little triggers

mswolfeywolfe walks - put on the sneakersHad to drag myself out today. catherine deveny’s words echoed: “just put your sneakers on. just leave the house. just walk to the first corner…”. don’t wanna. you can’t make me. why is it so hard sometimes? the blues have descended again these past few days, not helped by getting my period just two weeks after the last one. my body’s changing. i’m moving into a new phase almost as hormonally challenging as puberty. moodiness, fatigue, bouts of grief surfacing at the slightest trigger. i’m trying a new tack—rather than berating myself for feeling teary and vulnerable (when did berating oneself ever work, anyway? it’s just that I’m so good at it) i’m practicing surrendering to the pain whenever it surfaces. i let myself cry. i let myself feel the pain. i write. i do a few stretches. i walk.

i feel ready to move towards grief rather than constantly trying to wrestle it into submission. rightly or wrongly, i’ve been deliberately (sometimes accidentally) triggering my emotions by reading books like ‘wild’ by cheryl strayed and ‘shy’ by sian prior, watching brene brown’s ted talks on vulnerability, and watching movies about loss and being brought low, and redemption. as a result i’m feeling more vulnerable than ever (no surprise) but… strangely stronger too. giving myself space every day to cry if I need to is liberating.

sometimes i’ll be punched in the guts by something i don’t see coming. a smell—the waft of new carpet brings back dad, his carpet samples packed into the back of the corolla station wagon, me climbing amongst them to read a book when he got home from work, safe and snug. or mum’s favourite jam on sale at the supermarket, me going to buy an extra jar for her, then remembering with a jolt “oh no, my mum’s dead!”. or a painting of horses left on the pavement for the hard rubbish collection; bringing back my first horse and love of my life, nimbus, who died from a colic attack. or driving to a gig near the beach… the briny sea smells, the lifesaving club at mentone, the clinker brick art deco apartments where we lived. and where caroline died in the driveway.

i’ve been told it’s pointless dwelling on the past and re-living the trauma, but seeing as it keep surfacing of its own volition in my memories and dreams and every day life, i may as well sit down and listen to what it’s telling me.

walking definitely helps. just put on the shoes, walk to the front door, walk to the front gate, walk to the corner… and let it all wash around.


every day hurts a little more


“I cried on my blood day; there was nothing that I could hold on to… Every day hurts.”—Twisted, Skunk Anasie

That’s about the size of it, today. heavy period, winter closing in, wet leaves. still, i drag myself out for a walk. do i feel better now? not really. a bit. at least, semi-proud of myself for facing down the ‘you’ll get raped & mugged & murdered’ fear monsters and the ‘no-one cares, what difference does it make, you’re fucked and a fake and horrible and hopeless’ nasty monsters. my own dear, cherished, fucked-up, omnipresent monsters. taking them for a walk. i guess, like dogs, when they get cooped up for too long they start chewing the furniture, i.e. my mind.

the pity party is ok though. i’m used to it. i’m learning to say, yeh, alright, i’m grateful for so many things now (and sometimes when i’m motivated i list them in my mind)… but the past was such a terrifying, bleak, lonely place that i either revisit it of my own volition or it seeps and poisons like a fuel leak into a stream. i wish i was my own big sister, and able to go back and say all the reassuring and loving things i needed. i wish my big sister was here, now, and not dead and scattered in some bleak little churchyard in cheltenham alongside my dad.

gosh, so dark! like i said, i’m learning to play with it (sort of) and understand it and befriend the darkness in a strange way. i think, maybe folks are more scared of me than i am of them? maybe i’m stronger than i think? maybe i’m not such an arsehole?

i dreamed last night that i was back at primary school and the boys were tormenting me again, hurting me, bullying me. i was taller than them (then, and in the dream) so not really scared, more confused about why they were being so mean to me. in the dream, i flapped my wings and flew up into the air. when they came after me, i kicked them one by one until they spun out of control and crashed to the ground.

what does that all mean, i wonder? escape, longing for freedom, triumphing in the end?

saw my brother today. i felt such a rush of love—and, as always, fear. as he gets older, he looks more and more like dad. in another long-ago dream, after dad died suddenly of a heart attack, i saw him wandering the streets of richmond like a homeless man, grey and haggard, beaten. i cried out to him across the street. it was getting dark, he was out of focus… and then, gone. i cried over that for a long time.

he would be so proud of me and my bro, now. i see that his anger, depression, frustration was not aimed at me – although it always felt like i was a huge disappointment. it was aimed at himself. it was as if the crushing expectations he had of himself, and his constant failure to live up to them, squeezed the love and life out of his heart.

i won’t do that. i refuse to do that. love will out, and my heart will let it in. i’m doing ok.

look to the west

The west held such promise and mystery for us ‘westerners’. but what once beckoned ‘new frontier, new life, new hope’ now seems exploited, drained, mined, fallen. i don’t know, really, i’m making this up. but there’s something. today i walk westwards, in hope. i’ve registered for the mothers’ day fun run in three weeks’ time… and have hardly trained at all. i drag on my sneakers and head out. fifty steps walking, fifty steps jogging: that’s the plan. no more thannative grasses, Kensington 10 minutes in, my right calf and ankle are burning, throbbing with pain. i admonish myself, ‘such a baby’. but then i remember, i’m all about mothering myself now. being kind. last night at choir i cried. in my car, during the break. i felt shamed in front of the choir for asking what i thought was a reasonable question about a song. there’s a kind of ‘toughen-up-princess’ attitude there, which i don’t mind so much when i’m in ‘game show hostess’ mode (aka cheeky, robust, bulletproof). but when i’m in ‘little-girl-lost’ mode, i recoil like a sea anemone. one of the blokes saw me in the carpark crying, and encouraged me to come back in. i did, and i’m glad. spoke privately, quietly with the choir leader. she was mortified, apologetic… and promised to be more gentle. i think being kind to oneself sometimes involves asking others to be kind, too. kindness flourishes when energy is directed there.



a little something


Softly, quietly, winter has arrived. chill mornings, breath turning to steam, darkness falling ever-earlier. i ride my bike to work most days now. i love the path along the moonee ponds creek. on thursday, a white egret flew parallel to me and landed just metres away on the waters’ edge. muchos rubbish strewn along the banks, thanks to the recent flooding. why can’t we take better care of our beautiful environment? we live in paradise in australia, we’re so incredibly blessed, yet we keep trashing it. every one of us can do our bit, do a little something. if we choose to.


the unlikeliest places

geckoRummaging in the corner of the garden, looking for stones to place underneath a plant pot, i spy a tiny gecko. he slithers away in a blink, before i can photograph him, but he leaves a froggy little padprint on my heart. what a cutie. he’s miraculous because we’re so close to the city, and kensington (aka ‘catsington’) ain’t the friendliest place for tender, juicy critters like geckos. how he has survived the cats, the concrete and the chemicals, we’ll never know. but he’s here, he’s healthy, and he’s a symbol of mother earth’s gentle, abiding endurance.

the voices in my heart

old stock route, flemingtonTonight’s stroll took me down to the old stock route. it was a magical summer’s day, warm and mild, with a cloudless blue sky and soft breeze. perfect. the rainbow lorikeets caught my attention. a flock of them were roosting in the small trees along the sides of the narrow road, squawking and carrying on like a bunch of school kids.
i’m doing a screenwriting course this week at melbourne uni. soaking it all up, struggling with the ever-present demons of self-doubt, plugging on. a thought occurred to me yesterday at the bus stop: don’t listen to the voices in your head; listen to those in your heart. apart from it sounding like a fat cliche and new-agey as all get-out, it kind of bounced around my skull… and has reverberated there all day. i write it now to remind me. i need to be reminded; i live mostly in my head, racketing around there with the demons and their scaly mates. my heart, on the other hand, seems to be a gentle and forgiving place. the voices that emanate from there are unfailingly soothing, patient, kind. when they push me, they do so in an encouraging way, not a mean, ‘suck-it-up-princess’ kind of way. stay tuned.

a ride along the creek

moonee ponds creek, north melbourne
It sure is a grey, bleak, industrial landscape along the bike path at the moonee ponds creek. decades of poisons, pollutants and rubbish, denuding of the banks, building of concrete monoliths overhead, and sheer neglect, have rendered the creek sluggish and greasy-black. but there is life. today i spot a pair of ducks (chestnut teals, i think) paddling happily. on other wanderings along that stretch of the creek, with its briny smell and patches of regenerating rushes, i’ve seen egrets, wood ducks, even fish (albeit feral carp!). and where there’s life, there’s hope. australian soils and ecosystems are so fragile but so bloody tough and resilient at the same time. i love this country so much, and i’m gradually learning to look beyond the ugliness of our clumsy marks on the landscape, to the beauty beneath. i used to spoil my walks with angry thoughts of how much we’ve damaged and desecrated our beautiful blue-green planet. now, when the rage stirs in my breast (and it still does, often) when i see cigarette butts and plastic bottles and detritus, i let it go as best i can, and look to the signs of life.

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