personal

Just Yesterday

Waiting for a cab
to travel for hours
just to see your face
a smile melted
sunny side up
on a plate
of glass
through a window
eyes will meet
but they will be hollow
as I watch you laughing
sipping your coffee
made just how you like it
by some other girl.

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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.

Bronte

     A little piece of my heart will always belong to Bronte. My cousins lived next door to the cemetery and when we were kids we would sneak in and scare each other. When I was a little girl my Mum would take me to the safe shallows of the rock pool at Bronte Beach where I would bounce around in a green bikini and a pink sunhat.

     My Grandpa grew up in the Eastern Suburbs and would tell us stories from when he was a teenager. How he and his friends took command of the sand dunes from some older boys with only their determination and an air rifle. When he passed away a few years ago we placed a headstone for him in Waverley Cemetery. The first time I went to visit I stopped by the beach and packed some sand into a little glass jar. I buried it at the front of the headstone so that he could be closer to the beach he loved. It was the smallest of gestures but it meant a lot to me. I was at the hospital when he died. I saw him after he had taken his final breath and his body looked empty. It was like his spirit had been set free, back into the universe to be reincarnated or just add to the positive life force of the world. Whenever I visit Bronte I feel closer to him, which is both a blessing and a little bittersweet. I don’t know what it is exactly but the road down MacPherson Street, the cemetery and the beach feel like a hug. Like big, open arms welcoming me home.

     I spent a really nice day there recently. Hubs and I made our way along Anzac Parade and past the massive expanse of Centennial Park. We parked and had lunch at Three Blue Ducks. We window shopped and watched some cheeky birds steal grapes from a grocer’s fruit stand. We bought Iggy’s bread and even though we were already full we managed to chomp down two sourdough rolls (best bread ever). We walked through the cemetery taking photos, visited the grave of Henry Lawson, and my Grandpa’s headstone. I don’t know if you have been to Waverley Cemetery but it is a beautiful cemetery that sits on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Hubs and I sat down to chat for a moment and just happened to turn our heads at just the right moment to see a whale breach the water. It was surreal to be sitting amongst the graves and headstones, watching whales play in the sea.

     I still think about my Grandpa quite often. We had an unspoken fondness for each other. We shared a love of photography and music. He loved to sing and I’ll never listen to an ABBA song (or Rolf Harris for that matter) and not think of him. I remember the stories he would tell about when he worked for the picture theatre. And how he would offer us kids rather dubious looking old Minties from the car glove box as a treat. He used to sometimes wear a yellow skivvy and my Grandmother would yell at him when he came to the dining table in a singlet. He was an electronics man with a workshop and every kind of tool imaginable (though often broken or second hand). He let us kids use his pool table and his ping pong table. He loved birds and going for long walks. He had two heart bypasses and after the second he got very into Tai Chi.

     He was at my 21st but died before my wedding and I’ll always wish he could have seen me get married. I think he liked my now husband very much and even gave him one of his old (broken) ukuleles. He would have adored our little dog and been fascinated with DSLR cameras. I think he would have probably joined Facebook.

     The second last time I saw him I knew it was getting near the end and I said something to him I had never said but had always felt. It wasn’t until for a brief lucid moment when he looked me in the eye and replied, “I love you too” that I realised that we had never needed to say it. We had both always just known. I think that even if I never achieve anything significant in my life that he would of been proud of me anyway. I think he would have been proud of all his family.

grandpa     Grandpa and me, 1980

Ego-syntonicity (and the making of lists)

These lists are neither conclusive, in order or of any real significance.

Things I Like: Kind eyes, snow, the ocean, the sound of rain of rooftops, waves crashing against rocks, the sky, the way the air smells before a storm, reading, old ladies who wear pearls to lunch, warm socks in winter, my mum’s apple cake, coffee, Michael Haneke movies, Dutch cheese, clogs, freedom, Woody Allen movies, clean sheets, the individual, choice, cemeteries, taking photographs, architecture, Paris, books you can tear pages out of, flamenco, road trips, foreign films, reptiles, Christmas Eve, black leather boots, swimming, creme brûlée, the sound of children playing, ghost stories, Hong Kong, city lights, tacos, art galleries, bees and honey, bookshops, lazy Sundays, fairy floss, generosity, people who follow their hearts, a moments silence in a crowded/busy place.

Things I Don’t Like: Judgmental people, injustice, fast food, child abuse, cruelty to animals, apathy, thoughtlessness, the cost of housing, wet markets, bad coffee, gardening, narrow-mindedness, being outdoors during a thunderstorm, allergies, misogyny, being leered at, super sweet cocktails, people who spit in public, men who don’t wear shirts at sweaty concerts, stale popcorn, warm milkshakes, cold tea, dirty fingernails, stewed fruit, doing the laundry, mosquitos, people who talk loudly on their mobile phones at art galleries, inequality, being underestimated, breaking a glass, rude drivers, writer’s block, stereotyping, nepotism, disease, disingenuous people, running out of hot water, people talking loudly during movies/ theatre/ opera, reverse parking.

Things I Am Good At: Writing, making people laugh, baking cookies, eating with chopsticks, small talk, making coffee, research, observation, treating people as individuals, thinking logically, empathising, handstands.

Things I Wish I Was Better At: Drawing, the harmonica, math, forgiveness, French, relaxing, sewing.

For Billy…

The razors edge
Balancing
Hedged bets
Defeated
Suck up
Despair
Ignore
Lungs
Vice gripped
Shredded bare
Keep smiling
At the rot of lies
Keep positive
As darkness
Crushes
Dare not indulge
In a frown or
Crown of thorns
It is okay
Others say
It is okay
Don’t complain
Hurt quietly
Invisibly
Silently
Dance
On glass
Dance
On nails
In the moonlight
Of your hatred
Tell everyone
You are fine
Dull
As the knife
In your back.