This is my yearly introductory post to my theme, it’s my way of marking the new year and new journeys, new focuses and personal growth. Last year’s theme was ‘Renewal‘ and it was an intense but ultimately rewarding and beautiful year that delivered all the promise that a word like renewal holds. If you’re interested in themes for yourself, I wrote about how I go about putting together the concept and practise of a theme, which is essentially a year long enquiry. It’s a little about letting the world go to work on you, and a little about going to work on the world as well. It’s all very personal so it can be anything you want, really.
So, 2013. Bravery.
2013’s theme is already well underway though I’ve not tried to write about it to formally open up the enquiry till now. Afterall, how do you write about bravery when you are feeling anything but?
And yet, feeling brave or not I am practising bravery and that’s really at the heart of things. It’s not about *feeling* brave all the time. Instead, the focus is on being aware of myself, taking a moment to consider saying ‘yes’ to things I’d ordinarily decline. Bravery is about operating entirely outside of my comfort zone in massive ways, tiny moments and all the in between.
The central event that will define this year and this theme is that I moved from Perth where I was living with my fiance and his boyfriend (plus three cats and a dog), and moved to Melbourne. I left another partner and a new love, an incredibly strong, broad and inspirational support network of friends and community.
I’ve moved to a place I am more in love with than I thought possible. I am head over teakettle in love with Melbourne. I also have partners here, one that is for the first time not a long distance relationship and another boyfriend who recently migrated with his fiance from Perth to start medical school. I have other romantic connections here but they’re less defined and more nebulous in feel… they’re potential and that’s open to move in any direction really. I have friends here, close friends and people I want to be closer to. And not just in Melbourne but all throughout the Eastern states… being here in Melbourne I can pursue those connections too. I think Melbourne will be good for me career wise and academically.
But what I’m saying is that… moving like this is the bravest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve turned all of my deepest and closest relationships inside out. Nothing is comfortable and I am in the midst of a liminal, ephemeral experience of uncertainty. It’s also exactly the right thing for me to have done, I know that deep within me no matter how wretched I am feeling right now.
My fiance has been part of my daily life for most of the last 16 years… and unlike when I moved three months ahead of him to Perth, he’s not coming to join me soon. It may be two years before he and his boyfriend make it to Melbourne, though that is the ultimate plan. I’ve never really consciously lived anywhere else than with him, or in any other kind of situation. I’ve never had my own place before.
And even though I am poly, my experience of this has been less a conflict of busy schedules (a common difficulty), and more the difficulty of schedule mismatch and distance. That’s just been magnified in a truly magnificent way, and right now it’s the thing I’m finding hardest to deal with here in my beloved new city where I can’t yet put down roots or nest.
So right now, each moment is a moment of emotional bravery, forging a new path and gaining new understanding of myself and how my connections work, how I work in my connections. The difficulties in asking for what I need both for me and for others. There aren’t really any direct fixes here, just riding out the feeling of being overwrought and lonely, being ruthlessly gentle on myself and remembering that most of this present feeling will shift when I have a job and can start to really *live* here in Melbourne. Right now it’s more of a floaty existence.
So bravery is already being incredibly demanding of my emotional and mental fortitude. I wonder right now, does it get easier from here? Does the hard just shift and change as I get a job, find a place to live and start to form patterns of everyday life and nest?
That’s all part of the journey…
I’ve been thinking about this post since New Year’s Eve, since I was packing to move, since I embarked on the drive over here (yes, I drove with my best friend across the country in my little blue car now named the Tardis for how awesomely she fit all my stuff). There are a number of ways in which I want to explore bravery and things I want to do that seem to be part of what I want from this enquiry. In no particular order….
- Explore options for permanent employment that I might be willing to commit to that allow me to progress my career as a business analyst.
- Do some sort of training in Agile methodologies, preferably at the expense of some awesome employer that I’d like to commit to.
- Volunteer with OTW and enjoy getting to hang out with cool people doing something I think is amazing and getting Agile familiarity while I’m at it.
- Explore yoga and pilates as things that may have some positive impact on my pain levels.
- Take up a latin dance class, particularly interested in Argentine Tango, but I enjoy them all and clumsy or not it’s fun.
- Try (or re-try) a bunch of other different sport/leisure things that I’ve mused about trying for ages, like rock climbing, horse riding, sailing, cycling, swimming.
- Go to a conference related either to my work interests or academic interests.
- Develop a wardrobe appropriate for the kind of job I envision myself doing, but managing to fulfil comfort and creative requirements.
- Get my P plates once I’m comfortable driving in Melbourne and the CBD, including on tram lines, hook turns, stop start traffic, and other complexities.
- Go on road trips, hopefully go on a road trip by myself once I have my license!
- Explore Melbourne, so many festivals and events and random stuff happening – I want to go to a bunch of things and just enjoy that this is possible and happens here!
- Find an awesome place to live with a housemate or two in the area around Brunswick.
- Nest in new place to live.
- Do well in my last two units for my degree and work out where to apply for Honours and talk to useful people about doing that.
- Read 100 books including completing the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2013 and also reading some of the texts I’ve bought that are nonfiction that I haven’t found my way to yet.
- Keep involved with the Down Under Feminists Carnival including writing pieces to submit to it.
- Try and keep up with my blogging both here and at my personal journal. Especially include more personal photos in my personal journal.
- Send out postcards and letters – reduce the stash!
- Explore cooking adventures, particularly in cuisines and techniques I’d like to be more proficient cooking in. Consider doing this similar to how Calli did it once upon a time with a month long focus on different cuisine.
- Nurture my relationships abundantly especially since they’ve all been turned inside out. Be brave and gentle about all the changes.
- Spend time with my blood family, including introducing boyfriend and girlfriend if I have an opportunity.
- Support boyfriend in his med school adventures, being a guinea pig where useful.
- Learn basic chemistry, physics and biology via Khan Academy.
- Look out for opportunities to have unexpected adventures and say ‘yes’ more often. Share these adventures with others whenever possible.
- Be my best self to the best of my ability and remember that I didn’t create the art separate from myself, that I get to make a difference just by being myself in the world and that’s amazing (and discomforting), inspiring (and confronting).
Dear 2013, you are going to be a massive challenge the entire way through but I am ready for it and willing. I am excited about everything I’m going to learn and hope to make the most of all the joy and love around me through the hard bits. Through this enquiry I will truly reconnect with that experience of myself as a Giant and share this with others. Here’s to a busy, productive, amazing and challenging year. I’m starting without a comfort zone but I am optimistic and determined.