A new page.

It’s interesting to see how many people view the New Year as a new slate. It isn’t just another day that we wake up to but another chapter of life’s book.

One of the first things I heard after midnight on the 1st was a guy leaving the building I was in declaring that ‘I haven’t had a cigarette since last year!‘. A totally expected and cheesy joke, but it made everyone laugh.

I have always seen new days as new chapters. From 00.00 to 23.59, one block. Once is hits midnight, the whiteboard is wiped clean. This probably comes from our concepts of time and the use of calender’s. Instead of living in a continuously flowing world where each moment is different to the last, the sun setting and rising again is classed as one segment of time. This has provided me stability when it comes to managing my time and weekly schedule, however it has also made my life very difficult indeed. I grew up with pretty bad OCD, and it was only last year that I learned the term for one of these struggles at therapy. Contamination.

I was under the impression that contamination was just a fear of getting sick and the constant need to be clean. It turns out that it is also a mental phenomena. When I was a kid and through my teens and early twenties, I had to get out of bed with a good thought. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t get out of bed until I had a good one. If I got out of bed on a bad thought, or the first thought I had after midnight (the start of a new day) was a negative one, I wouldn’t enjoy the day until it was over. On New Years Eve in 2005, this happened and because it was the start of the year, it wasn’t just the day I contaminated but the whole year of 2006. I had a bunch of anxiety at this moment, worried that this negative feeling would last 365 days. Thankfully it didn’t but the feeling of contamination did keep flaring up throughout the year and I still remember it over a decade later. The danger here is that it can keep getting worse if I keep reacting to OCD thoughts. A day ruined can be a year, and then a decade. During the hardest moments of my life with the condition, if I won the lottery on a day that I felt I contaminated with a negative thought (such as a bad thing happening to a family member or me doing something pretty immoral for whatever reason) I wouldn’t enjoy the incredible wealth I just gained. And I know at this time I most definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Mental illness is that strong.

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But I really wanted to write today’s post about how many people see 2017 as a train that has departed as they jumped onto the 2018 one that has just arrived onto the platform.

‘Bye 2017, you won’t be missed!’

‘So long 2017, I am going to make sure 2018 is one to remember’

‘Lets make 2018 even better than 2017 was, bring on the new chapter!’

It seems we all put time periods into separate boxes. This can be a great thing I guess, as it helps us to disassociate with a negative past. A bit like a crabs ability to completely remove a damaged claw, we can mentally detach from a whole year, despite it only being two days ago. It just gets problematic when OCD creeps into it I guess.

Was yours a 2017 you were happy to leave behind, or a train you wanted to stay on? Thankfully we are on the same train all the time, there is just an illusion that we aren’t.

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Last Photo by Charles Forerunner on Unsplash

Finding the meaning

I stumbled upon this piece of street art in Newcastle, NSW. I’m struggling with the message, I’m aware that may make me stupid.


It appears as if the lady is talking messages of love to the dog, as it appears to be a speech bubble rather than a thought bubble. But her mouth is closed… So maybe the speech bubble is someone else’s graffiti added later on? Without it, she simply looks like a lazy cleaner, sweeping things under the curtain. This makes sense on its own.

But with the speech, I don’t know what message it conveys. Is she angry at the dog for making a mess and she is trying to teach the animal some human morals? Is it a thought bubble and although pretty mad at the dog, she is trying to remain a compassionate person?

Sadly, I haven’t been able to find info on this one, so we may have to resort to personal perspectives. What do you think?

Back to the grind

I’m back home, the place I have called home for the last three months at least. I still feel like I am on holiday on this working holiday visa although I am also working to fund it, taking away some of the fun. When I get the chance I will be travelling away from this Sydney home on mini breaks until my visa expires and I have to return to my actual home.

To summarise, I will be taking short holidays away from my temporary home during my long holiday away from my permanent home.

I hope you’re following? Explaining has never been a strength of mine, so here is a picture of a rat in jail as a quick distraction. Taken on the streets of Newcastle NSW, there is some pretty cool street art to be found here.


This image does relate to my post. It is the way I feel when having to go back to work. I get my breaks daily, my two or so days off and the occasional holiday time but ultimately that is just the tip of the iceberg. An iceberg that is 90% work related, doing what we have to do so we can eventually do what we want to do.

What is the ratio between your work and leisure time? 80:20? 50:50? 100:0?! I have never been to jail, nor do I feel I am in one in employment but the more I think of it this way, the easier it will be able to escape those metaphorical bars and into true freedom.

I don’t know if I have blogged about this before

I love having a wander around the city. Any city. I think the benefit of these big city wanders is the inspiration I receive. In a city, I am constantly getting ideas from other people. It is all inspiration I soak up from people. Architecture, art, music, protests… all human influences. A walk in the countryside often makes me look within and question our nature. Cities are filled with people interpreting that nature in a thousand different ways.

This mural on Pitt Street is an example of why I like these unplanned wanders. I have been to this corner before, ask me how I got here or how to get to it again and I wouldn’t be able to. The mural above me is a very interesting one and one I had to research.

The Peace, Justice and Unity mural was created by Public Art Squad in 1984. It was painted over in 2001 during restoration work on the building and shortly after this the group responsible for the artwork were successful in obtaining a government grant to redo it.  Bob Carr, the Premier of New South Wales at the time, said…

“The scale of the mural and its enduring themes of peace and racial harmony will once again be an important reminder of the kind of community in which we all strive to live,”

Donations for the 80’s installment and the 21st century repaint came courtesy of the local council, churches and charity organisations. So that is something new I have learned today, thanks to the internet I can do more than just look at a piece of art. I don’t like to interpret it in my own way, I prefer to know the story behind it from the artists themselves. On their website, the summary for this mural reads:

“PEACE JUSTICE & UNITY
CAN SERVE AS A STATEMENT
OF SYDNEY TO AUSTRALIA
& THE REST
OF THE WORLD”


Peace and racial harmony are the themes here, who could be mad at that?

I never knew Houston was this colourful…

Despite living in Texas for twelve fantastic months, I never ventured as far south as Houston. This blog post makes me regret that. The bright, optimistic street art in a city I overlooked in favour of other Texan cities was worth a re-blog. I hope Seersucker Optional and the city of Houston forgives me.

Houston is pretty awesome! As I said in my last post, Houston has really become a vibrant, artistic city! I was blown away by all the public art and painted walls. I thought I’d take you all on a little tour of the city, and highlight my favorite things to see! Main […]

via Colorful Greetings from Houston in Draper James — Seersucker Optional

Featured Photo by Felipe Galvan on Unsplash

Staredown

I don’t know who the lady is in this piece of street art, but she looks like she means business.

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She probably just heard the news that Trump has reversed a ban on ‘trophies’ brought into the US consisting of elephant body parts killed in hunts. A move that has infuriated many people, including animal lover Ricky Gervais.


Maybe it’s not that. Maybe she wants gender neutral bathrooms. Maybe she doesn’t?

Who knows, there are so many avenues for us to vent anger and frustration in the world, maybe she just wants to climb down from the wall and have a beer in the Irish bar a couple blocks down. Heck, after a few beers there I may build up the Dutch courage to talk to her and ask how she is feeling myself.

Consciously Obeying versus Subconsciously Conforming

“The idea of consciously obeying versus subconsciously conforming has been something that’s important to me.

It’s designed to encourage people to question whether they agree with what they’re confronted with.”

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These are the words of the artist that created this piece, 47 year old Shepard Fairey, and more can be read about this specific mural here.

I like the piece, it catches my attention every time in a city that does not really have much street art to view, not on this scale at least.

What do you think of it?

Nothing.

I didn’t think I would ever take a photo of the entrance to a car park, then again it is Brazil, there is a photo opportunity around every corner!

 

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This interesting piece is made up of 400+ very boring aspects, I feel almost conned as I take a photo of it. We find the same fascination in almost anything when there are multiples of said thing surrounding it. The pattern reminds me of a hurricane or a flock of Starlings, both incredible when observing from afar. Take one single component from such phenomena and we don’t turn our heads, a bird flying into a strong breeze isn’t a photo opportunity. The beauty of bland or seemingly meaningless pieces of art is that we fill in the gaps, creating our on perception and stories, although I must admit I prefer art that does the work for me. We can do this with music and I am sure many other aspects of life. Our brains are amazing for this, finding beauty where there is little and being able to appreciate beauty when it is apparent.

 

Firsts.

Beco do Batman, São Paulo.

I’ve always been one to stick to my comforts. This may be a result of bullying at school, anxiety or simply a lack of motivation to change. I had always stuck to the same path and daily routine.

I think this is what has made me want to travel more than anything, the years of tip-toeing in the shallow end suddenly built up and a sudden sense of urgency weighed me down. Thankfully this sense of urgency hasn’t died. The older we get the more we lose, this keeps this snowball rolling. I still find myself wanting to go back to that old mentality at times, why should I go on holiday somewhere different? The last place was fine. Why listen to new music? The songs I have listened to a thousand times have served me well. Is it worth risking number 68 on the menu when I know number 75 is delicious?

Before I tasted my favorite food, I was content. Before I discovered my favorite band, I was nodding my head to something else. Before I found my favorite destination, I was telling my friends how good the last place was. Would I go back in time to one of little discovery and experience? Hell No.

Climb the steps before turning back, you can always come back later, if the thought ever crosses your mind.

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Thank you to my followers for inspiring me to keep posting. I hope to keep my blog growing and to explore as many of your blogs as I can, a follow is greatly appreciated.

Muito obrigado!