I’m writing this from a quiet place in the botanical gardens where I grew up. I was here the same time last year but my life was dramatically different then. This time last year I was severely in denial about the mess my life was in, and inside I was an emotional wreck about some tough choices I had to make. A few months later, I made those tough choices and the rest of the year has been a blur. A beautiful blur.
I always get nostalgic and introspective around this time of year, especially when I’m back in the city I grew up in. My 2016 photo diary gives you a bit of insight into my headspace back then. Disjointed, secretive, glimpses into what was going on in my head- I didn’t even want to confront it myself. This year was an in between year I guess. I had an idea of what it would be and it absolutely was not what I anticipated. I had no plans and I just wanted to see where life took me.
And here, at the end of the year, and so many times in between, I can finally say I’m happy. Genuinely, not just an emotion I throw out onto the internet every year to try and affirm that the choices I’ve made are good ones, faking it til I make it kind of happy. Real happiness, the kind that comes when I’m not hiding anything from myself.
I really got to know myself this year from confronting the worst parts of myself. It wasn’t pretty. There were a lot of tears and days where I thought it would never get better. Realised the extent of my selfishness, how spoilt and ungrateful I’d become in relationships, how negatively I saw myself, every insecurity I've ever had bubbled to the surface. I desperately wanted to change but just couldn’t seem to will myself to do anything. Realising these things and that I needed to change them was a step closer to being nicer to myself and everyone around me. At the end of the day you’re all you’ve really got and hating myself was doing me no good. So I slowed down this year. Took some time for myself.
I slowed down enough to realised I am more anxious and not as in control of depressive tendencies as I thought I was. Spent a lot of long nights working night shifts and soul searching.
Almost every day this year felt harder than the one before, every day felt like some kind of struggle but when I look back, all I can see is a long dark period with little dots of joy scattered in between, and towards the end of it all things started getting brighter, kinda like the night sky turning to dawn. It’s a lame cliche but that’s really how it feels.
If you told me this time last year I’d be tearful almost every week and out of control disorganised and forgetful I’d tell you to piss off because I’m better than that and I’m gonna do amazing. And if you told me I’d fall out of love and into love, or that I was going to have weeks where I’d cry cos I couldn’t afford groceries, or that I would lose control of the parts of me I used to pride myself of having control over (my motivation, my diet, my addictions, my water intake, my zest for life)... yeah I would be skeptical. But it all happened and it was all character building and now do you know what I’m actually real bloody happy.
I get to laugh with my friends. I get to prop myself up on my elbows in bed and gaze (sickeningly) into the eyes of the boy I love, and jump into his outstretched arms and plant kisses all over his angel face and feel even crazier about him than I did yesterday. I get to water my plants and watch them grow. I get to drive my car around the bays and watch the sunset or go and get a frozen coke and know that I have all this freedom stretched out in front of me. I get to cosy up in my blanket and sit on the floor and do my makeup in the morning, get dressed in clothes that make me feel like me, inhale my coffee and cigarette and emerge as Fern, tired and always fragile but ready for the day. I get to go home at the end of the day to my comforts. And after 22 years of not feeling like anywhere in particular is home, always wanting to uproot, abhorring routine and craving adventure, it’s really fucking nice to enjoy the comforts of the little life I’ve built.
Even on the bad days and the days where I feel insufferably anxious and sorry for myself, I’m happy that I’ve gotten to the point where I can take a step back and think okay, you’ve felt like this before and you’ll feel like this again and I can figure out how to make it better next time.
And even on the worst days there are the little comforts in my life that always bring a smile to my face and there are friends and there is my family and there are endless videos of animals doing adorable things on the internet and there is rex and I have a job and a roof over my head and car
and I’m doing better than I think. I’m lucky that all I have to do to remind myself of how good life is, is to scroll through my camera roll like I am know, finishing this post in bed at my grandmothers house at 12.30am with a lil smile on my face thinking about how I’m the luckiest girl in the world.