Wednesday, April 15, 2015

a week, a roller coaster

A week is a long time. And yet, no time at all. I've been in London for a week now. And I've found myself cycling through some intense emotional experiences. I'm calling it my emotional roller coaster. Up and down and up again. It's a strange thing, but not an unexpected thing. 

Moving your life halfway around the world, far far away from family and friends, from the people that are significant pieces in the puzzle of your life, how can that not be an intense emotional experience? How can that not split you open, spilling nagging feelings of doubt and fear and sadness into the world around you? 

The very act of separation feels like the end of something. Like something irreversibly changed. And yet being in London feels like a beginning, an important and real beginning. I wrote about beginnings here. I thought that one thing had to end for another to begin, but now I'm not so sure. Why can't things go on simultaneously? Why can't I be here and there, too? 

And so I ride my roller coaster and I feel myself splitting open, spilling those feelings of doubt and fear and sadness - and hope and desire and something that might be happiness - onto the page. I'm scrawling the thoughts as they come to the surface with a blue pen on the lined pages of my composition book. 

I wonder if it is there, amongst the scratchings of my pen, the loops of my letters, the messy and seemingly unintelligible scrawl that is my handwriting, that I can find a balance to the wildness and unpredictability of this space I'm in. If, in amongst the words, I can find what I'm here for. 

kb xx

Monday, April 06, 2015

endings and beginnings

One of my cacti is dead. Well, dying at least. Its stem has lost the vibrant green of its youth and is now dried and twisted. I noticed it this morning as I pulled my bedroom curtains open for what will be the second last time. It caught me a little by surprise, as death is wont to do. And yet, the sadness is permeated by something else. Something that feels just a little hopeful. 

Does one thing have to end before another can begin? Maybe. In a way it feels almost necessary. If nothing ever ended, how would we ever begin something else? 

A little over twenty-four hours from now I’ll be boarding a plane for perhaps the biggest beginning of my life - save the initial one perhaps - and the cactus and its untimely demise feels strangle poetic. 

The past few months I’ve had a handful of dreams that featured snakes quite prominently. The dreams were vivid and I would wake from them and instantly push a mental rewind button to play them back as I lay in bed. Some cursory research revealed dreams about snakes can indicate change or transition.

The demise of the cactus, the appearance of the transition snakes - strange indicators of fate?

Relying on fate is nothing new for me. It’s the basis of my wardrobe and it’s served me well. Perhaps that’s why I’m comfortable taking the cactus and the dreams of snakes as signs from the universe that this decision to take my life from its comfortable space right here and drop it into one of the biggest cities in the world is the right one. That getting on that plane tomorrow night is the best choice for me right now. 

I am of course overflowing with feels that I cannot quite reconcile. Happiness and sadness, excitement and fear. Doubt, great big doubt. And yet, in part I know because of the snakes and now because of the cactus, I must get on that plane. I must do this. I can’t stay here. 

This part of my life is ending, this chapter in this safe and warm and comfortable environment is coming to a close. But there will be more chapters. Tomorrow marks the opening sentences of the newest, and so despite (or perhaps because of) the chaos of my current emotional state I will get on that plane tomorrow night and I will begin my new chapter. 

Wish me luck!

kb xx

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

comfort is a double edged sword

I’ve been trying to narrow down a list of possible suburbs to live in using a tube map from 2008 - the first time and only time I’ve been to London. On the back of the map is an advertisement for Ikea: ‘Travel is a means to an end. Home.’

I wonder if that’s really why we travel. If the reason we take ourselves out of the comfortable and force ourselves into the uncomfortable is to attempt to discover what home really is. 

For most of us home is more accident than careful planning. Home for me right now is the house my parents built in a smallish country town about an hour from Melbourne. It’s the place I feel most comfortable in the world. It’s the place I’ve lived most of my days in. It’s the place I’m leaving in a  bit under two months. 

Comfort is a double edge sword. Being comfortable equates to feeling safe, secure, generally happy. It’s a nice feeling, a warm one. One many of us spend years trying to find. But it’s also the reason why I find myself distracted, the reason why I leave projects untouched for months, why I don’t send pitches, why I wile away hours watching old episodes of Grand Designs or downloading old books from Project Gutenberg. Being comfortable can often be more of a hindrance than a help. Being comfortable makes it easy to not move, to not challenge yourself, to sit yourself in the safe, secure and generally happy space and just be. 

When I try to peer under my own skin, to scrape away at my desire to take myself out of this comfortable space I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in, the truth feels a little like freshly squeezed lemon juice on a paper cut. It stings. 

The truth is, it’s easy for me to not do the work, it’s easy for me to not challenge myself, to not put myself in positions that guarantee nothing but an almost certain failure. It’s easy to not do those things when you’re comfortable. 

I don’t think that Ikea advertisement is true for me. I’m not travelling to find home. Home is already established. But home is too comfortable, too easy. I’m travelling to find those hard, uncomfortable spaces. I’m travelling to fall over an edge not knowing what lays beneath me. 

I’m travelling because sometimes the only way to see if you’re good enough is to throw yourself into a deep pool, fully clothed, and see if you sink or swim. 

kb xx