nightmares

A little while back I noticed I was getting more nightmares than I thought was normal. Now that I think my sleep is more on track and I haven’t been having any nightmares I thought I might chat about it and my experiences. I should warn you that they may or may not disturb you – I’ll try not make it too spooky.

The two main ones I was having involved a creepy man (classic). They used to always take place in my bedroom. The trick was that, they were so realistic that it was difficult for me to tell, whether I was even dreaming or not. I would wake up in the dream (which made it all the more confusing as one could imagine) and realise that my bedroom window is open, which of course, was weird. So I would start closing them but, just before I finished, a male voice coming from in the darkness in my closet says “thanks for closing them, I was getting cold”. He would rush toward me and, of course during that time I would forget how to use my speech function and then that was the end. That dream repeated a few times in the night before I could relax and actually sleep.

The other one was very similar but instead of the creepy man appearing in my room, he was outside. So perhaps slightly less bad. He would appear in my window as some kind of surprise attack and of course the same thing would happen – forgetting how to scream or shout or yell out for help. That would be the end of the dream. Again, this would happen a few times.

I remember when it go bad, my younger brother (bless him) sat in my bedroom and played on his computer until I fell asleep. Not only this, when I woke up after the nightmares I would call him up and get him to check my room to be super sure that there was no way anyone could be there. It might sound silly but, it was very reassuring having a real life person to tell you that it wasn’t real. He did then try and give me advice for next time to check if my dream was it was real or not which involved some kind of trick with my toes? I’m not entirely sure about the toe part and I definitely wasn’t listening when he was explaining it. He definitely read it on the Internet and I definitely won’t be using it in the future. Also the fact that I’m not actually in control of my body in my dream so I can’t quickly pause the scene to check if I can cross my big toes onto the second toe. But nonetheless it sweet of him. 

I’m pretty stoked that I’m not having these nasty dreams anymore. Hopefully it’ll stay that way (for a while anyway). Stay tuned for what I found when I tried to understand why I was having these dreams.

clara x 2020

{featured image: a picture I took along the sea cliff bridge in NSW (it’s really lovely there – would recommend)}

another video

Yesterday I decided to film another of me-doing-some-art videos on my deck. It’s a slightly different medium to my last one because I also like to put in some personal photos. I like to pick photos based on their colours and mood and then from there I kind of base everything off the photos. There’s something lovely about looking through photos irl rather than on your phone that I love.

This isn’t any new information but, doing art makes me feel relaxed and I have been finding more time to do it lately. Something that I also find to be calming is editing videos. And so is writing. So you could say this is three birds with one stone (no harm to any actual birds please).

clara x 2020

feelin a bit lonely

This morning I woke up feeling optimistic about my day and what I would get up to which included doing a bit of my online course, doing a bit of art and probably lots of Netflix in between. Amongst all these activities I had planned in my head was an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. Since taking a break from uni I have felt a disconnect from who I am as a person. I think a lot of that is down to choice and the fact that I didn’t really have much when deciding whether or not I should take a break from uni. The disconnect doesn’t really so much come from not doing the uni work because even though I loved learning – learning can wait, friends can’t. I’m not about to write a piece about how my friends have abandoned me when I am at my most vulnerable because even though it would be juicy – it’s too much effort. It also wouldn’t be true. 

In today’s current climate I don’t feel alone in the fact that I don’t get the opportunity to see my friends face-to-face. There is, however, an added layer for me which is that I am no longer attending uni. I should add that almost all of my friends I have are from uni so taking the uni part away is hard! I have a strong bond between all my uni friends but there has been a little extra distance between them and me recently. Without being at uni means not coming together to complain about how much work we have to do or how to start an assignment. Even though these aren’t necessarily key components of a relationship, they don’t count for nothing. Everyone gets a bit busy in their lives and that also makes it hard to keep in touch.

Feeling lonely isn’t solely coming from my recent distance (both physically and not physically) between friends, its a combination of all things in my life. Sure, I feel a bit lonely right now but I don’t think that it will last forever. I’m pretty lucky knowing I’ve got lots of supportive people in my life including my family. I think that its okay to feel a bit lonely sometimes as long as you know that someone somewhere out there is supporting you. I hope that I can instil some sort of hope in others knowing that I am supportive of them. 

clara x 2020

how i relax (or at least try to)

As someone who is on edge all the time, I can find it hard to properly relax. In saying that, I think I have developed some strategies (with the help of many people) over the years that do help me relax. Because everyone is different , something I have struggled with is coming to terms with not understanding why a strategy didn’t work for me when it worked wonders for someone else. It’s hard when people are telling you all these life-changing strategies that they do to de-stress: just like that and they feel good to go. It still happens now, people offering unsolicited advice and even though I am wise enough to recognise that it is just an opinion and it might not work for me. There is still the optimist in me that it thinks: maybe this time it will work. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but more often than not, for me, these ‘strategies’ don’t work. 

My anxiety has warped into this huge monster that started off being just jittering butterflies to intense nausea and vomiting. Over my time since discovering that I actually had a condition, I have tried lots of things that have been suggested from therapists to my mum’s work friends. I would have no idea if any of them worked because my mind has a way of tricking me into believing if I don’t see any results straight away or soon than it doesn’t work and that I should abandon all hopes of ever feeling calm. I’ll be honest, that mindset doesn’t happen all the time but I will say that I still haven’t found anything that ‘cures’ my anxiety.

Apart from drugs (prescribed that is) I have tried: meditation, breathing techniques, a great deal of therapy, different therapists, a dog (hint: this tip works a treat), changing my diet, exercising, listening to music, eating and drinking ginger in all forms, self-talk, mantras, art, taking baths – I could go on for years talking in-depth about all these strategies. Instead, I will talk about a few that I like and we will go from there. 

I have always had a love and great appreciation for music. It has been an a constant in my life and especially through my mental health ups and downs. Now I’m not saying I discovered music as a form of therapy, a way of calming down so all I will say is that it works for me. For me, music is a wonderful distraction: focusing on different layers and lyrics. Obviously this doesn’t always work completely and sometimes I puke anyway. Like I said earlier, everyone is different so music might not be such a big part of your life like it is for me. And that’s okay. Recently I have been been making lots of different playlists for different moods or days or times. The playlist could be one song or lots of songs. When I want to listen to certain type of music all I need to do is scroll through some playlists and find one that suits the occasion. It’s brilliant really. 

Art is another thing that I could talk endlessly about but I will reinstate the fact that it helps me calm down. It isn’t something that I find myself doing on the bus so it’s something I do in the comfort of my own home. My favourite kind of art to ‘de-stress’ is grabbing whatever tool (pen/paintbrush/fingers/ scissors etc.) and putting it on some form of paper. I try not to think too much about what I’m doing – which coming from me is a bold statement to make. So instead of trying to make my mind go blank, I focus on other things like the paint strokes I am making or the way I am cutting out a photograph. The beauty of doing it by yourself in your room is that if it turns out shit – you just throw it out and call it a day. 

Doing some classic ‘self-care’ can be helpful. For me it involves making myself a nice smelling bath. Again, this is something that I’m sure is backed up with research and science through the aromatherapy-ness of the event. Alongside this, I like putting on face mask that offers to clear all my acne and along with it: my insecurities (I wish). I sometimes put on a movie or listen to a podcast. I find baths relax my muscles and I’m less stiff and uptight like I normally am during the day, almost like instant relief. Even though the sense of calm can often be short-lived, it is still worth every minute of it.

The nagging glass-half-full in me will continue to hope for a way that truly helps me with my anxiety and lessens its impact in my daily life. Until then, I will continue to try new things and push myself to not get so down when things don’t work out the way that I hoped. 

{picture: my sister in her happy place (plant nursery)}

clara x 2020

clouds

I think I’ve always had an adoration for clouds. There’s something about looking up into the sky on a clear or cloudy day that brings a sense of peace and calmness to me. I think the sky is beautiful no matter the time or day or weather or season. I love how clouds unique fluffs of whiteness that gently move along, against a coloured background. I remember learning about clouds in primary school and lying down on the pavement with my class to spot the clouds and figure out what they were classified as. I find myself looking more abstractly at the clouds instead of trying to spot what kind of animal or character or object etc. each cloud resembled. Don’t get me wrong, I still see different animals and object but on top of that I just sort of see the cloud as it is.

I don’t know enough about clouds and the weather to give scientific explanations on the how and why clouds form, or types of clouds there are etc. But researching more about them is something that I would like to do more of at some point in my life. At some points in my life I have thought about studying at uni because of how much I love to clouds. Right now, formally studying isn’t out of the question but I do think that it could subtract from how pleasant I find looking at them. Although having more knowledge seems like a good idea, I fear it could take away from my abstract view of clouds and the sky that holds them. 

I like to take photos of the sky when I’m outside, usually walking my dog when I notice something in particular that draws my attention. This has been happening almost every time I’m out recently because I think my appreciation of the sky and nature in general has grown since been in isolation. Not leaving the house for so many hours in the day means that anything other than that the painted grey walls of my bedroom or the white ceiling, takes my fancy. 

I love everything about clouds and the sky. They bring me joy and I feel lucky that I get to stare at the sky long enough for people around me to feel uncomfortable. Here’s to many clouds and skies.

clara x 2020

keeping busy with an online course

Recently I have found myself with much more time on my hands than I have ever really had before. This to me, is a lot to take in because I am someone who likes to keep themselves occupied even with mindless tasks. When I think of being busy, I think of my ex boyfriend who would be the definition of keeping busy. When we were seeing each other he was balancing his main role of assistant manager at a retail store, as well as working in radio, doing his own podcast, studying full-time at university and all the other family roles etc.. It really was a wonder to think how we even managed to see each other so often. I would find myself comparing myself to him because I used to think I was busy: working casually a couple of times a week, studying and family, friend roles etc.. What I always left out of the equation was my intense dedication to my studies which meant hours upon hours of study each week. It also did not consider my complex mental health, having to maintaining a healthy mind was no easy task. I would keep myself busy throughout my day in a different way by studying or organising uni work, running errands, doing the shopping, occasionally cleaning the house, baking, attending some appointment etc..

In my mind, it’s hard to not make everything a competition and busy-ness levels may sounds silly but I still manage to compare myself with other people. This is an unhealthy habit that I have developed which, I need to constantly check. It shouldn’t matter how ‘busy’ you are in order to justify anything. I am not lecturing anyone but myself on this because it runs true to many of my inner conflicts specifically around comparing myself to others. It’s hard to change something that is ingrained into you but I need to at least try because it isn’t really helping mental state.  

Usually I find myself playing in my role as a student but as I am taking a hiatus from my studies until further notice, (until next year) I found myself with more time than I am used to. As someone who quietly prides themselves committed to their academic studies and time spent studying or doing things related to study, this is quite the transition. Although my reason for taking a break were out of my control, what I do with my time is largely in control.

As I was keen to keep my academic side pleased and healthy, I decided to enrol in an online course. I decided to study a course online as suggested by someone. There were lots of options, including from every subject you can think of, different forms and lengths etc. The one that took my fancy is called The Health Effects of Climate Change through Harvard. It is a free course with the option of paying a little extra for some benefits. There were lots of intriguing factors in the subject matter. Many people close to me will know of my passion for things related to the environment and especially climate change and its effects in general. Something that I am equally as passionate about is health. I could go on and on about the reasoning as to why I decided to choose this particular course and maybe I will in another post. The course is flexible and self-paced meaning that there are no lecture times or similar pressures.

Doing a course that is so closely related to what I am passionate is good way to keep myself busy. I haven’t done enough of it to give you a full insight into my feelings of it but so far, I am really enjoying it. Hopefully I’ll write some more posts as I progress through the course. Who knows.

(featured image courtesy of  NASA Earth Observatory seen in my course – the thousands of fires of 2010 in Eastern Europe caused a huge amount of air pollution. This is a satellite image taken from space of the smoke in Russia.)

clara x 2020

my style of art + youtube video

Mornings, for me are my favourite time of the day. On days like today, the sun is out (mostly) and if you’re lucky, so are the lawnmowers. Most mornings like today I find the urge to do something creative. My favourite kind of creativity is art which is mostly drawing and water colouring. I think you might like to call it a contemporary style? I wouldn’t really know how to specifically classify it because the style of art I decide to do depends on my mood, the time of the day or generally what I’m “vibin'”.

The kind of art that I have been doing recently is calm in the way that it’s as if I’m telling myself: everything is going to be okay, grab a pen and do whatever you feel, you’ll be okay. It may all seem a bit cliché but that’s the honest truth, sue me if you want (but don’t).

Today, videoed myself doing some art outside on the deck and I made it into a YouTube video – which you’re more than welcome to watch. Half an hour into just one minute. It doesn’t include my internal monologue deciding which shade of green is more appropriate to match a particular shade of yellow. I also chose to not include the part where I sneeze and as a result, throw my headphones off my head and onto the table. I’m always open to feedback.

clara x 2020

finger painting in isolation

Today was a warm and sunny day in isolation and, like every morning I had a rush of excitement to do something. It’s like an urge to do something more than anything as I know that time is of the essence before I lose the energy. The morning is for me, a special time of the day. 

My oldest and dearest friend whom I have known my life happens to also be my neighbour which, in these times happens to be the biggest blessing. We messaged each other for a bit and then decided to take the conversation over the fence. This is a huge throwback to my childhood. We would chat over the fence for a bit before we decided to hang out together which required one of the sides to ask permission from our parents. This wasn’t any different to what I did today except rather than getting permission for her to come over it was asking permission to come over in the pandemic. Not really that much different.

I had decided that we should do something art-related. I wasn’t sure what exactly but it was nice to have some sort of excuse to bring us together. I brought together all my art supplies and we set up a space outside on the deck. She brought some of her supplies which, included delicious homemade brownies as a peace offering of which, I gladly accepted. It must have been her idea that we do finger painting rather than ‘normal’ brush paintings.

I don’t care how old you are, finger painting is for everyone. As a twenty year old like me you might think it is for children – well I’m the one who will prove you wrong. Personally, I wouldn’t necessarily classify finger painting, as a typical kind of art that I want to be doing for the rest of my life. However, I do classify it as a kind of art therapy in a way. There are no rules in finger painting (you could argue this being the rule in art and also – life) and I, for some reason, find calm in all the mess. The mess represented a freedom of sorts where I wasn’t bound by the rules of some forms of art and had choice in what I was painting. The idea is: you can do whatever you want. So there we were, two old friends either side of the table, finger painting and chatting. It was bliss.

For me, art means freedom and escapism. In all its forms it is beautiful and hopefully I can keep learning about it.

clara x 2020

my thoughts on live music

The first concert I ever went to was The Script at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre when I was 13. My dad took me there as a Christmas present. I think that is where my love of live music really began. I’ve lost count of all the gigs I went to since I first discovered my love for them. I remember sitting so far back that you could only just see the band but it didn’t matter to me. Not one bit. It was the atmosphere that made the night and will continue to fuel my love and passion of live music. It’s the giddy feeling you get when the artist first comes on stage and when they play your favourite song. It’s the feeling of unison between you and the strangers that surround you. There are so many things that make up a concert that to me, make it one of the best experiences in life. Since seeing The Script, nothing much has changed apart from my music taste and the venues.

I’ll be the first one to say that I am much more the music snob now than I was in my early teenage years. Transforming my music taste allowed me to experience live music in a different way. Listening to different music means that it can change the people you surround yourself with, well that’s what I’ve found anyway. I have an inner music bias when it comes to meeting new people, including the people I want to date. It sounds bad on paper but I’m almost positive that I’m not the only one who does.

As I started to listen to smaller artists, I found myself in more dingy bars even at a younger age. Going to gigs throughout high school also exposed an activist side of me when bands left off an all ages date, leaving me and many others with no avail. I can acknowledge that it isn’t really the fault of the artist for not catering for their younger audiences. But then it comes down to the venues. I can then acknowledge that it isn’t really all the venues, its the government and its legislations. No one is really at fault but in terms of platforms, I do think that artists, venues and those affected could do more advocating. Especially artists. I say this with no malice but, if your supporters who are listening to your tunes and buying your music aren’t being heard it seems a bit unfair. I think that I could have done more maybe when I was a teenager than complain to anyone who would listen (this was usually my dad) about the injustice every time you see that your favourite band is playing in Brisbane only to find that they are only playing over 18 gigs.

I was a pretty “goody-two-shoes” kinda gal growing up and was always abiding by the law but the only time I would ever consider getting a fake ID was so that I could see my favourite band or go a festival that had an artist that I had been desperately wanting to see. But, like everyone else I impatiently waited until I turned 18 so I could stop complaining about the selection of gigs and instead started complaining about how little money I had left to pay for them.

clara 2020

let’s go

Hi, my name is Clara and I decided to start a blog. I must admit that I am new to all this so instead of telling myself “one day” I will actually do something, I did it. Who knows what will happen but that’s the beauty in stepping outside your comfort zone. It might be a little uncomfortable. It might be a little bit bleghh. It might make you frustrated. But above all of that, it’s progress. Even if it might not be the progress you want. It’s still something and that’s got to count for something. Well that’s what I try and tell myself. I’m curious about everything in life, things that make me wonder why. I like to talk about what’s going on in my life to others so much that I thought I may as well type some of it up and see what happens. More than anything I want to understand others so I find myself writing about the experiences I’ve had with others and generally things that have gone on in my life. Things might get personal on here or they might not. Let’s roll with it.

clara x 2020