In the dark.
I’m sitting here in the dark. It’s 10:58pm on a Tuesday and tomorrow will be four months since a dear friend passed away at the age of 29. She was a sister in suffering, sickness and strength to me and hardly an hour goes by when I don’t think of her and her beautiful family. F*ck cancer.
The thing is, when I think of her, I also think of myself. Which I’m sure is not what I’m supposed to say but grief is a funny thing. A heaviness and a sadness has hung over me since that day like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Another time, I will write more about this but for now, on this unseasonably warm autumnal night in Melbourne I’ve opened up my laptop and done something I’ve never done before.
A blog. Not for an organisation or an online publication or an assignment. But for me, and for her.
I have been meaning to do this for a very long time. I love to write, I love to share and I love online platforms like Medium. Yet, I have been scared to open up in this way, on a platform that I can’t really control because I was/am afraid of judgment, of criticism, of threats or online misogyny (which seem par for the course when women open their mouths and their hearts on the internet). Truth be known — I’m actually not all that ok with looking stupid. I never have been. And I’m feeling, as I type every letter, remarkably stupid. Exposed. Vulnerable. All those things that my vbetsdki (virtual bestie even though she doesn’t know it), Brene Brown, shows me how to overcome and tonight, I might just have to listen.
It may be hella corny but I believe shared sorrow is half sorrow and that shared joy is double joy. So I write this to lessen the sorrow and to amplify the joy.
I also believe that each of us deserves the space to tell our own story and to contribute our own unique voice to the world. Whether anyone listens or not is another matter, but we at least deserve the space. I am sure that there is someone out there feeling the way I do, right now, and that in sharing my thoughts I may be able to be that person for them too. That was clumsy, maybe I’m not so good at this writing caper, whatever. Frida Kahlo said it better, so, this:
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
So here goes.
Right now I seem to be having what Joy Lin refers to as a ‘quarter life crisis’: that transition period between your early and late 20s.
I feel really incompetent, tired, burnt out, cynical. All that jazz. Without the pizazz.™
I hope she won’t mind me sharing this, but I had a private Facebook message from a girl I went to school with this week remarking on ‘all the amazing things I’m doing and how inspirational it all was’. I could not have felt any more like a fraud. I was sitting there reading this message after having the ultimate ‘what am I doing with my life’ meltdown and I practically had mascara down to my belly button. How on earth did I tell her that it’s not all as it seems on the interwebz while at the same time trying to let her lovely comments boost my ego for a brief second?
So I’ve decided to change the definition of fraud to fucking rad achiever under duress. Again, I’ll put a little ™ there.
My pattern, until now, has been this: work, work, work, work, work (a la Rihanna)— burn out — drop everything and become a whingeing mess — lose my shit and have a crisis of self-belief — pick myself up/have lovely people pick me up and work, work, work, work, work. Rinse and repeat.
That ends here.
This is me, now at 11:13pm, downing tools and honouring the melancholy. This is me being grateful for the dozen job knock backs I have received because I’ll be that much more excited when someone takes a chance on me. This is me refusing to give up my skills and my time for free anymore. This is me watching Veep all day in bed because that’s the only thing I could handle today. Ja feel?
So I am doing the one thing I know how to do: stare into the fear, look directly in the direction of what is holding me back and stand there with open arms to welcome the lessons.
I can’t wait for this period of my life to be one of those I look back on fondly and see how far I’ve come. It is important to me that I don’t say to myself, “I can’t wait for it to be over”, because I know all too well how quickly it can all be taken away from you. That story for another time.
So here is my first go at a personal blog: unedited, unashamed, unafraid. Ok, maybe a little afraid. But not afraid enough not to do it.
And then she hit publish. At 11:37pm.
And then edited again, and republished at 11:56pm.
And then had crisis of fear and anxiety at 11:57pm.
Then closed her computer at 11:58pm.
For you, Amelia. xx