"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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

breaking broken bones

Now Playing: Breathe by Taylor Swift ft. Colbie Callait (never a clean break, no one here to save me)

I've been thinking a lot lately about how sometimes, when a broken bone sets wrong, you have to break it again to set it properly.

I've never been great at goodbyes. As much as I get bored and restless and unsatisfied I'm always scared of leaving, of moving on, of having my normal shift into something different and unfamiliar. It feels, to me, as painful and as unnatural as breaking bones. But sometimes you just have to.

The first time I thought about this was towards the end of my abusive relationship, when I knew something was wrong but I was too afraid to leave. I wasn't happy, but I wore the familiarity of my situation like a blanket. To leave was to break away from something and someone who was hugely important to me. I was a wreck when we met, and then I praised his kindness for putting me back together, but my 'together' was crooked and awkward and never quite worked out well for me. When he left he broke me again. But now I walk on my own two feet.

Leaving home was breaking more bones. I wasn't happy in Perth, I had never been happy in Perth, and I knew I would never be happy in Perth - especially as my university began to close up shop, when walking in to class every day meant being told, repeatedly, to my face, that I had no future. I spent my entire undergrad being perpetually mocked and ridiculed for my studies, for what was important to me, and as soon as I could feel the thin ice of uni start to crack underneath me, I started applying to leave without a second thought. I never thought I would look back, really, but in the end I did. My life in Perth was dysfunctional and my career opportunities were bleak, but it was home. It was comforting. And when you know things will never be the same again, even if that 'same' isn't so great...I feel like the natural instinct is to try and keep things the way things are. Leaving wasn't euphoric or freeing; it was scary and it felt profoundly wrong.

I haven't moved to Utopia; there are things here that are wrong and stupid and profoundly weird, just like in any other place. But the community of thinkers and dreamers and believers here is something that I've never experienced before; people who are generous with their time and knowledge. You don't feel like you're living on borrowed time or at the whim of politicians and money-strapped bureaucrats who take one look at you and think 'why are we giving you this dangerous, useless knowledge?'. When you are a queer mixed-heritage woman of colour, a sense of legitimacy is always craved but hardly ever found but maybe I have found some here.

I have good days and bad days. I swing, like Sylvia Plath, between 'joyous positive and despairing negative'. But I always think of how much I had been forced to hobble through Perth. The pain of breaking broken bones is nothing compared to the prospect of limping through life. Broken bones heal. Soon I will fly.

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