On parting clouds and Choosing Happiness

Something has changed. I am lighter. There is more warmth, a more consistent warmth. There is peace in my silences were there was once unmitigated concern. There is focus where there was not long ago a void.

And then it hit me while I was walking along the creek trail the other afternoon. This is happiness. A contentment. The peace we strive for. I was stunned. It’s taken me a long while to process how this all snuck up on me. How it became my life, my actual life, seemingly overnight.

It’s bizarre still, to carry this lightness around. It feels suspicious, like it’ll be taken from me at any moment and I’ll be condemned once again to the pervading darkness that marred so many years of my short life. It has struck me as so odd that this is how most people typically experience life. From a place of general warmth. A baseline of happiness. How extraordinarily average and yet one of the greatest awakenings.

I think back over the past three months, and many of the months before that and am gratified that my hard work and persistence has paid off. When my ex-boyfriend walked away my world stopped. But then, slowly but surely, it started to move again. I focused on my job, I returned to study and have begun to map out a career path seriously for the very first time. I took up the gym again with more rigour and enthusiasm, I started to meditate every day and before I go to sleep at night I take the time to write down three good things about my day.

I’m particularly fond of the last exercise. I genuinely look forward to it and often find it very difficult to choose just three aspects. In the past when I’ve tried this it’s been excruciatingly painful to find three, and they’re written down in single sentences. Now I can fill over a page in my journal talking about my day, trying to encapsulate it in just three highlights.

Not all my days are good though. They’re often stressful and filled with anxiety and exhaustion. But I know there are places in myself that I can come to to find relief. I sit with myself in meditation and watch my thoughts come and go; noting them and breathing. I write down my daily highlights, a final affirmation that a hard day was not really that bad. I go to the gym or for a walk and let the exercise and subsequent endorphins form a break from the dreary monotony of the things that are worrying me. And I always remember to breathe.

In short, I trust myself to be my own happiness. I try very hard not to look to others to help me along unnecessarily and provide it for me. My sky is cloudy, but only partly. It’s a beautiful spring day and that spring sky has always been there, above my concerns. I can just see it more clearly now and it’s a real joy to bask in the sun.


A Short Story about Bad Sex

Picture this; you’re having a carefree moment on the d-floor at a club you don’t really like when a reasonably attractive guy gingerly moves in and touches you. You’re in the mood enough, you’re looking for something to brighten up your night so you engage. Bumping and grinding ensues over the next hour and so. You’re felt up, you’re kissed and it’s getting pretty hot between your legs.

So when he says ‘do you feel like getting going’ you can’t wait. You ignore the vague annoyance at his obsession with tongue kissing, you’re already ready to go. Your understanding from a quick poll of mutual friends is that he’s a bit of a slut and it sounds like a good go.

You sit awkwardly in the cab together, where no conversation is being made, trying to repress hysterical laughter – your trademark. He eventually asks how you know so and so and he answers in kind and that’s the extent of it. There’s no touching, no flirtatious glances. The bubbling laughter threatens to break free.

We arrive at his ‘place’. An apartment shared between three people above a shop front in a city suburb. It’s nice albeit cramped. There is still no touching, you can feel it in your bones that this is going to be shit. You enter the bedroom, littered with workman’s gear and it starts to get hot and heavy again.

He assaults you with his tongue continuously and aggressively. It’s not hot. It’s ridiculous and you’re starting to wonder if your jaw is going to dislocate. It occurs to you suddenly that he’s probably not had very much sex and you feel your disinterest bloom.

The rubber is pulled on and he enters you while putting all his weight on you and you’re seriously starting to wonder if your pelvis might fracture. You’re unmistakably bored. This attempt at sex lasts thirty seconds before he crawls off you and looks like he’s about to fall asleep. He tries to play with your clit and finger you and blatantly asks for directions.

You’re feeling annoyed now, drunk one night stands were not made for teaching. Without much help from him – in fact despite his “help” as he continues to try and dislocate your jaw – you manage to have a solo orgasm. Whereupon he says “I feel like going to sleep now, I had a big night yesterday.”

So you look at him and ungraciously announce that you could have gone to another club with other people and instead you’re here being disappointed. He’s unmoved and suggests staying the night to which you simply book the Uber and leave.

And that’s the story of how I spent $56 to get home at 5.25am and wasted a Sunday.

Why you Shouldn’t cut a Circle to fit a Square

Recently a friend told me that she realised, upon exiting a friendship group, that she didn’t like who she was when she was with them.

And as she told me about this I immediately recognised someone who was having pieces cut off them to fit a shape. An expectation. A way in which other people wanted them to exist amongst them.

Back in 2013, around a year after I left high school, I started to notice that I was different when I was hanging out with my school group. I had spent a great deal of that year working in the racing industry and my time in that yard had developed my personality. I was louder, more opinionated and frankly more fun. I took risks, I was dangerous but I lived. When I returned to the company of this group, I fell back into my demure role as ‘hanger-on’. I didn’t fit into any of the cliques, I wasn’t an essential member. I was quiet and passive again. The role they wanted me to play.

This part no longer fit me, of course. I noticed it so starkly one night that I messaged another friend to tell him just that. Because I had realised suddenly that I had outgrown this group.

Initially this truth was uncomfortable. These people were my friends and I didn’t know how to handle the moment. I wasn’t sure who I would be without them and I dealt with a great deal of anxiety about spreading my wings. But it didn’t take me long to realise that not only did other people feel the same way, it was an essential part of growing up.

Things change. In meditating I’ve practiced noticing how my thoughts change and do so frequently, flitting from topic to topic. Feelings too change, when one ends another simply begins. They even co-exist and do so varyingly and never in the same ways. It now seems so obvious that relationships change. Of course they change, the people in them grow. I had experienced personal development that took me away from my ‘school days’ safety net and that was just being human. A perfectly reasonable and average human.

To have stayed in this group was to allow them to cut essential pieces off me. School was not a happy time for me and in stepping into a new world, I had developed aspects of myself that I enjoyed. I enjoyed being loud and proud. I enjoyed partying. I enjoyed me. I didn’t like any of those things back then. But they were a huge part of me now.

I have seamlessly grown into and grown out of relationships in the three years since that first moment. These things come and go and shouldn’t be forced. Just as we shouldn’t be forced to fit a role.

All the pieces we are made up of are uniquely us. We can’t ever be happy in a relationship that demands we lose them. And we work far too hard on ourselves to allow that.