Almost Two Months.

Day 54.

Almost two months.

Of juggling and wading and balancing and shifting.

Almost two months of going through the gamut of human emotion.

Almost two months of elation and sadness and confusion and productivity and exhaustion and positivity and cocooning and laughter and frustration.

I made a decision almost two months ago, one I didn’t even consciously realise at the time; this whole experience wasn’t going to happen to me — I was going to happen to it.

That if I couldn’t go anywhere, I’d instead go inside myself. And ask some questions.

Like why do I think the way I think? Am I using my full potential? What does success mean to me? What do I want to change? What habits do I want to foster? What stories do I tell myself? What really matters to me?

I have pages of questions and more pages of answers.

I have fostered new habits.

I have dug deep and I’m not nearly at the bottom.

I’ve realised there’s some things I miss about ‘normal’ life, but some I absolutely don’t.

There’s some things I can’t wait to get back to, and some things I never will.

I knew this period would offer growth, and clarity, but I didn’t realise quite how much.

I love getting uncomfortable — I’ve made a life out of it — but I haven’t often enough allowed the space for things to get really quiet. And really still.

Because that’s genuinely uncomfortable.

Sitting — still, silent — with yourself.

Now I do it on the daily.

And, almost two months on, I can say with absolute assurance that you will bloom if you take the time to water yourself.

Also — I’m still living in playsuits. 

Courage And Cause.

“I was waiting for something extraordinary to happen, but as the years wasted on nothing ever did unless I caused it.” —  Charles Bukowski 

I think about that quote, one of my favourites, a lot. In many ways, it’s one of the defining manners by which I live my life. Not the waiting bit, I’m no good at that. But the bit about causing things to happen. I get that.

I sometimes wonder, like I was just now, walking around in the glorious autumn sunshine, ‘how did I get so lucky?’ ‘Why am I so blessed?’ ‘Why me?’ and then I realised it’s not by chance, not by coincidence, not by fate, and certainly not by luck. It’s because I caused it. 

Because I’ve been ferociously protective of where I invest my energy. Because I’ve gotten uncomfortable. Because I’ve done the work. Because I’ve shown up. Because I keep showing up — even, and especially — when it’s hard and inconvenient and tricky and messy. 

It’s because I’ve gone deep. Because I’ve taken responsibility. Because I’ve owned my choices. Because I’ve lived in accordance with my values. Because I’ve believed in myself —  backed myself. Because I’ve operated from a space of no judgement — no judgement on others, on myself. Because I’ve chosen, and continue to choose, my attitude. Every single day. 

It’s because of these things that I find myself here — mid global pandemic, in the throes of social isolation, with an empty schedule and a strange new normal — filled with gratitude. Occupied with excitement. Loaded with love. Exploding with ideas. Executing plans. 

You don’t accidentally wind up living a life that makes you burst out of bed each morning, one that fulfils you, one that enriches others, one that makes you proud. 

It takes guts, and courage, and gumption, and nerve, and an abundance of never-ending work. And all of that is reliant on you taking action. On making things happen. On causing it.

I’m reminded of the old Latin proverb; ‘fortune favours the brave.’

Turns out, it’s true. 

Give Me The City That Never Sleeps.

give me the city that never sleeps

with its constant buzz and grimy bars 

the one we end up strewn across

from hotel lobbies to unnamed cars 

i don’t need to scream 

make me forget how to breathe instead

tangle your fingers through my hair

enmesh yourself in my bed

drink me in, the way you do a good red wine

slowly, at first, just one sip 

let the crushed grape linger on the back of your tongue

then hold it there and feel the bite against your lip 

you crave kisses by the truckload

you know i long for them too 

the nape of my neck, the curve on your chest 

i’ll never stop devouring you 

you love my pure heart

you want my dirty mind

come home to them both and tempt fate

it’s only in seeking that you may find 

Give Me What I Crave.

give me what i crave⁣

those hands in my hair ⁣

force me against the wall⁣

your heart beating bare

⁣i want that delicate balance ⁣

your fingerprints covering my skin ⁣

yet wrap me in your arms ⁣

in your lips, your grip, your sin ⁣

take me, silently, break me, tenderly⁣

until your kisses erase my scars ⁣

bruise my lips, devour me whole ⁣

show me what it means to see stars⁣

i might have my demons⁣

and you might have yours too ⁣

but mine are far more trouble⁣

because all my demons look like you⁣

A Great Perhaps.

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 

Love Me Reckless.

grab my hair

like you grabbed my heart

forcefully, with both fists

slide your hands down

my back, my hips

soak me in

those lips, your fingertips

i want it

the tornado of your love

gripped to my curves

take me, flood me, break me

don’t love me tenderly

love me reckless

render me breathless

A Beautiful Moment In Time.

“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.

Merry, Forever. Happy, Always.

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.

Gulp.

Gulp.

Gulp.

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.

And goes.

It’s unmistakable.

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.

Not just for a season.

Merry, forever.

Happy, always.

Life Is A War Of Head Vs. Heart.

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.

Life is magic.

If you listen, it will tell you.

If you look, you will find it.

If you do, you will become.

As Good As Can Be Expected.

My Dad passed away two weeks ago.

People keep asking me how I’m going, as though they’re half expecting me to break in front of them.

I’m glad they ask.

I’ve realised it’s much nicer than not being asked.

How am I going?

I’m not sure.

Mostly I say, ‘as good as can be expected.’

I suppose that is true.

I’m not sure what the expectation is when you lose one of the most important, pivotal, beloved people in your life, but I feel like I’m doing as good as I can be – I’m waking up, and showering, and eating, and caring for my son, and driving my car, and running errands, and seeing family and friends, and cooking, and cleaning, and checking emails, and making phone calls, and planning, and doing all the little things people do that fill their days.

Some people don’t know what to say, which I somewhat understand, but here’s something else I’ve realised; it’s not that hard to say ‘I’m thinking of you’ or ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ or ‘I hope you are doing as good as can be expected’.

I have been showered in support, and love, and thoughts, and I feel them, wrapped around me. I am so appreciative of every single one of them.

But my Dad has died.

He’s gone.

And my life is forever changed.

Everything is kind of the same, but paradoxically, absolutely nothing is the same.

Nothing will be the way it used to be, ever again.

I am mostly fine, except for when I am not. I am mostly ok, except for when I am not.

Sometimes it slowly creeps up on me, like a looming dread in the pit of my stomach, and sometimes it hits me, bang out of nowhere, and I catch myself clutching my breath.

I’m as good as can be expected, but I am angry.

I’ve got a simmering rage inside me that I’m containing, but boy does it bubble. I’ve had to remind myself, every day, to ‘let it go’, that ‘it’s not worth it’, to ‘calm down’.

I’m as good as can be expected, but I feel robbed.

Robbed that Dad didn’t get enough time, that I didn’t get enough time, that we all didn’t get enough time. Robbed for what he’ll miss, for what I’ll miss, for what we’ll all miss.

It’s true that we don’t know our own strength until we need to; people have commended me for mine, which is lovely, but also slightly odd.

I’m ‘strong’ because being anything less seems like a disservice to Dad; to his honour, and legacy. I’m ‘strong’ because I have a child to raise, and a family to love, and being anything less seems like a disservice to them.

People see strength as ‘getting on with it’ – helping organise a funeral, and saying a eulogy without falling apart, and running yourself into the ground with errands, and doing as good as can be expected, and they say, ‘Good on her, look how strong she is,’ like you’re a show dog at a competition.

That is not strength.

That is autopilot, running on adrenalin.

Do you want to know what strength is?

Strength is not snapping someone’s neck in rage.

Strength is not losing your shit at someone else’s incompetence.

Strength is repeating the same story, over and over, to sympathising guests, when all you want to do is lie down in bed with the doona well above your head.

Strength is choosing not to be negative; choosing life, and beauty, and adventure, and wonder.

My Dad may have died, but that doesn’t give me the right to act like a dick.

So I am being as strong as I can, in the way I know how: by not being an arsehole. The world has enough of those.

Death evokes all sorts of feelings and reactions in people, and they’re all ok. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, or empathise. For the most part, people use it as an opportunity to think about themselves. At the centre of their own universe, they think of how death affects them. I’ve discovered, in this fortnight that feels like a year, who is really there for me, and who is not, who my true friends are, and who are just people I know.

There’s one small thing I’ve found exceptionally difficult: how quickly ‘is’ and ‘are’ become ‘was’ and ‘were’.

The instant change in tense is jarring.

And, there’s another thing: how the world just keeps spinning.

My Dad may have died, but that doesn’t mean the world stops.

I get that.

That is the way it should be.

It’s just a little unnerving, how everything goes on, swiftly, at full tilt.

It’s all very surreal; that this has happened, that this is life now.

I’m not convinced that anyone can truly know what it feels like to lose a parent, until they have lost one. And the well-wishes are pleasant, and the thoughts are kindly, but the advice is inordinate and borders on offensive. You either know, or you don’t, and if you don’t, you’re fortunate.

I’ve unwillingly become part of a club I don’t really want to be in but the other people are lovely, and they get it, and the biscuits are nice.

I’ve discovered there’s no real preparation for losing a loved one; whether it strikes you out of nowhere or you have a long lead-time – there’s no difference whatsoever. There’s only here or gone and until they are gone, they are here.

Predominantly, I understand there’s no right or wrong way to go about any of it. Being close to my family and friends has helped me, but some people might choose to shut off. I know that people mean well – and it’s better having people mean well than not having people at all. I recognise that, like with anything in life, there’s constant challenges and choices, and I get to choose my choices, and own them too. I acknowledge that grief is a bit like a wave, and I think I’ll be buoyed forever…

but I also know that I’ll still laugh

and love

and soar

and that the thirty-two years I got were better than thirty, or twenty-five, or ten, or none at all

and that so much of who I am is because of him.

So much. Of who I am. Is because. Of him.