I Am

i used to write poetry…

i-used-to-write-poetry-sandi-sieger-in-the-thick-of-it-blog-melbourne-writer

i used to write poetry
like i knew what i was doing
but
i never did
i still don’t

i’ve worn lost like a badge of honour
like a wayward explorer
but
really
i just don’t want to be found

i have stood
and listened
to the telling
at the yelling
and then i’ve silently sat
thinking ‘well, what about that?’

i have realised there’s lost
and then there’s lost
and they are not the same
one is a bit romantic
the other not so much

and maybe i’ve made excuses
even though i always say
‘never make excuses’
but
really
i think everyone does

people say
‘i wouldn’t do anything differently’
i used to say
‘i wouldn’t change a thing’
but
i absolutely would
do every thing differently
and
i absolutely would
change some things

i don’t have regrets
not because
i don’t have them
but
instead
because i choose not to think about them

when you can’t change what’s been
what’s the point of thinking about
what
could
have

i have found two places
where my mind can wander
unencumbered;
doing the dishes
and
standing under running water

i think time is irreplaceable
and there is none to waste
but
really
every now
and again
i zone out
doing the dishes
or
standing under running water
and i know
now
that is one of the most precious ways
to savour it

i live
and will die
by two words
back yourself

i will whisper
back yourself
every time
all the time
until
i
whisper
no
more

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I Am

Friday

AIDS Memorial Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francsico, California

Here’s some things I am:

– The kind of tired sleep doesn’t fix
– Hopeful
– Embracing growth, plunging into change, still breathing
– Bruised
– Listening with an intent to understand, not reply
– Thirsty
– Getting better at saying no
– Unapologetically doing my thing

Here’s some things I know:

– Almost is the saddest word there is
– You don’t fall on top of a mountain, you climb up one
– Existing is different from being alive
– Halfway is no good; go all in
– The things worth saying, most people don’t
– Fight change or flow with it; change goes on
– You can’t fake tenderness
– Risk is given a bad rap, usually from people who never take any

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I Am, I Know

A Letter To My Son

Joyce Maynard - Parenting Quote

O,

It’s getting to the tail end of 2015 and today I was thinking about all the things I’ve done so far this year, and all the things I’ve learned. It’s been a big, tremendous year. I was thinking about you, too, and how quickly you are growing. There are so many things I want you to know, and so many things I hope for you.

You are cheeky and sharp and bright. Don’t ever lose your spirit. Don’t ever let life – or, worse, other people – dampen and sap your energy. You have so much energy. You have a zest for life. I know you do. I know it because you are like me. Don’t stop singing to yourself, and hopping when you get excited, and screaming ‘yeah’ out loud when you’re happy; the world beats that kind of stuff out of people, as they grow, but I don’t want that to happen to you.

I hope I can instill in you the highest possible level of confidence – not arrogance, confidence. They are two very different things, though sometimes people get them confused. And if, at times, you can’t be confident, then I hope you can pretend to be. As you grow, you will realise that no one really has it all figured out, and the ones that say they do you likely need to run from.

Your confidence is going to grow in proportion to how often you’re prepared to step out of your comfort zone. So don’t become stagnant. Keep fresh.

I am going to tell you to ‘be careful’ a lot. I have already started. And I mean it. But, really, I want you to take a lot of risks. Hopefully not too many of those risks are reckless – like driving dangerously or jumping off large moving objects on a regular basis – but take risks. Climb to the top of the highest trees you find, swim at the base of waterfalls, be driven down a highway while you stand through a sunroof and your hair thrashes in the wind.

Hopefully you don’t want to become a UFC fighter, and maybe you can get through life without a motorbike, and out of all the animals you might like to adopt over the years, I truly hope none are of the reptile variety.

But if they are, that’s ok. And if you want to ride a motorbike, or become a UFC fighter, then I’ll help you in any way I can.

There are some things in life you should do; even when other people tell you that maybe it’s not such a good idea.

You should ride a motorbike, at least a few times in your life. And one of those times should be sitting on the back of one, holding onto someone’s waist, preferably along a stunning coastline somewhere in the world, because there will be a point where you turn your head and see the ocean, and you’ll feel the wind slice through you, and then something churn deep inside you and this I know, O: that’s what it means to be alive.

And you should hold a snake, or swim with a croc, or do whatever it is that you want to do, but that’s the key; do things that you want to do, not things you think you should, or just because other people are.

People will bang on about things in life coming at a ‘cost’. Spoiler alert: every single thing you will ever do will come at a cost. Don’t think about that. Focus instead on what adds value to your life. If it adds value to you, include it. If it doesn’t, subtract it. But don’t dwell on cost – monetary or otherwise. Because here’s the other spoiler alert: it’s always worth it.

While it’s definitely too early for you to be thinking about women, if that’s what you’re into later in life, please know this: be a gentleman, be kind, be thoughtful, be loving, but never compromise who you are for somebody else. Don’t give up on the things you love for a woman. Don’t change who you are for a woman. A good one will never expect you to. A great one will encourage you to be more of who you are, not less.

You will meet some amazing people in this world. Always be open to them. And if you’re drawn to somebody, for whatever reason, explore it.

I hope you find dazzling people and talk with them until the early hours of the morning; on a rooftop, or a verandah. Some of those people you will never see again, but I guarantee you will carry a piece of them with you for your whole life, and every once in a while someone will say something, or you’ll see something, and you’ll be reminded of them. And in your head text will appear like a leading title on the news: ‘Soldier, 1999, on the train to Venice’ and you’ll smile thinking of them.

Try and stay away from the kind of people that place value on material things, and instead find people that are interested; in life, in history, in books, in music, in people, in conversation, in living.

I hope you spend most of your time with good people, people that understand and embrace you, but you need to know this: sometimes people can know you for a long time, but not really know you.

Just last week someone I’ve known for half of my life said some awful things to me, and they did some horrible things, and it ripped a little piece out of me. Sometimes people will hurt you and sometimes they’ll break a part of you but here’s the other thing you need to know: you can always put yourself back together.

I hope you continue to be happy, and in doing so realise that you cannot ever compromise on your happiness. It should be the one thing in life you fail to bargain on. Find happiness in small things, as well as big things, and find it on your own. Don’t tie all of your happiness in a place, or a person. Anchor it to yourself.

Be the kind of person that spreads good stuff wherever they go; happiness, energy, love. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t be afraid to make them. I hope you make a ton of them, because that means you’ll never stop learning. There are secret opportunities hidden inside failures, and only the courageous get to unearth them.

Don’t let mediocrity get a grip of you; don’t tolerate it in other people.

Listen to your instincts, every single time. Always listen to your instincts. Sometimes you will need to ignore logic, or change your plans, and when those moments come, do exactly what you yearn for, and always remind yourself that death might be frightening, but not living should be feared far more.

I hope you tell a lot of people that you love them, and I hope a lot of people say it to you, too; some of them will whisper it, some of them will shout it, and some of them will only reveal it with their eyes, but every time take it for what it is; an absolute privilege, not something you are entitled to.

Don’t hold back from revealing yourself to other people; the only time you will ever need to be guarded is when you’re in a defensive stance in basketball, beyond that, let fall and slip, let fall and slip – even when it’s risky, even when you wind up hurt, even when it’s costly because, remember, it’s always worth it.

Live your life your way, and don’t ever allow anyone to make you feel guilty for that – the only opinion you need to worry about is the one you have of yourself. Use that as your compass; someone else’s might be broken, or going the wrong way. You can direct yourself, that I will always be sure of.

O, the thing about this year is that you’re not the only one that’s grown; I have too.

I know I haven’t been there to put you to bed every single night of every single week this year. I know you don’t need me to be. Your life is blessed and filled with people; people that love being around you, and can be when I’m not there. But just know this; every single time I walk in the door, no matter how late at night, or early in the morning, the first thing I do is walk into your room and run my hand through your hair.

And I know that sometimes I’m at the computer when you’re building a tower out of Lego, or making a train track, and five minutes can become twenty-five.

But there are some final things I need you to know:

I’ve never used you as an excuse, and I never will. Some people I know with children tend to use them as an excuse for all the things they can’t do, but I don’t feel that way with you. I know I can do anything. You don’t prevent me from doing anything and I think in the future that might be one of the best things you learn from me.

You are like a sponge; you soak everything in. And that’s why I’m so determined to live the best possible life I can, and be true to myself along the way, because I need to, for you. It’s not enough for me to hope and wish for who I want you to become – I need to be those things.

In many years to come, when you’re a man, and I’m an old woman, you won’t remember the things I tried to teach you, or the things I told you to do – you’ll remember who and what I am. And the things I did. You’ll remember how I lived.

I need you to know that life is resplendent – that every year you will learn, and bloom, and lament, and hurt, and you will go on adventures, and life will blow you away.

You have roots, and a core, and a heart, and you will sprout and develop, and I will always be there, to nourish you and love you, and it will never, ever feel like an obligation. It is a privilege, my son. You are an absolute privilege.

Love,

Mama

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I Am

Laying It Bare…

I wrote this post on Facebook over the weekend:

The Invitation - Exceprt

“Sometimes I get a little obsessive with songs, or poems, and I listen to them or read them, over and over, until I’ve got everything I can out of them, or they’ve at least sunk in.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been reading ‘The Invitation’ by Oriah, Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder, and I love it, all of it, and I’ve got this verse playing on loop in my head, and in particular this line: “I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.”

Can you?

Because I’ve realised I can.

Because being genuine – not betraying who I truly am, or my soul – might not make me the best person in the world, by some standards or rules, but it makes me the only one I’m happy to live with. Being fake – especially to myself – is just not an option. I’ve always been ok with that, but I’ve doubted it a little recently.

Earlier this year, I wrote a thing, and one of the lines in it was this: “People will tell you to ‘be yourself’ but in order to do so, you’ve got to get really comfortable with who you genuinely are.”

Are you?

Because I’ve realised I am.

Even if that means disappointing another to be true to myself.

I really, really am.”

I do that kind of thing, sometimes – post a thought, or an opinion, occasionally a rant.

There’s no real rhyme or reason to what I post, other than feeling a certain way in a certain moment. It’s a free pour, out of my brain, to my little community of people, partly in the hope that some of the words might mean something to them – that they might help them, or inspire them, or at least make them think.

Sometimes other stuff happens instead.

Sometimes people don’t like what I write, or say.

Maybe it hits a nerve for them, or maybe it confronts (or more likely affronts) them.

I’m not sure.

This morning my phone rang and it was someone telling me they’d read my post, and that I was wrong. They told me all the reasons I was wrong. And then the reasons why I was selfish.

I chuckled, a bit. Mostly because I know I’m one of the least selfish people in the world, but paradoxically, and this was kind of the point of my post, I can also be terribly selfish, and I’m ok with that. I’m more than ok with that.

I know you’re not supposed to say that.

I know you’re supposed to say that you spend your entire life in service of others; of people, the greater good, of tasks and checklists. That you put everyone, and everything, first, and lag behind, hoping to catch a break or take a breath. And even if you know who or how you really are, I know you’re meant to deny it, and pretend. Pretend like you are that person you’re ‘supposed’ to be.

But I can’t do that.

I’ve never been wired to do that.

And if there’s anything I know, it’s that you’ve got to love yourself first.

For me, that means being true to who I am. Even if that means disappointing someone else. Even if that makes me selfish.

I am no good to anyone, or anything, any other way.

Jane Caro - It's Important To Be Brave

Today someone shared this Jane Caro article on Facebook, and I read it and nodded. It is much more important to be brave, than nice. And people are very afraid of offending others. And saying what they think. And none of that fazes me at all.

I definitely don’t ever intend to offend anyone, but if someone is a little disgruntled after reading something I’ve written, there’s not a single part of me that is concerned about that.

It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that I can’t, and won’t, suppress my thoughts because they don’t align with someone elses.

Part of what I do, as a writer, means putting a fair bit of myself out there. And while there is a great deal that I haven’t yet written about (my childhood, my challenges, my pretty traumatic labour experience, to name a few), there is a lot that I have. And I know that if I want to be the best writer I can be – and, more importantly, be true to who I am – then I can’t filter my thoughts.

If I factored in every opinion, and expectation, I’d likely never write a thing.

And let’s be honest; writing is one of the most selfish, indulgent things you can do. Especially when it’s about yourself, or your life.

That people even read what I write still blows me away. With all the words in all the world, the fact that a small percentage of people read mine with what precious time they have is kind of incredible.

But I don’t really write for them. I write for me. And, I suspect, that’s part of the reason people keep coming back; because I’m not trying to be perfect – something I most definitely am not. I’m only trying, every day, to be the best me I can be. And I think sharing parts of who I am can maybe help other people be brave, or at least be themselves, unashamedly.

Something I’m conscious of is that not every story is my story – even the ones that do have a lot of me in them. And while I’ll always be true to myself, I’m aware that not everyone I cross paths with has signed up to have their life chronicled, or their thoughts aired, and I respect that, with every ounce of consideration I have.

But it’s ok for me to be raw, out there. To say, or write, the things I don’t think enough people do. I can handle the negative feedback and comments (and even the phone calls).

But I don’t think I can stomach the judgement.

I think people that say things that are truthful – even if those things aren’t necessarily pretty – shouldn’t be torn down, but maybe instead given a high-five, or at least a thumbs up.

Not because of any other reason than it is brave.

It requires, no matter how often you’ve done it before, an unflinching exploration of boldness.

And not enough people are bold. Or brave.

And the more we tear down people when they try to be, the less likely they are to lay anything bare.

And we need to lay bare; to unlatch and throw wide open the window on who we are, so we can make it easier for other people to be who they are.

I’m never going to stop doing that; even when it’s not pretty. Even when it’s brash.

Being who you genuinely are, and being ok with that, is brave and it is bold.

And that’s all I need, and want, to be.

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I Am, I Do, I Know

Why I’ll Hop On The Bus. Every Damn Time.

Living life without fear, or comfort

I was chatting to my friend Steve the other night and we got talking about the idea of being ‘comfortable’.

I told him, without a moment’s hesitation, that I don’t do comfortable.

He nodded and said, ‘Comfortable makes me nervous.’

Me too, matey, me too.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint over the past couple of days exactly what it is that frightens me about the familiar; the routine, the security, the safety.

I haven’t quite got there, so I’m doing that thing I do when I try to figure something out; I free pour out of my brain onto a blank page and then post it online for the internet to read.

I get why comfortable is enticing; it’s relaxing, and comfy, and easy. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to, or needing to, be comfortable.

But I find myself sitting back, listening to people bang on about being comfortable, with my head slightly tilted to the right, thinking, ‘Yeah, not for me.’

I talk to a lot of people. And I see too many of them stifled by fear. And insecurity. And I think it sometimes stems from a desire to clutch onto what’s comfortable; the things they know, the people they know, the world they orbit.

It’s all very nice. It all makes perfect sense.

I just don’t think it’s enough for me.

I just don’t think I can even pretend it’s within me to be like that.

The other day, I went to a festival with my friends. We were waiting for our bus to depart the city that morning, and there was this guy, holding us up, because he was waiting for his friends to turn up and board the bus. For whatever reason, they were a no show.

I was looking at him out the window willing him to get on the damn bus. Partly because the sun was shining and I just wanted to be in the Yarra Valley already, but also because here was this fully grown adult, with the potential to have an amazing day right in front of him – literally a few steps in front of him – and he was going to miss out on that because his friends weren’t there.

‘Get on the bus, mate.’

He turned around and walked off.

One of my friends asked, ‘Would you get on the bus?’

Me and Teagan, my sister from another mister, replied, without a moment’s hesitation.

‘Absolutely.’

There is no doubt about it. With the upmost love and respect for my friends, if they left me standing in front of a bus, on my own, I would hop on it. I would hop on it, every single time, without question.

Maybe I’d have a dead boring day. Or maybe I’d find some people and talk. Maybe I’d learn something new. Maybe I’d make a new friend. Maybe I’d dance with them. Maybe the direction of my life would change in some remarkable way. Or maybe I’d just sit back and listen to some music in the sun and think, ‘Isn’t this lovely.’

I know that our natural inclination is to run to what’s warm and comfortable, but you’ve got to feel the cold sometimes. Every now and again, you’ve got to do things that completely terrify you. Well, you don’t have to, of course. But I know I do.

I purposely make myself do things I’m terrified of. Mostly because I know if I don’t, I risk becoming everything I know I don’t want to be. And because the other option – that comfortable one – is far more terrifying to me than anything else I could ever be afraid of.

Not allowing myself to fall into a trap of being comfortable has resulted in some pretty marvellous things. Like every now and again, I make myself walk into a room without the comfort of knowing a single person. Doing that is no big deal. But you’d be surprised at how many people won’t. I’ve made some great new friends this year. And they stem from that one, single action. From that one, single choice.

I’m still not exactly sure why comfort irks me. I’ll keep thinking and get back to you.

For now, what I think is that maybe life is just a series of choices we make. Maybe it’s as simple as choosing between getting on the bus, or staying well off it.

Whatever choice you make is fine, and it’s yours.

I just don’t think I’ll let the bus drive off without me. Even when I don’t really feel like hopping on. Even when the ride is sure to be bumpy. Even when the passengers don’t seem all that friendly. I’m going to keep getting on the bus. I want to see where the ride takes me.

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I Know

Mistakes.

At the very end of last year, on the final day of December, I was lying on a futon, in a charming apartment four storeys up in Bronte, NSW, the waft of hot chips from the fish shop below seeping through the open windows, the waves from the beach crashing in the background, and I was reading this quote:

Neil Gaiman - Make Mistakes

I love Neil Gaiman. I love his attitude. I love his wise words. And I love this quote.

So I posted it. I posted it online because it seemed fitting. It seemed like a gentle reminder to not strive for perfection, but rather to strive for evolution.

I stumbled upon it again tonight. Lying in my bed, with the sounds of spring outside my door.

It’s almost October. That’s quite a few months since the last time I read this quote. Heck, it’s almost a year. If I close my eyes, I’m right back there, on that futon, in Bronte, with the strange taste of hot oil and the sea in my mouth.

The days have hurtled into months and this quote found me again, tonight, of all nights, after a weekend spent drawing metaphorical lines in the sand.

I don’t reflect a lot but when I do, I reflect with gusto. Looking back over the year so far, I can confidently say this:

“Neil, I’ve nailed it.”

I’ve made some good mistakes this year. I’ve made a few bad ones. I’ve made things and broken things and mended things. I’ve kept moving, mostly forward, occasionally sideways, without ever freezing.

I’ve learned. Goodness, the things I’ve learned. And I’ve lived. I’ve lived boldly and passionately and without any reservations. I’ve changed. I am not the exact same person as I was on that last night in December, lying on that futon.

I think that’s a good thing.

I think mistakes are good things.

Despite the overwhelming bad wrap they get, mistakes, messy though they sometimes may be, make you grow. They force you to grow.

Some of my mistakes have been insignificant, some have been diabolical, but they’ve all helped me evolve into who I am, right now, right here, lying on my bed.

I feel fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to even make the mistakes I have this year.

And that’s the thing about mistakes; people try to avoid them. They try to excuse them. But the very best thing you can do is embrace them. Own them.

Mistakes make you.

They don’t define you.

They make you.

Who you choose to be, who you get to be, after them, well, that’s yours for the taking.

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I Am

Over (It) And Out

I’m done.

I’m throwing my hands up in the air and calling it a week.

It’s been a day, I’ll tell ya. And this all but tipped me over the edge:

Screen Shot - Sandi Sieger

I opened this email and without a word of a lie it took all my strength to not throw my laptop across the café, over the heads of some unsuspecting people eating lunch, and launch it straight into the feature brick wall.

You may think I’m overreacting. And, yes, perhaps today my ranty pants are pulled up a little higher than usual. And, yes, I’m about to unload a tirade of first-world problems, but I DON’T GIVE A PHUCK.

I’m over it.

I don’t care how nice someone’s manners are – I’m over people I don’t know emailing me out of nowhere asking for shit, like it’s expected I’ll trip over my own feet racing to the keyboard to make their job substantially easier.

You know what else I’m over?

Everyone talking about this cold snap that’s hitting us this weekend as though IT’S THE END OF THE FUCKING EARTH.

Guys, WE CAN HANDLE TEN DEGREES. Sure, it’ll be fresh, but it’s nothing an extra layer or two can’t solve.

While I’m at it, can we all stop talking about winter, in general? I don’t know about where you grew up, but where I did, every year, for about three or so months, give or take, it gets cold. There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about it. A usual year goes something like this:

TOO FUCKING HOT.

STILL TOO FUCKING HOT.

AH, LOVELY.

WHAT A DAY.

NICE.

MILD.

LOTS OF LEAVES EVERYWHERE.

CRISP MORNINGS, SMASHING DAYS, COOL NIGHTS.

COLD.

COLD.

COLDER.

EVEN COLDER.

MILD.

NICE.

WHAT A DAY.

AH, LOVELY.

WARM.

HOT.

HOT.

HOTTER.

EVEN HOTTER.

Feel free to copy and paste that shit somewhere so you can refer to it in future. Print it out and stick it on your fridge, or pin board, if you’re so inclined. Give or take some slight variations, that’s about the extent of it.

Now that’s sorted, how about this?

I went into three shoe stores today, looking for a new pair of leather ankle boots.

Tell me this: when I say, “Hi, can I please try these in a size 10?” what does that mean to you?

Does it mean come out with multiple pairs of size 9 shoes?

NO.

Does it mean bring out a pair of knee-high boots in an 8?

NO.

Does it mean try and up-sell me some god-awful zebra print hogwash?

NO.

Ok, moving on.

Have you ever tried to have a (semi-important) conversation with someone who is juggling about forty-seven things on the other end of the line?

I absolutely love trying to lock shit down when the person I’m speaking to is ordering lunch, grocery shopping, spinning plates and training a monkey whilst on speaker phone.

Yo, people with phones, this might seem completely absurd, but IF YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMETHING, it’s perfectly ok, entirely reasonable, hell even somewhat expected to NOT ANSWER YOUR PHONE.

Just let it ring. Let it ring right out to the very end of R.Kelly’s Ignition and go to voicemail. Call them back when you CAN TALK.

It’s not that I don’t love being told ‘hold on’, ‘just a minute’, ‘one sec’, ‘hold two’, ‘hang on’ every third syllable it’s more that I FUCKING HATE IT.

You know what else?

Last night I went to see a play with one of my good friends. To the left of me sat this mountain of a man who TOOK HIS LEFT BOOT OFF FOUR TIMES during the play. We were in the front row. Insanely talented people were acting their hearts out. And this guy kept leaning forward, leaning back, leaning forward, leaning back, left shoe on, left shoe off, left shoe on, left shoe off. To the right of my friend was a woman, and it’s fair to say she had a lot going on, the least of which was coughing up a phlegm ball in middle of the production. Just casually chugging back some meds, clearing her throat and half of dinner. All of this after we had to edge our way into the theatre through a cluster of people STANDING IN THE DOORWAY.

Yeah, that’s right, STANDING IN THE DOORWAY.

No worries, guys. That’s cool. Just grab your tickets and BLOCK THE WHOLE FUCKING ENTRANCE. It’s not like there’s a heap of people behind you trying to make their way in. Maybe while you’re holding everyone up you can talk loudly about shit no one cares about, just for kicks.

Speaking of kicks, I bought (another) sweet pair last night. There is absolutely nothing infuriating about them. And when I look at them I think of people that say ‘money can’t buy happiness’ and I laugh. For the most part, money doesn’t buy a single iota of happiness, but there’s the small part where it does. Like when I’m caressing, I mean using, my 27 inch iMac, I know what real love is.

It’s about 27 inches wide and it’s amazing.

But I digress.

My left eye started twitching earlier. I’m not sure if it’s from the emails or the people talking incessantly about the weather or the sales assistants or the phone-calls or the people at the theatre, but I tell ya what, here’s a diagram I think you’ll find handy. Feel free to save it or print it out. You can stick it next to my yearly weather chart on your fridge or pin board. It’s a really solid and entirely accurate pyramid of what to expect in life. A gentle reminder.

Spend as much of your time as possible in and with people in the top triangle. You will have to, on occasion, whether you like it or not, veer out of it from time to time, and when you do, please call me (but not on speaker phone while you are juggling forty-seven things) so we can find a mutual place to twitch together and possibly throw some shit.

Over (it) and out.

Smart People, Stupid Fucks

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I Am, I Do

I Like…

I Like...

I like being around people who make me hungry for life.

I like doing things without knowing how they’ll turn out.

I like tiny interesting choices, because I know they make all the difference.

I like dinner for breakfast.

I like talking to strangers.

I like celebrating every little victory, because I know that’s what makes a win.

I like dancing.

I like it when my blood races.

I like it when people randomly remember completely insignificant things about my life, because I can then put them in the ‘keeper’ file.

I like long dinners, with wine.

I like words, and how putting different ones next to each other creates a rhythm, without there being any need for music.

I like listening to people, and their stories, because it’s the best way I learn.

I like how once you’ve experienced something new, you can never go back.

I like honesty.

I like the seconds, between moments, where the unsaid lingers, because anything could happen.

I like optimism.

I like people who have the courage to be themselves, without any apologies or excuses.

I like being afraid, not all the time, but quite a bit of the time, because then I know I’m doing it right.

I like it when you want catch a wave, and there’s that brief moment where you can either get sucked under or ride it, and all you can taste is salt, and all you can hear is your heart pounding, ba ba bum, over and over in your ears, and then all of a sudden you soar, and it feels like you’re free, and everything slows down, and you look up to see the bright yellow sun, and it’s kind of blinding.

I really like that.

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I Am, I Know

I Just Don’t Know How To Be Any Different

In The Thick Of It Blog Comment

Cheryl left this comment on my last blog, asking how I go about self-care when it comes to wearing my, let’s call it, ‘cape of no fear’.

I’m not really sure how to answer or where to even start.

I realise that’s incredibly unhelpful, so I’m going to try and break it down.

I’m a really positive person. And when I say really, I mean r – e – a – l – l – y. Like, there’s almost something wrong with me really.

I believe it’s one of my greatest assets, but also one of my biggest downfalls.

It’s where a lot of my strength comes from, but it also makes me blind as hell.

And it’s a double-edged sword.

When shit hits the fan, when things go wrong, when nothing feels right, when people screw me over, my ability to see the positive is ridiculous. My knack of finding a shining light in everything and – to a certain extent – everyone, is outrageous. But it’s all I know. Why I am like that – why I think like that – is beyond me. I just don’t know how to be any different.

The problem with that is sometimes I’m a little out of reality. I don’t think ahead too much, and I don’t plan enough, and I get kicked in the guts more often than I’d like because…because…because in my head, it’s different.

I’m not stupid.

I’m not out of touch.

I’m not in la la land.

I’m quite reasonable.

I’m pretty intuitive.

It’s just that I always always come out the other end of every hiccup, every challenge… happy.

I told you. There’s almost something wrong with me.

I still go through the motions.

I feel it.

I feel everything.

Some days I just want to pack it all in. Other days you can’t tear me away from my computer. Some days I want to move to a tropical island and live off coconuts. Other days I have five coffees and six meetings and I swear sparks fly out of my shoes when I’m sashaying down the street. Some days I wake up and wish I could go back to sleep for 72 hours. Other days I’m up at 5am buzzing. Some days it takes the best part of twenty hours for me to tick two things off my to-do list. Other days my to-do list literally cannot keep up with me. Some days things hurt. Other days things don’t.

Sometimes I can feel myself starting to harden. When I’ve been burnt or disappointed. And then I remember that while it’s hard feeling so much, it’s better than feeling nothing at all. And while on the inside everything feels like it’s crumbling, it’s really not. And when all I want to do is curl up on the couch and get lost in something, it’s better to get dressed and show up.

For me, anyway.

I realised, actually, I decided, years ago, that I didn’t want to be the kind of person that let the bad things in life determine the kind of person they would be.

People often confuse my positivity with an assumption that the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced is a broken fingernail. It’s so ignorant of them. I don’t subscribe to the idea that if you’ve had a tough life – challenges, hurdles, obstacles – you need to be bitter about it.

What I know is that what’s happened has happened, and, for me, that means one of two things: let all the bad, all the hard, all the really messed up stuff hold me back or let it set me free. Let it bring me down or let it make me soar. Let it make me despondent or let it make me grow.

I always choose the second option.

I don’t know why.

I just don’t know how to be any different.

So, Cheryl, for you, or anyone else out there that feels the highest of highs, but also the lowest of lows, know this:

It has to be that way. As long as you have some of both, and some days that fall smack bang in the middle, you’re doing it right.

I need to feel low-spirited at times, because it makes the times when I’m towering over everything feel so much better. I need to feel angry and enraged and saddened at times, because it makes me feel. It makes me a better person. A better writer. And it makes the times I’m elated so much more valuable.

Some days you’ll want to Netflix your life away. You should. Some days you’ll want to be alone. So be alone. Some days you’ll just want to stare out a window for a while. So do exactly that.

We’ve got to stop permeating the idea that every day needs to be perfect and well-balanced.

It’s rubbish.

The truth is some days are good and some days are bad. Some days are easy and some days are hard. Some days make you and some days destroy you.

They’re just days. It’s just life.

And all I know is the difference between the people that are happy and the people that aren’t is the way they choose to be.

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I Am

You’re One Of Two People In This World, I’m Sure Of It

I’ve never understood people that live for the weekend.

Who doesn’t love a Wednesday?

Who can’t make the most of a Thursday?

Who lives for two days out of seven?

I’ve never understood people that are afraid to say what they’re thinking.

Who can keep it in?

Who can stew on letters and words?

Who can resist and refrain?

I’ve never understood people that worry about things that haven’t happened.

Who can be troubled by a hypothetical?

Who can limit their lives by fearing something that may not even occur?

Who can?

There’s so much I don’t understand.

I’m scared and you’re scared and we’re all scared.

They’re over there whining and worrying and the only difference between them and us is that we pull on our boots and step out onto the frost covered streets and give a damn.

Give a damn about life.

Give a damn that it’s Wednesday. Because Wednesdays are for living.

We make the choice between sitting back and marching on, and we choose to march on.

To discover new places; bars on corners and barns in fields, and meet new people – the kind that challenge and captivate – and we make it up as we go along, without any idea of how it’ll turn out. And it’s good. It’s brilliant and stirring and I think it’s what it means to be alive and they don’t know.

They don’t know what they’re missing out on.

That feeling; when nervous energy and apprehension and excitement combine in the pit of your stomach.

You’re one of two people in this world, I’m sure of it.

You either run from that feeling or you live for it.

You push it away or you embrace it.

You hide from it or wear it like a cloak.

Sometimes it’s heavy,

itchy,

sometimes it’s even too big,

but it’s a cloak I always want,

pinned on my shoulders,

engulfing and enveloping me.

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