January I ate pills for breakfast. I cried, lots. It was time for growth; seedlings, fungi, friendships and feelings. My diary entries read ‘everything is different now, yet nothing has changed. I am vacant, lacking companionship, music and purpose.’
The sun was high. My head was working overtime collaborating; case workers, strategies, planning plans, people, events, resistance.
I was a storm of static consumed with the notion of being busy and generality of vague existence. One foot in front of the other, no questions, stumble through the days and search out the positive moments to bait me into continuing the next day.
February was hazy. I wrote consistently about factual happenings without emotional context. I lost addresses, managed some contract work, slept more and more. Discussed intimacies and toxicity at a distance. Wrote more. Read more. Drank more.
There were memorable times: attending the BANKSY exhibit and Festival of the Photocopier, making new connections, art and zines.
Despite moments of creativity and bursts of energy I grew tiresome of my apathetic existence. ‘I am fed up.’
March was rid with illness, not all my own. I was not well. I dissociated. Therapy. Medication. I fought back. I persisted. I released ‘sticks and stones’. Poetic.
We traveled as a family, interstate, to Tasmania; mainly for Zines. We explored the gardens, national parks, iconic market and took a lesson in backpacking with children (not ideal) and a historical exploration of our first convict settlement. We ate many apples and ghost stories.
April brought a milestone; a decade old son. He celebrated with family and friends at home, opting for donations to Australian Bat Foundation in lieu of gifts.
I tried sobriety, I lasted 8 days. Then I made up with caffeine and alcohol. I remained off prescription meds.
A young stray cat made our flock of chickens their own; sleeping and eating with them out of the compost. We trained it to eat separately, fed it kipper fillets and sardines to try fatten it up, it moved on after 3 weeks of regular meals and affection. I worked out that people, like animals, do that some times.
I felt like a common denominator in the presence of unrest.
May is when I stopped writing in my journal altogether. It was a gradual decline in shared feeling and notes for memories sake since around Feb to be honest, but it still felt abrupt. It was difficult to process my emotions this month. Shortly after one of my oldest friends bid me a heartbreaking adieu, an iconic childhood landmark of mine was demolished.
I adopted four chicks from a hatching program; Pepper, Ginger, Oester and Tonks. Our kids came with us to Canberra for a writers festival (and the dinosaur museum) and at home they helped clean up our neighborhood after a confronting viewing of ‘War on Waste’ and made some changes concerning our consumption at home as a result.
I stopped writing. I stopped.
June we withdrew our children from the local school and register for home learning. Judgment ensured. I was indifferent about this. This is when we made a considerable effort to rebuild our relationships as a family.
We planned for more opportunities to regroup and be together while well enough to do so, sharing time together is our new primary focus, and I committed to compromise wherever possible to allow for this to work.
In time I began invested more time pursuing interests of my own; foraging, researching medicinal properties of local flora and fungi. Cure?
July My fortnightly escapes with a beautiful friend to life drawing nights rekindled a desire to use my hands. This was the best unprecedented positive change to happen to me this year, I am so grateful to have reconnected my hands with my heart. Now I’m just waiting for my head to catch up.
We buried our youngest sons favourite hen. Our talented friend coloured our eldest sons hair blue, and mine pink. Ill health circles like a starved wolf.
August we made a decision to take our kids with us to Brisbane for ZICS. The zine and indie comic community in Qld is second to none. When faced with unanticipated stress they were there to support us, like a family would.
This was one of the roughest, health-hellish months. I was a train wreck. I would not have survived if it wasn’t for my friends this month. I am thankful for the people courageous enough to be in our lives.
September saw us draw down against our mortgage to pay for my dental work I had been putting off for 7 years. So inconvenient. Everything catches up with you in the end.
We caught the end of the skiing season, the final snow was our boys first! My knee didn’t hold up so I was on foot, not slope, but this was another first for us, and we were together, so it must be remembered.
I was involved in a car collision that went on far too long with the insurance company.
My dear friend embarked on a chakra meditation course with me, we both needed ‘something’ this time for ourselves was a gift as much as the practice was.
We killed two roosters. One of the most difficult things I have ever had to do in my life.
I fell hard. I fell out with you; my adolescent touchstone whom saw me through bouts of trauma, discovery, hope, pain and growth – I am not that to you, which I foolishly assumed, but less than a footnote. No longer a face wearing, pulsating, alive-thing under my skin; you are but a stepping stone as so many others before you became over time. I never thought I’d add you to that list.
October I took a short trip to Tasmania with my Mum. A belated birthday gift, we had meant to escape together for a while and spend some time being responsible for no one but ourselves – it was the closest thing to freedom I had tasted in years. The hike to wineglass bay reminded me that ‘I can’ and I will.
As a family we built bush cubbies and carved our first pumpkins. With friends I attended a herbal hydrosol course, went on many bush walks, took flora samples and made sketches of my discoveries. My iris’s bloomed. My passion for weeds foraging grew. My family disliked the green juice and drank it reluctantly. I stand by this practice.
We said goodbye to the boat works; walked through the skeletons and memories of a family institution before it was sold off. Youngest scored his first strike in league bowling. I had more dental issues that were more painful than costly.
November was better than anticipated. For a birthday month it delivered poached eggs in bed cooked by master 10yr old chef, attended gigs with my husband (TUMBLEWEED) I spent time with friends over coffees and cocktails.
Our youngest rode his first horse at Emu Plains market. Australia finally legalised same sex marriage. Our eldest pierced their ears. We were forced to surrender final rooster to the animal shelter after neighbor contacted council. I had to admit to our GP that I had not been taking my medication for a few months now, and despite my best efforts at a holistic based solution, I had accepted that I was unable to remain balanced off them.
December my phone died. As badly timed this seemed it was a godsend as : no pocket distractions from getting things done = feeling more accomplished and better mood in general. Our family collected their stored items from our home giving us a sense of room-to-move and rearrange our space. Our bathroom renovation came to a halt. We escaped to Tanglewood at Mira Mira with good intentions to shed the year that 2017 was and begin 2018 in a tranquil setting, just the four of us.
It’s now 2018. So far this year I have battled with the same themes of concern that have cycled and tormented me successfully over the past four years, and not much good has come of it. I need to change. I can’t continue like this.
I am finding filling up journal pages in lieu of social media updates is much better practice for those who want to stay in contact with people. I have made foolish choices. I have misused this platform to my detriment. I have deleted my social media pages in hopes of eliminating distraction and further self destructive oversharing and unnecessary over-complicating of relationships, while some still remain.
Reality is ugly. I’ve had a diluted dose and had to step back and reassess everything.
There’s no time like the present.