Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Today I do

Today the clock is running out of days
the little hand is spinning
and that retro alarm clock
by my bed counts like seconds
all of the weeks that grow wings
and fly by, bye bye

Tomorrow I will get out of bed
on the other side of the ocean
and breathe in the day
and breathe out sleep
while you breathe in the night
and breathe out awake

Today I play hide and seek with memory
it is nimble and young
and knows all the best places to hide
I try and catch it but I am slow
and tired of chasing yesterdays
The rent is up on my cubby house of dreams
I have been excised from my treehouse
and must move out, up, into the world
where all the foxes and bears
and yellow eyed bushes live

Tomorrow I will not wander wonder
or miss you
or remember
or kiss you
but today I do

Today I wonder
and miss you
and remember
and kiss you

Tomorrow I will have forgotten
all that happened today
but remember it all, why today I do

* * *

The events on my calendar have been quickly ticked off,    
swimming in rivers for New Years, 
playing house in Byron Bay,
even that time we went to to Uluru,
have all disappeared and
it's so close to Goodbye time again. 
The year has somehow gotten away from us and it's almost a third of the way through.
How did that happen? What sneaky thief stole all those summer days?
Graduation's here, a visit from my best friend and then .....
Well, and then?.............!!! 
49 days.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

All of the things

I've never liked odd numbers. My dad taught me how to count when we'd go on walks around the neighbourhood, counting the mail box numbers of the little brick houses. I always wanted to walk on the even side of the street. Two, Four, Six, Eight... it always sounded better out loud than Three, Five, Seven, Nine. 

The last couple of years that I've turned an odd number have been birthdays marked by questionable decisions. At nineteen, twenty-one and twenty-three I have found myself shaken; whether it was from situations I put myself in, those out of my control or a mixture of the two - it would too quickly escalate somehow from a birthday into an existential crisis. 

What the fuck was I doing?

I've done a few things in my life that I'm not all that proud of, you could say ashamed and embarrassed and even utterly humiliated by. Who hasn't, right? But these are the things. All of the things that bring me back to the humble state of remembering and focusing on who and what really matters. The madness is like gravity that keeps me firmly on the ground. It's as if the universe is smirking in that I-told-you-so, Grandmother Willow kind of way, the didactic-disney-hidden-lesson kind of way. And the lessons is this: I have a lot to learn, and I have to keep on learning it and practising it and remembering how much I have to learn. 

All of the things that matter include (but are not limited to)
* Being a decent human being 
* Being good, a good friend, a good sister, a good daughter, just good (as in, the opposite of asshole)
* Valuing yourself enough to not give up on yourself (no pity parties for you)
* Learning how to say No to things you know aren't good for you 
* Knowing what's good for you
* Saying Sorry when you've done something wrong
* Forgiving yourself for doing things wrong
* Letting go, letting go, letting go

Everything else is aesthetics. Yes, that includes my hair. Especially my hair. I've received so many lovely messages and kind words on my taking part in Shave For A Cure, and it's made me grateful yet look every part the meek bald Buddha I appear to be now that I have no hair. 

On that temperamental Sunday when my hair was being hacked at and shaved off in turns by family members and friends, while India Arie's I am not my hair played in the background and I kept shrieking in horror when I'd catch my reflection, all I kept thinking as my hair was going was that I was surrounded by all the people that matter, this is what mattered. 

All of these things. I've stopped counting houses or scary, odd-numbered birthdays and started counting my blessings: my parents who have always encouraged me even in the most dubious of ambitions, my siblings who were my first friends, my many and lovely friends who were and have always been a second family no matter the distance or time lapse or falling outs. 

So this was meant to be a post about how I shaved off my hair but turned out to be about what matters more - All of the things that count. Everything else is aesthetics. 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

23 & The Road Less Travelled

Every time a birthday rolls around it's stock-take time. Get out the check-list. The inevitable questions abound. Have I grown up yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet?

The great or not so great truth is that I will never 'arrive' I will never be 'there yet'. Life doesn't work that way, it's not an infographic or an essay. I can't pen it, graph it, get it down to a science. And if someone does, I assure you that is not living. 

It's the marvellous and soul-racking design of God, this thing called life. The haunting, joyous, tiring, everything experience. And it's after many years and at the eve of my twenty-third birthday I remember one of the first non-fiction books I ever read cover to cover with words and lessons that have stuck to me, all these birthdays later. The below are all quotes taken from psychologist M. Scott Peck's classic bible of experience and wisdom 'The Road Less Travelled'. 

1. The Pain of Living

"Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

"Most do not see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy."

"What makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one...Yet it is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning."

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” 

2. The Necessity of Truth

"Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost."

"While this is obvious, it is something that most people to a greater or lesser degree choose to ignore. They ignore it because our route to reality is not easy. First of all, we are not born with maps; we have to make them, and the making requires effort. The more effort we make to appreciate and perceive reality, the larger and more accurate our maps will be."

"But the biggest problem of map-making is not that we have to start from scratch, but that if our maps are to be accurate we have to continually revise them. The world itself is constantly changing... The process of making revisions, particularly major revisions, is painful. Rather than change a map, an individual my try to destroy the new reality. Sadly, such a person may expend much more energy ultimately in defending an outmoded view of the world than would have been required to revise and correct it in the first place."

"Only a relative and fortunate few continue until the moment of death exploring the mystery of reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding of the world and what is true"

3. And Love, oh yes, Love

"One extends one's limits only by exceeding them, and exceeding limits requires effort. When we love someone our love becomes demonstrable or real only through exertion - through the fact that for that someone (or for oneself) we take an extra step or walk an extra mile. Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful."

"We are incapable of loving another unless we love ourselves... Since I am human and you are human, to love humans means to love myself as well as you. To be dedicated to human spiritual development is to be dedicated to the race of which we are a part, and this means dedication to our own development as well as 'theirs'. ... not only do self-love and love of others go hand in hand but that ultimately they are indistinguishable."

“Love is the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth... Love is as love does. Love is an act of will -- namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.” 

Monday, April 1, 2013

This is why I don't do drugs

I manufacture my highs
in the meth-lab of my mind
that is always pushing
and being pushed
by my irreverence
for stability

I am at war
with the peace piece of the world
I have been placed
there is no need for restraint
no need for thugs
I am the source
I don't need your drugs

I am overstimulated
my irises are wide
my life dilated
I am scared to blink
scared to let possibility
fly by ingratiated

I am an addict of experience
hungry for fire
to light up fast and let it burn
this is why I don't do drugs
I am the drug, I am the yearn

I compose my own escape song
to run in ovals or odd shapes
that make no sense, lest I
fall prey to comfort
or take a breath of idleness
or be seduced by sleep
my mind alters and falters
of its own accord

I do not abuse substances
because I am too busy
attempting to define it
tame it, put it in a glass jar
with a label on it
that reads
"What are you made of?"
I answer

I am the high
I am the low
I am the lull
I am the blow
I am the crest
I am the worst
I am the best
I am the first
I am the drugs
I do not take
I am what keeps
myself awake

I am why
I am I
I am why I don't do drugs