Dusk 2.0

Sleep. Intricate pieces of memories that replay violently the minute my eyes drop in demise. Flashes of rooftop quests and dusk-filled skies. Delude my dreams, leaving a trail of blood behind. Every night another story, ending in goodbye.

Break me open and you’ll see, there’s no more fight. Just a white flag drowning in memories and rough tides. Pain so great it seeps into time. Weeks become months enabling thoughts that aren’t mine.

Each night I feel the touch of your hand, perfectly entwined. I see hollow eyes that were once kind. Finger tips trace each freckle with another lie. Visions of your neck falling onto mine as I grip into flesh until the pain subsides. Teeth bite so hard, I want it to hurt, feel my cries. Tears paint a story that neither one could survive.

Dusk, once idolised.

My favourite time. Now embedded in nightmares I wasn’t equipped to revise.

Some nights I manage to distort that last piece. I turn the gun from my chest and place it neatly at our feet. I beg you to finish the job, please end this defeat! Impossible, when your hands are tied by regret and deceit.

You scream in a language I can’t understand. I was never taught the tongue of misguided men. I shout back my pain yet nothing comes out. Instead dusk-filled colours stream from my mouth, writing the word stop upon your self doubt.

There’s a shadow behind you, broken in despair. Holding a shattered heart in one hand with blood stained fair hair. “Thank you”, he whispers. He seems relieved. Only now I realise he was you, before me.

There are voices of people, muttering a circus of words. Always lined up in red & begging to be heard. They have mirrors to reflect all that I’d ignored. Flashes of apologies light up every turn, with three broken bodies hurled over my bedroom floor. I run away and glance back only to see, those people were my warning signs I’d failed to see.

Fragments of colours have built a home in my mind. Every night I visit a kaleidoscope of death disguised as dusk skies. The burnt pinks blend with the dark of night. That leaks into blood and drips heavy down my spine.

Lucid dreams are an incredible art form in itself. I’ve felt every move towards death as I tighten the belt. Grabbing a paint brush, black acrylic every time. And I paint over colours that flash over my goodbye.

I can hear the cracks from my heart mend with each final breath. Recluse from dreams you’ve hijacked as the unwelcome guest. A peaceful darkness for a second as I step off that ledge. Only to awaken in reality, frightened and without rest.

Months turn into years and I’m still waking up in sweat. Haunted by the memories of that afternoon…

you left.

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Deity

Bring urgency with the same precision as a hunter.

Evaluate the risk,

Shoot.

Don’t hesitate.

In that time,

I’ve already picked you apart.

Catch me early,

Before I attack.

Only then,

Will you have the chance,

To emulate the power

Of a woman.

~Art by yours truly

Orchestrated

“Get on your knees,” I whisper.

Not that I wanted him on his knees. To emasculate was not the intention. I prefer reverse psychology in the domination space. Trying to step over the line while hoping I never get near.

I enjoy the push back. The challenge excites me.

“No”, he whispers back. Unaware he’s just rolled the first dice in my game.

“Get on your knees”, I repeat. This time amplifying the seduction while dropping the shoestring straps from my shoulders.

“No fucking way”. He stands tall while unknowingly throwing double sixes.

This is what I wanted. Trying desperately not to show weakness, I stared back emotionless. Still.

He grabbed my waist with his left hand while using his right to scrunch the hair back from my face.

“Get on your knees”, he says strongly.

I wanted to drop right then and there. My knees naturally bent in submission.

“No”.

I needed him to work for it. To showcase that masculine assertiveness I was craving. Roll again.

“Get.On.Your.Knees.Now.”

Smiling with gratification, I slowly moved downwards. This is the part of the game where I happily drop the dice. Game over.

I enjoy making him assume the win. Oblivious I fabricated this scene. I enjoy watching him grab the title even though I was the one who put him there.

“Okay”. I replied.

~Art from my girl @abby_pirie

Battlefield

Self sabotage is my mother tongue. Defend and defeat any threat to control. Neck sore from constantly looking the wrong way. Exasperated from self- a double edged sword.

I enjoy the pain.

“Where have you been?” were the first words I said to him.

“Looking for you”- he replied.

“What? With your eyes closed?” I said firm with a death glance.

He smiled instantly. And that’s when I knew I was ready to fight again.

Reality Of Grief

The kettle appeared different.

Pressing a button was a new experience. It became something my brain had to process instead of second nature. I had to really think about it.

Nothing made sense.

I had to work to move my arms. It was painful. And evident. Conversations were a mere placement of bodies, standing in front of another with an exchange of vocabulary.

Nothing was said.

The world seemed misplaced. The sound of birds calling in the morning became an excruciating silence. Null and void. Present but not perceived through the ears.

Nothing was heard.

A physical pain protruded through my chest and I embraced it. Clinging my arms around my hurting body as not just a form of comfort but holding onto the only shred of feeling I had left. When all normal emotional and physical processes diminish, any familiarity is welcomed.

It was all I had.

When one experiences grief or post traumatic stress the brain flicks into survival mode. It transforms into a system of unfamiliar energetic responses. You embody a new mind and in my case, a new being. Chemicals are released, internal reactions are disrupted and important bodily systems shift into emergency. The right side of the brain shuts its doors instantaneously and the journey of grief begins. And what a path it is.

Nightmare.

My mum was my security. She was my comfort. I held her hand at the shops in my twenties, with the same confidence I did when I was four. I would still sleep in her bed at any chance I got and would hang around her room, just to be close.

I was safe.

Since her passing I’m now left with a whole suitcase of issues, screaming to be addressed. I have separation anxiety from a woman I can no longer reach. Therefore subconsciously latching onto people more than I should, trying to replace the security I lost. Clinging my hands into them so tight they couldn’t breathe. Fear of abandonment seeped into the cells of my body and started running havoc on my life. Imagine a parent dropping a toddler off at daycare for the first time. Well that’s me. Except I’m an adult and usually the person is just walking into another room.

Don’t leave me.

I lost the ability to be with myself and that’s a hard pill to swallow. Along with my memory, my strength, dignity, happiness and half my heart- I lost myself. Same body, completely different state of mind.

Fear is a prison.

This grieving process is a wild one. Four years on and it’s only now I’m picking apart behaviours and working through them. These unhealthy patterns are quite common in cases of grief and trauma. Masking is just another way for the body and mind to cope. Some mask with substance, I chose attachment. The process is rough, I won’t lie. It’s uncomfortable and some days it’s really-fkn-awful-someone-make-it-stop type bad. I naturally want to reach for a hand and it’s never my own.

Girl, enough is enough.

They say when you can admit there’s a problem that’s the start of recovery. Hooray! Heartbreak hurts, yes. But it’s also a remarkable journey of self care (I even cringed typing this) BUT IT’S TRUE. This is life. So here’s to all the people who are battling their own war on a daily.

I salute you.

This isn’t supposed to be comfortable.

This is healing.

Broken In Bali

“But don’t give up on us. The children here need help.”- Alison Chester

Surrounded by high off-white jagged walls filled with splashes of childlike drawings of green and red floral, housed a saddening issue in Indonesia’s city of Denpasar. Laughs and cries of young children spiralling around me was the shock that broke my already hurting, over privileged, naive self to the core.

Jodie O’Shea’s Orphanage, home to 99 resilient children in the back streets of Bali came about in July, 2005. This establishment is named in memory of Jodie, following her tragic passing in the 2002 Bali bombings. Alison Chester and Riyanto Samadi are the founders of this life giving home and they strive to provide the best care, love and opportunity for these young kids. The children are not all orphans. Some are born into severe poverty, others victims of neglect and abuse. With a growing population in Indonesia of over 250 million, making it the 4th largest nation in the world, it faces endless challenges resulting to this type of life for the younger generation. An estimated 2.7 million Indonesian children are involved in some form of child labour, as a result of severe poverty. ‘Street Kids’ as they’re most commonly known, will pull heart strings as they ask for money or hypnotise you skilfully with their sales tactics. Some of these children are not attending school and therefore grow up with a life far less desirable than most westerners can even imagine. This is survival. As an alternative, struggling parents will give their child to an Orphanage, with the knowledge they will at least be provided with food and shelter. The thought is devastating, though this is reality.

“I will get a call from locals, informing me of an abused and abandoned child eating from the trash.”

Unfortunately orphanages in developing countries are sometimes run as profit centres and sadly Bali is no exception. Child labour, trafficking, scams, exploitation and abuse is rioting through the Island and this is a serious problem- not one that can be fixed by visiting, taking a selfie and uploading it to the gram. They are not a tourist attraction. If you’re going to visit an orphanage please do thorough research and make sure you impact and contribute or walk on. Add value; teach, supply food, toys, books, clothes, other material/mental needs. Jodie O’Shea’s orphanage isn’t government funded and does rely solely on the generosity of others so they do welcome and encourage visitors. Avoid walking in there with your social media, taking selfies with #helpthechildren and then hand over your 10000 IDR ($1 AUD) at the door. At Jodie O’Shea’s orphanage the donations go directly to the children’s needs. This is an establishment that provides a home for 99 children, three meals a day, snacks, clothing, education, rehabilitation, 24 hour security guard, carers and most importantly another chance at life. If you have any questions or queries about where your donation lands- the option to purchase food with a member of staff and older children and watch it directly enter the kitchen is always available. My non expertise suggestion is to visit and see for yourself as It’s a short distance from Denpasar Airport. You only have to open your eyes, heart and mind to realise it’s desperately needed. Above all else, they are children. How important is that Marc Jacob’s bag anyway?

As I walked cautiously through toy trains and pieces of lego, it became apparent that I’m in fact a weak piece of shit. This powerfully eye opening experience is flooring. Emotion rose up through my body, all movement slowed down and tears were fogging the view to the exit. I’ve glided through the air struggling to remember basic motor skills until I reach an opening of child free space and can breathe. Desperately searching for that breathing exercise I learnt from a yoga class back in ’07’. I recall questioning the need for such a simple exercise back then, yet a decade later and it seems crucial. The following two minutes was a heated argument with myself based around the fact- I’m definitely a weak piece of shit. Compassion and strength go head to head like a Mohammad Ali fight and just before heading into round two I was greeted by a young boy. My blurred vision could make out the blue checkered shirt with the most adoring stare, holding one of my strongest nightmares. A glittery pen. A blue glittery, sticky pen and he was aiming it towards my face. I hate glitter. The mere thought of the substance makes me uncomfortable. But his magical presence won any mental battle and quickly we were painting each others face like old friends, oblivious to anything around us or my close call breakdown. This was my first embrace of many by the children at the orphanage and also the moment I fell in love with glitter.

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Determined to push aside any emotional struggle, I set out to interact with as many kids as possible. These humans are incredible. The most resilient, strong, intelligent, talented and funny individuals. Broken hearted but I was battling through to connect with as many as possible. A tiny goddess of a girl made herself comfortable in my lap, while the strong smell of shampoo flowed from her neatly plaited hair. Two young boys that looked half their age with missing teeth jumped on my back while another ran towards me eagerly from the front. Despite their disheartening start to life, these children are smiling, they are laughing and just share everyone else’s desire to love and be loved. A shy 10 year old boy, confidently bilingual and wise beyond his years started singing ‘Miracles’ by Whitney Houston as we sat across from each other on the playground. WHITNEY BLOODY HOUSTON! The tears started fogging my sight again. The delicious smell of dinner travelled through the outdoor area as children made their way to the dining domain at their own leisure. One very large family, scattered messily throughout the metal surfaced tables. Finding a seat wherever there was space. It was free and beautiful. Childhood. Embrace after embrace, I was moved and shaped into a different person. Each interaction confirmed that I needed to do more while I was here. How can I help? I can’t go. Fuck.

“Time to leave now”.

Never being one to ‘let go’ gracefully, I started planing my second visit. The panic-filled hour cab ride, drowning out the awkward conversation with the non english speaking driver was all worth it upon arrival. Walking through the now familiar childlike drawings of green and red floral, I found a sense of contentment. The familiar smell from the kitchen, the giggles and the reactions from the kids were remarkable. Children running around, no shoes, kicking soccer balls, holding pieces of fruit while playing card games. Real childhood. These children look out for each other like family, similar to the workings of the road etiquette in Bali. The setting isn’t ideal, it’s crowded and unpredictable but everyone looks out for one another and somehow- it works.

“What happens if the money runs out?” I asked Alison, nervously.

“I don’t even want to think about it, that can’t happen,” she replied.

If you are travelling to Bali, I encourage you to take a small portion out of your day to visit. They have a wish list of items in need on their website- http://www.careforkidsbali.com/html/wish-list.html
or contact orphanageadmin@careforkidsbali.com. Have a look for my heart too, it’s left somewhere between lego.