I’m still not entirely certain what happened. My mind snapped about a week ago but it was a long time coming. Almost 35 years long, to be honest.
There are still conversations I need to have with my lover (the only one who witnessed it happen as it occurred in the privacy of our home) to fill in the gaps, but one thing I do know is that what happened felt like some higher power was flicking the switch of my awareness/consciousness on and off at ever increasing intervals. I know I didn’t try to hurt myself and I didn’t try to hurt anyone else, but I must have been making less and less sense to Dags (the aforementioned lover) because it eventually got bad enough that he broke one of the only promises I ever made him make to me, which was that he would never call mental health services on me.
I realize now you cannot have ultimatums in a relationship, however well-intentioned. I’ve forgiven him for breaking his promise, and I hope he understands that.
I’d never stayed in a mental health institution before. (I was briefly and voluntarily enrolled in a program back in Newfoundland in my early twenties when I felt I was close to suicide but that just hooked me up with a psychiatrist and some meds that I only stayed on for a very brief time). I realize now it was always my greatest fear, largely because I didn’t believe in myself enough to have faith I could ever get out again once in. Happily, in that as well, I was wrong. Continue reading →
Different people come from different backgrounds.My life experience has been different from yours. This is a simple concept, but I feel the vital sub-points of it get missed all too frequently in common human interaction.
One vital sub-point being this: My entire belief system and moral compass have been shaped by the summation of my experiences; my actions and the world’s reactions to them, the people I have kept or found around me, my family, my education (or lack thereof) . . .the list goes on and on. Your beliefs and morality have been likewise shaped. So when you and I collide in the world, as people often do, and find ourselves with beliefs antithesis to one another, we have a choice: We can engage in conversation, and share the reasoning behind our beliefs. I can learn of yours and vice versa, and we can each test the stability of our convictions to see whether they hold up in the light of day.
Sometimes the psychology behind our compulsions is clear: We want to eat because we are hungry, or perhaps we link the idea of food to comfort, or freedom or simply the chemical satisfaction of a sugar rush, however short-lived.
We want a cold shower because we are over-heated or feel uncomfortably dirty, or because for us it marks the end of another day; it has become a mental cue that we can relax and enjoy the remainder of our evening.
We want to fuck because millions of years of procreating tells our crocodile brains this is how we continue for another million. And because society tells us, relentlessly, that we should all constantly want sex (then slaps our wrist and calls us a slut for having it. Dick move, society).
But there are other things we feel compelled to do, and it can take us a long damn time to sort out the root (heh. Root. It’s funny if you’re in Australia) of the drive, if ever we do.
I feel compelled to share stories from my travels in a public forum, and it’s taken me a long time to figure out why. It finally came to me upon returning to Mellish Park, the North Queensland cattle station on which I worked four months of last year.
Photo credit to Bridget Webber. I feel this photo rather successfully portrays exactly how fully in the middle of absolutely nowhere I am right now. (Let’s ignore, for the moment, the sequence of events that led me back here and focus on the epiphany regarding my desire to blog.)
This is not news to anyone that has known me for some time but, because I move around a lot, there are some people I’m currently close with who have not known me for some time. This message is for you.
I haven’t celebrated Xmas for a number of years now. I used to be quite (read: very) soap-boxy about my hatred of all things yuletide but throughout the years that fanaticism (like most of my fanaticism) has relaxed to more of a dulled disdain.
Embracing the holiday iconography perhaps more than peeps intended me to for an Xmas KitKat party in Köln.
There are facets of holiday celebration I’m more than happy to partake in; the parties and get-togethers and the like. I like spending time with people I like so, really, whatever the excuse – boom hells yeah lets go.
I will not decorate. I feel for the Earth, poor struggling whelp that she is. It does not bring me joy to string sparkly reminders of our diminishing rainforests from one corner of the room to the other.
I don’t do carols. They are terrible and make me want to kill myself. Or at least stab myself in the ears.
But above all else – I don’t do gifts. This is not exclusive to Xmas. I do not do gifts for any calendar occasion. I do do gifts, occasionally. . . just not when I’m supposed to.
Please allow me to introduce you to my friend, trouble.
So about 9 months back a mate of mine from Germany visited Melbourne (and Jess, this story is about to make your day). Near the end of her time we spent a day hanging out in Fitzroy – not my usual hood – and had one of those ‘ah, just one beer sure’ that turns into several pitchers kind of nights. It was one of those nights where the conversation comes easy, and one of the recurring topics was regarding a beautiful man that worked there, and the hilarious face Jess would pull whenever he walked by.
I can’t remember now whether we just left, and I later cursed not getting up the courage to go ‘aw, fuck it’ and ask if he was straight(ish)/single or if I WAS actually going to and then couldn’t find him. . .but the beautiful man with the eye-catching forearms went un-asked-out. And I promised Jess that, should I come back and see him again, I WOULD go through with it.
In the end, I spent five months in Northern Queensland: four months working as a jillaroo for Mellish Park, and one month working as a ‘resort assistant’ (I had to come up with a title for ‘vagabond that lends a hand with the kitchen/housekeeping/meteorology stuff’ for my CV. That is what I went with) at Sweers fishing resort in the Gulf of Carpentaria. It has been six years and 30 countries since I first left Canada to ‘see the world’ and I would rate my time in Queensland among my richest travel (hell, life) experiences to date. I have learned more about myself these past five months than ever before. Continue reading →
As unlikely as it sounds, there was logic behind my decision to partake in an outback Australian tent fight. There’s usually logic behind the decisions I make, albeit often convincingly disguised as recklessness or folly.
It started back in Melbourne.
The cozy interior of the Rollerdoor cafe.
It was the day before I left for Queensland. I was saying bye to the folks at Rollerdoor Cafe, our back courtyard neighbors. While there a gent, hearing I was leaving and knowing I was a fighter, mentioned the tent. At this point it was just a comment, a legend. “I hear they have this traveling boxing tent up in Queensland where fighters will take on anyone who wants to challenge them for cash.” How delightfully old school. How fucking outback. But shit like that didn’t still actuallyexist.
I love starting my day with a bit of optimism. Enter this wonderful Colbert Report segment entitled People Destroying America which a number of sites have dubbed ‘perhaps the single best segment‘ to ever air on the show.
image via Gawker.com
If you have to watch just one part, hit up 6:51. It’s a big tall glass of YES.
I’m starting to see examples of this sort of heart-warming ‘small town’ tolerance more and more, both online and in meat space. Country folk get a bad rep for being close-minded but, for my money, I think that’s got a lot less to do with being inherently small-minded and way more to do with a simple lack of exposure (I know, not exactly a mind-blowing observation. Whaaat? You need to have positive exposure to something to view it in a positive light? Whoa). But seriously, we miss this point a lot. Continue reading →
I’m a big fan of small business. I’m also a big fan of a good gut laugh. Given that my Friday (which was already going pretty fucking well to be honest) concluded with both these things, I was a pretty big fan of it as well.
The George, an independent cinema in the heart of St. Kilda (that would be in Melbourne for non. . .Melbournians) has recently reopened. Vicky, the mate with whom I am currently staying (who clearly has her finger firmly on the fidgety pulse of the neighborhood she calls home), suggested we check them out in all their opening night glory.
The movie they’d decided to open their doors with was an Australian documentary entitled Cosmic Psychos: Blokes You Can Trust (perhaps unsurprisingly, it is about a band called the Cosmic Psychos).
It was inevitable. I’ve been out bush for over 5 months so I have 5 months of humorous/thought-provoking/heart-warming shared links/comics/videos to catch up on. And if I ever claimed to not have a (very strong) streak of meme dork going through me I’d be lying through my goddamn teeth. It took me almost 2 days of travel to get back to Melbourne (the rail system, she is not speedy) and expecting to pop up off my mate’s sofa bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the very next morning to IMMEDIATELY START ALL THE THINGS would be. . .well, idiotically naive to the point of delusional, really.