Reflections.

The obligatory, cathartic, cliched, look back into the year gone by as quick as a blink.

2017. What a year.

I’m sitting in my apartment, procrastinating from writing a uni assignment, scrolling through the photos of me on my phone from the year (I’m vain like that). How did I get here?

In the small sense, I’m looking for a nice photo of me to post to Instagram with a cute summary of how I’ve grown in the last year. The reason I want to do that is because I stupidly went stalking my partner’s ex’s profile, and saw all the little like’s he’s given some of her photos over the past weeks/months/years. It sucks you in. You’re just there to see their latest activity, and then it’s 2015 with their puppy and I’m dying. And now I need a great photo with a better caption that will be better than hers. (excuse me, your crazy is showing. I know, just back off OK?).

How did I get here in the larger sense? Well let’s take a trip down memory lane. Strap yourselves in guys, it’s a bumpy ride.


January. I had finally told my lover to leave if he wasn’t going to stay. I had started living again after all the tears had been cried and all the feelings had been felt. I went to the greatest music festival of my young life and had the best time with my best friends. I can’t really believe that was only a year ago. It feels like a lifetime but at the same time only yesterday. I smiled. I was happy again.

February. I quit my job. I’ve been in Brisbane for just less than one year, and I’d quit my job. Before that, I had been in my last job for more than 6 years. Quitting isn’t my nature. I stick shit out for the loooooooong term. But in less than 12 months, I’d moved on again.

March. I went to Bali! I did some crazy shit that I wouldn’t recommend and I also did some awesome stuff I would definitely recommend! (I haven’t been on a proper holiday for a while – 2018 savings goal)

April. My lover was gone. He packed his suitcase, he booked a one way ticket, and he left. For real. Perhaps for good. To run away from his life, responsibilities, the pain, from himself, from me. I also lost my job.

I had lost quite a lot in these weeks. A friend, A lover, myself.

I’d never been fired before. I was fired because I didn’t sit quietly, I didn’t just get on with it. Because I asked questions, because I pushed for better. I didn’t let trivial shit mean anything to me. Maybe it should have. I would like to say I’ve learnt better, but all I really learnt there was to play smarter.

May. Sat on the couch for 6 weeks. My best friend and roommate left for Canada. We had the biggest fight before she left about who-can-even-remember-now-anyway. And we resolved it, and we had a great going away party. And then she left. And I moved in with Steph.

June. New job, new beginning, new happiness perhaps?

July. My love came back. We decided to make it work.

August. Me and Steph moved apartments. We fought. We made up.

September, October. I learn that I don’t love my new job, let a lone like it, or anyone that even works there. My only comfort was a college from Mackay who started 2 weeks before me. They fired her for being outspoken, for wanting the right things, for being fair. Much like my last job, they just told her one morning that she was out, and pushed her out. And with her went my happiness. I mentally gave up. I was going through the motions. I still am. Just holding out till the holidays are over and I can start somewhere new again. What held me back? I just didn’t want to be that person with 3 jobs in 1 year, when all I’d known previously was 1 job in 6 years.

November. My life was blissful; family, friends, boyfriend. Everything aligned and I am the happiest I have ever been. And of course, the beauty that is Lorde and her live show at the Riverstage.

December. The test of wills. Holiday season. Family time. I think mine went quite well, but I learned afterwards that not one single person (apart from my 90 year old neighbour who met him just that one time) asked something about J. That made me furious. It still makes me mad. They were pleasant and nice. But was it really only on the surface? Do any of my family really give a damn about this boy if they can’t be bothered to ask him one single thing about his life? Fuming.

January. His family time. Harmless. Mostly Harmless. Except for his mother. I learned that his ex used to hide from her. And holy shit can I see why. That woman was RUDE to me. Me, an individual who has been invited into this family by HER SON which she loves so much, but has no respect for me at all. Please. I see why the ex would hide. I tell you now, if that ever happens again I won’t be hiding. I’m more than capable of standing up for myself. I can stand up to my mother, who means more than the world to me. I can stand up to his mother, who clearly thinks nothing of me.

His sister is also visiting. This has me torn. I really like her. On some level I wish she would go back to Canada so I can have my boyfriend back. She’s not here very often so they have spent a lot of time together catching up and going through their lives, reconnecting. But I’ve been disconnected. Or maybe she should stay, so I can have my boyfriend back. Then the urgency to be with each other whilst they can wouldn’t be as urgent. I just want my him to be my boyfriend again.


It was also the year that I learned to be strong. All the things that happened, I got through. For better or worse, love or loss. I am here. I have hard conversations with my boyfriend, my roommate/best friend, my mother. They are important to me, but I will not be walked over, and I’m learning how to be strong.

It’s okay to be a little crazy. Why should I hide what makes my heart twinge just because someone might say I’m being crazy/insecure/overreacting/selfish/silly? I am able to say “You need to block her from your life for a while.” “You can’t treat me like this.” “What are you really upset about?” “Dear Manager, I quit.”

You see, they/you don’t have to live in my skin. I do. I am responsible for my happiness so I won’t lie down and take shit anymore. I have to do everything I can.

2018 is the year that I am strong, not just for everyone around me, but for myself, too.

S.

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Feels like Home To Me.

I find myself sitting on the couch after a long week of sitting on the couch. Yesterday I went for an interview, and I received the follow up call this morning. “We thank you for the time you’ve taken to come and meet with us, unfortunately on this occasion we won’t be proceeding to the next stage.” I can feel the tears welling behind my eyes. I can feel my throat tighten. Now as I sit here on the couch scrolling through Seek.com.au and any other job opportunities I’ve been referred, with The Lord Of The Rings playing in the background, I feel my heart aching for home again.

 

On Monday it was my Grandad’s 80th birthday. Much like Bilbo Baggins was saying, we have a love of peace and quiet, and good tilled earth, a love of things that grow (I dunno, maybe we are Hobbits). When I’m feeling worn down, out of spoons, and out of luck, home is the place that fills me up again. I flew down on Friday night and back again on Sunday afternoon. How I wish I had known before the flights were booked, I would have spent the whole week there.

 

My brother called my on Friday afternoon, and said to get dressed ready to go out when I got there. My friend and roommate Steph had caught an earlier flight and was waiting for me to arrive. So I change out of my jeans and sweatshirt into something less “aeroplane attire” and more “party all night”. The rest of the passengers were all a little taken aback I can imagine. But, I’ve always said, better to be overdressed for any occasion. #OwnIt.  “The eagle has landed,” a quick text to my brother and he was waiting to pick me up. So, out in town we go. I lived here for a few years before moving away. I remember why I left..

 

Early on Saturday morning I am up and ready to go. The drive back home is an hour down the highway, lined with bushland and canefarms. Everything is saturated green and blue. They’re the most vivid colours I’ve seen all year. I think to myself “this is the road home, every time, for my whole life, this is the road home.” This is the bridge I will cross every time. There is no way around it. This in the only crossing on this river unless you drive 6 hours inland to detour. This bridge means I’m 5 minutes from home. You can see my Grandad’s farm on the from the other side.

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Burdekin River Bridge, the “Silver Link”

Turning into our driveway is one of the best feelings in the world. Walking across the yard, through the gate and into the house – retracing my own steps from a thousand times before. Grandad is already here with my older brother. Mum welcomes me at the door. Dad isn’t far off. We are all sitting out under the back roof, overlooking the backyard, the chicken pen beyond the fence, the canfields past that, and up into the blue horizon. Steph is already allergic to the place, covered in bites and rashes and dog scratches. You can take a girl out of the city..

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There’s a 1945 resorted Jeep Willy in the shed that I’ve been telling Steph about. I’m pretty sure actually this is her main motivation for coming here in the first place. So we take it out for a ride around the farm. Crikey. The breaks aren’t good, and power steering didn’t exist in the 40’s. It’s a tough drive. We may have got it bogged in some mud on the headlands too, but the important thing is, we got it out. 3 dogs, 2 girls, 1 jeep. We did alright. We made it back to the farm with time to wash the mud off our legs and get ready for the night.

 

Soon the family starts arriving, coming in twos and threes, until I am encompassed by a feeling of love like a warm blanket in the cold night. Grandad is wandering around his party taking photos with his phone, I can already tell every single one of them will have his blurred finger shadow in the corner. Bless. He is capturing his legacy – a happy family. I wish I could say we are all here, but we’re not. There are 2 cousins missing. Sisters. They didn’t make the trip. I guess they are too young or too stubborn to appreciate the significance of tonight. I can see it in his eyes, if only they would have been here, they would have been forgiven. Love is all my grandad has to give, there is no capacity for malice in his kind heart.

 

It’s time for the speeches. My Dad gets up to say some kind words, my Aunty also does as well, the only daughter. My younger brother has nice things to say. Our youngest cousin says she loves her family. They all look to me. I’m drunk on Pimms and high on dopamine. I stand next to him in front of our whole family. I tell him that I love him, and between him and dad, you’ve shown me the measure of a good man. I don’t know if it was enough, but it was the truth. After the cake was eaten and the dessert was cleaned up, the celebrations for the night are over, but not the fun. Steph is sitting in her chair curled up on her knees, “Why don’t you go to bed if you’re tired honey? It’s been a big day,” my mother says. I know why she’s still here. We’ll be damned if we let any 80 year old party goers outlast us.

 

The next morning is something special. The family comes around for leftovers lunch today, and it’s much more relaxed. I soak in this time just listening and being near them. One uncle has flown in from Perth with his daughter, another from Brisbane with her husband and daughters. Even the ones that live just down the road from our farm, I hardly see them too. I look around and count the many ways I am happy to be here. But it’s over too soon. Steph and I have a plane to catch so we have to pack and leave much too prematurely. Saying goodbye is always the hard part. “When will you be back?” “You can always come and visit us in Perth” “Be sure to drop by whenever you like” “I look forward to seeing you here again”. Then all too soon, we are back in our apartment with our bags dropped on the floor thinking how quickly that weekend went.

 

S.