melbourne spring

It seemed like it took the seasons forever to warm. We were wearing sweaters and beanies and scarves inside for months.

What can I say about these waning winter weeks and slowly brightening days? I fell in love, reluctantly but surely. From mountaintops to your hometown where the air was thick and hot as summer, corners of Melbourne to Ethiopian restaurants with dismal lighting (either too white and sterile or too yellow and musty), your house to mine (which was eventually yours too after you moved in). Dark stouts, a dim and funky bar with a fighter plane suspended over two couches, jumping fences to sneak into gigs, the tinctures you made for me after I got the flu for the third time in three weeks, flower hearts on the bed, piles of gratitude notes... Your bedroom that was always too cold.

Things were good but things were also never simple. So it goes. Looking back, it's so easy to connect the dots. In the moment, I couldn't imagine how it could go wrong. So it goes. I feel so young sometimes. And so it goes so it goes so it goes.

Each step was necessary. There were things I needed to learn.

At times, it felt like my life was burning—like I had a forest fire under my collarbone and it was spreading. It was hard and people got hurt and I got hurt and people cried and I cried and then we forgave each other and smiled again but sometimes even the best intentions leave a scar and it takes awhile for things to feel okay again.

It's been a year and I finally feel okay again.

These were the days that left a mark. I was utterly consumed by every moment and now my memories feel so manic and blurred.

I wish I had taken my time—breathed in a little deeper, held the air a little longer, found peace in the slow unfolding, been okay with not knowing. I was always scrambling for higher ground, trying to keep things under control, holding things so loosely while also squeezing them to death. I wish I had been calmer. I wish I had more patience.

There's a line from this song we used to love that sings, "don't be scared of what you don't already know."

I didn't realize how fitting that was at the time.

These were the days that left a mark. These were the days that were equally beautiful.

The living room was always filled with vape smoke that smelled like pink bubble gum. We sat on the roof while the sky transformed at that magical end-of-day time while a visitor rapped lyrics with perfect fluidity. Our home swelled to twelve people and a dog with a broken leg. We threw a couple parties with a little cocktail bar stuffed into the pantry where I spun around in circles and consistently got people's orders wrong. I watched you kick off your shoes and run into the ocean as if you were running home—your black skinny jeans clinging to your legs. I stood in a crowd as one of my friend's sang the sweetest, most haunting songs from a smoky stage. Between cups of coffee, walks through fern encased paths, kisses that wouldn't stop, poems that spilled from my mouth, photoshoots in bright studios, big dinners, big love, big moments, I thought these are some of the best days of my life.

So I made art until I was sleepless, cried on Jack's shoulder, watched the sun set with Tully, borrowed books from Bee, played video games with Jef, joked with Michael, drank coffee with Maite, tea with Claire, danced with Rahul and Declan, chatted with Saul, watched Vaughan and Mountain cycle alongside the tram in their bright clothes, played games with Dashy, went to a jazz gig with Sasha and Danika, talked art with Martina, listened to Suse singing with a ciggie in her hand. I was opened up, broken down, nurtured and loved, held and revealed.

You don't expect life to change you but it does. Becoming is a slow process that comes down to a series of moments which turn your feet into another direction and alter how you see.

These were the days that left a mark and I have carried them with me for a long time but now, all I have is gratitude. So thank you to my friends, my community, my ex lovers, my coworkers, my bosses, thank you to everyone who filled these slowly warming months. You all are the shine from the sun.


Photographs from August 2017 - October 2017.

cactus country

October 6, 2017

There isn't much time left. The days are winding up like thread around spool after it's been pulled too far. The ends finding knots. It's time to do those things that we said we were going to do.

This day is funny. It's always a mistake to bring expectations to the road yet I still do without fail—dreaming up a flawless sequence of events that could belong in a movie. But the unforeseen twist and turns are where the magic lurks. Or at least an interesting story and I live for those interesting stories. When things go wrong, a part of me is devastated and the other part of me is gleeful. I love it. I'm so scared of living a boring life.

The four of us have ambitious plans of leaving at 7 or 8 in the morning, but Melbourne traffic can get so congested and Maite and Alberto are coming from the South and Jerred and I are in the North so we're not on the road until after 9. I'm self-conscious but happy. Things are ending soon but I'm here with some of my favourite people and that's enough—a happy enough with a hint of sadness around the corner. It always gets like this towards the end of a chapter, when I'm on a precipice about to topple over into something new. It's like I'm at the end of a dream and it's starting to peel back around the edges.

We stop at a gas station where Maite can get some coffee. In the car, we talk a lot about the history of Spain and Catalonia and politics and socialism. I love listening to the trill of Maite's voice—the fiery way she spits out words. I'm going to miss her. The road passes by fields of yellow and Maite and I are all ohhhhh and big eyes. We stop the car, Jerr runs down the railway tracks, Maite dances up the pavement, we jump the fence and wade into sea of golden blooms. Everyone is smiling.

Alberto starts to say something doesn't feel right with the car. When he checks one of the back wheels a second time, it's going flat. And so I again find myself on the side of an Australian road watching someone change a tyre.

Maite, Jerred, and I wait near the road as Alberto goes to find a mechanic. That part of me is worrying that we'll never reach our destination and even if we, we won't have enough time and everything will be ruined while the other part of me thinks this whole day is completely hilarious.

After we reunite with Alberto and as the car waits with the mechanic, we lay down a blanket on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and the road to have a picnic. There's vegan quiche and something Jerred made (banana bread?). We must look so funny to the neighbours, sprawled out in suburbia with our treats. Maite, Alberto, and I are all travellers so I guess we're used to feeling at home anywhere. Once our bellies are full, it's back to the road, another hour to Cactus Country. What we predicted would take us three hours takes us six and the entrance fee is more than I thought but we made it. We made it.

This place is cool. There's more cacti than I've ever seen and little colourful rocks with hopeful phrases painted on them like "be grateful" and "life is a canvas".

The light fades from bright and harsh to mellow and long and subtle just as the place is closing. I wish we had more time but god, I am always wishing for more. Our drive back to Melbourne is quiet—everyone is exhausted from the length of the day and the thick heat. Jerred falls asleep with his head in my lap.

I am running out of time.

Photographs from October 2017.