Filling in the gaps

It’s 10am on a Monday morning and today is my second Monday morning back in Melbourne. Last Monday it was my first, and because it was my first, I had plenty to do. I went to the bank, I caught up on some errands, I unpacked my bike box and I tidied my room. This Monday is my second and so it’s a little different. I woke up and I didn’t need to go to the bank, I didn’t urgently need to do any errands, my bike box had been unpacked and my room was already tidied. So what else was there to do?

I get a bit weird with “free time”. In my first week back in Melbourne I joined two sports and recreational groups, I started learning a martial art, I caught up with a handful or so of friends, I went to parties, and I chatted with lots of people online. I also went to work, attended some networking sessions, and applied for some new jobs. Coming back, my room also looked like a car crash had hit it – all of my things brought home from my tour were combined with all of the things that my ex had left behind – but all throughout the week I’d been working tediously at sorting that all out, and so now everything was cleared and gone. And whilst it was an incredible feeling to finally sort out what was mine and what was his (and to pass that on and to get rid of his stuff), the sorting of everything in my life left me with an empty space, and I don’t know what to do with empty spaces.

And so this morning, for lack of a better thing to do, I started journaling in my trusty ol’ notebook. I carried this notebook around with me as I was bike touring and it was from this notebook that this blog stemmed. So I start writing, aimlessly – trying to ignore the handyman who is working on the other side of the wall and the music that I’d put on – and suddenly I get a notification from Facebook. Someone else has reacted to my blog post – with a love heart – and they’ve commented on it too – with a long, detailed, and heartfelt comment. And so, not even a paragraph in, my attention shifts to that.

I always feel guilty to using Facebook. I always feel guilty for being connected with social media. But for me, Facebook has always been an incredible tool where I can stay connected with the people that I car, irrespective of where they are in the world. I grew up moving from country to country to country (I went to ten schools in ten years) and I know intimately what it feels like to have friends that you can’t stay in touch with. Back then we would still write each other hand-written letters, but for a fourteen year old whose friend has just moved away, hand-written letters and dealing with the postal system always seemed to be too much work. Over and over again I would hear less and less from old friends in the towns and cities that I’d left behind, and over and over again I came to accept that no one is here in my life forever.

But back to Facebook. I sit and I read this comment, and I feel another spark of connection with this person who is far away somewhere else in the world. I don’t know who this person is, but they have trusted me enough to share something from the deepest depths of their heart. And that’s an incredible privilege, to be on the receiving end of that. And this has been happening all last week, ever since I posted my big personal rant about breaking down in therapy. Whether it has been someone commenting on it, or a friend reaching out to me after reading it, or someone foreign and far away writing me a private and really heartfelt and intimate message: my days have been filled with that – connection – and it’s been such an awe-inspiring and incredible experience. I can’t even begin to describe how special and how moving it has been.

And that’s because, well, I’m no blogger. I’m just a girl who grew up as an only child, with some difficult and some positive experiences along the way. Growing up with no other people my age to really relate to, I learnt how to be (and subsequently I ended up getting stuck) in my thoughts and in my head. With the encouragement of a few of my friends and a few people I’ve met along the way, I finally started making those thoughts public. And whilst I don’t think of myself as a writer and whilst I have no idea why I write about what I do, I guess I write about the only thing I have to offer. My thoughts. My experiences. My life. But I secretly think that that’s all that we really have to offer each other. Our thoughts. Our subjective experiences. Our lives.

And along with that: our vulnerability, and our humanness.

Anyways, I don’t know where I’m going with this. I just didn’t feel comfortable to keep on blogging without acknowledging all of the beautiful and generous people that have come along the way. This is my first time writing in a blog, and I have to say, I’m touched. So to everyone who has read anything that I have written, or who has had some kind of emotional response to it – thank you. I think on some level we must be like-minded, or like-hearted, you and I. 

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