Song for a Sunday

Dear Readers,

This is not the story I wanted to tell today.

Y’know, sometimes I really am a badass lady who dresses up, rocks up solo and dances passionately at an outrageous club on her last night in New York. Sometimes I really do sob on a Sunday night on my loungeroom floor as the Melbourne winter wind rattles the windows. I’m now reporting to you live from the latter situation.

A few Sundays ago I was feeling particularly sad and lonely. That morning I’d been on a fantastic blind date in the new café around the corner from my house with this great bloke, then later that night he’d finally replied to my text by telling me he was interested in friendship. That evening the bloke who I’d been seeing for a few weeks ambiguously (potentially platonically potentially romantically, it was unclear, such is the slow burn strategy) wanted to hang out so we did and I shared a piece of myself and he did not hold it well and I realised I would rather spend time with myself than with this person. So I cried in my room and wrote the below song that turned into a poem.

The next day I had to tell a story at the big Moth Grand Slam for 700 people in a proper fancy theatre and I was telling a story a decade old about how bold and brave I once was at a rodeo and I didn’t know how to tell it with integrity when I was feeling very unlike that younger woman.

Sometimes I am find being single and I am fine with the love that is in my life.

Sometimes it is really hard.

Sometimes it is strange telling cute little dating stories going for the lols when you feel like the sad react button.

So I will share that nightclub story someday. It’s a bloody good one, I swear it’ll be worth the wait! But right now here’s that poem I wrote a few weeks ago, when rejection happened and I felt justifiably a bit down. Nothing specifically occurred today, except I had a hard convo with a new friend and we cried and hugged and now I feel sad and lonely again even though the convo and the feelings now are seemingly unrelated. Maybe you get sad about one thing and all your other sad things just take it as an open invitation. Who knows.

Anyway. I am alright. I just feel things strongly sometimes. So here you go. Here I am. Here are these feelings. Maybe you have felt some too? Maybe not. Either way, thanks for being along for the ride.

x DD

2013-02-16-205

 

What do I do with this longing?

Where do I put this desire?

This yearning, sometimes it comes out in tears.

This wanting is not always driven by fears.

 

I can put it in pot plants, into baking trays and postcards,

into words with friends and family who all want for me too

but there is not much to do

or many things to say.

 

This hope after hope after hope it grows weary.

 

This weight is not easy to share

This longing sometimes it weighs heavy

It does not grow less when examined in light

It’s pretty simple,

 

it just

 

exists.

 

There are so many moments of joy, bliss and beauty

yet it still bides its time

until I notice it again.

 

Desirous attachment gets a bad Buddhist rap but surely connections root us in belonging?

Contentment and peace are worthy I’m sure

but doesn’t yearning drive us to act, to move forward?

How do I be still in all of this.

How do I find peace here

when I cannot quell my desire to be there?

 

Tomorrow I will tell a story to more people than I ever have before.

There will be no flowers waiting for me backstage with nicknames and in jokes.

There will be no soup on the stove waiting for me at home afterwards.

I will go home alone.

I will wake up alone.

I will go to the gym or I will hit snooze.

I will go to work and repeat.

 

There will be smiling faces in the crowd of those I love.

We will dine beforehand and hug afterwards.

They have seen me tell stories before.

 

There is love in my life.

 

I do love my own life.

 

I just yearn sometimes.

 

That’s all.

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Wildness

Number 16 Beach near Rye Victoria Australia

 

What a thing it is to be in a place that is wild.

To stand in front of an ocean that stretches beyond what you can see.

To hear twittering in the scrub and waves.

The exhilaration of the wind that almost rips you open to blow the cobwebs from your bones.

The contentmentof watching cormorants diving in the shallows. The joy of thinking you might have spotted two fins carve the blue further out and then the sheer bloody delight of witnessing a dolphin lift its body out of the water and leap above a wave.

To see little signals, some familiar kelp or intricate sand pattern or smell of a crushed leaf, memories of other wild places you have loved, little reminders that these will always be places your body needs. Your senses crave them. Your soul finds refuge.

Your heart is lifted and your very core simultaneously dances and rests.

 

Rain

Dear Readers,

The thing about deserts is they can be dry as all get out for months, years even, but when it rains it bloody pours. Then all those hardy as hell seeds that have patiently lain dormant all that time burst through the soil and bloom something beautiful. That beauty stretches up towards the sun and remembers what it’s like to dance in the breeze. It’s catching. It still somehow knows what to do, even if it was starting to forget the infinite possibilities of where to grow and how incredibly delightful it could be. Wildflowers spread across the undulating plains until the red dirt is painted in ridiculously glorious purples, whites, yellows and pinks and dustbowls become fields of soccer-field green grass. 

The land, the world, the whole fucken universe is indeed a strange and wonderful place full of magic and poetry and fuck it’s good to be alive! 

Last week there was a week of really high temperatures here in the city. True. Not in a metaphor way but actually hot weather. It’s a different heat here to the humid Pilbara or dry old Alice. Then this week, one afternoon the cool change came through, as storm clouds gathered and the wind picked up. Then it hit, a heavy downfall that turned my street briefly into a creek, bringing the neighbours out to stand on their front porches and film it with their smartphones, then it was over, leaving leaves behind all of our car tyres. 

Today the sun’s back out and there’s a lovely cool breeze. I’m sitting in the hallowed La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria – my old creative haven. I’m sitting next to an old friend from the desert, both tapping away at our laptops and occasionally chortling quietly at dumb memes. 

Y’all are probably reading between these very obvious lines and deducing that good things are clearly happening in my neck of the woods. So much is happening that I don’t know quite where to start. There are so many stories to share – some lows, some highs, some gratefuls, some lolz, some ‘can you believe these bland af blokes’, some ‘what a douchebag’ stories and some ‘it was the hottest thing ever’ stories. Some of those aren’t my stories to tell – the lame shit dudes use as their opening lines – seem like easy targets and cheap laughs at someone else’s expense. My stories are still evolving and I’m bloody excited about them. I’m drafting them, I promise! They’re on their way! 

I know it’s cruel to tease like this, but after so many lonely and sad and real and true blog posts from small towns I wanted to share with y’all that shit is going really well here in the city.

I’m in the right place.

The time is right. 

Thanks for sticking with me. 

More soon, I swear! 

Yours excitedly, 

-DD

 

A Paradox

I’ve got nothing to write.

I could seek out things to write about, but I’m finding fewer reasons to share.

I stopped writing because life was exciting but still real and raw and related to some of you, My Dear Old Readers. I didn’t want to be a dick in a small town.

Then I found I didn’t have any other stories to share. No moments worth capturing. The best part of my day would be looking at my phone and realising there’s still enough time before bed time to watch another episode of House of Cards. Eating a piece of I Love Chocolate Torched Macadamia Dark Chocolate. Having enough light and good weather to go for a run in. Pruning the lemon tree.

Then I was bored by my own brain. I found I’d already written anything I wanted to say. I sat down with my sadness and stared it in the face. It was a deep, abiding, gentle sadness born of loneliness. I thought and felt and decided again to leave small towns and study teaching. I thought a lot of thoughts but they had no beginning, middle or end and they were nothing new. They were all about myself. I got so bored of being sad that stress became a haven. I’d throw myself into work, stimulated by anxiety. That pattern now repeats itself less often and to less extremes. I feel more hopeful and have genuine moments of connectedness and joy.

No stories though.

I started to think the validation I sought from my carefully curated online persona was not ultimately satisfying in a long lasting way. Perhaps it fed an unhealthy narcissism.

I read David Brooks’ ‘The Road To Character’, which challenged and solidified things. Namely that not everything about ourselves – about myself – is inherently good. I’m not a unique snowflake, my inner core is not a beautiful precious sunflower that needs constant showering with self love and affection. Our character is something we must actively cultivate, prune and shape. Being the best we can be can only come by striving against the parts of ourselves that aren’t so great, our struggle against sin. A meaningful vocation is one driven by a love and commitment to the craft itself rather than the fruits of that labour – approval, esteem, money.

My main motivation for sharing my writing seemed more self-serving than not, more about making myself feel good than making others feel anything or do anything, nor was it about devoting myself to the craft of writing. My secret childish dreams of turning all this writing into a memoir seemed rather self involved and lame now, feeding an ego driven desire to be famous.

I’ve written before, “If I die, I hope my fucking legacy isn’t just a bunch of badly written stories about bad dates.”

I’m trying to focus my creativity and curiosity outwards, rather than inwards. There are more stories in the world than mine, maybe I’ll help tell those someday. For now, I’ll dedicate myself towards a different vocation. I went to the uni open day today. Now I’m sitting in the La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library. I want to learn how to be a really good teacher. I want to be a good human.

This isn’t the end of the ol’ DD, just gunna keep giving it a rest for a while. I wish you all well and I thank you for your patience and gentle support over the years.

With much love,

-DD

Being alone in public

I’m sitting upstairs at the RSL at a table for one. It’s a big room with a wooden floor and a low roof. It has fluro lighting. It feels like the mess halls in the Pilbara, except with more old people and families and no hi-viz. There’s no serve yourself buffet, you have to order your schnitty at the bar. Instead of listening to the big screen TVs blaring Masterchef, there’s Anthony Callea on repeat.

 

A few weeks ago I threw myself a party here in Tasmania, down the road in a shearing shed. It was an excellent party. I sung and danced and everybody danced and had a good time. At one point I was singing ‘You’ve got a friend’ and everyone was waving their arms in time and singing along to the words I had printed out on signs and I just milked it for as long as I could and we all repeated that line over and over, louder and louder. In that moment I had a few thoughts simultaneously:

1) I love everyone in this room

2) They all love me

3) Maybe, just like happiness, maybe sometimes loneliness is a choice. Maybe all I have to do is call.

4) I really love this place. As lonely as I sometimes am here, I love this community, these people, this place.

5) It’s going to be really hard to leave, and I’d better be damned sure I really want to.

I spread the glow of that party for as long as possible – calling friends and reliving the memories and only looking at a few photos of the party each week.

 

 

It lasted three weeks. Now I’m sitting in this fluro lit RSL listening to Anthony fucking Callea. The idea of giving this up and moving to the city to increase my likelihood of meeting suitable men seems somehow more plausible now, although it still feels lame and desperate. Maybe no one’s really judging me. Maybe it’s just me. Realising I’m an adult now. This is real, adult life. Right now. I’m living it.

 

Six years ago I wrote:

30 used to seem so far away. All the things I thought I would have achieved by then – a house, a husband and a child. I guess if that shit was still my priority, I wouldn’t be ‘wasting my time’ in barren Alice Springs. I know that I’ll be single for as long as I’m here. I’m still ‘too busy’ to settle down.

 

I’ve been looking over everything I’ve written over the last fifteen years, like a high school student scanning a key text for overarching narrative through-lines, plotting character development and identifying key themes.

Two years ago I wrote from the Pilbara:

I can’t wait for friends and family to just be a normal part of my life again. Not something that I get excited about for weeks in advance.

 

Last year, after I’d only been in Tasmania for a month, I wrote:

I’m already lonely. I forgot how hard it is starting over. Maybe it’s different this time, maybe I’m leaving behind more than I’m moving toward. Maybe work is no longer enough, maybe I know my gypsy days are numbered.

 

I know that Melbourne won’t be an easy answer.

At the end of last year I sat upstairs at the Thousand Pound Bend in Melbourne, alone in public like I am now, but with better ambience. I wrote:

I used to think that drinking alone in public was a bit fucken miserable.

This used to be the place where I danced in the dark at No Lights No Lycra. Now it’s dimly lit with lots of dark wood and maroon leather and old books. Some strangers are laughing softly in a booth nearby. There’s some foliage in a glass jar and a candle on my table in between my laptop and my whiskey.

This miserableness isn’t as loud as anxiety. It’s a quiet, gentle hum in the background that I only tune into when all the noise of being around friends, being busy at work and stimulated when I visit the city.

I don’t know if it’s small town blues, work that sometimes brings more weight than wonder, being on the edge of learning, nostalgia, saying goodbye to my grandmothers, realizing my parents are no longer my moral compass or that those happy free single art babe women I looked up to maybe aren’t as happy as I always thought they were.

Maybe I just need to run more and meditate and do the self-care things. Or maybe I just need to sit with this feeling. Listen to what it’s trying to tell me.

Perhaps I already know. Perhaps it’s been telling me the same thing for the past nine years.

That I don’t want to be alone any more.

That what I want now, more than anything else, is to share my life with someone. More than I want to do interesting work. More than I want to be near my family and friends. Maybe whatever I do, wherever I go, this vague sense of emptiness will follow, if I keep travelling, on my own.

I’m ok about being a bit miserable. I’m mostly ok with being alone. But maybe my faith in the idea that I won’t be alone for much longer wavers sometimes, when my joyful hope that it will end gives way to pragmatism.

Being alone takes faith.

It takes courage and strength.

Tonight, it also takes cheap Irish whiskey, a candle and some softly laughing strangers nearby.

 

 

Yesterday I went back to the shearing shed where I held my party. My 30th birthday. I found this sign on the floor where I’d left it, as if the universe knew I needed reminding that even when you’re alone…

 

you've got a friend

Real Conversations With Real Men on Real Dates

Previously unreleased highlights package from 2015! The best! The worst! In chronological order! These all actually happened! Actual men said these actual words!

 

Mid January

Setting:     Lying 30 centimetres apart, on his bed, on the top floor of a trendy converted warehouse in North Melbourne. This man trained as a lawyer, works in policy and plays the keyboard in his spare time. Met on OKCupid. This is our 6th date. We are fully clothed. At this point in the evening we have finished a game of chess and are part way through a study we were completing in the interests of scientific investigation.

ME:     Ok, question 28 is ‘Tell your partner what you like about them,’ and it says you’ve gotta ‘be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.’

HIM:     (Pauses momentarily). Well, it’s obvious you’re very emotionally intelligent.

ME:     (Smiles to self).

Result:    Pash. I move to Tasmania the next day. Sporadic messages are sent. Meet twice throughout the year when I’m in Melbourne, but it is unclear if these are ‘dates’ or ‘catch ups.’ Faith is nevertheless restored in the existence of decent blokes and my capacity to meet them given the right circumstances, mainly, the right location. Consider moving to Melbourne.

 

 

 

March

Setting:     Perched awkwardly on the edge of a low couch, 1.5 metres apart, in a corner of the classiest restaurant in town, upstairs at Bayview Restaurant in Burnie. This man is a teacher, who enjoys outdoor adrenaline sports and is currently reading a book about the history of the crusades. Met on Tinder. This is our first date, my first ever date in Tasmania. I wore high heels, he wore a suit. At this point in the evening, we have been talking for 30 minutes- mostly about outdoor adrenaline sports, but currently about television shows.

ME:     Nah, I never got into Game of Thrones, the heads on spikes in the first 30 seconds of the first episode scared me off.

HIM:     Yes, but once you get past the gratuitous violence it’s really great.

ME:     What does gratuitous mean?

HIM:     Do you seriously NOT know what that word means? Really? (Raises eyebrows in disbelief, doesn’t explain the meaning of the word, proceeds to gratuitously use the word ‘gratuitous’ throughout the conversation)

Result:     No pash. No further dates. Bump into him the following day in the staff room of the school I work at.  Avoid staff room for a fortnight.

 

 

Mid October

Setting:     In a spa drinking cheap whiskey at the Lake St Clair Very Expensive Spa Cottages in Tasmania, zero centimetres apart. This man is a musician. Met on Tinder. This is our third date. Both naked. At this point in the evening we have planned our 8 hour hike for the following day and he has just been teaching me something about Ekhart Tolle.

HIM:     Yeah I used to sell drugs but now I have someone who does that for me.

ME:     …

Result:     No further dates. Delete Tinder again.

 

 

December

Location:     Elbows are 20 centimetres apart, leaning on a wooden table out the front of The Standard in Fitzroy, drinking champagne in the hot night air. This man is an environmental campaigner who plays guitar in his spare time. Connected on Tinder. Met last year through Tent Guy at Bella Union at Finishing School. This is our first date. I am wearing a new (darker) blue dress that I purchased that afternoon. At this point in the evening a cool breeze has just begun to blow.

ME:     I know when I stand up my dress is going to be all sweaty and sticking to my thighs. Gross. I probably didn’t need to tell you that did I?

HIM:     I probably didn’t need to tell you about my ear candling before either, but whatever, seems like we reached that comfortable point already.

ME:     (Smiles to self).

Result:     No pash. Catch the same tram a few stops. Before he gets off there’s the inevitable kiss-on-the-cheek-and-hug-while-falling-into-each-other-as-the-tram-stops. I leave town the next day. Make vague plans to catch up either in Melbourne or Tasmania the following year. Congratulate self for re-installing Tinder. Give up on attempting a monkish acceptance of perpetual singleness. Restore faith in the existence of decent blokes and my capacity to meet them, given the right circumstances, namely, the right location. Resolve to move to Melbourne in 2017.

 

sailing at sunset on the sea

 

Dear Readers,

I’ve already shared with you the most ridiculous conversations I’ve had with men online. Consider this my belated Christmas gift to you – some small snippets that never made the blog this year.

I’ve got one more story to crank out before Operation #puttingitallouttherein2015 comes to a close. Until then, I wish you all excellent relations wherever your location may be and where there are bad dates, may there be great stories.

Thanks for being part of my story this year.

With love and thanks,

-DD