Saturday, August 11, 2012

Poem, 11/08/2012

It's an interesting experience reviewing your Google search history when you're in a funk. Here's today's highlight reel:

- chinese medicine melbourne
- massage psychological benefits
- sex toy reviews australia
- emotional numbness
- numbness + dysfunction

I know from past experience that this funk will pass. My numbness will de-numb. I'll open up again. I'll resurface as if from a pool, heart pounding and alive and craving hot chips. In due course it will happen. Always does.

Normally when I experience numbness like this, I scrutinise my relationship, looking for faults. And there have always, historically, been faults for latching onto.  So I link numbness with relationship faults. I don't do this when I'm single.

Some past discovered deficiencies have included general incompatibility, specific incompatibility (eg diverged emotional processes), a jarring sense of unease in the other person's presence, a lack of respect, and a lack of trust.

Here there's none of that. I don't feel like the content of the demonic chatter is relationship-focused. No voice is telling me that of a problem in my relationship or a problem in my partner. There is a voice, and it tells me this:

You have discovered everything there is to know about your partner.
You can learn nothing new. You can be given no new thoughts.
The thrill of the physical chase is now over, and there's nothing to follow.
You will feel nothing when kissed, because all is known.

So I feel nothing when kissed, because "all is known".

What really gets to me is the suddenness of this funk spell. One day - and indeed the sixty days preceding it - I'm buzzing and alive, so much so that I feel the need to point this out to my friends. The next day, anxiety hits. Nothingness, numbness.

How does the heart, like a tap, switch off?
How does excitement about all that's
Just dissipate?
Why does wine now poison, not stimulate?
Why is all I want to do
To lie down forever and that's all?
Under the blanket, fully clothed.
My man there, too. Maybe. For a bit.
I used to feel it in my upper arms.
In my throat and in those glands beneath my ears.
I used to feel it like ink. Seeping and sweeping
Staining each vein. Filling those up. Everything
Everything was meant to be.
And it was one of those times, those things
Oh, so this is what they mean when they say
You'll know it when you see it. You know.
You just know. When you feel it.
And yet I'm gifted with the score of never feeling
Ever completely sane or secure. Or wise.
And yes, I lecture to others. But others have it better.
And I guess I have it better.
But others have it better.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Delicate Operation

I'm six days into my month-long initial recovery period from an operation. It's been an interesting six days.

The hospital stay (Monday night) was good. I actually have a perverse affection for hospital stays. The feeling of being subject to regular official care, maybe. There's also the smug but not altogether unsubstantiated belief that I make a good patient. I love anaesthetic and the excusable cloudiness it yields.

Got home Tuesday morning. The ensuing 48 hours were bliss. Friend visits, care packages, flowers, naps in between, Rufus picking up on my "situation" and remaining, out of deference, consistently sleepy. I also got through all of Season 1 of West Wing. I relished being out of action.

Thursday afternoon - something changed. My body temperature felt like it was beginning to creep below healthy levels. My muscles ached from inactivity. Being unable to lie flat on my back, sides or stomach, and my range of movement being otherwise very limited, there were only so many ways I could sleep/read/watch TV. I was suffocatingly bored. My back ached from sleeping upright. I didn't feel like reading, didn't feel like watching West Wing (!), didn't even feel like talking to Rufus or like receiving visits. The only thing I wanted was to sleep until the pain went away and I could resume normal activities. And, as the anaesthetic wore off and I made my way through all the Endone, I could no longer sleep through the day. All this after only three days' inactivity. A terrible patient I make.

On a walk with SG (it lasted 20 minutes and required a two-hour nap afterwards) SG offered that my feelings of coldness, sadness and restlessness are all indications that I'm getting better. I suppose that's true: they're reflections of listlessness, of wanting to be outside in the sunshine when I know my body can't - and won't, for a long while yet - handle it. Indications are that I should be able to start driving by tomorrow. A few days' hence I will resume normal non-intensive daily activities. No exercise for five more weeks, although thankfully walking is fine. New job starts tomorrow week.

Here's what I want to do but can't, in order of preference:
  1. Take Rufus for a brisk walk in the sunshine.
  2. Buy fresh ingredients from the market before cooking a Sunday roast.
  3. Cycle to a local pub where I'd drink pear cider with mates and order fries w aioli.
  4. Plop myself into the jacuzzi at Harold Holt Pool.
  5. Take Rufus to Sunday morning obedience classes.
  6. Make (and eat) blueberry pancakes.
  7. Do 5 sessions of Bikram yoga.
  8. Get a wax, a massage, a facial, a tan. Girly things.
  9. Go for a bushwalk.
  10. Go for a beach walk.
For some reason it took me all of six days to realise that I could use my blog as a forum for detailing my progression to health and happiness. Good things to come.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

After the change

And it was the same - every
day. Every single day. Every fucking
day. So it was the same - every regular
morning. Each coffee cup. All things done.

Ten months of this. This - these
again. This, once more. And
again. So it occurred, on endless
repeat. Each month. Each weekend. Summer to Spring.

I've remarked, often, to friends as I've gone
It's monotony that kills, the unchanged that hurts
The stillness that swipes, the silence that burns,
The restful who die, the slower who fade,
The idle who shatter, the busy who matter,
The sleep which decays, reflection that drains,
That quiet which, as a cavern, hollows - guts me out.

And then with meticulous, resolute planning (or
blonde chance) September came. The wind chops
mellowed. It got lighter earlier. Those frosty jagged daggers
jagged, wintry smacks diffused - subtly, slowly. And, I smiled.

And then the change came. Or all of them.
Them, those, few numerable changes. Spring's
Sweetly-wrapped gift which, after a bitch of a winter
Fell helplessly, childishly, absently, glittering
All the way down, way down, into my waiting lap.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Stuff White People Like

Today I bought my first ever piece of street art from my first ever art auction. The auction, held at Ormond Hall, was an experience in itself. Lots of pieces featuring skulls, machine guns, breasts, birds, or combinations thereof. There was a Banksy print that went for around $11K - I think that was the major hipster drawcard of the day.

Anyway, my piece of art: it's by a Chinese dude who goes by the name Mr Woo. It's called The Colour of Life, and you can see why:

(How convenient that Rufus manages to find his way into my every photo. Little bitch.)

It was one of the few pieces that was original (not a print). I'm very happy.

But WAIT! Just when you thought I couldn't possibly get any cooler ... check out what mum bought:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Poem (inspired by Philip Glass)

I spent much of today
In a poorly altered state
With a dozen heinous rows
And a many spiteful glares

I spent much of today
Looking through those walls of glass
Seeing through them what was down
Working up to waking up

I spent much of today
Peering silently at they
Edgy mutterings and smiles
Stolen looks they both would share

But then I spent some time
Helping her by sitting near
Nodding when she seemed she'd need
Consolation. Or, a lie.

And then I spent some time
Thinking how I'd come to lose
Properties of being seen
Parting atoms as I came

And so I spent my night
Willing glass to turn to brick
Eyes cast downwards. Well, I tried.
Shielding face as shards did fly.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rufus, the Man in my Life

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Poem, June 2011

A quarter to four
And there's been just one entry.
Third trip to the kitchen
I've not seen you since.

The files, the covers, the matters, the clients.
The pre-bills, the post-bills, the discounts, the cheque.
The confines, the caveats, the outside, the in.
The duties, betrayal, the budget a wreck.

And so when you come in
And slide that door over
I will you, come over
Come over, come in

And so when you twitch
A bit and you're in
And I will you to strip it
My mouth and your skin

And then when you message
A message, a light
A buzz on the outside
A kiss underneath

And so when you tell me,
Tell me, "who knows?"
"A great deal can happen"
Then Saturday blows.

And so when you look and you sweat and you smile
You're ugly and pointless, but fuck can you talk
And hell can you make me, and shit can you lie
But do know I'm frightened, I'm frightened, I'll try.

But I'm not indecent - I say I get by
With minimal scarring and smiles in supply
So yes to seduction, that's right. Are we on?
If not please just tell me, I'll move my shit on.

If yes then let's get it, your sign to my plate
Your hard to my soft and your whole to my cleft.
My hole and your partial, that brilliant switch.
Utter incompatibility. Fucking dirty sin.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I'm off to Israel and Thailand today. This trip could not have come at a better time. At the moment my fridge is an apt metaphor for my state of mind. Empty, a little sad, uneventful, and too much cheese. The house is in uncharacteristic disarray, my old clothes are boring, Rufus is the same, my skin is sunless and cold, and I'm finding myself wanting more than ever that itchy feel of sandy wave striking a little too hard against my legs. Tel Aviv's warm wind parting and ruffling and frizzing my curls. The emerging insignificance of previously all-consuming frustrations and deaths and losses when one speaks in another language and meets new, sexy people with attitude and that glint of understanding: I get you. The feeling of being carried 35,000 feet above your home and your neighbourhood with zero control and zero choice and everything possibly unfamiliar awaiting you. It should be good. I'll try to update a bit as I go.

Love youse.



Monday, April 4, 2011

An Open Letter to Rufus

4 April 2011

Dear Rufus,

I love you. I always will. But there are some things you need to know.
  1. It is not cute when you eat my possessions.
  2. It is not cute when you hump my possessions.
  3. It is not cool when you chew live electric wires (in particular, whilst eating and/or humping my possessions).
  4. It is not cute when you creep under my bed out of my reach and proceed to bark at the top of your lungs. It mocks me.
As a result of your numerous indiscretions which, to date I have attempted to ignore or brand as the natural consequences of teething/adolescence, I have had to come to a difficult decision. And that is: you are now, during the day, an Outside Dog (TM).

And not only that!

There will be a new regime in place from now on. You will no longer be permitted to:
  1. Enter doors before I do
  2. Eat dinner before I do
  3. Pee on my face while I'm asleep (when I'm awake, that's ok)
  4. Hump your bed
  5. Sleep on my bed
  6. Hump my face
  7. Join me on the couch (unless I'm feeling particularly embittered with the universe, in which case we can negotiate)
  8. Watch me while I shower (to be honest, I always found that one mildly creepy, and I'm thankful for the occasion arising to outlaw it).
I anticipate that there will be difficulties associated with the transition to the new regime. However, I am in no doubt that you, good thing that you are, will rise to the challenge.


N. Josephine.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good Mourning

This evening on my walk with Rufus as I passed the Alfred Hospital I spent some time thinking about approaches to bereavement, and whether there is any one method more effective than another.

If it were up to me, I'd be the sort of person to have a wake instead of a funeral. I believe there is little point in getting together to wail. Plus I don't think my existence/life story will necessarily warrant collective disintegration. Life is good; so should memory be.

But I'm bound by the Jewish approach to mourning, known as Shiva. Shiva, which applies to immediate relatives of the deceased, is a seven-day period in which the relatives of the deceased are to concern themselves only with grieving and mourning for the loss of their loved one. The name comes from the Hebrew word for "seven" (sheva) and colloquially the seven day period of mourning is known as "sitting shiva" (as in, "She is sitting Shiva so she won't be at work"). Depending on their degree of orthodoxy, the relatives of the deceased may not shower, cook, wear jewelery, work, shave or have sex. When seated, they are required to sit on the floor or on low stools. Interestingly, they may not discuss the death of anyone other than the deceased.

Viewed from the perspective of healing, Shiva is arguably quite effective. It concentrates the mourning period by mandating suffering during the most tortuous period of all - the first week after the burial (which in Judaism is usually the first week after death). Possibly it augments the sensation of pain, but probably it condenses the period throughout which that pain is most acutely felt.

I don't know much about other religious or cultural approaches to bereavement, but as far as I can tell, the Wake (an Irish funeral tradition) embodies an opposite approach to bereavement to that of Shiva. Except for a few random things (mirrors are covered, food is plentiful, the family home is cleaned by the friends of the family). But let's explore the differences.

Sitting Shiva is about being bereft,  being physically idle, being torn up, being emotionally ravaged, and being physically as low to the ground as possible. Wikipedia tells me that the etymology of the word "Wake" is the ancient Indo-European word wog or weg, the meaning of which is "to be active". At a Wake, or at least a traditional Wake, it is customary for attendees to join in laughter and celebrate the deceased's life. There may be tears, but smiles and songs are not out of place either. Depending on your personality type, your may cringe at the idea of joy at a funeral. But in my view, that would be to misconceive the meaning of "celebrating life". It's not a matter of shrieking "WOOHOO! HE'S FINALLY KICKED IT!" or "YAYAYYAYA SHE HAD AN ORSUM LIFE YAYAYAYA LET'S DRINK TO THAT". The laughter and tears aren't your normal everyday chick flick emotional responses. They're infused, inevitably, with the sobering reality that this person, who we all love, is now lost to us. For good. I like that idea. Because that's what life is, after all, isn't it? Beautiful, confusing, often terribly sad, but ultimately amusing?