(Fuck, something has to go right in my life about now…)
Excusez-moi my F bomb, but after a certain amount of time, zero Fs are given.
I walked up to my wonderful words today, to see my story come true before my very eyes.
Yes, that is me, I am breaking smikg protocol and displaying myself for all (or am I, really, am I? 😉)
I participated in a wonderful initiative last year by submitting some works towards a community project… the writers club I am part of teamed up with the local shire to get writers to create a mini fiction, no more than 6 words, on the theme of community, to be drawn and displayed along the streets of Rosebud.
Why, having my words out there for all to see? How could I miss the opportunity!
After finding out yesterday that yes, it DID happen yesterday, I headed on down with Hubbie today to pinch myself.
You know what’s funny about that photo? The sun was shining DIRECTLY on the SHINE part, but the photo didn’t show the light and dark well so I got Hubbie to like, hug me from the side so that we could block out the sun… can you see his outline? 😂
I got a little teary, I won’t lie. I’ve been longing to be published in some form for so long. And even this, on the footpath, just 6 words… it makes me so happy. It’s given me the much-needed boost I’ve needed, in the midst of life difficulty, frustration with everything, and very regular bouts of writer’s insecurity, like “am I good enough?” “my writing isn’t as good as theirs,” and “who’s going to want to read this?”
But to be published, just once,anywhere… it’s broken the spell. It’s crashed through the dam of insecurity, of doubt, and now the water is crashing down, happy and unbridled and free, and it wants to do it all.
I can just stare at that, like ALL DAY.
I will enjoy this moment, and hold on, as much as I can.
***Big thanks to @rondelle for her fabulous artwork, and @peninsulawriters along with @mornpenartsandculture for this great opportunity to try and inspire. ***
I’ve had so much on that my beloved writing has fallen way, way, way to the way-side.
But when I was sent an email via the Australian Writers Centre, through which I participated in so many online courses a couple of years ago, advising of a free, yes FREE online Q&A with two esteemed authors, well I knew I had to MAKE the time.
One of those authors was Pamela Freeman. She was the tutor for one of the courses I took, and gave me such great, constructive yet motivational feedback that I honestly was RAPT.
Over the moon.
Tonight those attending (um, 300 or so Zoom attendees!) had the opportunity to put forward questions to be answered in the chat.
Guess who my question was directed to?
And as she answered, she added at the end… “find me on facebook and we can talk about it there.”
Oh my. Out of all people. ME! Yippee!
And sure the answer was like, answered in a jiffee… but who cares.
Like, an actual real-life bonafide author. Sure I have writer friends who have been published in like, the last year…
But this. She is like, ridgy-didge. Proper. Has published a gazillion books and teaches courses, AUTHOR.
Living through lockdown has given us a new way of connecting with other people… online.
I am still working from home, and today we played this online Pictionary game. You have to draw on the screen from a selection of words you’ve been given… and the rest of the room, (people participating) have to guess what you’re drawing.
I thought it was pretty cool, and it was Friday, so later my mind wandered where it usually goes to on Friday nights… to my friends. We spent a lot of Zoom calls together during those few months last year, and so I got to really get used to seeing their faces, talking about anything and everything, and just connecting in a way that honestly, we never really had before.
The lockdown had given us a new opportunity to learn even more about each other, through a multitude of topics, discussion, and debate.
And it was great. I realised no matter how much they talk, how much we disagree, how much we maybe shit each other up the wall… we are ultimately stuck with each other for life. That’s it.
And I love it.
So, missing my crew, I sent the random message out: “Anyone wanna play a game online?” Well to be expected, most were busy and couldn’t, but one such friend said “sure, give me a sec.”
And so I’ve spent the last hour or so of this night, chatting to her online while we played online Pictionary!
She is one of my oldest friends. I actually can’t remember if we were friends first in grade 1, or grade 2… I have no idea. I have no idea because after a while, your memory starts to get blurry. I never believed it when I was in my teens, or late childhood. I couldn’t understand how people would say “I can’t remember” about a huge, momentous milestone in their life. I used to think, “how can you not remember something so important?”
Well, now I know. Because as life goes on, your head gets filled up with more and more stuff, and the other stuff that you don’t think of as much, well it starts to fade.
So, so true. Maybe that’s why I’m so adamant about capturing every written word. It’s my own personal record for my unpredictable mind.
Anyway, you get my drift. We’ve been friends for about 30 years, not a word of a lie. And while we laughed at each other’s funny drawings, and tried to make sense of the game, we also caught up and reconnected, and it made me realise that technology, lockdown even, brought a few pretty good things with it.
A Friday night spent watching something on TV, or just letting the hours while away on random stuff around the house, was instead spent sharing some laughs and having fun with one of my oldest besties.
And then, in amongst all that… a milestone! Baby girl got fed up with me on the computer playing games, and put herself to bed!
It’s actually the second time she’s fallen asleep on her own like this, but the first that she did it intentionally… the first time she went to bed as I set up watch over a huntsman in our room, making sure he didn’t hide anywhere, waiting for Hubbie to come home and get rid of it. I’d told her to wait in her bed for me another 20 minutes, and instead she had fallen asleep.
But tonight, tonight was intentional. I was there chatting away, and then went to check up on her… I even kissed her head… and she remained sleeping. Peaceful. Absolutely beautiful, as all sleeping children are. 🤣
So, a good night all around. Looking back, looking forwards… as long as it’s done with the right people…
So close, so so soooo close to throwing in the towel for this gratitude blog.
You know I’ve never said it out loud, but I’ve seriously considered finishing this blog at number #2000.
I figure if I’ve managed to be grateful for at least one thing for all of those days, then I have the tools necessary to help me through life when times get hard.
Also, it’s a nice even number, and I have plenty of other writing projects to keep me busy anyway.
#2000. That’s only 187 days away. Sometime this year in fact.
But after the day I’ve had, I honestly am questioning if I’ve learnt anything at all.
Because I’m finding it very hard to be grateful.
I get knocked down,
But I get up again
You’re never gonna keep me down
Am I being too hard on myself? I mean, when you go through bad times, or nightmares keep repeatedly coming back to haunt you, how are you meant to act? With a laugh? A yippee? A friendly ‘oh darn, not this again’ with a Joker-like smile?
When you’ve had the same freaking thing, annoying you, bugging you, and no one can tell you why, or explain it, and you’re going around and around in circles, and you’re even considering psychics for answers because seriously NO ONE ELSE KNOWS, and then it strikes again…
I get knocked down,
But I get up again
You’re never gonna keep me down.
Seriously. How am I meant to act?
Anyway, This is my bitch-fest. My whinge to the world. Take it as you will, because it may not last for long…
I have a whole collection of stuff I suddenly inherited (i.e. it was ceremoniously dumped here after my parents suddenly sold their house – or you could say I just failed to take it with me since I moved out of there 11 years ago 😬) that I’ve been slowly going through and checking out, for the past week or so.
There is a throw pile. Old bags, lots of school paperwork, dozens of plastic coin change bags (remember those?)
There is a donate pile. Think a glass chess set that I bought my Dad for a birthday, I think, which he never used… why did that end up with me again?
There is a maybe pile. Like these glass/photograph coasters, or that dancing sunflower with the saxophone that used to work on battery, but is struggling now…
There is a ‘whoops this isn’t mine better check with sis/parents’ pile. VHS tapes, some kind of charger?
Then there is the KEEP pile.
OMG, the keep pile. Loads and loads and loads and loads of PAPER STUFF.
Old diaries. School work. Reports. Assignments. I have so much, and I still have one big bag of folders to go through.
What kinds of memories have I found?
All my work payslips pre-2007. ALL OF THEM.
All my high school reports.
The letter my Jeans West Work Experience manager wrote back to my teacher when I was in year 10… “she learnt to apply herself in the time given, but she was a bit shy.”
Ha ha, so me.
Uni assignments, oooh, I’ve loved these. I have a script for a 5 minute film called Doggy Day that I wrote and planned myself. I have an interview I did on my Dad on his life and immigration to Australia which I got good marks for. An article about the RSPCA that I should have sought further help on to get publication, judging by my uni teacher’s comment in the notes. Damn, should have chased that one up.
And so many textual analyses of books and film, oh my goodness.
High school diaries and notes with Hubbie’s name written over them. 😍💖
Psychology, Philosophy, and Ancient History handouts.
My old work pass.
I opened one of my old diaries at whim, to see what day I’d end up on. One entry had me in 1999, 16 years old, where I had met with one of my oldest friends at our local milkbar and we’d ended up walking to the house of our primary school friend who we didn’t see much anymore.
I wrote how we had sat in her bedroom, it had been a bit weird at first but then we’d relaxed and it had turned into the good ol’ days and all the memories we shared.
My 16 year-old self wrote how it was weird, a bit sad, that someone we used to be so close to about five years earlier, we didn’t see much of at all anymore, and our conversations had turned to pleasantries and reminiscing of the past, rather than the stuff you typically share with your closest friends – “Did you hear what happened to her?” “Did you hear about the party last Friday?” – type thing.
And I observed in this diary, and wondered, if the friends I had then in high school, whether we would be like that one day, exchanging pleasantries and talking about the past as the only thing we could hold onto.
In 6 years time, would we be a bit awkward like that too?
I smiled. SmikG NOW smiled.
I smiled as I read, wanting to jump into the pages of my old diary and grab 16 year-old SmikG, grabbing her by the shoulders to shake her excitedly and tell her –
“Guess what? You stay friends with them ALL! A couple of them drop off, sure, but you’ll come to realise they weren’t real friends anyway!
Your true friends are still friends… not 6 years later, but even 21 years later!”
And 16 year-old me, would undoubtedly have gone –
And asked immediately –
“Who aren’t I friends with anymore?”
And this SmikG would have shook her head with a cluck cluck cluck and said.
“Dear girl… I think you already know.”
I’ve had so much fun going back in time, and it’s made me realise how much I’ve changed, but also, how much I am still exactly the same.
Still passionate about the written word, still writing stories, still experimenting in different forms, and still wondering about the future and life in general…
I wonder what SmikG 10 years from now would say to me now…
The day was fine. I felt fine. There wasn’t necessarily any major pressures.
The one thing actually missing was the homeschooling, but I wasn’t actually missing it in ANY shape of form.
But I think the start of the school holidays may have played some part in my weird feelings.
I still don’t know for sure what it is, that made me feel unsettled, off, incomplete…
But I have a few ideas.
It’s school holiday time. Usually I take time off and have a full schedule as we galivant around the state, going to attractions, meeting up with family and friends, and just generally having fun.
None of that is happening at the moment… I am working from home, and even if I wasn’t doing that, we aren’t allowed anywhere anyway.
None of the usual places are open. Almost nothing is allowed.
Today was a warm-ish kinda day. Knowing the week ahead falls in temp again, and we didn’t make use of today by going out for a walk, or to the park… Well it sucks.
So I had to do something. I had to change it up.
I started to move again.
Back when covid started, I was becoming more active, taking more walks around the block with baby girl, hell, sometimes running after her as she careened on her bike over rises in asphalt, as I tried frantically to catch up.
Still, I was running.
I was moving.
Winter fell, and the days grew colder. The lockdown and subsequent isolation, grew in length. The walks and runs around the block became more infrequent, and instead I turned to yoga. A regular practice began, and even though I wasn’t huffing and puffing, I was still doing something…
I was still moving.
But then a month ago, an infection struck. And due to the nature of it, I stopped everything.
I felt shit. Knowing I had been doing something good for me, mind, body and soul, and then I had to stop it abruptly, was actually quite painful emotionally. It was really difficult to grasp, but I realised my body needed some kind of break, so I gave it what I thought it needed…
Today though, I realised it was time to start again.
I did the yoga. I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I finished, and I felt…
My mood had improved.
But I decided to take it a step further tonight. Hubbie has been on a major health/workout kick since covid began, and he has very clear goals for where he wants to be when we get out of it… he has structured nights for different types of training, and work outs, and tonight was his push-ups and sit-ups night.
And I joined him.
But, baby steps, baby steps. When you know yourself well, and how you work, you have already won. I know that I don’t deal well when faced with a major challenge. When a task feels so huge that I don’t know how I will do it, I tend to give up easily.
I know I have to give myself little goals. Little itty bitty teeny weeny goals. It’s how I approach writing. And it’s how I’m going to approach this movement thing.
Not exercise. Movement.
So I did it! If someone had been a fly on the wall tonight, they would have seen me, Hubbie AND baby girl (because she thought it looked like fun!) on our hands and knees, huffing and puffing and doing sit-ups and push-ups.
When I start small, I am more likely to achieve.
But I don’t think I’m that unique. I think we’re all like that, right?
Anyway… I’m filling the void in a positive way, and looking forward to making little progress.