Longum memoria, vita brevis

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Despite evidence to the contrary, I have been travelling this year. A lot. Honestly. Almost too much.

I missed writing about one trip which then became two and from then it just seemed all too difficult.

But I am not one to give up (that’s a complete lie, I give up on quite a lot of things) so here we go, 2016 begins again now.

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It’s all happening now

Just signed up for a storage unit. #LDN15 is getting more & more real.

Today my replacement started at work.
It’s great – she’s a friend and I recommended her for the job and she will be brilliant but also … she’s my REPLACEMENT. I’ve packed all my bits up from my desk and I sat all day at a sad desk in an alcove which sounded like an aeroplane.

At 6:30ish this morning we ticked over to less than three weeks until my girlfriend and I are on a plane on our way out of New Zealand. It feels like only yesterday we were sitting in bed on a Saturday morning booking tickets.
That was September. April seemed so far away. Now April is Wednesday.

We’ve had our big leaving party already and we still have a work party and a family dinner to go.

Our living room has been taken over with boxes and this weekend, thankfully the four-day Easter break, we move boxes into a truck, drive them half an hour away, and unpack them into a storage unit.
A unit where they will sit, undisturbed, for two years.

All of a sudden this feels really really real. I can’t wait.

I like your face. I like selfies

I am unapologetically pro selfie.

Wandering Eastbourne in the rain.

I like my face. I like your face. I like the faces of my friends and family. I want to see more of them.

I wasn't even drunk

I want to see what you do and where you go. I want to see your adventures and your joy.

Yea democracy #etcetc

I want to see you when you think you look beautiful.

These specs, man.

Or when you think you look like a cute alien.

Feeling a bit like a cute alien this morning.

I like selfies.

International Woman of Mystery

Caveat: of course this is not to be at the detriment of an experience. You can do both. I want you to do both. And if you didn’t presume that from the outset then I just don’t know what to do with you.

RIP 2014

Giant tree

2014 started with the smell of woodsmoke, the sound of guitars, and the word girlfriend sounding new and thrilling in my mouth.

This year I have:
x moved houses,
x seen more live music than ever before,
x had my hand held so tight while I cried in a tiny plane,
x bought one-way tickets to London,
x fallen in love with a girl and a cat,
x gained friends and lost friends,
x worked hard, so hard, and been rewarded in my career,
x re-joined the gym,
x only been tattooed three times, and
x almost completely failed to learn how to drive.

This year I didn’t feel the need to keep a list of “good things” that happened. So much was good and so little was bad. It seemed superfluous.

It’s passed in a blur. this year of 2014. But the happiest blur. I am so looking forward to 2015.

I have been thinking about resolutions and I’m resolved to just a few:
x save money & minimise possessions
x travel as much as possible
x stay active and engaged
x make my hair more like Taylor Swift’s.

Right now I am on my way to the beach where I will see in 2015 with the smell of woodsmoke, the sound of guitars, and my best girl by my side.

Beautiful birthday flowers

What I learned from my [first] year as a lesbian

I read an article today, 11 months & 1 day since I came out online, titled “what I learned from my year as a lesbian” and oh how it left a sour taste in my mouth.

I was actually kind of offended, as someone who struggled with my sexuality over the past few years, by the thought ones sexuality can be something so flippantly chosen.

It included lines like “the events that became what I affectionately call my “lesbian year” was the result of one too many glasses of wine, as many unplanned adventures are.” and “Waking up the next morning, I was surprised to discover her beside me in my bed. So surprised, I couldn’t get her out of the house fast enough.”
Delightful. Disgusting.

I’ve been out for almost a year now. So. To cleanse my palate, here’s what I’ve learned in my [first] year as a lesbian:

Coming out is difficult
I was 29, nearly 30, when I realised I wasn’t just bisexual, as I’d always believed, but gay, actually really rather gay. I was 29 and married and I knew that to stay married, to keep lying to myself, was going to hurt more than the alternative. So I didn’t. It was rough.

The first ten, twenty, thirty times I said “We split up. Because I’m gay” my head would spin, I could hear blood rushing in my ears, and I’d stop breathing for what felt like minutes. It was probably just seconds. At least until the other person responded.
“What?? Oh. I’m sorry” or, “… congratulations?” or, sometimes, “Huh. You know, I’m not surprised.”

Even in minorities there are minorities.
My story doesn’t match the narrative other people have for coming out.
If I was really gay, I would’ve known when I was younger. If I was really gay, I wouldn’t have spent years in a hetero relationship. Maybe this was just a phase, maybe I was just tired. Maybe it was the birth control I was on. I wasn’t on any birth control. I didn’t need to be.

Then again, I didn’t have the struggle of being a gay teen. I didn’t have the struggle of being non-gender-conforming. I didn’t have the struggle of an unsupportive family. I’ve had it, relatively, extremely easy. I know this.

But I’ve learned to accept my story. I accept the messiness, the nuances, and I’ve learned to know myself.

Visibility is important
I pretty much felt like all this change was written on my face. But it wasn’t. It isn’t.
So I went through a phase of mentioning it whenever I could. I was obnoxious. I was just excited and happy; I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
I like to think I’m a bit less obnoxious now (she says, writing screeds).

I’ve only had one person ask if I was going to cut off all my hair … because that’s what lesbians do. Cute as I’m sure I’d look; my head is just too big for super short hair.

Sometimes do I wish I looked more outwardly (pun intended) gay. There’s so often the casual assumption I’m straight. It’s something which bothered me when I identified as bisexual, and it bothers me more now. I spent so long stuck between what I knew of myself and what others assumed. I don’t like being stuck in that box (pun very much UN-intended) anymore.

Then there’s the “but you don’t look gay!” how am I supposed to respond to that? Certainly not with thanks, though I suspect that’s what those who say it are expecting. I’ve settled for a slightly confused, chilly look and “… well, I am.”
(Related: if you have anything wittier I can file away for next time, let me know!)

I’ve found myself googling “*female celebrity* + gay” a lot more than ever before. When Ellen Page came out, I grinned. When Ruby Rose was on the cover of a magazine with her fiancée, Phoebe Dahl, I grinned. When Angel Haze hit back at articles which call Ireland Baldwin her ‘friend’, I grinned.

We fuck and friends don’t fuck. – Angel Haze

Most importantly, perhaps, I met this wonderful girl. She doesn’t live her life online. I respect that.
We’ve been seeing each other for quite a while now and moved in together in April.

A few months ago I kissed her, my girlfriend, in a crowded concert and someone stroked my arm and congratulated us. Dancing, in a now-closed hipster bar, we kissed and a drunk dude in a snapback nudged his friend and said “woah” as they moved to watch us.
At moments like that I would much rather just be invisible. Being affectionate isn’t a political statement.

It’s less of a big deal than you think. It’s more of a big deal than you think
My family has been pretty incredible. They absorbed the news and carried on, making fun of me just like they always have. My mother ties herself in knots sometimes in her efforts to be supportive. Which I appreciate more than I think she knows or I can articulate.

Some old friends have fallen away; some new friends have become closer.

There are moments when you remind your family you’re not going to have kids. Which I’ve always said but now I think perhaps now they believe me. In the split second silence between the statement and carrying on on I can feel it.

Overall, overwhelmingly, the response has been supportive.

And, you know, if reading about the stories of an interior designer in Louisiana, or a writer from Orange is the New Black made me feel less alone, then perhaps reading about my story will help someone.
Or maybe writing it is part of helping me.

Lauren Morelli wrote “I encourage you to embrace your own narrative, whatever that may be. It will be worth the effort. I promise.”

I’m 30, nearly 31 and I’m coming to the end of this year feeling lighter and happier. I I’ve embraced my narrative and the freedom is electrifying.

I’m not entirely happy with this whole turning thirty-one thing though.

I’m not dead. I’m just busy

Early morning #blackcatselfie Gf drew us (& the feesh) in a farewell card & it's the cutest thing but also gah my look is too velma.

So. Life. It’s amazing and crazy and busy as all hell.

I have seriously seriously forgotten about this wee little website recently and, well, forgotten is definitely not the right word. I’ve just not prioritised it very highly.

I’ve been busy at work, and somehow all my non-work time is getting filled up with … I’m not even sure what. The sum of it all is? May to August #dead

Don’t think I’ve been forgetting to take photos! Because I haven’t. I’m almost certain I haven’t even missed a day. But I spend my weekends hanging with this cute girl, learning to drive, various alcoholic beverages, and not a lot of time in front of my laptop screen.

I’m going to do better though, I swear. I’ve been taking a photo every since day since 2009 and I think I want to round out the full half-decade at least.

(HALF DECADE)

And you know, I suspect next year might be even more eventful than this one. I mean, there are plans and possibly they involve a whole bunch more travel. They certainly involve the wedding of one of my dearest ever pals.

Life is good.

Nature! Nature! Everywhere! Lord how I love the packaging of @lonelyheartslabel #sabel #lingerie #redordead

Hmm. Perhaps, in October, I’ll write about what a year as an out lesbian has been like. That might be interesting.
Coming out at 30 has been … I’ve found it super comforting to read about the experiences of other people who have come out later in life. Perhaps I can be a comfort to someone else.
But then, maybe it’s all been too easy for me. Maybe there’s nothing for me to add.

Like a black cat on a dark street …

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Like a black cat on a dark street I visited Auckland for the briefest of trips nigh-on a month ago.

Highlights:
Tattoo – Flash by Simon Erl, tattooed by Richard Warnock at Two Hands
Al’s Deli – possibly the best bagel of my life
Federal Deli – a three hour dinner with two delightful pals
Federal and Wolf – brunch eaten amongst suits with just coffee

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Oh and, as always, the Auckland Art Gallery

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Red Words on a Grey Background – Mary-Louise Browne 2009

Thursday: visiting the Art Gallery

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Molly – William Wight 1930 in front of Otira Gorge – Petrus van der Velden 1912

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Meditation – Christopher Perkins 1931

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Nature Morte – Megan Jenkinson 1987

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Ian (Ossian) – Jacob Epstein 1942

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Minerva, Apollo, & Juno Ludovisi – William Theed 1847/1848

365 in 2014

2014

Sunday: packing books into boxes
Sunday
I started packing books in boxes. It’s the worst.

Monday: I love the green and grey
Monday
I do love the contrast – the classical building and the spiky green leaves.

Tuesday: pouring rain & a sick gf
Tuesday
Sheltering under an umbrella.

Wednesday: love the light in this trophy shop
Wednesday
I just love the light in this trophy shop.
I also wonder how much it would cost to make myself a trophy for something completely ridiculous.

Thursday: leaving work late
Thursday
Working late.

Friday: usually there are hills back there ...
Friday
Heading towards Thorndon. There are usually hills back there.

Saturday: Bucket Fountain and the rain
Saturday
Small child and the Bucket Fountain.

Sunday: Peaches
Sunday
Peaches looking disgruntled. That’s her regular face.

Monday: dental work
Monday
I spent hundreds at the dentist but they gave me a mold of my teeth so I guess it’s not all bad??

Tuesday: heading to the waterfront
Tuesday
Pretty mesh and brake lights bokeh.

Wednesday: pouring rain, a jacket like diamonds.
Wednesday
Pouring rain and my jacket looks like diamonds.

Thursday: starting my day as I intend to continue
Thursday
Starting my day as I mean to continue. No but really, it’s quite nice but has amazing graphic design. I’m easily won over.

Friday: decorated egg at the Railway station
Friday
Decorated egg in the railway station. I think this was my favourite one.

Saturday: Peony at the SPCA
Saturday
Peony at the SPCA before she came home to my parents’ place.

Sunday: baked a tart for a potluck lunch
Sunday
I made a caramelised onion tart for a friend’s potluck lunch.

Monday: Peony at her new home. Entranced by the bird.
Monday
Peony at her forever home, entranced by their bird.

Tuesday: lights at Federal Deli
Tuesday
Lights at Federal Deli in Auckland.

Wednesday: home of excellent bagels
Wednesday
Al’s Deli in Auckland – my trip was … very food-centric.

Thursday: visiting the Art Gallery
Thursday
Visiting the Auckland Art Gallery.

Friday: ANZAC Day Service
Friday
ANZAC Day service at Parliament.

Saturday: dinosaur filled with booze
Saturday
Dinosaur filled with booze.

Sunday: headed to Petone for brunch with Kat
Sunday
Vintage whisky bottle in a store in Petone.

Monday: the evenings seem so much darker now. Lights everywhere.
Monday
Evenings growing darker – lights all over the city.

Tuesday: this is a well-lit building
Tuesday
Parliament is a very well-lit building.

Wednesday: puffy pigeon, relaxing in the sun
Wednesday
Puffy pigeon relaxing in the sun.

Thursday: v sweet note in the cafe window
Thursday
Sweet sign in a coffee shop on The Terrace.

Friday: KEEP WELLINGTON BEERED
Friday
New sign on the Quay. Keep Wellington Beered!

Saturday: picking up tickets
Saturday
Hanging out at work to print out gig tickets.

Sunday: scone baking
Sunday
I can’t drive to buy cheese scones, but I can make them and I think that’s pretty okay too.
(I’m looking forward to being able to drive to get them)

Monday: I kickstarted this a long long time ago. I don't really want it anymore.
Monday
I kickstarted this gadget a long long time ago. Now I don’t think I even really want it. Whomp whomp.

Tuesday: have I mentioned how lucky I am?
Tuesday
This card, I was given it after my first professional driving lesson. Too lovely.

Tuesday: have I mentioned how lucky I am?
Wednesday
Night along the waterfront, a rushed photo and it shows.

Thursday: this is where the hundredth luft ballon got to!
Thursday
Ah! That’s where the 100th luftballon got to!
(such a contemporary reference)

Friday: Karaoke with Kat
Friday
Karaoke with Kat.

Saturday: afternoon movie
Saturday
Pretty light at the Paramount, a Saturday afternoon movie.

Sunday: bright blue, bright red
Sunday
Bright blue, bright red. Sunday on the waterfront.

Monday: one final drink with Kat
Monday
Bruce at the Rogue and Vagabond. There for one final drink with Kat before she headed home to Edinburgh.

Tuesday: Jayne graduated. We celebrated.
Tuesday
My baby sister Jayne graduated. We celebrated.

Wednesday: Back Benches
Wednesday
Back Benches is back.

Thursday: I smell like a campfire
Thursday
I managed to acquire one of the final vials of Victory Wolf from Olo Fragrances.
I smell like a campfire.

Friday: so close!
Friday
So close, so far.

Saturday: decoration
Saturday
Wee boat in my wee place.

Sunday: muddy shoes
Sunday
Muddy shoes after a spontaneous bush walk.

365 in 2014

2014

Sunday: delightfully decaying roses chez mama et papa
Sunday
Delightfully decaying flowers at my parents’ house.

Monday: puppy butts
Monday
I got to spend the evening eating BBQ and drinking wine with three puppy butts, two cat butts, and a lot of my favourite human butts.

Tuesday: knitting and cider
Tuesday
Sometimes after a long day I enjoy taking an hour or two to knit with cider.

Wednesday: feesh face!
Wednesday
This cat and her wonky ear! They make me melt.

Thursday: heading to a BYO
Thursday
I adore this graffiti. Oh, Wellington.

Friday: at ANOTHER BYO
Friday
Second Japanese food BYO in a row. Oh, Wellington.

Saturday: cat pal on my way home
Saturday
I made a cat friend on my walk home on Saturday.

Sunday: Skull friend
Sunday
Skull friend at the Pass of Branda.

Monday: cavolo nero
Monday
Cavolo Nero. I may have had to google for recipes but the pasta I found? So good.

Tuesday: kiss me hard in the pouring rain
Tuesday
Pouring rain and decaying leaves – golden.

Wednesday: opening of Holland Road
Wednesday
A pal of mine opened her second yarn shop! That’s pretty much an empire, right?

Thursday: I love Luther
Thursday
I’ve been spending hours watching Luther. It’s not a bad thing.

Friday: random wine glasses at the office
Friday
Wine glasses abandoned in our office vestibule for days. One day they disappeared.

Saturday: it's a really old car
Saturday
This car, it’s pretty old.

Sunday: coffee in Petone
Sunday
Verandah in Petone, post-coffee on a greyest day.

Monday: grey day, grey photo
Monday
Another grey day, solo Mondays, headed home.

Tuesday: before-work trip to the market
Tuesday
It’s nearing the end of the Council’s financial year, I’m guessing, what with all the roadworks around Wellington at the moment.

Wednesday: bathing pigeons
Wednesday
Bathing pigeons, I was ever so jealous, it was disgustingly hot out.

Thursday: I like these posters
Thursday
I do like these posters, I hope they don’t turn out to be for something terrible.

Friday: MINI EGGS ARE BACK IN NZ
Friday
I finally found Mini Eggs in New Zealand. Everything is right with the world.

Saturday: pretty door
Saturday
Pretty door in the central city.

&

Accidental