Reflections

Around a year ago my life started changing. Improving, some would say. 

I’ve been barreling clumsily down a path towards awakening, and during this entire period I’ve had an insatiable hunger for knowledge, which I’ve been devouring through essays, scientific reviews, books, pamphlets, literally anything related to existential psychology and expanding consciousness. 

From all of this manic research, combined with my own experiences and rumimations on the subjects related to the higher self and the inevitable questions everybody has about the ‘point’ or meaning of life, I believe I’ve started to piece together pieces of the puzzle. 

Ive been shown glimpses of the code, the sacred geometry, the patterns literally weaving together the fabric of existence, through my experience with DMT. My focus for the past few months has been trying to develop some form of understanding and integration of the complex messages I received.

Im still in the infant stages of my esoteric education, so a lot of it is still far above my current ability to comprehend, and it’s challenging to retain the knowledge of the things I do understand, so I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of the key thoughts, teachings and theories that have resonated with me since commencing this journey of mystical weirdness.

• Good and evil exists on this earthly plane in equal measure, however it is better defined as light and dark. I’ve seen the yin and yang symbol a thousand times throughout my life but now when I come across it, I understand it’s deep meaning. I’ve struggled my entire existence with my own darkness, allowed myself to become consumed by it at times, at others fighting hard to suppress and smother it. 

I’m realizing now that neither is the correct way to go about it. In order to live a fully integrated life and move towards fulfillment, i must find a balance with my emotions and find a way for both sides of my nature to exist in harmony. Darkness shouldn’t be willfully ignored or attempted to be squashed deeper down into a hidden recess. But in equal measure, it should not be exhalted or glorified, but rather, in order to attain emotional balance, one must acknowledge their darkness, and then find a way to accept it. 

Acceptance means more than just tolerance. To truly accept your darkness, one must have the same attitude as the sun towards the moon. Existing side by side, understanding that each is as vital as the other, the sun content with it dominion over the daylight hours and happy for the moon to own the night. It is the way it is, both serving an equal yet opposite purpose, just as it within ourselves.

•There is so, so much more to this life than we can perceive in our third dimensional form. This whole universe is an energetic life force, teeming with endless possibilities, layered with infinite dimensions and realities. 

DMT has shown me glimpses of the ‘energetic imprint’ of the fourth dimension. Every single solid thing, every life and piece of matter in this world, has a trail or ‘aura’ around it, and all these auras bleed into and feed off each other. Things that I once perceived to be bland, innanimate objects, such an an aircon unit, were suddenly no longer in solid state but wavy and gaseous, with an energetic aura and ‘personality’ to match. 

Our feeble 3D senses would be overloaded if we were able to perceive all of this information all the time- imagine constantly ‘hearing’ colours and ‘seeing’ sounds whilst still trying to function within our societal constructs. One would surely go insane. 

However, there are abundant ‘points of access’ for us to experience these heightened states of awareness, and I feel it vitally important for every individual to tap into it at some stage of their life. The more we open our minds, the more we allow in.

• Our thoughts manifest our reality. This is a mind-meltingly difficult concept to grasp, and it’s the one I’ve been most preoccupied with lately. The way I understand it is this: human beings are a way for our higher self, which is an unembodied life force, to experience third dimensional consciousness. It is an opportunity to explore the complexities of emotion, through physical experience, and a progressive linear timeframe in which conflict, growth and resolution can play out.  

Information is received to the human brain via the lens of the five senses, and based on our previous experiences with whichever sense we receive, we apply emotion to that information. We then respond physically to the stimulus based on this emotion. Our response and actions have an immediate ripple effect on our surroundings, and thus our reality is formed. 

By this logic, the only way to drastically change our current reality is to first examine our thoughts, and become aware of the subconscious emotional factors influencing our responses. Once we identify thought patterns that are no longer serving us or aiding our advancement, we can work on altering these thoughts and manifesting a more positive reality.

Word to the wise, once you go down this line of thinking, you  inevitably become embroiled in the world of quantum physics. It’s a mysterious and confusing world, and I believe it’s the scientific link between our spiritual and physical selves. 

Much like the yin and yang, I’ve always been vaguely aware of Quantum’s famous double slit experiment but didn’t really get it.  I was reintroduced to the concept recently, and thanks to my current awareness of these things, I actually could grasp it, and my brain is still exploding over the implications. Schroedingers cat, observer-based reality… these are no longer abstract ideas for me but truth.  If you’re not familiar with any of this, I’m afraid you’ll have to do the research yourself as I’m way under qualified (read: not intelligent enough) to explain it. 

• Finally, I read last an article last week that really interested me. It was theorizing on how DMT affects the pineal gland, and that the bombardment of geometric patterns is actually a kind of chakra-activation. It’s a ‘visual language’, deeply rooted in our subconscious, and once the imagery has been recieved, it works like the secret signal activated in a sleeper cell; your third eye has been opened, you are offered a glimpse into the realm of the divine, and things will never be the same.

This is certainly true for me. The first time I experienced the spectacular mandala and chrysanthemum visual display, I felt a deep sense of familiarity with them, almost a bond. Like reencountering a beloved childhood tv show that had been long forgotten. 

I could write endless nonsensical volumes on all the concepts and ideas I’ve been obsessing over, but brevity is something I’m trying to work on. At this point in my awakening I have far more questions than answers, and that’s ok. The more I question the nature of reality, the more illusions shatter on their own.

 I know that I’m exactly where I need to be at this exact point in time; so far down the rabbit hole I can no longer see the way out, but unafraid of what lies on the other side. 

For more on my experiences in the realm of the psychedelic, please check out my other blog which is devoted entirely to the subject. The DMT Diaries

How watching ‘Derek’ makes you a better person 

An avid consumer of media, I’ve always had a particularly passionate love affair with television, and the little window of escapism it offers to an otherwise drab existence. The bright colors, the beautiful people, the drama, the chaos, the neatly-packaged resolutions. It was all so much more appealing than my lame little suburban life in Australia. I was intoxicated with Hollywood glitz and glamour, and coveted the lives of my television counterparts.

Of course, my viewing habits have matured with age, and these days I find myself less drawn to glossy melodramas and inclined towards more substantial viewing  (that being said, I did waste five embarrassingly recent years of my life on ‘Pretty Little Liars‘, captivated by the endless riddle of A’s identity and the attractiveness of the leading ladies, all the while painfully aware of how ludicrous the show actually is). 

My quest for enlightenment and a life of meaning is often  thwarted by a tendency towards shallow frivolity, and evidence of this is littered throughout my Netflix watchlist. 

Television serves many purposes to many people- at its worse, it can be a mind-numbing, soul-sucking agent of dribble, used for biased agendas, exploitation, promoting shitty ideals and reinforcing negative beliefs onto the spongy brains of the uninformed. At best, it can be absolutely life-affirming. It can bring around a new way of thinking by shining a light on an issue or concept you had not previously encountered. It can inspire the biggest of belly laughs and move you to tears. The greatest example of this kind of show that I’ve come across is Ricky Gervais’s Derek.

I initially avoided this show based on the mistaken belief that it was, essentially, a piss-take on disabled and ederly folk. I was familiar with some of Gervais’s work but was unaware of his personal status as a prolific atheist, animal rights activist and humanitarian. I therefore had no reason to believe him above portraying a disabled character for a few cheap lols. Thankfully, after hearing a coworker constantly gush about the show and insist I give it a chance, I discovered I was completely wrong, and fell head over heels for this incredible character. 

For those who have yet to experience the magic of Derek, the basic premise is this; a middle aged man with undisclosed learning difficulties, lives in an aged care home, where he helps out with the general running of the place, but mostly provides support and love to the other residents and workers. The home is run by the huge-hearted Hannah, who is a living lesson in selflessness. 

 The hilarious Karl Pilkington costars in the first season as Dougie, the maintenance guy, who is basically just Karl with a bald-cap and even greater sense of disillusionment ( “Life is pain. From the moment your head pops out someone gives you a slap.”)

Rounding out the main cast is, Kevin the repulsive, drunken cretin who is spared from homelessness only by Derek’s insistence that he be allowed to stay at the aged care home, and Vicki, the teenage kleptomaniac who is forced to volunteer at the home as a part of a community service sentence. It all seems reasonably light-hearted, and is quietly hilarious from the get-go. 

We are drawn to this motley crew of underdogs and we find ourselves wincing with embarrassment and giggling uncontrollably at the situations they find themselves in.

 But a few episodes in, we discover that this is much more than just a clever mockumentary, this is actually a series with substance, and at its core a poignant message that should not be ignored. 


The key to Derek’s appeal as a character is his simplicity. He knows he’s a bit different but it doesn’t matter. One of my favorite moments  is from season one, when a council inspector enquires as to whether Derek is handicapped and would consider being tested for autism. “If I am ’tistic,” Derek responds, “will I die?” Hannah assures him no, he won’t die. “Will I change in any way? Or will I be the same person?” He’s told yes, he’ll still be the same and no, he won’t die. “Well, don’t worry about it then,” he says nonchalantly. Case closed. 

In another scene he addresses his ‘low intellect’ while talking about his late mother and the things she taught him. “She told me that kindness is magic. I’m not handsome or clever. But I am kind.”

 And he is, always, to a fault. To everyone, deserving or not, no matter how they respond in turn. He’s kind in situations that I could never be kind in, to people I could never be kind to. And as result, things change. People change. Kindness changes them. 

They become kinder people in return, they spread it around. I feel like this is a universal truth that we all understand at a fundamental level, but collectively, as a species, have sort of forgotten about. It took Derek to remind me. I would watch, tears streaming, lump in my throat, and be like, ‘oh, yeah’. 

They should be teaching it at schools. Sure, the humor is often R-Rated and Kev especially is offensive as fuck, but the occasional crudeness of the comedy provides the perfect balance to Derek’s earnestness. It makes the sincerity palatable, rather than shoving it down your throat like an after-school special. 

I can’t speak highly enough of this show. I’ve never wanted kids but I love Derek so much I’m almost tempted to have them, just so that I can make them watch it. 

Kev’s constant vulgarity is beset by occasional moments of brilliance – who knew that a character best known for lines such as “8 ounces of pure blood sausage coming atcha!” would also be capable of such insights as, “I’m a coward, a failure I guess. But I’m not a failure because I didn’t succeed- I’m a failure because I didn’t try.”

This theme, suggesting the deep-down goodness of everyone, is prevalent throughout the entire show. We witness it in the evolution of Vicki’s character from the first to second seasons. I initially thought she was a bit of a write-off, a useless ‘thot’ there to provide a bit of comic relief with her millenial-style airheadedness, as evidenced in her early exchanges with Hannah: “So what do you wanna do for a living?” 
“Oh, you know, Kardashians n’ that.”

And that’s the whole point, it’s so easy to write people off as a losers, unworthy of our time, we all do it. But after Vicki finds herself bonding with the residents and Hannah gives her 100% on her volunteer evaluation form, we see a different girl begin to bloom (“I’ve never got 100% on anything before,” she says tearfully). Hannah’s relentless kindness and belief in Vicki changes her, gives her the ability to believe in herself and quietly become a better person.

We are forced to face our own mortality through watching the elderly residents of Broad Hill on their march towards death, and heartened by the staff’s dedication to giving them as comfortable and dignified exit as possible. We feel a stab of shame as Hannah laments their plight, “Just because they’re old, just because they’re poor, they’re forgotten about,” and it breaks our hearts a little because we know someday we’ll be old and forgotten, and we vow to be more thoughtful towards the ederly in our lives and appreciative of our relative health and youth.

There’s a thousand other examples of unexpected kindness and life lessons in this show, my favorite involving Kev and a tin-can dog (I challenge you to watch that episode without bawling), but I don’t want to spoil everything for the unacquainted. Suffice it to say that every single character will surprise and move you in one way or another, and the underlying message always prevails: kindness is magic

There is really nothing more important you can do with your life than to be kind. Or, to quote Derek (who himself was quoting a Chinese proverb):
“If you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap. If you want to be a happy for a day, go fishing. If you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for a lifetime- help other people.” And if you want to be reminded on how to be a good person- do us all a favor and watch Derek. 

Grown Uprising 

 Something weird is happening to me. I don’t know how or why or when it started, but slowly, progressively, mostly against my will, I’ve started becoming.. dare I say it… an adult

I’ve tried to ignore it, but the signs have been cropping up for awhile now. I recently whipped up a cheese and fruit platter- for myself. That’s right, not for the benefit of a fancy visitor, it was just the snack my old lady brain desired, and I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even Instagram it.

A few weeks ago, I set up a Direct debit for my phone account so now my bills are never overdue- which means my phone is never cut off. This is a revolutionary concept. Over the years the team over at the Vodafone billing department have become like a family to me- I certainly have more conversations with them than I do my real one. The automated ladies voices that informs me, ‘sorry, you have call barring activated’ is as familiar to me as my own mothers. I’m gonna miss those guys.

Last week, I broke a tooth, and instead of ignoring it for several months and allowing it to become a far worse and more expensive problem, I went and got it dealt with a mere two days later. Not only that, but I scheduled it for my weekend, so that I wouldn’t require any additional time off work. How’s that for an ethic?

Ive never had health, life, or home and contents insurance- but in what is probably the most telling hallmark of my incline into adulthood, I’ve been doing extensive research on the matter. I can now conduct entire fascinating conversations with other adults about policies, health funds, and assets, whereas a few years ago, a mere mention of any of those words would make my eyes glaze over as I backed away slowly.  

I think a big part of my resistance towards growing up is because of how terrified I’ve always been of it. Turning 30 used to feel like the most ominous thing ever, and now that I’m here I of course realize that it’s not as lame as I’d though it would be, but I feel like I’m betraying my younger self by not hating it. My instincts tell me to Fight the Power! Forever young and wild and free, right? Raise hell! 

So I’ve tried to deny it. I’ve tried to act like I’m still a wayward youth. But I just don’t have the energy to do the shit I used to find enjoyable. The idea of spending a few hours, let alone an entire evening, in a nightclub, paying $13 for a shitty vodka in a mason jar that instantly gets spilled on you by a hipster dancing ‘ironically’ to a 90s pop dubstep remix, navigating my way through a sea of Kardashian-esque girls with fake boobs and hair and nails and lashes and lips and tan, and guys in their collared-shirts and Vans sameness, the pickup lines, the awkwardness, wanting a ciggy and having to squeeze into a sardine can of cancer with a thousand other banished smokers; I’d rather hang out in actual Hell, I think.

I used to think that living fast and dying young was a romantic and beautiful notion; I yearned to be like Kurt or Amy or Jeff or any of the revered ’27’ club, fellow misfits, people who felt eternally misunderstood, creative savants who lived their life recklessly, like a piece of performance art, crashing and burning gloriously right up until the bitter end. 

Thankfully I outlived 27 and outgrew my desire to die forever young and pretty. I realized that annoying phrase uttered by every adult ever –   “time heals all” is actually true, and now I can annoy the next generation by saying it to them . 

In fact, in the past six months, I’ve not only survived the transition into adulthood, I’ve actually taken steps to live even longer. I’ve quit smoking cigarettes, a habit I’ve held half my life. I stopped taking psychotropic medications and sleeping pills. I’ve started making healthy, home cooked meals at least once a week. I’ve made a conscious effort to drink more water every day. And the funny thing is, I haven’t had to make a huge effort to implement any of these changes, it’s like I just  started paying attention to my body and prioritizing my wellbeing, and once I did that the changes started to occur naturally. I’m practically a health guru at this point, and considering renaming my blog ‘totallywellness’.

So clearly I’m beginning to relax about this whole getting older thing, fancying myself as ‘reluctantly refined’. I told myself I’m aging effortlessly, gracefully, becoming a more well-rounded and capable adult without even really trying. Allowing nature to take its course, if you will. And feeling pretty smug about it, to be honest. After all, I’m doing way better than I ever thought I would be at this age- I’m not dead and I’ve never even been in jail.

And then… I make the mistake of going on Facebook. I scroll through the lives of my peers, dozens of whom have also hit that milestone age this year. A few jobless deadbeats, with children and drug habits they can’t handle, a few with mediocre middle-class existences. But what was surprising to me was that the vast majority of my fellow triple-decade compatriots are actually kind of killing it.

 One has a disgustingly cute year-old baby with the man of her dreams, and they’re this cool little nomadic bohemian family who spend half the year in their chalet (at a snow town called Mount Beauty, for fucks sake)  working at a ski resort, and then reside at their gold coast beach house for the warmer months.

 One is engaged to a model, has two gorgeous and well-behaved kids from a previous marriage, and is a doctor that owns his own radiology clinic and is currently doing pre-production on a feature film for a screenplay he whipped up in his ‘spare time’.

All of a sudden my ‘interest in health insurance’ doesn’t seem so impressive. Maybe I’m not as mature and adulty as I thought?  Im not sure whether to feel jealous or inspired by these examples of higher echelons of successful adulting. 

Oh, well. I’ll ponder it further while I go smoke some weed and eat fancy cheese. Fight the power! 

Welcome Homeostasis 

A few weeks ago, I made the decision that I no longer wanted or needed to take my medication anymore. I’ve had a lifetime plagued by anxiety, depression and insomnia, and have tried nearly every drug in the book to treat them, with varying results, mostly underwhelming. Last year, however, the game changed. It turned out all of my various psychological afflictions were linked, symptoms of a bigger problem, and I finally had a diagnosis and a name for my particular brand of crazy- Borderline Personality Disorder.

 I was put on a cocktail of medications and went through months of intensive therapy, where I learned about mindfulness, emotional intelligence and coping strategies. For the first time ever I began sleeping, uninterrupted, the whole night through. My shakes and tremors virtually disappeared. I began to feel more balanced and in control of my moods, and minor inconveniences no longer sent me into nuclear meltdown. Basically, my quality of life was vastly improved after my diagnoses and subsequent treatment, and I’ve been a vocal advocate of therapy and medication ever since.  

So why on earth, one may ask, would I even consider going off those miraculous little chemical compounds? Am I stupid as well as crazy?  Perhaps I’m one of those people who finds the peaceful life boring and thrives on drama and misery?  Maybe I just decided it was time for a good ole’ fashioned derailment? 

As exciting as that all sounds, the actual reason is because I just couldn’t deal with the side effects anymore. Back when I was in peak psychosis, a little fatigue and cognitive dullness seemed a small price to pay for a magic pill that would take away the mania. Prior to taking them I felt like I had completely lost control of my mind and physical reactions. I would have muscular convulsions so severe that I’d be unable to walk for days after; I would find myself desperately tearing at my skin, convinved I had to peel it all off because it was suffocating me. The meds, in particular Seroquel, took it all away. My mind, once a chaotic hive of activity, slowed to steady, monotone hum. The constant tears dried up, I could take a breath without it hitching, and it felt like a big warm cloak had been thrown over all my pesky emotions. It was the chemical equivalent of sweeping a problem under a rug, and it was peaceful and lovely. 


However. Having to carry around a heavy cloak all the time gets really exhausting. It weighs down on you, makes you flushed, affects your ability to think straight. Plus, cloaks are seasonal; while it would make sense to wear one in the winter (you know, if cloaks are your thing), it would be illogical, uncomfortable and weird to drape yourself in that heavy shit through the blistering summer months. As your environment around you changes, what was once your savior can quickly become your burden. 

I always just kind of assumed that my psychological issues were something I’d struggle with every day, forever,that they would always be intense and unmanageable. But it turns out the extremities of my disorder are just as ever-changing as the weather. Storms don’t last forever and neither do psychotic episodes.

Just when I’d almost resigned myself to the endless winter and given up hope of seeing the sun again, the seasons changed and so did everything around it. I am forcibly reminded of the impermanence of life, the inevitability of change, and the crucialness of adapting to it . I came to realize, that as my mental state was no longer in crisis and my mind had calmed, it made about as much sense to continue taking such a powerful antispychotic drug as would wearing that fucking cloak in the Australian summer .  

The sedative effect on my cognitive function was turning me into the walking dead. Every single day, my full-time job was trying to stay awake (as well as, you know, my actual full time job). While driving I’d alternate between micro-napping and slapping myself in the face as the perpetual motion made me unbearably sleepy. All my free time was spent in bed, I would constantly sleep through my alarms and I was always running late. I was a mess, and I knew I needed to do something about it. My warm, protective cloak had become my straightjacket.

I couldn’t find any jobs that entailed sleeping all day, so my only other option was to ditch the pills. I started by tapering off for a few days and then thought fuck it and just went cold turkey, on all the three anti’s as once (depressant, psychotic and convulsant, for those playing at home) as the idea of dealing with three seperate detox’ s and withdrawals was far too unappealing. My boyfriend naturally disapproved of this method and advised me against it, as would most sensible people, but honestly I just wanted to get it over and done with. Throw all the shit to the wind and see where it lands. That’s an expression, right?

I probably should have consulted my doctor, or psychologist, or psychiatrist, anyone with higher medical credentials than myself really, but I didn’t want to be talked out of it, and also I’m super lazy. So I just lied and told people that I did speak to my doctor and he said it was fine. 

The first week passed by with deceptive ease, and apart from a touch of the night sweats and lethargy I didn’t seem to experience withdrawals at all. This lulled me into a false sense of security. I was all like “I don’t know why I was even worried, this is ain’t no thang!

Unfortunately this feeling of being unmedicated and fancy-free was short lived, and the following week I took a brief, but memorable little sojourn into hell. I woke up crying and shaking three days in a row, the bedsheets soaked through, filled with a deep sense of impending dread which would rot in my belly for hours. The room would tilt and sway dangerously, giving me a constant sensation of vertigo and light-headededness, and the brightness of daylight was almost unbearable. I had no personality or emotions to speak of, I was just a grey puddle of nothingness in humanoid form.  I googled ‘withdrawal symptoms from seroquel and Lexapro’ and I had every  single one on both lists. I was too tired to look up the ones for Lamotrigine. I sensed I was losing my ability to function, and this was confirmed when a co-worker made a comment which I knew I found funny, but I couldn’t remember the natural human response to humor. Instead I stared blankly at her, not blinking, for about 40 seconds, after which I suddenly remembered the concept and barked the word ‘LAUGHING’ in her face. It took me another twenty seconds to actually recall how to perform the act of laughing, so I did, but I had now forgotten the joke and so instead I just made loud maniacal noises that I thought laughing was supposed to sound like and then had no idea why everyone was staring at me with a mixture of concern and fear. I took the rest of the week off work and slept for three days straight. 

As the second week drew to a end, I started to feel better. Not only were my symptoms abatating, my head was starting to clear. It felt like a deep fog in my brain was finally starting to disperse. I could think. I could feel. And thankfully, I could handle the feelings. 

Now, I must not fail to mention that I embarked on this little mental health experiment of mine while my life and circumstances were very stable (at least by my somewhat lofty standards). I have the greatest and most supportive partner, which makes things immeasurably easier. There is no significant conflict or turmoil in my career, home life or health, and although I came to the decision to withdraw rather impulsively, I did it at the best possible time, for what I believe was the best possible reason. I want to experience the highs and lows of my life completely, without the cloak, without the pills controlling and masking the receptors in my brain.

It’s still early days but so far, I’m incredibly happy with my decision to go rogue. I wasn’t sure if my brain had the ability to generate serotonin on its own anymore, so that’s a victory (and, to be fair, quite impressive when you consider how much chemical abuse it’s  endured over the years, both pharmaceutical and recreational). In fact, this is the first time since I was seventeen that I’ve been unmedicated. I still have a long way to go and only time will tell whether I’ll be able to sustain this current contentment, but for now I’m just keeping the cray at bay and enjoying the reprieve. 

I’ll keep the cloak safely stashed, just in case, but I have hope that there will never be a winter cold enough to need it again. 

Okayness/

There’s this guy I work with, he’s a few years older than me and honestly he’s the most frustrating head-fuck of a person I’ve ever met. I won’t use his name as he’s totally the type of prick who would find out and sue me, so I’ll simply refer to him as ‘the colleague’. I’ll try not to go on about him too much as it makes me angry and I don’t have time, I could literally write volumes on him, in fact perhaps I will, and then take the hefty tomes to a therapist to help me deal with the years worth of shit he’s put me through. I mean, this is an asshole who orders for lunch hot chips with salt and vinegar- minus the salt. What a monster, right? My eye is twitching just thinking about it. Anyway.

So the colleague will amble into work every day, lanky and immediately irritating on sight, and proceed to log in and put his stuff away, without greeting anyone. Someone will inevitably call out, “Hey, colleague!” To which he’ll respond with an unenthusiastic “hey” in turn. Someone will follow up with, “how are you?” To which the colleague will respond, every single fucking day, five working days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, for the past five fucking years: 

“I’m ok.” 

This response is never elaborated on, nor is the question ever returned. And the answer is always the same. I’m ok. 

Like everything he does, including in no small part the way he breathes, I’ve become increasingly furious at this inevitable daily exchange. So recently, I confronted him about it. “Why just ‘ok’, colleague?” I demanded angrily. “Why never ‘great’ or ‘awesome’ or ‘tired’ or ‘shit’? Why are you always just fucking ok?”  The colleague, who forever remains infuriatingly unfazed by my spontaneous bursts of anger towards him, just shrugged. “I’m ok. I’m always ok.” I was seething by this point, all white knuckles and pursed lips. “But why, Colleague? Why? Why aren’t you ever more or less than ok?” Once again he shrugged his fucking stupid shrug with his shitty shoulders and said, “I guess its coz all my good days are behind me. I had a good year when I was twenty-three. But I’m, like 32 now. Now I’ll only ever be ok.” I found this as sad as I did annoying, and that’s one of the worst things about the Colleague, right when you’re ready to rip his stupid goofy head off and use it as a bowling ball to repeatedly knock down his lanky headless body, he goes and says something so pathetically sweet that your anger just kinds of simmers down and melts into a begrudging pity. Usually followed by a moment of shame for thinking of him so unkindly, reminding yourself that he’s 99% likely on the lower-functioning end of the autism spectrum but his stupid religious parents never got him diagnosed or treated, so it’s not really his fault that he’s stumbling about blindy in mainstream society, deliberately unaware of how burdensome he is to those forced to be around him. And then I usually feel angry at him for making me feel sorry for him and wasting another 10minutes of my life thinking about him and his stupid fucking family.

Again, I digress. The whole point of this, before I got lost in my intense feelings towards the Colleague (and now I’m furious at him again for hijacking my thought process), was to question whether at some point, is it acceptable to abandon striving for greatness and just embrace mediocrity? Is it ok to be just… Ok?

 I’ve accidentally spent the last decade working a reasonably enjoyable, but ultimately completely pointless job, selling CDs and DVDs. I love music and movies but hate sales and the corporate environment and most of the general public, and I’ve always felt guilty for not pursuing a more lucrative career path. 

This sense of guilt compelled to me strive for more, kind of- I climbed the corporate ladder, used my smart mouth to  kiss the proper assess and quickly wound up managing a multi-million dollar a year business with a staff of 30, by the age of 25. While doing this I also decided to study online and I obtained a diploma of counseling and another in training and management. And pretty soon I was so stressed and burned out that I wanted to fucking neck myself. I would literally cry myself to sleep because I had too many things to do and I was too overwhelmed to do any of them. One time I was so rundown and dehydrated I got a kidney infection. I woke up in the middle of the night paralyzed with agony, so I rang the house-call Doctor  who arrived at 4am and gave me a shot of morphine in the ass for the pain. I had to open up the store at 7am and I couldn’t get hold of any of the other managers to cover for me, so I literally had to open the shop high on morphine and battling a life-threatening infection- that’s fucking dedication, my friend.

Needless to say, I eventually figured out that management life was not for me, or for anyone really with a soul, so I stepped back down to a lower-ranking position and have never once regretted it. I haven’t really aimed for anything work-related since, and have stopped putting so much importance in my job. It’s just a fucking job, a dumb one at that, just a way to make the money that allows my existence to continue. In this case, I felt it’s ok to be just ok. 

We can’t all be special. We can’t all lead a magnificent life or leave an important legacy. Barely any of us will have any affect on humanity whatsoever or have our names in the history books. We are, as individuals,  less significant than a grain of sand in the ocean, but collectively,we make something vital and expansive, like all the single grains of sand combined to form a body of land, or how the drops of water flow together to create a sea. 

Ultimately I think it’s ok to be just ok, but only when it comes to the mediocrities of life, and that in itself is the tricky part; determining what is truly meaningful versus mediocre. I feel like so many of us put things on the wrong end of the scale because we are influenced by the values of others. Of course your boss is going to tell you that finishing some report takes precedence over getting home to your family; because to him, it is. It’s ok to not be cutthroat in the workplace; your work is not the sum of of your life; unless, of course, you have devoted yourself to caring, healing, or another  all-consuming, noble labor. It’s ok to be just ok with yourself at times- self-love is a lifelong journey, and the pressure to be happy all the time is bullshit, like the old man in the street who tells you to “smile love, it’s free!” when you were just minding your own business, trying desperately to get to the coffee shop before work even though you’re already running late, you weren’t even unhappy, and what kind of fucking maniac walks around with a smile as their default  expression anyway? Stupid old prick. 

On the other hand, I feel there are many things you should never be ok with being just ok. 

Whatever you are passionate about, whatever your thing is, be it writing, singing, making people laugh, fucking beat-boxing, be it creative or analytical or just plain weird, whatever pops those pleasure bubbles, you should try to be the fucking boss at. Once you’ve taken over, don’t stop- aim to redifine the game. Try to be the ultimate greatest in the universe at that thing you love; not for ego or physical reward, but so that you can spend your days on something fulfilling, so that you can put something out into the world that could change lives, so that you can enhance the existence of your passion by your unique contribution. 

If you create something out of passion, unmotivated by the possibly of notoriety or prestige but compelled to create for the sake of creation alone, there is no success or failure, and you couldn’t be ‘just ok’ if you tried. 

 One should also never settle for mediocrity when it comes to love, sex, and important relationships. Love should knock you off your feet and make you more terrified and vulnerable than you’ve ever felt. Sex should deprive you, at least momentarily, of your breath and speech, leaving you both exhilarated and exhausted. That kind of love and sex exists, and can be attained by just about everyone, so settling for anything less is just depriving yourself of one of life’s most beautiful gifts. I’ve certainly been guilty of it; I wasted years on a shitty relationship because leaving seemed like too much effort. I won’t ever get those years back but I also won’t waste any more. Don’t misunderstand me; you can’t expect an otherworldly, transcendental experience every time for everyone, but it is certainly the bar for which you should aim. 

Ultimately, I believe that the Colleague is, as usual, mistaken when he says he won’t have any more good days. We don’t get a quota, we don’t run out, we have however damn many we create for ourselves. 

If we want a more fulfilling life, we need to be ok with some things being just ok. Your lunch order won’t always be on time or even correct. Sometimes someone will spill shit on your new expensive blouse. Do you really have to get worked up about it? Seems to me, if you’re the type of person to wear ‘blouses’, you’ve already go enough to worry about.

 Essentially, spend less energy on life’s minor inconveniences and trivial pursuits (including the boardgame of the same name, that game fucking sucks) and focus it on things more worthy of your precious hours.  

For a long period, I didn’t write at all, although writing’s always been my one release, purely because it doesn’t bring in money and I couldn’t afford to waste a moment on financially fruitless endeveours. I imagine that more than half the civilized population are in the same boat- how many people can actually spend time doing things they enjoy anymore? How many are actually able to rise above the distractions and obsessions of modern living? 

 A beautiful writer once said; ‘how we spend our days, is, of course,  how we spend our lives’. I’ve had my share of bad days, probably more than my share actually, probably excarbated by my own inaction. I spent a lot of time desperately wishing to just be ok. When you’re in despair, getting back to ‘ok’ feels like all you could ever hope for, so when you get there, you stop trying for more. All your hopes and dreams end at ‘ok’, because you don’t know any different.

 It’s like someone wanting to have sex but not orgasm. Imagine going around your whole life fucking people with no concept of climaxing? Just being like ‘oh yeah this feels great I’m so glad I got laid’ and then stopping after like three thrusts and tucking your junk away and going about the rest of your afternoon because that’s all you know. Sure, boning is great, but we all know orgasms are next level great (and kind of the whole point). If we hadn’t figured this out, we would have been a short-lived and frustrated species indeed. We shouldn’t want to spend our life having climax-free sex or ok-days.

 So for now, I’m trying to first figure out what my standard of mediocrity is, and then each day aiming to do (even just slightly) better than that. Devote my time to people and pursuits that bring me the most fulfillment; be ok with putting myself first and being selfish with my time. Although in doing so, if  I do happen to affect someone else positively and they also end up having an above-average day, well, that’s kind of great. 

Except the Colleague. Fuck that guy. 

Farewell, shitty youth 

It’s a warm night in May, and I’m at home, unsettled, as this is not just any other night, it is in fact the last night of my twenties. Tomorrow I will be flung across the precipice into the long-dreaded decade of ‘proper adulthood’. Thirty is a milestone birthday I’ve never looked forward to, I think mostly because I’ve never wanted to be a real grownup, and by that I mean what society has led me to believe is a proper grownup. Marriage, kids, mortgages, the stock market; none of these things interest me in the slightest. I just don’t want to do all that stuff. I loathe having to get up and work every day in a pointless job just so I can (barely) afford the luxury of existing; why the fuck would I want to extend that struggle into a smaller, even more incapable version of myself?

 Why would I want to enter the most outrageously unaffordable housing market my country has ever experienced, and sell my soul to the big banks for all of eternity? Why would I want to spend upwards of $10,000 on a single day parading my love and union to someone, in an outdated and patriarchal tradition that bears no spiritual or emotional significance to me whatsoever, just because my fucking family and friends want me to? I’d much rather get high, listen to good music, have meaningful conversations with real people, make art and sleep all day. And now, in the twilight of my youth, I’m starting to realize that it’s ok to want to do those things, it’s ok to reject society’s preconceived notion of how you’re supposed to live your life, and I shouldn’t fucking feel bad about it. 

I’m a good person, and I can say that with conviction. For the past twenty-nine years I have constantly craved approval from those around me, and made it my life’s work to please others. The satisfaction I feel when I’m able to help someone, or at the very least meet their requests, is immense. But that means that if I don’t do things correctly, or piss someone off or give them cause to reprimand me, the shame and guilt I feel is crushing. This compulsive need to please doesn’t just apply to my loved ones; even people whom I don’t particularly like or opinions on anything else I wouldn’t value, have the power to destroy me. Such is the importance I place on others perception of me. But the beauty of getting older is that you become wise to the fact that most people are fuckheads and it doesn’t matter what they think. Deriving self-worth from others is stupid and damaging and I’m grateful that I’ve started figuring that out. Instead I’m turning inwards for approval more and more, and as a result I am living a much happier and honest life. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I think I’ve got it all figured out now. It’s just that I’m far enough away from misguided mess that were my teen years to see that I have grown up, I am wiser and more confident and I’m vastly better at life than I was a decade ago. I’m sure when I turn forty I’ll look back on my life now and laugh at how I thought I was even slightly knowledgeable, but for now, I’ll live in the ignorant blissfulness  of thinking I’ve got at least a few things figured out. 

So yes, I’m about to be a thirty year old who smokes weed every day, struggles to pay bills on time and often eats cookies for breakfast. I may not have a kid, a husband or a mortgage, but you know what else I don’t have? A single grey hair, wrinkle or stretch mark. I’m not trapped in a loveless marriage with someone I thought was cool 10years ago but actually turned out to be an annoying douchebag, but who I’m stuck with coz there’s still 30 years worth of mortgage payments to be made and little Johnny’s only just started school. My life doesn’t stop at 8 and 3 every day to do a school run, instead I do, I dunno, take drugs or have sex or whatever the fuck I want. Instead I have a hot boyfriend who actually loves and respects me, a house full of cool shit and two adorable kittens that satisfy my maternal needs without ruling my life. 

 I  may not look or act like a responsible adult all the time but that doesn’t mean I’m not. I’ve earned my status as a grown up because I’ve spent thirty fucking years growing up. I’ve chosen kindness and empathy over money and power, intelligence over prestige, exhiliration over stability, passion over success. My life is sometimes chaotic, often incredibly peaceful, but it’s always my own, and I realize now that I am exactly what I always wanted to be when I grew up- free. 

Anxiety, The Worst of Me

 Living with a mental illness and various panic disorders is, to me, kind of like walking around with a heavy and noisy speaker on your shoulder. Blaring your personal, and often embarrassing, playlists for the world to hear, on shuffle, with you desperately trying but unable to find the mute button. You receive a bunch of unwanted attention from eye-rolling strangers, the song and tempo is often wildly inappropriate for the situation, and people don’t understand why you can’t just silence the damn thing. Continue reading “Anxiety, The Worst of Me”

How to be an Emotional Wreck and Suck at Everything

 I’ve been blundering my way through this ‘life’ thing for nearly thirty years now, and I still haven’t quite figured out how to be good at it. I have, however, acquired a particular set of skills; namely, in fucking up and being a total failure. So for those of you out there who have successfully transitioned into adulthood,  are perhaps bored with your smooth sailing, easy-breezy lifestyle over in Made It-ville, here’s some tips on how to foray over  to the wrong side of the tracks and take up residence in FuckUp Town, all in just 10 easy steps! So put down your kale and chia juice or whatever it is that real grown-ups do these days, and prepare to be un-enlightened. You’re welcome.   Continue reading “How to be an Emotional Wreck and Suck at Everything”