Looking back, I see a setting sun, and watch my shadow fade into the floor…

So I received an email today that informed me that my Tumblr account (which can be found at: http://sapphirebluekat.tumblr.com/) was turning 6! And I thought “wow, what better way to celebrate than by starting up a hopefully more permanent blog on a completely different website.”

Well that was one of my thoughts at least, my other thought was, “wow I’ve come a long way from spamming a grand total of about five followers with endless spam of shirtless Korean men.”

But have I really?

I still only have those five followers. And I still enjoy my Korean men.

But I wasn’t getting any value out of Tumblr as of late so I’ve asked myself, can I make my spontaneous explosion of thoughts work for me on a different platform?

And what better time to test this question than at the beginning of a New Year?

And what better post to start with than a recap of the year just gone. And yes, there were plans to write this a lot earlier than the middle of January, however, that life thing got in the way you know?

And so, we commence our review in my typical style by taking influence from song lyrics:

“So nice to see you here, impolite would only be beneath us. It’s been, what, half a year? Like nothing ever happened in between us.” – This Means War, Marianas Trench

I began my 2016 with the typical mindset everyone begins a new year with. I’ll be a better version of myself. I’ll exercise more. I’ll travel more. I’ll let go of the guy who clearly can’t choose me and be a strong independent woman. I’ll stop pining over my terrible ex.

And then I promptly followed that mindset with seven Jagerbombs and was squatting with a deck chair over my head by 3:00am.

2016 wasn’t the greatest year in the beginning for me if I’m being completely honest. I spent the New Year’s celebrations with my family – which that in itself is a wonderful thing to do, I truly cherish my family time – but I continued to celebrate with them well into the night because the guy that I was seeing had instead gone to another New Year party where his ex was, and immediately in my mind I thought “well that won’t end well for me.” Yet I obsessively compulsively kept checking my phone all night until the battery had well and truly died and even then kept attempting to revive it just to stare angrily at his Messenger bubble…until my father told me to put the phone down and have more alcohol.

So I did, and then got dropped off home at approximately 4:00am and proceeded to start an argument with the charmer that I was involved with because my drunken mind said it was the best thing to do. I was so mad that night that I almost would have welcomed the company of my terrible-for-me ex until I realised that we also weren’t speaking anymore after a failed attempt at becoming friends again. He blamed me for our shoddy parting of the ways back in 2015 and then wormed his way back into my life and then proceeded to blame me yet again for the friendship not working and I think that alcohol-addled me couldn’t quite compute that on this particular night.

Anyway, January progressed with a general feeling of discomfort and failure. I was still juggling three jobs – a lifestyle that I was used to since mid 2015 due to my life being in shambles – I still had next to no savings and was practically starving myself in an effort to save all of the money that I could. I was now living with the guy that I was seeing and admittedly he did care for me and was continuously making sure that I was eating and feeling okay, but I would lie through my teeth and instead of telling him that I needed a whole dish of lasagna and $50,000 to feel better, I would say that everything was “fine”.

Fine – the female word for “absolutely everything not being fine in the slightest but that’s up to you to decipher because I’m not about to openly tell you what’s wrong with me.”

Now this was a story he believed, but even so I think he just agreed to avoid arguments. They were my speciality at the time really, I would pick an argument over almost anything because I felt like I didn’t deserve for life to be running smoothly, so I just had to double check if anything was wrong.

January petered out with my guy heading off to Perth – also with his ex. A trip that had me in a downward spiral of depression and anxiety for the entire time. The second he walked out of the door, I was a wreck. I burst into tears and rung a close friend to pour my feelings out to her.

Over-dramatic much?

Probably.

But I had also been holding onto the dregs of friendship with this ex of his because I knew this trip was coming up and she would be the only way that I could keep track of his movements. But she blocked me. After subtly-not so subtly implying through various Facebook posts that I was the worst thing to ever happen in her life simply because I had gotten close to her ex.

I felt disconnected, I felt neglected. I couldn’t focus on my work and I couldn’t bring myself to eat or get out of bed on a day that I didn’t have to. I dropped nearly 5kg (from memory) in a week and so my friend intervened.

She’d very much been my rock through this somewhat self inflicted difficult time. She came over to keep me company, we went out to the city, I watched her brother’s band perform down in Geelong and had an intense D’n’M later that night, and then I also crashed at her place for hours to watch the cricket and bitch.

In the midst of all this, I got a phone call with a job offer, from a company that I couldn’t even remember applying for but with the promise of full time work, I jumped at the opportunity thinking that it would solve most of my issues.

Money = Happiness yeah?

January departed, February rolled around and it was my guy’s birthday, where his family dropped many a hint about us being a couple – and his mother got super confused when I shook my head to the question of “but you are a couple aren’t you?” – and I just sort of laughed, mumbled incoherently and nudged him to respond.

I began dabbling in the rookie modelling world, landing myself a lingerie shoot with a super cool photographer and scoring a night in Crown due to that. I felt sort of glamorous as the result of that shoot for a couple of weeks, but then sharply yanked myself back into reality. I had to get myself in the mindset of full time work which would be starting in March and I was trying to support my guy who was on his own job search at the time.

And then I tried to be Super Woman (if I wasn’t already trying to be that with my many jobs, personal issues and pole dancing?) with a full time job that consisted of 40+ hour weeks at a job that was an hour away from me via public transport while also making a wholesome dinner every night, and attending pole dancing approximately three times a week.

My day off would be over in the blink of an eye and I’d be rolling through life like a zombie.

Wake up at 6:30am, be on a train before 7:30am, be at work until 7:30pm, either come home or take the train straight to pole dancing and therefore be home by 10:00pm, make dinner for a person who had only woken up in the afternoon and be in bed by 12:00am.

Rinse and repeat.

This all took a toll on my mental health and strength. But I refused to let anyone on the outside see that. I have always been reluctant to let people to see my bad emotions. I continued to push through it but again, I had fallen into that pattern of picking arguments as soon as I walked in the door because I needed to get my anger or frustration at the general public out on somebody, and it was clear that it wasn’t healthy for me.

Sure, this job was providing me with the much needed financial stability that I been needed for nearly 12 months but emotionally, mentally and physically it was draining everything out of me. Perhaps because I’d thrown myself so headlong into it and I’ve always been so desperate to please people, I allowed myself to get swept up in the ongoing hours and had let that routine consume me. I’d lost my spark and smile with the promise of a healthy bank account.

All that glitters is not gold. Money does not equal happiness.

I’d fooled myself into thinking all of my problems would be solved by having this work and had instead made my situation worse for myself. Not to mention my paranoia and distaste would be sparked any time my guy went to hang out with his ex. The last time this happened was Anzac Day, and it was completely uncalled for in hindsight but again, stress levels were high and I was keen to rip shreds off anyone who looked at me the wrong way.

I basically went M.I.A from life between March and July, only surfacing when my car also got side swiped – while it was parked mind you, who even messes up like that? – but thankfully that was repaired with no expense on my part which I thanked God for because I think that might have been the last straw of it all.

And why was I on my last straw? Because my job was just breaking me down and denying me even the most basic amount of time to go and celebrate my university graduation. I graduated from Deakin University in late April, and the ceremony was to be held at the Geelong Waterfront campus. I had mentioned this to my boss back when I was interviewed in January and at the time they had said that was “acceptable” as it was “a significant life event” and yet, when April rolled around they profusely refused to give me the time off required for it. The weekend before the ceremony, my boss finally gave me clearance to go down there, and I’d chosen to take two days off for it and spend the night at my partner’s mothers house at bit further down the waterfront. And yet, all of two days before my graduation, my boss turned around and said I had to be back for work the very next day after my ceremony. I spent my entire graduation day stressing, wondering how I would make the drive back into metropolis in time when I was still going to be staying past Geelong for the night – long story short there was a horrendous thunderstorm and I was NOT driving back to Melbourne that night in it. I committed anyway and didn’t make it back to work in time, I did the courteous thing and called ahead of time but by the end of the phone call I was in tears.

How could my boss not understand that I wanted to enjoy one of my first adult accomplishments?

Why did my university have to pick Geelong for the ceremony?

Why did I stay?

April ended on a sour note but I kept telling myself to suck it up and move forward.

Come late May, both me and my guy being stuck in a shoebox apartment clearly wasn’t working anymore. We both wanted more space and I wanted to be rid of all the crappy memories that were associated with my concrete shoebox. We began house searching and I threw majority of the responsibility over to him because I felt like he should be able to handle that considering he wasn’t working.

Little did I know that this small change in pace would actually be the start of better months for us together.

June blasted through in a flurry of freezing weather and non stop rain, and despite all of the odds and ongoing rejections, my partner got a job. Something that was joyous for the both of us. He felt successful and accomplished and I felt a sense of pride of achievement for him when I saw him looking so happy. It was all that he wanted, and I was happy with his happiness. It was a nice feeling, and it lasted until I realised that he landed his very first job in life and it was the job he wanted; and yet here was me in my tenth job of my life still struggling to find both my feet and a purpose in the world.

I was putting in more effort with my pole dancing as well, which just disappointed my boss because she felt that I was neglecting my work by wanting to take a Friday night off for a performance that I was part of. The stress drove me to sudden sickness and my entry into a pole competition suffered because of that. I auditioned for Unleashed but unfortunately didn’t make it in; a blow which I took quite personally because again I felt as though I was failing in every aspect of my life.

I couldn’t please my boss.

I couldn’t please judges of a hobby I was passionate about.

I couldn’t remain happy for more than five minutes.

That was until late June.

My partner’s sister held her engagement party and it was a wonderful and beautiful family event to have been invited to. On a side note, HUGE family. I think I spent majority of the night just being introduced to family members. The only downside of that night was in fact seeing my partner’s ex, for all of five minutes before she jumped ship because she couldn’t handle my mere presence and then having to ponder with his mother as to why she would have left.

But that was none of my business.

And then, the best news of all.

We had been approved for a new house to rent. A much larger, three storey townhouse that pretty much held everything we’d been trying to search for in its four walls. We were to move in July and so the flurry of packing began – a task that I am SO used to, I actually really love moving house.

Additionally my job offered me a position at a different store that was all of two blocks away from my original location which, while that wasn’t anymore ideal, they offered me the choice of part time and I jumped at it. I would still be getting enough money but I would also get a bit more of my life back and perhaps not hate myself so much. Organising to get time off to move house was still like asking my boss if I could burn his latest pair of designer shoes, but I managed.

July sped on by without so much as a hello and we spent the majority of the month getting properly settled and organised in this brand new house of opportunities. And on the very first night we were in here, my partner hugged me really close and said, “Your ex can’t hurt you here anymore, no one knows where we’ve moved to, you’re safe here.”

And I truly felt that.

“We’re going down this road, with tears in our rear-view mirror. Far from home, but in the dark you know, with me you’ve got nothing to fear.” – Runaways, All Time Low

So the second half of this currently dismal zombie-like year was already looking up. I was now part time at a job that I previously couldn’t – and still somewhat couldn’t – stand, my other job which I had still held onto while being full time M.I.A was offering me more shifts which I thoroughly enjoyed, my lingering need to keep up with those who were completely toxic for me was well and truly gone, and I was progressing in my pole dancing which also provided me with happiness.

August passed without issue and then September was delivered to me in the form of jury duty summons which I had been putting off ever since April (for those not familiar with jury duty, basically I get to be one of those people who you see in over-dramatised American films that find a person guilty in court – but it’s less exhilarating.). In an attempt to potentially spend one less week or two at my workplace, I responded to my summons and went to court.

Only then to be there every single day for the next month and a half. It was definitely an eye opening experience and yet it was hard hitting. Both mentally and work-wise because suddenly none of my bosses wanted to play fair now that I was out of the game while jury duty was happening.

One said that I was being an inconvenience and that I should ask for a different trial, and one said that because I was casual he would just avoid rostering me shifts to avoid paying me. A prospect that was less than favourable. So on top of now being stuck in a courthouse for seven hours a day with no access to my phone to argue with my bosses otherwise, I had to keep tabs on two jobs to ensure that they were playing by the rules. Thankfully one of my jobs, changed its mind and offered me the chance for more permanent work at the conclusion of my jury duty.

I was overjoyed at this offer, finally the job that I had been casual at for nearly a year was giving me this opportunity to be a more fixed part of their team. I’d done my time, I’d earned my place.

So as jury duty was coming to a close, I put plans in place. I’d discussed that I would take a week of personal leave post duty – because the case at hand completely messed me up. To all those out there who are like “wow jury duty sounds like fun, hope you get a murder or something!” No. Just no. – and then drop my hours at one job down to Christmas casual, therefore paying out my remaining owed leave; and then my other job would have me on permanently and things would be fabulous coming into Christmas.

Simple right?

Apparently too simple and straightforward for life.

Instead, my jury duty finished I took my week of personal leave and wondered why my casual job had also given me that week off. I began my casual roster at the first job and then went in for a meeting at my preferred job to discover that I wouldn’t be getting any hours, and that I would in fact lose the ones I already had.

What the hell did I do wrong?

What didn’t I do right for your workplace?

What didn’t I help with?

What’s wrong with my way of work?

I felt like life was determined to keep knocking me down relentlessly, all I wanted was to not have to fight and struggle my way through life. I just wanted to wake up and know how my life was going to be laid out before me.

No one pulling the rug out from under my feet.

No one telling me one thing and then doing the opposite.

No one dangling an opportunity in front of me and then snatching it away for no reason.

So I came home from that meeting and I did what I hated doing. I cried. I cried because I just wanted to come into the Christmas season and actually be able to spoil my family with presents when I couldn’t the previous year. I honestly felt like I had come a full circle of failure, except I was in a fancier house. My partner put me back on my feet; he let me have my little moment of woe and then insisted that I do what I do best – fight and succeed.

I pulled myself out of my rut, I negotiated my way into every shift that I could in both of my jobs and very carefully planned out the remaining two months of the year down to the cent.

I wrote off October and threw myself into November with hopes of ending the year positively. I had a great opportunity coming up in the form of Sexpo, an event that I had enjoyed attending in both Melbourne and the Gold Coast for the last three years but made the choice to actually work at this year. It was all I looked forward to for most of the month. A full weekend of frolicking around and not being ashamed about my sexuality or personality.

I lived vicariously through the frivolity of this weekend, becoming a care-free, bubbly side of myself so seldom seen in this year and as I was working there, I remembered that my partner’s ex would be working there. Initially this intimidated me and very nearly scared me back into my shelf when I walked into the venue, but as the weekend progressed and with my partner’s re-assurance, I shrugged off all of the darting glances and passing death glares that came my way and walked around that exhibition in my thigh high boots like I was a boss ass bitch and no one could touch me while I was on this high.

“They won’t catch us, in the dark. Roll like thunder, burn like stars.” – Runaways, All Time Low

My mindset shifted yet again as I worked, I felt like I had gotten a final ounce of closure of terrible events by seeing this girl as I worked, but I was finally immune, invincible, to the uncalled for hate and distaste. I’d done nothing wrong, therefore I shouldn’t beat myself up or pander to what people may think of me.

I was done with my life being a shambles ruled by people’s opinions, views and thoughts of how I should be acting, and what I should be doing in life, and what I should say to those around me.

Instead, I’d complete my jobs to the best of my ability, only I knew how I worked. I would say what I felt like saying and even if others didn’t like it I would stand my ground, I would make choices that would benefit me and help me to get further in life.

In a way, I could almost say thank you to this girl, for helping to come to this realisation. But that is a thanks that will simply float to the wayside off quiet lips to never be heard by ungrateful ears.

December hit me at full speed, every single day was filled with work so that I could get a leg up on this crazy season of festivities. I had car registration to pay, presents to buy, Christmas day schedules to organise between two families, Christmas parties to attend and family photos to take, a housewarming to be had, a Christmas performance for pole, and of course, Christmas and my birthday within three days of each other.

I feel as though I blinked and suddenly the best month of the year was over, and frighteningly quickly here we are yet again. At that glorious time of the year where resolutions are remade and memories are reflected upon. How did I make it here in one piece? How did I make it here without losing all my jobs? How did I make it here at all? With this better house, with more money to my name, with a stronger mental outlook?

To be honest?

I have no idea.

2016 has been such a whirlwind roller-coaster of destroyed emotions, financial wins and crashes, depression and anxiety, breakthroughs and experiences that I never thought I would experience all in 365 days.

It’s been an absolutely crazy ride 2016, but here’s to a more stable progressive 2017.

There are two holidays on the table to begin planning; both interstate and international.

There are pole competitions to plan and rehearse for.

There are family gatherings to enjoy.

There are brand new experiences and opportunities waiting just around the corner for me.

I just have to take a deep breath and hope for the best.

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