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. 

She Came Home (an unexpectedly happy post)

I have had the craziest January. Thankfully the tragedy that I alluded to in my last post has been resolved! My dog noodle (who features quite heavily in this post) went missing for a second time, about a week after she ran away during the New Years fireworks. She was gone for 6 days, and at the time of writing my last post, I was convinced I'd never seen her again. 

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As far as loosing a pet goes, there's only one thing worse than the act of them going missing. Being far away from home where you cannot physically search for them. The entire time noodle was out in the wilderness  I was glued to my phone, hoping my parents would call, or that somebody would respond to one of the many cries for help I'd posted across the lost pet groups on Facebook. 

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The longer your pet (in my case, dog) is missing, the less hope you tend to be able to hold onto. I imagined her in all sorts of awful scenarios. In the wet stormy bushes dying of fear/cold, run over on the road, mauled by another dog, collapsing from starvation. I also cried a lot in private (I was on tour, surrounded by people constantly, so pretty much any moment alone was met with tears) 

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Lastly, just to add insult to the crushing loss I was already feeling, I was aware that I had this set of photos to post. Ones taken in my backyard just before I left with noodle being silly and lovely and soft and gorgeous. Had she not come home, this post would have been devastating to edit. 

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Thankfully she's home safe. A lovely lady spotted her on the side of a road not too far from our house, and chased her for a kilometre until she was able to catch her, then return her home. I'm so very glad she's home.

(On the day I felt saddest, I managed to get enough alone time to record a tiny rendition of Scarborough fair. It was a nice distraction from the saddness hole I was in. You can watch it if you want : )

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!