Holidaying

So I have this radical idea.

I’m going to Egypt, England and Scotland in October with my brother. It was kind of a spontaneous idea, and I was strongly against spending so much money with (hopeful) Hero Base Project about to become a huge investment in my life, but for arguments I can no longer remember, I got very much sucked in to the wonders of a holiday. Financially it’s all covered because Mum wants me to go out and see the world, to adventure and have a good time while I’m still young. A small part of me is sad that my mother thinks I don’t get out enough, but a much bigger part of me is absolutely stoked at a free holiday. I’ll post more about my adventures once I’ve gone on them, but I got thinking: what does one do on a holiday when one isn’t touring and seeing exciting, touristy things? For example, if you visit a country for three months and money isn’t an issue, how do you pass the time?

My solution: having a good time doing not very much at all. I think it would be a waste of a holiday to have to-do lists and emails and assignments and whatever else it is people don’t like doing but have to do anyway during their daily lives. Holidays seem to be socially acceptable excuses to get away from all the things they don’t like for extended periods of time and just enjoy being alive. And the term “socially acceptable” is important to me, for reasons I’ll explain momentarily.

My radical idea is thus: I’m going to take a holiday in Perth, Western Australia. More specifically, I’m going to take a holiday in my house. No, it’s not exotic, or particularly far, but I’d like to just spend some time enjoying life, not worrying about work, or study or things I don’t want to do. Since I’m in the area, I’ll catch up with some of my friends here. I’ll go to events that I don’t want to miss, and pass up on the things I do. I’ll enjoy having some time off for R&R, drink a few cocktails, read a few books. And when my holiday is over, I’ll be nicely refreshed and ready to get back into living.

An alternate way of looking at this might be described as being unemployed for months and not doing anything with my life. But when you add the magical word “holiday”, it’s all acceptable, with the bonus of free accommodation. I guess my point is that there should be nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy living rather than having to be “productive”. And that’s an idea that I’m slowly getting used to, and I felt I needed to justify it. But I still like the idea of holidaying- I just don’t think it’s necessary to travel to another city or country to enjoy the experience.

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Australopithecus Anamensis’

And just for lols, another blog from Myspace dated 17th May 2007.

 

Students of Trinity College,

I have never been so wrathful to be one of you. Not only am I human, but I’m in your year group, share your classes, and wear your uniform. The school is a community which I am undeniably part of, but you push it. You really do. I do not understand how your atavistic regression to making primate calls is seen as amusing. Imitating seagulls, velociraptors and chimpanzees should not give you a greater status in the social hierarchy of the school. Throwing food and smearing bananas on blazers is not supposed to gain respect. What infuriates me is that you all find it positively hilarious.

Maybe I’m not seeing the light side of things. Or maybe you should all stop rejecting your humanity. William Blake is currently making the world revolve from the sheer force by which he turns in his grave. You all disgrace your divine potential. I still have a great deal of trouble understanding how I’m supposed to be related to you Australopithecus anamensis’. Maybe in a few millenia you’ll evolve to be remotely like me. Until then, I will despise you, and am sorry to say that I wish you all had your penises removed, both for you to deplore the loss of your manhood and to prevent your genes from contaminating future generations. Thank you.

The Island of Isolation

It seems that 17-year-old me has an edge on 20-year-old me.

I recently realised that I’ve chosen to spend much of my life alone. Not in solitary isolation, but I’ve let very few people get to know the true me, the vulnerable me. I’m kind and sometimes charming, I’m loving and friendly, but most people only get a little under the surface before they come up against a glass barrier. It’s hard to describe what I mean but bear with me. It’s like the outer-most layer of my physical form is skin and muscle and flesh. It’s warm and gentle and likable by almost anyone. But under that facade there is a nigh-impenetrable barrier. And you can search every inch of that fleshy covering but there are no gaps. And I erected this barrier subconsciously as a means of protecting myself when I was younger. I suffered bullying that breaks my heart to recall, from my brother (who’s since turned out to be a genuinely good man) and from the students of my high school in particular. I was always a little weird, but it was many times amplified by being rejected from what I perceived to be the world. I went deep within myself in order to survive that time, and it took great honesty, great courage and a great friend to crawl back out of that abyss within my soul. I’ve had friends, and lovers, and people who have been close to me, but they are few and far between. The consequences of what happened to me are proving most perennial- it is hard, so many years down the track, to unlearn what I was taught to protect myself.

 

But I don’t want to be alone anymore.

 

I don’t know how, but I want to let people in. I want to be able to peel back that barrier, even for a little while, and honestly be with people. I’m not sure many people would want to be with the real me, but I still believe that it’s worth the pain and risk of searching for them. God once told me that a true friend is someone who will let you be yourself. And I know I have true friends. Now I just have to be myself. To be Xin, that combination of all my personalities- the gentle helper, the immovable warrior, the keen scholar, all of it. And of course, to find the right people, not just strangers or acquaintances that I pour my heart out to only to be rebuffed. It’s a hard balance to strike, but I really want to strike it.

 

This is a post I made on MySpace on 24th June 2008.

I think that friends are the greatest part about living. Companionship, true connection to other human beings. Sharing experiences, good and bad. All that jazz. And without friends, life is a solo journey. True, all your accomplishments are your own, but then, there’s no one to tell you that your accomplishments are of the wrong kind. You might go blazing along the wrong path in the belief that you’re going to find happiness at the end of the rainbow, when really, every accomplishment along that path doesn’t get you anywhere you want to go. Friends stop that from happening. Friends are the ones who tell you to get out of the house and see them already. They’re the ones that get you to get out there and see the world, to live in the world, to love the world. And they’re there to see, live and love it with you.

Everyone goes on about how no man is an island by himself. I don’t know what the hell that’s supposed to mean, but I can tell you this. If we’re all little boats in a big river, pushing away the other boats is not going to get you anywhere faster. The more boats that band together, the more they can accomplish, the more likely it is they’ll find their goal, and the more fun they’ll have.

Today I spent the day in my little solo canoe having the time of my life. And gee willy whiz, I hope I never do it again.

 

I think it holds much more wisdom than most of the crap I’ve been spouting of late. It makes me wonder what happened to me. Well, there’s no use looking backwards as I’m walking forwards. Not for long, anyway- might walk into something. Reminisce has its place, but it’s easy to get sucked into a spiral of past mistakes and experiences. The present is much kinder than the history of the worlds, and the uncertain events of the future. Nothing to do but trek on forwards.

The road less travelled

I’m not too sure why, but I felt inexplicably angry and frustrated today. I felt like smashing things to vent my frustration and cause needless destruction, and doing awesome martial art tricks to feel good about myself and earn the impressed approval of strangers. That tells me I’m insecure about some part of who I am, and not figuring it out is driving me crazy, but I’m not going to try to force an answer.

Anyway, I did my best to calm down by sitting across from a zen garden and watching a duck watch me as I ate my lunch, but it didn’t seem to do anything. I had a few hours before I needed to be home, so I decided that there was no real reason why I shouldn’t take a few hours to walk home. It wasn’t the smartest idea, and I had no real reason to other than it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I set out anyway to begin the long walk home.

It wasn’t quite as wonderful as I imagined it would be. There were moments of intrigue, wondering about little things I hadn’t noticed (like why that girl in the pink top was also making the long trek from Manning Road to Albany Highway, who left half a fresh tomato on the sidewalk, and since when did Roe Highway manifest under the bridge I’ve always driven over?) and discovering unrecognisable houses, rivers and cliffs I’d never paid attention to when I sped past them. But there was also a certain amount of complainy-pain and exhaustion from the trek- my knee is currently suffering and my whole body is tired and aching. I had no idea walking could be difficult, but it’s been a long time since I’ve tried to walk any great distance, so I guess everyone has their limit.

It felt good to be part of the small demographic who don’t speed around in automobiles pumping out pollution, but I don’t think I’ll make it a regular thing. All in all, it took about 2.5 hours to walk the 11 kilometres. Normally it’s a 25 minute drive to uni, so it takes approximately six times longer to walk somewhere than to drive there. At least I will be grateful next time I get in the car. And at the very least, the walk took away my anger and replaced it with sweat and a confused sense of accomplishment. I think I need much more practice at walking mindfully, but I’m glad I got some in.

Hope you guys are going well, and your lives are not interspersed with unexplained rage! Peace and love to all.

Whining

Just taking a moment to complain. I probably shouldn’t, but  I feel like whinging in a non-intrusive manner.

Probably shouldn’t have played The Last Stand: Union City when I woke up this morning. Fiercely addictive for the first hour and a half or so, but like almost every survival flash game I’ve played, once I figured out the formula it was ridiculously easy. Even the pro mode wouldn’t have been any challenge- I had an overabundance of strong weapons, health items, food and rest, and was well on my way to completing all the achievements. But for what purpose? Pleasure, originally! A worthy goal in my present eyes. But after a while, playing just for the sake of passing the game, which would have had reasonable purpose. And then once it no longer proved a challenge, nor held any enjoyment, I finally stopped playing, some three hours later. Well, there goes my chance to study before class!

I should probably stop playing flash-based internet games. They have their own qualities which make them appealing, but they’re generally very weak games and are easy to manipulate. Yeah, okay, flash games are fun but ultimately hollow. Will stop playing them where possible, just like MMO’s.

Another poem

Because that last poem really wasn’t as good as I thought it was, I felt inclined to post another one to purge its bitter aftertaste from your memory :P

“Hope and Despair” (2007)

Is it Night

And all its banes

With a transient star,

‘fore darkness reigns?

 

Or is it Day,

The sun gone away,

Ever to return when the

Night ends its play?

Pleasure and poetry

Just wanted to make a new blog post because it’s been so long since I’ve made one about the good things in my life. I’m not even sure if this will entirely count as a “good” blog post, but it’s certainly a lot lighter than some of my recent ones.

So life is going A-O-K right now! I’m still dealing with varying levels of anxiety on a daily basis, but because I’ve acknowledged it, rather than tried to just ignore it and function anyway, I’ve been able to be much kinder to myself. It doesn’t mean feeling stressed in the morning and declaring the rest of my day wasted and doomed to unproductivity. It’s taught me more about how to do things that need to get done (mainly by just doing them), but more importantly, how to not do things that don’t need to get done. I’ve realised that one of my problems is that I write stupidly huge lists of things I want to do in a day, and even if I get 6 things done, I’ll still get annoyed that there are 4 other things I didn’t get round to doing. I never say, “Hey! Wow man, you did 6 things today? That crazy yo! Take a break, reward yourself and have a good night’s sleep!” It’s stupid of me to try and fit too many things into a day, and then to get frustrated at myself for not managing to meet my unrealistic expectations of myself. I’m working on being more honest about how much I can get done, and what is really worth doing (rather than pushing myself into the idea that I should do something, even if it’s not needed until next week).

Part of deciding not to do things that I don’t need to do is finding things that I do want to do instead. You may need to read that sentence twice to understand it, but it’s perfectly phrased, just the way it is. A world of possibilities has opened up. For years now, lists of games to cross off have plagued me- if I ever get free time, I should spend it playing games so I can acknowledge I’ve passed them and have accomplished something in life. What a rubbish goal! It’s much healthier to play games because I want to play them. That’s not to say I shouldn’t try and pass games- there’s great pleasure in that too- but I shouldn’t game just for the sake of gaming. That was something that really got me stressed- I’d feel anxious and play video games to distract myself, but because I wasn’t enjoying playing, it just made things worse. So now I base more of my decisions on questions like “What would I really enjoy doing right now?” or “What would give me pleasure?” And sometimes the answer is unconventional to the ways I’ve been thinking. How absurd an idea it is to want to read a book instead of play a game. Reading is a semi-productive passtime only to be used in situations where portable and compact entertainment is needed! What rubbish. Reading is pleasurable, especially with tea.

So that’s about where I am at the moment. It’s much, much better than I was a week or two ago. It’s a really difficult idea for me to not be “productive” and do things. My counsellor helped me realise that I’ve always suffered the feeling of needing to look busy. For whom? Myself and my mother mainly. All my life I’ve maintained the facade of looking like I’m doing important things with my life, but really, the most important things I’ve neglected. Like naps, and cooking and going for walks. I’m trying to get used to the idea that it’s okay to not do things. It’s okay to have a blank schedule. And if I want to be selfish and say no to people, that’s perfectly reasonable too. I don’t have to live up to the expectations of my friends, tutors, sensei or even myself. If I want to be by myself, that’s okay, and I can do that for as long as I want. A huge part of me loves my own company, and I really want to get to know myself better, away from the expectations of others. But I’m also learning that I don’t need to withdraw from the world like a hermit to do that- I can still do all that’s required of me as a student, a martial artist, a boyfriend, a friend etc. and still take the time to learn about myself. I can live in the world and still be happy. And that sucks a little, because I was really looking forward to withdrawing from the social realm on an emergency vacation, but I know now that I don’t “need” to. Maybe I’ll do it anyway, but probably not for three months. Even when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m still perfectly capable of looking after myself and still doing everything that needs to be done. And that’s a pretty wonderful thing to realise.

So I’m kind of rambling now. It’s only 8:30 but I haven’t slept well the past few nights (partially because a certain brother of mine was talking loudly to his friends on the internet all night long with the door open. But that’s okay, because I’m proud of him for pulling an all nighter to finish a music video project, so it evens out a little), so I think I’ll have an early night soon. I’m just going to close with some random poetry which I said I’d post a while back. I cringe a little to read it now, but it was one of my first attempts at poetry.

 

The Snowflake (2005)

“A hundred thousand brothers and sisters twirled and fluttered by.”

 

Glittering, shimmering snowflakes,

Pure as pure can be,

Were swept up by the wind,

And cast towards the sea.

 

The clouds blotted out the shining sun,

Their storms drawing shadows.

In the night, a snowflake fell,

And skimmed across a meadow.

 

The cattle grazed, and looked to the sky,

And there they saw it drift.

The snowflake went on, flying by,

On its journey swift.

 

Over the quiet hills

And down towards the river.

The night so icy freezing cold,

The fish began to shiver.

 

Twirling and spinning and pirouetting,

Slicing through the air.

A snowflake to survive this long,

Such a sight was rare.

 

A cherry blossom, somewhere else,

Was snatched while in its sleep.

Taken by the wind’s chilled hand,

It fell towards the deep.

 

Landing on the riverbed,

It was swept up by the stream.

And from the sky came the little flake,

Its path quite like a dream.

 

Touching elegantly on the blossom’s nose,

The two seemed to embrace.

A newfound fellowship was born,

As delicate as lace.

 

Together they drifted down and down,

Floating on the rush.

The river’s restless, hurried current,

Breaking gently through the hush.

 

As the sun began to rise,

The petals seemed to wilt.

The bliss could only last so long;

Utopia on stilts.

 

The petals curled, and became faint,

Their colour weak and dreary.

The dawn gave birth to death and light,

From the sky, so eerie.

 

And as the rays reached the little flake,

It too began to change.

As warmth met cool, and ice met heat,

Something happened, strange.

 

The crystals slowly merged to one,

As it began to melt.

The sun scorched ever mercilessly down,

So swift it never felt.

 

As the river’s flow increased,

The two knew they would die.

Their short life, their companionship,

Was nothing but a lie.

 

The world was no place for such a timid pair,

What made them hope at all?

It mattered not, for they had tried,

Though they began to fall.

 

Holding close for one last time,

The knew they’d met their end.

But in death they found some hope, some strength,

In relying on a friend.

 

The two did not die that day,

They did not greet demise.

The story does not end just yet,

For there is a moral, wise.

 

Company brings more than friends,

And friends bring more than strife.

It is with those whom you love most,

You find meaning in your life.