personality quizzes

Recently, on my quest to fill time, I took a few personality quizzes to see what I thought of them. I was curious to see how others might see me or how accurate they were. Do they truly reflect who I am as a person?

If I’m being honest doing a Buzzfeed quiz was the closest I had gotten to doing a personality quiz. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that a quiz on what type of bread you are is a completely inaccurate reflection of self… Okay maybe I am. That’s why I thought I would delve into the more ‘serious’ quizzes.

If you didn’t know already, a personality quiz/test usually involves “a standardised series of questions or tasks, used to describe or evaluate a subject’s personality characteristics” (thanks yourdictionary.com).

When I first started writing this post I was really keen to see if taking these personality quizzes would reveal something about myself that I didn’t know. To tell you the truth – after a bit of looking around, I stopped caring. I stopped caring about whether I was more extroverted than introverted and what that meant for me. I stopped caring about what percentage I had an “openness to experience”. Besides from not caring about them, I also don’t think personality quizzes are particularly accurate. Every quiz I took portrayed me in a different way and I can’t see how a few questions can ever really give you an accurate representation of who you are.

In the end, it didn’t really matter what any of the quizzes said because I have decided that I am content with who I am as a person. Sure, I’m not exactly perfect and there are things that I would like to improve about myself; but I don’t need to overwhelm myself with them. Personality quizzes were fun and interesting to do in my spare time, but I didn’t really take much from them. I kind of like not knowing everything there is to know about myself because it’s nice to find out things on your own.

So, the conclusions that I drew from all of this is that, for me, personality quizzes are really just something fun to do when you have too much time on your hands. Sure, they might give you a little insight into your personality and maybe they reinstate things that you already knew. But I think that’s about it.

clara x 2020

missing live music

The other day I was hit with the an overwhelming amount of grief and sadness when my dad raised doubts about going to gigs and festivals, saying that it won’t be the same for years to come because of COVID-19. As someone who lives for gigs, it is genuinely heartbreaking to hear that you won’t be able to go to concerts and festivals for a while. I know there are a lot of unknowns around the live music scene and nothing is for certain. Keeping an optimistic mindset for when I’ll get to return to seeing live music has been about the only thing I’ve been optimistic about.

I can often find myself feeling an overwhelming amount of dread and doubt for my future but things like going to Splendour in the Grass later on in the year have keep me going. That might come across a bit selfish and if so I don’t really mind. Going to gigs has been a passion of mine ever since I was able to go. The thrill of seeing and hearing a band in real life after listening to countless hours of their music through your earphones is simply the best. In saying that, I don’t even mind if I haven’t listened to all their albums back to back on repeat – seeing live music in itself is phenomenal.

Going to gigs and festivals isn’t just about the music – they are a way to hang out with friends, create new memories and just enjoy life. That’s something that I truly treasure and it takes a bloody pandemic to realise it. I guess that goes without saying for a lot of things. I’m coming to realise that so many things can be taken for granted: daily rituals, spontaneous trips, forming connections… Missing out on going to gigs means missing out spending time with friends – the people I love and treasure. 

The last festival I went to was Falls festival and I had the best time. The music was great and I got to hang out with some of my favourite people. I was blissfully happy even with the long lines, dirty docs and excessive sweating. In amongst thousands of people you get this uniting feeling (as lame as that sounds).

a quick video of some bits and pieces from falls

I hope to continue to support artists by listening to their music, buying their merch and vinyl and looking forward to future gigs. For now I get to reminisce on all the good memories I have of festivals and gigs – hopefully they’ll be back real soon.

clara x 2020

new kind of art

Recently I have been trying a new kind of art in the form of portraits. I’m not sure what kind of portraits they would be classified as – much more abstract than anything that’s for sure. I love the idea of drawing life like portraits but never thought I quite had the skills. Then I decided to just give it a go, using a more abstract route. They turned out okay so I thought I’d share. I don’t really have much art background so they aren’t especially proportionate or perfect in any way but I don’t mind. There aren’t any rules when it comes to art (as lame as it sounds) – which is something that I need to continue to tell myself.

It’s easy to get caught up into what you think your art should look, well it is for me anyway. My problem is that I compare my work to others. I care way too much about what others think. I don’t think I’m the only one who has a habit of comparing themselves to others in life. Sure, it’s not always a bad thing but knowing when to stop is something that I want to get better at.

Famous artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse are some of the artists that I think influenced the kind of art that I would like to make. I have a board on Pinterest where I pin lots of inspiration – there are so many amazing artists and pieces of art out there that I have discovered.

I also remember in art classes in high school having to do an exercise where we would have to draw an object without lifting the pencil off of the paper. I remember always cheating when it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to or how I thought it was supposed to look like. It wasn’t until recently that I adopted a new I-don’t-really-care attitude which has allowed me to actually pick up a pen or paintbrush without fearing so much judgement. 

The steps it takes me to draw one of my portraits aren’t very fancy and I get the feeling that everyone could do it. I try not to copy a face from an image and instead just draw a face from the top of my head. In saying that, I do get lots of ideas and inspiration in my mind from pictures I have seen or people that I know (see my Pinterest board). 

I first use pencil to outline a basic shape of the face and around where I want the features to be. Then I go over with a marker and sketch out the face without lifting my pen.

My drawings are far from perfect and I’m still learning. There are still lots of things I want to do with them and skills I would love to learn and refine. I like that I can draw and paint without many expectations. Picking up a pen and just drawing, not really caring what the outcome will be, is something that I love.

clara x 2020

walks with freddy

Every afternoon for the past month or so I have been walking my dog, Freddy. It’s a habit that I can be proud of because I know how hard it can be to create and form new habits. I’ve also been sick so getting out hasn’t always been easy. We almost always walk the same route, never walking too far because I get tired too quickly these days.

Although I’m usually someone who gets bored easily of things, I can walk the same route for months and not get bored. walking. I think it’s because I might be walking the same route, it’s never the same because each day is different. The sky is different; it might be full of clouds or there might not be any clouds at all. The sky might be bright blue or maybe orange when the sun is setting. As someone who has always had such infatuation with clouds and the sky, walking around is the best way to appreciate them.

Getting out and walking around has become so much more enjoyable since isolation. Having a dog to walk has become such a privilege, an excuse for me to go out and stretch my legs. I’ve definitely been seeing things a little differently since iso’ that’s for sure.

Walking Freddy is one of my favourite things to do. (I should write a disclaimer saying that our family dog Paddy grandad so he can’t get out as much as he would like. But when he does I love walking with him equally.) I could so easily write whole blog posts on Freddy because he’s one of the brightest light of my life. I know that sounds awfully cheesy but he has gotten me through rough times and been there for me in my happiest days.

Freddy is a happy-go-lucky kinda dog. I’ve never met a dog so incredibly smart and yet so dumb at the same time. Like me, he isn’t particularly street smart. He’s the type of dog that will chase his tail and catch it, then not know what to do. He’s the type of dog that bounce around in the backyard, chasing shadows of birds and butterflies for hours. He is also the type of dog that sits and watches the tv when there is any kind of animal with such interest and patience. He learns quickly – my sister taught him how to shake before he was even eating solid foods. He is great to walk with, always smiling always there.

meet freddy, my bff

Recently I started listening to podcasts while I walk, specifically Better Than Yesterday by Osher Günsberg. It’s gotta be the best podcast out – check it out if you wanna interesting, inspiring conversations about life.

I think I love walking Freddy because it makes me feel calm and centred in a world that can be scary and confusing. It’s one of those constants in my life that I only really appreciate when I sit down and think about it. I should probably do that more often.

clara x 2020

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