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.
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
Thanks to Health & Fitness Travel for the feature in their Strong, Healthy Women Interview Series.
You can read the interview here.
It was great chatting to Vahe Arabian at State of Digital Publishing on digital media, my (not so) typical days, journalism, writing and my favourite working tools.
You can read the interview here.
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
oh what a word
filled with so much possibility
is an uncomfortable place
but what a place to be
it’s the life for me
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.
It’s so annoying when he’s right.
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.
All the while you soar.
Stay in your lane.
It’s tempting to veer.
But stay in your lane.
I promise you it’s worth it.
‘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.
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
“When I finally get…”
“Once I’ve bought…”
“When I finish…”
“Once I’ve done…”
Boring, wearisome words.
If you want to rob your life, of the good, and the great, of the grand, and the majestic, keep feeding yourself lies.
Wrap them up into a neat, safe, beige parcel and call them reasons.
Believe they’re what’s holding you back.
Believe they’re why you haven’t already.
Tirelessly wait for better days.
For “when I finally get…” and “once I’ve done…” and then, when you’ve got and you’ve done, you’ll realise the cost was living your one, precious life. Abandoning your dreams. Abandoning yourself.
You have everything you need – right now – to make your life beautiful. To do the things you love. To be the person you want to be.
You do not need to wait, or delay.
“When I…” and “once I…” are traps.
And you know they are.
Stop making excuses.
Stop waiting for the right time.
Stop wishing your life away.
I will say it again: you have everything you need – right now – to make your life beautiful.
Go and make your life beautiful.
- Never stop being a good person because of bad people.
- Your worst battle will always be between what you know and what you feel. Go with the latter.
- Never let success get to your head. Never let failure get to your heart.
- Your time is best spent with people who make you see the world differently – not with those who flatter your view.
- Two things you’re going to need in life: hope and purpose.
- Nothing changes, if nothing changes.
- Find someone who speaks your language, so you don’t have to spend a lifetime translating your spirit.
- Own your choices.
- You need at least one friend in your life who understands what you do not say.
- Get uncomfortable. As often as possible.
- Some people may not deserve your love, but it doesn’t mean they don’t need it.
- Mostly, it’s the will, not the skill, that will be the difference.
- Be alone, more often than you’d like. It’s good for you.
- Positivity is a choice. And the happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
- Being broken doesn’t give you the right to break other people.
- Be louder.
- The secret of your future is hidden in the habits of your daily routine.
- You give life to what you give energy to.
- Be afraid, but do it anyway.
- Perspective is everything, perception is just a lie.
- Never go too long without watching a sunset.
- Don’t put your happiness in other people’s hands. They’ll drop it. Every time.
- Only boring people get bored.
- It’s not a coincidence that the happiest people are the ones that do the most for others.
- Follow the flame from the fire that burns inside you, and you will always feel the light.
- Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Every day is a special occasion.
- Only insecure people judge others.
- No one else knows what they’re doing either.
- You must know your worth, and not discount it.
- You do not have to unscrew another person’s light bulb in order to shine.
- If you accept your flaws, no one can use them against you. And that’s power.
- The wound may not be your fault, but the healing is your responsibility.
- It doesn’t matter who you’ve been, or what you’ve done – all that matters is who you want to become.
- In a world full of fish, be a shark.