love letters #01

this is a photo diary of what love means to me, and notes from times in life this year when love meant a lot of different things. if you're here for the words, scroll to the bottom. if you're here for the art, exit when you hit all the words. if you're here for both, hello and welcome to the inner workings of my messy little head.

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i've never written about love before on here. i write about things i love, and i talk about myself a hell of a lot, but i've never talked about love before. maybe i never understood it properly? the meaning shifts for me, what it means now would have meant something totally different to me two years ago, and thats a good thing. love and relationships are intertwined but different. love can be one sided and selfish and not always with the purest intentions, and so can relationships. relationships can be long and affectionate with an absence of love. 

let me say though, i'm the first person to confess that when it comes to love and relationships, i don't have the best track record. feelings have been stomped on, boys have been ghosted, lies have been told, and relationships whether serious or not have been entered into with little to no regard of anyone's feelings but my own. i think to some extent we have all been the shitty person, whether we know it or not, and people have done worse things than i have, and some people are better at this than i am. but i'm learning.

i've learned that loving someone properly is hard hard work, but so very worth it. there is compromise and disagreements and more talk about feelings than i ever thought i'd endure. i'm learning that not every fight is the end of the world even though my 4am cries make it seem that way. i thought my last relationship was perfect because we never fought, but we also never talked about how we feel and when it came time to have to do so, we couldn't. or we chose not to try. and either way, being in love is a choice you make every single day and not just on the good ones.

we have our strengths and our weaknesses and we have insecurities and issues but what i’m learning is that our connection and love for each other is stubborn. even when i feel furious i also feel sure. 

it's incredibly hard to write about because it's always changing, and it will mean something different to everyone. to me, the only way i can even get close is by taking all the little things, the notes i've scribbled down and the songs that make me go oh, that's how it feels and the moments that i've collected over the time i've spent with him.

i don’t know if there’s ever going to be a way to write down how i feel about loving him, it’s like finding that perfect piece of clothing that you want to wear all the time. it’s being deliriously happy, it's driving to your house at 1am because you can’t bear to go to sleep knowing they’re not happy, nothing i’ve ever felt before, fucking terrifying, but it’s also finding something you didn’t know you could feel and getting to pull him closer at night and feel so damn content. and it's wanting to bottle up every little moment and write down every single thing that makes your heart melt because you want to remember it forever.

a beautiful blur


I’m writing this from a quiet place in the botanical gardens where I grew up. I was here the same time last year but my life was dramatically different then. This time last year I was severely in denial about the mess my life was in, and inside I was an emotional wreck about some tough choices I had to make. A few months later, I made those tough choices and the rest of the year has been a blur. A beautiful blur.

I always get nostalgic and introspective around this time of year, especially when I’m back in the city I grew up in. My 2016 photo diary gives you a bit of insight into my headspace back then. Disjointed, secretive, glimpses into what was going on in my head- I didn’t even want to confront it myself. This year was an in between year I guess. I had an idea of what it would be and it absolutely was not what I anticipated. I had no plans and I just wanted to see where life took me.


And here, at the end of the year, and so many times in between, I can finally say I’m happy. Genuinely, not just an emotion I throw out onto the internet every year to try and affirm that the choices I’ve made are good ones, faking it til I make it kind of happy. Real happiness, the kind that comes when I’m not hiding anything from myself.

I really got to know myself this year from confronting the worst parts of myself. It wasn’t pretty. There were a lot of tears and days where I thought it would never get better. Realised the extent of my selfishness, how spoilt and ungrateful I’d become in relationships, how negatively I saw myself, every insecurity I've ever had bubbled to the surface. I desperately wanted to change but just couldn’t seem to will myself to do anything. Realising these things and that I needed to change them was a step closer to being nicer to myself and everyone around me. At the end of the day you’re all you’ve really got and hating myself was doing me no good. So I slowed down this year. Took some time for myself.

I slowed down enough to realised I am more anxious and not as in control of depressive tendencies as I thought I was. Spent a lot of long nights working night shifts and soul searching.


Almost every day this year felt harder than the one before, every day felt like some kind of struggle but when I look back, all I can see is a long dark period with little dots of joy scattered in between, and towards the end of it all things started getting brighter, kinda like the night sky turning to dawn. It’s a lame cliche but that’s really how it feels.

If you told me this time last year I’d be tearful almost every week and out of control disorganised and forgetful I’d tell you to piss off because I’m better than that and I’m gonna do amazing. And if you told me I’d fall out of love and into love, or that I was going to have weeks where I’d cry cos I couldn’t afford groceries, or that I would lose control of the parts of me I used to pride myself of having control over (my motivation, my diet, my addictions, my water intake, my zest for life)... yeah I would be skeptical. But it all happened and it was all character building and now do you know what I’m actually real bloody happy.

I get to laugh with my friends. I get to prop myself up on my elbows in bed and gaze (sickeningly) into the eyes of the boy I love, and jump into his outstretched arms and plant kisses all over his angel face and feel even crazier about him than I did yesterday. I get to water my plants and watch them grow. I get to drive my car around the bays and watch the sunset or go and get a frozen coke and know that I have all this freedom stretched out in front of me. I get to cosy up in my blanket and sit on the floor and do my makeup in the morning, get dressed in clothes that make me feel like me, inhale my coffee and cigarette and emerge as Fern, tired and always fragile but ready for the day. I get to go home at the end of the day to my comforts. And after 22 years of not feeling like anywhere in particular is home, always wanting to uproot, abhorring routine and craving adventure, it’s really fucking nice to enjoy the comforts of the little life I’ve built.


Even on the bad days and the days where I feel insufferably anxious and sorry for myself, I’m happy that I’ve gotten to the point where I can take a step back and think okay, you’ve felt like this before and you’ll feel like this again and I can figure out how to make it better next time.

And even on the worst days there are the little comforts in my life that always bring a smile to my face and there are friends and there is my family and there are endless videos of animals doing adorable things on the internet and there is rex and I have a job and a roof over my head and car


and I’m doing better than I think. I’m lucky that all I have to do to remind myself of how good life is, is to scroll through my camera roll like I am know, finishing this post in bed at my grandmothers house at 12.30am with a lil smile on my face thinking about how I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

not feeling like myself

This whole year I've felt lost- direction wise and identity wise, and have been struggling with feeling like myself again. But I actually think it's okay. You don't have to feel like yourself. No really, hear me out.

Ever since just after my last holiday in February I haven't been feeling like myself. And it's been bugging me like crazy. I keep trying to get that girl back because I liked her- she was happy and chirpy and handled stress really well and exercised every day and hardly ever cried. She was content with her life and that's what I wanted to get back to.

I was sitting on the steps having a cigarette and looking out at the sea this morning though and I thought y'know what? I think I'm starting to feel like myself.

Not like my old self, not like my hippie phase self, not like my angsty rebel phase self- well, there's a little bit of each still in here, but mostly, I feel like the girl I've been building all year.

An acknowledgement of my past selves, a girl who has gotten simultaneously a lot stronger but also a lot more vulnerable but in the right ways I think. Made of difficult choices, changing priorities, transitioning from student to full time barista to full time designer, learning more about empathy and kindness and being a little less selfish, and loving without inhibition even though it's terrifying.

Sure there's things I want to change- I'm more and more anxious, scatterbrained to a fault, don't think before I speak, terrible at saving, drink too much caffeine and I could go on about my faults for a long time. There's things I want to get better at. But that will all come with time and effort. You don't have to feel like yourself, because who you are changes as often as daily. 

The key things I have found are that being alone helps- I tend to avoid spending time alone as much as possible because it gives me too much time for my mind to run in negative circles, however it is exactly what I need to do.

And I'm finding that it's not so bad. 

I'm content with my life and it's ok that I don't always feel like myself because that's a work in progress, one I actively have to work at every day. Right now, I'm content with focusing on taking care of myself so I don't lose myself again.

from the archive- on the road in the south island

It's so weird writing these from the archive posts because I read them and I can just barely recognise the person who wrote them. This post was from a time in my life where I was struggling but pretending I wasn't. I was going through something really really hard and I never talked to anyone about it and just tried to pretend it didn't exist. It's funny because I look back on these photos and think oh my god I was having a great time but that's not really how it was. In reality I was probably the most fragile I'd been in years and trying so hard to make it look like I was enjoying myself- partly to kid myself into believing it, partly so my Dad wouldn't worry about me, and partly for social media because if no one knows what's really going on in your head the problem will go away, right?

"My dad and I roadtripped from the North Island to almost the bottom of the South Island in December. I shivered myself to sleep on the overnight ferry cos we didn't think to bring blankets. My swimsuit never had time to dry. I was out of reception half the time. I managed to be in charge of music (anything but rap though because my dad is in his 50s and listens to Al Green.) Spent a lot of time rolling my eyes and fending off questions abut my future. The views were insane and the weather was as moody as I felt. Dad's main goal of the trip was bird watching and nature walks, mine was to spend as much time under salt water and covered in sand as possible. Saw some cool plants. Drove through some shitty towns. Counted hawks. Ate avocados. Found some stones that looked like little planets. Appreciated nature. Lost my cap on the fucking ferry. Lost my bracelet at the hot springs. Recharged. Went too hard on the tanning. Daydreamed a lot. Here are some photos and doodles, with love from the rainy north island where I'm recovering from a hard few days of being back on the gym / work / trying to get my shit together grind xxx"

seven years of customer service: the peaks and pits

"Hi what can I get for you today? Coffee? Great, I guessed that. But like. Black? White? Half strength extra hot decaf cappuccino with one third foam and cinaamon on top? Cool and what size was that? All our sizes are in full view of you right here in front of me or on our coffee machine. Yep and we do hot chocolate. Have here or takeaway? Lovely here you go, have a nice day!! What's that now? Is there sugar in it? Sorry I didn't realise you'd asked for it! Oh you didn't? Well that'll be why there's no fucking sugar in it Sharon! Thanks for making a mess when you could have just asked me to put sugar in for you! Bye now!"

Fuck so I typed out this whole post, thought I'd copied and pasted, went to a new window and I hadn't I'M DONE I hope when I re-edit the shambles that is my notes this post is half as good as the one I WAS GOING TO SHARE.

This coming week marks the end of my time in customer service (for now, who knows what will happen in my life.) I'm slowly but surely ticking off my goals for the year, one of which, the biggest one, was getting a new job. I've worked in customer service for about seven years now, and I know your job doesn't define you but it's a big part of me. It's character building, it's really fucking hard work, the pay sucks, and it's thankless (literally, because some people just don't know how to use their damn manners.)

It's not been all bad, I've made some amazing friends, been proud of myself, kissed in the stock room, laughed til I cried, bettered people's days, grown in confidence, met the boy I love, and allegedly make 'the best flat white at Wellington Airport.'

On the flip side, I've also experienced poo explosions (not mine, can confirm,) climbed literal mountains of rubbish, been yelled at and called names and constantly talked down to, spent hours on my hands and knees scrubbing, had every manner of thing spilled on me, and worked disgusting hours for too many days in a row, for equally disgusting pay. 

I'm ready for a change, but I'm also nostalgic. So here we have my peaks and pits and odd thoughts from a lifetime (since I could work) in customer service. My pet peeves and the best feelings. Day makers and day ruiners. Enjoy xx

  • Any time an old man takes a thousand years to count out his coins to pay me and calls it 'getting rid of his shrapnel' and I have to force laughter 
  • When it takes ten thousand years to drag someone's order out of them. OR when they order and then get their food and realise that when I asked them if that was 'just the burger by itself' and they said yes, that they. fucked. up. Because you wanted fries and a drinks but you didn't SAY THAT AND WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?
  • The time this woman who always ordered 6 nuggets but would always complain at the drive thru window that in fact she ordered 10. One day she was the last straw on an absolute shitter of a day and I aggressively pulled the fingers at her- both hands, waving around,I think my tongue even poked out. Her son saw me in the rear view and dobbed me in. I didn't even get in trouble because everyone else at work hated her too.
  • Making friends, the best part about any job. They're fleeting but strong, you'll probably end up drifting apart but there's no stronger bond than two people who hate their job and the general public and it gets stronger when you party together. At times laughing til my tummy hurts with my mates at work has been the highlight of my day and it really pisses me off when management tell us not to talk because excuse me we are doing our job (and well, I will add) at the same time and my condolences that you don't have friends or fun ever.
  • Any time I have ever said hey how's it going to a customer and been straight up ignored, guess I'll go fuck myself then!!
  • My favourite peak yet- when your workplace crush becomes your real life love. I first met Rex when he ordered coffee (large mocha, no marshmallows) from me and I still remember he made an impression on me because in my humble opinion the boy is beautiful. I never saw him much as I worked part time while I was studying and usually morning shifts, but earlier this year I started working full time at the airport we both work at. It started with a few smiles when he'd walk by work, some small talk through smoke clouds, a mutual love of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and before long we were inseparable and sickeningly in love. If I'd never taken that full time position I really didn't want to take I might never have ended up where I am, so yeah. Peak. My heart feels fuzzy now.
  • When people are grateful that I go out of my way for them. I always try to do my best to help people out when they're in a pickle because you never know, you could be in that situation one day too and I would very much like it if someone did the same for me. Also karma definitely exists. 
  • This one lady who would come in every weekend and pick a fight with anyone over ANYTHING. We had the same fight every weekend and thank god my shifts changed and I haven't seen her since, I hope whoever she is terrorising these days is coping.
  • This is so petty, but any time a mother with a fresh baby comes up to me and asks me to use milk or hot water up to a certain level of the baby's sipper bottle and makes me re do it if it's like 5ml off and doesn't buy anything? Yeah nah BYE stay at home and do it yourself if you want it done right. Seems harsh but you try having it happen to you daily.
  • Omg speaking of staying home one time this lady insisted that no one like espresso coffee and why didn't we do instant coffee. "It's not that hard to just keep a box of nescafe behind the counter" FUCK OFF Carol literally no one has ever asked me for instant before nor have they since fucking BYO if you want some that bad.
  • Throwing up during the day and in the gutter on the way to a morning shift  because you're still drunk phrwww I don't miss being under 21 ay
  • Related: when you and your co worker are both hungover af and dying on a fragile Sunday
  • Bonding over your hatred of people and management with your co workers. No stronger bond than two people who hate the same things.
  • When you get your pay check after pulling twice as many hours as everyone else and it makes you cry because you're so fucking tired and yet so fucking broke and it just starts again next week. Like I don't wanna be rich I just don't want to cry on my way home from the supermarket because I can't afford bananas y'know?
  • When people say nice things to you. It's only ever one in a million customers but it really makes you feel good about yourself so every time I get fantastic service I try and be extra grateful or say something nice cos yknow it can make all the difference! For fucks sake, no matter what's gone on in your day or how bad you absolutely can't bring yourself to smile or how stressed you are. use your manners, crack a joke, laugh, try to make their job easier because it really can make the difference between the girl behind the counter running to the bathroom to cry or putting a real smile on her face for the first time all day.
  • The day you realise that if you hate where you are, change it. I don't know. Working in customer service is really humbling. You realise one day when you're complaining about being broke yet working so hard, that the world doesn't owe you shit. If you're not happy where you are only you can change that.

I'll miss it in a weird way. As I was writing this, I realised that I could barely remember the things that used to infuriate me from my first job, so if you're struggling now just know that in five years time your constantly, quiet rage will quietly go away and you won't answer to 'darling' automatically and you won't be triggered by the shrill sound of an 'excuse me!'

As always, thanks you for reading and please oh please hit me up with your customer service peaks and pits because there's nothing I relish in more than a shitty customer being EVISCERATED online by a disgruntled hospo or retail worker. I think I'll always be a bitter hospo worker at heart.

time to stop running away

a journal entry about a girl who has spent her whole life wanting more, brought to you by the notes app, from 10.9.17

mood- sleepy and content

i just got back from a weekend in auckland and i'm lying in bed waiting for my boyfriend to come back from work. it's just hit me that this time last year, i was in auckland around the same time but so much has changed since then. change really creeps up on you huh? i've felt like this year has been stagnant and i've achieved nothing, but really, the changes have been huge and it's not until i look back at where i was a year ago that i realise. last year when i was up there, i was in a different relationship, on the brink of finishing my degree, burnt out and dissatisfied. i wanted a change, a new city, a new purpose, to feel content and to start afresh.

that feeling hasn't gone away until now.

and for the first time this year, i’m feeling content. and part of me feels weird about it because i’ve spent SUCH. A. LONG. TIME. FEELING. DISCONTENT.

i’m one of those people who is always in a state of wanting to be somewhere else. even when i’m happy (side note- a list of happy feelings- the sun on my face, watching my plants grow, when everything is clean and tidy, days spent painting in bed with no responsibilities, long drives, skin on skin, salted caramel in my mouth, laughing with people i love, things like that y’know that make you feel like all the good little things add up to a good life) i always want something MORE.

that feeling, it’s been following me around my whole entire life.

it’s what made me move away from home as soon as possible, it’s what helped me realise what friendships are important to hold onto and what ones are not, it’s forced me out of my comfort zone again and again, it’s broken relationships and spiralled me into unhappiness and the only thing that fixes it is change because in my head if i'm not changing i'm not happy.

but only temporarily.

a new possession, a new job, a new house, a new partner, a new location. it's time to stop running away from people and places when they don't give me what i want anymore. within reason, obviously. i'm not going to stay anywhere that's making me miserable, but the change you want isn't always the change that's gonna fix something y'know?

the only time i feel truly content is when i’m on my way to somewhere new. lately that’s been changing though and it’s weird to come to terms with. i finally feel like maybe my shitty job won’t be forever, i am feeling capable and ready to start being a real designer and not just a girl with a design degree making coffee for a living. i’m head over heels in love which you would THINK puts me on cloud nine all the time but has actually been part of the reason i’ve been so damn angsty this year because wow side note falling in love makes you feel fifteen again and all that angst comes with it. that's another blog post in itself though.

back to normal programming though, i truly don’t know what has changed within me. all i know is i had a fun weekend away with my friends who i'm grateful for, and for the first time i can remember i've actually looked forward to coming home. which is weird. i've never felt an intense belonging to any particular place and can always see myself living anywhere, but right now at this point in time i can safely and happily say that wellington is home and i don't want to leave just yet.

at the end of the day you’ve got to trust the way you feel, and if my gut feeling is to stay then i’m gonna stay. for once in my life i feel like i’ve got something i don’t want to leave. and that’s pretty fucking great for me. yeah nothing is perfect but i can just feel that i’m pretty damn close to it. 


it's gonna get bad before it gets good

I wrote this post earlier in the year while I was experiencing a big change that I didn't see coming in my life. It's about love and confronting yourself at your worst and picking up the pieces when everything flips upside down.

  1. It's going to get bad before it gets better. I've had Bad Before Good by Day One on repeat for the last few days to try to drum it into my head that the shittiest of shitty feelings I'm feeling right now are maybe not even the tip of the iceberg but I've got to just keep my head up and power (more like trudge) through the worst of it and come out the other side much stronger.
  2. What I've come to realise from my relationship ending is that maybe it's not about how much you love each other but how well you can work through your shit together. Because it's not that loving him was my problem, it was our communication in the end. Like I feel that love is the easy part and it's everything else that comes with a relationship that's hard, like compromise and sacrifice and trust and having those tough conversations and coming out the other side better for it.
  3. And I need to remember that for the future. just because someone gives you butterflies in your stomach and you feel melty when you look at them and it's all sorts of magic and fun, that's not going to save you when you're arguing about the logistics of moving in together or buying a house together or asking why you were late home from work, y'know? Talking about things is important, and so is telling the truth, and I wish I'd known this earlier. 
  4. "Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and they will come forth, later, in uglier ways."
    – Sigmund Freud

  5. Learning to like your own company is really fucking hard. But confronting loneliness and every single other bad feeling that I've spent the last twenty two years avoiding? Probably going to be worth it. I'm notoriously bad for re-bounding, 'having too much fun' basically doing anything that will distract me from the fact that I hate spending time by myself.
  6. Getting to know yourself is scary because I guess you're not always going to like what you find. 

  7. "Sometimes, I’m the mess.
    Sometimes, I’m the broom.
    On the hardest days,
    I have to be both."
    – Rudy Francisco

  8. But being on my own is the choice I've made. Which brings me to the next thing I need to remember- this is your choice. It's what I've been telling myself when I'm feeling helpless and alone. When I have to do my groceries by myself or wait in the cold for the bus or take myself to work at 5.30am on my bike even though I'm scared of cycling through the Mt Vic tunnel on a Saturday morning. Being miserable is a choice and one I'm made a lot. Being happy is also a choice though and the steps to that are choices as well. I can decide to wallow in bed with junk food crying and going back through happy memories of my relationship or I can take baby steps to getting better and do something simple like my washing or tidying my room. Today I cleared out my pinboard to make room for new inspiration and I'm feeling hopeful. Like maybe I've got this. Maybe I'll feel different tomorrow, but again, I can make the choice to sleep in and feel like shit again or get up, get moving, and come home and do one thing that will make my day better, not worse. 
  9. "You know who’s gonna give you everything? Yourself."
    – Diane Von Furstenberg 

  10. Stop thinking too much and just go with your feelings. Get out of your own head and go outside, get some fresh air, go look at the fucking sea or something and turn up your music. Go on that date with the guy with the nice smile and don't compare him to your ex boyfriend, don't do shit you don't want to and say yes to shit you do want to, if your body is not feeling good eat a vegetable and drink some water and book into your class at the gym tomorrow morning. If you feel like you need to call your mum and cry, do it, you won't regret it and if you're lucky like me she will book a flight for this weekend to come and be with you.When your head is feeling fogged up just take a minute and breathe and you'll be fine soon. Just feel it out, even the fucking worst feelings. You've got this, even when it feels like you don't.