Day 280 to Day 287 – life changers

Day 280 – crossroads of chaos

Another crossroads presents itself and I find myself at a job interview. When asked how much money I would expect I am not afraid to ask for more than I know I will be offered.

“Do you think you are old enough and experienced enough to ask for that?”

My response…

“I know my value. There is no point in telling you an amount that you will say yes to immediately and then I have sold myself short. The worst you can say is no and then give me a counter offer.”

Ultimately, this new job does not work out. Not only do they want me to cover my tattoos, but they also want me to work a lot more hours than I am working right now.

It does give me the opportunity to look at my work-life, to re-assess this career choice. I am a wine rep. I enjoy what I do, but as to whether this is a lifelong commitment, I know that it is only a temporary means to an end. I know myself. I know that this is not me. But I do know my value and I am proud of myself for having the courage to say so.

 

Day 281 – my mother’s flames

I spend the evening with my mum. I notice that she has three candles lit on the table. She has been lighting these three candles for years. She has never actually told me about it, but I once asked and she told me simply it was her three children. It is her own silent prayer for us, like a little light to keep us safe. I love that she does this. I love that she has a little ritual for us. She isn’t overtly religious or superstitious. She doesn’t meditate or spend much time wondering about god. She comes from Mexico, where old world Catholicism demands only that you have faith. For my mother, she has never questioned whether god was there. She has never wondered about what that means. She prays when she needs to and she believes. She never had to go on grand spiritual journeys to ‘find the divine’ or climb mountains to seek something deeper. Sometimes I envy her simple and unfaltering faith. I have always questioned. I have always wondered. I have always tested and probed and looked deeper. I could never accept what I was told. I had to figure it out on my own. When she saw me pray before a meal she almost cried with excitement that I had finally ‘found god’. I told her just that I was saying thank you for the meal, but that yes I had found myself and through that I guess you could say I found divine, which is within all. She looked kind of confused so I didn’t have the heart to explain that what I was actually saying was entirely in Sanskrit and used the name Brahma instead of Jesus. If there is one thing I have never associated with god, it is religion, and so for that I can be grateful to my mother. She never made me go to church. She never forced me to pray. She only asked that I never again use the term ‘older than god’ when she saw it in something I had written. I say Brahma, she says god. My aunty says Allah. My cousin says Jesus like Hey Soos. Potayto, potaahto. I light incense, she lights candles. Essentially it is all one.

 

Day 282 – the eye hospital

I wake up fine, but in the shower, I feel a sudden pain. I pull out two eyelashes from my left eye, but the pain remains. It feels like there is something in there. I remember this feeling. The last time I had this, I had a nasty eye infection from contact use and ended up in hospital for a week. I drive myself straight to the eye hospital and wait for over an hour to be told it is blepharitis. Apparently this is common and is nothing more than a swelling of the eye, in the oil gland from where the eyelashes extend. The doctor tells me to put hot compresses on my eyes and massage the eyelid. I go home and lie down with a hot towel on my eyes. I lay back with my eyes closed.

Meditation occurs.

The last time I was in hospital, I was completely blind in my left eye. I had no choice but to meditate. I had my eyes closed for nearly a week. When the eye drops went from 10 minute intervals to 2 hour intervals, I started to escape from the hospital and walk, half blind, in the botanical gardens. My favourite part was the herb garden. I would close my eyes as I wondered through, smelling the lemongrass and rosemary, running my fingers across mint and thyme. The universe will tell you when you need to stop. If we don’t listen, it demands. If we still don’t listen, it reaches down and forces our eyes shut.

Meditation is enforced.

I accept.

 

Day 283 – Missing Indonesia

I wake up suddenly missing Indonesia. I eat black rice pudding (bubur injin) in bed, under a feather down doona, listening to the rain and in all its beauty, I want to cry for that simple life of pure existential peace where the hardest part of my day was opening a coconut. I miss bubur kacang hijau for breakfast (the best way to cook mung beans in the world)… So I decide to writ eto the only other human being who understands. Zani. She is a mermaid goddess who also lived out in the islands of the Mentawais. When I read her last email I remember why we left. The pirates. We left because under the thin veneer of paradise lies dark and troubled waters. And that restless darkness can pull you down. I left because my time there was over. I am 10kg heavier in Sydney than I was in Indonesia.

I look in the mirror and I see a girl bigger in every aspect. The girl that lived there was hiding, shrinking. She was so closed in on herself that when she came back here last year, someone thought she couldn’t speak English. That was oppression. That was me hiding behind my long hair and disappearing slowly. Now I am open, I am not afraid to be heard or to be me. I guess I don’t really miss Indonesia. I can make bubur injin in my own kitchen.

 

Day 284 – letting the leopard out

It is time for a new hairstyle. I have the side shaved, it is like a semi Mohawk. Mel (The Leopard Lounge, Newtown) bleaches the side and hand paints the colours back in. I’m not sure that I could have done this a year ago. Or even six months ago. Girls with long hair often tell me I am courageous for having a Mohawk. One girl at the pub asks if I am a lesbian. I just laugh. Ok, I guess that is why it takes courage. You have to put up with some strange comments when you have a weird hairstyle. If I wanted to blend in and hide, I could have long hair. I could wear the tiny pink dress. Instead I wear a black leather jacket and have leopard fur on the side of my head. Ladies, we shouldn’t be afraid to hide our spots. Deep down, we can let the animal out. A hairstyle shouldn’t take courage. A hairstyle is just scissors and peroxide. It is transient change. It grows. Real courage is in what you do, not how you look.

 

Day 285 – ummm om?

It has been a while since I last laid my yoga mat down in a studio class. I can’t say it has the same profound epiphany-like effect that it once did a few years ago. I don’t get a jolt of mystical inspiration. It is a great technical alignment class and something that my physical space has missed, however, I feel like there is something missing from this pure asana practice. The “om” sounds more like “um?” and the word exercise finds its way into the room. Is that why I am here? To exercise? I think I go to boot camp three times a week for that. Well, why am I here? I knew what this class would be about, so I can’t act surprised about this. If I wanted a spiritual, meditative experience, I could have stayed at home and done a private practice. I know I am here because my body needs me to be. So, is it sometimes necessary to let go of the spiritual experience in order to allow the life experience? Does yoga always have to be deeply moving and life-changing, or is it just another baby step?

 

Day 286 – the life-changing fairy

As per usual, at a fourth birthday party, I can be found sorting through the costumes. When my niece ends up entirely soaked from the bubble machine I take the opportunity to dress her in the Christmas fairy outfit. She is a tiny, magical little being, prancing around searching for one of the five varieties of cake on offer. Another fairy princess has been playing with the black Play-Doh and brings a mysterious lump over, “Look! I made a sea rock!”

Creative.

Watching my sister and her daughter play in the grass, I can actually feel the bond between them. My sister was born to be a mum and though I don’t know if it is a bond I will ever get to feel, at least now I get it. It’s funny that a yoga class can’t make the same profound life-changing realisation occur, but a little green and red fairy rolling around on the grass, can.

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