Journal Entry 10: The Holiday

Just as I took this photo, the rain began to pour down. Windows streaked with water drops, like paint dripping down a canvas. Outside the sky is a greyish-purple colour and the trees are swaying. I’m warm and, for the first time in years, I actually feel calm. I’m watching the movie The Holiday on Netflix.

Within hours I started to feel the stress fade away into the background. Relief. I want to cry. Cry because I feel like I need to. Studying people and their experiences is a lot different compared to when you actually have to face them and you have to help them overcome their adversities. I want to cry because I’m not strong enough. I can read and learn about hardships, but I can’t come face-to-face with them. I’m hurt at how sheltered I am. I’m hurt because I feel ‘diversity’ isn’t actually diversity at all. It’s diversity wrapped up in privilege. I only see privileged people of colour. I don’t see people of colour who endure daily obstacles because of language barriers, poverty or, perhaps because of a multitude of other impediments. I live a luxurious life compared to many others my age. Even though I consider myself broke, I know things could be a lot worse.

I look over at the screen and I can see the baby moving. That’s my baby. I can see the heartbeat. I made that baby. I made a tiny human. I actually feel okay this time. You are different and I am too.

I find pregnancy odd. The emotions and hormones making normal thought processes go out the window. Sometimes, you can feel immense attachment to the tiny human you’ve created, sometimes you feel nothing at all. We live in a society that judges women for experiencing depression either during or after pregnancy. I think a lot of pregnant women, and mothers, are compared to those who experience infertility. Mothers or pregnant people are expected to be grateful. Perhaps they don’t experience infertility or the trauma that comes along with it, but I also think that pregnancy can be an extremely traumatic experience for people too. Sometimes, having a baby can also put your own life at risk. The prospect of death being an outcome of pregnancy is a frightening thought.

I don’t want to be buried when I die. I don’t want to be buried the Christian way. I want my ashes scattered somewhere beautiful. I had a horrible nightmare last night, may be a premonition or some kind of warning about my death. I’m still spooked.

Orphaned. Parentless. Can you also be parentless if your mum & dad are deadbeats? I suppose so.

Listening to Frank Sinatra’s version of As Time Goes By, thinking about the guy on the train who looked like Zuckerberg, needing bbq chips with a diet coke.

I keep thinking about my dad. The love-hate relationship is a precarious equilibrium. The older I’ve become, the less I respect him as a person. The more frustrated I become with how he deprived me of a good education whilst simultaneously wanting me to become a doctor or engineer. The same man who would scream at my sister while trying to teach her math or learn how to drive a manual car. The same man who rejected me as soon as I hit puberty because I was no longer a child anymore. That’s the thing about my dad, he loved me when I was a kid, then came to hate me when I developed my own sense of autonomy and agency. He hated me because I rejected him and his lifestyle. I was not like his subservient wife who would make sure food was on the table after a long day of work. No, I was his mirror image. Stubborn. In many ways, I agree with Gibran. Gibran talks about liberation that comes along with adulthood. Being an adult is liberating because you gain knowledge. You can understand the world more deeply and in my opinion, have a better understanding of yourself and those around you. Idealising youth because it’s simplistic and you don’t need to pay your own bills is not something I want to do anymore. In fact, I feel much better as an adult. I have knowledge and resources to exercise my own agency, both over my life and my body.

Gourmet food, belly stuffed with beans and guac, lily of the valley candle, inhaling, exhaling, the dome. The Dome/Guac/Lily of the Valley

Hidden from plain sight. Plain yogurt. Plain Jane. A Karen. Soggy pizza for dinner, sobbing watching Rue die in the Hunger Games. Plain suit. Plain shoes. Black loafers & snotty tissues.

Pink scarf with my brown over-sized blazer. Walking in the city, admiring the lights. The train is packed, flashes of lights coming from the next train over, people on their phones or talking to their lover.

Doc: The only way to cure it is with a hysterectomy

My home on the farm was renovated a few years before we moved in. The addition to the original home added another 4 bedrooms with another lounge area and fireplace. Our home consisted of 2x lounge rooms, 2x fireplaces, 5 bedrooms, 1 shower, bath and toilet all in separate mini rooms, a massive laundry room and 2 garages.

I often wonder how comfortable my dad could be with death. The lambing season in winter brings so much death. The winter is harsh and sometimes pregnant sheep give birth outside of the barn, leaving their lambs vulnerable to the cold. My dad would try to rescue lambs out in the cold by bringing them inside so they can warm up by the fireplace. Now he’s much older and I wonder if he still does this.

My mum is judgmental person. She often judges women who have kids after 40. Yet, she herself had me when she was 39. Is there really a difference? Why did she even want us to begin with? Constantly berating me, putting me down. No matter how many distinctions or high distinctions I receive, it’ll never be enough. I’m in the wrong degree or I won’t earn enough money. Whatever, why don’t you try getting a university degree.

Inadequacy. Rejection. Failure.

My mum works within a traditional and contemporary framework about life, marriage and education. She wanted my sister to get a good degree and she did. Now, she wants my sister to get married and have kids. The paradoxical nature of how she behaves is both disturbing and frustrating. She wants us to be independent and have money, whilst simultaneously wants my sister to get married ASAP. This paradoxical framework makes it impossible to make her happy.

Catching the tram to the beach watching the seagulls harass innocent people, trying to steal their warm chips. Listening to the sound of water, gazing at the sunset.

Feeding a kookaburra

Reading UN reports, along with other academic books and articles. tired of reading the same old thing. things I already know that won’t get better. geopolitical situations which aren’t actually that complex.

red velvet

sushi dipped in soy sauce, underwater with K Stewart, homeland.

there is no such thing as a good person or a bad person. we are all just people. people who make mistakes. people who serve other people. people who are self-serving. people who work in government. people who work in medicine. people who aren’t defined by their work. people who wish to be defined by their work.

no need for mask wearing when you’re in the middle of nowhere. fresh air. talking to the uber driver about how he drives full-time now but it made him gain weight because he’s always sitting. told him it’s okay because I’ve gained weight too, so has everyone else.

the pandemic changed society, both publicly and privately. it changed the way we interact with people through masks or constant sanitation. it made some afraid to go outside, maybe because they’re immunocompromised, maybe because they were afraid to get fined, maybe because it induced social anxiety for some due to lack of communication with friends or family. it changed the way people could plan their weddings, see their family overseas, go to appointments for family planning or pregnancy, and, also introduced alternatives like telehealth consultations so the public to speak to general practitioners or psychologists.

the onset of covid-19 was traumatic for many healthcare workers who were overwhelmed in hospitals. the lack of ppe provided to health professionals meant they had to work in conditions which could’ve compromised their own health. covid-19 changed us all. if you weren’t impacted directly and didn’t lose a family member, then in some other way, you were impacted. either your work, studies or health were in some way compromised. perhaps that united us all, or maybe it fractured society further.

almost slipped along the dirt track.

People are capable of change. They just have to want to change. I’ve been in therapy since 2017. Am I a perfect person? Of course not, no one is. What I’ve come to learn in therapy is that you’ve also got to reflect and do the work outside of sessions to make sure you actually improve and become a better person. I’ve read books, watched youtube videos and have continued to journal my experiences. I don’t have the intent of becoming perfect. I just have the goal of feeling confident in who I am as a person. I think that means I no longer seek validation in helping others. This transference of energy devoted to others actually does nothing for myself, it’s simply a form of escapism. Instead of seeking validation in helping others, the task should be purely altruistic. I will continue to devote my time to others because I genuinely want to give back. It will no longer be a form of escapism from my own issues.

fed some kookaburras bacon. they tried to bite off my finger!

I’ve been off social media for awhile now and I do actually feel better. I don’t compare myself to my peers anymore. I’ve cut off so many toxic people from my life and I do feel much better.

my baby daddy is an immigrant. intergenerational trauma impacting our kid forever like a chain reaction. abort. break the chain reaction. trauma debilitating. we can no longer excuse our reckless behaviour. undo ourselves, reverse, freeze time. growing. slowly. trauma or belly. both. you say it’s not about us. a child born into trauma. caramel skinned baby, chinese doctors giving us stares, racism amongst poc is prevalent. our child born into a world where it already experiences prejudice on the day its born. our love child, our creation, doomed in a broken world, between broken parents, learning what is it to live a broken life. future, what future. you’re right, it isn’t about us. abort. like that’s really the solution. unconditional love, euphoria, bliss. i kiss you until i have to say goodbye. why can’t you tell me what i want to hear. separation. loneliness. empty.

wishing i was a philosophy student but maybe there is something much richer we can understand and interpret about history. history tells us about humanity. both the best and worst parts of us. we either create an environment where we fight for justice, or, we create an environment where injustice is pervasive.

a teacher, a parent, a student, the fighter, a lover, peacekeeper, the dancer, the artist, the creator.

God? No such thing.

high on oxy, no stress and no worries. doctors didn’t tell me it would feel this good. no one told me it is addictive. wanting to take more, ease the pain, can’t walk. can’t walk properly. can’t extend my legs. need help walking down a flight of stairs, feeling like i’m a senior citizen. i’m f*ckin 21. wanting to cry. doctors suggesting i might need steroids for treatment. long list of potential complications and side effects. functioning normally, not quite normal though.

Life update: postgrad, work & new family member

Most of my friends know that I absolutely love studying. I’m hoping to graduate in July this year from my undergraduate arts degree. It’s honestly been the best yet most tumultuous period of my life. I feel like I’ve poured all my energy into this degree just to get the opportunity to do an honours degree to finally realise it may not be exactly what I want. Although I already have a research proposal in mind, I am not sure if pursing an honours degree is what I want. For years I’ve been writing my own journalistic pieces on another blog to express myself and my thoughts. I never even considered pursing a Masters of Journalism until recently. I’ve considered a postgraduate law degree (Juris doctor), for which I’ve already received a conditional offer. Throughout my degree, I’ve dipped into subjects which intersect with law and journalism so it’s certainly an area of interest. I’ve considered changing sectors completely, invested time and money into doing so, just to realise it’s also not what I want. To be consumed by indecision is exhausting.

I’ve been applying for jobs to give myself a feeling of security in case pursing further studies is something I don’t want, or, in the event I just want a break from studying. It’s been an interesting yet challenging process. I think a lot of what happens in university doesn’t necessarily help to prepare you for ‘adulting.’

For the first time since the pandemic, I have started to feel kind of normal. I’ve been working out consistently and I’m now in my third week of this newfound motivation to go to the gym. I’ve been keeping a food journal to help keep myself accountable and engage in much more meaningful conversations with my dietician. I’ve been going to the gym 4 times a week, with the aims of increasing it to 5-6 days out of the week. Life seems to be getting in the way of this goal. I’ve been preparing for exams, whilst trying to adapt to having a new and much larger dog in the house. With all this change happening in my life, I do feel a little bit of sadness too. I genuinely feel like I’m waving goodbye to another version of myself. I’m trying to let go of all the trauma which has unfolded over the course of my time at university. Four and a half years which have encompassed times which were fun and full of excitement, as well as periods which were traumatic and also extremely sad or depressing. Most importantly, I finally can let go of this journey and move onto the next chapter.

I’ve been having sessions with my therapist which have helped me to finally unravel the deep-rooted nature of childhood trauma and neglect. I’ve been so worried about turning out like my parents and have completely overlooked dissecting their behaviours in order to modify my own and address my own toxic traits. I feel heard and I’m thankful to be able to access therapy and to have a safe space to talk about my feelings.

I can’t lie, sometimes I just want a hug. I can’t tell you what it is about this change and movement that makes me feel a little bit lonely. I suppose that’s what makes all of this so beautiful. For the first time I realise I’ve got to step into this alone. No one can decide for me, I’m an adult. This truly is my life and I have all the autonomy and agency that I’ve wished for. My decisions are solely my own to make. Whether I go back and do another degree or I don’t, it’s my life and my choice. I’ve asked for opinions from my friends and family but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter because the only opinion that matters is my own.

On a final note, I would like to thank every single person who got me here. I want to thank those closest to me who nursed me back to good health when I was sick. I won’t forget the endless nights where they stayed up, brought me heat packs or Nesquik and milo. I will not forget how they helped me to walk or dress while I was in severe pain after tough and grueling surgeries. Thank you for showing me empathy and kindness when I needed it the most.

Lessons learnt from being hospitalised during the COVID-19 pandemic

Photo by Engin Akyurt on

After falling sick in August, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Melbourne, Victoria, one of Australia’s worst performing states in regards to COVID cases, I was hospitalised.

With fevers, chills, muscle aches to the point where I couldn’t sit up without being in excruciating pain, needless to say it was the most emotionally draining time of my life. During this period, I had a total of 7 COVID-19 swabs, all of which came back negative. Despite having at the time, 2 negative COVID-19 swabs, hospital doctors decided to put me in a COVID-19 ward, obviously where COVID positive patients were residing.

At this time, restrictions were tough and no family members or friends could visit patients. Although the view was amazing in the COVID-19 ward and I am genuinely thankful to all the doctors who helped me, I still have dreadful anxiety.

From August to September, I spent a total of around 20 days in hospital, watching too much daytime TV like Charmed and getting excited for FRIENDS episodes at around 6-7pm. After having multiple tests like an ultrasound on my legs, MRI for my brain, spine and legs, a PET Scan, CT scan and getting poked multiple times a day for blood. Additionally having a bone marrow biopsy, skin biopsy and lastly a muscle biopsy, needless to say the whole experience was exhausting emotionally for both myself, my family and loved ones.

I was forced to defer from my degree in order to manage my health issues and I lost 6kgs, to eventually gain back more weight due to depression and anxiety about a potential autoimmune disease diagnosis. What’s the worst part of it? There was no clear answer. I live with the anxiety that it could happen again and have to learn to embrace life and all of it’s uncertainties.

My anxiety spikes when I go out and see people without masks on, this overwhelming fear washes over me and I’m consumed by it. Fear that I will end up in there again, alone. Although I do not consider myself fully recovered and still have to deal with the colossal mess which is my life, it taught me a great deal about life.

Getting out of depression is like rock-climbing without all the safety equipment. You’ll most likely fall multiple times back into that empty chasm. You just have to keep trying. To all my fellow book-lovers out there, as Susan Jeffers would say, ‘Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway’.