I pop on the occasional track just because it’s on an old
playlist or I feel bad, but I haven’t gone back to listen to Blonde, track for
track, in over a year. I just decided that hey, it might be something fun to
do, so a couple of nights ago I hung out, hit play and kinda just lay there. It
struck me about half way through the opener, ‘Nikes’, that the last time I
listened to it was in a phase of peak depression.
Looking back, of course, my problems were banal – high
school, prepping to go to university in the United states, girl problems – all
bullshit. They weren’t, though. It felt like my world was collapsing and that
there was nothing I could do. ‘Ivy’ comes on, and I’m reminded of where I AM as
compared to where I WAS. ‘Pink + White’ comes on and I’m reminded of my friend
who killed himself. It seems to go on like this – every track a tangible moment
I can mentally assign.
It’s something I can almost reach out and grasp.
I remember not liking it the first time I heard it, pirated
off of Facebook zipped in a folder called ‘FUCK TIM COOK’ on account of the
apple music exclusivity it had for 10 hours. I told my friends I didn’t like
it, told myself I didn’t like it. I don’t know why, but I found myself going
back over and over because it made me FEEL something. Not the general
‘sad/happy/sleepy’ you get with other albums, but something that made me feel
small and insignificant while all part of a grander story.
‘Skyline To’ comes on and reminds me of that. Synths fly in
the background as birds chirp and Frank sings about growth. I find myself standing in that spot in New Zealand where I had my ‘Come to Jesus’ moment, so overtaken by nature that I broke down and cried. I begin to cry. Random thoughts are
expelled into the ether as ‘Self Control’ takes over and forces me to think
about my first ever kind of encounter with a girl I used to know. Horrible
things said and done, ending in a painful way that I never really knew how to
process. I don’t think she did either. We never talked about it, shunted it to
the side and refused to deal with it, and it tore us apart.
‘Good Guy’ comes on and I’m forced to tussle with my own bisexuality.
Endless encounters that went nowhere, feeling and then having that feeling
ripped away because I’m scared of being open about it. Still am. Cutting that
‘Nights’ was always everyone’s favourites on the album, but
not mine. It goes into Franks cocaine abuse and difficult life after Katrina,
but for me it never really resonated. Sonically, it’s a masterpiece.
You know, sometimes
I think about how different life could be if I stopped caring about all the
shit I wrap myself in. Do I care what she thinks? Do I care what they think? Why
the fuck are people so cruel? Why am I so cruel? What the fuck am I doing? Is
this right, is this wrong, is this the middle or the end? What is the reason?
Is there a reason?
What’s the point of asking?
‘Close to You’ reminds me of the small moments, the quiet
moments. Moments where I’ve felt safe and cared for. There aren’t many, but I
hold those dear to me. I want to be quiet more, or more realistically, I want
someone to be quiet with. I know who she is, and I hope that she will wait for
me. I don’t expect she will. ‘White Ferrari’ drills this home, throwing me
right back to that hillside. I know this is a stupid thought, but it runs
through my head when I listen – am I loved? I know I am, but it’s hard to find
sometime. That’s okay, because I know that all feelings, no matter how
grandiose or deeply depressing, are fleeting. I am a boat in the middle of the
ocean (ha) alone and drifting, and the tidal waves may hit the boat, but they
will never sink it. Light shines down, dries me off, and I am there to dance in
it. I know that the tidal waves will come again, but so will the sun.
‘Siegfried’ was always my favourite song on the album. The
muted guitar and bass, echoing vocals and the desperate search for stability
resonate with me on some plane that I am still not able to fully comprehend. It
echoes in my heart, my soul, my body, and my eyes well up and I begin to cry.
The thought that a solar flare could destroy everything forces me to question
why I am here, why anything is. Am I here to serve a purpose? Am I here to
love, or to destroy? What is the problem? Is there a solution?
Just like that, ‘Godspeed’ rips me from these thoughts. The
opening line reminds me that I am here to serve a purpose, and that purpose is
to show compassion. The inner dialogue that these two tracks creates plays with
my emotions like a pendulum. Life is free-flowing. It’s not a static state, not
at all. Life is a stream, and I am that same boat that was on that same ocean
flowing in an endless (ha) river. The same storms and the same sunlight that
played with me are the same, but I realize that this flowing motion, this
movement down this river, drives me.
‘Futura Free’ caps this off by showing me that my rambling
thought is right – that my life has it’s ups and downs but that if I keep
pushing, just KEEP pushing, everything will work out. Not because I am a smart,
special, or an inherently good person, but because if I keep pushing, life
happens. If the boat crumbles and dissolves into the stream, that’s okay. The
stream will keep flowing for infinity. Life keeps happening. I am here, but for
a brief moment, to experience it.
I am the same person I was in high school, but I’m not. The
experiences gifted to me by the world have forced me to realise a simple truth
– this too shall pass. All good, all bad. I am here with forever, and forever
is here with me.
2018 has been kinda surreal for me. I hate the cliche but I can’t help but feel that I’ve “”“found”“” myself, and I’m incredibly proud. I’m at a point where I finally, for the first time, have direction. For the last 6 months I’ve been working a 9-5 in North Sydney, which is crushing at times but mostly something I’ve been able to deal with. In February I’ll be moving to Canberra to pursue a higher education at The Australian National University, somewhere I think I’ll thrive. This year has had it’s ups and downs, but for the first time it’s been mostly ups. I’ve surrounded myself with people I love, went to places I never even dreamed of going, climbed literal mountains, dived with Manta Rays, conquered some of my greatest fears, shed like 18 kilos, made money, lost money, grew 2 centimeters, started writing more, worried less about what others thought of me. I feel confident. I feel whole. I feel like I’m ready to face the future, and I feel like an adult (maybe, who really knows).
I’m not sure what I’m really trying to say, other than this - 2018 has been the best year of my life. I sincerely mean that - there has never been a point where I have been as content with my year as I feel right now. Sure, it’s been garbage at points, but the people, experiences, loud and intimate moments, have left a lasting impact on me. Thank you to everyone who runs / everyone that I met at Concious Impact (special shoutout to Ari, Paddy, Alyson, Rose, Beth, Sunita, Joshua, Paola, Benedicte and Arthur for basically being my second family and reaffirming my love for bananagrams). Thank you to Anna, you know why. Thank you to all my friends here at home (Festive Bois especially, or whatever the chat is called now). Thank you, for reading this. I post a lot less now, and I think that trend will continue for the time being - hey, quality over quantity, right? Regardless, thank you for sticking around as I get my life together. Below is a transcribed page from my diary, written while I was chainsmoking malboro reds in a hostel in Labuan Bajo.
Saturday, 2nd June, 2018
I’m sitting here on the terrace of my Hostel in Labuan Bajo, just finished punching a whole pack of darts back to back. The new Kanye just finished playing (on repeat for the next week at least). I am so grateful for all my friends for sticking by me and bringing me here. It has dawned on me how unhappy I was in Sydney, and it was that deep, horrible sadness that has led me here, to this point, to this crossroads. For the first time, I feel like I am truly happy. I don’t know if I’m ready to go home, but when I do, I hope I can keep this.
This pure, unadulterated joy.
The last 2 months (2 and three quarters, really) have been a whirlwind of emotions. Ups, downs, in betweens. I’ve picked up confidence, and lost negative feelings. Last night I watched thousands of fruit bats migrate, isn’t that something? Nature is bigger than anything, anyone. I am lost in it and it has led me to salvation. I know this is rambling, but I just don’t care.
I am happy, truly, for the first time.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday - god bless all of you. I wish you a safe and joyous new year, from my heart to yours.
hey, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these.
I can’t really explain the last three and a half months in great detail. It’s simply too long a time period for me to realistically cover, and with all the strange and bizarre moments it’s hard to remember everything exactly as it happened. what I can tell you is that the last three and a half months have been the best of my life. I know it’s a very generic-gap-year thing to say, but to say that I learned more about myself than ever before wouldn’t begin to scratch the surface.
I suppose I should start with Nepal -
Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to. from the bustling hub city Kathmandu to the wild Annapurna circuit to the dusty outcrop of Takure where I spent most of my time, every single part has it’s own charm and beauty. being there is an experience like no other and I truly, truly believe that.
Where I started my journey (which very quickly turned into the majority of my journey) was a small volunteer-run camp in the rural region of Sindhupalchok. I can’t believe I can spell that purely from memory. Conscious Impact is a small, very young organization set up in the wake of the 2015 earthquake that pretty much shattered the entire region. I decided to go because I thought, more than anything, that it would make for a funny story to tell my family when I got back home - a quick ten day jaunt in the mountains volunteering with, from what I could gather from the website, a bunch of hippies. that ten days turned into two weeks, and then two months.
I never really considered communal living to be something I’d enjoy, but it turns out that the sense of family that comes with communal living is one that I adore. communal living paired with service work (something i’d never really pursued before) made for this perfect storm of complete satisfaction, and getting up every day to help rebuild a community with this second family of mine was by far the highlight of my trip. I know this sounds like the generic “wow I went to volunteer overseas and I’m alleviating my white guilt by doing so” but like, no. I looked through so, so many volunteering organizations before choosing Conscious Impact. I couldn’t find one that was as transparent and open as CI, and having been on the ground I can assure you wholeheartedly that this isn’t a VolunTourism gig. these people are not here to take money and make a profit off of a vulnerable community; the deep community roots and commitment to sticking around for over a decade highlight that fact. I can’t stress the overwhelming love I have for this place and the people in it - you taught me so much about myself, my future and my path.
post CI, I went on the Annapurna circuit, an epic multi-week long trek through the upper reaches of the Annapurna region. this is something I’d wanted to do since I was about 14, and to tick off a life goal two weeks after I turned 19 is one of the coolest things I can say I did on this trip. the circuit is diverse, wild, seriously challenging. from Besisahar at 760m above sea level, to Thorong-La Pass at 5416m, and back down to Marpha at 2650m, it was a long, difficult slog through forests, deserts, tundras and alpine ranges. and it was so, totally worth it. I met some amazing people (looking at you, Ritesh, Diego, Tiffany, Alice & Ronja), ate about 3 yaks (minimum) and weeped into my $5 milk tea at the summit.
Nepal was something else and I’m really excited to go back to see more of what it has to offer.
Indonesia was a short one month trip that let me relax and debrief. I spent most of it in Labuan Bajo, a short hop, skip and 29 hour bus ride from Bali. A small port town, it’s arguably the main hub for Komodo National Park, the only place where the titular lizard beasts are found in the world. I chilled out, started writing poetry, ate pizza and got my open water SCUBA diving certification, which was an ordeal for me, mainly because of a family death while scuba diving. It really freaked me out, and it still does, but it feels good to conquer my personal demons and push past my fear.
I also went to the Nusa islands with my homeboy Lachlan, which was the perfect way to cap off my trip. Having not seen my friends in 3 months was bizarre, and seeing him actually really helped prepare for the transition back into normal life.
And now, I’m back!
I’m still unpacking and processing certain things, but it’s good to be able to walk up the road and get Gyradikos anytime I want. The gameplan? Find a full time job, move to NZ for a month, come back for woodford festival, get to University. Start life. abandon that and go to Iceland for like 6 months.
All part of the fun.