Shades of Grey

The last few weeks have been grey. I’d say black, but black is black…devoid of all light and hope, and they weren’t that, but for a few moments. Those moments felt like forevers at the time, but they were only moments never the less, and they passed. Grey is just bleak, with the light trying to shine through, but failing in part.
Nothing went epically wrong, it’s just that nothing went particularly right either. Lots of small things amounted to an almost overwhelming sense of disappointment and failure. It’s a feeling that I know is exaggerated and untrue, but emotions are the hardest thing for most of us to control, and you can either shrug it off as the professionals do, or submit to it.
The vivid, bad dreams, the small problems and setbacks, the lack of prospects, people that matter giving a distinct lack of fucks…all added up to grey. The emotions were running at an all time high, and I guess I just gave in for a while. You can only stay positive for so long, until a pressure crack forms and starts to let this stuff in.

I guess what all that grey added up to, was a massive amount of thinking, over-thinking and searching. I felt disappointed…in myself more than anything else. That I am trying so hard to not only stay above everything, but move forward and do better things, and it’s not happening yet. That it’s all so slow and time-consuming with no fast result. I have made all of these decisions and choices to change things, and they are just staring back at me, with this quizzical expression on their inanimate faces. And then I start to wonder, if any of it will make one fucking iota of difference in the scheme of things anyway? (Did I mention the over-thinking?).

This grey washes everything out, and brings with it, a lack of motivation, which in turn makes everything worse. I can see this unfold before my eyes, and just feel horribly apathetic about the whole shebang. ‘Housework can wait, this is too much effort, that goes in the too hard basket, nobody gives a fuck anyway, who’ll ever know, what’s the point??’
But the truth of it, is that it doesn’t matter who else knows, or gives a fuck…because I should. Because I want to. Because I do.

I spoke with a friend last night, and we arrived at pretty much this conclusion too. That, if the ultimate meaning of life has escaped everyone else thus far, then it probably doesn’t realistically exist, or if it does, we are to find our own. That we are all just here to live out our days, and then move on. So living is what we should do. To make the most of what we have, are, do.

That all sounds easy enough right? Until another person comes into your equation and makes it all the more complicated. It changes your perspective of life, and the meaning of it. It changes your ideas, of what you want from time, without you even consciously realising it. And then, there you are one day, sitting there wondering how the fuck everything blindsided you in plain sight. How did it all change so much? How did you let this happen? Did you agree to it? Did you ask for it? Do you want it? Wtttfffff?? So many shades of Grey. (I did mention the over-thinking right?)
And of course, most days you can keep on keeping on, being hopeful, being resilient, being positive, being deflective, being cheerful, being fake, being strong, being productive, being closed, being ignorant, being…busy.
Those things are not always as bad as they sound either. Being busy and productive, will eventually lead to better things, if I just keep at them. Looking for better work, will mean more inspiring things, to consume my time and bring higher purpose and confidence. A new horse in the stable will lead to less stress and better access to opportunity. More time spent on purposeful things, will mean less time to spend over-thinking (I believe I did mention that pastime previously) the void. But emotionally, it still leaves gaps that can’t be filled with work, or money.

I guess this is where the hope comes into it. The notion that allows me to get one foot in front of the other every day, despite the muscle resistance to do so. The belief that intentions can translate to reality, and words into actions. The hope that, when the universe has repeatedly sustained its idea, that some things are destined somehow…that perhaps there is substance to that. That, some things cannot be denied, despite the struggle.
So, after that somewhat disjointed rant, which seemed perfectly fluid as I wrote it, I’m going to keep doing some of the productive, busy stuff. To keep trying to changes those shades to a more defined colour, and keeping hope that one day, the palette will reflect brighter colours.

Stay busy, or stay happy Kids.
V

I’d buy that for a dollar.

I’ve started a Go Fund Me account. “Another one?”, I hear you whisper irritatedly…Yes, but this one is different. Now let me tell you why.

People start these things for wild selfish, stupid, irrelevant and greedy reasons every day-A new dishwasher, a trip to Disneyland. Others just to jump on a bandwagon of sorts-popular stuff. Others again, for just causes that are close to them. This one is the last reason…and to prove a very emphatic point. I keep saying that every dollar counts, every little bit means a big bit, so it’s time to be the vehicle, to put our collective money where that mouth is. So, here’s what I’m asking of you all, and why…

I know two people right now, who are battling Cancer. The big C. The destroyer of lives. The unspoken horror. And what they need the most, is hope. Hope that everything is going to be okay, that they can get the treatment they require to make it through, that they will win. Disgusted as I am to admit it, one of the things that can give them hope…is money. In a material world, they need money to pay for hope.

Now, I’m not asking for  ‘just the cost of a cup of coffee’. Please don’t go without coffee. I beg you…have coffee. The world doesn’t need to see that shit. If the world was full of decaffeinated people, a war could likely break out (albeit, ultimately, a slightly lethargic one).
I’m not asking for you to give every last cent you have, or sacrifice anything to make a donation to people you may not even know. All I’m asking for…is TWO DOLLARS.
To most people, a few dollars is little, the change floating in the bottom of your handbag, clogging the coin section of your wallet, jingling in your pocket. It is the scrap at the end of the day, thrown frivolously in the coin jar. It is little.
But to these two people, and their families, it really is a LOT.
For those of you who don’t know me, I lost my Mother to Cancer when I was very young, and my Uncle years later. One of my longest friends, just lost her Mother in the same fashion, and the list goes on. I have never donated to Cancer funds, as I don’t believe the money should go to useless research and red tape. I have fundraised and donated personally to animal rescues, where pets have lost their providers. To the people of Vanuatu in Cyclone Pam, where people lost their homes and livelihoods, I support anti-BSL, where dogs have lost their voice. And now it’s time to donate to families that could lose someone. Corey & Scott, Two Fathers, Friends, Lovers, Partners, Sons. Real people.

For anyone who has ever withheld a donation, because it ‘wasn’t enough’, because they were embarrassed they could not donate more, who couldn’t afford it…this is your chance to step up and make a huge difference. The donation limit will be set at $5. So you can donate from $2-$5 ONLY. (It was originally going to be $1, but the GoFundMe fees take almost 40c in each single dollar donation)
On the link, you will see a brief of their stories-in the updates after the initial post (so you know it’s all legit), and can donate however you choose. When the goal is reached, the money will be split straight down the middle and forwarded directly to each family. They will both also be sent a link to the account, so they can see just how many people cared enough, to take 5 minutes of their time and donate just two single dollars, in the name of hope, and love, and everything that is right with the world.
This is the link to donate
https://www.gofundme.com/buying-hope

Hundreds of you read this blog. Thousands are on my Facebook pages. Every share reaches more people again. Just two dollars from not even half of those, will get this to it’s goal limit.
Please be a part of something good. Something that I believe, can not only make a big difference, but also prove a wonderfully humane point.

T.I.A troops.
V

 

Forward momentum

The last few weeks have been crazy. Not just a little bit, but seriously all over the fucking place crazy. You see, I ended up at the this spot. It was a moment that spoke to me (see? even voices in my head crazy). It said something along the lines of-“if you don’t inspire change…nothing will fucking change!”, and that is not something I’m willing to tolerate right now. I’m stuck in a place that reeks of nothingness and going nowhereness. And I want more. I finally want more.
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So, I set about changing a few things, firstly my motivation and point of view. I went on a short trip away to somewhere new to shake the routine from my near vision, and explored on my own, to extend my comfort zone. I loved it way more than I thought possible. Where the thought of getting lost in a strange place used to inspire hesitation and doubt, I found it becoming more exciting and adventurous, and realised that even when I am lost, there is always a way back. That I am more grounded than I know.

While I was away, I found the opportunity to address a few long overdue issues behind the scenes, and found it settled my inner self and overactive thought processes a lot too. It didn’t solve any problems, but it did answer some lingering questions, and help balance my heart versus head debate to some degree.
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On return, I have set another few balls in motion, to change lifestyle, employment and other such material things as vehicles and smaller  possessions. The smaller things will all collectively make life easier and more convenient. The bigger, right changes and opportunities will make me better. Make me more motivated and enthusiastic, and ultimately, hopefully, more engaged and have a brighter outlook on life in general.

After a 30 hour, heavy work week of varying disjointed night/morning shifts with an extra 8 hours travel time thrown in, very little sleep, and disharmony in the the environment, I could use a plain sail in the future to look forward to. So instead of wishing, I’m looking, and applying, and enquiring, and trying.
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I’ve also decided to invest more time in doing things that help me feel better about myself, something I have always struggled with. Other people tell me nice, empowering things about me, that I often struggle to accept. I have to start believing that that there is more worth than I have ever seen, and that means actively improving certain things to make them more positively clear to me. Fitness, self image, attitude, pro-activity, talent/skill-set, aesthetics-to name a few. It also means evaluating the people I share my time with. Because very little is more valuable than time and who you share it with, and regardless of what we may think, it has a huge impact on how we view the world from inside out.
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In a nutshell, that’s about it for now. The details would take all day to tell, but overall it means there’s big changes in the wind. It means there’s both exciting and trying times ahead. It means I have not yet given up…and the world should be prepared for that.

I hope you all have a plan kids. Even if you don’t stick to it to the letter, it’s nice to think that we are all going places (even if we don’t know where until we arrive 😉 )

Cheers
V

 

Journey

16640869_1423385174389036_2994527294850567151_nI just read a story on Facebook that hurt. I see plenty of them, but this one got me right in the feels for some reason. I know it hurt, because the tears actually stung my eyes when they came out. They burned so much I had to rinse my eyes with cold water. They came from somewhere pretty deep I suspect.

It was about a dog. Another dog, mistreated, abused and neglected for years. When rescued the owners didn’t give two fucks about him being cut from his chain and taken. In the photo, he looked so sad and downtrodden that he had just given up. He didn’t even have a name. He was the ‘so many kinds of sick’, he couldn’t recover from.
The rescue group took him straight for medical attention, but he barely survived the night, and was given his merciful wings the next day, with paw in hand of someone who cared for him. A vet, also with tears in his eyes. I bet his tears hurt, burned, pained as much as mine.

I think they come from a place inside, that wants so badly to help, but isn’t able to. A place that wants to ease the pain of all the creatures suffering at the hand of man. A place that knows it should never happen, but knows that in this world it does, and all too often.

I see these stories every single day. Animals dumped, surrendered, abused, killed, tortured. For immoral, religious, profitable, traditional and just pure fucking evil reasons. I refuse to turn off to it, to delete the pages or look away. Because if we all ‘turn off’ to it and look away, then who will be there to help, or even just to know? To know what is happening in this awful twisted world, underneath the glittery surface?

So, below are pictures. Look away if you wish, or alternatively…take a good long look at this beautiful boy. At the sadness, and way he looks defeated and hopeless. Understand that people did this to him. That giving him wings was merciful, after his life of anguish, and that he left this world for a better place, knowing that for a short while, he was loved…and named.
His name was Journey. Dog Speed.

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New Year, just me.

The new year has finally started. Not a huge turning point from a lot of angles, but a select few perhaps. While the turn of the clock really doesn’t signify more than the fact that a few more minutes have expired, some see it as the magical unicorn of hope. The time to start afresh, move forward, leave the old behind. And while it may just be all rubbish, why spoil the moment for those who believe? If something can give someone hope…as long as hope isn’t the only thing they have, as long as it’s paired with something realistic, then let it.
whoAs for me…I’m on both sides of that fence. I’m cleaning out some old baggage, and opening new chapters too. Not ‘new year, new me’ stuff, but I just want to do better things for, and with, the ‘me’ I have always been. Most of you don’t know much about who exactly that is. You have heard my rants, opinions, memories, whinging, goals and motivations, but not a great deal about the ticking mechanisms, or where those thoughts come from…so here’s a little insight to start the new years reading…

38e33ad805fb7e4ea49225097a22a22aI believe in giving things your all. If you are going to jump into something, why not head first? Sure, you can take calculated guesses as to how deep it may be, but if you’re going to jump regardless, then just jump. If I am not sure about something, I’ll procrastinate and fuck about with it. But, I am passionate about the things I love or believe in, and there is no halfway with that. In loving, fighting, helping, fixing, there is only ‘do or do not do’. Why half-arse it when you can whole arse it?

x16 I have been so, so, so fucking hurt. And I’m not talking like the, ‘oh we were together for a while, but it didn’t work out’ kind, but deep down, to my soul, betrayed on every level, never recover, kind of hurt. 14 intermittent years of hope, love and forevers, wrapped in “I love you’s”, disintegrated into nevers, by empty promises and deceit. The last year came paper-thin close to ending me, mentally and physically (and no I’m not just being dramatic).

4e1fce29654d5c4fda70429d9354edb6I am not as naive, gullible or stupid as a lot of people, and a specific few, think I am.  Sure, I let a lot of things slide for the ones I love, but more often than not, it doesn’t mean that I don’t know the truth. I’m sure there have been plenty of times, that a well spoken lie has served its intended purpose, but each one inflicts doubt and hesitation. And many…well, often I choose to let hope persuade me to believe what I want, over what could be…
x8I still believe in true love. Even with all the cracks and fuck-ups (hey nothing’s perfect right?), I still believe in true love, soulmates, destiny of path and all that other hippy shit. The problem is that I may be the last living soul on the planet that does, which puts a small hiccup in the plan. Unfortunately you can’t do it alone.
x9 This man, this dark and hurtful man, I love. Denying it would be the most transparent veil of a lie I could ever tell. I no longer try to understand it more than I do, and I expect it will never change. I have no intention to try and do so. But I need to somehow learn to love myself just enough…to know that what he gave me was not love.
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Love is about taking chances, and showing strength via weakness and vulnerability, honesty, respect, taking responsibility, keeping promises and not giving up. If he ever really wanted it at all, he gave up. Maybe long ago. I have not given up. I just gave in, because I had to.
x4I text/message back fast. I always have my phone in reach. Not because I want it to ring, but because I want ‘my people’ to know that they have someone. Someone who is listening, and cares…enough. I may go off grid for a while every now and then, when it all gets too much (sorry for the last two weeks), but everyone needs somebody, for when they need somebody. And don’t ever try to kid yourself, that that’s not you. We all do.

x10Although I feel dark, broken and twisty, I can still be ridiculously and surprisingly optimistic. It’s like this huge conflict of hope and hopelessness. I think I just need to see that somehow, something can change or get better, because I need a light ahead to keep going. When a part of me gives up completely, the other half drags it up by the collar (like that sober friend that carries you out of the club?) and refuses to let it stay all the way down.
I can’t take all of the credit for that however, I owe a lot to my dogs. They have given me a reason to stay grounded, stay coherently (sometimes) sober, and well…just, stay.

vwm15731014_10210694712697678_278154594_nI love art, music and dogs (and in no particular order). I have dogs, I help dogs, I foster and rescue dogs, I stop and pat random dogs. Dogs.
I do commission artwork (lots of dogs), tattoos, as well as whatever takes my fancy at the time. It helps me focus, takes my mind of other things, and lets me feel productive and worthy of something all at once. This year I am concentrating more on it, and have three commissions in the works currently.
Music is my soundtrack to life. I have a stupid number of playlists for every mood and occasion. It plays 99% of every day. I find both solace and happiness in it, in listening to other people tell their stories.

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I have a total love/hate relationship with myself. There are days where I look at myself and shudder, hating on everything I see, and days where I shrug it off, and accept that I am who I am. I refuse to apologise for it any more, if I piss people off, intimidate them, annoy them, or offend them, just by being who I am. I am almost 40, and beyond pandering to people, who would only accept the romanticised version. I know I could be fitter and healthier, and when the time is right (very soon), I will be. I don’t see someone beautiful in the mirror, often just plain and messy, yet I am told otherwise from time to time. The bad stuff is often easier to believe. I’m working on that.

I have a lot more patience than people assume I have. Sure, I can be spontaneous, impetuous and reactive. Yes, I can get bothered if some things don’t happen straight away, or the way I thought they would. If I’m willing to do something without hesitation, it’s difficult to watch others wait. But if a game it all is, then a game, you play with strategy. One chooses their battles, makes alliances, researches the facts and perfects their timing. Never underestimate the other players.

My people are ‘my people’. My friends are odd, broken, experienced, tough, survivors, weathered, scarred, beautiful and just a little twisted. The most common traits include love of animals, warped sense of humour, inability to tolerate stupid fuckers, capability to speak their truth openly, staying up late on school nights, and lack of judgement toward others for their differences (sexuality, colour, race, fetishes, etc). They are open-minded, intelligent and passionate.  They have tattoos and sailor mouths, but respect when necessary. They are not offended easily, partake in devil drinks and love music. They analyse, dissect, empathise, question. These are my people. I could count them on two hands (I’m lucky). And I love them.

70b48daa206a02a8533875cfdea0ee5fSo there you go Kids. A whole heap of stuff from the more intrusive, slightly uncomfortable to write, ‘all about me’ section. Maybe if I ever do this again, it will sound chirpier and less ‘meh with more ‘yay’. There’s a whole year ahead..and then another one..and another.

Cheers
V

 

 

A grave day

5Twas the night before, the night before Christmas, and all through the house…was nothing.

I’ve walked into the kitchen four times tonight, before I remembered I was actually going through to the laundry for something. I eventually got it. It was for the dogs. Another excuse to go back to my dogs.
I’ve stopped to fall on my bed and cuddle them, more times than I care to count.
I don’t have it in me to choose a movie to watch. I didn’t trust myself to open a bottle.
I got nothing.
2623335172aba7a59144970d48043327I don’t care for Christmas, we’ve established that previously, but it’s really just the time of year. A time when everyone else is out there in the world, advertising the fact that they are with the ones they love. And I got nothing.
The man I love, and only one I want most in the whole world to be with, is far away, content to be with another. The arms that make me feel loved, and safe, and at peace, are no longer around me.
My family is gone. My friends are with their loved ones, and I don’t begrudge them that, but I don’t have it.
971bba00dc3aa31cd4899c35581e47b4  I received a phone call today. A person I have never spoken with in my life, called to ‘remind me’ that tomorrow is the anniversary of my Fathers death. Because, I obviously would forget such small and insignificant things like this.
“We miss him”, she said, “I can’t even delete his number from my phone. So we put flowers on his grave today”.
“Oh”…she says as an after thought…”I’m sure you miss him too. It’s tomorrow you know”.
I can’t even fathom the level of vacuity it took to make that call. After a few seconds of being utterly speechless, I asked her around the welling tears, if she would like a badge for her good deed. The call ended shortly thereafter.
1When my Father was killed in an accident three years ago, it was my front door the police knocked on to notify. I had to hear all the details from officers, with their eyes turned to the floor, to have to give someone such news on that day. I was the one who had to make the phone call to my big brother, to tell him what had happened. On Christmas fucking Eve.
We were the ones who had to drive hours to his house the following week and find his paperwork, clean up and make arrangements for his dog. We were the ones who had to clean the personal possessions out of his wrecked, mangled car at the impound yard, around the dry blood splashed all over the centre console. We had to stay at his empty house, field his friends and family, and sort through all the photo albums. We had to arrange the funeral service, and then travel to attend it. All while you stayed in your comfy fucking home…unable to delete his number from your phone. So lady, just FUCK OFF. And take your flowers with you.

I don’t need to put flowers on a meaningless, stone grave-site to remember my Father. He is with me wherever I go, in what he did for me, what he taught me, how he did his best to raise me, and loved me. He is in my cherished childhood memories, with my Mother, of how much they loved each other, and our family.
And I certainly don’t need a phone call from anyone to remind me what day it is, that we suddenly lost him.
Every year, the shine of tinsel and ring of bells does that for me. The day draws nearer, and I see people get excited for the man in red coming to their house, while the two most important ones in my life, won’t be.
4So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t sing along with the Carols and put on a paper hat. I know we’re supposed to be thankful for the things we do have…and I am, but some days, the things I am missing, make that focus go a little blurry.
2Hold your loved ones close Kids, tell them you love them as often as you can, life is so much harder without them.
V.
6

Ho ho huh?

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So…it’s that jingly, kris kringly, tinselly, carolly, fucking annoying, cheerful time of year again. A time I no longer look forward to on any count at all. I used to be one of ‘those’ people. You know, the kind that never gets over the wonder of tinsel. I didn’t think anything could ever ruin that for me. I won’t bother explaining the reasons, for those who don’t know the story, but let’s just say it has lost it’s shine. All of it. In fact I almost wish it didn’t even happen at all now.

This year was hard for me. I know we all have them-hard days, hard years, hard times. I’m not complaining. It’s not a ‘poor me’ blog. I made it through. I’m still here. In fact probably more of me than before, because hard times are a test of strength, endurance and help you grow within yourself.
6631b825b216cdc90c0df0261367b7adWhen things go wrong, it makes you ask ‘why?’ It inspires change, innovation and reckoning. It provokes acceptance and forgiveness of yourself and others. It urges you to choose paths, find solutions and try and make things ‘better’. It makes you figure out exactly what, and who, is important to you. Yourself included.
“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”-The subtle art of not giving a fuck, Mark Manson.
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You see, I think for the majority of life, we just walk along the path in front of us without question. We take what comes our way and deal with it. We stick to this path, because we feel it is ours, or perhaps we have chosen it, or committed to something on it. We wander, hand on the guide-rail, sometimes even looking over the edge, mildly inquisitive, to see what’s out there. For a very long time, we don’t consider climbing that rail, because what we are already dealing with seems enough.
life-changesWe become scared to diverge, or even worse, content to walk straight on. But…what if? What if change, breaking free, was the path we were supposed to take? Or it’s better, or easier…or happier? It sounds like I’m going with the ‘grass is greener’ theory here, but that’s not it at all. What I’m saying is, what if…we have changed as we walked that original path, and we become destined for something different as we grow?
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We are all hurting, struggling, missing someone, losing something, trying to make right decisions, trying to live, or just survive. Every one of us. We are all hiding things, bottling emotions, holding back, using coping mechanisms, keeping brave faces. We are all wondering if we are right, settling for less and hoping for more.  Every one of us. Every. Damn. One.
“Almost universally, the kind of performance we give on social media is positive. It’s more ‘Let me tell you how well things are going. Look how great I am.’ It’s rarely the truth: ‘I’m scared. I’m struggling. I don’t know.’” -Ego is the enemy, Ryan Holiday.
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“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”
Tiny beautiful things-Cheryl Strayed 

When it comes down to it, the answer we need to know…is what we want. What, in life, can give us peace. What makes you feel so absorbed that you forget the world is waiting outside the front door? What makes you forget to check your phone? What makes you want to live in the moment that it should never end? Whether that’s a person, a place, a hobby, a job, a thing or a mix of many. What we are passionate about, willing to fight for, lose sleep over, hold hope for, work toward…
c81b049952f4d7922f8c489379161d7aAnd, as a new year is peeking over the horizon at us like a devious cat, what better time to put thought into how we can get it? How we can change survival and contentment into living. Once this whole tinsel strewn, tumultuous affair is over, and the wrapping paper settles…
6b8eb3ebe7967e80bfd9e4ada4d6a116So, at the risk of sounding at all festive…what do you truly want, not just for Christmas, but for life, for yourself? I have a list. It’s very short, but it’s important. Every thing on the list would change life as I know it, and if you are reading this now, you are either part of the journey ahead, or spectators to it. Either way, I promise you, it will be filled with hope and passion and love (and perhaps just a drop of sarcasm).
resoluteHold your someones and your dreams extra tight Kids, and don’t let go.
Cheers
V