MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 70, September 2017

On Monday morning, I had my last Healthy Cooking on a Budget class for the term at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. It was a small class again with only the 6 of us but I was more than happy about that. Generally, the larger the group, the more anxious I tend to get. Today I worked with Di and Rhonda who were both easy to get along with. It kind of felt like I was cooking in the kitchen at Grandma’s house. That’s the vibe I got from them.

Today we ended up making a pumpkin, sweet potato and sage cannelloni, which is essentially these thick tubes of pasta filled with mashed up vegetables (pumpkin, sweet potato, red onion, herbs) and covered with pasta sauce and grated cheese. We also made a panna cotta which is an Italian dessert of thickened cream with gelatin and molded. And finally we roasted a whole cauliflower in the oven and added cherry tomatoes and bay leaves.

This course has been really beneficial for me in improving my cooking skills and techniques with chopping and slicing vegetables, frying, roasting and baking as well as learning basic hygiene and working with other people in the community. It has taken me a few weeks to few comfortable and not worry so much about making mistakes or being uncertain of what I’m doing. Jodie is an incredibly patient and helpful cooking teacher which is what I needed.  http://www.ballaballa.com.au/progra…

On Monday night, I attended an RPM class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. My thighs, calves, hips, glutes and groin were feeling particularly tight and sore today so this class was much needed. It didn’t take long before I could feel my knees burning either but I pushed as hard as I could on the pedals and switched up the resistance when needed. Listening to your body is really important in classes like these. Being a group class, nobody is going to criticize you if something is too much and you need to back off a little.

Tonight’s class was facilitated by instructor Claire who I’ve had in my previous RPM class. She mixed up tracks from release 60 and 76 including Rihanna’s Diamonds (Bimbo Jones vocal edit), One Republic’s If I Lose Myself, Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic and Tikki Taane’s Get Up Stand Up. The sprint sections were easily the toughest for me as my legs weren’t used to cycling that fast but thankfully there were plenty of recovery breaks and easy ride sections in between to balance things out. http://w3.lesmills.com/israel/en/cl…

On Tuesday morning, I went to a Pilates Mat class at YMCA Casey RACE in Cranbourne East. Funnily enough, it’s my first time setting foot inside the group fitness room at Casey RACE since becoming a member last year. The walls are all brightly coloured with motivational quotes (I may not be the strongest. I may not be the fastest. But I am trying my hardest), fitness related words and images of people exercising. It’s a very warm and inviting environment to be in which is exactly what I need.

Today I was thinking about how there’s been a major shift in gender stereotypes when it comes to particular exercises. For example, yoga and pilates are both female dominated whilst boxing and weight lifting are both male dominated. But in the past 5-10 years or so, those stereotypes have been broken and now it’s socially acceptable to participate in any sport or recreational activity regardless of whether you’re male or female. It’s never bothered me that much that most of my yoga and pilates classes are 95% female as I’ve always had a dominant feminine side and really it shouldn’t matter.

This morning’s class was instructed by Anita who I’ve also had previously at Casey Arc. I pretty much knew what to expect. Her classes are tough but in a good way…she really works your core muscles. We did a lot of poses and movements using the chi ball including single leg raises and lowers, mermaid, table top, arm and leg balance and wide legged forward stretch. The idea is to be as slow and controlled with your movements as possible. Whilst core strength exercises are really challenging for me, I feel like I’m steadily improving the more I do pilates classes. https://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/pil…

On Tuesday night, I went to a Body Combat class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. It’s unusual for me to do two group fitness classes in one day but today I felt particularly tired and unmotivated. My plans got cancelled and I needed a backup plan. It’s been a little while since I last saw my fitness instructor Cinamon Guerin but it felt really good to be back.

Tonight’s class was mainly composed of tracks from the new release, number 73, with a mixture of side punches, high knees, jab boxes, uppercuts, side and front kicks. The most challenging parts for me was the push-up and plank with side steps sequence (power training 2) and the dynamic lunges (combat 3) but I just did the best I could. Sometimes I have to force myself to slow down in order to improve and work on my technique more or just because the fatigue is kicking in. But I also feel good after a combat class because I know that I gave it my all. https://www.siphilp.com/les-mills-b…

On Wednesday morning, I had my Strength Training session at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. I found myself holding back at the start of the session which was a sign that I had a lot of personal stuff to get off my chest. It takes a great deal of courage to be open and honest with people but I feel like I trust my personal trainer Luke Davey enough to go there. I mostly talked about the effect and addictive nature of social media…comparing myself to others, social isolation, jealousy, feeling inferior and boring, being mentally drained. When my plans get cancelled and I’m stuck at home, that’s when I struggle the most with my mental health.

WARM-UP…Today I started my session with the flowing yoga sequence. I tried to remember the sequence without Luke helping me and I did it. It’s one of those things where I’m used to having a visual reference such as an instructor demonstrating the movement and so I can get easily confused and forgetful doing it by myself. I then did five minutes on the balance board and could see a significant improvement with finding the even weight through my feet. I also did 3 rounds of 15 glute bridges with a 10-15kg dumbbell.

DEVELOPMENT…Today I worked on my back squats, doing 4 rounds of 3 reps at 68kg with the last round being maximum reps. I was feeling pretty good today. The biggest challenge for me was keeping my squat depth consistently low and keeping my chest lifted. But otherwise, I was really pleased with my efforts today. I managed to get 16 reps in my last round which was really big for me. I noticed that I do begin to feel nauseous and a bit light headed when I’ve pushed myself to my limits but I stuck it out with the help of Luke.

WORKOUT…Today’s workout consisted of doing 3 rounds of the following: 200m run, 15 wall balls, 10 burpee box jumps and 20 kettle bell snatches. I still hate running even though I’ve had a few months of experience at it now but I’m learning to get that technique right. I was fighting with my inner critic a lot here as I felt like a “slow runner”. I reminded myself not too be so worried about how fast I was running. Keeping a good pace is key. And really I’m not a marathon runner or a sprint athlete but I do want to get improve in this area of fitness.

My wall balls were much better than my last workout. I was catching the ball higher and into my chest and I was also focusing more on keeping a rhythm going with the squats, throws and catches. The burpee box jumps were a little challenging in the physical sense. The more fatigued I got, the harder it was for me to get up. But I gave myself a second to prepare myself for the jumps. The anxiety of tripping of the box is still there but it’s effect is nowhere near as strong as it used to be. So now I’m feeling much more confident about it.

The kettle bell snatches were a brand new movement for me so I really needed to cut myself some slack. I found it hard working out how much power I needed in the swing and when exactly I need to snatch my arm up over my head. But I did my best and just did what I could. I was fairly slow doing them but again I reminded myself that it’s not a race, take your time and focus on getting that technique right. https://www.facebook.com/breakawayf…

On Wednesday night, I went out to see the IT movie at Village Cinemas Fountain Gate. Based on Stephen King’s classic 1986 novel, the film is set in Derry, Maine in 1989. The main storyline focuses on the friendships between a group of “loser” high school kids which range in personality and stereotypes. After an intense prologue involving Bill’s brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), a sail boat and a sewer drain, we’re introduced to each of the kids in the “Losers Club”.

We have Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) who has an uncontrollable stutter. Beverly (Sophia Lillis) who is the high school sweetheart, has some disturbing Daddy issues and is a victim of sexual assault. Mike (Chosen Jacobs) who is forced to work in a sheep slaughterhouse. Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) who has asthma and has to take regular medication for his condition as a hypochondriac. Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) who is overweight, gets bullied constantly and starts off with no friends. And Henry (Nicholas Hamilton) who is the leader of a bully gang.

Derry has a dark and sinister history for children who go missing every 27 years and now it’s starting to happen again. All fingers point towards an evil clown named Pennywise The Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard) who hunts each of the kids down one by one with many temptations and disguises. Eventually the kids discover that working together as a team and being able to face their individual fears is the key to defeating Pennywise aka IT.

This is a horror movie with a lot of depth and substance. It is really well balanced with funny moments between the kids, references to classic 80’s music and movies, some romantic elements and of course plenty of creepy scares. I honestly believe that Stephen King would be proud of this adaptation. It far surpasses the original 1990 TV mini-series in terms of character development, pacing and horror elements. And the fact that the credits have “IT Chapter One” hints that there may be a sequel in the works that would focus on the kids as adults, 30 years later. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1396484…

On Thursday morning, I went to the morning melodies social function held at the Trios Sports Club in Cranbourne. It’s been a really emotional time for me, dealing with the burden of financial debt and have multiple expenses due all at once next week. I was on the verge of losing the plot in front of Mum. But thankfully this function really did take my mind off things for a while, Sometimes all you need is a laugh to forget about your own problems.

Today’s performance was by a Mauritian musician named Marcel who played a mixture of Caribbean, classical, reggae, blues and ragtime music and wore Mexican-styled outfit with puffy sleeves and a tied crop top (Don’t ask :P). The thing that really impressed me with most was his diversity of musical styles and languages from Italian and French to Mexican and also being talented enough to play guitar, saxophone, violin and a clarinet.

He played many classic songs from artists including UB40 (Kingston Town, Red Red Wine, I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You), Louis Armstrong (What A Wonderful World), Luis Demetrio (Sway) and Giuseppe Verdi (La Traviata aka The Drinking Song).

On Friday morning, I had my second Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. Today I had two choices: I could either put on a fake smile and pretend that everything was okay. Or I could unload everything that’s bothering me onto Luke. I wisely chose the latter. Unfortunately, the down side of that is my tendency to get easily frustrated, really hard on myself and be on the verge of another emotional breakdown.

Part of me worried that Luke wouldn’t be able to handle my shit anymore but honestly it was so liberating to just open up to him and let all that negative stuff inside go. He’s stuck it out with me this long. Again it was just my fear and anxiety playing tricks on me but today it was just more intense than usual. I could have thrown in the towel before the end of the session but I was determined to stick it out, emotional wreck or not.

WARM-UP…Today’s warmup started off okay. I had to do three rounds of the following exercises: 20 scorpion stretches, 15 pull aparts and 20 walking lunges. By the second round, the fatigue was hitting hard and I was struggling heaps during the lunges. Why was I finding this so damn difficult? Yep there goes the inner critic again. I was already in a pool of sweat before I even started my deadlifts. This wasn’t a good sign.

DEVELOPMENT…Today I did 4 sets of 3 deadlifts at 89kg with a last round of maximum reps. It was pretty clear that my levels of frustration were beginning to rise rapidly. Even putting the plates on the bar was a challenge for me in this state. Luke was doing his best to get me to calm down and relax, to get out of my own head. But it was just too difficult for me today. Even at 60kg, I was having a tougher time than usual. I thought “Oh shit! Am I going to have to pull the pin on deadlifts today?”

But somehow I stuck it out. Lifting 89kg today took an enormous amount of energy for me today and this is where I was getting really hard on me. Whilst Luke was trying hard to reassure me about it, it didn’t make me feel much better considering I’ve lifted 105kg in the past. But I just did the best I could. During my maximum reps set, I was starting to feel nauseous and getting up to 6 reps seemed impossible but somehow I managed to pull 8 reps out of the bag. After that, I was physically and mentally done.

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GRAVEMIND w/ Blind Oracle, Windwaker & The Gloom In The Corner @ The Workers Club, September 2017

I almost wasn’t going to do a review for tonight’s gig considering how much of a fragile mental state I’ve been in lately but maybe that’s the exactly reason why I should be doing it. After all, writing is my best form of personal expression in order to get all the negative shit out of my system. But first, a confession…

Last November, I made a terrible mistake. I called out members of both Blind Oracle and Gravemind after their gig at The Reverence Hotel got cancelled at the last minute. Essentially, I projected my anger and frustration out on them for wasting my time travelling all the way out to Footscray. It was wrong of me to do that, especially on social media and also because it wasn’t their fault. It was completely out of their control. So yes, I’m owning my shit. I’ve always been a pacifist and generally I’m a really kind, caring and gentle person.

I walked into tonight’s gig at The Workers Club with a lot of uncertainty. I was also feeling physically and mentally exhausted, stressed out from some recent financial issues and a bit lonely. But at the same time, I was also looking forward to seeing some of my band friends. Unfortunately, as much as I tried, I just wasn’t feeling the vibes at all tonight. Of course it didn’t help that I didn’t make much effort to put myself out there and socialise.

The one silver lining was making the effort to give Will King a belated birthday card. His reaction made my night but it wasn’t enough to lift my low mood up very much. A few others came up and said hi but I still felt socially disconnected from them. I’ve always struggled to find a sense of belonging and inclusion with others probably because it’s hard for me to relate or connect on the same level. I’ve always felt too “different” or too “weird” or “not like the others”. But at least I made the effort to come out to the gig at all.

THE GLOOM IN THE CORNER…I believe the last time I saw the “Gloomy Boys” play was at this venue was their Homecoming EP launch. I missed the beginning of their set as I was still walking up from Parliament station but they sounded really tight and menacing as usual. The crowd at the front were really getting into it with a couple of them throwing down in the pit. They played several tracks including Rodent, Thirteen Six (Paramour), Jay and Witch Hunt. https://thegloominthecornvr.bandcamp.com/…

WINDWAKER…I swear every time I see these boys play, it temporarily takes my mind off my own problems. They always manage to deliver an incredible set with lots of positive energy and crowd participation. I did notice that Will was struggling a little vocally and missed some of the lyrics but Brendan Weibrecht did help out with some mic grabs. Will King redeemed himself with a beautiful, heartfelt message about the importance of acceptance and feeling like you’re worth something. The band played several tracks from their Fade EP including The Destroyer, Awake, Your Own War and Castaway.  https://windwakerofficial.bandcamp.com/…

BLIND ORACLE…Unfortunately I didn’t stick around for this Newcastle-based progressive deathcore band but make sure you check out their latest release here: https://blindoracle.bandcamp.com/

GRAVEMIND…Unfortunately I didn’t stick around for this Melbourne-based deathcore band but make sure you check out their new EP called The Deathgate here: https://gravemindau.bandcamp.com/al…

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The fifth studio album by California born singer-songwriter Katy Perry has been met by some very hard and unfavourable reviews from critics so far. It didn’t help that Katy and her record label Capitol tried a little too hard to overhype this new release when doesn’t quite hit the mark overall.

But first the good news…Katy Perry has taken a much riskier musical direction on Witness compared to her previous album Prism by using a wide range of producers including Max Martin, Shellback, Purity Ring, Elof Loelv, Mike Will Made It and Hot Chip. Lyrically, this album is also well balanced and delves into more personal territory at times.

The first half of the album is mostly filled with club-bangers including Hey Hey Hey, Roulette, Mind Maze and latest single Swish Swish which features Nicki Minaj. This song is essentially a diss track aimed presumable at rival Taylor Swift and contains the familiar sample of “I Get Deep” by Roland Clark. It’s also one of the catchiest songs on the album.

Unfortunately, the second half contains a lot of filler tracks including two big clunkers in Tsunami and single Bon Appetit featuring rapper Migos. This is hands down the worst single Katy Perry has ever released, with terrible lyrics about being literally “on the menu” and how edible she is. Eww! Something we really don’t need to know about Katy!

Lead single Slave To The Rhythm featuring Skip Marley fares much better with some house and disco elements and lyrics that describe how blind our society has become to technology, social media, environmental issues, poverty and corrupt governments. It’s essentially a wake up call and how important it is to think for yourself and be individualistic.

The highlights on the album show Katy’s softer and more vulnerable side. Katy is at her best when she lets her guard down. Bigger Than Me is one of her most personal songs, describing how overwhelming and painful it is to deal with anxiety. And Pendulum features a wonderful gospel choir section and lyrics about being able to accept the ups and downs of life.

So overall, Witness does contain many quality album tracks but you’re going to have to dig deep to find them and wade yourself through the filler. It’s 17 tracks too long but still it’s a pretty decent album for the most part. 8/10

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MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 69, September 2017

On Monday morning, I had my second last Healthy Cooking on a Budget class at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. Today’s class honestly felt like a bad episode of Hell’s Kitchen minus the nasty chefs. Just a lot of sharing ingredients and cooking utensils. But on the positive side, I was gaining more confidence with making a dough mixture. The hardest part is getting the consistency right, so that it’s not too sticky or too dry. But with the help of Jodie, I finally got there.

Today we ended up making a pumpkin, red onion and feta pide (Turkish bread) and a vegan citrus cake. We started the class by dicing up the vegetables and roasting these in the oven whilst kneading the dough and allowing it to expand for about an hour. Next we worked on the citrus cake. Jodie claimed that this was the “easiest cake recipe” but everyone was looking confused as hell. It required a lot of juicing, zesting and patience but eventually it all came together.

The last part of the class involved assembling the dough mixture into pides. We had cut up the mixture into equal sections and then rolled them out flat. Next we layered the vegetable mixture into the middle of the pides and folded the edges up so that they resembled boat-like shapes. After baking, we seasoned the pides with danish feta, parsley, salt and pepper. http://www.ballaballa.com.au/progra…

On Monday night, I did my Body Balance class with Kaz at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. They say that the only way to get better at something is to keep practicing. This is certainly the case when it comes to balance and Pilates. I find both of these aspects quite challenging at times but it doesn’t mean I instantly give up because the poses are too hard. I make sure that I give everything a go, even if I’m uncoordinated and look ridiculous doing it.

In tonight’s class, we did the following exercises: Tai-Chi Warmup (Wide-legged stance with overhead sweeping circles), Yoga (Standing forward fold, Downward facing dog, plank, baby cobra, Warrior 2), Balance (Tree pose, Chair pose with raised heels), Pilates (Single leg raise and lower, Bridge pose with pulses, Double leg stretch), Hamstring Stretches (Seated wide legged forward fold) and Relaxation. https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/f…

On Tuesday morning, I had my first appointment with Dr. Yasmin Baliz at CNS: Comprehensive Neuropsychological Services in Narre Warren. Sitting in the large spacious waiting room outside the Waterman Business Centre, the nerves were already kicking in and I could feel myself getting hot and flustered in the chair. But thankfully those feelings began to subside when she walked in and introduced herself to me. She guided me into one of the suites which contained comfy leather sofas, fake plastic palms and oval-shaped lamps. Next door was the “Rainforest Room” which made for an interesting session, hearing these random frog and cricket sounds.

Dr. Yasmin is a clinical neuropsychologist and I was here to begin my assessment for the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Both my mum and my counselor recommended this due to a family history of the disorder and for the sake of clarity. During the session, Yasmin asked me questions about my childhood, school life, employment history, education, how my mental illness has affected my life and current interests. I felt like I was on episode of Millionaire Hot Seat though she was friendly, patient and easy to talk with which made the process easier.

My biggest concern was the cost of the sessions. At $200 a session, she really doesn’t come cheap though I do get some of that money back through a Medicare rebate. Still I really had to make some tough sacrifices this month in order to keep myself afloat financially. Money will always be a huge stressor in my life but I’m gradually learning ways to improve my spending and saving habits. Plus this assessment is really important and will be worth the money to do. http://www.cnspsych.com.au/

On Tuesday night, Mum and I attended a Mindfulness & Meditation workshop held at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. There were about 40 people who attended and it was great to see the community really get behind it. The facilitator Fiona talked about what mindfulness and meditation are and some specific research studies that show how implementing M&M into our daily lives can create such a positive change. This includes reducing stress and anxiety levels, switching defective genes off (epigenetics), rewiring parts of the brain (neuroplasticity), prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancers and forming better, healthier habits.

Fiona then guided us all through a 10 minute meditation, focusing on the breath, sensations and feelings in the body, any internal and external sounds and thoughts going through out mind. The idea behind meditation is to have a non-judgemental approach to it. So it’s okay that your mind is overloaded with thoughts or that you have to shift around in order to be in a more comfortable position or that you can only do it for a few minutes. It’s about the intention behind it and being kind to yourself. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it. http://www.ballaballa.com.au/event/…

On Wednesday morning, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. Sitting on the bench waiting for Luke, my annoying anxious thoughts were trying desperately to break through and ruin my day (Why isn’t anyone talking to me, paying attention to me or even acknowledging me?). So then I decided to use my waiting time productively instead of getting caught up in my thoughts. I did some gentle yoga stretches as I was still feeling sore and tight in my lower back and hips. And it certainly helped to take my mind off things.

WARM-UP…I started my session by rolling out my lower back and quad muscles before doing some scorpion stretches and 3 rounds of 10 single arm kettle bell lifts. I felt like I was getting better with it too and I focused my attention on keeping my lifting arm straight whilst using the other arm for balance. The pain was beginning to flare up a little in my lower back but no where near as bad as last time. I also did some stretches into my hips using the aerobic stepper. It was quite challenging keeping my other leg straight but I got there.

DEVELOPMENT…Today I was working on my deadlifts, doing 5 rounds of 5 reps with the last round being maximum reps. Initially, I was getting myself easily distracted by what the other trainers and clients were doing in our space and also getting frustrated because my technique and form felt really off. I was deadlifting 75kg and it felt harder than usual.

Thankfully after my first round, I was able to turn that self-talk around…”Come on Michael, you can do this. Just take your time with it. Be patient. Be consistent. Pace yourself. Take a couple of seconds to readjust if you have to. And remember to breathe!” And that’s all I really needed. It just takes a shift in mindset and focus. I wasn’t going to get myself upset or beat myself up because it wasn’t my best performance. In fact, I felt better about it after each round.

And smashing out 20 reps in the last round was beyond what I expected. After my 15th rep, I was starting to struggle heaps but Luke knew that I could do more and so I kept pushing for it. I’m more than what I think I’m capable of always. I surprise myself all the time. And thankfully a few of the trainers did start saying hi to me which made me feel a lot better about myself. Thank you Joel, Sheena, Kane, Brendan and Lachy.

WORKOUT…Today’s workout was a 500m sprint on the rowing machine in the fastest time possible. I got myself a little confused during my first round as I was expecting the numbers to increase not decrease on the display. But after that, I gave it 110% effort. The challenge for me was the consistency and after the 250m mark, the fatigue quickly set in. Still I gave it everything I got, even during the last round which was my slowest overall. My best time was 2 minutes and 4 seconds. https://www.facebook.com/breakawayfitnesstraining/

This Thursday was R U OK? Day! There are significant benefits to asking that question. It shifts the attention away from yourself and your own problems. It shows that you care about somebody else and how they’re really feeling inside. And it’s a great ice breaker. For somebody who has suffered with mental illness for a past 13 years, this day and cause is extremely important to me. Make sure you look out for one another. Stay strong. Stay positive. Ask R U OK? and you could change somebody else’s life for the better.  https://www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask

On Thursday night, I had my Water Workout class at YMCA Casey RACE in Cranbourne East. It was a much smaller class than usual tonight but that meant we had plenty of room to move around the pool. The class was instructed by Mary again who I remember from last time. We did our usual series of exercises including jogging, ski slopes, tuck jumps, pendulum, rock n’ roll and donkey kicks.

We also swam up and down the pool using the underwater dumbbells as a flotation device. I feel like my confidence when it comes to swimming is gradually increasing every time I do one of these classes. It just takes practice and consistent strong kicks in the water. I’m no longer sinking as much either which is always a good sign. Maybe one day I’ll consider doing some adult swimming lessons to further improve my technique. https://www.goodlifehealthclubs.com.au/…

On Friday morning, I had my second Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. After reading a chapter on dealing with the main causes of low self-confidence from The Confidence Gap by Dr. Russ Harris, I decided to put his advice into practice. This session seemed to be more mentally challenging than usual. I’m still learning to let go of things such as the perception that people are ignoring me or deliberately leaving me out socially, getting easily distracted by what’s happening around me and getting frustrated when I can’t perform a particular movement. It’s all a work-in-progress.

I’m still searching for a sense of belonging at UFT PLAYgrounds. I’m determined to make a difference, get involved, participate, matter and feel important. The fact that I’m shy and introverted is irrelevant. I feel like a lot of people do like me there. Sometimes it’s hard of get their attention but it’s fine. It doesn’t mean they don’t like me. They’re probably just busy training clients or in the middle of a conversation. Regardless, I deserve to be a part of the UFT Playgrounds family.

WARM-UP…This morning’s warmup was a bit more intense than usual. After my Y-T-I stretches on the bench, I had to do 3 rounds of the following: 100 skips, 10 squats, 10 pushups and 10 situps. I was doing pretty well until I got to the situps. I was beginning to get really hard on myself as I couldn’t keep my feet planted to the ground. But I reminded myself “It’s not like every trainer, coach and client is closing in around me and telling me how shit my performance is. I’m trying hard here and I’m doing the best I can.”

And eventually I did improve. All I needed was Luke to stand on my shoes in order to be able to do the situps and have enough momentum to keep swinging myself up. The fatigue was also starting to take its toll but I got there in the end.

DEVELOPMENT…Today I worked on doing bench press, doing 5 rounds of 3 reps at 42.5kg with the last round being maximum reps. Again, I was finding this mentally challenging. I kept colliding into the racking and my bar path was all over the shop. But eventually, I managed to re-focus on the task at hand with the help of Luke (Be strong, think strong!).

Even in the face of a seemingly impossible goal (beating 6 reps in the last round), I summoned all of my mental strength and energy to push myself through it. “You’ve got this Michael. Don’t give up. Stay focused. Take deep breaths.” I genuinely did more than I thought I could do, smashing 8 reps. Now that is a remarkable achievement to be proud of.

WORKOUT…Today’s workout involved a 7 minute AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible), doing the following exercises: 20 Russian twists, 15 butterfly situps, 20 mountain climbers and 15 hollow rocks. It seemed pretty full on especially with that tough mixture of cardio and core strength but I was up for it. The Russian twists and the hollow rocks were the hardest of the lot. The pain was a difficult distraction but I kept fighting it thanks to Luke’s constant motivation. I completed 2.5 rounds plus 13 butterfly situps. https://www.facebook.com/breakawayfitnesstraining/

“So I’ll speak my truth though my voice shakes. Try to summon the strength to look fear in the face. But I’m kicking and screaming ’cause it won’t be easy to break all the patterns. If I’m not evolving, I’m just another robot taking up oxygen.”                                                    Katy Perry – Bigger Than Me (2017)

“So, just take those punches on the chin, yeah. Don’t fight the changes in the wind, no, no ’cause you’ll find your way home, oh. If you find a way to let go, just let go. Don’t try and reinvent your wheel, ’cause you’re too original. Baby, just stay classic. Ain’t broke, ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Your highs, your lows, just ride it.” Katy Perry – Pendulum (2017)

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MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 68, September 2017

​MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 68, September 2017

“In my research, I found that what silences our intuitive voice is our need for certainty. Most of us are not very good at not knowing. We like sure things and guarantees so much that we don’t pay attention to the outcomes of our brain’s matching process. For example, rather than respecting a strong mental instinct, we become fearful and look for assurances from others.” The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (p.88)

On Monday morning, I had my Healthy Cooking on a Budget class at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. Today I kinda felt like a semi-permeable membrane (here comes the biology metaphors) when it comes to talking to my cooking partner Kevin. It takes me a very long time for me to feel comfortable opening up to somebody else about my life but just like a membrane, I do allow small tidbits to pass on through and eventually it does get easier.  We almost had a full class today with about 10 people or so in the kitchen.

Today we ended up making some vegetarian dumplings, a Soba noodle salad and a simple fried rice. It’s a very straight forward process of chopping up and grating some vegetables including carrots, spring onion, a wombok (Chinese cabbage) and celery. We then sauted them off in a frying pan and added in some soy sauce before placing them the mixture into a large bowl. Next, we scooped 1-2 teaspoons of mixture into each wonton wrapper and sealed them along the top. Then all you have to do is steam them for 5-10 minutes in a bamboo steamer. http://www.ballaballa.com.au/progra…

On Tuesday night, I attended my Body Combat class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. I was feeling really lazy all day and the weather wasn’t helping matters (I really don’t want to drive out in the pouring rain. No thank you. I can’t be bothered moving). But these excuses didn’t last long. I really need to motivate myself and get a workout done especially with my aches and pains making a fierce return.

Tonight was our first time experiencing release number 73 and being a new release, there were times where I really struggled with the movements. The most challenging part of me involved doing dynamic lunges and kicks. It was throwing my balance off so much and the pacing was too fast for me. Besides that, I did like the mix of combos from jab boxes and roundhouse kicks to ascends and descends, front and side kicks.

I feel like I’m getting fitter as well. It didn’t take as long for me to recover from panting and sweating after the class was over. Even my combat instructor Cinamon Guerin has noticed the changes in me. Even if my technique is sloppy or I can’t keep up or I feel uncoordinated, I give every Body Combat class 110% effort. Working hard is enough achievement for me. https://www.siphilp.com/les-mills-b…

On Wednesday morning, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. Doing my training sessions in the morning gives me a purpose, a reason to get out of bed and a sense of routine of each week. I no longer feel anxious whenever I step foot into UFT PLAYgrounds. I never thought I’d be able to say that but I think I’m more at ease and comfortable enough in myself to not let the external environment bother me as much. However, for the most part, UFT is a very supportive and encouraging place to train in and I’m glad that I stuck with it.

WARM-UP…This morning, I did my usual arm, back and shoulder stretches on the bench, holding lightweight plates in each hand. I figured this would be a good opportunity to talk to Luke about getting back into posting regular updates on his PT page again. Not that I’m pressuring him at all, it’s more just a suggestion and he could do with some more promotion of his business.

Next I did 3 rounds of 10 single arm rows with a 20kg dumbbell. I was trying to be more mindful of my technique and making sure that I keep my elbow bent and close to the side of my body. I’m not feeling quite as fatigued as before either meaning that I’m getting stronger and better at doing this movement.

DEVELOPMENT…Today I did a 5×5 bench press at 37.5kg. It was a little different this time as after my usual 5 rounds of 5 reps, I had to do an additional round of maximum reps. I seemed a lot more focused on my technique today, concentrating on muscle activation, keeping my feet grounded and spread apart, keeping my elbows locked in and the bar straight and aiming to hit the same point on my chest. I felt great about my performance today. And during my last round, I managed to get up to 9 reps which was a remarkable achievement for me.

WORKOUT…This was easily one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done with Luke. Today I had to do 3 rounds of the following: 200m run, 15 wall balls, 10 ring rows and 5 dead men. Welcome to the world of fatigue and muscle burn! Honestly, I think I did pretty well for the most part. My runs were decent. My wall balls still need improvement, especially with the catching element. It’s an issue I’ve had since primary school. I hated sports and had the worst hand-eye coordination. I was literally scared of the ball and also getting hit in the face.

But I’m slowly getting better. I just need to work on catching the ball up high into my chest and getting my squats a bit deeper as I’m throwing the ball up. My ring rows have gotten heaps better and 10 reps is challenging yet manageable. But the deadmans really tested me today. A deadman is basically using your own body weight to lower and climb yourself up a rope.

By my last round, my arms were burning in pain and I was struggling to keep my heels planted to the ground. But Luke was there to keep encouraging me to get it done, giving me chalk for my hands to prevent slipping back down the rope. This is where self-talk is vital. My body was ready to give out but I kept telling myself…”No matter how my times it takes and how many times I fall or fail a rep, just keep trying. Don’t give up Michael.”

It was fucking hard but I’m glad that I smashed out that last rep. I didn’t want to walk away from this workout feeling disappointed. I wanted to finish it. Post-workout, I had to be really patient with myself today as my arms were still sore and shaking. So if it takes me 10-15 minutes to recover before I’m ready to hit the road again, then so be it. https://www.facebook.com/breakawayf…

On Friday morning, I had my second Strength Training session for the week with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. Today I really had to focus on challenging my negative thoughts especially when I first started. Luke’s conversation with a fellow trainer was bothering me for some reason. But I just tried to let the moment pass and remind myself that…”It’s okay. This is temporary. The reality is that Luke has confidence in my ability to perform these movements without his undivided attention on me. He’ll engage with me eventually. Don’t worry Michael.”

Besides this, everything was running smoothly for me. Luke asked me some more questions about my life including where I’ve traveled and ways to manage my money better. It’s moments like these that show that he genuinely cares about me and wants me to succeed in life. This month will be extremely tough for me but I know that I’m capable of overcoming the hurdles and getting myself through it.

WARM-UP…Today I did some yoga and pilates stretches into the shoulders, hips and groin including Thread The Needle, Pigeon pose and Calm Shell. I still get myself a bit tangled and confused whenever I first start these exercises but once I’ve got it, I’m fine.

DEVELOPMENT…Similar to Wednesday’s session, I did a 5×5 set with a last round of maximum reps. This time I was doing back squats at 60kg. Honestly, I’m feeling much more proficient and confident with my technique. I’m managing to squat deeper and keep my chest lifted most of the time. And today I really surprised myself, smashing out 21 reps in the last round before racking up.

WORKOUT…Today I did another challenging workout, though it was more a test of endurance and physical/mental toughness. I had to do 10 rounds on the assault bike, EMOTM (Every Minute on The Minute) at 12 calories per round. During the first few rounds, I was mainly focusing on the calorie meter and pedaling as hard as I could. However, it was getting more and more difficult to maintain with the fatigue and soreness kicking in.

Luke then suggested to focus on the Watt meter instead and try to keep it over 300. This was much more beneficial as I could control and monitor how fast I needed to pedal to keep up the pace. My other challenge was regulating my breathing during the rest periods and using that recovery to help get me through the next round. Overall, I think I did really well and collapsing after finishing the workout shows just how hard I pushed myself today.

“Oh, ye of so little faith. Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it. Victory is in your veins. You know it, you know it. And you will not negotiate. Just fight it, just fight it. And be transformed. ‘Cause when, when the fire’s at my feet again. And the vultures all start circling. They’re whispering, “You’re out of time,”. But still I rise. This is no mistake, no accident. When you think the final nail is in. Think again. Don’t be surprised. I will still rise.”                             Katy Perry – Rise (2016)

“A tiger. Don’t lose no sleep. Don’t need opinions from a shellfish or a sheep. Don’t you come for me. No, not today. You’re calculated. I got your number ’cause you’re a joker and I’m a courtside killer queen. And you will kiss the ring. You best believe.”                                      Katy Perry featuring Nicki Minaj – Swish Swish (2017)

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OCEANS TO ATHENA w/ The Brightside, Just About Done, Flipside & Terra @ Reverence Hotel, September 2017

Before heading off to the gig tonight, I was feeling emotionally drained from social media. It was really starting to get me down, that nobody seemed to be interested in reading my blogs anymore. Were they too boring? Was I tagging too many people in them? I started to get really upset about it and questioned whether I should continue to keep doing them. But somehow I pulled myself together and got myself out the door.

I decided to order The Big Rev burger with a side of spicy shoestring fries and a pint of beer before the show started. I was still sitting there at the table with my negative thoughts and feelings but I was also determined to have a good night out. Hanging out with the Oceans To Athena boys made a huge difference to my mood. Immediately, I was able to let go of the weight dragging me down and enjoy the company of some good band mates. https://www.reverencehotel.com/menu

TERRA…The last time I saw this Melbourne-based Pop Punk/Alternative Rock band was at Wrangler Studios after they released their EP “Wasted Days”. They really sounded on top of their game tonight with plenty of sing-a-long moments and hand claps from the crowd. They played several tracks from the EP including Talk is Cheap and Save Me plus a cover of Vanessa Carlton’s 1000 Miles. https://terrabandaus.bandcamp.com/a…

FLIPSIDE…This was my first time seeing this 4-piece Pop Punk band from the Western suburbs of Sydney. Due to lead vocalist/guitarist Aiden having a throat infection, the band were forced to switch some of their members around on stage to accommodate it. They also only had less than 24 hours to learn their set. But remarkably, they still managed to pull off an enjoyable set. https://flipsideaus.bandcamp.com/

JUST ABOUT DONE…This is my second time checking out this Melbourne-based Alternative/Pop Punk band and tonight they put on a really solid performance. Lead vocalist Sam really reminds me of Ella Hooper from Killing Heidi and she sounded amazing. The band played a few tracks from their EP “Mindless” including Ivory and Southpaw plus a couple of new tracks that are still in the process of being recorded. https://justaboutdoneaus.bandcamp.com/…

THE BRIGHTSIDE…Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stick around for this Adelaide-based Pop Punk band. Check out their music video for “Wasted Time” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8S…

OCEANS TO ATHENA…So tonight was vocalist Jorgan Mones’ last show in Oceans to Athena. I decided to do something sweet and wrote him a farewell card at the last minute. I still remember the first time I saw him perform at the Pelly Bar in Frankston. He came right up to me and kissed me unexpectedly. But that’s the kind of bloke he is. Kind, affectionate and funny. Check out their music video for “Siren Song” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7C…

A big shoutout to Mikey Moore from Born Yesterday Music for putting this show on and being an awesome friend to me. I really appreciate you asking how I was going tonight and keeping me company. I’ll always be the biggest introvert but really in the scheme of things, does it really matter? Probably not. Thank you Mikey! I decided to leave early as I was feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Footscray is a long way out for me but I’m glad I made the effort to come for a few bands at least.

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On Monday morning, I had my Healthy Cooking on a Budget class at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. With only a few more weeks until the end of term, the class size has significantly been reduced and today there was only 5 other people in the kitchen. However, it seemed to have a positive effect on me as I felt more efficient and more relaxed. I remember being heavily criticised in high school and at TAFE for “not getting involved enough” in group work and this could be the reason why I find it difficult to handle not knowing what to do. Structure will always be necessary for me to succeed in life.

I do believe that Kevin and I make a great team together. Even though I’m an introverted person and lack self-confidence at times, I also see myself as very hard-working and diligent if you give me a task and explain it clearly enough to me. Today we made a sweet orange fillo tart, a savory tart and an oven-baked sweet potato. Making the curd was actually a fun process. Combining caster sugar, cornflour, orange juice and orange zest in a saucepan, you quickly whisk the mixture until it thickens before adding the egg yolks and refrigerating.

Next we started layering and applying canola oil to the fillo pastry sheets. Unlike shortcrust and puff pastry, fillo pastry is very thin and delicate to work with but it didn’t take long for me to get the hang of placing the sheets down gently and pushing them into the tart holes of the baking tray. Next we began preparing the vegetables for the savory tarts. Chopping up red onions, mushrooms, zucchini and parsley, we then cooked them off before adding in some smooth ricotta cheese, feta cheese, salt and pepper.

The last part of the sweet fillo tarts involved making a meringue by combining egg whites and slowly adding in the caster sugar whilst beating the mixture to form soft peaks. We then placed the meringue onto each of the tarts and popped them in the oven for five minutes to brown the meringue slightly. http://www.ballaballa.com.au/progra…

On Monday night, I attended my Body Balance class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. This was my second time with instructor Cas (Kaz?) and once again it was a really enjoyable class. It was basically exactly the same release as last time but it didn’t bother me as I still got plenty of benefits out of it. The class is both stimulating and relaxing with a focus on increasing flexibility, core strength, balance and reducing stress levels.

The poses/movements that we did in tonight’s class include: Tai-Chi warm up (Divers pose, Side and Forward Lunges with Sweeping Arms), Sun Salutations (Mountain pose, Forward Fold, Downward Facing Dog, Plank, Baby Cobra, Kneeling Lunge), Standing Strength (Stork pose, Aeroplane, Warrior 1, Three Legged Dog), Hip Openers (Pigeon pose, Prayer with Side Twist), Core (Flip The Dog), Pilates (Bicycle, Bridge with Leg Lift, Scorpion with Tricep Pushup), Yoga Twists (Thread the Needle, Reverse Triangle pose) and Relaxation (Guided Visualisation). https://lesmills.com.au/bodybalance

On Tuesday afternoon, my parents and I went to see the film Annabelle: Creation at Village Cinemas Fountain Gate. It actually came at a really good time because I was feeling unmotivated, depressed, upset and guilty all day. I seem to get really emotionally invested whenever I make a mistake and it affects somebody else is a negative away. I can’t help it. But it’s a really good learning experience for me at the same time. There’s nothing like going to the movies to take your mind off things.

Annabelle: Creation is a prequel to the 2015 film Annabelle. This time, the action focuses on the Mullins family who tragically lose their daughter Bee (Samara Lee) in a car accident. Twelve years later, the Mullins’ invite a nun and several young girls from a orphanage to reside in their home. But it’s not long before that creepy doll Annabelle is discovered and all hell breaks loose.

If you combined elements from Paranormal Activity and The Ring, you’d get something pretty close to this film. You can check off most of the horror movie cliches here…creaking floorboards and doors, sudden loud noises, ghost girls, demonic possession, symbolic crosses. Thankfully, it makes up for things in the storyline department and some really great performances from Lulu Wilson as Linda, Talitha Bateman as Janice and Anthony LePaglia as Samuel Mullins. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5140878…

On Wednesday morning, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. I was still feeling bad about what happened over social media yesterday and decided to get it out of my system with Luke today. I have to remember to not take things so personally and reassure myself that everything will be okay. It’s not like I intended to piss anyone off by tagging people in my posts. It just got out of hand and I needed someone to be brutally honest with me. So it’s done and dusted now.

WARM-UP…Today I started with my usual flowing yoga sequence of thread the needle and pigeon pose. For some reason, I always get myself un-coordinated when I start doing it but eventually I get it. Next I did 3 rounds of 15 glute bridges with a resistance strap bound around my knees. Lastly, I did some stretches into my wrists by leaning over, leaning back and doing figure 8 movements over them.

DEVELOPMENT…Today was my first time doing weighted front squats. Unfortunately, I wasn’t mentally prepared for this and my anxiety was trying everything to ruin it for me. I had to turn down the volume on those negative voices inside of my head…”I can’t do it. Why is this so hard for me? What’s wrong with me?”. Frustration and anger towards the self leads to giving up and wasn’t prepared to do that. Luke was trying his best to explain the technique of placing the bar onto your shoulders and keeping your elbows lifted up high before squatting. It’s just something I need to practice and eventually I’ll improve.

It took me several attempts to finally get it and thankfully Luke had a lot of patience and wanted me to get it. The pain through my wrist and fingers was excruciating but only because my technique and placement of the bar was off. I told myself…“You need to be patient and kind to yourself, Michael. This is the first time you’ve ever done a front squat so you can’t expected too much. Don’t give up. You can do this.” And eventually, I was doing it. I did one round of 4 reps at 45kg, two rounds of 4 reps at 40kg and two rounds of 12 reps at 30kg.

WORKOUT…Today’s workout involved doing 5 rounds of the following: 20 kettle bell swings and 10 burpees. Looked easy enough on the whiteboard but it didn’t take long for that fatigue to kick in, particularly around the second and third rounds. Here comes to beads of sweat and the deep panting. I try not to let these things bother me anymore. Workouts are meant to be tough and there’s no shame in letting those noises of exhaustion out of my system. Who cares? Whatever the result, I should be super proud of myself. I got a time of 8 minutes and 40 seconds. https://www.facebook.com/breakawayf…

On Thursday afternoon, I had my very first Body Composition Analysis scan done at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. I tend to always be nervous when I have a first-anything done. It’s fear of the unknown but I was doing my best to remain calm and relaxed about it. Trainer Jovana walked me through what I had to do and it was all very straight forward…stepping onto a scale and grabbing some paddles. She then explained my results to me which was a little overwhelming but thankfully the sheet has all the terms defined on it when I look back over it later.

Here’s some of the more important results from the scan:

Height: 169.0cm    Weight: 88.6kg (with clothes on and personal belongings)  Age: 31 yrs                                 Lean Body Mass: 65.2  (Ideal Range 50.2 – 53.3)                                                                                                                              Total Body Fat: 23.4 (Ideal Range 9.4 – 12.6)                                                                                        Skeletal Muscle Mass: 36.0 (Ideal Range 27.9 – 29.7)                                                                         Body Fat Percentage: 26.4 (Optimal Range 15.0 – 20.0)                                                                          Visceral Fat Level: 10 (Optimal Range 1 – 9)                                                                                       Overall score: 69/100

Overall, I think these results are pretty decent and could be a lot worse. But it also gives me an opportunity to improve and set some new fitness goals for myself. I mainly want to work on lowering my total body fat and body fat percentage. The other results are quite as alarming to me but all I have to do is keep exercising regularly, eating well, drink plenty of water and perhaps increase the intensity of some of my workouts when I’m ready. http://www.caseyarc.ymca.org.au/par…

On Thursday night, I attended my first Flow Tunes yoga class at Now, Yoga. in Narre Warren South. I haven’t been to the studio in over a month for several reasons…financial issues and trying to fit too many other things in during my week. But I had no more excuses left and honestly I really missed being there. It’s been a hectic day for me so I really needed to let go tonight and unwind on the yoga mat.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the studio this packed before with roughly 13-15 other students. Basically, yoga teacher Keren Gurrieri had a selection of songs that she played instead of traditional Indian/Asian inspired music. There were songs from artists including Alicia Keys, David Gray, Adele, U2, Elton John and Sting. We did several flowing sequences of poses including:

Flowing Sequence 1…Downward Facing Dog, Three Legged Dog, Knee to Nose.

Flowing Sequence 2…Plank, Chaturanga, Cobra/Up Dog, Downward Facing Dog.

Flowing Sequence 3…High Lunge, Warrior 2, Joyful Warrior, Side Angle Pose. .

We also worked on some L-shaped handstands, jumping up onto the wall and forearm balances. My mind instantly went…“There’s no way I can do that.” but with some guidance from Keren, I ended up proving myself wrong and nailed an L-shaped handstand. I genuinely surprised myself because I’m usually so hesitant when it comes to inversions but I decided to give everything a go, even kicking up to the wall. It just takes a lot of strength, patience and practice but eventually you’ll get there. https://www.facebook.com/nowyogastu…

On Friday morning, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. I’ve honestly come such a long way in the last few weeks when I decided to actively start changing my mindset, using my fitness journal and feeling more comfortable training with Luke at UFT PLAYgrounds. The side conversations no longer bother me nor does that fact that I don’t have close friendships with any of the trainers and coaches there. Saying hello and how are you is more than enough.

WARM UP…Today I did my usual 20 reps of scorpion stretches on the blue foam mat before doing 3 rounds of 12 back extensions. It’s getting a lot easier for me and the burn in my thighs was not as intense. However, doing the single arm kettle bell lifts, I noticed that my lower back was starting to hurt again. Time to get the foam roller and rubber ball out again.

DEVELOPMENT…Today I learned another new movement called Deficit Deadlifts. Essentially the only difference is doing the deadlifts standing on a stack of two plates. However, I was still finding this difficult mainly because I had to consciously place the weight back in my heels and maintain my balance on the plates. Plus my lower back and thighs were starting to hurt. But even with all these barriers, I persevered and eventually managed to do 5 rounds of 12 reps at 40-50kg.

WORKOUT…Today’s workout was another sweaty one and also mentally challenging. I had to do 6 rounds of the following movements: 40m sled push (up and back the green track) and 10 push ups. The fatigue was kicking in fast around the second or third round. The self-doubt was trying hard to derail me…“I’m not sure I can do this. Can I even survived six rounds?” But again I chose not to give up. Sometimes it’s not about how fast you can do it and more about just getting it finished.

The workout was also bringing up some emotional baggage for me, remembering how harshly I used to judge myself back in high school PE classes and comparing myself to others in group fitness sessions. “Why am I always the slowest? Why do I keep lagging behind the others? I mustn’t be good enough. Everyone else is better than me.”

And I even confided this in Luke today when I finished my workout. I felt so liberated about being open with him and also being able to let my self-judgement of the past go and genuinely be proud of my achievements. It was a big “Fuck You” to the negative voices inside my head and also to every person who thought I couldn’t do it. I proved it to myself that I could.

“When everything is goin’ wrong. Don’t worry, it won’t last for long. Yeah, it’s all gonna come around. Don’t go let it get you down. You gotta keep on holding on…Up–up–up–Can only go up from here. Up–up–up–Up. Where the clouds gonna clear. Up–up–up–There’s no way but up from here.” Shania Twain – Up (2002)

“It’s so very unnecessary. Yeah, how insane to be so vain. It’s so synthetic. I just don’t get it I don’t get it, baby, yeah, yeah. Don’t be so obsessed. C’mon give it a rest. This is not some contest–just do your best. ‘Cause no–oh body’s perfect!” Shania Twain – What A Way To Wanna Be (2002)

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