A note on Friendship.

As an adult it's super easy to get caught up in the exhaustion of life and routine and trying to keep it all together and stop seeing people and doing things with those people. I know because that's progressively been my life for the past year or so. That's all changed recently, and it's so good. 

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It's really nice having friends, and it's really nice being a friend. These people are your chosen family. They don't have to be with you, or care about you, but they do. Likewise, no one is forcing you to hang out, or be there for them, but you are anyway because you love them. 

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Romantic love is such a major focus of our media and species. "Finding your other half" and settling down as a pair, and having a person who knows you like no other. Romantic love is great, but it's rarely forever, and when your forever falls apart on you, it's your friends that are there to catch you when you fall.  

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I've had an incredible amount of support from friends over the last few months whilst I was ejecting a particular toxic human from my life. I honestly don't think I would have recovered nearly as well without all their love and support. 

As my friend Peter Lawrie would say: You are special, you are important and you are loved <3

You don't have to stay just because it's long term.

I am going to have significantly more time to work on this blog and my artistic pursuits in the coming months because I have just done the hardest thing I've ever emotionally had to do: leave an emotionally abusive relationship.  

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Abuse is really scary, even more so after you realise what it is. In terms of what I experienced I consider myself very lucky. The experiences I've had over the last year have been mild, although like most abusive cycles, the "good times" were getting less and less, and the "bad times" were getting more intense and more regular. 

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When I realised what was happening, it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and the blind fold had been pulled from my eyes. The transition from healthy loving relationship to toxic relationship was so slow. It also took a lot of research to realise that his behaviour wasn't ok (This article in particular helped me a lot https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/11/signs-partner-manipulative/)

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I don't think my ex realised what he was doing was abuse. It's no excuse for his behaviour, but I truely believe he didn't realise the emotional consequences of his actions. I just hope he learns as much from this relationship as I have. 

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As far as how I'm doing, I'm incredibly angry. I feel betrayed and lied to. I also feel like the last of my childhood hope and trust and naivety has disappeared. I loved this human with all of my heart, and in return all I received was a box I had to conform to which shrank over time. I gave so much time and energy which I could have been putting into my friends and my art. 

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Here's a note to my future self and a note to anyone else about the type of behaviour you should never tolerate in a long term relationship: 

1) Policing your behaviour and calling you out on being "socially unacceptable". 

2) Contempt towards your career path and passions. 

3) The alteration of your space in major ways, particularly buying "shared furniture" which you wouldn't otherwise be interested in or purchase

4) Share of travel based on time schedules 

5) Lack of communication, particularly the silent treatment. 

6) Being involved with my friends and my family.

7) Respecting my emotional needs. 

8) Waiting for things to get better, because the longer you wait, the worse they will get.

9) Hypocritical behaviour.  

10) Alteration of you as a human in major ways. 

11) Being afraid to ask to do things together because it's consistently met with either contempt or a unreasonably negative attitude. 

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These are all the things I can think of right now. I'm sure there are more, and I'm sure I will write a follow up post about how I'm recovering from this trauma. 

There is no excuse for any type of abuse, and just because it's mild doesn't make it any less wrong. There is nothing wrong with me, and if you've had this misfortune of experiencing this kind of behaviour, there is nothing wrong with you either. 

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Boy has it been an eventful few days. I'm not one to seek out adventure, but when you're a musician adventure seems to seek you out, particularly if you're the type of musician who tends to play their fair share of festivals and go on their fair share of tours. 

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I've spent the time just between Christmas and now travelling to Byron Bay Falls festival to play gigs with the Button Collective, finding out my tiny dog noodle went missing and being unable to do anything about it because I was away (It's all good now, she was returned to us by a very kind couple), dropping my partner at the airport, sleeping in a backpackers in surfers paradise so I could do an enormous amount of washing following my tent/possessions getting drenched in a Byron Bay storm, and finally starting the Vanishing Shapes summer tour. 

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These past few weeks have been very up and down, and I miss home a lot (although a bit less now that I'm not on my own anymore) It's interesting seeing these photos so long after I took them, particularly after the home sickness I've been feeling. I remember stressing a lot about the concept of being away from home for a month while taking these, desperately trying to prepare all of the tech items/non tech items I would need to continue my various creative projects as normal. 

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Like this time last year, I'm taking photos of every outfit I'm wearing whilst of tour. It helps me maintain a bit of a schedule, and normality, so stay tuned for that! :)