Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Post One Hundred and Forty Eight: Good.

Ladies and Gentlemen, no more pity party. I feel energised, and something good is a'cookin.

What in the precious father's name happened back there?

Let me tell you.

I've been single for a while now, bar a few month long stints in poorly conceived and thus ill fated romances. I'm friendly with all my ex's, and seemingly an ex to too many of my friends; and it's been tough for the old ego, falling for babe after babe and then, quite swiftly, being rejected.  This rapid repudiation made me a target for a quick fix. And quick they were.

Transitioning from a serial monogomist to a whirlwind courtesan in the space of one year is an interesting personal experiment at 27.  To be honest I miss the intimacy of having a one and only, but as I go on I can acknowledge that settling down for the sake of that comfort is not enough to stabilise and satisfy my own hankerings. What I really want is to fall in love; to give love, and accept love, from people that make me feel inspired and motivated.

And that's as girly as I get. I just think about love a bunch because it seems that grief is the downside of love and I deal in that business directly.  To face a challenge to my own mortality alone would be scary. I hope not to base my entire romantic inclinations on this concept, but I can't promise anything at the end of the day. Maybe it's a universal truth, isn't it the reasoning for the rubbings together of Adam and Eve?

So yeah. That stuff happened. And in and around all that I moved. And was broke. And moved in with an odd stranger into a house that consistantly smells of kangaroo.

Nothing has changed in the external world to arouse this change of mood. I just feel good recognising that I've had a shit time. I forgive myself for losing confidence as a result of the dumpings. And I vow to move away from the kangaroo commorancy.

All is well.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Post One Hundred and Forty Seven: I Forgo Thee, Unholy Nectar.

I love to have a drink.

I can have one single unit of beer and feel a slight laxity of composure. Two drinks in and I have the laissez faire and overstated confidence of a six year old at a wiggles concert. I level out after three or four beers into a state of entertainment, but any juncture after that is consummately reliant upon the environment at hand and the selection of poison. I get ripped easily, and frequently, and I think it's time to consider where that road can take someone, i.e. me, without much notice.

At 27, I've been drinking without a break for ten years. Most weekends without question. If I haven't sunk a couple on a Friday and Saturday night it's been due to that fact that I've been working or hung over from the night before.  Is my experience that different from most other people in my peer group? I think not. I am the poster girl for binge drinking 2012.

We enjoy getting together to share happiness and hubbub, and a drop of whiskey can lubricate our egos just enough to talk about the concepts that we haven't got the confidence or forthrightness to speak about sober. In some occasions, these areas of conversation shouldn't be entered into at any time, especially when under the effect of alcohol. Still, being a shy girl at heart, feeling free from social constraint is pretty fun and I can see why most weekends I so easily picked up a stubby and swayed my way into most Saturdays. 

Small but sure wrinkles are beginning to creep outwards from my eyelids. My face is slowly and certainly losing the apple shape that I used to hate.  Of course the crap that I'm putting in to my body, especially after ten years, is starting to have an effect on the supposed 'windows to my soul'. It's time for a regulation, a self check, before things go to far. 

About once a week I deal with a family who's mum/dad/sibling has died due to alcohol related disease. They often hide the real cause of death, but you can see in the shattered family dynamics that to have a loved one addicted to booze is to not really have them there at all. 

I'm not saying I'm an alcoholic. Family and friends please do not call an intervention. I'm just glad that I've noticed an involvement in a part of youth culture that is not always good, not always bad, but not always thought about proactively. 

Peace (and moderation). x

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Post One Hundred and Forty Six: Pardon My Intensity.

Excuse my ardor, forgive my zeal. I am on a mission and I'm hungry like the wolf (Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo).

Herein lies an invitation to be my friend.

I'm in Melbourne, living in my little house, working from dark until dark. Things are getting familiar and routine is setting in. I don't need my GPS to get around town. My coffee boy sings to me in the mornings because he knows it makes me smile. Most of the time it's a Train song, but that's ok. I can answer the phone with "WASSUUUUUP" when my boss is calling and she isn't offended by my informality. I very much like the comforts of insight, and I'm slowly becoming accustomed to my new surrounds.

It hasn't been easy. In fact, almost daily I think about what it would be like to pack my car up again and speed back home. I knew that for every weekend in Brisbane there was a party to be had and rock solid mates to do so with.  During working hours I knew my craft, I was 'on my game', and I could walk away from the fridge knowing that sh*t was sorted.

Everything is new here. I'm driving hearses around suburbs that sound like sneezes. I'm preventing widows from jumping into graves. I'm breaking up fisty cuffs outside churches. The usual funeral director stuff, but business that a mortician doesn't often get to see from the inside of the parlour itself.

I miss the confidence and security in my old world, but I am refreshed by the challenges of the curious and unfamilar.

I'll be honest however and divulge a secret. I'm a little lonely. I value peer interaction over most other things. Being around death and seeing grief as an expression of love; it does things to the way I live, be it good or bad. I want to meet pals that I can talk shit to, without being worried that I'm too intense. I want them to be cool with wearing pyjamas while we eat cookies and watch the x-files, be cool with me getting too drunk and starting fights with cab drivers, and above all, finding folk that actively seek reflection, honesty, and enjoyment in general shit.

It would also help if  they like: words, harmonicas, animals that look worldly, pickles, stationery, loose puns, and unobnoxious lighting. I've thought about dating sites but I'm too polite. It would be a bad move.

Well then. Friends?


Monday, March 19, 2012

Post One Hundred and Forty Five: The Swan And The Holy Man.

I found a dead swan. In the middle of the road. In the middle of nowhere. On the way to a funeral. Maybe there's a message from the universe in the experience. Maybe.

I met with the Dalai Lama a couple of years ago, as the result of a random successful scholarship application whilst studying Eastern Religion at university. A true scholar I was not, but I found a way of picking elective classes that would boost my GPA while allowing me ample social time for boozing and sinning in ways that a 20 year old should. I wrote a pretty questionable essay on Vipassana Meditation which was pretty much just 3000 words on acting stoned when you're not. I got a 'high' distinction.

Anyway, I sent the essay in to the Dalai Lama and his gang. With it I wrote a note saying that I wanted to say g'day during his visit to Sydney but I had no money for tickets. I outlined that I enjoyed reading Buddhist scripture and was disheartened by the reality that a financial hurdle could stand in the way of enlightenment. Two weeks later I received a letter of acceptance into a scholars program and was flown to Sydney for a three day intensive. It was intensively boring, as half of the day was spoken in another language, but it was a special experience none the less.

Ever since then I have felt a connection with Buddhist monks. They are happy, they wear cool gown things, and they walk a 'middle path.' This basically means that anything goes in the loveliest of moderations. Some might see it as fence sitting, but I like to apply the middle path principle to remain impassive to trends and exaggerations. Being in the moment and finding calm in impermanence; these principles are woven deep into my personality like syrup on a pancake.

There is a point to this whole Buddhism thing. I was driving a Monk to this funeral when we saw the swan, neck limp and curled around like a cold hard question mark. If I was alone I would have stopped to move the body off the road. Instead I let out a drawn out  'ooooofph' sound, and I caught the monks placid response in the rear vision mirror. I continued on, slowly, thinking about both the swan and my passenger. I didn't know whether to talk about it or if the conversation would be deemed as inappropriate on the way to a funeral. The monk sensed that I was ruminating, because after a short moment he smiled and followed with "Death is a strange field for a young lady to be working in...."



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Post One Hundred and Forty Four: We All Start As Strangers.

We can go from strangers to companions in an instant. We can change people's lives in a single meeting. I am assured of this.

I met a man and he told me about death. We met by accident, in a cemetery, because I thought he was a gravedigger and I called on his services from across the monuments. The reality was that he was a man who loved his overalls but had just buried his wife. My bad.

I was arriving at an old rural cemetery early to sight a grave and make sure that everything was organised for a burial arranged for later that day. I saw a rugged man in boots and overalls smiling at me, and waving gleefully from afar. Being pretty pleased that someone living was wanting my attentions, I made my way over to talk about what I assumed was the burial plans that lay ahead of us.

I threw my hand out to shake his, and introduced myself as the newest and most competent member of my company. I joked about something stupid and grinned unabashedly. I felt a connection to the 'gravedigger,' probably because he was covered in tattoos but still had the gentle warmth and energy of a labrador.

He then said, "Sarah, I'm not a grave digger. You buried my wife five weeks ago."

Imagine my face. I must have looked like I was going to cry, because he gently reached for my shoulder and assured me that he wasn't insulted. In fact, I think he was oddly chuffed that he fit the bill.

I hadn't actually buried his beloved, because I hadn't been working in Victoria for long enough to have even been a member of staff on the service. Needless to say, our conversation started with how the lady had died and how he felt that the funeral proceedings went. Everything went according to plan, but death in itself was never in HIS plan.

We sat at her grave, alongside each other, looking at the headstone. We talked about how the five weeks had passed by so slowly. He seemed pained by the memory of her loss, but happy to talk to someone who understood. What he was saying was sad, but his face was happy, and I was confused by that.

We talked about how the first week blurred together. I asked if his friends and family were still in close contact with him, and he hadn't spoken to anyone apart from myself in almost seven days. We then walked for a short distance and he showed me his mother's grave in a nearby plot. I felt like I was being introduced into his family, even after their passing, and I let him know that I felt a priviledge in doing so.

I felt so close to that gentleman. He taught me about the reality of death for those that are left behind to wash the sheets, cancel the bank accounts and 'move on' with living. He taught me how to open up to those that are willing to hear. He taught me that I can find inspiration in dark places.

And he taught me that I should exercise more care and restraint when approaching citizens in a cemetery to avoid looking like an idiot.