Around this time of year, people start wishing for it all to be over – the year, the day to day, the busyness of life. But I don’t want to plod my way across some imaginary finish line that marks the end of the year. I want to roll in with a bloody bang. And savour every last day. December isn’t a month to be wished away. This decade is never coming back. So this is your friendly reminder that you could die, at any time, or your entire world as you know it could change, at any given moment. Maybe, if you’re not already, it’s time to start living like you mean it. Living like this one precious life you have is fleeting. Maybe it’s time to stop telling yourself stories and start getting uncomfortable. Living in truth. Maybe it’s time to start choosing joy. Joy doesn’t just happen. It’s a decision you make about how you are going to live your life — and how you are going to respond to life. Here’s what I know: joy attracts joy. Here’s something else I know: who you surround yourself with is who you are. Who are you spending the rest of this year, this decade, with? My advice is to find people who speak your language, so you don’t have to spend a lifetime translating your spirit. The kind of people who understand what you do not say. The kind of people who light a fire in you. The ones who fill you with joy. Find one, or ten, of them. But more than anything, be one of them. The clock ticking over at New Year might signify a fresh start for some, but I don’t buy into that, and never have. You can reinvent yourself anytime you like. You can reflect, and reassess, on any day of the damn year. Fresh starts happen anytime you decide to embark on one. All you have is now. And, to me, that seems like a perfect place to start. Go be who you want to be. The person you need. Don’t put your happiness in a person, a possession or a profession. Joy is up to you. So is how you spend the last thirty-four days of this year. And any days you get beyond that. Find your joy — and keep choosing it every day.
the poet spoke seven last words “i go to seek a great perhaps” but i don’t want to wait until i die when it’s time to join the birds to start seeking a great perhaps to finally feel like i can fly i want to feel this life while i’m in it uncaged, vibrant, brutally conscious, free perhaps oh what a word filled with so much possibility perhaps is an uncomfortable place but what a place to be true free it’s the life for me perhaps perhaps there’s nowhere i’d rather be
“They’ll never get you,” he says, walking ahead of me, teetering on the edge of the gutter. “They’ll never see you like I do. And they can’t, you haven’t shown them the darkest and dustiest corners of your mind.”
I stop and stare at him, my shoe hitting a lip in the concrete.
He turns and edges closer to me, then reaches out and tucks a wayward curl behind my ear. “And you ask me not to love you,” he sneers.
I stare at him, willing myself to look away, knowing I won’t.
“It’s hard to not fall in love with someone,” he continues, getting even closer, “when they’ve shown you the mixed up parts of their soul, and you’ve shown them yours.”
I keep staring.
His hand is lingering on my cheek, his fingers falling past my ear.
“Say it,” he demands, towering over me, feet firmly planted atop the gutter.
I’m still staring at him.
“The deeper our conversations, the more I find to love about you.”
“Stop it,” I tell him.
“I won’t,” he retorts, “I won’t because I’ll never get enough of exploring who you are.”
“Don’t,” I beg, shaking my head from side to side.
He stares, long and hard.
I finally look away.
His hand drops off my face.
He takes a few steps and turns, pausing to gaze through the glass walls of an office building, fixated on a painting in the foyer.
I let him hover for a while, before approaching.
“It’s a cool painting,” I say.
We stand, side by side, staring at the hues of orange and blue, red and violet, that blur in front of us.
“You might never say it,” he states, turning to face me, “but I know.” He starts to walk away.
Now I’m fixated on the painting.
“C’mon,” he shouts, “let’s roll.”
I turn and see him sauntering off, his boots kicking out just a bit to the side with each step. He walks like he has nowhere and everywhere to be, all at once. It’s captivating, and irritating.
“Let’s get a nightcap,” he suggests, swaggering down the street, “and you can continue to pretend you don’t love me.”
I laugh and scoff, all at once, smiling, and blushing.
I’ve never understood people that choose negativity over positivity.
But as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised that some people are wired for negativity – they get off on being argumentative and combative. They thrive on being toxic. Thrive on destruction. And drama.
It’s harder to be positive. It’s harder to spread positivity. But – and I’ve said this a million times – it’s so worth it.
Negative people think they’re a victim of circumstance; positive people know they create their own reality.
Negative people live in scarcity – with a mindset of ‘there is not enough.’ Positive people live in abundance, knowing there is always enough.
Negative people know they are alive temporarily, and that scares them. Positive people know they are alive temporarily, and they think that’s awesome.
Negative people are in competition with the world. Positive people are in harmony with the world.
Negative people complicate things – they lie, especially, and most importantly, to themselves. Positive people are happy – especially, and most importantly, within themselves.
So why do people persist with being negative?
And because it’s easy.
And most people are lazy.
It’s easier to criticise someone else than to focus on your own shortcomings. It’s easier to plant the seed of doubt in someone than it is to work on your own self-doubt. It’s easier to judge than it is to self-reflect. It’s easier to mock someone else’s dreams than it is to have the courage to pursue your own. It’s always, always, always easier to be negative than positive.
But good things don’t grow in negativity. And do you know what’s louder than it? Positivity.
Positivity wins. Always.
For those of you working hard to be positive; keep it up. Stay in your lane. Ignore negativity. Do not feed into drama. Do not allow toxicity to drain you.
People will try and kill your dreams. People will try and assassinate your character. And when they don’t get their way, they’ll try harder. When they realise they can’t control you, they’ll try and control how other people see you.
Stay above it.
Trust that other people will see the truth.
And they will.
Because you can only hide in negativity for so long.
Unbothered by negative souls.
Because that’s a goal worth striving for.
If you can be unbothered by negative souls, then you’ll understand the true meaning of the word freedom.
And that makes you unfuckwithable.
When you are truly at peace and in touch with yourself, you’re unfuckwithable.
When nothing anyone says or does bothers you, you’re unfuckwithable.
When no negativity or drama can touch you, you’re unfuckwithable.
A dear friend recently described me as having ‘a no-fucks vivacity and an all-the-fucks heart.’ It might just be one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.
I do give no fucks, about the things that don’t matter.
I do give all the fucks, about the things that do.
I am unbothered. And unfuckwithable.
And I hope you can find the courage – and the calm – to be so too.
You have no idea how petrifying you will be to someone who only knows how to deal and trade in negativity when you’re unfuckwithable. When you’re positive. When you’re happy.
Their energy is wasted. Their words fall on deaf ears. Their efforts amount to nothing.
‘Nice view, huh?’ he asks, placing my drink on the cardboard coaster.
It’s so hot the flute starts dripping, condensation rolling down its curved base.
‘The best,’ I reply.
‘Where you from?’
I look at the coaster, then up at him.
‘Melbourne, Australia,’ I say, with a smile.
‘Wow, a long way from home. You like New York?’
The coaster is already soggy. This heat is some kind of hell.
‘I love New York,’ I answer, in the kind of tone usually reserved for a person, not a place.
‘I think New York loves you too,’ and he winks, quickly wiping the dew from the marble table, walking away.
I scull half of my drink. I don’t mean to, but this weather calls for more than a simple sip. I fall back into the lounge chair. Cross my legs. Close my eyes. And breathe out deeply. I squint and my eyes open.
I do love New York, I think to myself. I love the way everybody here wants to be somebody. The way they believe they can. I love the boldness of it, and the courage. The audacity, if you will.
I take another swig of my drink. I stare at the towering building across the river, the one that reclaimed the New York skyline after 9/11, the one I have grown to love, so much. I try and work out why it transfixes me. It’s just a building, I scoff to myself. But I can’t deny that every time I catch a glimpse of it, my heart flutters. There’s something about it. Something about the way the light dances off it. From a distance. Something about its boldness. From up close. Something about the way it catches my eye, from so many nooks across the city. I suppose it’s audacious, too.
I lift my glass to finish my drink. The coaster has risen with it, stuck to the base of the flute. It’s sweltering.
‘Another?’ he asks.
‘Absolutely,’ I reply.
He picks up the empty flute. Wipes the beads of water off the table, again.
And I smirk as he places a crisp, new coaster in front of me.
“Don’t deny your fire,” he said. “Just be who you are and burn.”
Whenever the sky is hazy and pink, I think of him. And what he said. In that beautiful moment in time.
“March on solider,” he said, as he pulled me up from the ground by my left shoulder, while I wiped tears from my cheek. Whenever things get tough, I think of him. And what he said. In that beautiful moment in time.
“Everything else is just extra,” he said, as he swigged the rest of his coffee and threw his jacket on. “It’s all glitter and sparkles.” And he was right. In that beautiful moment in time.
“It’s okay to ricochet between certainties and doubts,” he said. And it is. Whenever I’m in between, I think of him. And what he said. In that beautiful moment in time.
I felt a lump swell in the base of my throat yesterday.
I instantly knew what it was.
I’ve felt it a couple of times this year already; in the days leading up to my birthday, and Father’s Day, and his birthday.
It’s unmistakable – a sharp bulge, that intensifies the more I try to quash it.
But it remains.
I wonder if it’ll be like this forever.
I suspect it might still be too early to know.
There’s been a lot of ‘firsts’ this year.
First without this, and first without that.
People say it gets easier with the seconds and thirds.
I’m not convinced.
Time passes, time heals. Maybe. But it doesn’t erase.
And I wouldn’t want it to.
So many years of saturated memories; tinsel flooded floorboards, and sunburn, tables overflowing with food, and cherry stained fingertips. Music permeating the walls. Laughter, over the crunch of wrapping paper.
For the most part, this Christmas won’t be all that different from any other.
There’ll just be one person missing.
It’s disconcerting how life ticks along, as though the people who once loomed so large were never there at all.
But of course they were.
I’ve got little interest in popping crackers or faking festivity over small talk with people I’ve no partiality to.
I just want to be around the people I love, that get it.
The ones that you don’t have to explain anything to, because they know.
It’s funny, what, and who, you’re drawn to after loss. The comfort you find in the familiar, the warmth in revisiting old memories, and with it, old feelings.
I like being close to that.
And as far away as possible from the rest of it.
It’s hard to describe – the immense sense of loss, the extensive gaping hole – because it is entirely at odds with – sublime happiness, genuine excitement – and here I am, occupied by all of them, at once.
It is both melancholic, and marvellous. Delicate, and misinterpreted. Complex, and cathartic. Light, and dark.
The lump comes.
But maybe instead of trying to quash it, I’ll just let it linger.
It’s a nice reminder, in some ways.
To stay near the people, and do the things, that feel like light.
Life is a war of head vs. heart. It’s tiny little moments, like: watching the flickering lights of the city from a rooftop, while the soft breeze tangles your hair and kisses your cheek. Waking up early in the middle of winter to feel the chill cut through your coat as a chai latte runs down your throat. It’s that marone jumper you love, that still smells like him.
Life is messy. It’s making mistakes, like: one too many wines that numb your lips but not your tongue. Feeding feelings with memories, instead of drowning them in tears. Driving too fast. It’s being afraid of nothing, except saying exactly how you feel, because then it’ll be real.
Life is glorious. It’s sublime moments, like: watching a radiant sunset, and feeling its glow warm your cheekbones. Goosebumps tingling across your body, as he runs his hand up your thigh. Midnight conversations with people that matter. It’s that spark, that begins when you lock eyes and ends with your souls dancing together.