What brings you joy?

Took a walk today by the harbour. Sun shining, people smiling, music blaring. We’ve had gorgeous wintery sunny days before but nothing like this.

It was the first time in a very long time I felt each step I took was being firmly planted on solid ground. For the first time in a very long time, I didn’t feel the concrete pavement was about to give way underneath me. For the first time I didn’t feel the fear of dropping into the endless abyss beneath me.

I was surprised by the newfound sense of security actually, because nothing ‘concrete’ has really changed and yet it feels like everything has.

I could feel the sun’s warmth. I could hear people’s laughter. I could hear the the waves lapping against the dock.

I could feel the slight breeze as half-marathon trainers brushed past me. I could feel the sense of closeness of people around me going about their day; I could see their faces! And somehow, unusually, the physical proximity was fine by me.

For the first time in a long time I felt I was a part of this world, not just drifting along, floating, half-extended from somewhere above; not just a lonely soul in limbo, scrambling to find its way back to where home once was, not trying to hang on for dear life not knowing exactly why and what I’m hanging on for.

I must say it was incredibly comforting this new experience, even hopeful, that things can change and dark times can pass.

I have a lot of people to thank, a lot of things to be thankful for and a lot of giving back to do.

Thank you all for saving me from myself.

I promise I will learn to love myself as you love me.

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Yuh.

A student addressed me as ‘Mrs. Chan’ earlier this week. It threw me offguard, considering I was still getting asked for ID in 2016. The legal drinking age here is 18. Never complained, gleeful at times.

Therefore, it is only logical to say, the first half of 2017 has robbed me of my 20s. I half-suspect I will wake up tomorrow and realise I’m actually in my 40s.  And on Friday? 50s.

No matter – I am one step closer to becoming the head-banging, tongue-sticking, bird-flipping old granny I’ve always aspired to be. 

Yuh.

Yellow Ladybug

It was a hot, humid and stifling day.

I was looking forward to getting off at the next station to escape the crowded, suffocating train carriage.  Rush hour in Sydney is not often pleasant, but we try.

A yellow ladybug had been keeping me entertained for the ride, casually strolling up and down the handle of my black umbrella, completely oblivious to the fact that the rest of us are struggling to breathe due to the heat and lack of personal space.  A whole umbrella handle to herself; I’m jealous.

The train pulls into the station; I gather my things carefully as to not to disturb my new friend or elbow my neighbourly human in the gut.

‘This station is Town Hall.  Please mind the gap when stepping onto the platform’.

The train doors open – waves of passengers alight. I let them take me with them in their flow.

I glance down, looking to catch a glimpse of my pretty little new friend to see how she’s coping with the rush hour crowd.  I gasp, she’s gone.  Probably couldn’t wait to get the fuck out of there and fluttered off.  Or I had just inadvertently murdered a ladybug when stepping off the train.

Wondering what happened to her still keeps me up at night.

I’ve run out of pages in my notebook

Feeling a little melancholy, a little apprehensive, a little lost.

The one beer must have triggered something. I’m smoking again.

Maybe it’s the mindless netflix, the mindless job, the weekend skype session with the woman I fear most, the emotionally brutal yet numbing restructure of the company, people coming and going, December, the helplessness felt over the 2016 events. Hope is dwindling.

Maybe it’s the knowledge of how everyone I know is treading water.  Some smoke, some drink, some go to church, some busy themselves in other people’s lives to feel purpose (their children’s). Others throw themselves into their careers and stay single.

I don’t believe you can have it all. Those that say they do are hiding the sacrifices they’ve had to make. Less time with their children (or no children), a less understanding spouse (or no spouse) who shits on fundamental parts of your being, a death of a loved one, a family that doesn’t quite understand your choices and persists in ‘fixing’ your life, the question of whether you have enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle.

I’m being too naive again. What’s with that?

And I’m one of the lucky ones. 

Today’s date.

​I think I catch a few people looking at me when I’m eating alone because I can actually enjoy my own company when I eat alone. It’s weird to them. They’re jealous, I’m just too strange. 
Or I’ve got some big snot hanging off my nose.

Whatever man. Life’s too short to be in bad company, so choose it wisely.

Silence

I can only begin this with a sigh of relief.

The world has gone to bed, and I am finally able to be at peace with myself.

I miss you, really I do.  I think about you every hour, on the hour.  More these few days because you’re away.  Now you’ve gone to bed too.  I’m sorry I didn’t reply when you wished me goodnight.

Sometimes I wonder if I care for you too much to allow this to happen.  It’s not you who’s doing it, it’s me.

I morph into someone I think you want me to be, someone I think I want me to be – more logical, more lively, more assertive, less timid, less serious, more adventurous, less sensitive, more accommodating, less snarky.

When in fact, at times when I’m just …here, with myself and the humming of the fridge, I’m okay with being all those things, without the ‘more’ or the ‘less’ because I believe I’m still those things but with just the right amount.  It doesn’t happen often but I’m actually feeling alright with being just me for a change.

It’s unfair on you because you always tell me to be myself, and you do love me for who I am – without a doubt; I can feel it in my bones.  Grateful doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about the fact that I found you. Even after so many years, I still can’t wrap my head around why you have chosen to stay.

It’s more telling about me than about you, I suppose – it’s my self-esteem talking here.

But I can’t shake this niggling feeling that you don’t know me as well as you think you do.  And when you find out what the depths of my being looks like, it’ll be over.

Perhaps that’s why I try so hard to be more or less of all those things, so you will still have a reason to stay and continue to have a reason to stay for the years coming.

I realise the onus is on me to carve out my own space, my own time, and my own silence to be able to show you the real me.  Something tells me you won’t run away even if I do.  I know I’m contradicting myself again.

I just like spending time with you, I love being with you.  Heck, I just love you.  I often feel like I want to spend every single moment with you even if that means putting away a bit of myself to do that. And yet, I also feel like you bring out sides of me I didn’t even know I had.  It’s mind-boggling.

I love your soul even if you might not believe in such a concept.  I love that you challenge me, that you don’t hold back your opinions, and you don’t back down simply because I’m your partner.  That’s respect to me.  I just wish I had the same tenacity and verbal prowess as you do to be able to return a good argument, and to feel heard and that I’m on par with you.  I’m working on that.  I realise you also do things for me, to accommodate me, to be gentle and considerate while acknowledging I do have a backbone and independent thought.

I also love that you are so in touch with reality.  At times it can be abrasive to my sensitive heart because I’m just so fucking naive.  But I like that about myself too.  It gives me hope and it lets me dream of a better world than the crap we are constantly swimming through.  My lenses are already grey; there was a bit of suffering as a child and those lenses have stuck with me. I need my naivety to survive day to day. Surprisingly, even with you realism, you have brought so much colour to my world.

So I guess the point is when I’m with you I’m just a little different than my naked self. And that’s okay. After all, we’re two very different people.  I’m sure your naked self is different to the one I see most days.  And let’s be honest, my naked self will not survive one day in this apathetic world.

I couldn’t ask you to change, I don’t want to.  But I admit it can be challenging to understand where you come from some days.

It scares me actually.

I’m scared I don’t know how to comfort you.  I’m scared I won’t be able to learn your ways to help you even though I try so hard to.  I’m scared I won’t be the one who can give you solace during the times you need it most.

I’m scared you won’t be able to do that for me either because we’re just…so different.  I speak abstract while you speak factual.  I speak black and white and you speak different shades of rainbow.

I’m scared I won’t know how to keep you interested because you’re always go go getting while I’m happy to be still.  Not stillness in relation to ambition, but stillness in just being still.

Like a speck on the wall.  Watching the world happen.  Watching the sun rise and the sun set and the clouds brush past and the colours change over the landscape.

Like silence.

With all that being said, it seems time and time again we have shown each other there is more than one way to skin a cat.  Our approaches may be different, but we seem to always end up on the same page.  And that page is we will keep fighting for us, not against us.  Ultimately we are a team, not one vs one.

I suspect this is what we both need from each other.  Someone so different from ourselves it will be a never ending puzzle.

After all, we both like puzzles.  They’re interesting.  Frustrating at times, but in the end they’re worth it.

Pogo anecdote, Darling Quarter

As a pogoer I’d like to share an anecdote from tonight: 

My partner and I were walking around a popular hotspot this evening and a group of pogoers walked past and gave us a tip of a sought-after pokemon ‘over there by the fence’. Excited, we shouted back our thanks and pretty much ran to the spot. When we got there another group had just arrived in a hurry from another direction. We all tried to catch the pokemon; it must have looked funny, even ridiculous, to non-pogoers that all these people were tap tap tapping furiously on their phones by a random fence, some of us grumbling at our screens.

I was lucky enough to catch it – I did not hide my excitement – but my partner was not so lucky. He was a little frustrated especially as he and I get competitive. All in good fun though. The guys from the other group also missed out, but my partner struck up a conversation with them and to my surprise, they shared their own experience with him, frustration vividly painted on their faces. The boys and my partner had just shared a moment together. It’s nice to find such a simple common ground with complete strangers.

I’m not sure why people are so quick to judge, especially when they have no experience in the matter. It’s just a game afterall. Like any other video game it takes time, effort and patience to level up. It’s fun. But with that kind of investment, it also leads to invested emotion: joy of playing, a drive towards a goal, a sense of achievement, and frustration when things don’t go to plan.

There are definite positives to this game that other video games cannot provide. For one, people are out and about and getting some sun and exercise they normally would not with other video games, whether PC, Playstation, Xbox or even Wii. Secondly, people are actually talking to each other, face-to-face – it’s like an unspoken camaraderie amongst Pogoers, and it warms my heart to see it in action as opposed to reading scrolling text at the bottom of my screen in the form of a chatbox.

Gg bro.

Ultimately it’s up to the player how they choose to interact with the game, how ‘addicted’ they become, how they interact with the gaming community and their surroundings, just like any other video game.

I suppose the difference is, pogoers are now visible to the larger ‘non-gaming/pogo’ community and when people don’t understand, they shit on it to try process it in their heads, to make them feel somehow ‘superior’ because they don’t ‘buy in to that stuff’. Their justification for not participating. Thankfully not everyone is a self-righteous douchebag.

I don’t condone the inconsiderate pogoers however: the ones that leave rubbish behind or act obnoxiously loud when it’s late at night and people around are trying to get some sleep. Or those who don’t watch where they’re going and bump into people on the street or even worse, cause an accident. But I don’t condone jerks and stupidity in general. If you can’t be in charge of your own safety, who can? And don’t say the government or local council because all it takes is a little common sense. ‘Don’t pogo and drive.’ Do we really need that warning? Really? For good measure, I suppose… sigh.

Again, it’s a choice. There is no need, it’s even a bit unfair, to paint all pogoers with the same brush. 

It’s just another hype, one that could even improve a lot of people’s mental health without needing to address mental health specifically as unfortunately there is still stigma associated with it. The walks, the bike rides and surprise catches are doing wonders for my own struggle with depression. Having something to look forward to is key, even though it’s arguably trivial as afterall, we’re chasing after virtual ‘monsters’. But hey, they’re freaking cute and the process itself has brought so much joy.

In the end it’s just a damn game. Why not let people have some fun? Must you be a killjoy? 

And if Pokemon Go is not your kind of thing, sure, we can find something else to talk about.  Like movies and music and books and dance. Even Probability if that’s what rocks your world. 

To each their own, right?