How you doin’?

Hi folks, it has been far too long. Thought I would post something up here to let you all know I’m still alive and kicking. No need to call the lost & found to find a dishevelled  Michael sitting in the back of a cage carving tally numbers into the walls with his finger nails. Yes, I made it out.

Thanks to a few kiwi bloggers I’ve been inspired to blog again. If you’re not already following these writers, get on it:
BoganetteMama Said, a blog on life and parenting.
Sarah WilsonWritehanded, a blog on mental health and life with disability.

I would lie and say I’ve just been busy. I’ve technically been doing other things yes. I’m still keeping up with Writer’s Plot, Toastmasters, and Aikido. And new things too like helping start up a board game meet-up. Oh yeah and I entered a new relationship back in January. I don’t mean to brag, but she is frickin’ awesome.

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2014 in Review

Looking back at the year that was. The things I aspired to do, the things I fucked up, and the new and unanticipated.

I played an RPG for the first time. It was a custom game based in the world of Buffy The Vampire Slayer using the combat and monster basics from the rulebooks. Our game took place in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

I played as a Slayer, naturally.

My first relationship ended.

I went back to the workplace I left.

I went clubbing for the first time.

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2015 Aspirational Stuff

Another year drawing to a close. We all say this around this time of year but god, where does the bloody time go?

Time to decide what to do with my life next year. These aren’t New Years Resolutions. I’m far too hipster for that. I like to think of these more as aspirations or goals.

I would promise to update you throughout the year, but from experience I know that would be bald-faced lie!

Enter a new relationship
(the most unsexy way I could possibly put that!)

This time two years ago I was writing about wanting to be in a relationship. I succeeded. I got to know a friend better, we got together. Life became beautiful. Exciting. I fell head over heels for this woman.

Eighteen months later it was all over.

It’s scary how you can get swept off your feet and everything in your life changes just like that. It wasn’t just a new relationship, it was a family. It’s not just you anymore — lone wolf bachelor with constantly changing direction, barely getting by — it’s now you, a partner and her child. You rethink your future plans and how you can best accommodate your new family.

As much as it hurts letting go, and still does, it’s time for me to move on. To commit to a new commitment. Maybe, just maybe I can find love again.

Produce a webseries
I finished writing one this month and I’d like to produce it. I wrote it with my filming restrictions in mind.

Actually putting together a finished product is one great way to get your name out there. Plus even if it flops the experience of putting something together is invaluable.

Find full-time work
Still living the temp life and not loving it. Frankly it sucks. As much as everyone tries to go out of their way to make you an equal, you’re still treated like a second-class citizen.

I want a full-time role where I can feel respected and make enough to look after myself without relying on family.

I need to commit to the job search. I attempted it this year, for a few months, and after a bunch of rejections I gave up. It’s discouraging. Gruelling. Maybe I need a thicker skin? Or a better idea of where I should be working? When you’re in the arts your options are limited when it comes to making money. Guess I should have figured that out when I made my career jump from a job in tech to something more abstract.

Buy a new car
My ’93 Ford Laser has treated me well… okay not so well. It’s required a lot of work over the years to keep it from falling apart. Just a few months back I had to buy a new radiator and assorted pricey parts after the hood started smoking on my way back home. But apart from that it has been a blessing. It’s made me independent. It’s gotten me around, and I’m forever thankful to Gregor for gifting it to me, which brings me to this point;

It’s high time I part ways with my Laser.

I need something reliable, and something that makes me feel good about myself. I don’t want an expensive car or anything like that. Just something modern with a working stereo. I’m not fussy.

When you’re constantly reminded about the shitty stuff that hangs around because you can’t afford better, it’s easy to get yourself stuck in that rut of being broke, of not being good enough and a failure. It’s like wearing raggedy old clothes. It damages your spirit.

Now I’m not comparing a car to the clothes on your back — well actually I was, but you get my point.

Go flatting… again!
Been there done that. But now it’s time again to fly the coop. I’m on the wrong side of 25 and beginning to enter that horrible cliche territory.

As with the new car thing, it’s about the appearance and the related feelings. Maybe that’s foolish? Definitely selfish. And positively narcissistic.

I need to regain my independence, learn to feed myself again and what it’s like to live week to week relying purely on myself.

Road trip!
My mate Stephen and I are heading down to Christchurch to see the the Foo Fighters in concert — is mentioning concert redundant? We’re going to see the Foo Fighters — at ten pin bowling! Ahem. Moving swiftly on.

I visited earlier in November for my cousin’s wedding. I hadn’t been down since before the quake. Stephen hasn’t been to Christchurch, or even the South Island. So we’re catching the ferry and road tripping it down to the South for a week of sights, sounds, smells, and hopefully not too much Adrenalin Forest!

Make a bajillion new cocktails
With the recent additions to my cocktail set I can take this to a whole new level. I got a blender, a double jigger, strainer, and other gizmos I haven’t worked out what they do yet. Let’s keep this hobby going. It’s fun and gives me something to do at social gatherings.

Bonus: It’s alcohol!
Minus: Spirits are spensy yo.

I’ll keep trying new drinks, asking for recommendations, and really become the cocktail master I know I ought to be.

Budget
Eughhh that word. But really this is something I need to make a habit of, especially if I want to regain my independence and become a self sufficient human.

I’ve tried it before, but it’s time to make this stick. I’m spending far too much money on entertainment, food, and alcohol. My savings have dwindled from dipping in a few times and I don’t remember the last time I put money in.

Toastmasters
This is a continuing on from this year, but I feel like I need to recommit to this. I attend most meetings now, but I don’t feel like I’m moving forward at a fast enough pace. I leave far too much time between speeches and so I get comfortable just turning up doing my assigned roles.

I feel like I’m dawdling because I’m scared, and that’s why I’m doing Toastmasters in the first place; the fear of speaking publicly… and speaking eloquently. Also improvising. I do Toastmasters for a lot of reasons okay?

Aikido
I dabbled in Aikido this year but it looks like I’ll be sticking to this for some time yet. I really ought to get onto finding that gi…

I had never done a martial art before this — well I took one Karate lesson as a kid and never went back! It’s not only a step outside my comfort zone because it’s a goddamn martial art,  but because of my tiny proximity bubble of not wanting to touch or be touched by other people.

I feel clumsy as hell because I’m so focused on not wanting to make the other person uncomfortable, I make myself uncomfortable, and probably, well, definitely them. If I could just be myself, go with the punches, life would be easier. And I wouldn’t have to run away from hugs!

It would be good to move up a few grades. Oh and the confidence from being able to protect myself and others (the original drawcard) is still important to me.

Believing in Yourself

My life journey has had it’s ups and downs and I’m not comparing myself to anyone here. I grew up privileged. I had all the opportunities. The real struggle for me in my day to day living comes down to one thing…

Belief.

Perhaps it’s tied up with low self-esteem and anxiety, but it’s shit crazy how much doubt in yourself can set you back, can stop you achieving.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint this feeling in my head where something gets too hard for me and I want out. That’s the worry telling me I can’t do it, that I’m making a fool of myself.

I dumb myself down, say things like “this is too hard for me” — a huge factor in why I never really succeeded at maths and why I dropped out of Computer Science.

It’s why I pick up things like exercise and writing, and drop them. Because if that stuff isn’t in your routine you can talk yourself out of it. Because it’s not easy, it’s often very painful. Like learning something new and difficult, another language for instance *cough Spanish *cough*.

I want other people to help me out of it, to take over. I don’t want the responsibility for myself anymore. Because I’m afraid to fail, I’m afraid to look bad. Won’t someone just take this off my hands already??

And guess where all those thoughts get me? To failure, or even worse, giving up.

I can tell that it IS in my mind, because I can do things. I can even do things well if I put the effort in. If I give it my all — even if I screw up — I know I’m learning, not relying on someone else, no safety net.

It’s a story that you tell yourself, that you’re not loved, that you’re an outcast, that you’re not smart enough, pretty enough.

But what you should be telling yourself is the evidence that doesn’t support these thoughts (a tip I picked up in counselling).

For example:

Thought: I can’t do anything right. I should quit now.
Evidence supporting: It takes me forever to pick up a move in Aikido, and I can never get it perfect.

Evidence against: You passed your grading. Your sensei have complimented you before on some of your moves. 

Leading you to your…

Balanced belief: With practise you can master Aikido. It might be rough getting there, just keep at it.

Commonsense right? The problem is we hang around too much in our thoughts and the evidence for it, without taking in the evidence against or a more balanced view.

This is something I’m still working on, and if you are too, you’re not alone. Chin up buddy, let’s believe in ourselves!

Interstellar & Show Me Shorts

Been absent for a while so to make up for it here are a bunch of cool things for ya.

Interstellar
If you haven’t heard about Christopher Nolan’s latest blockbuster, you must be floating around in space somewhere with Sandra Bullock.

Like Gravity, Interstellar has some tense space-based moments. All backed. The first quarter/half of the film takes place on Earth, and feels like the farmlife middle of Looper.

Okay, I’ll stop name dropping movies and just tell you to go see it already. It’s backed by Zimmer’s amazing orchestrals, an emotional story, and of course there’s scifi nerdery to be had.

Show Me Shorts

For the first time I checked out NZ’s little film festival for little films, Show Me Shorts. It’s the place to check out short films you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

I attended the awards evening in Wellington, to see the winners short films. A bunch of great kiwi films. My favourite being Helmut Makes a Quilt, a dark comedy about a prisoner adopting a penpal.

If I had my way every movie, like Pixar, would plop a short film in at the start to get these movies out there.