CTRL + ALT + DEL

I recently took a break from social media.

Technically I’m still on this break but a few experiences I’ve had whilst keeping myself on the social media down low have got me thinking and even taking action.

I decided to minimize my use of social due to having some major things going on in my family life. I won’t explain or divulge what these things are, purely because my family is my business, and if you hadn’t noticed my absence or lack of interactions of late and asked if I’m okay, then you really don’t need to know because simply, you don’t care 🤷🏼‍♀️

I haven’t been posting at the rate I normally do and I don’t check my social media feeds as much. I’ve been too exhausted in the real world to deal with the virtual world.

What I found though, was that only a select few people noticed it was out of character for me to be so absent and they reached out to check in and even offered a helping hand if things became too much to handle. I was grateful for this and it made me appreciate these friendships more ♥️

The flip side of this though is being taught who my surface friends are. The ones who want to show up for a good time only and don’t actually have any investment in me or our friendship. I have no qualms with surface friends in general, we all have them and they’re fun to be around, but I do have qualms with people who shout from rooftops they love me and have my best interest at heart, but don’t pick up the phone to text or call to see if I’m okay since I’ve basically gone MIA.

In turn, I’ve become a bit savage in my approach to my social media going forward. An example of this is last night, for the first time in a month, I posted something to social because it was the anniversary of one of the happiest points in my life. Anyone who knows me well knows what that period meant to me and how it touched me.

Well, one person decided to make a remark that, to put it simply, offended me.

It doesn’t matter what they said, but it proved that if this person knew me even remotely, they wouldn’t have sought cruel humor in a situation that was clearly very dear to me, especially during a difficult time.

So to cut a long story short, I deleted the comment and I deleted them.

Why? You may ask.

Seems a bit rash?

The older I get, I’ve become less tolerant of behaviors I don’t want to be exposed to and if you only pop up in my life when you need something or to make a jibe at my expense, Bye Felicia! 🙋🏼‍♀️

I don’t want to be that person who writes essays for someone who can’t even string two sentences together for me. I don’t want to be that person who lets someone be disrespectful and continue to have access to me and my life. And I certainly don’t want to be that person who cultivates relationships that really aren’t good for me.

So I’m taking the CTRL + ALT + DEL approach.

I’m taking control of what I want.

I’m altering my focus and in turn, hoping those who maybe weren’t so thoughtful or nice in the past can alter their behavior.

And if in turn these things I want to alter only bring me negativity and pain; delete.

Remember that detachment isn’t selfish when rooted in self care. Every single one of us is worthy of everything good in life and we all deserve to be happy. This sometimes means letting go.

xoxo Natalie

Advertisements

I Am Sisyphus

For the past 2 months I’ve had a lot going on.
Much of which has stopped me from living my life as I normally would…..or would like to.
All of which had me put these blog posts on hold and had me out of touch with so much.

It’s funny how the universe will dish up all the bad and stress all at once and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it but take it a day at a time and pray you won’t be miserable forever. You plaster a smile on your face, say you’re okay and just keep going.

Without delving too much into what is going on (because there is a Hell of a lot), basically my grandmother’s health took a turn for the worse and as my grandfather suffers from Dementia, both their caring needs escalated and so of late I have been in and out of hospitals and doctors offices and trying to deal with caring for my grandfathers needs while also dealing with certain expectations placed on me that I am just not ready to take on which aren’t even my responsibility. Being guilted into cleaning up other people’s messes has been somewhat of a habit for a long time but it is something I no longer cop to. But it doesn’t mean people/family won’t still try to manipulate me into doing so.

It hasn’t been easy. I went over a month without seeing anyone and even spent a stint of time working from home because there was just no other way to go about day to day tasks while making sure my grandfather was okay also.

All of this has definitely given me respect for people who do this 24/7.

It has also had me reflect a lot on what has been put on me and expected of me and how much I have given up over the years to “keep the peace”.

After a lot of thinking and a huge deep and meaningful with my best friend, I realised to a degree I need to be more selfish. I need to stop putting what I want on hold to make sure everyone else is always alright and happy because otherwise I will always be stuck. I will never be free.

This doesn’t mean I won’t care for loved one’s or help where I can, but it does mean I start living and stop sacrificing what brings me joy.

For a long time (actually forever), I’ve been ruled by fear and by doubt and have given up so much because it would upset certain family members or was frowned upon. And if I am being completely honest, it’s left me truly unhappy deep down.

Nobody should live their life for someone else and nobody should be held back from what they want to achieve.

For a long time I have been pushing the same boulder, up the same hill, only to have it roll back down and have me start all over again.
Same people. Same problems. Same outcome.

I can’t expect anyone to pick it up and carry it away for me, I need to pick it up and hurl it away myself.

I know it won’t be easy, I know it will take time and I know I will probably upset those who have had control over me for so long, but it’s time to grow. It’s time to spread my wings and it is time to do me.

So for anyone who feels the same way, or feels trapped or is desperate to just let go, remember: Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do. Even if it feels impossible. There is always a way. There is always someone who will support you, who will believe in you and who will encourage you.

Live your best life.

xoxo Natalie

Maybe She’s Born With It…

A few weeks ago I decided to run an experiment. I used myself as the Guinea Pig.
I wanted to see whether or not we really are moving forward and embracing people for who they are, or whether we still prefer the edited and filtered version that is most appealing and “cute” to the eye.

I first posted a photo of myself, makeup free, hair not done, just sitting like a bum on my day bed staring out the window like a usually do on a lazy Sunday afternoon.


I captioned it “Funny how it’s photos like these that are the hardest to embrace”.

I said that because it is true. It is hard to look at a non-primped version of yourself and accept that that is what you really look like when you are confronted by images in the media that are always on point and celebrities who appear to be slaying 24/7.
Expectations become unrealistic and so looking at a raw photo of yourself can be cringe worthy. So you pick yourself apart because who better to be your own worst enemy than yourself!

I posted the photo to Instagram and to Facebook and waited for the responses.

29 likes on Instagram (I’m not Nick Bateman ok…I don’t have that many followers) and 51 likes on Facebook later, I was actually pretty surprised with the response. I really didn’t think the reaction would be so positive so I was quite taken aback by the love and support and the high fives for posting me as I am when nobody is looking.
Lots of kind words were said and it was refreshing and encouraging.

My next step was to test the waters with an edited photo where I tweaked my skin tone, smoothed out some imperfections and ensured the pose was one of those cutesy AF types that makes girls with self respect cringe (look it happened guys….I’m not gonna say I hated doing it….but I’m not gonna say I’m ashamed either…lol).


I captioned it according to my upcoming leave from work and it was a little sassy to match the pose.

33 likes on Instagram and 54 likes on Facebook later, I realised there wasn’t much of a difference in reaction to either picture.

Both received a similar amount of traffic.
Both received a similar amount of interaction.
Both received a similar amount of love.

My conclusion…..nobody actually gives a sh*t.

Now I don’t mean that in a bad way at all!

Basically I found that whether I was being myself or being the airbrushed 2.0 version of myself, the same people still gave love and still gave a thumbs up because it wasn’t about what they were looking at….it was about me.
They interacted because of who I am not what I looked like in the pictures.

That is what counts to me more than anything.

I’ve seen the ugly side of the internet and I’ve experienced it.
It wasn’t easy to deal with and it was hard to get to a point where I felt comfortable putting myself out there again on many levels, not just photograph wise but blog wise. It was actually my first ever blog and twitter account that were attacked repeatedly by an individual some years ago and so for a long time I stepped away and didn’t engage on that kind of a platform. At the time it just wasn’t worth it.

But I grew and I moved forward and I’m no longer discouraged.

This little experiment helped reiterate for me that not everyone is toxic and not everyone expects the polished veneer to be in place all the time.

It helped remind me that it is more important to work on being beautiful on the inside.
The more you show who you are, the more beautiful you will be to yourself and to others.
You create beauty with your attitude, your actions and your behaviour.
Be the best possible version of yourself.

Be-You-Tiful

xoxo Natalie

 

 

 

I Am The Echelon….and Proud

Two years ago on this date I made a dream of mine come true.
I met Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds To Mars.

I don’t think much can compare to the experience of that whole day that started with watching Artifact, followed by a Q&A with Jared then meeting him, then making my way to the concert venue to meet the band and then watch one of the best concerts I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of.
It was magical, real, honest, genuine and most of all, it was having a place to belong.
This experience and talking to others the world over prompted my being asked to contribute to a blog and share my story of what being a part of this bands family (The Echelon) means.
So in celebration of my Thirty Seconds To Mars-aversary 🙂 I’m going to post my contrbution here.
I hope you enjoy….

Posted May 18 2014

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure and sometimes unfortunate displeasure of being a part of different fan bases music wise as my taste in music spans many genres. One thing though has stood out to me over the years and that is The Echelon. There is nothing like it.

So what sets The Echelon apart?

Is it the sense of family and community and having a place to belong?
Is it that we are all dreamers and believers and support each other?
Is it that we have this amazing platform at VyRT.com where we come together to celebrate this sense of constant connection and have a dialogue directly with the band where our voices can be heard?
Or is it because we’re all just a little bit inappropriate and pervy? I mean who doesn’t love a bit of Hurricane uncensored ;o)
I believe we, The Echelon, are all that and more. We can appreciate that we are all different and unique and that’s what makes us one. We come to this with no judgment and we celebrate each other. We celebrate our achievements, our moments with Thirty Seconds To Mars and our belief that this is more than just a band. We live loud, we make mistakes and sometimes we fail, but we pick ourselves up and reach for whatever is our personal success.

The best example I can give as to why I am The Echelon and proud is the reaction a friend of mine had when I took her with me to a Meet & Greet and show. She wasn’t a Thirty Seconds To Mars fan before this and didn’t know any song so was going into the experience blind. She looked at me at one point and said “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like a religious experience.” Part of me giggled because we all know ‘This is a cult’ but part of me also stood there and thought, this is what sets us apart. The core of it all is that my friend felt welcomed. There was no cattiness, no jealousy and no person taking away from any others experience during the Q&A and Meet & Greet because it was about all of us. We all mattered. This value stems directly from Jared, Shannon and Tomo and this is why I think we come together as one.

We connect the world over. One of the sweetest people I’ve met lives on the other side of the world in Russia but what brought us together was Thirty Seconds To Mars. And I’m grateful. I’ve met and had comments on my posts on different social media from creative and positive people and the messages are always sent with love.

So thank you Echelon.
Thank you for 12 years of a place to belong.
Thank you for 12 years of positivity.
Thank you for 12 years of making something that is set apart from the rest.

Jared put it best when he said “We have something special. It’s not for everyone. Not everybody will understand it and that’s fine with us. It’s just for the people that do.”

I am the Echelon and proud.

Original post found here

xoxo Natalie

Wellbeing Stocktake

We all get caught up in the whirlwind of our daily lives that sometimes we forget to stop and check in on ourselves. We overlook our own wellbeing for the sake of our jobs, our families and others.
It isn’t bad practise to put others before yourself, but it is bad practise to forget yourself completely.

Never forget that you count too!

I realised that I spend a lot of time looking out for others, both family, colleague and friend alike, and in some areas I have ignored my needs.

It was time to do a stocktake of the things I am neglecting.

  1. It’s Ok To Say No

    You’re allowed to say no and you don’t have to explain yourself when you do.
    So many times I have agreed to things and in doing so have sacrificed my own needs or wants. Just because it may be easier to say yes doesn’t mean it is right.
    Learn to say no if it isn’t in your best interest.

  2. Be Generous With Yourself

    Countless times I have paid for dinners, getaways or concert tickets and been promised “I’ll pay you tonight/tomorrow/next week”…in some instances I’m still waiting.
    Not to mention gifts purchased for special occasions or to just do something nice for someone and my generosity has been taken for granted.
    I don’t work hard for the little money I earn to have it wasted and neither does anyone else who finds themselves in the same situation.
    Be generous with yourself first.
    Then those who are deserving can follow.
    But your generosity should not be expected. It should be earned.

  3. Put Your Heart First

    If someone says something insensitive or awful, don’t bow your head and cop it on the chin. That condones the behaviour. Your feelings count too.
    You can only be the good thing that happens to people for so long before it takes its toll.
    There will always be someone who is too selfish to think before they speak or too ignorant to consider another persons situation/feelings – that’s just human nature. The difference however will lie with you and whether you condone the actions or not.
    Don’t let anyone dull your light.

As a little exercise, take a moment and give yourself a chance to see where you need to take stock. Make your own list and assess what you can do to make a difference for yourself. Think of the moments where you thought “Hang on a minute!” and take note of the situation. Your own checklist of the things that were negative choices or impacts can help determine which positive choices you need to make to improve your own wellbeing.

nobody-is-in-charge-of-your-happiness-except-you-quote-1

xoxo Natalie

 

Sink or Swim

Lately I’ve been feeling a little like Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack in Titanic, scrambling to stay afloat a piece of driftwood and wondering at what point will I be shoved in to the depths of the abyss because Rose is a hog and won’t move the f*ck over!

rosejack

You see my workplace currently feels like a sinking ship.
One by one, every person who has brought value and life and knowledge to this place is leaving and every day feels like a dreaded walk down death row….because you wonder who’s going to go next or will the doors even open tomorrow.

Russell Ewing said, “A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting”.
This is where the crux of my work place’s problems lie. Once upon a time we were a buzzing team who felt like a family unit and now my joy is found in seeing nervous new candidates sitting in our reception area waiting for an interview and realising they have no idea what they are in for.

Probably doesn’t help that I whisper ‘run’ as I walk by.

I can imagine some of you are scratching your heads thinking…
“If it’s so bad, why are you still there?”

Let me answer that for you…..

I am 7 months, 20 days and 5 hours away from qualifying for long service leave. There is no way on God’s green earth I am walking away from that. I have stuck it out for almost 10 years, I sure as sh*t can do another 7 months, 20 days and 5 hours to guarantee I reach that milestone.

It is however making me question what is more important.
Is my reaching my goal of 10 years of service more important than my happiness in what I do?
Is the stress it brings worth powering through to attain the bonus of a long service leave payout?

Many of you may say no, it isn’t worth it. Your mental health is a priority and no amount of money can fix that.
Some of you would say yes, it is worth it. Take those f*ckers for all they have and get what is owed to you!

I find myself somewhere in the middle.
I am partly staying because I have given almost 10 years of my life to the one company, have endured the excuses for 5 years that we cannot be given payrises and have watched people come and go, taken on extra work and become involved across so many areas that I feel reaching the 10 year mark will be a personal achievement in perserverence. I want to prove to myself that I can do it.
The other part of me is staying because the payout will pay for my 2017 overseas trip so screw them, they owe me!

The situation would probably be less palatable if I didn’t have other projects that I work on outside of work hours and a side job that I do from time to time throughout the year….and no you cheeky Monkeys with the smirks on your faces, it is not THAT kind of side job haha.

I’m lucky enough to be able to help a friend with her clothing line. Whether it’s help with marketing and social media, or being her ‘model’ and going to events to help sell her range, I feel like I am utilising all of my untapped skills and talent. Helping her is my creative outlet and seeing the successes come through is such a reward on so many fronts. And when she is a fashion mogul she is going to take me with her or I will sneak into her warehouse and take to all of her stock with a pair of scissors! (just joking Tee haha….or am I)

I am also super lucky to work with a pop culture event as their Guest Liaison at their major conventions and as a Guest Handler at their smaller more intimate events and this is where my passion lies. This is where I get to immerse myself in challenges and engage with people and work in an environment that makes me happy. It’s giving me experience and opportunity and will help me get to where I want to be.  Getting to work with amazing people, doing what I actually love, makes waking up at 5:15am everyday for my regular job less painful. Plus everyone at my day job thinks I’m some kind of rockstar because of the people I am privileged enough to meet and get to know. I mean who doesn’t love water cooler conversations that are all about how awesome you are 😀

At the end of the day it all comes down to doing what is best for you.
No matter what your situation or what makes you feel stuck in a rut, make sure you are clear on your path and you are putting into place the things you need to get to where you want to be. Don’t get stuck clinging to the railing, cupping water in your hands to throw overboard as you watch your ship sink with you on it. Endure the hard times but look to strive for what you really want and need. Take on that second job or start that project or do that course you have been thinking about. Make those sacrifices now for your greater good because only you have the ability to choose whether you sink or you swim.

xoxo Natalie