Saturday, 10 February 2018

I hardly know what to do with myself

"So I took the path less travelled by/
And I barely made it out alive"

- 'Rebel Heart,' Madonna

37 countries. 2 universities, no degree. Incredibly bright, no official occupation. 3 extended periods of living across 3 different continents. 4, if you count those 5 weeks in Thailand. Hospitalisations in China and Australia. Exalted volunteering. New friends. Lack of financial independence or mobility beyond Australia.

I don't know what to do with myself. I've lived an extraordinary life, and it's probably time to take the plunge and write my first book, but it's scary. Until I learn to earn my own money, I will invariably feel trapped by circumstance. I've been planning to write a book for a very long time.

With every innovative book I read, I feel I can follow in these authors' footsteps. But then that feeling quickly fades and is replaced with self-loathing and a sense of worthlessness.

They say, 'one step at a time.' Build your self-compassion. Keep reading. Yes, keep reading. Books are artificial narratives of meaning to consume, but hey - why not. There's much to be gained in their comprehensive tours around the writerly soul. They help me.

I am facing an existential crisis of sorts. A flight from Sydney to Hobart next week will include me as a passenger. I have concluded that it's almost sort of affordable to move out in Hobart, providing I like it enough. My parents will supplement my income by a small amount. I will be free!

But I fear loneliness. I fear being isolated in a city where attitudes are provincial and I am even more of an eccentric than I am now.

Moving beyond fear is where I'm trying to be at - but first things first: What will my week in Hobart bring into my life, and will I wish it were reproduced for the foreseeable future?


Oh, and I really don't want Gary Oldman to win the Best Actor Oscar. I was instinctively repulsed by him long before I learned of his defence of Mel Gibson, or calling Nancy Pelosi a c*nt.

Too many horrible things floating around in my consciousness. You'll forgive the purge. 

Thursday, 8 February 2018


It's one of the principles of (Buddhist) meditation: non-judgemental observation of whatever happens to be in your headspace in any given moment. I welcome this into my life. I flourish the more with every instance of non-judgementalness.

My mother told me a story recently about my early years. She was interested in me starting to walk. One day she placed something that would be of interest to me to obtain (an item) some distance away, and waited to see what would happen. I eyed the object longingly. For a long time. I was willing for me and it to meet. And then, finally, I began to move in a new way, towards the target, and managed to reach it.

I felt like what my mother had done was cruel. Instead of helping me physically in getting to my feet, she watched with detachment as I had to figure out how to get up all on my own. She frames the story as proof of my tenacity to get what I want - even if it's eventual. But I feel the force of maternal abandonment.

Reading bell hooks' 'All About Love,' she uses a definition of love to guide her journeys past and present: [Love] “as the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” bell notes that this definition of love excludes abuse, neglect or cruelty. Like her, I must acknowledge that while I was given care and affection when I was little, I was not given this kind of love.

Through my romantic relationships I have achieved loving connections, which I long to find again in this present instant. I'm so afraid that my doubts and insecurities keep me stuck in the prelude to love.  I'm afraid of taking action. All the same, the search for love drives me, and when I'm motivated by the pursuit of something that's good for me, I have confidence in my knowhow. I will find a way - disabling judgement, enabling enthusiasm; facilitating sharing, reciprocity and openness. 

Monday, 29 January 2018

Coherent Narrative

I'm struggling to make meaning out of my life. No, I'm not suicidal. Just very disoriented. I don't have a strong motivation to do anything. I find conviction cultivation ludicrous to maintain.

When you live with soulless and sadistic people, you get used to people taking their issues out on you, and survival takes up all of your mental space.

I'm in despair.

I can't even decide how to spend my money. Do I travel around Australia, thereby saving a lot of money and travelling longer? Or do I continue with one of numerous plans to travel to Europe? Japan? Mexico? Does it really matter if I keep having to come back to the same golden cage?


Monday, 22 January 2018


I'm happy to announce that I'm almost at the end of my DuoLingo Spanish course!

It's been an on again, off again journey of two and a half years, and it looks like I will only need about a month or so to complete the entire tree! Congratulations are in order...

Soon I will need to make some decisions about where to take my language learning in the future. I know that I want to maintain my knowledge and build on it in both active and passive ways. (Active might be taking on a mew systematic learning journey, while passive might mean reading El PaĆ­s or listening to music and looking up anything I don't know.)

I also know that I've been bitten by the language learning bug, and want to add a new one to my repertoire.

But which? -- Danish? French? German? Dutch? Swedish? Norwegian? Catalan?

From a practical point of view, French or German is probably the best. In fact, I've been thinking of taking up French again with pleasure. For some reason I think of it as a difficult language. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I need a tutor to help me weave an intuitive journey through things already processed on a more cerebral level.

You know what? I've decided to take up French next. I'm capable, and it will be a delightful achievement.


Thursday, 11 January 2018

Changes (Poem)

It's a far cry
From the intended aims
It seems I need to
Learn how to deal with
A world rapidly
Spiralling out of control
Accept my complicity
And dedicate my resistance

There's nothing good about this
But there may be suitable alternatives
Swayed by the onslaught of neurotoxins
I ponder my escape

I still believe
The world is a shambles
A dangerous shambles
Pulling itself apart

If you notice my audacity
I'll be around to celebrate yours
I'm in the process of
Retrieving my instincts

World colliding with itself
It needs no foreign enemy
All the potent tools for self-destruction
Are simmering to a boil within

And since there is no god
Only waking up will save us
But the tipping point has not been reached
The code of greed laced with ignorance
Cannot be breached
And I can see how
It would get too late
I can see how
We can't reach the gate
And still it's necessary to detach
My survival hinges on recurring calm
We've many days to go until
It's impossible to deny the harm
But the time is now
For anyone with power
Find the courage to protest
While I endeavour to inspire

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Learning to appreciate classical music (Poem)

Listening to classical music
Once upon a time
It struck me as wordless
At a time when
I needed to constantly
Verbalise my spirit
When I needed to
Make myself heard above
The perpetual rage
Of competing hegemonies

Revisiting symphonies
Once scorned
I found a different angle
Perhaps it was the tilt of the arm
Of the violinist or
The sensitivity and charm
Of the face next to her
Beauty is the intention
I enjoy it while I can
Now that I'm awake
To multiple ways
Of creating meaning

Monday, 1 January 2018

A pride of lions

What is pride? Is tapping in to popular notions of socially shared pride a good thing, considering it's so heavily influenced by nationalism? Where does socially sanctioned patriotism end, and the pride that means most to me swell up? I mask my pride deficit somewhat.

My psychologist suggested to me that I could be proud of having left the abusive relationship of 2005 - walking (no, flying) away in high style, selling something which didn't matter (a wedding band) for something that did (bus fare to the next Vietnamese town), and all the processes of letting go I've developed over time. Without the white gold reminder on my finger, there was that much less distance between me and the heady green of the Southeast Asian landscape. One less reminder of the arrogant, entitled American I had temporarily become. I savoured the experiences more. I talked less. So much of what happened after has been so good.

Is it fair to bolster my spirits with music? I'm withdrawing (from one dose of medication to a slightly lower one) now. Deserving of this, I am. I'll try to remember that music intoxicates in healthier ways.

I have a photo of a lion on the shoulder of my armchair. May it remind me to be proud.