (weapon of choice: black biro), but I’m scared to paint. Somehow, I think I would love it if I could get past my hesitance to try it.
I love plants and yet somehow I have managed to kill every single one I have been given. I honestly don’t understand why this keeps happening.
One of my most negative traits is caring too much what others think of me, and feeling a need to be ‘good’ and/or to ‘perform’. I care less what others think today than I have in the past, but I am a work in progress.
Sweet potatoes. I love them. I could eat them with every meal. Some days I do. They form the base of my personal food pyramid.
If I go to a restaurant and there’s a veggie burger on the menu, I’m ordering it. No questions, no debates. I am a veggie burger fiend.
Before I really started to enjoy yoga, my first love was Pilates. I happened across a VHS tape (yes, this is an olden days anecdote) called The Method in a video store. I made a spontaneous purchase and started using it almost daily. My core strength and flexibility improved dramatically and my body retains a kind of “Pilates physical memory” to this day. Even if I haven’t done a class in two years, if I find myself in one, my body seems to just know what to do.
I love essential oils and, perhaps baselessly, I credit a combination of essential oils, Pilates and belly dancing (yes, belly dancing) with keeping me relatively illness-free during my university years, which were fuelled largely by Red Bull, cigarettes and Starburst jelly babies. Later on in life (when I was healthier and far more balanced), I used aromatherapy oils during all three of my pregnancies. And when I reached full-term with my daughter, I even used the services of a professional aromatherapist and massage therapist to help induce labour naturally. I studied aromatherapy modules during the beauty therapy course (see fact number 15) and I would love to learn more about essential oils. Even though my husband is not entirely convinced of their efficacy, he is happy to support me as he knows it is something that brings me joy.
In 2004, on a Trans-Siberian train at a border crossing between Mongolia and Russia at approximately 2am, a terrifying dominatrix-style, gun & whip (yes, whip) toting female soldier opened the door to our cabin and demanded to see my passport. She looked at me, looked at my passport, yelled at me in Mongolian and threw my passport back at me. I can only assume she was angered that the 20 layers of make-up I wore in my passport photo (taken when I was an alternative nightclub promoter) rendered me virtually unrecognisable. The scary female soldier ordered a male companion to strip our cabin. He went so far as to remove panels on the ceiling while another male soldier stood guard. They found nothing and we could only guess as to what they were searching for. Deeply annoyed, dominatrix soldier yelled again then stormed off followed by her two male counterparts, leaving us dazed and baffled. That same night, a fellow Australian on the same train was taken away to be interrogated over some trifling matter. We got off lightly, it seems.
Part two will follow soon (when I am back from the beautiful Croatian coast and gifs don’t take 100 years to load due to dodgy wifi!). If there was anything mentioned in this post that you thought was particularly interesting and/or you’d like me to expand upon, drop me a comment.
In the meantime, love to you, thank you for reading this, and happy rest of the week!
❤ MM xx