2018, Gay, Gayblog, Life, Opinion

The Person I Want To Become

It can be great to think of the kind of person you want to be, and picture that image framed in your mind’s eye, and hold it as a kind of fuzzy objective.

However. Your mind can wander out of focus and enter the enchanted lands of fantasy, far removed from reality when picturing the ideal that you want for yourself. It can intoxicate and drug you, and leave you disappointed with your reality.

I find it both alluring yet galling, pondering on the type of person I imagine I want to become. There is an inherent sense of unreality when you think about what kind of person you wish to be in the future. And a sense of dread and fear that you may never reach this pinnacle of ideal.

Naturally, you would want to be the best version of yourself in the future that you can possibly be. This might be different for us individually, but I’m sure most if not all of us want to be successful and prosperous, fit and healthy, wise yet humble and yeh why not, attractive, both in personality and soul.

I feel as though out there somewhere in this world, or a parallel one just mirroring ours, there’s another version of me of whom embodies those qualities above.

He’s confident in himself and his abilities. He smiles more than I do. He hates himself far less than I do, and in fact isn’t too proud to admit that he loves himself. Obvs, not in an egotistical kind of way. More the way someone who exudes self-confidence would be able to make that sort of self-acknowledgement.

The person I want to become is successful both in terms of career as well as personal life. He works a job, or better yet, has a career that he enjoys which also happens to keep him comfortable in life. He doesn’t worry or stress about his financial situation, and is savvy when he needs to be, thrifty yet not a miser.

He is generous to a fault to those he loves and holds dear, yet is a good judge of character, and has no problem standing up to himself when he perceives he is done wrong by. He is an ardent believer in loyalty being the number one quality and virtue in a friendship or relationship, yet will be able to deal in a fair and adult manner when he feels a friendship is not being reciprocated.

This personage of the future goes to the gym regularly, looks after himself and eats well. He likes being social and goes out, and doesn’t suffer from anything as silly as social anxiety which has made past Alessandro fill with fear and stay home, missing out on at times a lot of fun.

He is calm and collected, and doesn’t have anymore negative dialogue in his mind which once plagued his mind. He sleeps and rests fully at night, and will more often than not get a full night’s sleep.

This is the kind of person I want to become. Basically a pastiche of all the things I see in people I know, like or admire.

 

And yes, an amalgamation of pretty much every self-help book I’ve come across and read.

Which is quite a bit.

I know that this person would come across perhaps as too perfect, however. Maybe he’s just the end sum and total of the concepts and ideals of what I want to be, but not a whole package in terms of what makes up a person.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt over the past few years, it’s that our imperfections make us who we are. The imperfections form our character and that thing that makes us special. It’s the little scars, the wrinkles, the furrowed brows or laughter lines and that lived experience and foibles we all have that make us the best we can be, however.

This then, is the person I want to become. Not perfection manifested, a character akin to an old family sitcom or worse yet a character from a Brett Easton Ellis novel, but a person trying their best, and doing their best in life.

What kind of person do you want to become?

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Homesickness.

I’ve been here in San Francisco 6 months now. I can’t believe it’s been this long.

 

So missing things from home sometimes is a part of my life. I know that this will come and go, some days I won’t miss a thing, and that I’m doing well here, and starting to get my life moving by getting out more and trying new things.

But there are going to be moments when I miss things. Or people, or places.

Being homesick kinda really does suck. A few months back it really peaked. I would sit there and think about home and daydream I was back there, with those that I loved. I would tear up a little. I would picture myself on a Saturday waking up with the hubby and going downstairs to the cafe that we lived above, sitting with a Flat White and tucking into an overpriced poached eggs and avocado breakfast.

The sun would shine, and we would contemplate on what to do that day. Perhaps we’d run back up to our flat, grab towels and and sun block and organize with friends to hit the beach and soak in those rays.

Maybe we would traipse through the city and check the town out and look at shops. Perhaps we would just take it easy and stay home, or go out west and visit family.

 

I do miss the ease that living in Sydney provided.

 

I find that I’m really learning to curb this kind of thought process, which is basically fantasizing and for the short term helpful as a calming salve for the mind as it were, but absolutely detrimental to the mind if continued. I have so much here in SF to look forward to. That’s the big thing I’ve started learning lately. Changing your mind and being more open and thoughtful by cutting out those thoughts in your mind that will bring you back down to a negative state. Fuck I sound like a bad self help author. But it’s the truth of the matter.

 

I’ve actually done great the last couple months to be honest. San Francisco is slowly becoming my home. Despite the jolting changes, the way things are done so differently [so fucking differently], and the change in lifestyle here, I am making my way steadily to making this place a home. And it will be. I don’t intend on coming back to Sydney for some time, yet I will at times get some pangs of sadness and homesickness.

 

Some days, this town really makes me wanna just take a sledgehammer to it and knock the whole fucking thing down. Even today. Finding a job has proven to be a challenge for instance. Internally I’m screaming at how and why things are the way they may be and why it couldn’t be done a different way, but hey this is how life and the world works. If everything was the same, it would be a dull place indeed.

 

This is probably the most challenging, toughest thing I have ever done. Yet, I know I’m getting stronger [*cue Britney], and that each day I’m getting to know this town more and more, and becoming accustomed to it incrementally.

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2018, America, Gay, Gayblog

6 months later…

It’s been six months since we moved here to the US, and this past week I’ve felt really up and down. I guess as we’ve reached that six month mark I can;t help but reflect, and as humans we tend to frame our lives through measurements of time.

I’ve felt up as the weather is becoming great; the sky is clearer, the sun is out and little by little there seems to be a bit of warmth in the air. Not much as yes, this is San Francisco, and as I continually get educated by the locals, there is no Summer here. Again and again I seem to be told this.

However, Spring slowly seems to be encroaching upon us, little feelers slowly creep in. A flower blooms in the park, a leaf grows on a tree outside our flat in the drab back alley.

The seasons are changing, and its a good thing to see. We came to San Francisco right in the middle of a blustery and grey Winter. It really did seem to colour our time here initially. I can see that in hindsight. We can learn so much from looking back, and looking back to our first couple months here, I see that we really did struggle.

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like, had we moved here at this time of the year, or perhaps in the middle of Summer, when everything is at its heightened best, and more things are happening. Perhaps we would’ve dealt with the change of moving countries much better than we did, perhaps not. All I know is that we moved at a particularly tough time, and now that the seasons are changing, my mood is perceptibly far loftier.

On the other side of things, I’ve felt a bit down as I still feel a bit purposeless here, having been waiting for my EAD which is a document which allows me to work here in the US to come through which took months.

However, that brings me to another stumbling block: I’m unsure of what I should do here, what job I should go after, and what it’ll be like to work here. I’ve now been out of work for almost six months so its going to be tough to readjust. I’m genuinely quite anxious about this. But, I will deal with it when I get to this.

The other big thing is I’ve also started as a volunteer extra in the opera. Which is fucking mental to be honest. I never thought I would be an on-stage extra in a professional production. I’m literally acting and running and even tumbling around on stage with professional opera singers, decked out in costumes. Crazy. As is the giant blue bruise featured on my right butt cheek from all the tumbling.

Doing something like going to an audition on a whim and getting it, and being a part of an opera is something so unlike me to do. I have never acted in my life. I’ve really tried my best to say yes more the last few months. I do this in order to grow and to experience as much in this town as I can. I’ve tried my hardest to get out and experience more and not hole myself in my flat too much. Although I still have days where I do just that.

I’m really glad I took a chance and applied to audition for the opera. It is something so unlike me that the Sydney version of me would never have done. I’m happy I didn’t just pike out and not turn up like the voice in my head was telling me to do on the day of the audition.

And that’s the thing really. This whole endeavor of moving here to the US has taught me that I need to consciously rally against that negative persona that sometimes comes to the fore in my mind. I have to willingly and purposefully fight against it, tell it to quiet down, and do the opposite of what it says. Otherwise I won’t get to do anything fun, and I’ll just be forever more in my comfort zone and miss out on so much.

The last six months have been so full of ups and downs. I’ve missed my home and family and loved ones; I’ve grappled with coming to a new country and city as well as the tasks of building a new home, a new life here.

Looking back, I start to see that I’ve done a great job of it. It has been a monumental task, but I can truly say I’ve made the most of it.

I sometimes feel like it’s almost like a strategy game that I’m playing. Like Civilization. I start with a small town, and after a while it grows and expands. Our little home here is like that. It’s a bit small now but it’ll grow month after month.

Our life here is like that. Right now it may be on the smaller side, but I know with each month as we become more established, it’ll grow more and more.

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2018, America, Gay, Gayblog, Life

Decision Making

What’s the biggest decision you’ve ever had to make? How did you make it? Was it the right choice?

 

The biggest decision I’ve ever had to make was to decide whether to go with my partner of 8 years to San Francisco, possibly for an indefinite time, or stay home in Sydney Australia. It’s really been the biggest, monumental and life-changing decision I have ever had to make. We’ve had to make. It was tough. It was draining.

 

It was also exciting and something to look forward.

 

It’s been just about six months since we moved. I still can’t believe that we’ve done this. I still can’t believe that I’m here. That we’ve made this seismic shift, this gigantic earth-shaking change that has indelibly transformed our lives. It’s not been easy. There have been second thoughts, concerns, arguments and fights.

Moving with a partner to another country is a very challenging thing, especially when you move so far from your home. Home for us isn’t a short plane trip away. So far from the familiar, from the known and from what is comfortable. You only have each other for support and guidance, and that can be quite a lot for just two people.

There are times when I miss my family, my home city and friends and logical family too. I’ll see a post on instagram and my heart breaks a little. Blue skies, beaches, Victorian terraces, pubs filled with people and queer parties where everyone looks so happy and bright.

We came to this decision after months and months of unending talks and discussions. Almost a year of back and forward in fact. We went over everything. Every possible outcome, scenario, issue and challenge. Pros and cons. At one point the entire thing was cancelled out as we thought it wasn’t going to happen.

We spoke and spoke and disassembled, had little tussles about it, and tried to be as honest to each other as we could. Even once it was all confirmed, we had months and months to go till we moved, as the move date kept getting pushed back. So yet more time to think and deliberate. Originally we were to move in April. Then May. Then September. And then finally November came around, and our ticket was bought. We had so much to do and take care of.

I remember the printed calendar I made and all the tasks we needed done for each day on little post-its.

No wonder we both felt so frayed and worn once we finally arrived here in SF. And in the middle of winter to add. We really don’t give ourselves enough credit.

 

Yes, at times, we have both questioned what we have done, and the choice we have made. The first few months here especially so. It felt as though we were thrown into a washing machine, spun around, rinsed repeat spun, then thrown out into this new and strange place.

We fought, we got on each others nerves, emotions became frayed as we tried our hardest, our best, to keep ourselves and our lives together. We tried hard to stay upbeat and positive, to get out more and meet people. It wasn’t easy at all. Again, really this move has been the hardest thing I personally have ever done, considerably so as I’m quite the reflective person. It is in my nature to think upon life, choices made and those encountered upon the way.

 

But, do I think this was the right choice we made, to come halfway across the world, and leave all those we love and all that we know?

 

Yes. In a heartbeat.

 

Sometimes I imagine what life would have been like if we stayed in Sydney, and the opportunity to move to America never came up. Life would be sublime. Comfortable. Bucolic. Fun. Always full of laughs and light and sun. That rhymed. I actually didn’t mean for it to.

 

But, nothing would have changed. I know this. I would have stayed in this comfort zone for such a long time. I feel as though my growth would have been stunted, and we would be in static. As much as I miss the place and the loved ones there [really I do], moving to another country and town has been the best thing for me. You need change in life in order to evolve and experience. Sometimes we need to be picked up and shook about.

 

My regret would be if we didn’t do this. The regret would be impossible for me to live with. I would hate myself for not giving it a go. I picture myself in this alternate world where we never moved, and I imagine myself living in San Francisco, and I can feel the envy.

I’m in the right place. I can feel this with every part of me, and I don’t regret our decision for a second.

 

What’s the biggest decision you’ve ever had to make?

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Ten years ago.

We often look ahead without taking the time to look at how far we’ve come.

Today I thought on what my life was like ten years ago.

 

Ten years ago, in 2008, my life would have looked like this:

 

I would have been about a year into my Photography degree back in Sydney, which I can say I remember fondly. I did have a lot of fun going to the art college I attended, and living the life of an art student.

Relatively carefree, at the peak of my creativity. Living life in a light and harmless manner.

Sometimes, I do miss that carefree aspect of life that many like myself were lucky enough to have had, even for a few short years. I really do wish I had made more out of it and experienced more of life back then, but I refuse to put myself down anymore, as life only gets better with each passing month and year.

I remember the flexibility, the freedom, the time spent working on tasks that felt so very important in my life. I remember the staff there, including the sweet and amiable head of photography, as well as the arrogant teacher whose ideas were terrible and lied about his past experiences [he once claimed to have taken photos of Twiggy and designed an Electric Light Orchestra cover], as well as his almost opposite in the form of the most capable, sweet and genius teacher whose skill in lighting was phenomenal.

How to light something correctly. How to edit something with finesse in photoshop.

The irony is, all of that is pretty much now done away with.

It’s a funny thing, realising you may have wasted years of your life on a discipline that was dying, and now a decade later, really kind of is in its death throes. Instagram really did a number on photography. At times, I do regret having not switched over to graphic design as I know it would have been far more applicable and adaptable for a career. Mistakes are made to be learnt from.

However, the truth is, I write this in another country and in a relationship with a guy who would change my life just a year later.

Had I not attended this art school or even did photography there, the chances are we would never have met, and I wouldn’t be writing this in San Francisco. Most likely I would not be writing this at all.

Ten years ago I would have been right in the midst of agonising depression. I spent years living with this without any help or assistance or outreach, and it would be a very long time indeed until I would work on this part of myself. My moods ran to darkness very easily; I found it difficult to enjoy life. I found it difficult to make lasting friends.

I felt so isolated and alone. This is the aspect of this time in my life I recall vividly. I craved any human contact with anybody, and by this point in life I was almost entirely celibate. I worked weekends at restaurants owned by relatives; a gruelling, thankless and difficult line of work I now refuse to go back to. I rarely had the opportunity to go out as after a shift on a Saturday night I tended to head home from exhaustion. Sometimes, we may have gone to a local pub for a drink perhaps. I think I may have been to a gay bar only a few times at this point.

Besides attending bars and clubs, back then there was really no way to meet people like today with apps and social media. All of that was still in its infancy and only just starting to gain traction. I still had a flip phone Motorola Razr which I absolutely adored and consider the best phone I ever had.

So, meeting people was tough.

I did have a friendship with someone in this year; which in hindsight meant something very different for the both of us. It was a very heightened, almost manic friendship. We hung out a lot and did a lot together. This time was replete with emotion, and confusion, and a lack of awareness and intention that I subsequently learned from. We had a lot of fun, yet this friendship ultimately ended for a number of reasons, and did not end in the most positive manner, which took quite the while for me to work through and process.

But, like everything, we all learn from our past transgressions.

Thinking back to this point in my life, it was rife with aimlessness, a sense of airiness, confusion, insecurities. And a lackadaisical attitude generally towards the future. It’s difficult for me to reflect too much on this time. Yet I can see just how far I have come.

Physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m a far more centred and relaxed person. I am far more confident in myself and my abilities. I am in a great relationship. I have lived and experienced life in as best a way I can and will continue to do so.

 

What were you doing 10 years ago?

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2018, America, Opinion, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Faith In The Future.

Do you ever get asked where you would see yourself in five years?

I’m not in a great place to think about my future at the moment. I also tend to dislike the ‘where would you be in 5 years from now’ question that seems to be a constant feature of job interviews. It’s so overly used that it has become such a cliched and cringeworthy dull question that is unimaginative and determines to leave nothing up to fate.

The truth is, sometimes I don’t know where I will be in 5 years. Sometimes I don’t think I want to even be anywhere or to exist at all. I fear that all I will amount to is what I am currently, and that all I can offer is what little I can today.

I’m afraid of being a static creature, incapable of growth and change, and most importantly, the ability to say ‘yes’ and experience every part of life possible. I wish I could succeed and accomplish. I wish I could break through this glass barrier above me and not have the constant thoughts of failure running in the back of my mind. Thoughts which unfortunately have chased me for years and are difficult of the highest degree to silence or even just mute, even for a short time.

I fear that my future will be banal and mundane, and more of the same, and that my life will amount to very little. I’m afraid that I will be forevermore an aimless creature. A Waste Man. Someone of little regard that simply lives day to day, week to week and is abjectly content with their lot in life and the universe. I am afraid of slowly turning into this hopeless creature of a plain and simple existence without fire and life and passion. I don’t want to be someone who simply exists and inhabits a space. I need more than what I currently have out of life. I want to live more, travel more and experience more.

I want my friends to always be there and to be the warm giving people I know. I know they will. I want for my husband to continue being the most supportive person I know. Sometimes I wonder what he sees in me. Sometimes I struggle to put myself in his shoes and imagine what I’m like to live with.

I know I can be a difficult person, and that many of my thoughts tend to run to the dark, and that it can be a task for me to see the light in most situation. I hope however, that I’m a good person and that I make him and my friends happy.

I want people to see me as a person of skill and talent, I want to be respected and recognised for something. What exactly, I really don’t know. I just want, from today to 5 years into the future, to not regret. To not regret anything at all. I don’t want to coast anymore. I don’t want to have blissful contentment with how things are for me at the moment. Comfortable and unchallenged. I sometimes feel pangs of regret. I hate that feeling. I hate feeling as though I have consistently taken the wrong turn, stepped through the wrong door, and not made the right choices.

I think sometimes that there’s an alternate universe out there, where I can smile with ease; I’m making a difference, and have a purpose to my life. I work hard, and am recognised for it. I rarely get down, and even if I do I bounce back and go back to my enthusiastic self. It feels counter productive, having this stream of thought. But I’ve always believed in the idea of alternate realities. It’s an alluring and deceptive concept, to think that out there are other worlds, where the figurative alchemical makeup is just a touch different.

What would make me happiest in life in the future would be to have an aim, a purpose and direction. I don’t know how or what, and these are the tough questions that I need to ask myself continually. I know that things will all work out fine for me in the end. I also know that it is intrinsic in my age to have these constant worries for the future. I couldn’t imagine being a woman and having the added stress of worrying about having a child and/or career. I know I should be grateful.

We’re always told to be grateful and to take stock in what we have. But what we have sometimes isn’t as fulfilling as it should be. Sometimes we hunger for what’s out there unseen with our physical eyes, and thirst to gain more. More knowledge, love, experience or whatever is desired. But we are creatures of flux and evolution, always moving, changing. Sometimes fickle and cantankerous, yet we [hopefully] always think ahead and ponder what could be. I hope my future, like my present, is filled with people who fill my life with positivity and fun, and that I continue to grow and learn, and most importantly, take chances.

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2018, America

Defining Success.

‘What is success?’

 

The daily writing page I’m signed up on which I try to write daily for, asked.

Plain and simple. No messing about here. Just what is success. This is something that I think constantly on.

 

Is success having a fantastic career that provides money, a home, a car, those things which we are all indoctrinated to believe we want?

Is it something more esoteric like validation and acclaim from your peers and contemporaries?

What is this thing that some of us have, yet others [including myself] never seem to manifest?

In my life, I feel as though the concept of ‘success’ is something that is forever slipping through my fingers, unobtainable and elusive. Something so close yet so difficult to grasp.

I have always viewed success as being something linked with prosperity. As though they naturally go hand in hand. A relationship that is symbiotic and dependent upon one another. Success begets prosperity, as well as the other way round. Or does it? Can one prosper without success? Without money?

These days, it’s difficult for me to feel that I have success in my life. To convince myself. Here I am, jobless and in a new country. Away from friends, family, all those whom I love and miss. Not to mention that everything is done differently. I have to adapt and relearn life as it were. Finding and making new friends and connections, which is usually a challenge in itself for me has become even more so the case. Readjusting and thriving has been my top priority. And its been a turbulent fucker, let me tell you.

I know that many others out there may classify the concept and terminology of ‘success’ in a different subset of ideals; swap out monetary gain and career advancement for headspace self-helpy concepts of wellness, mental health and relationships.

Is it healthy, to re-categorise the idea of success as being not necessarily prosperity and attainment of status and wealth, but to a place of your immediate and close life: how well you manage a relationship, how well your life is with your loved ones, friends, coworker etc?

A part of me feels that this is somewhat naive.

Perhaps I’ve become more jaded in life. Is it because I’ve never experienced what my ideal of success is, being money/career/prosperity?

The tenets of this rather new-agey paradigm of success to me right now unfortunately has the smack of anathema to me. As though this line of thought is simply a salve to sooth a troubled mind like mine who constantly thinks on this very subject. Is it a cop-out to think this, or is it somewhat constructive and good for the soul?

 

I’m of two minds about this.

 

One the one side, success shouldn’t be so simply aligned and synonymously linked with the idea of prosperity and monetary gain and status. It should feel more well-rounded. A mother or father who stays home raising a child who would grow to become a good, kind-hearted person should be regarded as a ‘success.’ Being a stay at home parent is not an easy task. I can only imagine the challenges and difficulty that lay with this work.

Working and improving your mental health is also something that I see as a measure of ‘success.’ This has become such an important part of many of our lives. My own included. With the onrush and rise of the whole idea of wellness culture especially so in the last few years.

At times when I think of this, I recall Kate Winslet’s character in Titanic [don’t hate on me for referencing Titanic please], after she survives the ship and moves on with her life. The camera pans across frames of her doing all sort of stuff. Why she thought to bring them on a research vessel not withstanding, it showed her getting up to all sorts of rad stuff: horseriding, posing with a cool plane, at a beach with friends and looking hot in an old timey Hollywood portrait.

Clearly it was all a device to display how full her life was, and how her not choosing to go with the rich arsehole, she built this life that was clearly fulfilling on her own.

What would those pictures have looked like had she choose to go with Mr Punchable Face’s character, who may have given her a life of luxury and ease, yet detested and belittled her?

 

I sometimes wonder how many people out there who have the money, the careers and status might look at someone like me who has none of this, yet wish for a relationship like mine, for instance.

On the other side, I feel that it can be naive to think on success in such a simplistic manner. I feel as though this thread above is what I’ve been told by others, that career and money is not the end point of what we traditionally regard as success.

The unfortunate thing is, alas, we don’t live in a society that seems to view ones’ life worth in terms of success as how well a relationship goes, how good a parent one is, or how well one is doing with their mental health.

Capitalism sure does have its fucked up features.

I could be the perennial Red leftie that I was and start a spiel on how an economic system ie Capitalism destroys people’s very lives and wellbeing, and places ones worth solely on their monetary intake, but I’m not going to do that today.

The days of my university demonstrations, ardent leftie essays espousing the virtues of Socialism in the modern world and the need for it, are long gone. Not to say I have given up. I still dearly believe in left-wing politics. More the acknowledgement that the system we live and work and breathe in is not going to go away, at least not for a very long time.

This side of me thinks that it is rather simplistic and unworldly to believe that success can be more than money and status. Unfortunately, it is something that those of us that do not have, tell ourselves in order to feel better about our lives.

I sincerely do want the career, the recognition, and yes, the money. Not as a means in itself but rather so I can have a great life with my husband and not worry.

And that’s my issue with success. The pain, the worrying, the pressure that maybe I put on myself far too much. The expectations of my parents as a kid and adolescent, and their subsequent disappointment in me not reaching my potential. Am I exerting this pressure on myself? Is this more in my head than out there in society?

We are truly a generation weaned on the belief that we could do anything we wanted. Yet the hard truth is, indelibly, we cannot. Success is something that yes is attainable, but not perhaps, for each and every one of us.

What then, is success for you?

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