"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

Friday, February 19, 2016

electrical staplers & blue neighbourhoods

Now Playing: Sad Beautiful Tragic by Taylor Swift (we wake in lonely beds in different cities)

I live in Canberra, now, which I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around.

I'm doing Honours in Gender, Sexuality & Culture at the Australian National University, which is not something I thought I would be doing this time last year, but at the same time, I feel like I've been working my whole life to get here.

Moving and growing up and chasing your dreams is not quite as euphoric as they make it out to be in the movies.

I have never liked Perth; it felt suffocating and limited and painfully banal. But living in Perth taught me how to love the little things in life, to find happiness in things that are thoroughly unextraordinary. I learned to love flawed places and have flawed relationships with flawed people and I'm grateful for that.

Living at home was comforting. It was safe. It was that sigh of relief when you got home, took your shoes off, and poured yourself a cold drink. I never valued familiarity more than in my last six weeks at home, in the fresh beachy breeze that I still miss. I miss the city lights and the cold midnight air at King's Park. And I grew really attached, you know, in the last hurrah in my blue neighbourhood. But in the end, in spite of those homey comforts and suburban pleasures, Perth never fails to fail you.

I live alone in my own little place, now, and I can sometimes feel sleeping demons stir, and come out to play. It is difficult to motivate myself to keep on keeping on, sometimes; to push myself not just in academics, but in becoming a healthier and happier person in spite of the people I have left behind. Living by yourself makes you think about love, and longing, and belonging; I've really been pushing myself into practicing self-care, which is a challenge in itself, but I'm getting there. When you miss home it's easy to feel like you belonged somewhere or to someone, but emotions run high when big, stressful changes happen and I think you just have to be gentle with yourself. There will be times when you know one of your friends is sick and you find yourself crying into a pillow 3000 kilometres away from them not just because you can't help them, but because their pain has become as unbearable as your own; and I'll never hold that against anyone. But there are kinds of pain that I will hold you to account for. I think sometimes when someone hurts you, or their absence hurts you, you can start to imagine them as less than human, with less than human feelings; when you take someone you cared for and start treating them like a toy. I don't think there is anything I can't endure, but I'm starting to teach myself that there are some things I shouldn't endure.

I have spent...I don't know, a solid decade swearing at staplers. I just don't have the upper body strength to push a piece of metal through more than about two pieces of paper, and staplers in Perth are a particularly odious beast - difficult to come by, easy to break, constantly demanding refills. Well, my friends, I've moved to a place with electrical staplers - click, click, boom. And that's what moving is about; it's about accepting and embracing both the freedom and the loneliness of living on your own. It's about wondering if you have cooked the chicken properly, and if you haven't, if said chicken is going to kill you. And sometimes it's about closing a few doors because you know, in your heart, they will lead nowhere. But it's also about realizing that there are electrical staplers in this world, and your life is better for knowing about their existence. It encourages hope.

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