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. 

Tiny Owl Forest

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! :) 

In The Zen Garden - Thoughts on repairing things.

I've been having a lot of thoughts recently about our throwaway culture, and about how accessible repairing things is to the average first world human. This has kind of been spurred on by a few repairs I've made to some items that I own which most people wouldn't have bothered with. 

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Obviously to anyone who looks even a teeny tiny bit into it, our consumerist throwaway culture is pretty bad for the environment and human rights. Part of the problem is cheap products that are 1) not made with quality materials, 2) not designed to last and 3) not designed to be repaired (this is particularly evident with technology) The other part of the problem is most people aren't taught the skills they need to be able to repair these products, and when they break, they don't care enough to learn them (because lets be honest, if the zip breaks on your backpack, it's easier to replace the backpack then sew in a new zip) 

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There have been a few tech repairs I've made this year, namely replacing the headphone output in my Ipod Classic. The ipod had a problem where sound would only come out of one earphone. It was a known issue on the device, and made significant financial sense to replace the headphone jack than buy a new ipod. (The spare part was about $30, and a "New ipod" runs about $180 if you're lucky) 

 Nick took this photo :D

Nick took this photo :D

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I'm glad I opted to replace the jack - I saved money, I didn't create e waste, and I learned a valuable skill, but, it was a really tricky repair. It was fiddly and complicated, and in the process I managed to break the lock button. There were several moments I thought I broke the device, not to mention it took me half an hour to crack open the shell. 

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I understand why companies are increasingly making it difficult to repair things (means more $$$ for them) But ethically, every single member of society owes it to the our earth and long term survival to do as much as we can to repair and reuse rather than repurchase and throw away. 

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Anyway,  that's the end of my ramble about repairing things and consumerist throwaway culture. CHANGE OF TOPIC: I shot all these photos with Nick in the Japanese Garden at the East Gosford Art Gallery

 Shirt: Thrifted, Skirt: Home Made, Belt: Alannah Hill, Tights: don't remember, Shoes: Gift

Shirt: Thrifted, Skirt: Home Made, Belt: Alannah Hill, Tights: don't remember, Shoes: Gift

If you live on the Central Coast (or if you find yourself here for an extended period) and you haven't visited the gardens and gallery, you're missing out. It's such a lovely spot. There are koi, (that you can feed!) there are ducks, there are well manicured trees and more recently, there are sculptures that had been sculped by a modern Japanese sculptor. 

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It really is a little slice of heaven. I have so many fond memories of visiting the garden as a youngster. I took a number of art classes there. It's really great that the garden is so well looked after. Hopefully it will outlast me. :) 

Finally, here's a christmas carol my friend Laura and I recorded. She's been doing a daily carol advent on her facebook page because christmas is fun!