Personal

My Final Word on 2018

2018 was everything it was supposed to be. It was everything I had expected, in ways I wasn’t expecting. It was my year of lessons, of new beginnings and transformation. It was my year to turn 30 years old and joyfully say goodbye to my turbulent twenties.
 
I thought I knew what was coming, and yes, I did “know”, but I was looking in the wrong direction entirely.
 
I looked for stories and labels. Looked for an identity to attach to myself that would show everybody I’m the “success” I was “supposed to be”.
 
Ironic, when my all time favourite quote from any book is “to define is to limit”.
 
But I’d felt like a failure. How could I not, having grown up hearing all about who I was going to be and what I would become? They said I could be anything and I would definitely be SOMETHING. Definitely no less than a star!
 
Writer. Actor. Lawyer. Politician. Musician. Doctor. Prime Minister. Psychologist. Label. Label. Label.
 
I started trying to do what I thought I was “supposed to do”. And lot of this stuff I tried to fill myself up with just made me feel empty.
 

I tried parties and reconnecting with old friends. I tried making new friends. I enjoyed amazing music. I threw myself violently out of my comfort zone. I took part in various workshops and programs. I started exercising. I started eating well. I started figuring out what suits me and what doesn’t, what works and what doesn’t.

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Athena, by Pui Che
 
Nothing works, not even the stuff that’s supposed to, when you’re doing it all for the wrong reasons. Attachment to stories and ideas, attachment to expectations and avoidance of your whole, true self in the here and now is some of the dumbest things you can inflict on yourself.
 
I knew by the middle of the year I was heading for something BIG and unavoidable: A neck-breaking twist, that would force my head and eyes to look the right way.
 
That tower I’d only just started to build, already crumbling down.
 
This year, I got the all-clear for one cancer and then found out I need tests for another cancer. I’ll find out sooner or later.
 
I started university, doing what I always wanted and was “supposed to do” and then found out everything I thought I’m “supposed to do” is a lie.
 
I had never felt closer to someone in my life, someone who has often been a source of a lot of upset for me, and just as I felt we had reached the point of unbreakable, our relationship was severed. It’s both sad and a weight off my shoulders.
 
I worked hard, studied hard and began training myself up to remake my life, to break away from the shackles of the DWP. I put all my time, money and stock into this “transformation”, to be told by my landlord I can’t run my business from home.
 
And I got this new home, away from the trauma of the old and it kept falling apart around me. It ceased to be the “thing that I needed to feel better” faster than you can say April Fools.
 
The year rolled in like a steamroller, squashing everything that I am out of me until there wasn’t much left. I tried to keep turning my head back to where it was most comfortable, looking outside for something to make things better.
 
Distracting myself with social media. Attaching to stories. Assuming that if I get the things I want, then things will be alright
 
And all year, it’s like a greater force has been with me all along saying “Stop looking. Start seeing. I’m here. I’m real. I have all these wonderful things waiting for you, if only you’d just notice me.”
 
My neck “broke”. My head turned. I sat here in darkness for the longest time, finally beginning to ask the right questions and look for the real answers.
 
So, 2018 is both the start of a new cycle and the ending of an old one. Everything it was “supposed to be”. I’m going on a new journey, full speed ahead, transforming more and calmly going to war with everything in my way, including myself.
 
I am ready for a brand new year. I’m not becoming something new or old. I’m getting real.
Opinion

“Screw The Joker and Harley” – A Cog in The Wheel

I keep seeing those romanticised Joker and Harley memes on my feed. You know, the ones that portray their relationship as romantic and the kind of relationship people should want? It prompted me to save some images from the comics – mostly taken from other articles attempting to raise awareness of their relationship – and seeing as they’re just taking up space on my laptop, it’s time to share them.

 

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I wasn’t sure I’d ever write opinion pieces on this blog, but ultimately when my opinions are related to the health of society, it’s a good fit!

He’d kick me, but I’d kiss those boots!

~ Harley’s Poem

I got my Joker and Harley tattoo towards the end of an abusive relationship that followed an abusive relationship and preceded yet another abusive relationship. Every one of them had their own flavour and brand of toxicity.

I got my tattoo while I began the process of figuring stuff out, like what was “wrong” with me and what was “wrong” with him, or what is “wrong” with them, and other people out there. The “processing” process is not an overnight thing and more like years of work, relapsing and trial and error.

Every time I look at my tattoo, a symbol of abuse and “mad love” (false love), I think about what I’ve been through, what I’ve put people through and what I never want to tolerate ever again. I wonder if it’s all behind me, or if despite my intelligence, if I brave the world of dating again, I’m just going to mess up again.

I won a small poetry competition on Facebook a few years ago writing about Harley’s Stockholm syndrome, called Harley’s Poem. My friends on Facebook have likely seen it cropping up a few times over the years. The competition was ran by popular Joker cosplayer, Anthony Misiano. I’m a big fan!

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One of my old blog posts about Harley and Joker’s relationship in contrast to the respectful, loving relationship between Gomez and Morticia Addams seems to have influenced the creation of popular meme.

I can’t help but think, if you have a daughter or connections to young women, you ought to think twice before sharing a meme that romanticises domestic violence. However, I know going around demanding people rethink their behaviour and change their ways is a waste of time. Arguing with people over their posts on social media gets everybody nowhere. That’s why my focus has primarily been on me and being the change I want to see.

I wont be told what to say, or think or do, by anyone, but I try to consider the wider impact of my actions. I’ve had to make so many changes over the years because it turned out, some of my habits and behaviours were not the kind that encourages a better, fair society. I don’t just say “I don’t want to hurt anybody and I care about people.” I mean it, when I say it and if my behaviour does not reflect my core values, I realise it’s time to change it.

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When it comes to stories like The Joker and Quinn’s, you can respect the artists and writers, without allowing this media to become a harmful message. Respect the actors in the movies. Respect the story, but don’t twist the story. Tell it how it is!

I’ve always liked heroes and villains, horror movies and the dark stuff growing up. You’d have a hard job getting me to sit down to watch a Disney film at any stage of my life, but I know what I’m looking at when I’m looking at violence.

People don’t seem to want to take responsibility for the messages they put out there that impact people’s lives, but are deeply confused when they read yet another article in the news about another violent incident or murder. And yet, society and people has been under the microscope for a long time. It’s fairly obvious where problems lie, but less obvious sometimes is how we can do something about it when a lot of people would rather disagree and carry on as they were.

Many people have tricked themselves into believing one comment in the pub, or one social media share is a “harmless” act and disregard their connection to everyone and everything around them. You are a person in society, a cog in the wheel, and you play your role in deciding which way the wheel turns every single day.