Holding on holds you back.

For as long as I can recall I have hung onto the past like it was the compass I required; but no future can be paved forward if I continue to focus on what is behind me.

Forming new habits can be difficult. I slip back into my obsessive thoughts regularly, especially in my sleep. I relive ideas and situations from my timeline as though there are openings for change, simultaneously mourning people that are still walking this earth but are no longer a part of my story.

I am very much living each, my past and present, as though my actions, both past and present, are fluid. I feel this constant need to source opportunities to be better, to be whole. If I can navigate my desire toward looking forward, accepting the past as past, unable to be altered, fixed, to be left alone – I can be free to start again.

Now, how do I do that?

In summary. 2017.

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.

Monday cartoons and reflection.

Watching cartoons with our dudes on our lazy mornings (like today) is one of my favourite things to do!

It reminds me of how my siblings and I would anticipate Weekends as children when there were music videos and cartoons on 2 watchable channels (pre-digital and pay tv, do you remember struggling with good television reception?!) that ran from super early until lunch time. It was our indulgent lazy weekend ritual that we tetris‘d alongside competitive sport as we grew older and one we still retain, to a point, now as adults. For me this includes cuddles on the couch with my kids, which makes it all the more awesome!

Today we’re watching Wakfu. At first glance I thought it might have been a ThunderCats junior/reboot, as there’s an eye in the sword that the key character wields, but it’s not.

There are environmental issues and friendship crisis abundant in this fast-paced team-based fighting-the-bad-guys (words like ‘nice’ dropped in dialogue, kinda cute to here gentle language for a change) kinda plot. The characters are feline-woodland-nymph-human in appearance and the scenery is round, warm,mystical and earthy; it’s just beautiful to look at, don’t you agree?

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Turns out the television series is based on a video game, which was later developed for TV with funds raised in a kickstarter campaign, that went on to being picked up by Netflix, which is where we found it.

I love that we are stumbling across more independently created and crowd funded projects everywhere from on mainstream media platforms to shelves in stores – accessibility to these end products is so important! This is exciting for me, not just as an indie creative, but as a consumer, that there are more options being readily made for good quality ideas to be developed, with the support of the wider community, into beautiful things we can all share and enjoy…

I could start off on another tangent.. but we’ve got cartoons to watch.

x

 

This has to stop.

Stop. Graciously and effortlessly deflect the passive aggressive comments. Smile and move on. This is what I have been attempting to do lately, it seems impossible.

Certain people you’ll find an instant rapport with; instinctively drawing you inward wanting to share yourselves with the other in a harmonious, reciprocal wave of recognition. “I see you.”

Others will have you wanting to maul them – to draw their negative nature bare in disfigurement so that others may see as clearly how uncomfortable they make you feel.

For as long as I can remember I have struggled disguising my repulsion toward the latter. I wear my heart on my sleeve, my thoughts on my brow – my body language speaks volumes and I’m not shy about voicing an opinion either.

Unsurprisingly this often leads to conflict and arguments between myself and my friends and family. When I first meet an insincere or false person, warning signals immediately start firing off in my brain. When I express concern or question why this person has been brought into our lives I am considered judgmental, critical, blunt, honest and cruel.

I have heard people say they don’t trust anyone their dog doesn’t like, or that their kids don’t take to – why then not trust me? Granted my instincts have been wrong before. I have, too often, regarded a person higher than I perhaps should have. I have been burnt and schooled by misleading people more times than I care to admit -but surely dogs and toddlers have off days too?

If you read self help articles on how to ignore the behavior dealt by or better cope with your response to unavoidable interactions with toxic people, it might suggest that the qualities of the person you find most upsetting are so confronting because they reflect attitudes or qualities that you share, suggesting that you and this person are more similar in nature than you are different.

Fuck that noise!

No way am I even slightly interested in considering this as a viable point of explanation – for if it is true – my authentic self is directly conflicting with my internal moral compass and I should not be able to exist in a torture chamber of flesh like this for 3 decades or so.. seriously, it should be, for all logical reasoning an impossible thing.

No. It cannot be true. I refuse it.

This has to stop.

Are they really that bad? I mean, does it matter, regardless? Will their words or actions directly contribute to my choices and way I continue with my life? Do they deserve to be held with such high regard that their interactions are permitted to penetrate my otherwise thick skin and hurt me? Why do they hold such power over me?

I have to stop allowing other people and their negative output effect me, move me and control my emotions as much as they do, suffocating and restricting my ability to behave and act naturally in the most basic of social situations. I no longer want to anticipate missing out on spending my days as an inquisitive individual just because I focus on the way another persons presence makes me feel, distracting me until I loose perspective of all importance.

It’s so difficult to avoid when I instinctively go into a defensive mode around these people.. I need to work harder at it. I have had enough. It has to stop.

I need to seek out those who see me. Invest time and input toward relationships with those who value and respect me and my ideas and are open to sharing theirs with me. Determine ways to be cautiously aware of those who I find triggering and keep a safe distance wherever possible and a calm and disconnected whenever it’s unavoidable, while remaining open to those who earn the titles of ‘friends’and ‘family’ and see me. They’re my people.

Seek love over hate. Strive to block the incessant need to respond with aggression and choose to deflect with purpose, self awareness and dignity. Shift the focus of energy put into defending myself from negative people into loving those who deserve my affection. Shift my perspective toward positivity and concern myself with nothing other than happiness.

I’m not sure how exactly how I’m supposed to achieve such pivotal reprogramming of myself.. but recognition and confrontation is a step toward resolution of any dilemma.

I hope.. because this has to stop.

M is for

Mum. Mindful. Motive. Modest. March.

I haven’t been a very attentive mother these past few months. Working full time leaves for little down time with my kids between the morning/evening drills of trying to remain atop of those necessary cog like actions that trick us into believing we’re being good parents.

They don’t care for for frivolous H words like homework and hygiene. They want their Mum: Here, Home, Huggles.

Instead I hear myself raise my voice in desperation to make us fit into these new restraints we’re going to have to deal with until ..

the unforeseeable future.

 

Neither here, nor any, damn, where.

It is February. Already.

For me, 2016 will undoubtedly be marked in my memory as a year that began with big changes, infamy, loss and inexplicable circumstances. How it will wind up? I don’t even want to theorize at this point. What I will say is that I am ready for a positive turn around and I will not sit around waiting for this whirl wind to resolve itself, transform into a neatly packaged how-to instruction manual and coincidentally land in my lap – I’m taking charge of my life, one step at a time.

Done am I with the days of simply putting up with what’s dealt to me. I fold.

Done am I with being concerned about what others determine my worth to be, I am not theirs to control; Never was, never will be.

Most importantly – I am done with having uncontrollable circumstances dictate the way I live. Am I adaptable? Hell yes. I can work my way through anything – my simple existence is proof to that fact.

I have fought my way to where I am on all levels. I am stronger for accepting responsibility for my actions that lead me here. I no longer co-exist in a world of order, I eagerly trip through the mess I create along the way; This is how I am meant to live.

From a fading distant somewhere I never wanted to be to the middle of fuck-knows-where I’m headed, but I am going – I am ready. I am done with this plateau of life, I’m sliding down the cliff face on my arse then heading straight for the damn summit.

2016, your early attempts to derail me were impressive, devastating, emotional blows – but truth is: I’ve dealt with worse. There may be terrible challenges ahead but regardless, I’m here, and I’ve got stuff I want to do.

Passive/Present

“..away from the sunset and the lands they knew”

A little distance from my regular existence allows for a clearer perspective.

Too often I feel as though life is happening to me when I’d much rather be mapping out my own story. I pause to reflect my actions and views so rarely these days.. I am ashamed to admit I have found that I barely know myself at all anymore.

Fortunately, I still experience odd moments of clarity that roughly rip my personal views from the un-naturally anticipated, casually accepted version of who I play-as on a regular basis (like a worn out monotonous tragic comedy that’s played repetitively on daytime tv) to a more honest reality where I’m faced with an unavoidable reflection ..first thing in the morning, with unforgiving natural light..

I just finished reading The Sleeper and the Spindle. I wasn’t expecting such a gentle shake up; I expected a well written, familiar re-telling beautifully illustrated to curl up with before sleep, not a cleverly disguised reality check.

This beautifully bound unexpected trigger has brought upon one of my most frequent reoccurring epiphanies – a reminder, about choice.

 I have a weighted conscious as I type this now knowing that I will soon choose to go to sleep, by which refusing to address the subject matter I am personally, silently struggling with right now at this moment makes me feel cowardly.

My excuses:

I am genuinely exhausted.

I will try again tomorrow.

 I want to believe that every time I attempt to make a clear decision and discuss my feelings openly that I am a step closer to being brave enough to finally speak up. I want to believe my willingness to continue to question the way I spend my days is leading me toward making (albeit, better) some seriously confronting, emotionally difficult, possibly life changing choices.

Unmasking unmovable truths to oneself is no less daunting than anticipating a life laden with regret, however I would rather be an active participant in the short lifetime I have been granted then conform dismissively toward other peoples expectations of who I am meant to be.

Tomorrow.

I will try again tomorrow.

The show.

Humans falsely parade themselves publicly. Self-promotion is the modern vanity-glass that comes with an extendable arm and limitless filters. We feed this value of captured life, we don’t celebrate actual, you know, living.

I present myself as one thing, one aspect of me. Versions of myself aid my survival. Living is survival. I have survived by disguising the very core of my truest identity for fear of ridicule when I should stand my ground and, in a genuinely unbiased tone, proclaim: “This is who I am”

No post scripture.

I’ve sat down to write this blog after the longest fear fueled hiatus. I’ve tormented myself stupidly considering ‘why share myself in a publicly accessible space?’ as though my blog posts would be read at all – how presumptuous!

Truthfully? I am tired of feeling like I should filter myself, at all. It’s exhausting. I do it at work, in public, at home.. but, the cracks are beginning to show. I can’t keep it going. I don’t want to.

So, here I am. This is me, all versions. Picking up the pieces after an explosive attempt at a family breakfast. When better to write than when I feel most vulnerable?

I just kicked a piece of toast across the kitchen floor before walking out of my house, on my husband and 2 sons. I sat on the porch in a rage of tension created by no one other than myself. It lasted until I smelt coffee. My sons forgave me. I yelled at my husband when he approached me affectionately. I don’t want to be comforted when I feel like this. Unappreciated. Oppressed. Trapped.

Side note: it’s Saturday.

We are all together.

We are safe.

What more could I hope for?

Time. Space. To be left alone to be held accountable for nothing and to no one.

I wish for this, most days.

Does this sound like a perfect parent? A doting wife? An affectionate caregiver? An upstanding example of a responsible role-model? No. Of course not, I am none of those things. Being referred to like this doesn’t make it true.

You know the difference, right? Your actions in areas like this will only ever be known by those who experience it first hand. They will remember you, entirely. This domestic role, as part of this team, this family. They see everything, feel it, live it with you – not the onlookers, those who label and parade about with a dish of sugar coated boiled compliments trying to up-sell the distorted reality you allow them to observe..

Be the best you can be for yourself. If you care about those closest to you, do it for them too if you’d like, but do it for yourself.

Not for the sake of content in that biographical novel that no one will ever write about you. Not for the face value of the countess digital photo albums that you no longer own the rights to. Not for the crowds of faceless unknowns or status or acknowledgement of any kind – do it for yourself.

Most importantly, be honest with yourself. About everything. About who you are, what you value and enjoy and above all else – make it your duty to fill your living hours pleasing yourself in any way you can.

I am unhappy. I have been unhappy for a long time. I hid it whenever I could. I hide whenever I can. Why? That is the loaded question that stems from a young persons self doubt and years of habit forming, growth stunting exposure to the wider population. It echos internally whenever I receive a compliment from my peers, it grows louder whenever I receive criticism from an elderly neighbour and laughs whenever I am proven incorrect by my children; a permanent reflection of my worst insecurities.

I am entitled to feel unhappy. I don’t need a reasonable cause for justification. Moods shift like the wind, we don’t stop to argue why it does, we keep walking. I’ll walk on.

I have good days, and I plan to have many more.

I hope that by allowing myself the self-permission to express myself uncensored entirely I can now move forward with far less guessing and fumbling. I plan for more successful, productive days being me.

Me, me, me. I know. Self involved much? You betcha I am. Aren’t you? I think we all are, or at least I think we should be to some extent. Do you know who you are? Fundamentally? Without your social media profiles, labeled hyphenates and physical possessions?

I felt like I needed to extend my entire self to all platforms of living in order to write again. I want to believe this can be the beginning of a more relaxed approach to surviving the next chapter/s in my adventures.

I know who I am and I’ve just let her out of her cage.

On with the show.

Anew.

I want to write how I intended to when I began writing and self publishing back in 2010.

I want to write with deliberate purpose and have the courage to edit my own words constructively without being hideously critical of myself.

I want to write more music, record and perform with my bands confidently.

I want to collaborate more, allow others to join me in creative processes.

I want to take life slowly, without resentment or anguish or panic.

I want more quality family time, just us.

I want 2015 to be exceptionally better to me and those I cherish, as 2014 was beyond awful to us all.

I want to approach life positively, and enjoy it.

So I will.