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Six Months (or Dear Diary)

“I can see a kite from my apartment window. It is stuck in a tree, twisted and trapped in claw-like branches. It hangs in plain sight. Reachable. Accessible. Alone. Once brilliant and bright it laps in the wind, tattered and forgotten, the cruel price of freedom.”  – Me

I have never kept a diary but for some reason in 2012 I thought that I should. A single outpouring at the end of every month. It only lasted for six.

     I am pretty glad April 2012 is gone. My mum was in hospital again with another cancer scare which was horrible and makes my heart jump in a painful way every time I think about it. I got really sick again so I couldn’t visit her, which had me crying in between waves of stabbing nausea. I was confined to the couch on a diet of apple juice, water and dry biscuits for nearly three weeks. Nothing cheered me up. Thankfully mum has now gotten the all clear. Other low points include- hubs almost cutting his finger off, my dog being sick, not having any of my writing picked up and a major leak in our apartment through one of the light fixtures and subsequent half removal of the bathroom ceiling (that is still yet to be repaired). Highlights- my mum getting the all clear, Easter, time with my family and friends, my brother by another mother getting his citizenship and my dog cheering me up by being cute (i.e. all the times he wasn’t vomiting on the bed or rug). Sighing a bit but also cherishing the good stuff.

     May 2012 was a bit hectic and filled with birthdays (hello cake, goodbye money). Our nephew turned three. I am trying to get used to having kids around but it’s weird. I don’t hate kids. I’m just not used to interacting with them and pretending to care about the Wiggles. We celebrated Mother’s Day and my mum’s birthday. My brah by another ma had his birthday. So much wrapping paper… I was still feeling pretty unwell earlier in the month and had three major assignments due. I managed to get them finished but it took a lot out of me.

     It was Eurovision, which I love and have been watching religiously for years. Sweden won! Actually I preferred Denmark’s entry but that’s just between you and me. There was a Super Moon. We drove out to Coogee and watched it rise over the ocean. All the leaves withered and fell off the trees. They skimmed around my ankles as I took our dog for walks. We ate and drank too much as usual. I started a couple of art projects including some of the paintings to take my mind off gruesome reality such as money and real estate. I don’t have any art training so they are okay I guess. I had a horrible art teacher at school who was inexplicably unsupportive so even though I really liked painting I quit in Year 10 because I thought everything I created was rubbish. It was only later at uni, when I needed extra credit and did art theory at summer school, that I had a brilliant art teacher who taught me that individual expression is never crap. That’s why you should always try to believe in yourself, most other people aren’t going to bother. This is something I need to remind myself of constantly.

     June 2012 was filled with bad weather, board games, movies and music. I became a Godmother for the first time to my new baby nephew. It was strange to be in the Catholic church. The vows felt false. It’s just not possible for me to believe in the words the priest said. I will love my little nephew and guide him towards being a good person as best I can but those are the only promises I can truly make.

     I started a photography course at ACP which has been pretty great, and I have learnt a lot (like how to adjust my aperture and turn down my flash- geez). I’m now officially set on manual and hope to produce some worthwhile pictures soon. I still feel like a dummy most of the time but I like the weight of the camera in my hands as I try to capture, something. I have been feeling very disappointed in myself the last few months for losing sight of what it is I originally set out to achieve nearly two years ago. I guess it has taken me being punched in the face repeatedly by life and suffering at the hands of my own muddled/ irrational decision making to realign my chakras and begin to focus on what is truly important to me. Writing. Hubs bought me an iPad a few months back to create my ‘masterpiece’ and it is finally out of its packaging, apps are downloaded and so far I am midway through two screenplays, one novelette and an article. I’m beginning to feel alive again- more like myself than ever and am slowly getting my confidence back. I have to thank the unending support of my family. I finally feel like I am taking full, uninterrupted breaths. Well sort of. I of course have a cold at the moment.

     July 2012. So guess what? In July I was sick. Again. I’m a delicate fucking petal. Three weeks of the flu is not fun but it was actually a bit of a catalyst because it completely took me out of the game. The only things I wanted to do was watch movies and sleep but the only other things I was happy doing was taking photos and writing. So I’m back on the path of writing (or rather back on track?) and I have finally put together a photography portfolio at cargo collective called, What the Wolf Saw. I discovered that I really like taking portraits but mainly my photography is a creative outlet. We watched The Dark Knight Rises. I don’t think we have ever been more excited about a film premiere. It also lead to me finally renting Bronson (heellooo, Tom Hardy). I like Christopher Nolan films but Nicolas Winding Refn remains one of my favourite directors. I love the dark little places his movies creep around in your mind. It was hubs birthday. As a surprise I took him on the hottest day in Winter to go iceskating at Bondi Beach. We gave up though as skating through an ankle deep puddle wasn’t great. We had tonnes of fun anyway- including the obligatory trip to Kingpin bowling, laughs with friends and lots of beer. That’s it. 

     August 2012. Waiting, waiting. Standstill. Stagnant. Red light. Stop sign. Hoping. Failing. Anticipating. Hoping. Waiting. Hold my hand, deuce. Cliff edge. Crumbling. Withdrawn. Framed. Image cracking. Hands shaking. Hold my hand. Deuce? I’m waiting. Standstill. Crushed. Waiting.

     September 2012. Last year I was depressed. Like, enrolled in Grad school depressed… This month I became a design school dropout, a decision I am surprisingly comfortable with. After all sometimes you have to fall on your ass to be able to look up at the sky. Hopefully I will be moving on to bigger and better things in the next few months. In the meantime I’m reading this and preparing a submission to this.

     October 2012. Things were okay and then came the slap. Cancer, rejection and a funeral. Both my brothers and my parents disappeared overseas. Temporarily of course. Crying to myself. Saying nothing, feeling everything. Fought constantly with my husband. We held each other up but as usual I am the bridge even though I’m smaller. I built myself up that way.

     Seventeen straight rejections of my writing and I just can’t stand it. How do people go on like this? I have lost all motivation, momentum, desire. The only time I laugh is in between sips of wine. Halloween came and there were some smiles though they were mostly painted on. That’s it. More than enough now.

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Spiral

     I wake up and my mouth is dry. My pillow cradles my heavy head and I can smell that my hair is dirty. Like, really dirty. I try to sink deeper into the little body groove in my mattress. I can’t squeeze my body down any further and my throat starts really killing me. Somehow I lift my blanket and dislodge myself from my quicksand bed. I stumble into the bathroom in the pajamas I wore yesterday and the previous three days before that. My throat feels like it’s on fire. I drink two glasses of water and it tastes so rusty I can barely swallow it.

     Somebody calls my phone and I answer it, ignoring the face on the screen. I can hear noises but I don’t know who it is because they sound like they are in a bubble and I feel like I’m in a bubble. I stare out to the trees beyond my window and as they sway in the wind I sway too. My vision blurs and a spiraling begins in my head. It starts like a pinprick in the middle of my brain and like a black hole grows larger sucking everything in. My knees buckle a little so I open my eyes again.

     There is a bird on a branch staring at me and I want it to go away. Then I remember I’m on the phone and the words sound like chirping and for a moment I think the bird is talking to me. There is a long silence and I realise I have been nodding in reply to the sounds I refuse to comprehend. I don’t really feel like talking anyway so I hang up and when it immediately rings again I turn my phone off.

     Back in the bathroom I mechanically brush my teeth wondering what the point is since I’m not going to smile today anyway. Not today or any other day for that matter. I collapse in a sullen heap and sit cross-legged on the cold bathroom tiles, an indignant protest to no one. My ass goes numb and I just start to enjoy the painful pins and needles in my feet and legs when someone taps lightly on the bathroom door. I hear my Dad’s voice say my name a few times before telling me I have 20 minutes. I don’t respond or even look at the door and when I know he is gone I drag myself over to the toilet and throw up.

     Rinsing out my mouth at the sink I catch my reflection. I barely even recognize myself. The dark bags, pale lips and hollow eyes all belong to a stranger. I’m a mess and I shouldn’t look like a mess. Not today. I quickly shower. I even wash my hair. I blow it dry very carefully. It takes me ages to do my makeup because I want it to be perfect but its not and I almost cry but then my mascara would run so I break my eye pencil in half instead.

     I stand in front of my closet for a long time. Door wide open I contemplate crawling inside but I know there is no Narnia in there or anywhere. Nothing in my wardrobe looks like it belongs to me and I wonder how someone else’s clothes got in there. I choose the darkest pieces of material I can find. My skirt feels strange and too short and it clings to me like a foreign object. In the mirror I look small and faded like a shadow. I can’t focus my eyes on my face.

     I hear my Dad’s footsteps coming up the stairs and he knocks on my door. I open my mouth but it is full of cobwebs and dead moths. He is standing in the doorway angry because I’m taking too long. Finding my voice I scream at him because I can’t find my hair clips. He screams back at me then immediately apologises with tears in his eyes. I apologise too and silently wish that Mum was still here but she isn’t and that is just tough shit. My Dad leaves and I hurry to get ready as fast as I can but the burning in my throat is back. I ignore it and go downstairs.

     My Dad is waiting on the footpath and I approach him with my head down. I’m wearing Mum’s coat and when he notices I don’t want to see his face. My eyes follow the asphalt all the way to his shoes and I have never seen them so shiny. For a second I remember that not too long ago my life was shiny too but not anymore. The big black hire car pulls around for us and my Dad reaches for my hand. I let him take it for once because the spiraling has started again and he squeezes it all the way to the cemetery.