"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Limbo

Now Playing: Liability by Lorde (so they pull back, make other plans; I understand - I'm a liability) 

I've been home for a month or so now.

Life is great. I help mum with laundry. I got a job. I procrastinate and put off things as always. Sometimes the dark clouds come but they're always gone by sunrise, only leaving behind strange purple bruises under my eyes. 

Going to Canberra was acting on the impulses of the very lonely child I once was. I spent a lot of time feeling stuck in Perth, feeling like I had nothing to lose; and then, of course, as I was leaving, I felt like I was losing everything.

When I left, I wasn't the desperately lonely child grasping for any chance to escape. I was a young, confident woman with friends and a partner and a life that was so incongruous with the big serious things I was throwing myself into. I've written before about how people never stop to think that the smart girl has feelings, has complex emotions and ideas about things that aren't strictly scholastic. Nobody will ever understand what I gave up on. 

It is hard to explain how utterly bereft I sometimes feel. For the first time in my life, I'm not really in any academic community, and I do miss it; and I do know, as I struggled with my demons, I was taking ANU for granted. Alma mater, indeed. Quod me nutrit me destruit. My friends have all moved on; we have all left each other behind. My dog died just before I got home and it has been...lonely. A year of gloomy solitude has not been enough to acquaint me with the kind of loneliness you feel deep in your bones; the kind of loneliness that simmers gently in the background and bursts into flames in the dead of night, when stray tears start to fall.

I live in limbo; too afraid to put down any roots, enduring the dreadful insecurity of living as a visitor, as a guest in a place you once called home. I feel like life is on hold.

But I have faith. I have faith that, one day, I will look back and have no regrets; in the same way that I look back at the things that devastated my younger self and can really only laugh. I take courage where I can and give thanks for all that I have. And I have never doubted myself. I never will. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Damocles

Look at you;
Hovering like a
Great, slimy insect -

Tell me,
Do I look like Damocles to you?

(What power do I have except over you?)

You forget;
I am Anne (sans tête)

Are you my Boswell or my Cromwell?
(Or possibly my Bothwell?)

Either way;
I have not tired of a life on one's knees, yet

Some men stand on their feet
And some on their hands
But all that matters is the gown on your back
And the hat on your head;

(And you, my Henry,
Have always worn a hat of someone else's choosing)

I am not afraid of you.
(I feel it, but I don't have to fear it)

There is only one terrifying spectre here.

You are the sword;
But I am the void.






Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I am a gush
It is everywhere
From my lungs
Between my legs
In my hair

(I see you
I see red)

Parched throat and trembling hands
Swarming flies and swimming eyes

(I see you
I see red)

I am all strange colours
Grey skin
Purple bruises
Pink eyes
Green tears

(I see you
I see red)

I have become a haggard old hag
The skin peels
The lip splits
The feet crack
The itch becomes a throb
Becomes a burn becomes black
And then it goes

(I see you
I see red)

You can cling to life with a fist
Only to have it drain away between your teeth
But my robot heart and zombie brain
Thump on, heartless
And so it goes

(I see you
I see red)

The bed is too small for me
My sorrow
And your ghost

(I see you
I see red)

I used to be oceans
But now I am just

Worn away by red rivers.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Toe.

I want to tell you why
I live my life on my toes

One,
Because this world is for big people
And I am small

And two,
Because you demand silence
And I am predisposed to roar.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Checkmate

Well, now-
The die has been cast

Please keep in mind-
I hold the cards

My ace of spades
Is that I am not a game

My body is not your chequerboard
Your princess is in another castle

I am not your pawn
I was not made from stone

The ball is in my court;
But I will not play.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

dark cloud.

Now Playing: Sommeil by Stromae (et si je compte et je compterai pour toi, je te conterai mes histoires, et je compterai les moutons, pour toi) 

Ever since little me tripped and fell in love the first time and then cried her little heart out, people have been asking me what a tough modern girl like me was doing, crying over boys.

To be honest, I never understood it, either. I want to fall in love and get married in the same way I want a PhD - I know it's not for everyone, but it's what I want, at least for now, and it'll take a lot of work and also a lot of luck to make it all work out, and it might not work out after all. But either way, in love or not, with a doctorate or not, I recognise myself as a fully realized human being. I am not and never have been incomplete. I'm just ambitious.

The cold truth of the matter is that the end of a relationship, a crushing disappointment, the knowledge that people don't follow through simply because they don't care enough to...has always been a trigger for depression. My penchant for blue hour romances comes, at least in part, from this fear that I will fall down the rabbit hole again; when I was young enough so that my friends weren't getting engaged and married and pregnant left right and centre, I put off any notion of a long term relationship. My happiest, healthiest relationships are the ones that transitioned smoothly to friendship or even just vague acquaintence, but always with a lot of respect from all parties involved. It's really...it's really not that hard. Some of them even managed to do it as a) teenagers and b) quite drunk. I'm not the kind of person to expect or even want forever and always from every beautiful stranger on the street. I was just raised to have a shred of empathy and a touch of self-respect.

When you're a smart girl, people expect you to think rationally - but that's absurd. Young people are not rational; it's not easy to think about the solid benefits of a good education compared to the fleeting comforts of what once was when you're suddenly deprived of the rush, of the literal high. It's not easy to keep in mind that there will be time, later. I spent too long living in the now, I forgot about my whole childhood of coolly planning for the future.

When you're someone like me, with a lot of privilege but also with a lot of things working against you, you learn from a young age to take control of your own life. My life has been one shrewd decision after another, the decisions one can only make when one is fairly level headed, fairly self assured, and fairly insulated from such pesky notions as financial inviability of ones' ambitions. I have let my imagination run wild on what I can do, on what I can be. I'm re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and I remember, vividly, being fifteen, being stuck somewhere I didn't really want to be, under the authority of people who really had no business having authority at all (my school principal was Literal Umbridge). But back then I had this immense capacity for hope. I lived almost exclusively in dreams or in daydreams about the future. I wish I could ask my fifteen year old self how to do that, because I think I've forgotten. Because the truth is, as you get older, it becomes harder and harder to make shrewd decisions. When you're young and arrogant (and you have a formidable mother and Actual Dumbledore as your favourite teacher) it's easy to feel like destiny is just waiting for you. But the stakes get higher, the chances of failure get bigger, and some of the decisions you make...are not so shrewd after all. I am so used to my choices resulting in some benefit, in some improvement on my life, that when they are decisions concerning something so volatile as other people I am still not used to the shock of failing. I am well acquainted with failure, of course, but that's a personal thing; eating humble pie is a solitary task. Taking the fall for other peoples' stupidity is a misfortune I've never really reconciled myself with.

So, truthfully, I am depressed. I am constantly fatigued, but sometimes I can't will myself to fall asleep, or stay asleep. I struggle immensely with writer's block and anxiety and imposter syndrome. I'm afraid of the dark and long silences and loud noises. And sometimes I just cannot get out of bed, not even to just make a cup of tea and curl back up. I see my friends message me and all I feel is guilt at not responding, but not the actual drive to actually reply. I try to escape, try to plan for the future as I used to, the endless hours of pretty aimless research that used to bring me so much pleasure. A long, long, time ago, I felt this hollow. I can't remember when or how or why it ended, but it did. And that's the only light at the end of the tunnel for me, that dark clouds must eventually give way to the sun.

But I will no longer let myself feel ashamed about feeling this way. All my life people have made me feel guilty for the audacity to have feelings, to act on them, and to sometimes get hurt. My happiness is not contingent on the whims of others; but people should understand that actions have repercussions, and we all have a great capacity for cruelty and that all people - smart or not, rational or not, shrewd or not - will eventually find the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I am not weak for my demons. I am brave for overcoming them, for knowing that the only way out is through.



Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Other Weird Sister

I am the daughter of whores;
But greater men than you
Have kept better faith with us

You may not fear me, love
But you should fear blood
I am the kingmaker's daughter

What good is goodness here?
Man is a wolf to man;
Much less the lamb

Fair is foul and foul is fair;
When the hurlyburly's done
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do

I have no breath for the wretched
'Tis too late for pity

I am Fury;
Fear me.




Saturday, August 27, 2016

It is four days til spring;
Already the sun has strength to it
(The rain is quite indignant)

Summer was a lifetime ago
And you are half a world away
In the autumn gloom you faded
I lost you to the winter chill

But it is almost spring, now
And my heart is full of wildflowers
In your tampering, I was tempered;
I bury my childhood with you.

One day, when you are an old man
You will think of summer
But I always dream of spring.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

treading lightly.

Now Playing: Clean by Taylor Swift (you're still all over me like a wine stained dress I can't wear anymore)

I try to tread lightly in this world.

I think people underestimate how much happiness and pain we can inflict in very short spaces of time; so I tried to tread lightly. I like to think that when my former partners think of me, if they think of me at all (and I give them total leave to forget about me entirely; blue hour romances by definition rarely outlive the sunrise) I hope they just think of me with a smile. Like damn, that was a crazy night. I have been hurt so badly by the careless, thoughtless actions of others that I try very hard not to do the same.

Minimizing drama isn't minimizing pain, by the way. If you've hurt me every man and his dog is going to know about it. But the reason why I was single was to spare myself some pain; I never seriously entertained ideas of commitment and I resent people who jump to that conclusion. But sometimes a good night is just a good night, and the leaving, the letting go - you should make that painless, for yourself, and yes, for the person you just met. You don't owe them anything but this.

It's so easy, by the way. I realized that as I got older. Intimacy gives one such power, it's so easy just to rip a fresh wound for the hell of it. It's easy to cut the people close to you without really realizing it. It's easy to let people fade out of memory without giving a thought about what scars you left, and whether they are still fresh.

Not pursuing someone seriously isn't the same as not taking someone seriously. I'm all for relationships that are not meant to stretch into the forever and always; but you have to keep in mind that no matter what happens or how you feel, they will continue. They will live on when you are not a part of their lives and if you don't want to be an active, physical presence, the least you can do is not be a ghost in the shadows.

I'm just feeling very vulnerable at the moment. In my younger and more vulnerable days I had such a cheerful attitude towards being young, being single, being reckless, of naively assuming that people took pleasure in good faith, that when someone cares about you, no matter how little, no matter how ephemeral, it at least meant they wouldn't actively hurt you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Hi, I have a Gender Studies degree.

Now Playing: Drop the Game by Flume & Chet Faker (give me things that I wanted to know, tell me things that you've done) 

People think that because we all deal with gender and sex and sexuality on a daily basis, we all have a general idea of what we're talking about, and people who end up saying 'as a Gender Studies student...' are wankers.

But here is my defence of the humble Gender Studies student.

Firstly, gender isn't easy. Just because we all have a gender doesn't mean we all understand all of it - in the same way that we're all made of atoms and chemicals and hormones and whatnot and I definitely do not understand any of that. You wouldn't think it from the way that Gender Studies programs are willy nilly pulled together and then wrenched apart, but gender is a mind-bogglingly complicated thing to study. It is a constantly-evolving interdiscplinary field of study that nobody claims to understand fully except for Beyonce fans who spend a lot of time on tumblr but who are actually finance majors. Saying 'I am a Gender studies student' is less of a boast and more of an acknowledgement of the rabbit hole that gender is. Studying Gender Studies, especially as an honours student, has been mostly a constant Jon Snow-moment: I know nothing. All I know is I know nothing.

So people are incredibly arrogant about gender and the study thereof. People argue with Gender Studies students and academics about gender in a way that you would never argue about physics with an actual physicist. Our degrees might not mean anything to the money-grabbing uni admin satan worshippers, but we don't spend all those years staring at a wall. We're academics. We're not in it for the money. There's no fame or glory. We just want people to acknowledge that studying something for years on end will give one the privilege of a somewhat-learned opinion.

Speaking of privilege, the acknowledgement that one has a degree in anything should not be taken purely as a token of intelligence or big-headedness. It is an admission of privilege, as well. The fact that I have a degree probably says more about my privilege and my interests than what I actually know, and that's okay. But I don't think people say 'as a Gender Studies student...' with the intent of intimidating people into shutting up and listening.

People sasy 'I have a Gender Studies degree!' out of exasperation because we want people to understand that the things we know, the things we study, were patiently explained to us by much, much smarter people in the disciplined environment of a classroom, and even then there was fiery debate and people struggled with words. The things and terms that people throw around on social media are not really things that can be explained in a Facebook flame war or in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Just as white people demand that people of colour teach them All the Things on racism, people demand a lot of emotional labour of gender studies students to basically regurgitate their entire degree for free on the internet to an obscenely hostile audience. We just think that if you want to talk about really complicated moral quagmires like sex work or abortion or whatever you might actually want to do your homework first; or at least not tear down the people who have, and have a flimsy bit of paper and no job security to show for it.