Striving for Neutral

I’m sick of feeling guilty.
Guilty for partaking in a necessity of life.
Guilty for enjoying.
Guilty for ‘indulging’.
Guilty for nourishing my body.

I’m sick of telling myself I will enjoy today
and ‘get back on track tomorrow’,
then feeling guilty for consuming.
Guilty for living.  Guilty about food.
Fuel, fuelling the guilt.  Guilt. 

I’m sick of the dissatisfaction, the internal battle,
the failure, the negative thoughts.
I’m sick of the guilt. 

My poor, poor body.  After all it allows me to do
and I treat it like a crime –
unfairly, poorly, frowned upon, guilty.
Would one treat their best friend in this way?
Yet we constantly treat our own flesh and done
like, crap.

 I’m sick of feeling
as though I need to completely love my body – love every part of it.
There is not one element of life (or anyone’s life) that is loved fully.
There’s always room for improvement,
always room to learn more,
be better, play better, act better,
always something or someone better. 

I’m sick of trying to strive for the best, in me.
Treating my body as a project.
Treating my body as an unattainable 1st place.
Internal competitiveness.
Battle for perfection, in every aspect.
Except there is no definition, no criteria, for an A+.
So how does one perfect something with no definition?

My body allows me to walk,
and run,
and laugh,
and feel,
and touch,
and cook,
and write,
and create,
and love. 

For now, I’m not striving for perfection.
For now, I’m not going to feel guilty.
For now, I’m going to treat my body as neutral.
My toes, are toes.
My arms, are arms.
A stomach, is a stomach.
My thighs, are thighs.
It is what it is.  Things are always changing, moving, evolving.

For now, I am me;
My body, is just that – a body.
I neither love nor loath.

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Lost

I am lost.  I am a single being in this universe.  A single creature on this earth.  I am a single human, ultimately just a bunch of atoms, some hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.  That’s it.  Made of the elements.  Just like the rest of the world, I am particles.  I am no better than the ocean, the land, the other animals in this world.  I am the same as the furniture that occupies homes.  I am no more, or less, than the ‘stuff’ that clutters people lives. 

It’s no wonder one can feel completely lost, beneath all the ‘stuff’ within life.  Physical stuff, metaphorical stuff, mental stuff.  In this universe filled with stuff, I don’t know where I want to be, what I want to be doing, who I want to be, who I want to be surrounded by.  I am lost.  Confused

I am a single being, made of multiple particles.  I am a lonely bunch of particles swimming in a big, deep, vast sea of countless particles.  I am lost.  No one is looking for me.  And I don’t know where to start searching.  I don’t know what to begin to search for.  I am longing for something.  Longing for something special, longing for desire, longing for purpose, longing for peace.  In a world full of ‘stuff’ I am lost.

I need to pick a path, and follow it, until it feels right.  Or wrong.  Either way, one will only know once you begin a journey.  Lost.  Lonely.  Sometimes lonely in a good way.  Sometimes lonely in a lonely way.  To begin a search is the only answer to fill the void, to fill the lost.  To rid the lost.  To be found.  To find. 

When physically lost in the street, you stop, breath, think, remember, ask, and if all else fails, just pick a direction and run with it – through the journey all eventually becomes clear, the destination soon becomes irrelevant.

“It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

The following is an article I wrote to feature in my ex-High Schools Careers Newsletter.  Enjoy!

It feels like last week that I was eating lunch in the Piazza, evidently, time really does fly as seven years have passed since!  Through my high schooling career I was the ‘well-rounded’ type student who was good at most things, but not ‘the best’ at one particular thing.  This made selecting a career path difficult.  I enjoyed organic chemistry, loved a go at indoor soccer, thrived on creative writing and dabbled in the performing arts.  No matter how many times I frantically flicked through the University careers book, funnily enough, I couldn’t find a potential profession that encompassed chemistry, sports, theatre and creative thinking.  Upon reflecting on personality traits and personal values there were, however, a few things I did know:

  1. I enjoy learning and being challenged with new concepts
  2. I am active and want to be on my feet most of the day (the thought of a desk job makes my skin crawl)
  3. I find the human body and its functions fascinating
  4. I relish communicating with multiple people daily

These four points led me to selecting a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of South Australia as my first preference.  After graduating from Samaritan College in 2011, and being accepted into a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Uni SA, City East Campus, I moved to Adelaide in 2012 to begin a new journey. 

My first year away from home, and studying in University, had its challenges.  I had bouts of home sickness, countless phone calls home to mum with questions like “how do I wash a woolen jumper?” and multiple late night study sessions memorising the horrendous amount of muscles in the forearm. 

My first three years of tertiary study I resided at a residential college, St Mark’s College, which was without a doubt one of the keys to my success and love of university life.  If it wasn’t for this supportive environment I would not have flourished within University and adult life.   

My fourth, and final, year of University was tough.  I moved out of St Mark’s College into a share home, I had 3x jobs (to afford daily living and rent), was elected the President of the Physiotherapy Student Society, and had multiple University placements throughout the year.  Mentally and emotionally, this year was hard.  It was even more challenging as I refused to accept, and address, that my mental health was poor.  Through my final year of university I struggled with a high degree of anxiety and anxiety attacks.  In an effort to improve my mental health I found a creative outlet (outside of University and work), I started a blog.  To publish some of my creative writing took courage, but I truly believe this was a vital step to addressing my anxiety issues.  To this day, I still publish blogs and spend a lot of time writing.  This part of my journey was the first lifelong tool I developed to keep my anxious behaviour at bay and prevent burn out.

After graduating University at the end of 2015 I was hungry for change!  I am a firm believer of ‘life starts outside your comfort zone’, so I did just that, I leaped outside my comfort – right into Tasmanian soil to start my career as a Physiotherapist.  February of 2016 I started my Physiotherapy career at the Launceston General Hospital as a permanent, rotational, physiotherapist.  Through my rotations within the hospital I quickly found a passion for the acute sector and respiratory physiotherapy.  This has recently led me to the appointment of the Senior Physiotherapist in the Emergency Medical Unit – where I am often the first points of contact for patients.  I (quite literally) jump out of bed each morning, I thrive on the fast paced nature of the emergency department, I love communicating and making medical decisions as part of a multi-disciplinary team (doctors, occupational therapist, social workers etc.) and I adore the new challenges that come with being a senior member of a team. 

At the ripe age of 24 I have many aspirations I want to attempt and/or conquer, to name a few – I want to run a marathon, open a florist or café, visit art galleries in Barcelona, work with aboriginal communities in the APY lands, become a university educator.  Someone once told me that the average person will change careers up to seven times during their working life – how exciting!  Whether I am working as a Physiotherapist at the age of 50, or running a florist in Spain, nothing will have been a waste of time or energy – every opportunity, encounter, relationship holds something special and valuable.  “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

The Mid Twenties

About to enter the ‘mid’ territory.  Soon to be no longer 23.  No longer within the security blanket of the ‘early 20s’.  Officially within the ‘mid’ territory.   

24.  My mother was married.  My parents owned a house.  Thomas Edison had already changed the universe by inventing the light bulb.  Mozart, already premiered an opera and was an international success.  Leonardo DiCaprio, was well and truly breaking into the film industry.  Lleyton Hewitt had already made 24 careers titles…

And here I am about to officially enter my mid-twenties, fumbling (slightly less) through each day of my eclectic range of commitments, which I guess we call life.  

Sure I know many nuances about the human body, can translate spoken Greek to English, I can perform a head-stand for an abnormally long time, I can even knit you a (holey) scarf, and don’t forget make a mean batch of refried beans!  But I know little about the things that really matter.  I am terrible at expressing my emotions and asking for what I want.  I know o-so-little about meaningful, non-toxic, relationships.  I know zero about what my true vocation may be.  Sure I have passion, by the truck-load, but what am I truly passionate about?  I find it hard to exercise my right to say ‘no’ – which often leads to situations that I find mediocre.   I still have not mastered how to make myself vulnerable… Perhaps this is why I know so little about the things that matter most.

Whilst the mere age of 24, at this very moment in my life, seems a means to an end *insert dramatic woe here* – instead I can (and should) view it as the beginning of a long, fruitful, windey road.  Growth is challenging and takes initiative and guts and plenty of oomph… and at the lush age of (almost) 24 I can safely say I’ve got all those things in vast quantities! 

One day I’ll invent my very own light-bulb and shine bright, just not yet at (soon to be) 24. 

Birthday Wishes to A Best Friend

If I could chose any super power it’d be to stop time momentarily.  You see I have this crazy dream where you and I are together and I press “PAUSE” on the remote of life.  Time reaches a halt, a momentary stand-still. 

In my dream you and I we are not anywhere special – it is simply just you and I.  We’re in our grungiest clothes, our hair unwashed and artfully sculpted into a bun, the heater is on, we’re definitely in the kitchen, our home socks gracefully skimming the kitchen tiles while we (you) prepare a delectable soup, and we’d (me) be pouring each other mediocre red wine into mismatching coffee mugs.  In this exact moment, I have not a worry in the world.  Light as a feather.  Floating on a cloud.  You instil such a foreign feeling within me – complete calmness.  Soothing contentment.  Something my anxious ridden body struggles with.

In this dream, we’re sitting and talking until the early hours of the morning, we only know this because the suns pink rays are beginning to cheekily peak through the lounge blinds.  Conversation flows effortlessly, like a prima ballerina couru’s across a stage.  The oversized jumpers we’re wearing, our messy hair, the holes in our socks, the cheap red wine… These all don’t matter because our friendship is special and untouchable.  It’s honest. it’s pure, it’s real.

Happiest of Birthday’s to you Sotiria.  You’re a true friend and I love you unconditionally.

You Take My Breath Away in the Least Romantic Way

You take my breath away in the least romantic way.

I love you, but despise you.  I often wonder what life would be like without you though I’m too scared to initiate the split.  

Mess.  You make me feel a mess.  You constantly make me feel powerless.  Out of control of my own life.  You make me feel helpless.  Lost.  Buried.  Even when everything is fine, you persistence makes me worry and fidget and stress.  Heart pounding, stomach churning, burning muscles, brain ticking, nail biting, fatigue… All physical manifestations of your relentless – torture

My face matches my brain – lined like a London Railway map; busy, non-stop, an organised chaos.  My mind constantly ticking away like a LOUD, old, Grandfather clock.  Old.  The way my haggard face looks.  Foggy mind and an old exterior.  Calm isn’t a word in my vocabulary.  What – is – calm?

You make breathing a conscious effort.  It’s difficult to get air into my lungs when you occupy my entire body as if I were yours for rent.  But you OWN me.  You push me around.  Your ROAR through my body like an electric current.  Though I’m slowly dimming.  I can’t recharge.  You won’t let me.

Breathing shallow, laboured, heavy.

Sometimes you make me shake, and SCREAM and HIT WALLS which only hurts me.  The vessel of your position.  The lonely prisoner in the jail you’ve created for me, within my own body.  A lifetime sentence.  I can never see the end.

Anxiety – you truly take my breath away in the least romantic way.

Real Life Issues

Growing up there were certain things that surpassed my attention, such as power in the house (except when it’s not, thanks SA Power), water flowing from the taps, my clothes being ironed and crease free, the fruit bowl always being full, all these mundane things I took for granted.  I didn’t pay attention to why or how they were always that way – they just were.  Until one day where I was forcibly dropped into this frazzled predicament people refer to as ‘real life’, I can only imagine how a baby feels when it first comes into contact with the world; blind, irritable and, well, overwhelmed (to say the least).  Inevitably all these things don’t just happen (shocker, right?), my fruit bowl is constantly scarce and I’m forever using my hair-iron to quickly de-crease my work pants (Mum, I’m sorry) on a Monday morning after foraging through a load of clean, wrinkled, clothes I remembered to wash Sunday arvo (sorry Yiayia, doing washing and jobs on the day of rest, I figure I’m going to hell anyways). 

If getting my life together were genetic, then I would be cruising!  My Mum always had the fridge stocked, the lunches packed, the cookie tin chockers with fresh, homemade, creations.  If this ‘real-life-thing’ is genetic, I skipped out on that gene.  Perhaps it’s generational, I mean, my Yiayia does her hand washing there and then when it needs to be done – not like me who waits 6 months to rack up enough delicate pieces to make it ‘worth while’ getting my hands dirty.

Paying late phone bills aside, I’m somewhat pleasantly fumbling through each day of my life, learning (slowly) to buy apples in bulk and fold my washing immediately to avoid the wrinkles all together.  It’s comforting knowing that we’re all just artfully scrambling through life, failing slightly less, day by day.  Who knows, maybe one day I’ll do my hand washing the day it needs doing (only time will tell). 

Alone

Un-ironically, as I write this entry I sit here in a cafe, sipping on a soy cappuccino.  Alone.  Before I arrived here, I enjoyed a long leisurely bike ride.  Alone.

I graduated University almost a year ago now (wowzars time flies) and secured a job over 1,600km from home in uncharted territory, I jumped at the opportunity and uprooted my life.  Alone.

As I sit here trying to discreetly lick the crusty chocolate froth from the edge of my mug (don’t act like you don’t do it too), alone, I can’t help but reflect and realise I’ve been a ‘lone-ranger’ for most of my life.  I’m no stranger (no pun intended) to my own company.  After-all, my favourite Sunday activity involves leaping into my car and driving somewhere new and treating myself to lunch (yes you guessed) – Alone.

There’s something very freeing about enjoying things alone that society portrays as being made for 2.  By spending time solitarily I’m able to focus all my energy on getting to know myself.  And you know what?  I’m good enough all by myself, I’m a valuable person in my own respect – so why wouldn’t I choose to spend a day out with me!

One of my favourite weekend rituals is observing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.  Saturday mornings at the markets, watching all the children play chasey whist simultaneously eating chocolate croissants and not getting it all over their adult-like getup – complete with sparkley boots and the latest Gorman inspired raincoat.  Observing families walk their dogs by the river.  Crushing on old couples converse over a scone and pot of tea.  Watching study groups in the corner of a new hip cafe.  It’s interesting to observe people function when they think no-one’s paying attention…

After reading this you’re probably thinking ‘who is this freak hermit who hates interacting and conversing?’  But please don’t misunderstand me.  One of my favourite activities is to meet new people and entertain friends over a dinner (and wine, dah) party!  However, I feel I am better able to cherish each person I encounter through being good at being alone.

There is no such things as a ‘boring situation/person,’ if you’re bored it’s a problem with you as an individualNOT the situation or people/person you’re with.  Boredom isn’t situational nor should it be used to describe an individual.  If you’re bored it’s because you’re not taking an interest or paying attention to the person, your surroundings and overall situation.  I have found that by spending time alone I can better interpret interactions, situations, and ultimately people (what an oxymoron).

Lately, when in sticky situations, I have found myself confiding in my inner, mini(er), Kris asking “Girl, what would YOU do?”  To finally trust your own intuition and ability to solve problems makes you more confident and ready to conquer the unthinkable!  To form trust with someone, you must first get to know them and spend a lot of time with them.  The same goes with forming trust with yourself – you have to spend a lot of time with YOU!

As clique as it sounds, YOU really must DO YOU!

The Ocean is my Drug

Growing up in a small seaside country town has made the ocean symbolise something remarkable; causing me to feel both safe and free.  Ever since I ventured away from home, whenever I smell, hear, see or taste the ocean it ignites something within me – for a split second, I allow myself to pause and welcome opportunity.

There’s something about the ocean.  The way the vicious, crashing waves – calm and sooth my inner being.  The crisp, clear, blue sky gives the waves an offering of rare tranquility.  The delightfully delicious kiss of the suns rays, piercing through offbeat clouds onto my vitamin D deprived skin (Oh how I deeply miss the seaside sun).  The lack of industrial city noise amplifies the oceans kind roar.  The atmosphere immediately surrounding me is momentarily filled with clarity.

I pause and consciously fill my lungs with the fresh, sweet, air – taking full advantage of the lucid moment.  As I exhale – I simultaneously rid my body of foolish frustration, expectation and suffering.  For that exact moment in time I am entirely at ease.  Weightless.  Vulnerable and free.

The ocean allows me to feel free, wild and courageous.  The ocean is my drug.

My Very Own Fairytale

If you could write your very own fairytale, how would it end?  Who would be the star?  What would they do?  What would make your fairytale magical?  The truth is that each and every one of us is an author; of our very own fairytale… it’s called life.

You wouldn’t want to read a boring book, anymore than you’d want to drink an open, week-old bottle of red; it’d be both mind numbing and stale.  I’d be more inclined to read (and enjoy) a book with spark, creativity and a lil’ something that makes it pop when amongst the millions of others on the shelf.  Why be bland in a world of colour!

I want to read the book with the courageous, sassy leading lady – who fearlessly roars through each day of her life.  Yes, I picture her now, she’d immersed herself within each experience, be obsessed with life’s small quirks, adore coffee (dah) and have a slight ditziness about her.  She’d spread love, and live the change she wishes to see in the world.  She’d regularly post letters to her sweet grandmother, lead a simple life, laugh and make others laugh.  And of course she’d do this whilst simultaneously being absolutely fabulous.  Oh and we can’t forget the gumption – she’d ooze gumption!

All one needs, in order to write a fairytale, is a vision or direction.  Actions speak loader than words (afterall), so LIVE the DREAM (pardon the timeless, overused, expression)!  What could be more magical than to live, and star, in your very own fairytale.  To be the author of your own fairytale is what makes it magical to you (and frankly, f#*k what the bystanders think, it’s magical because it’s YOURS).  I am in-charge of who features (or who doesn’t), what adventures occur, the ups (and the downs), the grand finale and everything that fills the cracks in-between.  I have the power to erase the things that contribute to the days pits, and highlight the peaks and those who contribute to them!

We are each the author of a beautiful fairytale – write your own no. 1 bestseller.

“Be the leading lady of your own life, for christ’s sake!” – Kate Winslet.