morsla: (lookin)
It seems easier these days to abruptly bottom out. I haven't had nearly the same amount of trouble as I did a few years ago, but it still comes as a shock to realise that you're down the bottom of a mood crash, staring back up at the rest of the world. I think I slipped by tiny degrees, so didn't notice things adding up over the past few weeks. Now that I've spent some more time back down there, I can look back and recognise some of the signs. Still wish I'd been a bit more observant, though.

I am exceptionally critical of myself. I can't even pretend like that's a good thing. It's not that I'm unaware of good things alongside the flaws. It's just that I can't seem to appreciate any positives - I only focus on what I could have done better. I think [livejournal.com profile] aeliel is despairing, as I am impervious to compliments. I know I probably haven't wasted the last few years of my life, but it's hard to look past the collection of mistakes and missed opportunities that litter my memory.

All sorts of thoughts end up with "back when I did X, I really should have started doing Y" and quickly stop me from going anywhere. There are plenty of things I'd like to do with my life, but I'm missing the small steps that help to make them happen. Most of those bridging steps seem tied to things that have already passed - things I should have done during undergrad, or while at Deakin. Both times I landed a job early, though it ended up going nowhere. Already employed, I never made a serious attempt to follow up the things you should do to break into a new career - the things that look like ambition from a student, or desperation from someone a few years on. If I were an employer, I'd be asking "why are you doing this now" if I read my own applications.

It used to drive me on - never being satisfied while I could see things that I could do better. Now it just seems to hold me in place. Looking ahead, fixed on some distant goal, I can't see how to reach it. Looking down at my feet, I get so caught up looking at all the cracks that I have no idea which way to start moving.

I'm sure I've been here before. It feels familiar. I just don't remember how I left it last time, or if I really left at all.
morsla: (Dawn)
It's a beautiful day outside. The park is lush and green from the rain last night, and summer hasn't yet come to scorch away all the colours. There's a clear sky, and the air is fresh - I may live near the city, but there are plenty of trees to filter the air.

I'm sitting outside working on my essays, grateful for a change of environment. Things stalled indoors - ideas stifled, momentum lost. Change, they say, is as good as a holiday.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Realisation struck while I watched the world from my new vantage point... I could happily spend the rest of my life living as I do now. Now that I've started working for myself, that's becoming a tantalising possibility. As long as I can find enough work to pay the bills, I'll do what I enjoy, and I'll do it well.

Sure, I may not be all that I want to be, but I'm happy with the direction I'm going. As always, start and end aren't nearly as important as the journey between them.

And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Mountainous obstacles make it hard to look much further than the present, but the freerunner in me loves a good obstacle course. They bring to mind all those familiar catchcries and mantras: Find another way forward. Turn obstacles into opportunities. Love challenge but hate competition. Seek perfection, but wear your scars with pride...

And now, a return to your regularly scheduled livejournal psychodrama and angst :)
morsla: (Default)
I'm starting to stretch so thin I can see through myself. The novelty of the situation lasts only until I realise that I am not as flexible as I once was... and that beyond the limits of any stretch, things will snap. I'm becoming increasingly territorial over my sanity and the little time I still have left to myself. The truth is, I'm not sure how much more slack I can cut any more. I know that I can do everything I've currently taken on. I will only take new jobs that I know I can finish. Pushing me is unlikely to make me stretch any further, however.

give me your faith, something i can believe in
and you'll be my family, my brother, my friend
tell me a truth that i find not deceiving
teach me a lesson that i understand

Work is running me down, although I should know better than to let it. I'm now doing the work of two people in the labs. It's a welcome change, but the shift from mind-numbing boredom to run-off-my-feet can be hard to adjust to. I'm learning plenty of new things, but those tend to be tasks that no-one else can be bothered making time for... despite a four-point advance after my last contract, I still sit far below anyone else on the pay scale. It's simply cheaper to have me do the menial work - I'm not exactly paid to think. I am glad to see new jobs appear, though. Any more time spent with only my work from the last few years and I'd go completely mad...

build me a shelter, a place i can dwell in
show me a future that i can enjoy
give me a reason and i'll be your fellow
show me the target i have to destroy

I'm tired of being paralysed, in other parts of my life. In rare moments when I'm not blinded by exhaustion, I can take a step back and see my indecisions for what they are. For all the awkward miscommunication that's a part of life at work, I really need to sit some people down and talk to them about next year - whether they want me to work, whether I want to stay. If I can get a spot in a course, I'd like to study a couple of days a week and cut work back to three days. The extra workload I've acquired makes this look unlikely though - they'll need someone else to work those days, and if they get in someone new the newcomer might as well take over the whole week.

I need to start asking some hard questions of those around me, and of myself. Much of my life is on hold right now - poised on the brink of a month that I already have a full diary for. After September, after conventions, concerts, seminars, birthdays for [livejournal.com profile] aeliel and I... after UniCon thunders off into the distance, I can start living again. Many things won't wait that long, however - my contract at work expires at the end of that month, and I need to find out some information about that soon. In those fragments between the other times, I hollow out a little time for myself. I must remember to use those minutes wisely.

show me my leader and i'll pledge obedience
whisper the name of the enemy mine
blessed be my fate and my tools of expedience
i'm going to fulfil what's my mission divine

exterminate! annihilate! destroy!
morsla: (Default)
I've just come home from an afternoon at Deakin's open day - a campus I've never been to, filled with people I've never met before. It's the first time I've been on a uni campus for anything vaguely study-related this year. For all it's newness, it still felt like home.

I've spent a lot of my life in or around universities. In high school I turned up at Monash to try learning university chemistry at high speed (two 12-hour lecture and prac days, and the rest self-taught by correspondence) alongside a packed final year at high school. That didn't work out (not enough support for the distance-Ed students to make it worth continuing), but the campus has always felt familiar. I worked at RMIT in their Key Centre for Applied and Nutritional Toxicology for a few summer holidays, learning how to be a Generally Useful Person in a postgrad research lab. Sure, RMIT still feels like a rabbit warren, but there are a few familiar places amongst the mass of tunnels and corridors.

At Melbourne, of course, I spent a lot of time. I've studied full time and part time, been an Arts student and a Science one. I sat in a chemistry lab learning how to be a scientist; I followed scientists around writing about the social context of their research. Somewhere amongst years of martial arts, science fiction books and long lunches at the pub I managed to take measurements of fossils in cliff faces, jogged for six hours in the desert to catalogue rock outcrops, and explored a gold mine a few hundred metres underground. I often discount how much actual "study" happened amongst the million-and-one other things I got up to, but I'm starting to realise just how much there really was.

Today went well. I didn't get the information I'd hoped to hear from a few course co-ordinators, but I slipped through the crowds and chatted to staff about all sorts of things. I quickly sifted out the presenters-who-read-speeches-written-as-adverts, and the people who just want more postgrads to join them in academia. If you prune away the PR, there are some nice honest people who have good information about the state of their field, and their standing amongst other universities.

I'm also apparently an Industry Professional now. I think I fit into the demographic because I'm already working in a field (even if it's not exactly where I intend to stay), and because I ask direct enough questions to intimidate people who were expecting me to be Highschool Student #384 for the day. Mind you, I was impressed by a lecturer who gave on-the-spot explanations of post-structuralism and gender studies to a boy who explained that he really wanted to be a graphic designer, but wanted to know more about Arts...

In proper student style, I lived out of my pockets for the entire day :-) I bought lunch at the Vic Market for less than a dollar, and walked home at my own pace through the park. If I get more days like today, I'll be quite happy with whatever comes.
morsla: (lookin)
There are few things as strange as discovering your own philosophies expressed in other people's words.

all depends actually on the way which the obstacle is taken. 
an obstacle in normal circumstances prevents us from going further, it paralyses.
in parkour however, everything is viewed as an obstacle that can be used to create movement


When I was in primary school, I never learned how to cartwheel or handstand - the thought of flipping upside down stopped me, as I've spent a long time learning how to keep my feet beneath me. I liked to climb, though - there was a three-tiered platform in the local playground, taller than a house. I rarely used the ladders or stairs, but I didn't climb it to find new ways up. I climbed it because I liked running as fast as I could before jumping down... sailing out into space, landing softly, and running on to the next obstacle.

Sometimes, I lose perspective. Life gets me down, problems loom in the way, and I'm frozen in my tracks.

Eventually I see things for what they are, adapt, and go around them. If not for the forced changes in direction, I might have run straight through life without ever seeing the scenery.

perhaps there is another way to move forward, a way which hasn't been explored yet?
morsla: (lookin)
Once, a cancelled train would frustrate me. I'd fume alongside the other disgruntled commuters, channeling low-grade hate like devoted little cogs in the machine, fuelling the public transport system with stress and fear. Ever wondered where that morning vibe comes from on a train? It's not the air you're breathing, or the decor. You're swimming in a morass of confused thoughts and worries, emotions not shed but smeared on the surrounding world. It fills your pores and drags you down - and then you get to start your workday.

One solution, perhaps, is to diffuse that frustration throughout all the structures that enclose you. By remembering how much I would rather be outdoors, the need to be cooped up in a car/tram/bus/train was broken. A delay is just a pause, an excuse to be ouside again.

I have had every second train home cancelled in the past week, but I'm the loon who grins and keeps walking to the end of the platform, laughing at the drones huddled out of the rain. I'm glad for my brief glimpses of the weather. Glad enough that I'll happily wait in the rain, remembering what it feels like to walk away from an office filled with dry air and the hum of fans. I won't stay in an office forever.

Sometime soon, I want to go back to the beach. When winter starts to settle in, and the wind blows a gale. When I can walk blindly into the wind, remembering all the times I've walked that path before; alone, and with company. That fine line where the sand meets the sea keeps changing, but I remember where my footsteps were.

I must keep reminding myself of this...

If there were no rewards to reap
No loving embrace to see me through
this tedious path I’ve chosen here
I certainly would’ve walked away

By now...
morsla: (Default)
KOYAANISQATSI:
ko.yaa.nis.katsi (from the Hopi language), n. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life disintegrating. 4. life out of balance. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.
Life is strange. Earlier this year, I finally discovered the difference between "working hours" and "evenings" - if you aren't working and studying, then you have less work to do in the evening. Bizarre. How do people survive, without work seeping into every element of life?

Over the last few days, I discovered a similar distinction between "week" and "weekend." I did all the things that there's no time for during the week, avoided all the things I would normally fill a week with, and felt as though I really was in a different place and time. Life is out of balance... but in that good way.

[livejournal.com profile] aeliel and I discovered Fräus on Saturday - pushers of fine chocolat and crepes. We're hooked... :-) [livejournal.com profile] hespa, [livejournal.com profile] sols_light, Amanda and Mikee should all be taken there at some stage. They list chocolate fondue at the start of their "tapas" menu... not that you'd bother, with the quality of their signature dishes. They seem to think that "hot chocolate" is just that - a mug of chocolate, with heat applied. There may have been some double-cream in there to stop it setting in the mug. You have to eat the stuff with a spoon...

The rest of the weekend was equally stuffed full of food - Vegie Bar on Saturday night, the mother-of-all Vic Market shopping adventures on Sunday, and dinner with [livejournal.com profile] miss_rynn and [livejournal.com profile] bishi_wannabe on Sunday night - we needed to call in reinforcements to help eat the food we bought. I went a little nostalgia-crazy in the chinese grocery store (childhood memories of tastes and smells...) and filled all our cupboards with supplies. And the fridge, the freezer, and some of the bench space. As a child I was told that I'd "blow away when the wind blows" if I didn't put on more weight. I now swear my solemn duty to eat my body weight in vegetables over the next fortnight...

Siren Song

Apr. 20th, 2005 01:56 pm
morsla: (Default)
On the train to work, a wave of memories washed in and swept me back in time. I glanced at a map on the wall, reading the names of the bayside stations, and remembered about the beach...

When I was little, we would spend our holidays on the beach at Phillip Island. We owned a house down there, and I ran across the rockpools more often than I walked on the sand. I used to pick up tangled knots of fishing line, and tease out the threads - using them to make things from driftwood and shells. I knew the beach like the inside of my eyelids... every holiday I'd blink, and it would be there again. The sand levels rose and fell against the rocks, and the occupants of each pool would change with the tide, but some parts of that landscape never changed. Walking down the trail towards the beach felt like coming home.

I've never been comfortable in or on deep water - I sink like a stone in freshwater, as I have no buoyancy. Even in the ocean, I have trouble staying afloat. I lived in the intertidal zone, somewhere between sand dune and sandbar.

Some beaches have stronger memories attached to them, good or bad. Near Red Rocks, I watched as thousands of paper nautilus' drifted ashore after a storm. At Seal Cove I climbed a solitary tower that had calved off from the cliff face, and I looked at a beach that was empty to the horizon. One night, I walked barefoot from Brighton to St Kilda until my feet were bloody, trying to get away from myself.

I think I need to get back to the beach. The fire at Wilson's Promontory is finally dying down - some areas of the park reopened yesterday, although everything south of Tidal River is still closed while they deal with spot fires. The park has mountains and beaches, and I can hear them calling...

Turning my feelings away from our so ignorant world:
All the beatiful moments shared, deliberatlely push'd aside -
...a distance there is...

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