Monday, December 10, 2018

Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed

The more time that passes, the more I see through the pain and ugliness (which was not insignificant) to the things that remain. The way I changed and the things you taught me. The good things. The marks of love that aren’t scars.

And even though I don’t write this for you, I write it nonetheless. Because hatred never ceases by hatred. Because I want to chronicle the beauty. Because I want to thank you.

For the aversion to things that gather dust. For packing light. For minimalism.

For music with words: The National, and Ryan Adams, and Tallest Man on Earth, and John Legend.

For eye contact during intimacy. For never going to bed on an argument. For always saying goodnight.

For telling me to hold my power. To stop apologising. To pander less.

For showing me it was possible to never get bored of someone. That such relationships exist. That I should settle for nothing less.

For the joy, and terror, and challenge, and boredom, and sweet bliss of parenting. It may be the only experience of motherhood I have.

And the small things: for teaching me how to take a corner at speed, use cruise control to avoid a speeding fine, edit my own self tests, deal with shitty clients, negotiate a salary.

And above all…

For believing in my ability to make a living as a writer.
For pushing me through my own wall of fear.
For giving me this greatest gift. It changed my life.

And despite the cool touch of disappointment and regret that lingers, for all of this, I thank you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

You do not have to be good

Someone I dated briefly implied to me, when we were breaking up, that I wasn’t ambitious enough. That because I hadn’t written or directed anything in the time we’d been together, I was somehow lacking.

And this has stayed with me.

And stayed with me.

And stays with me.

It climbs into my bed at night and shares my shower in the morning.

It whispers to me as I sit on the couch, eating popcorn and drinking wine, after a day spent writing words for other people.

It’s under my skin and in my pores. I stink of it.

It’s eating at me in that way only artistic doubts can. Thrown out so carelessly by someone who exists on another plane of society. Where jobs are easier to find. Where hard work and talent logically lead to employment. Where employment equals money. Where professional success is not so intrinsically linked to emotion and vulnerability.

And despite being told by friends that my drive is inspiring, despite being approached by strangers in the industry for advice on how to juggle two careers, despite owning 2 homes as a single, female artist… I can’t shake this feeling of finally having been found out. With one statement, I’ve been reduced to a place where I question all I’ve achieved in life. And how much I matter.

Which I concede is more a result of how I, as an artist, view myself, than any cruel intention on his part. And is possibly also tied to several massive changes in my life over the past 18 months.

But still.

And so reading this wonderful article today by Ann Dowd, and through that, finding this poem by Mary Oliver, is the greatest gift the internet has given me recently.

Thanks world. Sometimes you know exactly what I need.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

On jet lag

Jet lag is not dissimilar to a hangover, but without the accompanying guilt or self-blame. I am confused and tired, foggy and forgetful, emotional and numb. And full. So very full. But with what?

I sit in a mediocre pub near my house, drowning the prog rock out with headphones playing Florence & the Machine, and my chest hurts. Because despite my 26 hour flight, it feels as if some vital part of me has been left on the other side of the world.

And I think of Poland’s grey streets and brown buildings and trees that rain tears in the wind. And the cafe with atrocious service that serves the most perfect breakfast of French bread with an egg and a pot of jam.

And the way the men could make their interest in me known without saying a word; the respectful simplicity of it.

And the theatre. My God, the theatre. The impeccable artistry of the performers with their 4 to 5 years of gruelling training. And the realisation that with great performers, even an average show is watchable.

And I sit here and try not to cry. Because while these inner west streets are my home, I’ve been shown something that is so primally *mine* that my body is screaming to be taken back.

Since childhood, whenever I walk through a field on a sunny day, something within me expands and a nostalgic feeling presses against the inside of my chest and skull, drawing tears. I’ve never understood it.

But on this trip, when walking through a meadow on the way to Radegast Station, this same feeling overwhelmed me. And I understood.

My body had been looking for this land my entire life without me realising it. The body remembers. It’s remarkable.

And someone I greatly respect said to me today, “Life is a mere blink, you know that. Your spiritual home is Poland and Poland will nurture and enable your passion. If you don’t give it a chance, it will haunt you in later years.” And I think, maybe he’s right.

Maybe this striving towards some goal that I’m not even sure I care about—success, children, an open-plan home with mid-century furniture—is just a distraction. It’s an idea of satisfaction that convinces me I’m doing what I love. It’s a path born of expectation, not the heart.

And so

And so.

And so.

And now.