“Home” (Short story)

Lately she had been telling herself excuses every day. Something like – “You’ll have more energy tomorrow” often with “it’s just because you had a bit too much to drink last night. Don’t worry about it.”

But when the days turned into weeks, that turned into months, that turned into almost a year – maybe it wasn’t just the two or so glasses of wine.

The city was always bustling. Where she had grown up had been so different. Here, everyone was in a hurry. Elbowing past you to escape up the escalator from the train station first. Huffing when the barista took more than three minutes to have their flat white perfectly frothed. She’d never been sure where everyone was going, but they were always going their quickly.

It had been a welcome change initially. To go from living in basically the bush at her parent’s place, to being somewhere where there was always something going on. She’d felt her loneliness dissipate. There was always someone to talk to. People also looked at you less, there was less judgment. You could walk down the street with bright pink hair and no one would really look twice. That was not what it was like in her home town.

The job had also been going stupidly well. She enjoyed the work, she loved her colleagues, she was given positive feedback – many doors were opening.

But yet, she found the same feeling returning that she had thought the city had taken away from her. The feeling of being alone. The feeling of being lost, with no one there to give her a pat on the back and tell her it would all be okay.

It was Easter time. Last minute, she booked flights home. Four days, three nights. Just enough time to meet her sister’s new dog, give the nephews a kiss on the forehead and chew the fat briefly with Mum and Dad over numerous cups of tea on the verandah.

The break had been refreshing. She felt like herself, unedited. Raw and real. There was no bustling, no cars honking, no smog and humidity stifling her breathing and impacting her thoughts. Pure freedom.

On her return to the city – returning to her life away from her family, back to the job that she loved and the new friends she had surrounding her – it hit her. It hit her like a lightbulb moment in a children’s cartoon. She needed to go home. Her time away from her family and childhood friends had been enough. She’d experienced more than she had set out to, and now she knew where she truly belonged. The feelings she’d been having were pulling her in that direction,s he could see that now. She now knew what was she wanted. Home.

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“The Road Ahead” (Thoughts / Other)

The weight had lifted.

Dragged under for so long. Helpless, struggling to stay afloat. Plagued with glimpses of hope; enough to keep waking each day.

But today, today was different.
Today felt different.
This fresh elation, new perspective. It was real. It felt true. They both felt it.

There would be no going back.
The struggles of yesterday and all the days that came before it would soon be long gone.

It would be a struggle to remember how it had felt.
Neither of them would be able to handle returning to the past.
They were each strong, but not strong enough to sustain their former reality. No one was.

With the weight lifted, there was nothing left to do but to simply be.

“Perfection” (Insight)

There’s a certain skill that comes with being comfortable in ones skin. With knowing who you are, with all of your faults included, and that being enough.

Most of us walk through life constantly comparing. Whether it be comparing how we look, what we own, what degrees we have, how much we earn, what suburb we live in… We’re constantly throwing judgments onto ourselves based on what we perceive others have. Sizing ourselves up against everyone else if you like. While on one side this may be seen as healthy because it strives us to achieve more. The other side, and probably the more common result, is that it causes us to feel inadequate, dissatisfied and a range of emotions (from jealousy to hate, and everything in-between), none of which are particularly redeeming.

What if I told you that you, as you are, right now, as you read this on the screen, you are perfect. There is nothing more, nothing less, that you need to be doing. If you stop. Really stop, and think about what’s driving you – is it something that is redeemable? Is your passion stemming from wanting to make life better for those around you, or is it stemming from wanting to keep up with those around you?

I am by no means live up to the definition of what I think is perfection. I naturally compare myself to others and feel inadequate. But I want that to change. Myself, as I am right now, with my faults, with my inadequacies, with my strange sense of humour, my imperfect body, my intense love of crockery, my inability to keep plants alive and my love of my life partner – that’s me. If I, if we all, can try to love ourselves a little more, we will inevitably have more to give to those around us. Rather than perceiving others in a superficial light, we’ll be able to see through that and truly get to know each other. We all have issues, everything on the outside looks perfect, but perfection (in that sense) comes at a price.

So are you with me? Let’s do this together.

 

 

“Time” (Short story)

The morning he left he had softly shut the door behind him, not the usual slam accompanied by loud swearing that travelled through the cracks of the door, making its way back to her.

Sophie had been left to ponder her thoughts, and her life, in his absence. The morning that he had left, she hadn’t realised the significance of the way he shut the door. Richard wasn’t coming back.

For months they had fought. She hadn’t meant to have upset him and she really hadn’t seen that she was upsetting him. As a woman who was trying to make it in the corporate world, her job was important to her. Maybe too important. The inequality of the workplace, the disappointment she had in watching her male peers be promoted around her had tested her. It made her try harder, be more focussed. Longer hours, more commitment to work outside of normal working hours. She had thought that being driven was a good thing. Not something to be ashamed of, or that needed justification.

When Sophie had finally been given the promotion she and Richard had been talking about for years, he hadn’t seemed as excited as she thought he would be. There was something a little off with his reaction. She just thought he was tired from a long week of work. But hindsight is a beautiful thing.

With the promotion came an even further increase in hours and in stress. In her naivety, Sophie had thought that once you had proven yourself, once you were at the top of your game, that that was when the world would let you take it easy. However, the stark reality had hit her, that in her career the need to keep pushing never relented. It was a constant reality that only increased the higher up the chain you travelled. It was with the promotion that the cracks really started to deepen between herself and Richard. First it was a few arguments. Followed by a lot of arguments. He began going out boozing on multiple nights during the week – which she hadn’t noticed at first because of work. Work, work, work. Clients, meetings, emails after hours, calls on weekends… It never stopped. They hardly saw each other in the last few months before he left.

When they had first met, both fresh out of university, their minds were full of ideas and dreams. There were exciting careers to pursue, money to make, changes to make-an impact on the world to achieve. They could do anything! The years flew right on by. But they had each stagnated. Corporate roles stifled any creativity with the alluring promise of money and power. It wasn’t until now, years later, that Sophie realised all that she had left behind for money and power.

When Richard softly closed the door on Sophie that morning after they argued about what they were doing that weekend (Sophie needed/wanted to work, while Richard needed/wanted to go down South, get away from the world for a night or two), Sophie now realised that was him giving up. He was no longer able to see the person he had fallen in love with all those years ago. Now she saw that it had been inevitable, with how he now saw her and their future. She wasn’t sure that she even recognised herself.

 

“Motions” (A (sort of) Poem / Other)

They sit and they stare.

The screen lights up at them in an array of colours.

The voice behind the screen tells them how to think.

The words said by the screen impacts on them more than they realise.

 

Routine.

Work, exercise, eat and sleep.

Work, exercise, eat and sleep.

 

Words from the screen removing the need to think.

Pictures and stories dictating how to be living life.

How everyone else was living life.

Pressure to be like them.

 

They believed that was how they were to live their life.

How they thought they wanted to life their life.

Trapped in a world of pretend.

Cycling from one day to the next, without stopping.

 

“Time to re-write the script” (Feelings)

It was the point in her life where she had to re-write her dreams. She hadn’t planned for this to happen. She hadn’t expected this to happen.

The pressure of the relationship she had been pretending was happy had finally cracked. He’d left and she was alone.

Now what?

 

Even though the cracks had been building for a while, her identity was caught up in them. Who was she without him?

This would be a work in progress.

 

Everything in life was now up for questioning. Who were her actual friends? Were people friends with her only because she had been with him? How do you go one day thinking that you have everything to the next not knowing who you are anymore.

 

Her journey was beginning again. And she decided she was in no hurry. Nothing had to be decided today, tomorrow or next week. The universe was an exciting place. There were new people to meet, new habits to form, new ways to view the world. It was constantly changing.

 

Would she miss him after a while? She couldn’t be sure.

Would she want him back? How would she feel if he had someone new?

 

Give it time.

“Grow Up” (Short story)

She remembered what it had felt like, as a child, to feel overwhelmed with excitement. There was the excitement of birthdays, Christmas, school holidays, even school for that matter. Everything had been an adventure.

When did it all change?

Every day there was the same routine. Up with the alarm at 5.45am, she would alternate her exercise schedule with a 40 minute run, always on the same route. This was only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it was a pump class at the gym. She was in at work by 8.30am each morning, with a skim flat white in hand.

 

Work, work, work. Phone calls, emails, meetings. She would start answering emails while on the bus on her way into work in the morning, ready for a quick chat with her assistant, while sculling down her coffee, talking through how they would get through the day.

 

Lunch would be a salad at her desk, always from the same cafe. There were three different types of salads her assistant could chose from, she left it up to her to decide.

The afternoon would be bulging with meetings, more emails and phone calls.

It was a good night when she would leave the office by 8.00pm (and that was still with answering emails at home), but the usual time was more like 9.00pm. There were months were 9.00pm would be a good time to get out. She’d call her parents in the cab on her way home and talk about life. How her sisters were doing, how her parents were going on their latest adventures in retirement – the usual.

 

She’d turn on some trashy TV show she’d taped from Foxtel, have a glass of wine and usually a pre-cooked meal heated in the microwave, then aim to be in bed before midnight before she started it all again.

 

After leaving university, she always thought this was what she would do forever. Interns would come into the office and she would be placed up the front to make some kind of impressive speech to them all about how great it was at the top. How exciting her life felt.

 

For a while she’d believed that she had it all. For a long while she thought this was what she’d always wanted. Apartment, clothes, car, shoes… Tiredness, melancholy, stress…

 

There was another speech to be done later that week, a room full of bright-eyed young players. Jealous of her life. Things had changed between this time and the last.

 

She had met him at a yoga class. Sounds cliché, she thought it sounded cliché. She had finally gone along with a friend who had been pestering her for years. Come to meditation, come to yoga at least! You need to relax!

She’s not sure why she went along, finally.

The class had been more fun than she had anticipated. She hadn’t realised how strong her body was. The poses and flows reminded her of that feeling she had as a child, where you did things just because. You didn’t do them because you thought you’d feel good doing them, you simply just did them.

 

He’d been to the class with some friends. He wasn’t her type. His hair was scraggly, he had crows feet and he definitely didn’t work in the city – too relaxed. Not her type.

 

The fourth time they caught up for dinner. Before that it had been for coffee at Bondi, brunch in Coogee and then coffee and a walk at Bronte. He was a surfer. Not her type.

 

He shared with her that he’d once been like her. He thought that his life would be full of meetings, money and power. He had thought that working in a suit and having that job was his ambition. But, like she was starting to feel, he felt like something was missing. Long days at work, early mornings, trying to fit in exercise, trying to have a life. Not doing much else other than drinking, sleeping and binge watching TV.

 

A friend had taken him back to surfing. Back to that feeling of pure, child-like elation. He didn’t go back to work.

 

At dinner she knew. She knew what felt right, she knew what her intuition was telling her. Screaming at her. Get out while you can. Chase that feeling with all that you are worth.

 

** **

 

Her notice was beneath the pile of documents at the lectern. She wasn’t sure what to do, but she knew once she was at the front of the room she would know what she needed to say.

 

Her speech wasn’t read. Instead she spoke from the heart and shared what she was feeling.

 

I lost sight of what felt right to me, I stopped doing what felt right and started doing what I thought was right. It’s so important that you make sure your dreams are what feel right to you. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that your dreams have changed, it’s never too late and it’s never the wrong time.

 

And with that, she left. She left to chase the success of feeling free, the success of feeling, again, the happiness of