THE BLACK WOLF

There’s a black wolf that follows me. 

I walk quickly, but precariously. The black wolf follows me. 

I am indoors, but surrounded by trees, encased in a labyrinth of glass sliding doors. I locked them all, I am sure of it. I stand motionless as a cold mist settles around me; there’s memories here. I can feel them, I can hear them, I can taste them, but when I turn around they are gone. The night noises are getting louder, the grey night tones are turning silver with the moon. I swear the moon is coming closer. Burring down on me like a cold over-exposed spotlight. I’m not cold; I am calm in my stance. Inside I can feel the wind stirring, there’s a discomfort rustling in my gut like autumn leaves. There is something I am not facing, my subconscious is shaking it’s shackles from the quiet place my conscious chooses to keep it. 

Listen. 

Not just with my ears. 

The tangled drooping trees brush their low hanging leaves around my face, and then suddenly they are still. The night noises cease. My silvered moonlit hair lags as I turn quickly to see two beaming white eyes glaring at me. The girth of the moons spotlight has widened enough to show me the black wolf breathing a rhythmic puff of steam from its ajar mouth. Neither of us move, just stand staring at each other. The Wolf is neither aggressive nor passive. I become increasingly intimidated, fear starts to irrationalise my behaviour as I tell myself to climb to very top of the closest tree. The wolf is little impressed with my meekness, and stalks my labyrinth of glass sliding doors. I locked them all, I am sure of it. His blackened paws test each door until one slides open with an irritable ease. My conscious is shaking in the fortress that my subconscious has found a way to infiltrate. The wolf keeps a respectful distance as I perch in my tree, I am riddled with fear. The wolf is not there to hurt me, but there to show me. I have no choice but to climb down from the safety of my tree and stand there exposed. I soften to the idea that this is yet another point of growth, the significance of the wolf too powerful to ignore. My subconscious speaks so loudly the things I will not willingly face. 

A dark omen, or my own shadow.

I walk quickly, but preciously. The black wolf follows me. 

THE YEAR OF THE DEATHLY HANG OVER

Now firstly I want to talk about those memes that we see floating around the inter web about how a hang over at 27 gets you hospitalised HA HA HA. So funny…. NO. No longer funny. No longer a distant look into the future that I will never get to because I’m a legend with a high tolerance who can binge drink like no other and wake up the next morning, climb mountains, head to work for a 7am start, swim to the shark nets and back without drowning. Basically, the reason I could sell having a night out almost every night was because it never stopped me the next day. 

WELL, as I come within a two month reach of my 27th birthday, let me fucking tell you this phenomenon has come to a screeching front wheel drive halt. I’m not sure how many “days after” I have to spend wrapped around the toilet bowl, or demanding that the car be pulled over immediately so I can relieve the vicious pounding in my skull through heaving up the contents of my stomach, or lack there of by vomit numero 3. 

It’s times to come to terms with the sad new fear that comes with a night of drinking and that is death. Yes, I could die. If not from choking on my own vomit the next day it will definitely be from the guilt and anxiety, perhaps even borderline shame, I feel from a mere two bottles of red wine sending me to an early grave. I’ve included the following symptoms for those reading this that fear they might be heading in the same direction as yours truly… 

1. You grace yourself with a tact vom the night before thinking it will solve all the issues the next morning. FORE WARNING - it doesn’t 

2.  You wake with a pounding headache and quickly manage the courage and the bravery to medicate and if you can manage it, shower, brush the teeth, do anything to try and relieve yourself of the residual alcohol taste that consumes your mouth. 

3. Thank the lord you don’t have anywhere important enough to be this morning that you cannot cancel it. 

4. Or cry tragedy and demand compassion from the important thing that you had to be at but simply cannot because - dying. This is what some may call lying, but I prefer survival.

5. You lay as still and as flat as possible hiding your poor light sensitive eyes from any kind of UV invasion. 

6. Until it happens, that final stomach curl that sends you tossing yourself into the toilet region and hoping that the pending upheaval of that piece of dry toast you force fed yourself this morning comes smoothly. 

7. After choking on that for a solid 5, the pounding in the head resides, there’s a certain feeling of success, like you’ve just released the devil himself through your mouth and have surely been exorcised of this demon-esque hang over

8. WRONG, the relief is short lived

9. Please repeat this cycle for the next 5-6 hours

10. Until around 8pm when you start to feel the humanity creep back in

This point in the hangover can go one of either way. You can feel a false sense of security and will tell yourself that even though you’ve wasted an entire day you deserve another beer/wine just to reward yourself for the sheer determination to not let the hangover claim your life. OR, you can go to bed sulking about how old you are and how you’re never going to drink again, or for at least a couple of weeks before you need reminding again that you’re no longer invincible. Sadly either one of these scenarios is going to see you wake up the next morning with the same headache lingering. 

I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing…

GIRLS CAN HAVE SHORT HAIR TOO

I’ve always teetered precariously between femme and tomboy. In my adult life I’ve felt more comfortable in shapeless clothes, but never been afraid to peacock on occasion and wear heels, and a dress. I never once felt masculine or boyish because I had long hair, not once was I ever mistaken for the opposite gender or even mistaken for being typically lesbian. 

However after shaving my head it suddenly made me susceptible to being mistaken for a man. The feminine security blanket of hair was lifted and just like that I grew a dick and a set of balls… I am by no means an extreme case of mistaken identity, however after living my life so freely from any kind of judgement or stereotype it was, well, amusing. 

Children were by far the worst, I can’t even count on all my fingers how many kids I heard whispering under their breath “is that a boy or a girl?” Why are we still being taught from a young age that boys have short hair and girls have long hair? I tip my hat to any girl under 15 that has the bravery to cut her hair short. We live in a world where you apparently have to identify with a “norm” gender appearance to be considered either this or that, and as much as I knew it existed it’s another story to experience it for myself. Do we still tell boys they are girls when they’re scared to do something? Do we still push girls to choose dance lessons over football training because they are ‘ladies’? Do we even realise the intensity of which we force kids to believe that things have to be a certain way to be understood? 

It’s the 21st century and brave ladies shaving their heads are pretty common, yet we still have males that feel the need to comment on such in a negative manner. They feel the need to make it obvious that now that there is no hair gracing the head they are in fact a man, to be mistaken for a man, obviously into chicks, and being intimate with a bald chick would challenge their fragile masculinity beyond means. Is it intimidation? Is it fear? Are we as a society seriously still shook from a persons large step outside the status quo? 

I shaved my head because I felt like I hid behind my hair, I didn’t feel nice unless my hair swamped my face, and I wanted to eliminate that useless worry, I shaved my head for myself and no one else, I shaved my head because I can do whatever I want to my image without needing the validation of others to do so. I urge more girls who are afraid to shave their head (but really want to) to just fucking hack that pony tail off… The irony behind all of the shady comments is that I never felt more in touch with myself and my femininity than the day I shaved my head.

THE LABEL OF "CREATIVE"

Never was one for labels and it is only in the last 3 years that I have really accepted that I am considered a creative type. For a huge portion of my life I was scared to be labelled ‘creative.’ Afraid that with the title of being creative came the expectation that I was going to do nothing but struggle, that I would never hit that successfully employed mark, and that I’d never have a cent to my name. When people would ask me my interests I’d have to think of something quickly to make sure I was mainstream enough to be considered a person of success and pending greatness. Naturally I gravitated towards everything creative, but I just never took on the label. 

I had a bad relationship with ‘me’ because I was denying myself the very fundamentals on which I raised myself; to be resourceful, to be able to use my time to amuse myself with very little, to constantly be striving to improve and develop new skills. I still did all this, but all the while I repressed a true part of myself which was my creativity. I had people and family members in my ear telling me that no creative (or at least very few) has ever amounted to anything and I’d be wasting my life to pursue that creative career. When I originally wanted to study creative writing I was made to feel like I was banking up a huge student debt to learn about a hobby. To put it frankly I fucked around for so many years trying to work corporate jobs and get corporate based certificates and it literally killed my soul. I began to turn into the lifeless drone that I so despised. I moved into hospitality, this at least allowed me to interact with people on a more personal level and surround myself with other like minded creatives who are probably feeling the same strain I am. That couldn’t last either, I was STILL denying myself my dream of pursuing that creative career. So just over 2 years ago I broke my ankle, and my life came to a screaming halt and I had no job to even distract myself from my life that I disliked so much. I had a horrible relationship and the only thing that made me feel better about life was my dog. I had just begun getting back into painting, but it was just a test. Anyway when you’re in a state of idleness with an injury you get really introspective about what life really is and even if I did struggle for the rest of my days to pursue something I love, would it really matter? 

I know that friends and family probably just wanted me to feel comfort and security in this life, but they did me such a disservice by allowing me to suppress who I really am. I still cringe when I label myself “creative” out loud, but I cringe even harder when I think of all the time I wasted trying to find a purpose and a path when I was soooooo far off the actual path for me. 

 I am a creative type. I live and breathe creativity. I cook creatively, I clean creatively, I care for my animals creatively, I paint, draw, dance. I am a living breathing ball of self expression that needs to get out into the world, and this is what sets me apart, this is what is going to make me succeed. Not turning my back on who I am, and trying to be something I was never ever born to be. I really mean it when I say I was ashamed when someone would look at me and call me creative. I felt the need to correct them and tell them not to questions my intelligence like a creative person isn’t smart…

So finally, here I am. Right now. Letting creativity drive absolutely everything I do, letting that be my authenticity, and letting ideas flow through me like the perfect temperature cup of tea; and it feels good.

THE APPLE BY THE STAIRS

“There’s apples by the stairs

Do you see them in the basket?”

I looked around and under

But no apples did I see

She seemed somewhat perplexed

At how ignorant I could be

 The apples were not there

In the basket that she spoke

There were of course apples

In fact, there were apples everywhere

In a manner quite bespoke

It was a metaphor I realised

For things that come and go

A little game she played

When times were going slow

A joy awash across her face

When my eyes began to dance

From place to place to place

 “You see the apples, don’t you”

She sniggered with a grin

It takes a little effort

A little scrub and shine

To wipe the cynicism from your life

And stop that endless pine

 “But once you see the basket

I filled with apples by the stairs

You’ll make a promise always

To see apples and not pears

So I’ll say this one more time

There’s apples by the stairs

Do you see them in the basket?”

Yes.

I said, Yes