Last Saturday afternoon, I hosted my annual Christmas social gathering at my home in Narre Warren South. As much as I tried to keep my expectations as low as possible, it was difficult to not get swept up in the pressure of getting everything organised. My parents and I spent all morning rearranging the outdoor furniture and putting up decorations in the outdoor patio area as well as buying additional food and drinks. It was a huge demand on my energy levels but I was determined to make this event a success.
Unlike my previous gatherings, I tried hard not to get caught up in my worrying thoughts “What if nobody turns up? What if today is a massive flop? What if this is a waste of time? Why didn’t these people come?”. Instead, I just told myself that I’ve done everything that I can to get my shit together. I decided to appreciate the efforts I put in and just go with the flow. Typically, we went all out with the Christmas decorations. This time I decided to throw pink into the colour palette and it actually worked well with the gold, silver, red and green.
It was a deliberately casual, chilled out affair with attendance from Lucas Eldridge, Vanessa Bonica, Mandi Herauville, Judie Hedrick and James Hedrick. Once the conversations started flowing, my attention was no longer focused on the number of people here. Quality over quantity always. Would I have really enjoyed my night if 20, 50, 100 people were here? Probably not. The bigger the crowd, the more stress and social obligations you have. No thanks! Smaller turnouts are always best in my case.
I bought my usual trimmings of KFC original recipe chicken, coleslaw and potato salad from Woolies, mince pies, chips, cheese, kebana, crackers, lollies, chocolates, fruit cake, wine and beer (All the unhealthy stuff basically!). Making the event finish reasonably early was also a good decision considering I had to get up early for work the next day. Honestly, no shame in hitting the sack at 9.30 or 10pm especially when you actually do need to sleep! But overall, I really enjoyed the company, the food, the music and the atmosphere. It wasn’t fancy and it didn’t need to be.
On Monday night, I did an RPM class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. It’s good to know that instructor Janine Wallace still recognises me even when I haven’t been to class in ages (and she accidentally calls me Mitchell). Tonight we did a mixture of tracks from older releases including In Colour by Shapeshifter, Once In A Lifetime Love by Andrew Rayel featuring Kristina Antuna and All Aboard by D’Angello & Francis.
Considering how many weeks it’s been since I’ve been “in the saddle”, I was quite impressed by my performance tonight, reaching a maximum speed of 38 km/h and 135 RPM. Janine was full of empowering quotes and it was almost like she was saying them directly to me. She also kept going on about the bone to muscle connection, obviously referring to the tendons, which play an important part in exercise. https://www.lesmills.com/fit-planet/fitness/all-you-need-to-know-about-rpm/
On Tuesday morning, I attended the Morning Melodies function at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East along with my Mum and her aged care client Jean. Today’s event was Christmas themed and performed by the duo Janette & Alan Middleton. The hall was packed to the rafters which caused a few headaches and dramas in the carpark, especially when it came to leaving. But the event itself was very enjoyable and entertaining. http://www.ballaballa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Term-4-2018-Program-Guide-1.pdf
Janette & Alan performed a mixture of Christmas songs and classic hits including Jingle Bells, Ruldolf The Rednose Reindeer and Happy Xmas (War Is Over) plus Stuck on You by Elvis Presley, She’s My Baby by Johnny O’Keefe and Things by Bobby Darin. Everyone was treated to a selection of mini cakes and slices as well as a bag filled with lollies, chocolates and a small Christmas card.
Over this past year, I’ve grown to have a deeper level of understanding when it comes to people with a disability. My perspective used to be very immature as I saw most people’s behaviour as weird or strange. But after my diagnosis of High Functioning Autism last year, I see these people in a completely different light. They are still capable human beings even in the face of developmental challenges.
You don’t really need to know the specific symptoms or details of disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Aspergers, Vision Impairment, Cystic Fibrosis, ADHD or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to be able to have compassion and love for another person. Quite a number of them were having a great time dancing up the front of the hall and singing along with Janette and Alan. And honestly, that’s what really matters. How YOU feel inside. https://services.anu.edu.au/human-resources/respect-inclusion/different-types-of-disabilities
On Tuesday night, I did a Body Combat class with Cinamon Guerin at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. Considering how sore, tired and restless I felt today, I managed to still make the effort to come out to this group fitness class tonight. Cinamon decided to add 3 tracks from the new release in tonight’s workout including Savage Mode by Kazzanova featuring Marvelus Fame and Wings (Nu:Logic Remix) by Birdy. https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/fitness-classes/bodycombat/
I really surprised myself tonight in how quickly I was picking up the combos and movements especially the first half. But then the struggle became real when it came to the tough lunge track and the final endurance track with its merciless jab boxes and forward stomps. The fatigue really hit hard and yet I was determined to stick it out. Thank goodness that I’ve invested in a proper microfibre sweat towel as I literally needed to wrap my head in it. But it felt good to smash this difficult workout. https://www.lesmills.com/fit-planet/fitness/all-you-need-to-know-about-bodycombat/
On Thursday morning, Mum and I went on our annual trip to the city to see the Myer Xmas Windows and the Christmas show at Crown Melbourne. Unfortunately, the weather just wasn’t on our side today with a forecast of heavy rainfall, flash flooding and thunderstorms. Plus the Pakenham and Cranbourne train lines both had replacement buses operating due to track improvement works. http://www.metrotrains.com.au/planned-work/buses-replace-trains-on-sections-of-the-cranbourne-and-pakenham-lines-saturday-1-to-sunday-23-december/
So we had to put a Plan B in place: Catching a train to Southern Cross station via the Glen Waverley line. Using Google Maps, we were able to navigate past most of the traffic disruptions on the Monash Freeway and managed to get to Jordanville station by lunchtime. This station in particular holds a lot of fond memories from childhood as I used to live closeby there. It’s situated in a dense wooded area, lined with gum trees and tall pine trees and adjacent to Huntingdale Golf Course.
The rain was bucketing down by this time but we were both prepared carrying raincoats, umbrellas and waterproof carry bags. After stopping off at Southern Cross, we walked down to Crown Melbourne and made our way down to the atrium where the Christmas display was located. This year they had several large eggs with a traditional Christmas song printed on the front. When the show starts, each of the eggs opened one by one with music and dazzling animatronic puppets popping out. Plus the towering Christmas tree in the middle rapidly changed its lights. https://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/crowns-christmas-spectacular
Next we caught a tram down to Bourke Street Mall and checked out the Myer Christmas Windows. This year’s theme is based on the classic children’s book Alice in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carrol and illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer. Whilst the displays, animations and narration by John Deeks were all really impressive, I didn’t get how this related to Christmas. Plus it was much shorter in length than previous years. But that’s just me nit picking. https://www.myer.com.au/content/christmas-window-hours
The last main item on the list was going up to Level 6 and visiting Myer’s Gift Emporium. It was good to see them changing things up a little by moving the Christmas decorations and ornaments to the opposite side of the escalators. There was plenty of see including the Santa Express, original Mickey Mouse collection, personalise your toberone bar, Harry Potter mechandise, Elf on the Shelf and Barbie. I picked up this year’s copy of the Spirit of Christmas album and Mum bought herself an ornament. https://www.myer.com.au/c/gifts
By around 4-4.30pm, I absolutely exhausted and ready to go back home. Luckily the weather in the CBD cleared itself up in the afternoon as we weren’t getting drenched travelling around the city and catching trams made things a lot easier too!
On Friday night, I went to a Vinyasa yoga class with Aaron Petty at Level Up Yoga (Berwick, Victoria). I was feeling a bit rundown probably due to the sudden changes in weather, Christmas related stress and poor sleep but I was determined to do some yoga tonight. There was only one other student in the class, a girl named Emmy. I felt that it was really important to dispose of any fears and insecurities whilst in this yoga space. https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/health-and-wellness/yoga-for-anxiety-disorder
I tend to hold back and hesitate A LOT but not when I’m doing yoga. Perhaps that’s why I tend to sweat a lot, because I am pouring so much effort, focus and concentration into these poses. When we were doing the transition from Crescent Lunge to Arrowhead pose, my balance was completely thrown off but thankfully Aaron was there to pick me up. No embarrassment! No judgement! No shame! Because I’m fucking trying god damnit! https://www.medicaldaily.com/sweat-it-out-5-surprising-health-benefits-sweating-actually-dont-stink-309718
I still have moments where my shaky self-confidence is on display but I never ever give up. No way! And it’s also obvious that I’m not the most talkative or social member of this community. Again I’m learning to both accept and embrace this. It’s tough being introverted sometimes because people constantly make assumptions about you. The fact is that opening up to others is a slow and gradual process for me but I do get there eventually. https://www.lifehack.org/372358/5-ways-start-building-social-confidence-today
Aaron spent a lot of tonight’s class talking about the idea of grounding yourself in the earth and also encouraged us to use a mantra when exhaling (e.g. I am in the present moment). We did several cycles of Vinyasa Flow (Half lift, Plank pose, Chaturanga, Cobra/Updog, Downward Facing Dog) plus Arm Leg Balance, Cat-Cow pose, Half Pigeon pose, Half Splits, Locust pose and Supine Spinal Twist. https://www.aaronpetty.com/
“As children, we believed. The greatest sight to see. Is something lovely wrapped beneath the tree. Well, Heaven surely knows. The packages and bows. Can never heal a hurting human soul. No more lives torn apart. The wars would never start. And time would heal our hearts. Everyone would have a friend. The right would always win. That love would never end. This is our grown up Christmas list.” The Veronicas – Grown Up Christmas List (2010)
“Where there is joy there is love. We come together now as one. Lift your candle and sing. With the spirit of Christmas In your heart. Lift your voices and sing. Share the spirit of Christmas. Tonight in this candle. Candle time of year.” Samantha Jade – This Candle Time of Year (2018)