I’m going to set the scene for you…
I’m smiling as I write this. Lunch was a few hours ago, but I feel like my food baby will stick around until tomorrow. I can hear the clanger of cutlery so dinner must be soon, I smell noodles, not sure I want to eat just yet though. So, I write.
It’s a few hours until my 35th birthday, last year I spent the majority of it travelling over the Tasman Sea as I made my way to Melbourne. My book was almost finished, in fact I added another chapter. The truth is that we never really know great sadness, or happiness, until we get there. Then another moment comes along that may surpass it - what seemed like the end of the world (or the giddiest of heights), well, isn’t forever.
I’m trying to live in the moment, for the best moments are now.
Black bags in a heap
There is a level of sadness when you find yourself throwing away photographs. Having bridged the gap of film and the digital era, I know that once I’ve thrown away these photographs...they’re gone. When you hit delete, there are ways to recover the file if you are quick enough, or smart enough to Google the right instructions at the time anyway.
What am I talking about? My wedding photos, the albums, they’re now somewhere I can’t touch ever again.
Photographs are the snapshot of a memory, and what I was throwing away were great memories...from that time at least. Faces of youthful optimism that thought forever is forever, yet looking at it from the other side, I don’t blame or begrudge her happiness. I was her after all, and yes, we were happy in those photos.
I sat on the concrete floor of my storage shed and went through the albums. The photos and albums were our wedding gift from his aunty and uncle after all. I had this conversation with his aunty a few months ago - I asked for her blessing to let them go. She gave it, and with love. I thanked her, but it still took me a few months to overcome that feeling of anxiety that I really can move on. No, that I am moving on.
It was a split second decision to take the CD out of the black bag, I don’t know why, but I did. So, somewhere in a plastic storage box are digital files of that day. I’m OK with that.
You can’t reverse engineer relationships
Life fascinates me, I like to know how things work. Not in the overly technical nuts and bolts sense, more about how you can work backwards to learn how the finished product connects to the seed. That fascinates me, not the seed or the finished product, but the actual process.
That curiosity has served me well, though not so much in my love life. I’ve learned that I could read and learn about people as much as I needed to satiate that thirst for knowledge - relationships aren’t meant to be reverse engineered.
Reverse engineering, in its simplest definition means to take apart or analyse a product or method to essentially make it better. So, why can’t we do that for relationships? Each relationship is unique - in the people, your stage in life, the environment...how can you replicate all those infinite variables? Not only that, reverse engineering requires an end product, a predicted outcome.
Can you take lessons from past relationships, learn from them, so you can be better in the next one? Definitely. Actually, I recommend it.
Be brave little one
I’ve been a hermit for the last month. Dating hasn’t been on the radar, not hating on men, I’ve just been really enjoying my own company. I realised something that hadn’t occurred to me before, I’ve never lived by myself (except when I’ve travelled overseas). When I finally moved out of my parents’ home at 26, I moved in with my now ex-husband, and when we separated, I moved back in with my parents.
This is also the first time in a long time I’ve felt like I can be myself - not to live up to what I thought other people expected me to be. How many live our lives trying to be someone else’s opinion of ourselves? Sadly, probably a lot more than people want to admit.
My friends, Sam and John, gave me these silver hair clips with an arrow on each one. They said it was so that a part of them would travel with me overseas, to join me on my adventures. Everytime I wear one, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come, and to focus my energy on treating life as my greatest adventure.
I often write about romantic relationships, or my lack of, then one day I realised that maybe this gravel road I’m walking down is the Universe’s way of slowing me down - to understand what really matters and what I value. As I stand at this fork in the road, I finally know.
There have been so many times I’ve created stories in my head of what role I thought that guy I was dating needed to play in my life. They say that when you’re too busy seeking that one thing you think you want, you can miss out on something better. I’ve walked away from nice guys because all I saw were barriers, because let’s face it, our imagination is nothing compared to the Universe. Letting go is about quieting the ego, you know, a bit of woozah, and saying, OK I really don’t have all the answers and I’m OK with that.
So, what do I wish for on my birthday? I’m wishing for courage - the courage to say I’m sorry. To that guy I walked away from, because I got scared, because I couldn’t see beyond the barriers. To thank him for the lessons. I’m smiling as I write this. This may sound weird, but it actually feels good to know I got this one wrong.
Oh, be brave little one. Be brave.
Oh, Be Brave Little One. Be Brave. is an extract from my second book to be released circa 2019, and the sequel to STUCK - Friends, Lovers & The Obscurity of In Between (May 2017).