Annual Questionnaire 2014

What was 2014 for you?

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I said no a lot. I went to Germany. I disagreed with my mother and didn’t feel guilty about it.

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

I don’t abide by New Year’s resolutions anymore. Each year is a chapter in the same book and I want there to be coherent resolutions throughout. While it’s useful to have the opportunity of a symbolic fresh start, I reject relying on a change of numbers to inspire me to progress my life. I want to be consistently inspired throughout the year. I have four focuses at the moment: travel, writing, learn French and meditate (mind and body).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not close to me, but my peers are popping out babies like popcorn.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. But funnily enough, the older you get, the more deaths you hear of.

5. What countries did you visit?

Bali, Greece and Germany.

Last Christmas, my Balinese lover invited me to visit him again. My ex had just broken up with me so it was perfect timing. I had a wonderful time. My lover was a funny, stormy, affectionate, immature distraction. We held hands everywhere. We bickered over cards. We had an impressive three fights over eleven days. He took me to his father’s village where we stayed in a bungalow overlooking the jungle. He took me to see his land with the rice-fields and warm-water spring and albino horse. We spent serene days at the beach drinking coconuts and comparing tans. I found out I was the first woman he’d brought home, the first woman he’d showered with, the first woman for a number of things. On the night I left, we didn’t talk much. At the airport he said, “I already got used to your smell.” He hasn’t spoken to me since.

I went home to Greece for the first time since I left in March 2012. All I did was hang out with my best friends (who flew in from England and Hungary to see me) and go to the beach. In hindsight, I didn’t let myself be free. I think I didn’t want to enjoy myself too much because I knew it would make it harder to leave. But god, I love my city. Athens is electric and soulful. I love the sun, my salty hair, the wine on the balcony. Days at the beach doing crosswords. I wish I’d caught up with more people but maybe I nibbled on what I knew I could handle. When you leave a place, everyone else goes on. My life in Greece has continued all this time without me, while I live another life here, and thinking about all the lives you’re not living is unpleasant to swallow. But I suppose that without limitations, we would not understand value.

You can read about Berlin here.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Honestly? Sex. I am not a casual person at all, not physically, not emotionally, nothing-ally. And I no longer force myself to pretend that sex is no big deal. It is not cool for a woman to be serious about sex these days.  It has taken me years to realise (admit) this but sex is not just sex for me. Being blase with my body does not make me feel empowered. I don’t waste my time with people who don’t nourish me, so why would I waste my body on them? I do not need to be in a relationship to do it. But I need intimacy. I need a raw connection, I need chemistry. I need to know that it means something to both of us, even if it’s just for one night. I am not often attracted to people and I have wondered if maybe I’ve just not a super-sexual person. But actually it’s just that the formula behind my attraction is complicated. It’s not a moral issue; if there is no emotional connection there, my body just doesn’t respond. But mental chemistry is rare and so, unfortunately, my body is often thirsty. There are men I wish I had never let touch me. But at the same time I would love to meet more men I’d let touch me.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

March 4th, when I went to Bali.

April 13th, when I found out my parents are separated (surprise!).

Urgh, all this remembering is making me tired.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Spending hundreds of hours working on my thesis. Not letting myself be overwhelmed by the pain of heartbreak and other disappointments. Keeping positive, just keep going. Learning to like myself.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Being kind to my ex even though he keeps kept finding ways to break my heart. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to tell them to fuck off. Fucking up my grades in final semester.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I think I got a cold in September.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A ticket to motherfracking India. And shoes. Now that I think about it, I bought a lot of shoes.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

All the goddesses in my life. My mother, for her strength and wit and perseverance. Her friends, for showing me how friendship should be done. My friends, Nadia, Zsuzsa, Zari, Eleni, for their constant assured thereness. My Melbourne girls: Casey, for her sweet wisdom; Danae, for supporting me even when she doesn’t agree with what I’m doing; Rachel and Lauren, for being my other sisters; Alice, for the nights we sat on my balcony and got drunk and cried over boys. My Melbourne boys, David and Richard, for never judging my vulnerability and being there for me in little ways…like giving me beer. Yodhan, for never judging me, always being there, and telling me to go to India.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

My father’s. And my ex’s. For being selfish, narcissistic cowards.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel. Coffee.

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

Bali. My mother. Sydney. Lentil as Anything. Greece. Finishing my thesis. New friends. India.

16. What song will always remind of you 2014?

Get Lucky by Daft Punk

Losing You by Solange Knowles

At the Hotel by Eunice Collins

Prayer in C by Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz

Blank Space by Taylor Swift (don’t judge me!)

711 and Grown Woman by Beyonce

Quelqu’un me dit by Carla Bruni

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?

I wish I’d danced and laughed more. I wish I’d had more people to talk to. I wish I’d written more. But, you know, I did the best I could and so I am satisfied.

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

I suppose I could have cried less. I cried a lot.

Let me rephrase: I wish I’d cried less over my ex. I regret having suffered so over someone who maybe love me deeply but clearly does not care about me (yes, there is a difference). He is not who I thought he was and I am so much more than I thought I was. In short: I overestimated him and underestimated myself. And acknowledging both truths is a challenge. Perhaps the bitterness of breaking up derives from the realisation that your love was frightfully ricketty and ordinary. On my stronger days,I am grateful for my capacity to love. It has taken me a year of crying and yearning and missing and wondering to begin recovering from this relationship. On my weaker days, this makes me feel pathetic– how foolish to weep so many nights over someone who values me so little he doesn’t even want to talk me*. But I’d like to think that there some people that appreciate this about me. Boy, do I love hard.

I wish I’d watched less tv shows too.

*What is it with men not wanting to talk to me this year? As if I am a fire that they sat too close to and now they afraid they will get burnt. Or maybe my twenties has zapped my bite and now I am a dull, ordinary woman that they find easy to leave behind. I miss my electric, impetuous, immature, emotional, intense, obnoxioux young self.

20. Did you fall in love in 2013?

Yes. I embarked on the most important love-affair of my life: I fell in love with myself. But the more I like myself, the less compulsion I have to entertain and the less people are drawn to me, and then I get sad. It’s a very confusing circle.

21. What was your favourite TV program?

The Mindy Project got me through the dark days of my thesis. Brooklyn Nine-Nine. True Detective. I finally watched Community. And they cancelled it? What the hell?!

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

Kind of. I’m on the border of not caring about/not hating my ex.

And I don’t know whether it’s age or bitterness from hardships, but I find myself becoming increasingly misanthropic.

23. What was the best book you read? 

The Silver Metal Love by Tanith Lee! I am currently reading Answered Prayers by Truman Capote and it’s witty and pretty terrific. But by far the best thing I read was The Other Woman by Lorrie Moore.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Beyonce. I know, I know, I’m late to the game.

25. What did you want and get?

A job at H&M where I have met so many lovely people and have laughed a lot and been appreciated and made lots and lots of dineros. I wanted to find a snazzy place to live with groovy people and I did. I wanted lots of things and I got them, I don’t know, man.

26. What did you want and not get?

I wanted M back but I didn’t get him. But now I don’t want him so I guess that all worked out okay. I wanted closure and I didn’t get it. At least, not from him. Sometimes it’s not about letting go of things, but getting used to not having them. Maybe that’s the same thing.

I wanted to feel like I belong and I still don’t. I’ve never consistently felt part of anything so I am beginning to think that loneliness is a perspective rather than a reality. I suspect I will always be a lonely person. And because of that I am forced to face myself, forced to like myself, which may be the good to come of this. But god I’d love to feel part of somewhere. I want, when asked for an emergency contact, not to hesitate and consider whom I’d inconvenience least.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?

I don’t watch many films. Probably Third Person.

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

I invited everyone I knew to a beer garden. I ended up spending five minutes with everyone and not much time with anyone. it was a lot of fun though. I took the Twinkie home. I made him stir-fry and we made out a lot.

29. How you would describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Feminine, womanly, preppy, bohemian.

30. What kept you sane?

I did, through perseverance and meditation. .

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

Meh.

32. Who did you miss?

I miss everyone all the time. If I let myself think about, I’m exhausted from missing people (the ugly side of the nomadic life). Sometimes when they’re next to me.

33. Who was the best new person you met?

George: the male, rugged, gay version of me who says things I don’t even realise I think.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Everything is temporary.

You can’t rely on anyone but yourself, and sometimes not even that.

It is harder to stay soft than to harden.

Endings don’t always some with a bow.

Most of all, sometimes life is shitty. It doesn’t mean it’s fair or easy or right. It’s just the way it is. But really, what else do we expect? How can life be constantly smooth? That’s irrational. And as soon as you accept the shittiness, the suffering eases.

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

“But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up
Forgive but don’t forget, girl keep your head up
And when he tells you you ain’t nothin’ don’t believe him
And if he can’t learn to love you you should leave him
Cause sista you don’t need him”

–Tupac

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The Unexpected Heartbreak

My hair is full of Balinese salt. The ocean. His sweat. His tears. I can’t bring myself to wash it all out; I’d rather be dirty. I didn’t cry for the first twenty-four hours. Then I wept until I slept. I was happy before I left and now I’m stamping my feet. Pouting. Yelling, I don’t want to be here! The knots in my shoulders are back. I’ve lost my appetite. My tan has already started fading.

Yes, I miss the heat. I miss the white sand and cerulean water. I miss the plethora of coconuts and papaya and avocado. I miss the rice-fields. But most of all, I miss him. The way he sings all time. The constant constellation of kisses on my forehead, my shoulder, my thigh. His hand like a gentle anchor in my hand, on my back, on my leg. His bitchy moods and the way he does a 180 when I call him out on them. His headful of wild black curls. His casual gracefulness. The way he appreciates my details. The way he isn’t afraid to argue with me. The way we bicker. The way we tease each other. His disgust for pretenses. His patience with my anxious indecision. His raw desire for my body and my mind. The way he talks about his father.

On the day I left, we fought. It wasn’t our first fight, but this one was different: it was born out of frustration, I think; it was an outlet. The last hours were punctuated with a constant, alternating chorus: I don’t want you to leave and I don’t want to go. But, other than that and gripping each other slightly harder, we ignored the imminent hole of my departure. We didn’t promise each other anything. And that speaks of the gravity of our emotions; shallow trysts make weak vows.

Back home, people are skeptical. I was too. But combusting into tears speaks buckets. When you are with someone 24/7 for eleven days, you get a quality idea of who they are. And this man is so unapologetically open with his ‘flaws’: his ridiculous patchwork way of expressing himself; the way he pretends to accept his shortcomings (but then loops back and tries to make amends); his stormy temperament. I miss the whole chunk of him, the parts that made me laugh, the parts that made me feel beautiful, and the parts that made me bite my fist out of frustration. Under the umbrella of a temporary romance, we let ourselves be vulnerable, we let ourselves be seen. We let ourselves be intimate in a way that terrifies us back in our respective homes.

The first time we met, we planted a seed. This time, we are a sapling. I don’t know for certain that we could become a tree. But, even when I’ve washed the salt from my hair and the Melbourne sky bleaches my skin white, I know that I’m willing to walk around with a watering can in my pocket, waiting to see what grows when we meet again.

Annual Questionnaire #5

What was 2013 for you?

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

I became fully financially independent. I tried anti-depressants. I bought a Christmas tree. I became a master of the raw brownie.

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

Last Year’s Happiness Project lasted maybe a month.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, we’ve added spunky Ayrton to the brood! And a whole bunch of peers gave birth to some spawn which makes me feel very adult.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What countries did you visit?

None. Sad face.

6. What would you like to have had in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

I want to improve my willpower. And take of myself more.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

March 12th: I did what I said I would never do again- get a job at Zara. But shit, I’m so glad I did. The women I work with are warm and kind and funny. Work is a constant stream of laughs and hugs.
April 25th. Full moon: the night we became official; the night I met people I knew would change my life.
September 14th: something happened that completely challenged the way I view love and relationships.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Remembering that I am a fighter and a survivor, no matter how often I have felt weak. I am strong just because I keep going. Practising the art of gratitude and embracing the way its impacted my life.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Letting myself be walked over in the name of love. Giving too much without taking care of myself.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, though I have been suffering from mild, temporary headaches and/or fevers all year. I wonder what Louise Hay has to say about that.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A massive wooden trunk with ships carved all over it. Another ticket to Bali.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

The divine souls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting that are dotted around the globe, too far from me. The sweethearts at work that are always there with a smile and a hug. The free spirits I have met that constantly challenge the way that I think. And my mother, always my mother, with her wit and wisdom, who doesn’t judge, and, in her words, will always tell me when I’m being a little bitch.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

I don’t hold on to anyone’s negative behaviour. When someone acts in a way that I do not like, they are teaching me how not to be.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent. Coffee. Savers.

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

Falling in love. Meeting wonderful people who get me and have already taught me so much about life, about love, about myself. The full moon, every month.

16. What song will always remind of you 2012?

17. Compared to this time last year, are:

a)happier or sadder? 

b)thinner or fatter? 

c) richer or poorer?

Happier.
Thinner.
Richer.

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

Been more assertive. Met more people, listened to their stories. I wish I’d travelled more. I wish I’d felt more beautiful more often.

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

Been less scared. Cried less. Panicked less. Had less tantrums!

20. Did you fall in love in 2013?

Yes. I love a beautiful, stubborn, dignified Latin boy in a way I’ve never loved anyone before: quiet, doubtless, clear. We fell together, the odd couple. A complicated animal of a relationship. But what a gentle, constant voice of love. I have learnt so much about myself as a lover and have been inspired to be a better person in general.

21. What was your favourite TV program?

Misfits. But I literally discovered it today, on December 30th.

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

No.

23. What was the best book you read? 

The Lover by Marguerite Duras.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Really getting into Erykah Badu.

25. What did you want and get?

I wanted love and I got it. I wanted to be myself again and I am. I wanted to feel like Melbourne was my home and it is.

26. What did you want and not get?

Distinctions on all my subjects. But then,  perhaps I should have studied harder. I also wanted to lose some weight.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?

I don’t really watch movies. City of God isn’t my favourite, that’s for sure. It scared the shit out of me!

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

My birthday was almost a year ago so it’s tough to remember. I went to a rooftop bar and invited a bunch of random people. I was pretty and tipsy so it was good. I wore a large lime flower necklace made out of shells.

29. How you would describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

All-stars, boyfriend jumpers and bindhis.

30. What kept you sane?

Connecting with lots of wonderful, weird people. Writing. The idea of perseverance. Awakening.

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

NATHAN FROM THE MISFITS.

32. Who did you miss?

People in Athens in London in Wales  in Budapest in Miami in LA in Sydney in Minnesota in Nova Scotia

33. Who was the best new person you met?

M.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

That people can love you but only you can save you. That loving others isn’t enough; if you don’t love yourself, you will suffer constantly. That falling in love is overwhelming no matter how many times you’ve done it before.

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

No.

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.