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. 

Thoughts on Change

I've had a lot of change in my life over the past two years. A lot of it has been really hard, but with time and space it's become easier and evident that the change has been a good thing. 

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The past two months in particular had been quite a stable time for me. I thought I was pretty done with any big changes. But I was wrong. 

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Being wrong about change sucks. Being wrong allows change to sneak up on you and swallow you whole, then spit you out broken and sad and crying. 

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But with time, the change will heal, and everything will be fine, because that's what change does, and that's how life flows. 

(on an unrelated note: Here's my latest video) 

Amazing people and the privilage of never having felt the feeling of I Can't

Did you know that for many people "I can't" is a physical feeling? It feels like panic, it feels like tension, it feels like despair, and procrastination, and not living up to your "potential". it feels like letting your goals and dreams slip away because you just can't. Can is too much. Can takes too much energy, so instead you sit there in your "I can't-ness" and let it swollow you. 

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For some people I can't is just a small feeling. It's feeling like they're not smart - rich - childless - good enough to do *insert thing here*. This feeling is valid and just as important to recognise. It's not the same as I won't either. I won't implies defiance. I won't implies choice. 

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I can't is not a choice. There are many amazing people in this world. They do so many things, and lead extraordinary lives. Many will do interviews talking about how they just believed, and worked towards a goal. "It's easy, anyone can do it" they say. "you just have to save more, work more, chase your dreams, your goals and your desires." they say, like it's easy, like it's something everyone can do. These people don't understand. They've had the privelage of not experiencing "I can't" 

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That's not to say these amazing people haven't had to work hard, or experience hardship or make sacrifices, but they've stumbled upon a particular set of arbitrary circumstances that set them apart from other people. These include: Country of origin, race, gender, mental and physical health, supportive family/teachers/peers, knowing the right people, being in the right place at the right time. And because they're wonderful, but imperfect humans that have only ever lived as themselves, they mistake their success as not giving into "I can't" when it's usually not having experienced "I can't" in the first place. 

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I sit in a weird space when it comes to this. I lead a jam packed life full of "chasing my art and living the dream", but I also experience the overwhelming feeling of I can't all the time. Let me tell you, I wouldn't be able to get past this if I didn't have such a lovely and supportive network. I would curl in a ball and cry all day. I would take a normal job I hated and stagnate. I wouldn't travel, I wouldn't see people. I would completely and utterly give into I can't. 

But I don't, because I'm supported and privileged. I think more people who say no to "I can't" need to be introspective and examine their privilege, especially before they preach the word of "everyone can do it", because not everyone can do it. It's not ideal, but it's one of the truest truths in our weird society. 

I suppose the conclusion is, if you give into your feelings of I can't, don't feel bad. Don't feel worthless, because you're not. Breaking out of I can't is hard. And if you're one of these wonderful amazing people preaching the word of "everyone can do it" stop and think about all of the help, support and circumstances you've experienced to get you there, and consider how different the experiences and resources other people have are different. 

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A little off topic, but relevant none the less: I recorded a new video today (technically yesterday now) It's a cute little song about tea, with a rather sad ending. Coincidently, I'm wearing the same outfit in the video, but It was not produced the same day!