Commitment, always commitment

So, as it turns out, I needn’t have worried. The owner of the lingerie store emailed me last night and I went in there to see her today. I was quite nervous as I hadn’t been feeling well and wasn’t feeling myself. I had also planned to dress to the nines – to show my presentability, of course – but my light bout of the flu had me all shivery and cold so my original plan went out the window. In the end, I rugged up (despite it actually being a glorious day outside), which made me feel much less glorious than I had planned .

Anyway, it went well. She thinks my admin background will complement her complete lack of organisation and I think being able to have something more than ‘just’ working in the store with customers will give me more longevity in the role, which brings me to tonight’s musing.

One of her concerns was my ‘reliability’. As she saw it, I didn’t ‘need’ this job as much as say someone for whom this would be their only source of income. I have another job and maybe she thinks we’re rich (we’re not although we have spent a shit tonne of money in the store so she could be forgiven for thinking that) and that I won’t be committed. And she knows I’m thinking of quitting another job for this one (one I’ve only had for 3 months – but she doesn’t know that).

She didn’t say it to be offensive or hurt my feelings and, if I’m brutally honest, she has a point. I am not known for my commitment… to anything really. Besides pets and Jared anyway. Everything else I eventually get bored with. But don’t we all? Not many people are cut out to do the same thing year after year with no change or progression.

In my defence, I have been in my current job (more or less) for over three years. The role before that was 2 years. Then 5 years. Then 2 years. Some short stints but also some longer ones. I like to think that as long as I am kept productive and busy and feel like I’m learning and growing that I won’t want to leave. All the jobs I’ve left have been because I’ve been bored or I’ve asked for more responsiblity or more variety and it hasn’t been possible. I definitely would have stayed at the 5 year job if there was somewhere to go, there just wasn’t.

Long story short. I’m going in for a trial next week Thursday. I’m excited but also want to approach this decision with a clear head so I can be certain this will be a good fit for me. I love what she does and I love her brand. I was excited by her vision of where she could take the business if she had someone to help her get more organised, which I think I could do. She reminds me of someone I’ve worked for before actually who was also really good at their job, just extremely, eternally disorganised. It can actually be quite gratifying to see someone achieve their goals and know you’ve been instrumental in helping them get there.

Getting carried away with myself again, as per fucking usual. Let’s just see how these trials go and take it from there, shall we?

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Something to be passionate about

I never really had something I wanted to “be” when I grew up, if you can still say that at 36 years of age. Fuck it, I still do. And I still don’t. All I’ve ever wanted to be is happy and to feel useful and productive and (to a greater or lesser extent) passionate or at least connected to what I do. And for the last three and a bit years, I have felt productive and useful at my current job. Passionate, not so much, but I certainly cared a lot about doing well and seeing the business do well. Is that passion? I suppose it is in a cold, business-like kind of way.

Then I saw that my favourite lingerie store is hiring. And, just like that, passion became very important to me. Don’t get me wrong, I like my current job. It allows me a very good lifestyle: I get to work from home, my hours are flexible and I’m pretty much my own boss. But do I feel passionate about events? No, I have to admit that I do not. While I enoy it for the most part, I definitely don’t wake up super excited to go to work every day (does anyone though? I’m sure some people do).

But yes – back to the lingerie. Where was I? Yes, my favourite lingerie store is hiring. I haven’t worked in retail since I was 17 but I feel like I have other things going for me that would make me suitable. Based on what I do know about the role, I think my admin background would definitely help as will my customer service skills, learnt both in my events role and front of house hospo work. I also know the girls there, in the sense that I have shopped there a lot and been out with them a few times.

So, based on this hodge podge of potentially misplaced confidence, I emailed them. The owner (one of said girls) got in contact with me and said she’d like to chat more.  That was on Saturday, it’s now Tuesday evening and I haven’t heard back although the store doesn’t open on Sundays and I’m sure she has plenty of other stuff to do along with lots of other applications (many of whom probably have more experience than me). But, as it turns out, a few days is enough for the doubts to start creeping in. Why did I do this to myself? Set myself up for failure. Do I really want to commit to a job where I have to work Saturdays? What was I thinking? But also – excitement to potentially be doing something I enjoy. To wear all my lingerie to work (oh the outfits!) and help other women feel amazing in their own skin. Le sigh.

Anyway, I’m trying not to get my hopes up or let myself get too dejected. It seems the desired state is a kind of medium level nonchalance – a certain I-don’t-give-a-fuck-ness, which I am most certainly not capable of maintaining for even the shortest spae of time. I care too much either way. My mind is fucking me over with the pros and cons of each side of the coin so I vacillate between desperately wanting the job and being terrified that I will get it.

If I’m honest with myself, I suppose I’ve always wanted something to be excited about. I’ve just never known what that might be, which is also probably why I get bored and move on. Because every job is just a job for the moment and then, as soon as I learn everything (or as much as you ever can learn), I’m done. The only reason I’ve been at this current job so long is because the sideline perks are just too damn good.

Sigh. What a terrible first world problem to have. You’re sending your thoughts and prayers, I just know it.

Oh yeah, the poly thing…

On the poly front, we took a bit of a break from dating other people after we broke up with Cherish. Neither of us was in a great place plus we thought it best to focus on each other, rather continuing the open relationship thing we had going on. It’s now been about a year since we broke up and we’re in a much better place.

We randomly hooked up with a  little Colombian girl at Coachella. She was as little as me and super fiesty. Spent the night with us on the Friday and then we hung out all day on Saturday and met up with her on Sunday. We were meant to catch up with her when we all got back to LA but we ran out of time. To be honest, it was a fling that reminded me a lot of when we first started seeing other women, uncomplicated and easy. Plus, she’s an epic tattoo artist so, if we ever go back to LA or if she comes to Aus, we will 100% be getting tattoos from her. Sign me up!

On the homefront, there’s a girl we’ve been on and off hooking up with here in Sydney. Actually that makes it sound much more regular than it is. It’s more like we’ve hooked up with her in the past and been conversing for awhile. She leans more lesbian and, with Jared being super busy with work at the moment, he’s given me permission to see her on my own. This is both exciting and scary for me as usually we go on dates together so I have him as my buffer in case the conversation falters (Jared can talk underwater). So it’s a bit daunting to think of being alone with no team mate waiting to be tagged in when I inevitably run out of words (well, maybe not inevitably). On the other hand, it’s also very exciting… for obvious reasons.

Tonight I’ve been pottering around the house wondering if Jared giving me his blessing to see this one girl means I can potentially go on dates with other women while he’s otherwise occupied (i.e. working) and what this could mean for our relationship. Does it just work with this girl because he knows her and has a connection with her even if she’s more into me? Or would it be a broad-spectrum yes to all women, just no men? How will this affect us as a couple? How will it play out when Jared doesn’t have to work so much? Will he want to start dating on his own as well?

These are things we’ve discussed before but never acted on so it’s an entirely new frontier we’re embarking on here. If we embark on it. I’m undecided. I’ll let you know how it goes. 😉

A milestone of sorts

So I did it. Back in March/April, I manage to go one month without drugs. On the day after my month-versary, I went straight out and did drugs but, still, a victory is a victory. Let’s not cheapen it by tawdry things like details and facts. I hadn’t gone one month free of anything since July 2015 when we did no drugs or alcohol. Nearly four years without more than a week or two off. When I think of it now, it seems insane.

I tell you what though. It has made a huge difference for me mentally. I feel like a rational fucking human being. I can look at myself and be reasonable. I can see that there’s room for improvement and yet not see it as a total crisis of self. Yes, there are still highs and lows in my mood but nothing like the wild and intense swings I was dealing with before. Thank fuck. And, yes, I’ve done drugs here and there since the one month off but, unless it’s a special occasion like Coachella or seeing friends I haven’t seen in ages, I don’t really enjoy it. Getting high just for the sake of it no longer interests me and, when I do do it, it’s no longer the epic marathon sessions where I don’t get home til daylight – or worse, afternoon – anymore. Which is a fucking relief.

I suppose I’m realising that I was using drugs as a means to escape how unhappy I was. That’s not to say I’m magically cured and fucking over the moon about life but I’m not in that super low place I was earlier in the year. I know what it feels like to be clear headed and to get up and take my dog for a big walk and feel productive so now I think twice before doing drugs and, if I do, I’m constantly aware of the time. I know what I have to lose, how bad the hangovers can be (I had one week before last and it fucking sucked) and I don’t want to be there every fucking weekend like a goddamn idiot.

Since we got back from the US (it’ll be a month on Thursday), I’ve done drugs twice. I’ve stayed in three of four weekends and, even the weekend I did go out, I was home by 3.30am and didn’t feel terrible the next day (trust me, this is a huge improvement for me, this could have gone MUCH worse). I always judge my hangovers by whether I can take Scooby for a walk and I definitely walked him the next day. I wouldn’t say I relished the experience but it happened.

I was meant to go to a big dress up party this weekend coming but my PLAN is to stay in because I know I’ll be going out the following weekend when we go to Tasmania for a big music and arts festival. So the big test will be whether I can stay in for another weekend in order to not have two weekends out in a row. Prioritise the mental health, you know. It’ll be tough, I’m not going to lie. Staying in is not fun for me. Especially when everyone else is going out. And I LOVE dress up parties. I have these epic pasties just itching to be worn. Ahhhh… must. stop. thinking. about. it.

Why can’t we get high without coming down? Why doesn’t someone create a drug with no hangover? Humans have been getting high for millenia, why do we not have this already?? I suppose I shouldn’t need mind-altering substances to have a good time but -goddammit – they’re fun! And everything in moderation, right?

I don’t think I will ever not do drugs (at least, not in the immediate future) but I definitely feel like I’ve broken that terrible cycle I was in.

Does this make me shallow?

I’ve had this feeling all day like I want to write something but wasn’t really sure what. It wasn’t until I took Scooby out for a night time pee/stroll that bits of this post started coming to me.

My husband and me are going back to counselling. We both feel like we’ve grown disconnected and, if we keep going the way we are, we’ll just grow apart. Obviously, it’s not a great thing to feel like you have to take these steps to save your relationship but I’m happy to be doing it. I’m happy that we’re not just giving up and throwing away nearly 13 years of being together. I’m happy that we’re giving ourselves the chance to fix things.

I’ve also been seeing my own therapist since probably mid-last year. I’d been feeling really low and knew that I needed more help than I could give myself. Although, my husband feels like I haven’t really done enough to try and fix my feelings. He thinks I should be on medication but I don’t think I’m depressed. I think I’m having a crisis of self-esteem that’s being exacerbated by constant drinking and drugs. I want to give myself a chance to find my baseline, to have a significant time off drugs – at least – to be able to know what my mental state is like without the constant vicious comedown cycle. And then, if I don’t feel better, THEN I’ll medicate. Without hesitation, I would. But not now. I need to give myself a chance in the same way that we’re giving us a chance.

Cocaine has always been the problem for me, since I was maybe 19 or 20 (god, that sounds bad when I type it IRL). The main one, anyway. I like other drugs but cocaine is the one I can’t say no to. A few drinks down and the next thought is: coke. It’s a real problem. Not that I do it every day. But every weekend, yes. I’ve had one weekend off since October. One weekend. And stupid me thought that after that one weekend I would feel AMAZING! That the lowness would be cured. Turns out one weekend isn’t enough but still it was a start. I fucked up the following weekend but this weekend I’ve stayed in (so far). Next weekend is my birthday so that’s a write off but I do want to try and give myself some time after my birthday and before we go to Coachella at the end of April.

Anyway, besides the drugs, my main issue is that, for the first time since I was in my teens, I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. Maybe part of it is just getting older but I’m noticing changes in my body that I do not like at all. I don’t like how I look in pictures. I don’t like myself, inside and out. But mostly out, because I feel like the outside has changed the inside. For awhile there, I was training regularly and eating better and things were manageable but, since mid last year I kind of gave up on the eating well part, which meant the training was pretty much negated (can’t out-train a bad diet, someone said).

I remember what I used to be like. I used to be confident. I used to love myself – all of myself. When I was stripping, I felt so powerful, so beautiful. I was the most independent I’ve ever been. I didn’t need anyone. Not that it’s necessarily a good thing to not need anyone but I felt good – about myself, about my life.

So late last year, I started doing private strip lessons to try and recapture that feeling. The first class back after New Year, I nearly died when I looked at myself in the mirror. I’ve kept at it though, even though I hate what I see. I felt like maybe, if I kept it up, I’ll somehow get in touch with the confident girl I used to be. Sometimes I feel a flicker of her. I don’t know if it’s just scraps of her left behind (which means she’s never coming back) or if she’s still all there, just trapped deep down under a multitude of negative experiences and self loathing. I worry she’s gone. That I’ve done such irreparable damage that, even if I eat well and get fit, that part of me will still be dead.

If I fix my body, will my mind follow? Am I really so hung up on being attractive to myself and others that, once that fades, I become this shadow of a person that can barely function, that caves in on herself like a hollowed out mountain. If so, god help me when I really start getting old and shit really goes wrong.

I actually entertained the notion of a boob job not so long ago. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, I’ve just always really liked my boobs. But I felt so shitty about myself, I thought making that kind of external change might somehow make me feel better. Madness, right? Even I was like, “Natalie, this is a new low. Even for you lately.” Again, nothing against boob jobs, more of an observation of the downward spiral of my own self appreciation.

I don’t know how to fix me. I suppose all I can do is it try and take care of myself – mentally and physically – and see what happens. That’s all we can ever do, right?

One

Life is lonely. We’re all totally and utterly alone when it comes down to it. No one can really know you or what you’re going through. Sure, they can support you but it’s you experiencing whatever you’re going through and it’s you that has to deal with it and hopefully one day overcome it.

You can have a million friends in the world and feel like you have no one. Sometimes it can depend on how much you’re willing to let people in. Being vulnerable is hard. Asking for help is hard. I know I often can’t do it. Most of the time I’d prefer to stick it out on my own than put myself out there and risk rejection.

I did try and call one of my friends today. Someone that had said he would be there for me but I know he was out last night so he didn’t answer. I’m sure if I’d have texted him and said I needed him, he would’ve responded (if he was awake) but that was more than I was willing to do. That was the one gesture of self-help I could manage.

I don’t know why I feel this way. It’s like I’ve been sad for so long that I like it now. It’s the new normal. I flit between anger, sadness and despondency and none are particularly wonderful places to be. Even when I’ve had what should be considered a “good” week, it doesn’t matter. The low eventually closes in and nothing seems good anymore. I can find the bad in anything. Maybe that’s my superpower?

If so, what a rort. I want my money back.

Jury duty as an excuse to put your life on hold and basically live on the couch

I got summoned for jury duty late last year and I feel like I’ve kind of been using that as an excuse to put my life on hold, to not commit to anything aside from long stretches on the couch and the necessary requirement of work (from home as much as possible). Today, I had to go in for jury selection but they pushed back the date of the selection, which caused a potential clash with a holiday we have in late March (it was going to be a six week trial) so I got excused… along with my excuse, as it were. See what I did there?

Anyway, since I started back at work, I’ve been more or less part time. My goal was to do 3hrs a day but we’ve had more enquiries than expected so I’ve been doing a bit more than that. Rarely full days though although, honestly, I couldn’t tell you where my time goes. Actually, I can. I spend a lot of time on the couch watching TV, doing nothing. I know I could be doing all the things I said I was going to do with all my new free time – dancing, horse riding, going back to training, spanish classes – but I’ve been using the impending jury duty as a reason not to commit to anything in case I got selected for this six week trial.

So today, newly stripped of my legal system cloak of non-commitment, I made contact with my dance teacher to try and lock in dates with her. My next step is to lock in horse riding classes, spanish classes and finally training. Tomorrow I’ll book a hair appointment to colour my hair. I did that on a whim a few weeks ago and really liked it and think I’ll get it redone. I’ve got another tattoo (well, four separate ones) booked for next week. I got part of a half sleeve done last Friday (six hours of needle fun). I’m doing stuff… or planning to do stuff… but they’re all quite anti-social stuff. I find I don’t really want to do anything with anyone at the moment.

I make a bunch of plans with people but, when the day rolls around, I don’t want to leave the house. I didn’t want to do anything big for my bday this year but Jared was at dinner with some friends talking about doing a big 70s thing for my bday and I got caught up in the moment and agreed to it but now I want out. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to organise anything. I dread the feeling of a room full of people and me wandering between other people’s conversations. I know these are my friends too but I never feel comfortable in big groups. I just don’t. And I know it’s my bday and I can do what I want so I probably will cancel it in a day or two but I wonder whether this is part of a bigger problem of me just pulling away from everything/everyone and crawling into myself.

We went out on Saturday and ended up at a house party with this chick who had been chasing Jared to hang out with us for ages. Neither of us were quite sure why. Well, as it turns out, it looks like she’d been wanting to crack onto me. I was pretty drunk when we saw her but we ended up kissing and talking about how Jared and my relationship works and she seemed cool with it although she’s a lesbian so it would be a different dynamic to what we had with Cherish.

Anyway, she gave me her number at the end of the night. I texted her on Monday and she got back to me on Tuesday but hasn’t replied since. Jared thinks it would be a good idea for me to see her. He said she might make me feel better about myself. I asked if he didn’t think he could do that for me anymore. I don’t know maybe it’s just my mood but it feels like defeat – for us (me and him) in a way. Like he’s conceding he can’t help me, that we don’t have whatever it is we used to have anymore. I should be happy he’s so open to letting me experience something he thinks will bring me out of my current funk, even if it doesn’t include him like we originally wanted, but my current headspace isn’t down with being positive about… well, anything really.

I also don’t know if I can deal with the intricacies of dating right now. Waiting for someone to reply to your message. Trying to figure out how they feel about you. The uncertainty. The possible rejection. Is this something I really want to get myself into in my current state? I have a session with my therapist tomorrow so I suppose I’ll get to talk it all out then. I’m just tired, always tired.

This year is not shaping up to be any better than last. But why should it? I have to keep reminding myself it’s just another revolution around the sun. Something we’re always doing on this tiny blue planet – just circling a big ball of gas. What does it matter if the days after ‘new year’ continue to be as shit as the days before it? Forget the hype. Just focus on now and don’t buy into this whole ‘if 2019 starts out shit, well that’s it. May as well give up now because that’ll set the tone for the remaining 333 days.’ God it seems like an eternity.