love letters #01

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. hello and welcome to the inner workings of my messy little head.

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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. being in love is a choice you make every single day and not just on the good ones.

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.

365 days from now it'll be better
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by chance today i was feeling nostalgic and the urge to soul search brought me to browsing the notes i keep on my phone. on this day 365 days ago i was standing at the bus stop ready to catch the bus to work. i was fresh out of a break up that left my head spinning and was falling heart first into an intense love. my life and my head have settled down now and i can take a step back from it all and realise i made it out the other side of my shit storm of feelings. no, i never managed to reconcile the girl i was before and the girl i became, but i found a balance. it breaks my fucking heart to read this because i was trying so goddamn hard to be so optimistic, i was having a good day that day and it's funny because today i was having a bad day- one of the ones where i feel disconnected from everything around me and like nothing i do has any meaning. but stumbling across this today was a little touch of serendipity that pulled me back from my disconnect. 365 days between these words. 365 tangible days, some of which i felt everything and some absolutely nothing, some made me stronger and some knocked me right back to the bottom again, and today i'm archiving and cleansing and processing. i'm not sure how i feel, but i'm definitely better than a year ago. i found what i was looking for in love, now i'm working on finding whatever it is i need to find within myself. and whatever i'm feeling today, curled up in bed with my candles lit for the first time in at least a year, scouring through old writing and artworks and trying to create some semblance of a cohesive body of work, an identity- i'm sure that in another 365 days, i'll be even better. maybe i'll have even found what i'm looking for. 

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23- the year I stop crying over photos of my cat
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7.02.18

You're 23. It's raining and you've just got back from your boyfriend's place after a sleepy, slow morning of coffee, cigarettes and sex. You order a burrito from Uber eats for breakfast because it's 1.30pm and you CAN. There's work to do- cleaning, a painting commission, and a bunch of other organisational things. You turned 23 on Thursday, and the initial panic of determination to make 23 the year you get your shit together (and being scared shitless that you won't live up to your expectations of yourself) from the night before has subsided, replaced by a quiet confidence. Maybe 23 won't be the year you do everything you want to do but it'll be a stepping stone. You can't do 1000 things at once and you don't need to. The sense of urgency from your university days to be Successful has evaporated because you know now the world will keep on spinning regardless of whether you went to the gym or not. And that's okay. It's okay to not make New Years resolutions anymore, it's ok to live your life in chaos and not have a five year plan. It's okay to have a laughable savings account and not remember the last day you washed your hair. Every time you fight with your boyfriend it feels like the end of the world but you learn that it's not, and it gets easier every time. You learn that sobbing over photos of your cat when you're feeling fragile doesn't fix anything and to put yourself to bed instead of breaking your heart. You're 23 now, and breaking up your time working on a painting and trying to put into words how you feel about life at the moment. It's sentimental and emotional. There's a lot to be grateful for. You've lived and learned and grown and fended for yourself for 23 years, and despite every existential crisis and tear filled nights and the days where you skip meals because you're too broke and the busy days and the days you feel like you're in a rut- you know you'll be okay. So enjoy where you are now, put yourself to bed, read your book and listen to the rain. You don't have to be anything else right now.

life, sex, art, love & other trash
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there's only so much you can write about when you limit yourself to writing about being a trash, broke millennial designer who doesn't do much other than work, eat, sleep, fuck, make stuff, and watch TV. especially when you feel like you should only write about certain things because that's what you feel comfortable doing, but there's so much more you want to explore. i write a lot about the things i WANT to do, and live in this little space of this is what i'm doing right now, and this is what i want to be doing. of course, i want to save money and travel and have a little space of our own with my love and get a pet and sell art. i want those things but those things take a long time to get, and i am happy with where i am at the moment, slowly working towards these things. i've always written things i feel like i need to get out, things that might help someone or just make me feel less alone in how i'm feeling. i like to get vulnerable, because if i wasn't vulnerable i would just be writing for the sake of writing. i like to write about the things i feel i can't articulate in any other setting, in the same way i like to paint or draw to express or improve how i'm feeling. 

this space is called the work in progress journal because it's where i get to develop as a person. i do my living, very quietly these days, and then i think about it and i make art and i write. if my life were to revolve around adventures i'd write about those. if my life still revolved around fitness i'd write about that.

i'm not quite sure what my life revolves around these days, there's no one big thing that makes me go yep that's IT. it's lots of little things that add up, like painting in the sun and watering my plants and lying on the couch with my legs wrapped around my boyfriend while he plays the guitar with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. it's filling my spare time with things i genuinely like to do and not whatever i think 'being productive is.' it's reading writing making and consuming things for my own pleasure and not specifically a frantic search for 'inspiration' because i've told myself i have to make something new today.

it's basically a whole lot of doing things i like to do, for me. some of those things include sex- doing it, thinking about it, learning more about it. not many of my thoughts these days are cohesive so bear with me. but here's what i've been thinking lately- i wanna start writing about it. life, sex, art, love & other trash, pieced together in a most likely un-cohesive, slapdash manner kinda written the way i'd talk to my best friends but kinda written the way the alter ego in my head who is a lot hotter, smarter, and better at life. it might get gross, it will almost definitely be cringey, it probably wasn't worth a half assed rebrand, but i'm in my 23rd year of swirling through the abyss that is life and honestly i don't have that much left to lose or prove to anyone so i may as well be honest, self indulgent, and have fun right?

so here we go. something for me to get excited about. getting to share more personal things, developing new art to go with it, and not feeling like there's a disconnect between what i write about and who i am. and hopefully a few things that can start conversations. hoping you'll come along for the ride.

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fuck that: fear of failure
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Almost a year has passed since I wrote the post below, in which I had a crisis about what the fuck I'm doing with my life and what I wanted to get out of the year. Reading it now makes me feel a mix of things- proud, because I finally moved on from a job I was too comfortable in, achieved most of my goals, and genuinely believe I've made big steps in working on myself. But there's a little bit of shame mixed in because I haven't been trying as hard to achieve my other dreams and I hate guilting myself for that. Even though I'm in a better place mentally and creatively, meaning I feel like I have something that feels like it's what I should be doing, making the type of art I'm making at the moment is fulfilling to me- I'm not really doing anything with it I guess.

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I'm wanting to take on more freelance work this year but I'm scared if I ask, no one will hire me. And sometimes yeah, projects do just fall into your lap and I'm grateful for them because for a minute, it affirms that I'm good enough. But the voice in my head that says you're not good enough won't be quiet and so I put off working on client projects and continue to nestle into bed after work and watch TV shows and psych myself out of starting a new project even for myself, because I'm too scared of other people not liking it or worse, me not liking it.

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It's amazing what self doubt will do to you and keep you from doing. Part of me wants to just keep making things just for me until I feel "ready" to share it with people and confident that I'm "good enough". Part of me wants to delete every form of social media I have because it makes me so incredibly anxious to share anything anymore. But what the fuck is the point of having a journal called the work in progress journals if I don't share the works in progress? I'll probably never get to the point where I'm "ready" and sure of myself so why not just put my big girl pants on, wipe my tears away and just fucking do it? I feel like an idiot for worrying about it so much and getting caught in the fear trap every time I start feeling a little bit ambitious. But y'know what I'm even more scared of? Having another year of just getting by. I'm not shooting for the moon, but I think it's time to try a little harder and say fuck that to the fear of failure. I'll keep you posted. 

Read the from the archive post:

First published on March 8th as "Am I having a gap year? Who knows? Not me."

Exactly like the title reads, today I'm gonna ponder through my fingers my thoughts on what exactly the fuck I'm up to these days because honestly who knows? Not me!

So since I've finished uni, I've been working full time as a coffee slave, and my manager at work the other day was like 'so what are you gonna do with yourself, are you like having a gap year or do you want to look for a job with your degree?' and I was like oh. I forgot that gap years exist.

I guess I just kind of thought I would potter away at my job for a bit while I figured out where I wanted to work and apply for a job there and I guess I assumed it wouldn't be too much of a drama but as it turns out a) there ain't much out there I'm excited about doing that I'm qualified to do and b) there ain't much out there I'm qualified to do. Every position I've thought 'shit I can do that I would love that' requires a lot of experience and is (read this next part in Meryl Streep circa Devil wears Prada voice) "Not Suitable For Graduates." 

Never in my life have I considered having a gap year, it never really appeared on my radar as something I might enjoy but right now it seems like a really appealing option?? I don't know where I'm going or what I'm doing or what I want to do and isn't that why people take gap year?

Like. I've been telling other adults that I'm 'figuring it out' and 'seeing what happens' for about four months now and to be honest I have absolutely nothing figured out other than:

  • BEING AN ADULT IS EXPENSIVE AF

  • Working too much is necessary but soul destroying
  • All the companies I want to work at either aren't hiring or are hiring for things I can't do
  • Maybe I've kinda figured out budgeting? That's a cool adult thing I'm pretty proud of because I am NOTORIOUSLY terrible with my money
  • I'm a big scaredy cat and too afraid to go after what I want and also still don't really know what exactly I WANT other than to go on adventures and meet my savings goals.
  • I REALLY JUST THINK I NEED TO SPEND THIS YEAR WORKING ON MYSELF.

  • I want to start selling my 'work' and painting / illustrating more (but idk how to fit that into a fifty hour work week and training and sleeping lol)

That last point in bold is so very typical "millennial takes time off to eat pray love and find herself." But I think it's important and necessary and something I am trying not to be too hard on myself for- in a world where the hustle and the side hustle and every hustle imaginable is being thrown at us like a bad game of dodgeball and you're the last person in and everyone else is Moving Forward and Doing Cool Things and Making 2017 Their Year, the one thing I definitely need to keep reminding myself of is this: you are not a failure (in CAPITALS tattooed on my forearm as a reminder) (thanks 2 @alixhigby for that one) 

So idk. It's not like I don't have goals. I have savings goals, travel goals, I want to get my restricted and get a car to go on adventures in, I want to work on my health and fitness and taking care of my plants and being creative and who knows maybe in a year I'll be finally working for myself like I've always wanted! Here's to not being a failure just because you're not someone else's idea of success (yet.)

a beautiful blur

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

from the archive: 2016 photo diary
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I'm not gonna write heaps about 2016 because to be quite frank I'd like to put it behind me and move on with my life, but here is a mish mash of photos and notes from various times in the year- places I went, nice moments, things I wanna remember, things I wanna forget, some cryptic and not so cryptic snippets from captions, tweets, blog posts and diary entries from yours truly. It's how I want to remember the year- some of the best times (dance parties, adventures, doing things I'm proud of!!!) and some of the worst times happening simultaneously out of my control in the absolute fucking whirlwind that was this trainwreck of a year.

A few things: I started off the year and ended it kissing amongst the fireworks and a few times in between, sangria in the sunshine, lots of fun, dogs, I was the often the unhappiest I've been in a long time but also sometimes the happiest, I laughed a lot, I cried a shit ton, ate a lot of takeaways, bottomless coffee. Undereye circles. The year of The Exhaustion Eye Twitch. 

Also: Dance parties, making new friends, opening up. Being unapologetically selfish. Lots of bread, lots of emergencies. I finished my four year degree, I went on adventures, I ate a lot of breakfast food. 

I disappointed myself in a lot of ways but I also did lots of things that I'm proud of. There were some really good headlines and memes that made me chuckle, mike got grey sweatpants, I crossed paint a mural off my 'career' bucket list, I got really unfit, I got fit again, I fell back in love with exercise, finally stopped washing my hair every day. 

Overall it was a good year I think, but I'm glad it's over also.

NOTES FOR 2017:

  • get a new job!! you hate your job serving half strength coffees to the elderly and trim flat whites who medical professionals who think they’re too good to smile to you!!
  • have more fun! you had fun this year because you decided you’d rather have fun than stay in and keep your health and look how much fun you’ve had! have more next year! hopefully you won’t have a shitty job with 6am sunday starts
  • eat more vegetables you piece of shit, you’re a vegetarian that means u only eat vegetables so how come you can go like three weeks without eating a vegetable??? meal plan and do your goddamn groceries!
  • be a bit nicer to yourself, aka stop calling yourself a piece of shit all the time lol
  • actually focus on saving u have too much stuff you need to calm the fuck down on treating yourself okay?? do you think you’re beyonce??
  • get better at talking about my feelings lolol i’m terrible at talking and terrible at feelings and this year i’ve internalised lots of shit that i probably should have talked to people about so next year let’s actually get some it out okay? whether it be in writing on ze blog, or just to my mates 
  • call my parents more often and even if i’m tired don’t be a bitch!! ur parents love u and they’re the only ones you’ve got so be nice!
becoming me, a work in progress
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I've been feeling a little lost in my art direction these days- actually. I spent my high school years doing art all the bloody time- when I should have been doing my maths homework, in French class, and into the early hours of the morning at home. Straight after that, I went to university to study design and spent four hectic intense but fun years identifying as A Design Student.

And then university spat me out and suddenly I was just another girl with an expensive degree working a passionless job to pay the bills.

Considering my final year project was about creativity and identity, I feel like this year I've kinda lost both. There's been things I've enjoyed that I've made in my own time, and I've been lucky enough to work on some cool work for people along the way, but very little that really got me excited and proud. It didn't help that this whole year has been a real personal struggle for me, and people say to turn your struggle into creativity but that's not really how it works. For a really long time I didn't make anything new, couldn't find anything beautiful, and went into a space in my head where I wasn't good enough and everything was just so fucking hard. I'd compare myself to how everyone else I'd gone to uni was doing, how people I've never met online are making so many beautiful things and it got to me so much that I was doing fuck all with myself and all these people are out there getting better and killing it.

This is getting really bloody doom and gloom, BUT it's getting better! I got a new job, I've been working on my mental health and the next step is my physical health because this year I got hooked on sugary drinks, caffeine and nicotine (again, ugh.) Finally though, I'm ready to start making the kind of work I'm proud of and putting it out there with no self doubt.

In a burst of frustration the other night I stayed up until 3am (I finish work at 1am and it didn't actually take that long I'm just being dramatic) culling my Instagram feed from start to finish to only reflect the things I love, reflect me, and want to share more of. I used to just churn work out and share it with carefree abandon and I miss that, even when it wasn't good, because everything was practice and development. And I guess that's the best way to describe my work, is carefree. While I was struggling this year, I was anxious to the point of being in constant pain, and my head was full of questions, I stopped making work because I stopped being carefree. 

Past me just wanted to share what she found beautiful and what was on her mind. She didn't care if people liked it or not, she didn't care if it would make her money, she created because she loved it.

It's refreshing to reflect on where you used to be and what you used to do. I can see what worked for me, what simply wasn't me at all, and realised that actually, over the years I've created so much that I can be proud of. The years of realistic drawings and paintings, the experimental angsty collage years, the try hard lettering years, the years I was making for the sake of making money- but even then there's elements I can look at and be like okay that LOOKS dope but it means nothing to you.

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I'm not reinventing myself, rather leaving behind the old so I can start a fresh with what I've learned- like I've done with my blog, my Instagram, and parts of my life and myself. I'm excited for whatever comes next. I want to paint more- I love painting pots for my plants to live in, furniture, walls. I want to care less about the finished product and just start making and see where it ends up. I want to mix up all the medias I love- paint, photography, words, to document the things I make and do.

It's time to stop comparing myself to others and stop trying to pigeon hole myself into one style, because y'know what? I think I'm there already.

then, she began to breathe, and live, and every moment took her to a place where goodbyes were hard to come by. she was in love, but not in love with someone or something, she was in love with her life. and for the first time, in a long time, everything was inspiring.
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starting again- WIP journal
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I do this all the time. Start something then stop. Start something and don't finish it. Re-design, re-name, re-brand, you name it. Set myself goals that don't I already know I won't meet. And I don't know how this is gonna go either, but a lot has changed since I first started oversharing on the Internet and I guess I wanna share a little bit about where I came from, who I am, and what I want to do.

If you've only just clicked on this link and never read anything from me before, I've been writing on the internet since way way back. My first real blog was named Ruby and Tuesdays after the Rolling Stones song, and it was a very typical lifestyle blog where I'd post recipes, workouts, and various ramblings about life and relentless positivity.

After that, I wanted to be more authentic and  re-branded to just me, Fern. I wrote about doing my design degree, adventures, created photo diaries and went on a lot of personal rants. 

Now, I've been through a lot of changes this year and I have no qualms about ruthlessly editing my life and online presence. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that everything in my life is a work in progress- and so is figuring out who I am, and I do that best by living my life, writing about it afterwards and creating shit, and I love to document it all. So the work in progress journal was born. 

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I write partly for myself, and partly because I can't see myself NOT doing it because I'm a self indulgent brat with a pathological need to overshare online and hoard memories.

I've never wanted to pigeon hole myself into a certain category of writing because I'm too all over the place. I'm a textile design graduate and have recently made the switch from full time sad girl and barista to graphic designer, I'm also a loving plant mother, a lil brat, a sun chasing beach bum, a lift plus addict and more. I want to document adventures and food and write about things that make me happy and things that make me mad because yeah sometimes you need to have a good old, uncomfortably personal vent on a public domain. I want to write about relationships and fucking up and doing cool things and creativity and my hopes and dreams and sex and mental health and body image and trying to eat more vegetables and shit. Y’know, just regular stuff on the mind of a 22 year old broke girl trying to find herself.

The work is progress journal will be a mix of old and new blog posts. There's a new series called 'from the archive' because there's things you can learn from the past and bring with you, even if you're leaving it behind. There's the design diaries, where I write about what I'm working on and my constant identity crisis as a designer. I'd like to introduce new series along the way too. I love being able to start again whenever I want. And I can't wait for you to join me. 

Hey!

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diaryFern GrantComment
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.

diaryFern GrantComment
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. 

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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.

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  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.