2017, Australia, Gay, Gayblog, Life

Change

 

In a few short weeks I will be packing my life up and moving with my husband Adrian to not just a new city; but a new city in a new country that is on the other side of the world. A city that I have only ever been to once, a couple years ago. Almost directly opposite of where I currently sit …Well, that may be an exaggeration as the exact opposite means I would be dunked into the Atlantic ocean.

In truth, I’m scared shitless about this. I haven’t been sleeping well, I’ve been quite anxious and I’ve been unable to turn off my worried internal monologue.

Life seems to be able to grab you, pick you up and shake you about sometimes. And it always seems to be at the most inopportune times, like when you feel you need this change to happen and am ready for it. But maybe in this instance I need this. Perhaps it’s a good thing for me to be able to cut my ever growing ties with my home, and those around me like friends and family, and simply start over again with my now husband in a new place. An exciting change of scene, and a chance to start over.

At times living here in Sydney has begun to feel a little like Groundhog Day. Everyday is pleasant, safe and enjoyable, yet it is starting to feel as though the days are simply melding into one. It is easy to lose track of time here. My home town of Sydney is a very desirable place to live. I do love it here. The weather is generally quite temperate, [says I as I sit on my balcony during an extremely warm Spring day, with the city in view], there is a great balance and mix of work and personal life, you can be quite active and healthy, food and cuisine is great, and one can generally live a quite comfortable existence.

So why then would I ever want to leave this?

The truth is that my home town can be so blissfully bucolic and serene. Life here can be so easy, and maybe this has lately made me feel some unease and boredom. Or perhaps more correctly, aimless. I don’t know what I want to do in life still to this day, and I know that the day is fast approaching where I need to find my purpose. Relocating I hope will offer me this chance.

You know what time of year it is here in Sydney by what events are being held for one thing. Vivid, a light art festival marks the start of winter. The night noodle markets mark the beginning of summer, and the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras marks the high point and finale of the Summer party season in the city. It is a town that runs like clockwork. I do find myself at times getting restless, and wanting at the very least to run away from town and be out under a big blue sky for a day. I am totally aware of how self entitled this sounds, believe me.

Since finding out that my husband was going to be transferring overseas to the US, I have felt an array of emotions. Shock initially, then excitement that it was possibly to happen, as well as fear and doubt, mainly over difficulties and challenges that will have to be met. I’ll be going without a job for instance. I have no idea what I will be doing or where I’ll find work. I really hope that something will come up for me there. I’ll have to really lay on my Australian accent thick and charm the fuck out of people. It can be hard for me to have much faith in the future. I wish I was one of those people that truly believe that the universe will provide, and that it has your back. I, on the other hand, feel that this kind of thought process is unrealistic and can in fact be somewhat damaging, as it could lead one to believe in their own entitlement being inherently worthy of success, and not to mention leading to inaction due to the belief that somehow, ‘things will make right organically and naturally.’ The universe works out of it’s own volition based on logic and rules, most notably cold hard science. In my mind there is no value in this kind of thought. But, I know I’m going to have fantastic adventures there, and that we’ll meet some great life-long friends.

I’m exceptionally lucky and privileged to even have this opportunity to move somewhere that is and has been historically the centre of LGBTIQ culture globally. San Francisco has such a high reputation for being the most gay-friendly city in the entire world, with Sydney being a very close second. Sydney is an antipodean rival that to me does things far differently. San Francisco really does put my Sydney to shame. I have so many advantages over many others, for example my husband has a job set up when we get there. His company are organising to move all our belongings over. I speak the language as a first language unlike many other people migrating, and I like many Australians, have grown up with a heavy American influence on our society via media, of which the majority was American programming. So growing up, many of us as kids harbored dreams of one day making the long journey to the childhood utopia of Disneyland; which for most of us growing up in the 90’s was a fantasy that rarely played out in reality, as many families like mine struggled through the recession in the early nineties. It hit us hard. I remember being so envious of my cousins going to Disneyland and coming back with luggage bags bursting with Disney merch. The closest I could get to Disneyland was watching the Saturday morning Disney cartoon show that I would tune into with almost a religious reverence. America was a shining light on the hill for many of us. It represented so much of what was modern and free and good in the world. It really was a beacon of optimism and hope. It’s funny how perception has changed.

That once bright and shining light has decayed and lost it’s sheen. It scares me slightly about the current socio-political climate there. I worry about what I will do, or how people will perceive me. I worry about my husband who will be under a lot of pressure from his new position. I worry about my dad who is over 70 and that I may not see him for a long time. But the fact remains that this is going to help me in ways I can’t think of at this point in time. I don’t want to have unreal expectations in this venture. I want to go with humility and an open heart, as well as with more of a ‘yes’ attitude. This is a lesson I need to learn for myself. To say yes more and to experience more out of life. It’s become far too easy for me to say ‘no’ to so much here in Sydney, that perhaps moving far away will mean I will jettison so much of this negativity and fear. I wish I could simply hit a fast-forward button and go forward 6 months into the future, where we will be settled and enjoying life and having fun.

It’s this kind of interference or for a lack of a better term ‘curve ball’ that life actually does throw at you that has surprised me, especially recently. In my mind, I’ve finally come to the decision that this is happening and that I have to do this. I have to leave my comfortable home [that I love!], my fantastic friendship circle that I have built over years, as well as a stable job, and venture into the unknown and unexplored. But I’m also pretty excited by what could be. I think this is what is making me able to be the slightest bit positive about this whole experience, the fact that potentially so much could change in my life, hopefully for the better. Time will tell.

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Australia, Gay, Gayblog, Marriage Equality, Opinion

A Plebiscite Of Hate

This time about a week ago, I sat for an interview on a TV show called The Project, in New Zealand. I was asked out of the blue if I wanted to appear on it to talk about Marriage Equality, or the lack thereof in Australia, and how many of us, for whatever reason, have to fly across the ditch to New Zealand in order to do so.

 

It was one of the most challenging things I think I have ever done. It was a tough day, and a tough week. In one week, I received a visa to go live in the USA, had a funeral and then this. My social network feeds such as Facebook and Twitter were endless posts by friends and acquaintances regarding marriage equality. Each and every voice was pained, emotional, disappointed and bitter, with some angrier than others, yet more were dissenting and apathetic, yet others constructive and collaborative in tone. Day after day more posts, more articles and more dissension filled the space.

 

Suffice to say there was so much in my mind as the hosts [who were so lovely and sweet], asked me question after question.

 

I feel drained. I feel such nervousness and anxiety, which crescendoed last week at the end of the week. I also feel angry, in fact quite so. I cancelled out on my weekly Dungeons and Dragons game which is one of my highlights of my week as quite simply I was exhausted. I feel terrible having had to do this, but I really couldn’t see any other course of action being prudent. I feel like I’m wallowing in my own self pity with all of this, and so much of what has been happening has essentially equated to 1st world problems.

 

Imagine if I was 16 years old, and seeing all these opinions on this issue. Imagine being at your family home, and if like mine, you had parents who were conservative and whose father back then twenty years ago was vaguely homophobic. I was a kid in a household where dad ruled it with an iron fist. People only ever saw the jovial side of living with him, and I recall friends and relatives saying one and all that they wished that they lived in my house. But it wasn’t always so. Thinking back, he was a hard man at times, and his political and social views could be seen as just as problematic and unforgiving.

 

I guess I was always afraid that I was different. Now picture if you or I were this insecure kid today, with all of this arguing to and fro regarding this issue. It would probably drive me into the closet more so. I worry about the psychological impact all of this will have on us, and not just us but those coming to terms with sexuality, or kids of lgbtiq parents.

 

A postal plebiscite. It’s almost too much for me. I feel so plaintive in my emotional state, and I can feel it fast drying out, like a seasonal lake. Having to explain to the lovely hosts of this tv show how enraging it was that we had to go through this really reverberated in me. It feels like society for the most part in this country doesn’t want us to be happy, yet they will gladly take advantage of what our community gives to the greater society.

 

It’s been tough to explain to non-lgbtiq people why I am not on my game for the moment, or why many of us are suffering this malaise. It’s been hard not to snap at people at work. I wish I could explain to some how frustrating and upsetting and demoralising this has all been. I don’t want to play the victim but I really can’t help but feel lost.

 

And, this is exactly what the other side wants from you and I. They want us to be unfocused, sad, upset, confused. They want me and countless others to lose steam, to give up and flounder. They want us to cave in. They want us to fail. They have been given all the cards in this situation, yet in my heart I know they are on the wrong side of history. History is a harsh judge, and I know they will be judged harshly as the side of hatred, the side of backwardness and unyielding refusal for change.

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Australia, Gay, Gayblog, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Being Present.

Being present feels like such a toxic wellness culture buzz phrase, along with the term ‘…journey’ or ‘centre-ing’ ones self.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good self-help book, article or podcast, but yeah sometimes it gets a bit too much even for me.

How do you define ‘being present’? It’s such an abstract and rather esoteric concept. Perhaps it means being mindful of the present and those around you in your current surroundings, as well as maybe not being in your own head too much, and letting your thoughts and internal monologue take over.

This is something that I seem to struggle with far too much. I let myself become overwrought and fatigued with thoughts and emotions and worries in my head which then leads me astray, I lose focus and or I get down and sad, which then is followed by wallowing in my own self pity. I miss out on whats happening around me as it manifests in social anxiety or being in my head too much. As many friends can attest, as it is simply so easy for me to decline going out in favour of staying home. Yet in doing this I stop and halt my growth in life. I need to learn to not let this happen, and I am at least becoming adept at recognising when this does. For example as I type this I am feeling anxiety. Anxiety over an upcoming trip overseas which I feel unprepared for, anxiety over moving overseas in a couple of months and again feeling unprepared, and anxiety at not seeing my parents enough lately, and how soon I may not for long stretches of time. I worry as I don’t know how long my dad will be around. I worry because I think of all the remaining logistics that need to be worked on and resolved before we pack our lives up and move to San Francisco. I worry about not being around my friends and loved ones and in my nice comfortable flat, and I worry and become anxious when thinking upon what I will be doing in San Francisco. In my mind, I have far too many channels of thought going on simultaneously. I think of it like an electronic circuit board, and how pulses of electricity run between all the different components near instantaneously. I have far too much in my mind currently, and it is getting more and more difficult to stem or even just divert some of this thought into positives and calming mantras.

I try to calm myself and negate this buzzing and internal monoluguing through several methods, or strategies and tactics as I like to think of them. As an avid strategy game lover, I tend to think in terms of strategic objectives and manouvres. Working on my mental health and being present is part of this. Some of these strategies including thought modification: the moment I hear that whisper of negativity and anxiety I need to recognize it, and tell it to simmer down and try to change that thought into something positive. Which is easier said than done. I hit the gym regularly, and have been for the last couple of years now, which has been an immense help in calming my nerves and lowering anxiety. I like to say that I go to the gym first and foremost for this reason, and most people don’t seem to believe me which is fine. It’s not all narcissism for me, rather it genuinely helps me become more ‘present’ and ‘centred’. Of course, it’s awesome to see the change in my body as well, and to have others remark. Some people swear by meditation, yet my meditative space is when I exercise and exert myself. As much as I despise the saying ‘My body is a temple’, I can glean the truth and wisdom that this saying imparts. You really have to take care of yourself physically, and the rest will follow. Like building a bridge or house or other structure, the support and foundation needs to be there to build upon. If it is not sturdy and strong, chances are it won’t stand tall and will collapse.

Writing as reflection has also been immensely helpful for me. Look at me now. I write almost daily, and reflect upon my thoughts. This helps me as a process to work through any issues and problems I have. And, in conjunction with it being a great exercise for mental health, I am practicing a craft that I am learning to love and have passion for, and I am [hopefully to you, dear reader], becoming more and more versed and skilled at framing my thoughts and communicating them to you. It really has helped me a lot. I keep coming back to this quite often with my blog, especially posts about my mental health, which are fast becoming the majority. Picking up a little Moleskin A6 journal which you can take about with you in a bag or even pocket if need be and regularly penning any thoughts and/or ideas and vexations can be so incredibly helpful. Sometimes there’s nothing nicer than taking my journal out to a park and sitting in the sun and just writing for even 5 minutes, and letting the sun’s warmth wash over me, and surrounding myself in the smells and sounds. I’ve been journaling for about 7 years now. Pretty much since meeting Adrian. The journals over time have gotten dark, and back to light. It’s almost as though a film transitions from grey monochrome to vivid Technicolor. Don’t worry, I still have my grim and dire days. Yet it’s a great tool and method to get through your bad times. By penning your thoughts, they become real and alive, yet it also as though you’re giving them a finality, as though you’re saying to these negative thoughts. ‘Ok, I’ve created you, put you down in my book, and now it’s time for you to go’. Every day I write I feel a bit better, and a bit more present and aware.

Being present for me equates to being mindful, empathetic and taking full advantage of your life, and not letting it simply run through you. I have to remind myself to let those thoughts out of my head and simply love the day, no matter how mundane it is or how difficult I find it.

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2017, Australia, Gay, Gayblog, Marriage Equality, Opinion, Thoughts, Uncategorized

A long way to go.

Dear Australia,

 

We have a long way to go. A long fucking way. I’m angry as I type this because I, unlike most, have had to go to a foreign country to marry the man who I have had a relationship for almost a decade, despite us having endured as a relationship far longer than the majority of our friends and family.

I’m angry because of the wave of unyielding bickering politicians who are dangerously out of touch with the reality and exigencies of this issue, and of their negating to include the fact that this issue is something that can be resolved so easily and simply, and will bring our country up to speed and standard with much of the developed world.

I’m disappointed that I don’t live in a truly free and egalitarian nation that will allow me to marry the man who I love and have committed to, fought for and treasured these last 8 and a half years. There is something very wrong.

 

I’ve been struggling with my feelings on this issue, as yet again there is more talk of plebiscites, postal votes and parliamentary action. Timing has dictated that my [now] husband, which still sounds strange to me, and I have had to leave to go to New Zealand to get married due to visa issues, with all the new wave of talks and buzzing might equate to marriage equality finally being passed.

 

I feel as though we as Australians have much to learn from our cousins across the Tasman Sea. It is so easy for us to dismiss New Zealand and treat the people as a joke. But the truth is we the joke, and we are lagging behind them. They were so warm and genuine. The looks of surprise when I informed the locals in Auckland that unlike New Zealand, marriage equality wasn’t a thing in Australia crushed my heart and made me feel bitter with grounded up disappointment. Disappointment at my home, my country of birth, my society and community and those who would deny me this which by all rights should be mine to have, just like everyone else in our community. It really is time.

 

We aren’t the cosmopolitan society that we think we are. We aren’t the dynamic, progressive culture that we are known for globally. We present the image [a very WHITE one at that] of a society of modernity yet in truth we are guided by those who would seek to turn the clock back decades. We are led by those whose beliefs have not changed for 50 years; our apparatus of leadership has become stagnant, traditionalist and static, jingoistic, parochial and cabalistic. These are the very people who would have us never change, yet these are the very people profiting off our talents. We seem to have this aura and veneer of sophistication, yet this veneer is thin and it is peeling and it is cracking with every year and every decade and every moment we don’t acknowledge that things are not ok here and restrict true equality.

 

The insidiousness  of this side of us scares me. The lackadaisical and overly relaxed attitudes we have [and by this I include myself] have caused us to fall farther behind, and give permission to those whom are the most strict of traditionalists to dictate our destiny. We are renowned across the world for our generosity of spirit, our arts, our fashion, our produce, our immensely talented and skilled ones of this place, who bring so much to the world. The truth is, this feels all like a sick joke and a bad PR stunt. Or rather, a diabolical one. We have so far to go.

 

We forget, so much of what we see as sophistication and cosmopolitan culture comes from me. It comes from my sisters and brothers of the LGBTIQA community.

 

WE are the ones that have lent ourselves and have created.

 

WE are the ones who experiment and take risks, who put ourselves on the line, WE are the ones who are at the forefront, WE are the ones that thus suffer and get tormented when walking down the street holding hands or wearing attire that isn’t seen as conventional or breaking what is deemed as the status quo re gender and sexuality.

 

Yet those that would dismiss us or abuse us are the ones that will wear the clothes that we design, consume our food or coffee, follow trends that were inexplicably started by someone of LGBTIQA or at least someone involved.

 

WE are the ones that beautify our suburbs only for others to come in and make them staid and urbane.

 

And WE deserve more.

 

I don’t want to be angry and disappointed anymore. I don’t want to hear well-meaning friends or family say it’s just a piece of paper, or that marriage is a failed and heteronormative concept anyways. I haven’t had the luxury of choice in this matter. If I didn’t do this, I would be unable to follow my husband overseas as we are relocating and would have to stay in Australia and let him go.

 

With every news byte of another country legalizing marriage equality my heart sinks as I then see our parochial politicians quagmired in the sensibilities of the middle of the last century respond and go to and fro in what stinks now of desperation. These are the ones who would deny women choice, who would let the indigenous peoples of our country suffer endlessly. These are the ones who would happily close our borders from those who would be looking for a better life and keep us in a time warp forevermore. They realize they are fighting a losing battle and are now simply playing interference and buying time with their perennial calls for a non-binding plebiscite or [incredibly] for a postal joke.

 

But, I know the future will be a better and more accepting time and place than now, and I need to promise myself to be more active, to go to demonstrations and to talk with friends and family about how I feel.

 

We may have a long way to go yet I feel the finishing line is fast approaching, and it is very much worth it.

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2017, Australia, Gay, Gayblog, Life, Opinion, Thoughts

Snap The F*ck Out Of it.

I’ve felt like absolute shit over the last day. Things inevitably tend to fall apart as the unyielding sadness yet again washes over me like a wave. Despite my best efforts at consciously and thoughtfully rallying myself against this tide, I’m swept in among it. Awash in this deluge of melancholia, yet again. And yet again, it wins and takes me away.

I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I was having such a great weekend, and a couple things happened which made me crumple and disassemble into a mess of tears, uncontrollable sobbing and ragged breathing. I’m not really going to divulge on the schematics of what caused me to feel this way, all that you need to know is that my emotions have been running quite high, as well as my anxiety levels and a couple events really helped sparked it off. I really and honestly thought I was far past all of this. As though I had finally reclaimed a part of myself. It seems as though this great sadness can so easily cause my undoing, and that this is something that will quite possibly in my mind always be hanging around for the entirety of my existence.

Sometimes I listen to Ru Paul’s podcast with Michelle Visage, mainly it’s simply those two cackling away in delight [which in truth is really quite fun to listen to], yet at times they delve into more serious and consequential issues such as mental health and well-being. Both characters, like many in the entertainment industry, and therefore by consequence in life, are involved heavily in the idea of self improvement. Michelle Visage is all about therapy and doing whatever is necessary to stay well. Ru has this zen-like affinity with bettering oneself, and is quick to dispense advice on what to read, how to be mindful of yourself and others, or what to do when you get down. Ru talks quite a bit about this concept of the ‘inner saboteur’, which yeah, I still find so horribly cliche and silly, yet there’s a grain of truth to this idea of the inner saboteur. Each of us, and some far more than others, have this ‘inner saboteur’ whose sole objective is to tear us down and crumple. It’s that voice in the mind that says you’re never good enough. Ru’s advice that is imparted is to not let that voice dictate your reality; to not let it take over.

‘I see what you’re doing, and I’m not going to let you do this,’ Ru mentions a number of times across a few of these podcasts. It’s just something recently that has made me pause and reflect.

It’s easier said than done, not letting that little voice inside your head ruin everything. It takes a lot of strength to fight it and cast it aside, and to give it no attention lest that attention feeds it and it becomes engorged on this attention and grows. Recently I find myself able to brace myself against this voice, yet this time I failed. It was just too hard I guess.

I need someone to tell me to snap the fuck out of it, truth be told.

I reached out to Twitter which has helped me quite a bit. Like the gifs I got sent, I need Cher in Moonstruck to slap me and tell me to snap out of it, and that grand doyenne who embodies a larger than life, go-getter personage, Gina Liano of Real Housewives of Melbourne [a show I have ZERO interest in besides the scene I’m about to describe], in her hair and makeup and busty as all hell to scream ‘SNAP THE FUCK OUT OF IT’ to me, over and over again.

I really do have to just snap the fuck out of it.

This needs to be an internal mantra for me. I have so much going for me. I have a lot to be grateful for. I hate typing these words as they seem so so very self involved and arrogant. Saying to yourself to be grateful for what you have feels so bizarre and artificial, yet it seems to be the truth. I really hate the whole burgeoning ‘welness culture’ that has come to the fore in recent times. I worry about the intention of this kind of rhetoric, and whether it is genuine or not. And this is part of the issue. I’m so far gone down the path of self hatred that I can’t see the wood for the trees. I need to not let my own worst enemy, myself, get the better of me. I need to be more aware of this ‘inner saboteur’ [and I still feel ridiculous even typing that phrase], and shut it out when I hear that voice of dark nihilism fill the void.

I also need people around me to tell this to me as well. I need someone to pretty much slap me and be hard on me. Which is what my tweet was great for. Kinda like that character from Bridesmaids played by Melissa Mcarthy. You know the one. She steals all the puppies from the bridal shower and comes over to visit Kristen Wiig’s character, tells her to get over it and pounces on her and starts hitting her and saying ‘this is life you need to fight!’

Annie: I can’t get off the couch, I got fired from my job, I got kicked out of my apartment, I can’t pay any of my bills, my car is a piece of shit, I don’t have any friends. Umm…

Megan: You know what I find interesting about that Annie, it’s interesting to me that you have no friends, you know why that’s interesting? Here’s a friend standing directly in front of you trying to talk to you and you choose to talk about the fact that you don’t have any friends. No, No I don’t think you want any help you just want to have a little pity party. I think Annie wants a little pity party. You’re an asshole Annie, you’re an asshole, I’m life, is life bothering you Annie? I’m life Annie, I’m life Annie, is life bothering you? Fight back for your life. You better learn to fight for your life. I’m life and I’m going to bite you in the ass. It’s not me, I’m your life. I’m trying to get you to fight for your shitty life. And you won’t do it, you just won’t do it. Stop slapping yourself, I’m your life Annie, I’m your shitty life. Smack. Nice hit.”

This one scene in this picture spoke so much to me. Megan’s right. Life can bother us, and bite us in the ass.

Wallowing can only do so much, and it can cause more pain in the long run. We do need to fight for our lives no matter how shitty we see it, otherwise we sit and wallow in a pity party. I need my Melissa Mcarthy character to set me right.

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2017, Australia, Gayblog, Life, Opinion, Thoughts, Uncategorized

3 Things I’m Not Telling Myself Enough

 

Sometimes, you need to keep a mantra that you repeat to yourself in your mind. Something to help catch yourself when you’re not feeling so great. Between a chant and a statement. Something to prop you up on particularly bad days. They say that our thoughts create reality, and if that’s so, it’s easy for me to drift towards negativity and pessimism, which in turn can manifest itself in negative experiences. It’s a concept I’m starting to believe in, the idea that your thoughts create your reality. You really do manifest your existence by your attitude. In saying this, I’m not a fan of the whole claptrap ‘The Secret’ idea, where if you think of money constantly it will come to you. This kind of deluded activity can only inevitably result in further disappointment and loss. As self-helpy as it is, however, trying to think positive thoughts has been something that I have attempted to insinuate in my life. I try to tell myself things that will either calm me down and destress my mind, or give me a boost of confidence.

I keep little notes about my flat in places that I will always see: bathroom mirrors, Fridge doors, next to my desk. I’ll glance at them occasionally. They say things like, ‘I’m willing to change’, or ‘I speak and think positively’. They become familiar maxims that have in turn grafted themselves within the recesses of my mind and the shape of the words become burned into my mind’s eye. As crazy as it sounds, it helps keep me above water and to keep paddling along.

Despite all this, there are always times when I feel defeated, and that crushing sense of anxiety and doom persist. It’s not a great feeling. I can be my own worst enemy at times; it can be so easy to simply crumple into nothingness and become recalcitrant and lazy. I’m learning to be able to detect these moments and to deflect these feelings, and to really work on being aware of my moods, as well as external influences.

So what are 3 things I’m not telling myself enough?

It’s never too late, and you’re never too old

 

Being 33, I sometimes feel that I have squandered so much of my time and life. I feel as though I have wasted years of my life, and I really don’t have much to show for it. I spent my 20’s being lazy and indolent, and now I sense that I am paying for it. My workplace is full of young, 20-something go-getter types who exude youthfulness, vibrancy and a sense of excitement at life that is so far removed from my existence. I always wished to be this kind of person in life. The energy level is always high and everyone’s personality cheerful and bright. I look at myself and consider myself over the hill occasionally. I think at times that I have wasted the greatest gift that could be given to anyone, being life.

…However. As I get older, I begin to find myself meeting and interacting with people of similar age or older than myself; many of whom have changed careers, transformed their lives, and have found prosperity and success not in their 20’s but later on. It’s such a gratifying and inspiring thing to behold; to be in contact with people who have done so amazingly well for themselves, and it goes to show that it is not a prerequisite to be a precocious 20-something in order to be successful. This has in turn made me rethink that no, life isn’t over once you hit 30: in fact, I feel it’s just really getting started. I know how cliché that sounds, and that it’s *such a 30-something thing to say. But I need to tell myself more that it really is never too late, and that no, I’m never too old for anything at all. For heck’s sake I’ve just successfully mastered the art of skateboarding [grazes and scratches on my limbs not withstanding] at 33. There really is something liberating to knowing this, yet it is something that I really do need to tell myself more and more.

 

Be kind to yourself

I know that I am far to hard on myself I tend to self analyze and self criticize far too often, and far too harshly at that. I don’t know how people could not be hard on themselves. It seems innate with me. Maybe it’s a result of parenting, and a strict Catholic education. This harshness and strictness results in me easily and without any restraint belittling myself in my mind. I can spiral out of control with the thought process of ‘I’m not good enough‘, ‘I’m not worth it‘ and so on. It’s really become something that has been almost second nature, this trashing of myself. Because that’s what it really is. I’m figuratively trashing my whole existence. Like a snake eating its own tail. It may feel good for a short while, it might fill you up as there’s something intoxicating about talking yourself down, ripping your own self to shreds, yet it won’t in the long run keep you full. I guess it’s been liberating, being cruel to yourself, as it becomes a tool and justification to simply just ‘giving up’, and not working at the issue of being kind to myself.

I don’t know if this is something that you yourself, dearest reader, has ever possibly experienced. Maybe this sentiment is foreign to you. I don’t know if you’ve spent the nights unable to sleep because you’re filled with regrets about choices made or not made in life, or that you can’t help but feel inadequate, too fat, too short, too ugly. Or that during the preceding day, you think you’re an idiot for saying this, or doing that. I don’t know if because of these ugly and maligned self-harming thoughts it’s resulted and manifested itself in physical form, or mental illness in yourself. It really is like a drug, talking shit about yourself. It’s easy to do, and not so easy to stop. It can manifest itself in so many ways outwardly as well. Mannerisms, general outlook. Personality and humour. Even posture.

I’m learning to be kinder to myself, and to give myself some slack in life. I give myself time to do what I want, and what makes me happy. I’m also learning that it’s not a great idea to dwell on thoughts far too much, or to compare myself endlessly to people that I will never be, for whatever reason. I still trip up like many of us do, and have my bad days, yet this is something that I am aware of.

 

I must create.

 

As the two points above are preoccupied with the mind’s well-being in a nurturing,  self-healing and self-aware respect, this point is something that I need drummed into my mind like rote, endlessly.

I  must create.

The need and desire to make something, anything at all, to produce and be prolific with what I come up with is a definitely tangible feeling within me. Like a tendril of smoke that is somehow able to pull at my psyche, willing and urging me to continue on. An invisible string pulled by some great puppeteer in the sky looking down on me.

I always feel the sensation and need to create. Whether it be a simple line in a journal, or taking a photo, or writing a blog post, there’s this fantastic sense of accomplishment as well as release upon the completion of something that I have worked on. I don’t know what will come any of it, if anything at all. I’m not too sure I care. If I don’t do any of this regularly my mood declines sharply. Creating something has become a bulwark of life, colour and imagination against the demonstrably drab reality of work life. Don’t get me wrong, I really like my job as well as my colleagues. Yet at its core, it is a very physical, task-based job that does not give itself over to creativity or imagination. Which again is fine, as this is what I wanted in a work place. But there is really something to be said of having a side project of my own apart from day-to-day life, something which I feel I can get so much out of by putting so much in. I must create because I must put back out in the world, and not just consume. I must create because I feel this inherent need to, it is very much a part of me.

So, these are the 3 things I need to tell myself more of everyday. I don’t know how successful I am at telling myself these 3 things, yet the good news is that I’m aware.

 

What would your 3 things be?

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2017

Family

I can’t actually remember the last time my immediate family were together, it’s been that long. My parents divorced in 2003, which is now a decade and a half ago, if you can believe that. It feels like forever ago as well, the fateful days when I was in my early twenties, living without a care on my own, working weekends at my uncle’s restaurant and studying at uni during the week feeling far removed from life presently. I feel as though I didn’t spend my days well back then, and now I’m frantically back pedalling for lost time.

So, it’s been a very long time since my immediate family were even in the same 3 kilometer radius, let alone together in the same room. I think, if memory serves, it was in 2009.

A sole 3 weeks after Adrian and I started dating.

One night, after what could only have been described as a romance-filled, sweet evening of walking around the city to see the Vivid festival [the first one held mind you, which was much more of a simple, art-student affair than the multi-million dollar event it is these days]; we came back home and were accosted by someone who followed us from the train station on the street where I was living at the time at my dad’s place.

Long story short, I ended up in Concord Hospital in quite possibly the most acute pain I have ever felt right up to this day. My jaw was smashed. I had black eyes which meant I wasn’t able to see very well. Blood was gushing out of my face, and the only way to stop it was clamping my broken jaw down on to gauze in an attempt to stem the flow.

I still remember clearly the sensation of my teeth not being in a neat row. I could move my broken jaw like tectonic plates. The sensation of this is something that still makes me recoil slightly. They rubbed up and down each other. One side was much higher than the other, as I probed it with my blood-sodden tongue. It was a clean break right through my jaw bone. Still to this day the left-hand side of my jaw doesn’t clamp together quite as uniformly as they once did, and I will permanently have a strange tingling sensation on the left side of my lips and lower left hand side of my face. Especially in the morning when I wake up, for some reason.

It’s funny how quickly, simply and with even some degree of finesse and elegance one’s life can change in such complete finality. I was bisected. The night before this incident was one of the most enjoyable and love-filled I had experienced yet. The remainder of the night was crushing, traumatic and filled with an absolution of dolorous pain and disbelief. Similarly, I feel as though my life has been bisected into -pre and -post periods. The post me became a much more wary, distrusting and introverted character than its ‘-pre’ forerunner.

This is the rather dour context that would have been the last time my immediate family and I were together, in a cold and austere patient ward in a run-down ramshackle hospital. It took me being assaulted and being hospitalized for a week for my parents to be even in the same room together, even if only for a brief period of time, namely, under an hour.

The mood was stark, uncomfortable and bare. Like the hospital room, the general tone was devoid of anything warm or decorative. There was a lack of love or closeness or any affection at all. Tension pervaded the very air.

Very little was spoken about, and what conversation or even communication was minimal, necessary and bizarrely efficient. My parents had no volition to be there at all. I was the only reason they were persevering with this experience.  Since this uncomfortable and necessary collaboration, I think my parents have only had minimal contact when absolutely necessary, and even then it seems brief and only to the point.

Family for me then has become a concept of receding and vestigial importance. A wave rolling back out into the ocean after crashing on to the shore. At least with regards to blood ties. I feel as though my friends are now more familial and close to my soul than my own family. They know me well. This hurts me to say, but I don’t think I trust my parents or would be able to count on them if things went awry. And this is ok. I’ve become a fiercely independent creature, something which was first seeded and incubated that day when I was 20, and told my parents I was moving out, with literally just my mattress clenched in my arm.

Definitions of family and familial love differ for everyone, I’m extremely lucky to have had a family at all, not to mention a roof over my head. Yet there was a definite strain in my family since I was a youngster. A sense that all was not right, and that an invisible expiry date was stamped on us. Which turned out to be true.

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