A tale as old as time…

At 7.00pm on Wednesday 29 March 2017, I went to the cinema and watched the advanced screening of Beauty and the Beast. Where do I begin?

Let’s begin from the beginning. Like a typical 90s kid, Beauty and the Beast is hands down my favourite Disney cartoon. The music, the moral of the story, the longing to be just like Belle and my god, that library. I watch the Disney cartoon at least once a year and it just never gets old. It’s beautiful, it’s terrifying and it just takes me back to my carefree childhood.

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Photo credit: ohmy.disney on Pinterest

When I heard they were making a movie, I’m not going to lie: I was terrified and very, very skeptical. Even though I’m a fan of Emma Watson, when you’re recreating a classic Disney cartoon, it can either be incredible, average or well, ridiculous. I didn’t want my childhood to be ruined because the director had a vision that was way off from mine.

For those of you who don’t know what Beauty and the Beast is about (god forbid!), quick summary: Arrogant prince is transformed into a Beast by a disguised enchantress. Everyone in his household is transformed into inanimate objects. To break the spell, the Beast must learn to love another and earn their love. Belle, a small town bibliophile, takes the place of her father as the Beast’s prisoner because he picked a rose from his garden. During her stay, she grows closer to the Beast and they fall for one another. Oh and he gifts her an incredible library. Her father is mocked by the villagers for asking for their help to save Belle and narcissistic Gaston sends him to a madhouse. Belle, witnessing this through an enchanted mirror, is freed by the Beast to save her father. She shows the villagers the Beast through the mirror to prove that he’s real and her father isn’t mad. Everyone freaks and they go to the castle to kill the Beast. They’re attacked by the inanimate objects. Gaston tries to kill Beast. Beast gets shot and Gaston falls to his death. Beast is dying and the last petal on the enchanted rose falls before Belle tells Beast she loves him. Belle somehow manages to break the spell anyways and then everyone turns back to human and they live happily ever after. The end*.

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Photo credit: lolalambchops on Pinterest

Fast-forward to Wednesday and well, I had to refrain myself from singing out loud to all the known tunes and weeping tears of joy. When it came to the scene of Beast vs Gaston, I lost all self control. I was in tears. I couldn’t stop crying and you know when you go to the movies and it’s a sad scene so a few drops of tears dribble down and then you wipe them away and it’s okay again?

Well this wasn’t that situation. I cried and cried and cried. I felt like I was crying of a broken heart andthen Belle breaks the spell and everyone becomes human, I cried tears of complete and utter joy. So much joy. I can’t even begin. Even more joyous was realizing whom the different actors were that acted as the ‘live’ inanimate objects like Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Pots. Freaking lost my mind when they turned into human. I left the cinema with panda eyes and mascara on the side of my face.

So how do I think Bill Condon did in recreating a childhood classic? He did a pretty good job. There were some added scenes that didn’t quite follow the original but they worked pretty well. You can also really sense the studio-created backdrops for some of the scenes but it’s not tragic that you’d hate it. Well, I didn’t anyways.

Condon also did pretty well with the casting. All the actors fitted their characters very well and it was great seeing the on-screen veterans like Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor and the ravishing Emma Thompson.

Would I watch it again? Yes, yes I would. My birthday is in 4 days. I think I might just go to the movies and watch it again.

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*It’s not the best synopsis but if you want to read more, I’m sure my uncle Google will give you a more detailed plot outline. Also, there’s always the option to watch the movie… wink wink

Mr Mitty and I

I think we all encounter at least once in our life a book, a movie, a song or a tune that really resonates with us. It speaks to us in a way that others will never understand and stays with us forever.

That’s what happened when I was exposed to Mr Mitty. For those of you who don’t know who or what I’m talking about, Walter Mitty is a character from a short story of the same name written by James Thurber. He first appeared in the New Yorker in 1939. In 2013, a movie adaptation was released and stars Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig. I think it’s such an inspirational movie and was crafted beautifully.

Mr Mitty is a daydreamer; he transports himself into a wild and elaborate world of imagination to escape the mundaneness of reality. In the short story, he escapes his weekly shop with his wife and her trip to the beauty parlour. In the movie, he escapes his workplace, his responsibilities and ultimately, his average life. Walter’s journey to find a missing negative leads him on an adventure of a lifetime. I also love that the evolution of his e-Harmony profile is used to show how much he grows and progresses as a person and it details his life experiences in the space of a few weeks.

What I love the most about the movie is Life magazine’s motto:

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I shamelessly have this quote printed and hanging above my desk at work. It’s corny but it really inspires me and I know it inspires a lot of people and I’m glad it does. When I start to feel stagnant at work and question what I’m doing and why I’m there, I look at the quote and I’m reminded that I’m working towards the bigger picture.

I think a valuable lesson we can all take from Mr Mitty is that while extreme daydreaming/’mittyism’ is okay, why waste life just dreaming when you can go out there and make it a reality? Don’t wait around for things to happen – go and make it happen. And if you can’t, why not? What’s stopping you? Can you find a solution?

I feel like for far too long, I’ve been putting off travelling for various reasons: career, relationships, fear and ultimately, money. I’m not going to lie; money is still an issue. Unfortunately I’m a lover of new superficial things and living a life of luxury so that doesn’t help when you need to save money for tickets, accommodation, transportation and well, experiences because some of them don’t come cheap!

But it’s okay to live the poor life because I know in the end I’m going to be rich… rich in experiences that is! And who knows, I might just meet my ABC man at the other end of the Earth.

For those of you who don’t know what ABC is, it’s another Mitty reference:

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Well Mr Mitty, I hope you stay in my life for a while yet and continue to inspire me to reach out to my dreams and make it a reality. I’m not going to lie, the thought of travelling is terrifying because it’s way out of my comfort zone but, another movie reference: life is about courage and going into the unknown.

My challenge to you (yes you! The person my friend Emma is pointing to!!) don’t just sit there and be afraid… grow some balls and go out into the unknown. Even if you don’t succeed, you’ll come back richer. With a moustache and maybe a sombrero.

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If you haven’t read the story or watched the movie, I highly recommend it.

Photo credit: Drunken photo booth pic from a staff Christmas party

A story about a girl and two(ish) boys

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Warning. This is not a happy story with a happy ending. I just thought I’d share with you what love is to me and when I say love, I mean that feeling you get when a girl meets a boy and yeah… not the family/friend/pet love that we all know and well, love.

When I was younger, I was convinced I was going to meet a boy (yes, one boy) who was going to sweep me off my feet and we were going to get married, live in a penthouse apartment, be a power couple forever and then die. Lol, forever and die in the same sentence. Reminds me of this henna stall at a festival that had a sign that read “temporary tattoos that last forever”. Anyways, yes my dream ends morbidly but such is life.

Anyways, I did meet a boy, I did think we were going to get married, he cheated on me, I didn’t cry and I forgave him, I spent three and a half years with him, realised I wasn’t happy and the last thing I wanted to do was marry a deceitful, cheating bastard, decided I deserved better from him and the life we had and then dumped him. Actually, this thing I found on the Facebook page Word Porn sums up the situation in the end:

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The sad part of my first relationship was realising that the real reason why I forgave him for cheating was because I didn’t think I could do better or find someone else who was going to love me. So I accepted the love I thought I deserved. It was a sad reality but I’m proud of myself for realising that that’s not the case at all and I deserve better.

After that relationship, I had a fantastic five-ish months of singledom then boom, I was in another relationship. Did I think I was going to marry this guy? Nah, but I was willing to give it a go. In a year and a half, we drank, got high, went out, moved down to Wellington together then I grew up. Unfortunately, he didn’t. It took me a while to end things because I was consumed by guilt since he came to Wellington because of me. But things weren’t getting any better… So I dumped him.

Three years later and I’m still single.

So my childhood dream of meeting a boy and everything ending up perfectly didn’t come true but I realised it’s totally okay. One of the fundamental things I’ve learnt from my two ‘failed’ relationships is that you need to love yourself before you can learn to love others. Oh, and there is such a thing as ‘finding yourself’ before deciding to settle.

Am I disappointed that I gave myself fully to two people and it didn’t work? Hell no. The thing is, I don’t regret the relationships I’ve had in my life because they actually made me stronger. Whether you want to admit it or not, it’s the experiences gained from being in crappy relationships that make you realise who you are, what you deserve and what you won’t tolerate. I tolerated cheating and I think cheating is the best example of disrespect.

So what did I learn about love and what does it mean to me? Cliché but love really is about respecting one another and respecting yourself. It’s about admiring one another and wanting to be better for them and for you.

Now in these three years of singledom, I’ve had some pretty interesting experiences with dating… but that’s for another blog post.

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So tell me, what is love to you?

Photo credit: dawnchapmanphoto. Seriously, check out her work. She’s fantastic!

Five things that made me happy this week #1

I think I need to get back to appreciating the little things in life. As you get older, life really does get much more fast-paced and you tend to forget to stop and smell the roses.

So, every Saturday for a month, I’m going to post about the five things that made me happy in the week. Wish me luck guys, for my memory can be so shocking.

Wellington’s Pride Parade and Out in the Park,

Last Saturday, Wellington had its first pride parade in 25 years and I was so stoked to be there. It was so colourful, extravagant and fun, despite the typical Wellington weather of dark clouds and wind. While I only saw the second half of the parade (thanks to sleeping through my alarm), it was well worth. There was also the Out in the Park event consisting of food stalls and entertainment at the Waitangi Park. Much fun! I guess what made it an enjoyable experience was being part of a community where everyone was celebrating our diverse community. As you can see, I fan-girled a bit too hard…

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Writing my first Facebook post

I had the opportunity of writing my first Facebook post for work and it was published! So exciting! I work in communications and part of my development was to learn more about how social media works for business and how to engage the public through this channel. To be able to write a post and have it published was a great sense of achievement. Needless to say, I liked it within 0.5 second of it being posted.

 A new pair of chucks

 I love Chuck Taylors. I think they’re so super, duper comfy and stylish in a casual, cool way. I’ve gone through three pairs of black hi-tops and had a hiatus from my last pair. Well, they broke and I didn’t buy a replacement. I’ve been chuck-less for nearly two years so I decided I was going to buy another pair. And I did. And it was the best decision ever. Wearing them felt like home and as soon as I put them on, the first thing my friend said was “that’s so you”. So yes, definitely a highlight!

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Finally starting my blog

 I’d been talking about setting my blog up for the last few months and to have finally done it was the biggest achievement of my week. So far I’m really enjoying the experience of writing and blogging, working out how WordPress works and learning about the blogging world. I truly hope people are enjoying the content and experience as much as I’m enjoying putting it all together.

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Nails 

Yes I’m talking about fingernails and nail polish. I went to a makeup and fragrance sale with a friend and left with six nail polishes and suffice to say, I’m stoked with the purchase. I was inspired by a workmate to frequently update my nail polish. I used to hate doing it because I’m a messy painter and when it chips, I just remove it anyways and yeah, the maintenance was a nightmare. Anyways, I loved seeing her different coloured nails and she said she has a bad habit of biting her nails so to stop doing it, she paints her nails and as soon as it chips she changes to another shade. I’ve been doing this for about a month now and I’m actually really enjoying it. I love looking down at my colourful nails and it makes me feel really put together. This year, I really wanted to start taking extra care of myself and doing something as small as looking after my nails and painting them makes me feel like I’m doing just that!

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I hope you enjoyed the first episode of five things that made me happy this week. I highly encourage you to do this! Tell me, what five things made you happy this week?

Lessons from Father Jay

And no, I’m not talking about a priest, a pastor or a pope. I’m talking about my father and yes, I refer to him as Father Jay. Every time I say Father Jay, the first thing people ask is “oh is that your pastor?” no, not my pastor, just my father and yeah I guess sometimes he preaches.

He’s a thoughtful man although he can be the most impatient, angry person but he tries not to be and you know what, sometimes that’s all that counts. He’s very considerate even though he can be harsh and point out your flaws but sometimes you need someone in your life that does. How else are you supposed to better yourself if you don’t know your flaws?

I’m the type of person who actually enjoys being around their family and when I’m away for too long, I miss them. I rely on my father a lot and I’m not ashamed to say that he’s my rock. Sometimes it’s embarrassing how much I rely on him but I think most people will agree, your parents do give the best advice. Got a problem? Dad. Need to share some great news? Dad. Need to vent? Dad.

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Hell, when I wanted to end my first relationship (it was a three and a half year relationship!) I immediately drove to my dad’s at 11pm so I could talk it through with him. Bearing in mind, he goes to sleep at 10pm (usually) AND I wasn’t living with him. Anyways, he boiled the jug and listened to me while I blubbered and cried about not knowing what the hell I was going to do and gave me hugs. Every time I think of that moment, I get emotional.

It’s safe to say I’ve learnt a lot from my dad. I’ve never really thanked him or told him I appreciated him so dad, if you’re reading this, hello! And thank you for everything. Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate you (and no I’m not saying this because I’m blogging!).

Let me share with you the top five things I’ve learnt from Father Jay:

  1. Always trust your gut because that funny feeling wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t meant to be there
  2. Confidence is very important if you want to go far (and if you lack in confidence, join Toastmasters! – yes dad I will join Toastmasters at some stage…)
  3. It’s okay to grieve when a big part of your life ends
  4. I’m hopeless when it comes to saving money
  5. It’s okay to be a weirdo (thanks for passing on your weirdness to me dad!)

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The cure to loneliness

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Okay I did it. I’m sorry. I feel like I need to apologise for being really naughty but I really couldn’t help myself. I don’t know what to say… I guess in some ways I’m just out of control.

I just had to click bait you.

Now, now before you click out of this post I’m not entirely lying to you. While I don’t have the cure to loneliness, I do want to talk about it.

Let’s start with the definition. I would define loneliness as the feeling of actually realising you’re alone and wanting to be in someone else’s presence.

I googled what it meant and the first definition that popped up was “sadness because one has no friends or company”. Okay I’m not gonna lie, I had a bit of a chuckle at that definition but it’s not wrong. I think we all perceive loneliness differently. For me, when I feel lonely I just really want to talk to someone or be in the presence of a being or feel connected to someone.

As what is considered an ‘introvert extrovert’, I don’t often get lonely but I know that when I do, it’s a bit of a rough patch and I get a bit confused, particularly if I haven’t felt lonely in a while. Plus loneliness can strike at any time even when you’re out at a party or at a BYO with friends.

SO when loneliness hits, I devised a little plan on how to feel less lonely and I’m going to share it with you:

  • Phone a friend, mother, sister, brother, whoever. Just phone someone and if they’re around, invite them out for a hang sesh. I know it’s the obvious but I thought I’d start with the obvious
  • If you’re at a party and feeling lonely, talk to someone. Chances are there’s someone there who feels exactly like you do and who knows, you’ll end up with a new partner/friend/beneficial bro/enemy
  • Read a funny book/blog/article/joke. You’ll be in stitches and we know that when you’re laughing away, it releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals
  • Go for a walk, preferably somewhere in the bush where there are trees, birds and flowers. Soaking in nature and fresh air really opens me up and makes me feel calm, relaxed and well, less lonely. Plus if there are people around, you’re surrounding yourself with company! (well, sort of)
  • Have a bath. Now before you yell at me, warm baths really relaxes your mind and body and I know when you’re feeling lonely, the last thing you want to do is be further alone with yourself and your thoughts. But if you have a podcast or music playing in the background, it can turn into a refreshing experience and you can remind yourself of why you enjoy alone time
  • Talk to your flatmate, even if you may not be a fan of this person but sometimes just having a conversation with another human can make you feel a bit better
  • No flatmates? Talk to your cat(s). I have flatmates but I still talk to my cats. They just meow back but I always feel less lonely. Maybe it’s cause I’m crazy but meh it works
  • No pets? Well sometimes just writing down your thoughts and feelings down really help because in a way, it’s like you’re talking to yourself. I mean while you’re reading this and I’m writing it, I feel like I’m talking to myself. Hell, start a blog. That’s what I did and trust me, I always feel less lonely when I’m writing

We can never fully get rid of feeling lonely but at least we can make the feeling more bearable. I hope this helps! What do you do to combat that empty feeling?

Photo credit: dawnchapmanphoto, check out her stuff!

The deep end: Part Two

Scary situation #2

I’m going to sub-sub-head this ‘The Climb’. I think it’s worthy of a sub-sub heading because well, it was truly wonderful.

I woke up at 10.00am on a Monday off. I hopped in the shower (don’t judge me when you read on and realize maybe I should’ve just had a shower after, not first), put on my workout gear, packed my 1L bottle of water and raincoat into a daypack and headed out the door.

I was determined to climb up Mount Kaukau, which is the highest most visible point in the Wellington region. According to Wikipedia, it’s 445 meters above sea level.

Anyways, I parked up and made my way to the entrance of the park. I read the map, took a deep breath and went forward. While I knew EXACTLY what I was getting myself into, nothing prepared me for all the upward hills and stairs. Yerp, there were stairs.

Every corner I turned there were more and more and more stairs. I’m not going to lie, I felt like I was going to cry and give up more times than I could recite my ABCs repeatedly in 20 minutes (does this even make sense?). Oh and did I mention my calves were on fire because I went for a bit of an uphill hike a couple of days before and didn’t stretch? Yeah, that’s a thing.

Anyways, when I finally got to the top and there was a wide stretch of green with a picnic table and people lying on the grass, my god I can’t even begin to describe to you how happy I felt. I was so happy I actually started laughing. Yes that’s right, I was there by myself. And laughing. And as I continued to walk up, I continued to have a massive grin on my face.

I didn’t even care that all the people that passed me while walking up had already had their moment of bliss and were heading back down while I had just made it to the summit. It didn’t phase me one bit.

I was so happy. I soaked in the 360 views and spent a solid 5 minutes around every corner with a huge smile on face. I was truly taking everything in and I thought to myself, is this what true happiness feels like? Cause if it is, I bloody want more.

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It’s hard to believe that I was experiencing a once in a blue moon moment where I was truly happy and I was by myself. What are the odds! I smiled for a while longer and decided to keep walking rather than turn around because these treks usually take you back to your starting point right?

… Right?

I was pulled into continuing the trek by the hills and an inviting pathway. I kept walking and stopped to read a map and signs that said ‘Johnsonville this way’. Meh, it’s indicating Johnsonville is that way but it doesn’t mean it’s going to take you to just Johnsonville. Right?

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I kept walking… nearly stepped on dog poop and fell off the cliff because I just had to take an incredible photo. I drained my battery – from 99% it was sitting at 12%. Who cares? I won’t need it for anything other than photos.

IMG_1623IMG_1624 I just kept walking and walking and walking and suddenly, I was at an exit point. To Johnsonville. The opposite of where my car was parked.

Fuck.

Scary situation #3

Same day. Same place. I was in a cul-de-sac in the middle of fucking Johnsonville. Might I add, I know NOTHING about Johnsonville. I mean this was a place where my friend had to be google maps and guide me to Nandos (it’s a pretty small place kinda). For a place that’s literally a 10 minute drive from where I lived, I knew NOTHING. Like Jon Snow, I knew NOTHING.

So naturally, I checked google maps. Wahoo, 10% battery. Fuck. Google maps told me it was going to take approximately 30 minutes to get to my car. Okay cool, easy enough. With my dying phone and dying map and dying GPS. Screenshotting the map isn’t going to help, given by this time I was sitting at 5%.

I started walking through the wild ‘burbs until I got to a roundabout with a dairy in the corner. I decided I needed electrolytes or caffeine or just something. I bought a Loaded drink. Mm electrolytes.

Then my phone died. I kept following the main road, with my backpack, feeling like a right tourist and actually reading signs. To cut the story short, I made it to my car parked in Khadallah. It took me about 40-45 minutes (hard to tell when you don’t have a phone because it’s dead but judging by the approximate time of 2.35pm just before my phone died and it being 3.15pm or whatever from the top of my head).

I was so happy to see Georgie (my car) from a distance. I ran to her and hugged her like the true weirdo that I am. There was a couple sitting by the train station and I could feel their eyes piercing into my back. But you know what? Fuck them. They didn’t know my struggle. They didn’t have to endure what I had endured.

FUCK. THEM.

So in the space of one day, I:

  • nearly gave up
  • nearly killed someone/thing
  • nearly cried in pain
  • felt pure happiness and true bliss at the same time
  • loved life
  • felt content
  • felt assured
  • felt lost
  • felt nervous and anxious
  • felt relieved

I totally think I’m ready to travel alone.