point a to point b

wake up so softly that you can’t tell when sleeping ceased and consciousness seeped in. don’t be surprised that you are okay. do be surprised to find a message from him on your phone asking where he can buy kale. realise maybe he needed you more than you needed him. he needed to realise he wanted kale in his life. write back. then let it go. don’t tell him you’re letting him go. don’t tell him it’s not because he’s not worth holding onto. that confessional urge has dissolved. you know that this is part of being a woman. you do not need to prove that you are okay.  tell him without telling him that you’re sorry you’re okay. it’s not him. he is good and beautiful and you could have loved him deeply, but you’ve explored every back alley of the alphabet and you know your way from point a to point z off by heart. you get where you’re going much faster if you know where you’re going and you’ve got no space in your life for someone who doesn’t want you.

you are the sofia. accept it. this is an excruciating role but it is crucial. excruciation is crucial (look at the letters). you are the one that makes them need kale. you are the teacher. you are the one that dies. and this is a gift. you wouldn’t be this person if you couldn’t take it.

GENDER: Feminine
OTHER SCRIPTS: Σοφια (Greek)
PRONOUNCED: so-FEE-ə (English), so-FIE-ə (British English), zo-FEE-ah (German)  
Sofia is a female name derived from σοφία, the Greek word for “Wisdom”. The name was used to represent the personification of wisdom.

this is what happened.

he came and the two of you stayed in bed for twenty-four hours. somewhere near the beginning you started talking and somehow you broke up. but still, you both stayed in bed for the whole twenty-four hours, fused, even when you cried, and when your bodies unravelled in sleep, he grabbed you. you watched a movie that rattled both of you in different ways. you kept saying, i’m the sofia. i’m the one that dies. in the morning he said, i don’t want to stop holding you. and you were confused again because this isn’t the first time a man has held you with one arm and pushed with the other.

you called a friend (those lifelines are unconditional and infinite) because you were wild with hurt and you were worried you’d start weeping on the tram. you said i’m not even tired of this happening. that’s how many times it’s happened. you saidbut i am so tired of falling in love, always soclose but never really in it. always allowed to dip my feet into lakes of love, just enough to remind me what it’s like to be drenched with intimacy, and then i’m back on dry land, alone, with all these holes where people used to be. 

you wanted to have a tantrum. you wanted to say, but you told me i had a reason to stand still! don’t. instead you said, how was your flight? oh you made a new friend? how lovely. you didn’t say, i took a shower but i still smell like you. i brushed my teeth but i can still taste you. i’ve stripped the bed, but making it overwhelms me and the notion of a naked mattress doesn’t horrify me right now (there is almost a perverted pleasure in sinking to such despair).

but maybe he is too young to know about the frenzied kind of grief that has you crying until you throw up. i know you, he said. you will try to find a way to blame yourself for this, the way you’ve done with everything else. but i won’t let you this time. this isn’t happening because of you. you hated him for saying the right thing when you were trying so hard to hate him. you said, i hate you so softly that it sounded like love. you didn’t ask him if he knew what it’s like not to want to exist. you didn’t admit you know why people want to kill themselves and it’s not because they want to die but because they don’t want to exist and you know that dying and not existing are not the same thing. he knows this about you.

you stood in front of the mirror and burst into tears, your eyes bulging slits, your cheeks pink and hard, your mouth bending ugly, saying again and again, i don’t deserve this. later, you wailed under the naked duvet, grateful that tears aren’t countable because the number would scare you.

you didn’t turn off anything, the laptop, the light, because you were afraid of being engulfed by grief in the dark. you tried not to try not to think about it because the trying gets you thinking about it. remember telling him, there is not a single consistent man in my life; only the women stay.

then you reminded yourself to trust the universe. you didn’t hate yourself when that trust didn’t make it hurt any less. you didn’t hate yourself at all. remember him saying, it’s difficult to like someone who doesn’t like themselves, and you were confused (maybe you’re not quite there yet).

the thing is, you do trust that you can handle everything life gives you. trust life. acceptance eases much suffering. yesterday the shock bred pain. but if you trust life, if you trust that every disappointment is a necessary pebble in the mosaic of you life, then you don’t need to suffer. everything that happens to you is for the better. pain is inevitable. accept. let go. flow.

hold on tightly, let go lightly.

obstacles are just pebbles for your mosaic. every x is  pebble. wisdom is seeing someone as a pebble instead of the whole mosaic. you are the mosaic. you are the sofia.

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thoughts on a berlin morning

we sat by the canal drinking beer and eating blueberries, talking about the things we usually talk about, noticing the ways we’ve changed. there is grey in our hair.

i am sitting by a big window in an apartment with high ceilings in berlin. i have already written this but i lost it somehow and i cried before i tried to remember. berlin is very german. things it seems to have a lot of: smokers, italians, wheelchairs. things it has few of: smiles, sunshine, good wine.

it’s in the lingering fingers. running through my hair like water. pressing the bone at the back of my neck like a button. i am liking these moments because there is no directionanxiety. his fingers and my skin are not exclusive. i like the way i’m skimming from boy to boy, collecting lovers like souvenirs. there is more freedom is belonging to several than belonging to one.

when his fingers found the crescent line of my jaw, i threw an arm over my eyes and rolled over, leaving a hand still in his. because there was too much sunlight and it seems that i am still scared of being seen. perhaps this is why my mood ripens at night. i am brave in the dark.

a she from a long time ago invited me out clubbing last night but i couldn’t be bothered to deal with the anxiety of the unknown. i might regret the no because i’m almost thirty and when will i get the chance to go clubbing in berlin again? but i have regretted many things and none of them have broken me. we stayed in, drinking organic red wine and watching youtube videos. when i went to sleep at four am, they seemed bemused.

a someone is playing the piano is the apartment across the courtyard. the sky is still. the sun has ripped through after a grey morning. there is a smell of cheap cigarettes. and also croissants.

 

“you kiss just like I thought you would”

you kiss like europeans, this is what you whisper as you brush lips like snowflakes on a balcony on a friday summer night with a cool breeze kicking round your bodies, no space between your limbs, all tangled up and tight. you talk to him, to the sky, and he stands behind you, murmuring compliments into your ear. later, on the carpet, the thrusting tongues, skin gliding over skin, knees rubburnt, all the while, european, european, european, the sensuality, the intimacy, the romanticism, the familiarity. afterwards, you fall asleep and he asks if you mind if he goes home and you don’t, you’re drunk and you’re tired and you like him but not in a bow-tie way but then waiting for the taxi, suddenly, your hands rip into each other’s bodies, exploring, exploring, exploring, and it’s beautiful, this one night’s connection, how his lips sought out your scars in the dark. how, you chanted someone else’s name at first but then that him dissolved and it was just you and this boy who asks you if it’s okay to come. at the end you didn’t even want to message the other him to say I thought of you the whole time, and not just because it turns out that isn’t true. you pass out on the carpet, naked, dreaming in shades of tequila and contentment. bring on the boys. bring them on, bring them on. gratitude for the gentle, awkward boy that heals just because he’s him and he’s there. gratitude for the gentle boys that healed you before. life is magnificent.

Annual Questionnaire 2012

What was 2012 for you?

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

I went vegan…ish.
I had a holiday romance.
I wasn’t afraid to say NO.
I decided I liked dates. The fruit. AND EVEN FIGS. DRIED ONLY.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make any resolutions. This year, I am launching a Happiness Project. It is the second day of the year and I still haven’t decided on the themes but, you know, whatever.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No one close, but people I know.

5. What countries did you visit?

Bali, baby! Baby coconuts, electric-green rice-fields, cocktails, temples, monkeys, surfers, nom nom nom, getting a good feeling, sunsets, thunderstorms, offerings to the gods, speaking Indo, private pools, accidental bikini wax duets, mani-pedis, the list goes on…

6. What would you like to have had in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

Kisses! And moneyyyy. And partying! I will NOT be saying this in one year!!

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

March 13th when I moved to Australia. November 13th when I went to Bali. The birth dates of my lovers. The last three guys I dated had birthdays while I was with them. That’s funny.

I gave a much more detailed account of this last year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I suppose I should say getting into Melbourne University. I applied on a whim.

But actually, my greatest achievement this year has been finding the strength to hope again, to keep trying to do life, whatever that means. Also, I am learning how to give more without sacrificing myself. I became a lot more assertive this year but  also more accepting.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I’m not sure I believe in failures anymore. But for the sake of the question, I would have to say that I didn’t manage to keep my body in shape.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Some stomach issues. Unforch. Several times.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

J’adore my iPhone, Xavier. Some much needed clothes. And my bindhis.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Every beautiful soul I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this year. And the beautiful souls that stick around. For loving me and holding the space. And my mother’s, always, for listening without waiting, for giving without expecting.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

No one’s. If someone lets me down, I try to let it go. No point in holding on. No expectations, no disappointments.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel. Good food.Bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

BALI!! And uni. And new friends.

16. What song will always remind of you 2012?

Je Pense a Toi by Amadou and Mariam.
Get a Good Feeling by Flo Rida.
We Found Love by Rihanna.
What Reminds Me by Royskopp.
A Good Year for the Roses by Elvis Costello.
Acapella by Kelis.
The Art of Noise by Cee-lo and Pharell Williams.
Rainbow Warriors and Terrible Angels by Cocorosie.
Ugly Girl by Fiona Apple.
Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell.
Call Your Girlfriend by Robyn.
Gravity by Sara Bareilles.
Baby It’s You by The Shirelles.
Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover by Simon and Garfunkel

17. Compared to this time last year, are:

a)happier or sadder? 

b)thinner or fatter? 

c) richer or poorer?

Happier.
Fatter.
Richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Been kinder to myself. WORKED OUT. Yoga and meditation. Laughed.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Watching TV. And procrastinating, GOD. Stressing.

20. Did you fall in love in 2010?

No, but that’s okay.

21. What was your favourite TV program?

Offspring.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No!

23. What was the best book you read?

A Spy in the House of Love by Anais Nin and Answered Prayers by Truman Capote.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

See above.

25. What did you want and get?

To get into uni. A holiday romance. Score!

26. What did you want and not get?

For life to magically get easier. To be saved. But I don’t want that anymore. At least, not in the same way.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?

I don’t think I watched any. The Bachelorette maybe.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 27. For the first time ever, I decided not to celebrate. I think I wanted to see what people would do. The answer is- not much. Now I don’t even remember what I did. I’ll make up for it this year!

29. How you would describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Colour, colour, colour! I dress younger. I experiment more. I’ve also gone back to my boho roots.

30. What kept you sane?

Meeting people who GET IT. Writing. The idea of perseverance. Awakening.

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Whatever.

32. Who did you miss?

Most people I love.

33. Who was the best new person you met?

Karin, Ellie, Sarah, Indra, Talitha, Hamish.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

That all you can do is to keep going. And you do that by taking it one day at a time. Also, I’m not weak- life is fucking hard. And it’s not about being happy, but being alive.

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Uhm… Can I get back to you on this one? And by that I mean: I am going to ignore this question like I did the other years: 20092010 and 2011.

Appetite

I can feel their eyes like fingertips at my nape, I can feel them curve down my body, flick over my hipbones, grip the dip behind my knees. And I feed off these gazes because I’m eye-eating them too, even if they don’t realise it. The almond-coloured boy with the tattoos that I frowned at every time we caught eyes. The pretty blonde boy on the bicycle that turned around to smile at me. The fuller-figured flirt that gold-starred my outfit when I asked for a lighter. The man with Jolie lips and Pocahontas hair that stared at me before he turned a corner. Suddenly men are everywhere. What came first? Is my appetite drawing them to me or has it always been like this and I am only noticing it now? I’m surprised by my desire. Each glance, each smile is the possibility of an adventure. It’s all rather exciting.

I’m so hungry! It’s like I’m sitting in a fine restaurant with my hands clasped over my mouth, starving because I’m too scared to take a bite of something new. I think a lot about the men I haven’t met just because I was too frightened to look back at them. All I’ve ever learnt from love was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you. I’m not sure how to unlearn this lesson. Experience has taught me that men want me because there is something unattainable about me. Tell me how to unlearn this.

I carry these men around with me. I remember their gazes and their smiles. I wonder who they are, what their voices sound like, how they hold cutlery, what their kisses taste like. And it’s funny in an unfunny way because I’m sure that, to them I am just some cold girl who didn’t give them the time of day. The deception of perception is fascinating.

But god, I’m hungry. I swear, if one of those boys dares to find my eyes, I might just have to devour him.

I wonder whose eyes I’ll reel in tomorrow and vice versa.

Never Unscarred

He tells me that I’m beautiful. I laugh. It’s a line, and I won’t take the bait. He laughs too. He says, I mean it! You are so beautiful. Maybe so but that doesn’t mean anything these days. Compliments are cheap. Any guy can throw one out. And they do, all the time. I am surrounded by hooks. But what I want to know is what they do when I bite. I don’t bite often, but when I do, I bite hard. Any guy can buy the bait, but they don’t know how to reel me in. And next time I bite, I want to make sure that I choose someone with a strong rod.

That sounded dirty but that seems to be my permanent state of mind these days. I watch the boys play baseball. I love the way their arms flex as balls soar through the sky. I don’t care about their faces, just the way they grip their bats and slide across the dirt. I love the little leg lift-up; it reminds me of a dance. I want someone to hit me out of the ball park.

He turns his head to see if I’m watching. I am. Unapologetically so. Later I see his face is old and hard and not so pretty. I don’t care. He has those arms and that arrogance. He’ll do.

I want to have affairs, crazy love affairs. I don’t want flimsy flings or ugly one-night stands. I want innuendo and indulgence and respect and flesh. I have spent so much of my life being single and celibate and perhaps it’s a shame. I am wasting my body. I am young and free and I want fantasies.

He stands up a little straighter when I’m around but he doesn’t pay me much attention. I always said we had bad timing but maybe he just never liked me all that much. He looks at me sometimes; he holds my eyes with his  but it doesn’t mean anything anymore. Eye-locks and compliments are nothing, not even promises.

We sat in the sunshine and drank beer. I covered up my scars with bandaids. When I looked in the mirror, I tried to imagine what my body looked like without scars. It might sound silly but I just realised that I will never be unscarred again. That sounds simple but it’s strange to think that I am changed forever. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed my body for a decent amount of time. Sometimes I think I’ve been cheated of my youth. All those years of striving to achieve perfection, and for what? I am twenty-six, forever scarred; all that perfect skin wasted. But then I realise that there’s no point because that was then, and this is now, and I will never, ever be unscarred.

I know that we think scars and imperfections are beautiful, but it’s hard to feel that way every day. There is no freedom in this; I have no option except to be scarred.

The word scarred is the word scared with a little extra rrrr. 

Journal Excerpt: Even My Breathing Keeps Them at a Distance

I am riding a train. They are being boys, boisterous, knocking on windows. The rapid rap, rap, rap makes my heart beat, beat, beat at the same pace. My chest feels full of air. My ribcage feels literal. My heaving is impeccable. I panic delicately.

Everything is too loud. I’m afraid the train’s shaking will break me but today my eyes feel two-dimensional so maybe we are not always real. If I am not real, I cannot break. I almost don’t care what people would think if I lay down on the cool marble. Would our histories merge? I have abstract desires like wanting to steal people shoes to make a patchwork of their colours and use it as a dream blanket. I do not even know what a dream blanket is.

And when people walk by me, I feel their vibrations; atoms of their energy radiates, and I’m a sponge, a towel used to soak it all up, to soak up every breath the world takes. I am a soul towel.

Life sways. Gravity eludes me. I find myself dizzy with weightlessness. I rock from side to side. I almost trip. I almost fall down stairs. I am unaware of space, of objects. Nothing is tangible. I feel like I could fall through anything.

I am in a taxi. The boy in the next care turns around and looks at me. I breathe out. It fogs up the window. Even my breathing keeps them at  distance.