Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On overcoming bullying


I wanted to write about something a little special today; something a little bit more important than what I might usually write. While it is so important to keep positive, it is maybe even more important to keep from being negative.

Today I wanted to write about bullying. Growing up I was never the coolest kid, and while from time to time I had rude snipes made in my direction or a few mean words thrown my way, I wouldn't consider myself a victim of schoolyard bullying. But while I am lucky enough to have escaped high school unscathed, it doesn't mean that everyone did. I would just like to point out that this post is not a back handed snipe directed at anyone, nor am I trying to bring to the surface grievances with anyone. I am merely trying to bring this taboo topic to light. 

First and foremost, I believe we all should have the freedom to be ourselves. I believe that if you are born as a male and you are sexually attracted to men, or women to women, then that is so fine. You deserve to have the right to love whoever you wish to. I believe you should have the right to choose your own decisions in life and above all, YOU DESERVE TO FEEL SAFE. Always. 

As a vegan I have had a fair few rude comments directed my way, and I do consider myself to be quite passive. It is my right to eat beans just as much as it is the next persons choice to eat salmon, or strawberries, or so on. And while I do not advocate the eating of flesh, this is a decision I came to on my own accord as everyone else has came to their own decisions about their lifestyle and health. 

We are all beautiful! We all have a heart and know what "love" is and have aspirations for the present and the future and dreams we hope to fulfil. I have huge dreams, maybe even a little too big for me to fill, but that is what living is about. It is about embracing all that there is to embrace in this universe; to seize the day; to feel safe in the knowledge that your character is your destiny. 

But some don't embrace these things. They take pleasure in hurting those who are already down, those who are unsure or indecisive of their move. Those who are not 100% themselves. This is called bullying and it is disgusting. It upsets me when someone will come to me trying to "bitch" about another person because I know at that moment, the person being spoken about is having their character judged. Does this person deserve this? Is whatever they have done, or supposed to have done worth their good name and respect? No.

I ask of you, next time you see or hear of someone being spoken to or about rudely, ask yourself "How would I feel being spoken to like this?" 

People may forget what you said or what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Changing my story


It has become more and more apparent to me in the past few weeks that life is starting to change pace. For myself and the people I know. A lot of the people I went to school with are getting promotions, getting married, engaged, getting pregnant, raising kids or buying homes. And it is so inspiring and amazing and I couldn't be happier for them. I always knew that 2012 was going to be big; and that my 22nd year would lead me to a more mature and professional platform but not so soon in the year.

So this morning, I am pleased to say, something amazing happened. As of yesterday, I had zero savings whatsoever, just a deep pit in my stomach filled with anxiety about the fact that at my age I have nothing to show for my time here financially. Then I stumbled across this post by Rachel from In Spaces Between, and it all made sense. Every day we are writing our own story, and the longer I sat back and moped about what I didn't have instead of embracing what I did; the longer I would be harbouring this negativity.

So I opened up a Ubank account. It's basically a bank account with zero fees and a hefty interest turnover. And then I did something a little crazy, I set my goal as $20,000 and named it "home account", because yes, I just started saving for a home. Today. And immediately I feel I can do anything. Granted it is going to take a long time but I am alright with this. 

One thing I have learn from my experience with blogging thus far is that you need to push, push, push until you break through. I have been blogging from this blog for the past 2 years or so (I have started fresh more than once!) and I have nine followers. But of those nine, I have gained two in the past week (shout out to Paige and Lilia!). That is perseverance! Nothing worth having will ever come easily, and I don't think I would want it to; where is the lesson in that!

What would you change if only you had the inspiration to?

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

On being exceptionally mediocre


Today I think I had what I can only explain as an "ah-hah' moment (thank you Oprah). I was sitting at my desk where I do most of my serious work (procrastinating) and was frustrated as always because whatever I was working on wasn't doing what I wanted it to. Then it occurred to me. IT DIDN'T MATTER. I needed to just stop and breathe. 

It occurred to me that I wasn't going to get my blog to bounce to 10,000 views overnight or that I was even going to get my carpet to pre-cat cleanness. And I think that the beauty in this realisation is that I am okay with this.

You see, I am an intense perfectionist, and it really doesn't help that I am both a vegan and have an anxiety disorder (none linked of course), but it does mean that I always need to have complete control over my environment, refuse to drink coffee made by anyone but myself as the pixies tell me they use regular milk and I have the tendency to spend entire weekends scrubbing the kitchen. You get the point. I like things my way, and I like to think I can conquer anything with my "can-do" attitude.

But what is wrong with simply being okay? Why must we be so perfect and exceptional at everyone we try our hands at? Is it ever okay to stop and go "that's good enough by my mediocre standard"? I think it is. 

But then I had another thought, what if we make our perfection by simply showing up? By getting up and writing through the mediocrity, the days where you're feeling particularly depressed and the days where you don't have a single word of importance to share. To just be the message and push and push and push until you break through?

Maybe if we delicately work on these not-so-great attributes we can get to a level of greatness. Way back in 2010 I said to myself "Self, let's learn French". I had no reasoning behind this as the only person I know who speaks French is my boyfriend, who's vocabulary is roughly 10 words long. But I wanted to learn French damn it! And I still am, at snail slowness. But I am trying, and that is my slow perfection I guess.

Is there anything you wish you could give more time to?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"How To" Wednesdays: Fixing a car - basic style.


This may sound like a fairly random choice of blog post, but if you knew my Mum it would be completely natural in your mind. You see, my Mum is deeply feminist and has never let allowed me to pass on a chore that a man would stereotypically do. Hence, as soon as I was legally able to drive, I was taught exactly how to deal with any troubles my car might get me into.

So without any further ado...

Adding 'water': As you probably have noticed, you have a temperature indicator on your dash, C (cold) and H (hot). If the needle is pointing towards H, chances are you are in need of some water or coolant (which is a mixture of water and antifreeze: do not drink this! You WILL die). If so, wait until your engine has cooled down (roughly 30 minutes after turning off your engine). When it is cool enough, pop the hood. You are looking for a plastic reservoir tub with some form of drawing indicating water (your manual will give you an exact idea of where to look). If in doubt, fill to the "full" mark. Done!

Buffing out scratches: As you may already be aware, there are a lot of idiots on our roads; and that is double when you're in a car park it seems. So it is only natural to cover this topic as well. Our cars paintwork is set into four different layers: steel, primer, colour and finally, clear-coat. If you're scratch has cut deeper than the paint layer it is probably best you disregard this information and take your beloved car to a professional. However, for minor scratches, clean the area with soapy water and dry. Once this is done, apply a small amount of rubbing compound (a gritty wax-like product you can buy from auto stores) onto a foam buffer. Use the buffer to work in a circular motion on the scratch until the surface evens out, and voila, scratch be gone!

Changing a tyre: Strangely, this is not a skill I learnt from my Mum, but in fact an ex-boyfriend! None the less, I now know how to change a tyre. Now you want to make sure you do this right, people have died from doing this wrong. Strong men included. If you think you're up to the challenge, you want to put a chock behind a wheel on the opposite side of the car (a brick or something heavy will do, you don't want the car to move). Locate the jack in your car, it is usually under the lining of your boot, somewhere around your spare tyre. You want to place this close enough to the affected tyre as to move the car high enough for you to work on the area, but not too close as to impede your chances of pulling this off. Jack it up until the affected wheel is off the ground. NEVER GET UNDER THE CAR! If the jack fails and you are under the car, your chances of survival are slim. Remove the nuts and slide the tyre towards you and set aside. You now want to put the spare tyre on and firmly screw the nuts back on. Lower the jack so the tyre is again on the ground then tighten the nuts. Done!

Checking air pressure: This is an important one we usually forget about. If you don't have enough air pressure in your tyres they will wear away much faster meaning more sets of tyres, as well as higher fuel consumption meaning more stops at the petrol station. Different cars have different tyre pressures so you're going to want to check your manual. Next, get yourself to a petrol station; they should have an electronic air pump which is free to use. Remove the cap from your tyre valve and set the required tyre pressure onto the pump. Place the hose nozzle onto the tyre and squeeze trigger. The pump will beep when the tyre pressure has been reached. Next, remove the hose and replace the nozzle, then repeat for your other tyres.

Checking the oil: Once your engine is cool enough (30 minutes) you want to pop the bonnet. Next, locate the dipstick (it has a loop at the top). Find yourself a rag as this may get a little messy! Pull the dipstick out and wipe it with the rag to remove any leftover oil. Replace the dipstick for a few seconds then repeat. This will help to give a true indication of the oil level. If the oil stain doesn't reach the 'full' level then you are going to need to do a little more work. You want to find the oil filter (middle of engine). Remove its cap and pour small amounts in until the dipstick is reading as full. Replace the cap, you're all done. Remember to never go more than three months without checking your oil.

An announcement! Wednesday shall be...


Happy Hump-day everyone! Now, bear with me but I want to try something a little bit different, a little bit fun even. In the vast black hole that I call my mind I have concocted a rather exciting little idea...

I have decided that from now until the end of time as I know it, Wednesday shall be known as "How-To-Wednesdays" (or "HTW" for short) here at Breathe The Rain. Crazy right? Anyway, my justification behind this is the saying "you learn something new everyday", except most weeks I only learn one or two things, so it's time to get our knowledge on people!

Its going to be a lot of random things at first but as I hone in on what my lovely readers (you!) want to read or learn, then I will start to specialise a little. So please, feel free to drop me a line, no matter how small or large your question or topic is, and I'll try and teach you a thing or two :)

Today I will be teaching you the basics of car maintenance, so stay posted!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The family you choose yourself.


It is entirely bizarre how one simple change in your routine can affect so much. It was about six months into my new life as a vegan (so, say July) that it occurred to me that I could volunteer my spare time to the local animal shelter.

"Yes, that's what I shall do", I thought. And I did. Not going to lie, it was daunting at first. Two cats; both needing daily medication, new feed, water, bedding and a cuddle. Easy really, just not the medication. It wasn't long until I was doing this all alone for four cats. And not all these cats were friendly; towards each other or myself. That's life I guess. The animal kingdom is much like human society; not all animals/people are nice.

It was roughly around the time I started getting a little smug that I came across "him". A fellow volunteer and friend of mind sent me a message informing me that there were two new cats and I ay want to consider bringing a friend along for some moral support. "Pfft" I thought, "How terrifying can kittens be?" Boy was I wrong. I was horribly outnumbered by two scared full-grown cats and two seven-month-old male Bengal kittens. Twenty minutes later I had endured many bites, scratches and had taken to sooking in the corner as my feline counterparts ran wild.

As I now know, Bengal cats are part tiger (aka Bengal tigers) which makes them more terrifying than your run-of-the-mill house tabby. Patches, the youngest was no exception. He was everywhere at once. He was tiny; obviously the runt of his litter, and would eat four packets of Whiskas in the one sitting. He would scream for hours for attention, then would bite you when he got it. Once I even caught him balancing atop of a cat scratch slapping the other kitties on the head. He was basically the devil in kitten form.

But then something completely illogical happened. I fell in love with him. His brother, Tigger, had just found a new home and Bengals usually need to live with another Bengal, and knowing the rarity of the breed and the odds of another Bengal owner being in the market for a male kitten, I didn't think his chances of being re-homed were very great, considering how in his tiny life he had already had three homes. So after a few fairly heated arguments, a weeks worth of sleepless nights and a rather adequate amount of money, I had committed myself to becoming his fur-mummy.

That was four months ago, however it feels like he has always been a part of this family. Its strange, at the animal shelter he was scary, temperamental and constantly angry but he is so perfectly behaved here. I come home from work each afternoon to him waiting at the front door with those bright eyes so happy to see his mummy is home; I awake at 4am with a headache and he is there to protect me from all that lurks in the dark. He is always there, actually, as I write this now he is curled up in front of me watching the tele.

It hasn't all been fun though. My other baby, Allegra, who I have had since she was a kitten five years ago, has had it out for Patches since day one. She has never had to share and the idea of giving up her things and sharing her food makes her angry, but over the past few months they have came to tolerate one another. It is the same of human siblings too I guess.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love and the places it can take us.


Something has me all tangled up lately and I am not even sure if I am allowed to justify my fear at this age. You see, I am yet to move away from my parents' home. While living at home into your adult years may be perfectly fine in Russia, it is not, at least in my mind.

I am twenty two as you may already know. While I am fully aware that this is still a relatively youthful age, I can't shake the feeling that I am always being judged as this silly girl who has no aspirations in life, no way of taking care of herself or even has the ability to clothe and feed herself. These are very wrong misconceptions.

The truth is that I have tried many times to move out of home, however each attempt has ended somewhat abruptly before it even began. I am not going to lie, money has had a great hand at my demise as has sickness, but also it has to do with people not wishing to move with me. Up until now I let it be though. I just figured that it was fine, and that it would give me more time to save my pennies and to buy yet another saucepan for the collection of moving out things.

So why has this all flooded back to the surface now? Love. You see, my longterm boyfriend is training to be a pilot. We are all entitled to our dreams and passion and he just happens to be incredibly driven and good at his. He is very supportive of me and my crazy dreams of writing books for a living so who am I to tell him how it is. My agreement to myself was that when his career was ready to take him somewhere far away, that it would be time for me to follow.

While it's not time to completely freak out, quit my job and sell all my belongings on ebay, it is time to start considering the next few months very closely. I don't need to buy new books that I probably will never read, buy clothing I will never wear or waste countless dollars on gourmet delicacies that don't hold enough nutrients. It is the time to make my money and time count for something more than it used to.

But I think it is more than this. I am scared. I have moved before. Three years ago actually. I moved here with my family from Sydney when I was nineteen and I left behind a full life. I had a lot of great friends and I had potential. When I came here it seemed it was all flipped on its head. This place still doesn't feel like home. Maybe I am a little scared that nowhere will ever feel like home again, and that home lies within my mind and how I perceive the universe around me.

I want this though. I feel this town has served its purpose for me. I have learnt lessons through the people I have associated with and I know who I will miss. I will miss my family, and the individuals who I have came to place at a level of importance so high that I would consider them family. It is the fear of the unknown and the fear of losing those I love that is holding me here. For once in my life, I think I need to vote against familiarity and choose to push myself. It is the only way to truly live.

However, as much as I am fearful, I am also elated to begin the next chapter of my life, of our lives. As a live-in couple. We will learn things about each other; strange little things like how many sugars we take in our coffee (mine, not his, he hates coffee) or if he sings in the shower. I guess the future is full of potential and we can either sit by the side lines, scared of the unknown or we can embrace it and be all that we can be, but more.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Living around the mundane


While we all have these huge dreams for this new year and the endless possibilities its freshness possesses; the truth is that much of life is made up of mundane chores and the small day to day things things that need to get done.

A typical day in my shoes, for instance, consists of getting up and feeding my cats, picking up any dirty clothing, stocking all dirty dishes into the dishwasher, sticking on a load of washing; all before I even think about breakfast. But that's life. We don't have servants waiting on us hand and foot.

We live our lives the same way we live our days so we have to embrace the mundane things in life. We must also remember to do extraordinary things with the ordinary as often as we can as these are the things we will remember most later in life. We need to try to schedule in some time to just breathe and put things into perspective.

We each have 24 hours in a day but its what we do with those hours that makes us who we are and will make or break the potential for us to be all that we wish we could be.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The windows to the soul


It fascinated me what is within a person; their beliefs, morals, desires, aspirations, and to know what it is that drives them; to know what is deep within their soul.

On any given day you will pass countless people. Most will be strangers; some will be acquaintances, like that friend or a friend who always waves, but whose name escapes you; and some may be close friends. But how well can you really know a person?

On the exterior we are all anatomically the same; male or female, but it is in the interior that distinguishes us. Behind each face is a lifetime of experiences; a mind filled with aspirations and dreams for their existence; and a soul with a thousand secrets, some never to be uttered in speech.

Within one's life there is almost always a defining moment in which a person decided how it is they will go about their life. It may be the purchase of a drum kit, the first time you saw a sunset through the lens of a camera; or a painting of a room even. Whatever it is, it changes you; it screams inside you until you can't control it anymore. Something within your soul has awoken and life may never be the same again.

It is so utterly intriguing to speak to complete strangers and to catch a glimpse into their world. There's the girl who is studying to be an accountant, but in her spare time is the lead singer of an indie band, has an obsession with eating Milo straight from the tin and collects green buttons; or the boy who is one of the guys, follows NRL religiously, loves his cars but spends Wednesday afternoons reading to his grandmother with dementia at the nursing home 40 minutes away.

I believe that the most horrible act you can commit against yourself is to not be true to yourself. There will never be another you, so it lies on you solely to show this world what you are capable of, regardless of your talent or agenda.

Sometimes blessings come wrapped in ugly wrapping. I decided to become a writer because I felt that somebody needed to write about issues I had personally experienced and had trouble finding support for. I want to show people that they are not alone in times of distress, or just alone in general. The world is a beautiful place, and shouldn't lose its beauty because of some rain clouds.

Smile more. It's scientifically proven that a smile is contagious. You never know what is going through the mind of the people surrounding you. The lady in the grocery aisle behind you may be silently battling cancer, your best friend might be anxious about an exam coming up or maybe your parents are worried about the economy. Whatever is on someone's mind, giving them a smile could be that little glimmer of hope that says 'hang in there, this will pass'.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The power of words.


Growing up, I was never the kid buried inside of a novel. My attention span usually withered at page 20 to be honest. Nowadays however, words complete me. I can't imagine a life not surrounded by books and journals and knowledge. Words are non-discriminatory of your character. Grouped together they have the power to rewrite wrongs; make people fall in love; to make this world better. It is a beautiful thing to be able to take a blank piece of paper and to create something that has the ability to change someone's life. Writing is my deepest passion for this reason alone: through my words I have the potential to help someone who doesn't quite understand, who feels alone or just needs inspiration. My dream is to help those who feel they don't have a voice. I want to write about empowerment of women, mental health and the abolition of animal cruelty. Maybe this world might benefit a little from my writing.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012



These are a few photos I took of the beach down the road from my home. Hope you're all enjoying your summer!

Monday, January 2, 2012

To 2012 and having no regrets.


It recently occurred to me that I might not know as much as I thought I did about my loved ones. I am not talking about how many sugars my Dad takes in his tea in the morning (two) or my littlest brother’s favourite alcoholic beverage (everything), but the really truly important things.

When do we cross the line between trying so hard to lead a productive and meaningful life; and actually living it? Being ‘in’ the moment instead of just on the outskirts peering in?

I feel as though in recent months I have failed to see the forest through the trees so to speak. And while I feel I know what I am aiming for, I can’t help but wonder if in the meantime I am losing touch with myself and those I care about in the process.

I think with this New Year now upon us, I have one of two choices. I can either pull back and just breathe; which I know will bring me peace but not much more; or I can get in there and live. Say goodbye to sleep, work my butt off, save my pennies for things that matter like memories and experiences and just live; try and pump 24 hours worth of living into each day.

I think there is really only one choice and that’s option B. If we are all to die by the Mayan predictions this year I don’t want to regret a single moment. So here’s to 2012; and living life to the fullest.