The Fullest Circle

22 years ago I arrived in Australia, fresh faced and damaged, 18 going on 19, already affected yet still so naive. I moved in with my Dad in a Victorian suburb called Clifton Hill, in a cute little apartment opposite the massive park that dominates the suburb. I had intended on a fresh start, away from the mire and malignancy of Auckland, a city I loved and hated simultaneously. I came here, to Australia, to Clifton Hill to reinvent myself.

Of course, we all know that problems follow us, even across the expanse of oceans. A fresh start is a fallacy, especially at that age, when wisdom is yet to touch our brows. The span of experience between then and now is staggering. So many lives compacted into one. 41 years old, and I find myself back in Clifton Hill, cat sitting a marvellous creature named Keyser in a cute little shoebox apartment – right next door to where I used to live.

The concept of things coming full circle has always eluded me, being somewhat of an unintentional nomad. I have moved constantly in the 20 odd years I’ve been here, all within the same city, never settling for long, always trying to outrun the darkness. And here I am, back where I started, in much the same situation. Shell-shocked and blinking against the light as I start my life again. Again. Always again. It feels odd. I don’t feel completed, or satisfied, or finalised in any way. I feel much the same as I did then, albeit tempered by the complexities of a life well-lived. Here I am, talking as if I’m in my twilight years when really, I’m just beginning.

I have no idea what’s coming next. I don’t know what the Fates have in store for me. I know things are moving; my career, my self worth, my adultness, all are moving forward at a rate that I can’t fathom. I have no control, I’m just holding on and going for the ride, knowing that what’s to come will be as surprising and soul altering as what has been.

One thing that is different now to what was then: I am fierce now. More fierce than I have ever been. My heart is shredded, my soul is singed at the edges, but it gives me a power that I can’t describe. I am aware now, more awake than I ever could have imagined. I don’t see the path in front of me, but I’m now at a point where I don’t need to know what’s coming. I just have an unwavering faith that the Universe knows what it’s doing, and I’m about to enter something new and unimagined.

This blog, all the things I have written, splashing my innermost desires and despairs across the page gives only a fraction of what I experience. It’s my platform, my tool of self-expression. I have followers, but really, it’s just for me. My own little narcissistic soap box of opinions and responses; a sifting of disjointed thoughts into something clearer. Comprehensible.

I am here now.

I am here.

I am.

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This is not a “wah wah, poor me” post, just an observation on life and things. I’ve just had new headshots taken because of new hair, and I’m going through them looking at my face and asking “When did I get so old?” It’s not that I’m old, not at all, but I don’t feel the way my face looks. There are crinkles and lines and crepe-iness that I don’t feel old enough to have. I am blessed with very good skin, and I look after it fairly well, but there’s no stopping the ageing process. There’s no reversing of gravity, preventing of folds or ceasing of smiling, frowning, laughing, grimacing – all the things that have an effect on the face. And other than drastic surgery, there’s no changing what already exists on the face. That’s a very sobering thought.

We – I – live in a society that reveres youth. Beauty goes hand in hand with youth, and although I’ve never considered myself to be conventionally beautiful, I’ve felt that I’ve grown more attractive the older I’ve gotten due to my acceptance of self, and the fact that I behave like a child 80% of the time. Older certainly doesn’t equal ugly as far as I’m concerned, but it interests me to look at photos of myself, or to look in the mirror and have that slight sense of panic that my face isn’t smooth plains of creamy unblemished goodness, and that somehow that diminishes my worth (particularly in the acting industry), or means that I’ve failed as a woman.

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Heather
Acidtongue and Dollface
Photography by Alexandra Dye

How ridiculous! How stupidly, profoundly, contemptibly ridiculous. I resent being conditioned to feel like that. I resent buying into that bullshit as if it’s a true measure of who I am as a human being. I stand up in the face of that ludicrous societal standard of beauty and acceptability and I laugh! I love my wrinkles (that I slather cream on every night to reduce)! I love my tuck-shop-lady arms (that I do repetitive, pointless exercise to try to get rid of) ! I love my grey hairs (that I cover up with artificial colour)!

Oh gods, I’m such a hypocrite. Because I can say all that, and rant and rave to the four winds, but I will guarantee you within the next 24 hours I will be in front of the mirror examining my pores and inwardly sobbing over my rotund abdomen and judging myself because I don’t fit the media/society-dictated norm. I don’t even find that norm particularly attractive, but I want to fit it.

Humans are stupid sometimes.

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