This afternoon I’m in my temporary living room. Almost everything that is left of my material life is spread out, ready to go back in three large plastic boxes.
Two boxes will be stored in Alice Springs. One box will go with me, wherever I go next.
I don’t know where that will be and won’t for a while.
There are some strange relics here, much like my strange life. A large vulva and vagina costume I wear on stage. An important shisha, resplendent with purple glass base and floral pink hose, for smoking apple tobacco, a very occasional habit I picked up through several travels through the Middle East. Three volumes of my book manuscript in very different stages of editing. Chinese language flashcards and note books with my attempts at writing Mandarin.
A burlesque bra. Paints, so many filled note books, so many paintbrushes!
And this note…a note that is the concept behind an abstract painting I want to paint about my old life.
“The familiar meant that happiness was the unfamiliar.”
Have you ever wondered about the patterns of spite and surrender in your life?
Spite, when you stay in spite of everything and everyone and you don’t know why.
Surrender, when you stay because it is all you know, and you surrender to what seems inevitable.
My life has been combinations of spite and surrender until November 2014.
I went on a trek in the Himalayas – the Annapurna circuit. It was nothing like anyone in my immediate family had ever done. As corny and clichéd as this sounds, I came back changed. I’ve lived in China, Far North Queensland, Darwin and Alice Springs (again) since then.
Creatively changed. I committed to moving away from the cycle of spite and surrender. It’s been tumultuous recently, but so satisfying. My book is at final edits with a publisher and I am exceptionally proud of that. I would never have achieved that in my old self.
I’m not materialistic, I am experiential. Happiness for me is not a mortgage. Happiness for me is new ideas and engaging thoughts, discussions and debates. It is travel, growth and all that entails – including pain.
When I moved back to Alice Springs it was because it was familiar after being such a wanderer. I think I was in spite and surrender mode again.
I suppose I thought it would test if I had “settled down”. But no, I haven’t, and I am glad I haven’t.
Whilst I want a stable income and a longer-term employment contract, I am no longer limiting myself career wise. Recently acting in a job where my contract wasn’t guaranteed, and the Northern Territory Government did not provide enough funding to continue was difficult. It brought me through a stage of morose reflection like I hadn’t experienced for a very long time.
Losing a job I cared about, made me realise I was falling back into patterns of old, not valuing myself and fighting for something that I didn’t really want. Although the work was satisfying, and social justice based, it was all about other people and their agendas for my skills. Spite and surrender.
So I’ve applied for jobs that fill me with wonder and I’ve had 5 interviews out of 7 applications and it’s too soon to see any outcome yet.
But my gut tells me my next venture could be Melbourne or Darwin. I am going to write and perform and beg and borrow to survive if I must, until I reach the next destination – whether that be in Alice Springs or elsewhere.
So here’s the new space instead of spite or surrender – spirit.
I’m going wherever I am spirited next.