Hey there gorgeous friends!
I spent yesterday morning with Nate’s Mum at a beautiful old cinema in Adelaide. We went to see a showing of Andre Rieu’s famous yearly June performance in Maastricht, Holland. Maastricht is Rieu’s hometown, and each year it is lit up like a fairy tale as his orchestra serenades thousands with jubilant, haunting spectacular performances. The stage is set like something from a dream, complete with coloured ball gowns and tails… the whole time, I couldn’t get the image of Anastasia’s fantasy ballroom out of my mind.
It may come as a surprise, but I truly love orchestral music. I sat in the theatre yesterday bawling my eyes out, aria upon aria – the costumery, the emotion, the colour… it all just gets too much for my little Geminian brain to bear.
After the show, I started thinking about other things that it may surprise some people to know about me. I try to be as transparent as possible when it comes to sharing stuff with you all, but I’m sure there are a few fiddly little details I’ve missed! So, without further ado, here are some other things that (I’m pretty sure) you may not know about MJ Valentine!
1. I absolutely, totally, 100% hate baked beans. The texture, the weird sauce, the smell… ew! Ew, ew, ew. Even the sound of the can opening makes me want to retch. When my siblings and I were served baked beans as little kids, I would protest and wail that I hated them, always to be told I wasn’t allowed to leave the table until everything was eaten. While I did (and still do) truly care about the starving children in Africa, I’d mentally apologise to all of them before stuffing the horrid little chunks of goo into my mouth, running to the bathroom, spitting them into the loo and flushing, before returning with the utmost innocence to the table. They say your tastes mature as you get older, but I swear – I’ll die hating baked bean. Yuck!
2. I 100% believe in online dating. I met my first boyfriend via a pen pal website in 2003 and after chatting to him both online and on the phone for four years, I flew to London to meet him in person. I don’t know whether it’s the excitement of speaking to someone who is 100% objective about your life, or the lure of unrequited romance, or what – online dating is a fantastical world no longer reserved for the ‘friendless’ or socially awkward. I have many friends who participate on Tinder, eHarmony and the like and despite the ridiculous stigma that still surrounds online dating, I think it’s wonderful. While my relationship didn’t last, the memories and the confidence i gained in that time will sat forever. I flew to the other side of the world at eighteen to chase a dream I eventually woke up from, and I don’t regret a single second.
3. I have major complexes about my body. This might seem ridiculous, because obviously a) I’m a girl, b) I champion self-confidence and c) I’m a girl, but it’s true. I struggle every day with my idea of ‘the perfect body’ and feeling as though I’m not good enough to go into certain stores or buy certain clothes. Strangely, blogging has forced me to come to grips with this issue in so many ways – like volunteering to have my picture taken, or model shoes and bags for Clutch Those Heels. I hate the fact that I feel like in order to be successful, I also have to fit in with society’s idea of the perfect body – even though this is constantly changing. It’s like begging for punishment, really. Both of my sisters are slender, fit and gorgeous and this plays on my mind continuously – but I suppose it’s just one of the inadequacies that I’m slowly over coming, and I think it’s making me a better person.
4. I hate reality TV. Australian Idol, X Factor, Survivor, Next Top Model, Masterchef, The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser – I hate them all. I find them scripted, false, common, sensationalist … but what I hate most of all is that they feed on failure. Someone has to be voted out. Someone has to lose. People pretend to be friends before turning on each other and ripping each other to shreds for entertainment value. I really, really hate it and I disagree with every principal. The only show that comes close to my appreciation is The Block, because nobody gets ‘voted out’ – but in the end, all their hard work, their vision, their passion, their labour of love comes down to a monetary value. Perhaps it’s my bohemian tendency, but I believe that the money you earn isn’t a true representation of your passion and hard work. (Hello – full-time blogger. DUH.)
5. I drink. A lot. I’m no Billie Holiday, but it’s pretty rare that I’ll go to bed without having a glass of wine, or go to lunch and skip the bubbly. I know that I’ve gone through phases in the past where alcohol has fuelled a lot of negative thinking – I used to drink to drown problems, pick fights with ex boyfriends, mull over various woes with friends and get myself to sleep. While that’s not the case any more, the fact is that I do love – and appreciate – a great glass of wine, cocktail or a really, really good scotch. I make no apologies for this anymore – I am twenty five, after all, and entitled to my youth – but I know I drink more than most of my friends, and I’m trying to find a line to toe.
6. I am terrified of the dark. I am twenty five and still have to sleep with a ‘night light’ – being, a light on in the hallway, or my bedside lamp (at least until Nate gets home). My great-grandfather-in-my-mind, Albus Dumbledore, once said ‘It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.’. True. Even though I know what’s in the dark – kitchen, snowboard, TV, bathtub, desk, computer, bed, shoes, mirror – I still feel a terrifying, inescapable void every time the light goes out. I’ve always been afraid of the dark, but my fear multiplied times a million after I saw Paranormal Activity. I know it’s crazy, but I had to share a bed with someone- anyone – for six months after I saw that film! Even now, when Nate is at work late and I’m alone in bed, I can just imagine the flicker of the bed sheet over my feet, an invisible, darkness-loving demon caressing the cotton and preparing to savage- no, no. I have to stop. I’m working myself into a state.
7. I once aspired to be a jazz singer. Throughout my five years of highschool, I participated in six choirs, four bands and as a soloist on countless occasions. In year eleven (at sixteen years of age) I decide that all I wanted to do was go to the Conservatorium of Music at Adelaide University, where my revered vocal coach was the head of the vocal unit. I worked countless hours, refining my techniques, hanging on to every word my teachers spoke, listening to recording after recording of jazz greats. Until, halfway through year twelve when I was seventeen, everything fell apart. It was at that time I decided that I needed to go as far around the glob as possible from home until I’d start coming back again; this is part of what landed me in London. I don’t sing at all anymore, and to be honest, music has generally lost it’s appeal for me. I don’t hate it, but I don’t really miss it, either.
8. I live and breathe gay rights. in 2013 I was selected by the company I worked for to attend the Midsumma Queer Culture Festival in Melbourne. The weeks that followed my acceptance into the program were hilarious. I had countless people ask me if I was a lesbian, or if I was moving to Melbourne, or if I was only going to get a pay rise. The answer to all three was of course no. To me, GLBT culture is a wonderfully expressive, spectacularly colourful celebration of life and love. As someone who has friends and family that identify with the GLBT lifestyle, I see GLBT culture as an incredible way for social groups to integrate. You don’t have to be gay to be a supporter, and I will march on to prove our point until I die.
9. My family is spread out across the entire country. I was born in Sydney and lived there till I was nine. Almost my entire extended family still lives in New South Wales, along with a few of my closest friends. We moved to Adelaide, South Australia, just in time for me to start year four. I travel back to Sydney whenever I can (though admittedly, a lot less than I used to). My parents separated when I was seventeen, and my Dad lived in Adelaide for a while before his career took him to Perth – the other side of the country! He travels to Adelaide to see us once every two or three months, and we always have a ball. He and my mum still have a fantastic relationship, so really, I haven’t missed out anything. I’m just lucky to have such an amazing family (especially when it means I can jet set all over the country to see them!)
10. I’m an awful photographer. This is probably in the top ten things that bloggers should never admit to their readers – but there you go. I’ve just never been able to get the hang of photography, despite the countless articles I’ve read on snapping the perfect shots. I use an ancient (read: circa 2008) Sony A300 DSLR that I like to blame for my sub par shots – but really, I have a pretty poor understanding of light, composition and all the other bells and whistles that make up awesome photos. Not to mention, I’m terrified of Photoshop and have really only started dabbling with it in the past couple of months through my study. Thank god for Picmonkey is all I can say!
So, there you have it! What interesting little tidbits about yourself would you like to share?