consent IS about you. and the Spice Girls.

this article comes with a trigger warning for discussing sexual violence.

The last time I was ever on Grindr, I got this message:
“I’d love to rape ur penis with my arse”
I responded “As someone who has been raped, I really hate people using that word so casually”
Then I got blocked. Then I deleted the app. Then I had a cup of tea.

Consent is a topic I find unites many people when they are willing to engage in conversation around it, but typically makes men uncomfortable. That may be in some part, speaking recently, due to #MeToo and #TimesUp giving voice to women who have experienced sexually harassing and traumatic events in what appears to be endemic proportions. Even before these movements though, discussions of sexual assault or rape perpetuated a pattern of women who can’t defend themselves against men who can’t control themselves. Mainstream media narratives, unforgivably lenient sentencing, and the current presidency of the United States of America have cemented this stereotype around the world. Where great strides have been made, backlash has brokered back ground, and outside of heteronormative discourse, silence continues to dominate and dismiss victims. Not only gay men and women, but also trans people, people born intersex, prisoners, trafficked people, recipients of foreign aid, single-sex private school children and many more examples outside those we hear most about.

Speaking into my own primary community of gay males, who are often thought of synonymously with promiscuity, I’ve found there is still much to learn and myths to be busted about how we approach sex in a respectful and safe way. So I’m going to attempt imparting wisdom with the help one of the world’s universal languages: the Spice Girls.


Consent isn’t sexy
You know what they say about throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Don’t. What I find most people mean by this is that having to instruct or talk someone through sex, isn’t sexy. I can appreciate most people want to enjoy sex the way they’ve been brainwashed to enjoy it: post-verbal passionate pornographic moaning & groaning where each person is perfectly attuned to the others’ wants and needs, hits their G-spot on the first go and ejaculates within enough time to get sweaty, but not odorous. Now with someone you’ve slept with many times, built trust between and created an instinctive communication around? Sure that’s a reasonable expectation. But a guy you’ve only met once or twice, haven’t ever seen in full light, who you’re not even sure speaks English as a first language? It’s not fair to expect that person to know instinctively and intimately how to satisfy you without communicating.

Consent during sex isn’t as complicated as we’d like to believe; being caught up in our own enjoyment or nervousness during sex can make us less able to notice or interpret the other person’s signals, and being afraid of rejection can make us unsure of how to communicate during sex.


You only need consent for penetrative sex
Once on another gay dating app, someone I’d been talking with for a while asked me to come over for some shared nudity with casual intimacy and I made the decision to ask “are you healthy?”
This is an insufficient question. He provided an insufficient response: “I’m on PrEP”
I said that PrEP only covered him for HIV, asked when was he last tested for any other STIs and let him know I would still prefer to use a condom.
He never replied. I felt bad for not waiting to have the conversation in person. Then I had a cup of tea.

Something I didn’t know about consent when I had my first sexual experience (aside from everything because they don’t talk about that stuff in Sex Ed), was that it only applies to the situation you believe you’re in. For example, ghosting, the practice of putting a condom on to gain consent to engage in penetrative sex then removing before actually penetrating, is rape. Plain and simple. Similarly, having sex with someone whom you have told you’re sober when in fact you’re on drugs voids their consent, as does saying you’ll use lubricant but not using it in case you lose your hard-on. There’s this attitude that you only need to put a condom on at the point of insertion. There’s also an attitude that you only need to put a condom on as an alternative to pulling out. There’s an assumption that saying yes once covers you for whatever happens in the next four hours. It doesn’t.


Isn’t consent implied if he sticks around?
An Australian Football player made waves back in 2010 with the statement “When will you learn! [sic] At 3am when you are blind drunk & you decide to go home with a guy ITS [sic] NOT FOR A CUP OF MILO!”. There’s this idea, particularly among men, that the key to absolution from any compassion or consideration of another person’s engagement in intimacy is that they can put their hands up between you, say “Stop! I don’t like it!” as they were taught to back in kindergarten and then everyone will part ways as friends. The truth is that pretty much all of us would like to feel like we have the power and the right to do as Amber Rose saidIf I’m laying down with a man, butt naked, and is his condom is on, and I say ‘you know what, no I don’t wanna do this. I changed my mind’, that means no. It doesn’t matter how far I take it or what I have on. When I say no, it means no”. I’d even go a step further to if I say “ouch”, or “wait”, or “gently”, or “try this”, I should be able to expect any of those things to ensure you check in on me, and care about my response, and respect my enjoyment as much as your own without judgement.


Someone on twitter made a comment that there’s a spectrum of behaviour, and that being catcalled, being groped and being raped are very different things in terms of how consent works. My response to that was that consent is like a joke, if no-one is laughing, it’s not a joke. It’s only consent if everyone is on board. If you feel taken advantage of, or coerced or traumatised, that’s valid and real. Then I wrote this blog. Then I had a cup of tea.

(this blog was not authorised by the Spice Girls)
Another great read on this topic ‘The But of Butts’.
take a peek at Project Consent for more information.
I talk plenty about consent in BURLESQUE BY FORCE which is showing in Adelaide Fringe Festival February 24-27. Tickets available here.



the bride wore bitter

Dearly Belittled…

We have voted here today…

Yeah, I know.

One week ago. I haven’t cried about it. Not once. I confess I’ve been almost entirely indifferent because I can’t get the questions out of my head; what if this whole public vote regarding our rights was for something we actually needed? While the right hand’s distracting us by dangling this carrot, whose is the left shaking? How, when nothing has changed, we just know more precisely what we already did for both better and worse, can we be celebrating?

And of course, the million-dollar question: why don’t I feel anything?


Don’t get me wrong- I voted, I messaged people, I jumped on a phone bank, I social media spammed, I cross-examined colleagues. I did it for every individual couple I knew who want to feel that equality, who don’t want to live with the tension of difference guiding their lives, who want to be who they are outside the crucible of prejudice. I thought I wanted that too – but this “debate”, this plebiscite, this invasion of my privacy, this sick indictment on the country I call home – of all the things it did both dreadful and disastrous, it also made me realise something.

I have power. More power in that crucible, than outside of it.

This isn’t true of everybody, I don’t think. We weren’t all built to disrupt, nor should we be. That’s what the right to live in peace means. Quinn Eades, who has swiftly stormed up my list of heroes, made mention of something in a keynote at the Australian Homosexual Histories Conference this past weekend. That there is now classified a condition beyond Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, called Total Human Devastation Syndrome. Those words struck and split every pane of glass that protects me from the horror of the world so I can still step out in it. Total Human Devastation. What a world, what a world. Where love is cause for political debate and discrimination. I realised that I’m numb to more than I’m comfortable to confess, because the momentum and enormity of the world we live in now on a constant stream-feed, has taken me beyond exhaustion and disappointment. I’m not so despicable as to say I’m totally devastated by humanity. I am so despicable as to say I have no idea what to do, and where I know I could start, I’ve not. Not yet. I’ve been preoccupied by – and as – propaganda.

My life, my love, my rights are not a brand.

I’m asking you to understand that the ends did not justify the means. For me, and many, this has been a disaster. For some people, it was the last straw. Not everyone got to celebrate YES; some died waiting, others died fearing. The prejudice has been activated – the people who voted NO? They’re pissed, and here’s where we’d better clue in quick: they’re coming for our kids. Ground has been gained on marriage, but education is not a privilege or a luxury or a decision. Education is a necessity. That 38% are going to work harder than ever to ERASE, ISOLATE, and IMPLICATE us in whatever way will diminish the freedom to be themselves that young people are already compromised in.

Christmas Day. Ten children gather around the tree, while their respective, and respectable, parents look on. Nine of the children receive ten gifts, one from each family. One child receives six, because four of those sets of parents have decided they have the right to disable equity. Is the child grateful for the presents they did get? Absolutely. And they’d better be, because for a child to declare their observation that they had been unjustly treated would be socially unacceptable. Should the child have a tantrum, and show their anger about being discriminated against, well that’s just disgraceful.

So I might be a disgrace. I might be an ingrate. I’ll tell you what else I am. Unprotected. Fashionable. Observed.

I’m also alive. Which is more than I can say for myself were I to have been born in Chechnya, or Russia, or Chernobyl, or Beirut, or in one of the many nations from which I might’ve fled for safety and found myself held in detention just off the mainland of where I was born. But I can get married. Thank goodness.

Never mind the fact that I find relationships difficult to manage as someone who has been sexually assaulted in such a way to irrevocably damage my sense of trust and safety, and physically injured me permanently, though circumstances were not clearly warranting of recourse. I’m holding out for more than one miracle here.


So please. Continue loving your fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, queer, and questioning. Do it more, and more fervently. DO NOT throw your YES posters away, stay identified as an ally. We need you now more than ever, for the sake of what future approaches. Please also understand and respect that some of us may not be as excited as you are, but that doesn’t mean we’re not still together on this one. Still fighting. Still family. ‘Til death do us part.


and for once it might be grand…

so about six years ago I wrote this poem. and the poem became a song. if you have ever met me you have probably heard it at least once before. because up until this year, it has been my greatest achievement. to have watched a dark moment leave my shoulders where it once held all its weight and find a life its own, as a realised being its own.

I wrote the poem after a particularly heartbroken day where I sat on a beach in Far North Queensland and imagined putting my heart in the water, watching it roll away and emulsify to deliver more to the world over than I believed it could ever do for me. Next minute there’s a teenage girl singing it shakily-with-sincerity behind me in line at Womadelaide.

In the song there’s a lyric that used to be “I didn’t know that to follow your dreams you could lose a little of each”. Following your dreams isn’t just an expression, it’s a real commitment. And it’s been the theme of my 2017. I am sharing how this has worked for me in an effort to engender similar pursuits amongst those who’d read this; who in the same year might have seen reason to abandon hopes in the face of political disheartenment, ecological collapse and breaches of equality at every turn.

your dream isn’t just something you want, or something you think would be great to have, or would make you happy. your dream is more than that, it’s a version of yourself constantly bashing away from inside you wanting to get out. it’s easy to confuse someone else’s dreams or ambitions for your dream, but the difference is that one will be a realisation of everything you know about yourself to be true, and the others’ are just things you will feel esteemed by.  your dream doesn’t have to be big to anyone but you, but reaching it will require a journey only you can feel the vastness of. your dream is entirely unique, as will be your road to it, and the obstacles you must overcome.

your dream has demands, and the longer you avoid them – I’ve found – the higher the recompense. What was once merely frippery and frugality became almost total austerity, anxiety, friends disconnected, hopelessness and gambling your sense of self-preservation – and all the while, an unshakable sense that I was on the right track. When it comes to pursuing your dreams, it’s a volatile balance you must keep between sustainability and instinct.

last year I did all the right things: I moved to the big city, and had the high-paying, doing-good job, and did some rallying and some theatre reviewing. I moved thinking I’d make a packet, conquer my debt and set myself up for life. But I spent every dollar I made trying to make myself happy. I blew every bit of energy I had grasping at old desires. I tortured myself with other people’s needs to drown out the disappointment I felt in myself for having given up so easy. I clung to friends hoping they would vindicate the drama, and the choices I had made or give me an alternative. I let every advantage be taken of me so I had every excuse in the world not to create what I knew I was long overdue to. don’t do this, you guys. it hurts. it’s a kind of starvation. it’s a kind of addiction from which I hope very much to divert you from.

so I took chances. real ones. accepted help from strangers and moved back to Melbourne with no money.
I told a boy I loved how mad I was at what my cowardice had made of our lost opportunity. and my heart stopped being angry as much.
I re-stabilised my relationships with my family. and discovered that will be a lifetime process of exchange and compassion and pride. totally worth it.
I didn’t take the first job I got. I waited until I got the one I knew was right for me. And when I found it, I fought for it. I gambled by asking for it outright.
I climbed back into debt, and sat at the midway point between comfort and purpose. Made peace with the time-frame and the consequences. And didn’t let it spoil my understanding of what I got in it for.
I asked.
That’s the important part. I asked.
For a job and I got it. For payment extensions and the answer’s always yes. For a way to make going to China and Japan happen even though my budget was tight and I went. For a chance to perform in a festival and they said yes. Three of them. For a spot to speak at a conference with a day until program got released and yet they squeezed me in.
I took a long hard look at my “boundaries” and in the midst of being grateful for what they had protected me from, I let them go to acknowledge there was nothing anymore they needed to protect from me – people, experiences, change.
I am trying to harbour less shame. If i get caught in an old lie, I own up to it. If i feel uncomfortable, I amend or change the factors. Little by little.
I worked hard. Sleep I’ll never get back. Constantly striving, and living in the parameters of improvement always being possible. I push myself, and I push the people I bring into what I’m working for.

And now my biggest achievement isn’t the song sung by someone else, although it still brings me joy unimaginable. it’s a story that I have lived a version of, made into a theatre show, that if you live in Adelaide or Melbourne you can come and share in.

And when you’ve lived your dream once, it’s remarkable what you start to flicker inside that you might be able to do after all.

The two key factors in achieving your dream?
Asking. There is no shame in asking, only vulnerability in the possibility of rejection, which we must all love about ourselves. If your approach is earnest, and grateful, and prepared to be willing to accept the answer for what it affords or redirects, you’ll find more often than not it goes a way you don’t expect – which is usually that they’ll say yes. And then you deliver, you keep the conversation going, you negotiate an exchange. It may not be easy, but it is simple.
Giving. As important to reaching for your dream, is taking the time to connect with other people dreaming. Foster collaborations, and shower their gambles, their trials with kindness and encouragement. Allow yourself to be part of a continuous network of inspiration and support. Grow with.

dreaming in sleep and living a dream aren’t altogether dissimilar for their surreality and sense of disembodiment or uncertainty. I’m not sure if what I’m talking about, whether dream is the right word, it’s like your chrysalis or your crucible. it’s the person you are beneath the person you’ve been shaped to be. it’s the inside out. it’s the second skin. the final form.

it’s not my dream. it’s my point.

Big love,


the Christian, the question, and the queer

it happened. today. in a seemingly innocuous moment of asking a colleague what their weekend had in store for them, they let me know they were attending a debate about marriage equality to be held in their church. and then we had a conversation.

let me preface this by saying that while I have been passionate about marriage equality and will be voting yes for the sake of my community, my future and generations of LGBTI people to come, I have not been emotionally attached or taken the “respectful debate” to heart. Aquarians.

But here I was, faced with the opportunity many people have talked about the importance of – to reach an influential, undecided individual. not a drop of mud was slung, nor any personal attack entered into. what was said went something like this:

he told me he was afraid that the freedoms of his community would be restricted should marriage equality be granted – that it would open a door to people of faith being further criticised and denigrated in wider society. I expressed to him my compassion, as I too was afraid that the personal, security freedoms of my community would be restricted in turn should the result be “no”. I genuinely don’t think he realised that – that we both feared the same things for those we loved – that something we believed to be so inherent to who we are – me my love of men, him his love of God – would be used as a tool to oppress us.

he told me he was scared to be judged as a Christian, that to tell people you believed in Jesus these days could attract a lot of hate and dismissal. I told him I could empathise, as telling someone I was gay has the same effect; it is a gamble. For instance, when I told a pastor attached to mission my church supported, she openly told me that for me to want to help others was selfish because God couldn’t act through me, as I was an abomination. I promptly lost my love of God, many of my friends, and a foundation of faith on which, at that time, a lot more of my life than I had thought was built. I told him not to worry, to be judged hurts, especially the first time. That you get used to it. That it gets better.

I’m sure by now you’re realising the parallels in our two perspectives as we face this issue in Australia. The irony of what I was telling him was not lost on either of us. I think if I had made the point with any derision or sarcasm, as I know is tempting to do for many people, it would have been closed to him.

So then he reveals he has suffered some incredibly isolating issues from which he knows his spiritual journey rescued him. I once again shared my empathy because I felt the same way when in amongst all my pain and confusion, the realisation I was gay allowed my mind to make sense to me, when I realised there was still love I could have, it made a peace inside me that turned my life from a sorrowful pilgrimage to a productive salvation all its own.

He said he didn’t know where he stood on the issues concerning children. I asked him if his thoughts would be the same about me having a child with a woman, which I can do, though I won’t love that woman like I would another man, though I would love my child as much. There is no law stopping me from having children, and marriage will not change my ability to procreate. On top of which, waving a marriage certificate in the school principal’s face will not play any role in whether that principal decides to deliver messages of equality, conciliation and understanding, nor what curriculum or programs that principal decides to implement or not. Being a parent is now, and has for many years been, acceptably mutually exclusive from being married.

It all came down to the same thing. They’re feeling something, potentially for the first time in the context of their social and spiritual identities: shame. Nothing awakens our defensive mechanisms like being ashamed – of our country, of our society, of our families, of our friends, of ourselves. Whatever causes us to question ourselves is often treated with contempt and rejection, because we don’t want to feel wrong; we barely want to feel unsure.

I don’t know if people opposed to marriage equality are homophobic; I feel like that’s a by-product of the real issue: fear of change. I too hope the spiritual mores of hospitality, kindness, love abundant and unconditional for one another will in this moment reign supreme over intolerance and wrath. What some call ignorance I still think of in some way as innocence. Though I am determined to move forward, to love freely as any other, to call out and disperse prejudice. Change will come, there is no stopping that. And communities under pressure of discrimination and persecution will forge what they need to for survival.

$122M could have saved lives. It could have improved health, education, environmental action or climate change. I reminded him it could be improving his pension. Instead, it’s being used to conduct a manual opinion poll, using methods that inherently discriminate against homeless people, regional communities, expats and holidaymakers.

I’m voting yes because I understand that swimming against the current is the surest way to drown, and that using these moments in our history to divide and deviate is a tragedy. I’m voting yes because I believe it’s the vote that will save more lives, bring more people together, and create more joy in this country. And now, he might too.

Keep an eye out for your ballot. Tick the box. Vote. If you are someone who believes this issue should be resolved and life progress beyond this prejudiced issues and focus on more important things, then please vote. Make the effort, on the behalf of those being slandered and belitted and abused and beaten up for who they are – and often just who they appear to be. Christians may be taking heat now, but it will die down after marriage equality is won in a way LGBT people can only dream of. Winning this will cost us, but it will be worth it, because the whole country knew we earned it.

Big love,

artwork by Rachel DelaGardelle.

Further reading






make something with it.

you know what it is.
because you carry it everywhere.
and every time something happens that causes you stress or angst, you look over your shoulder dead into its frank eyes and say “yeah, I know”.
you may think of it as “just who I am” or “I’m a bit like that”.
people may talk about it like “you’ll be alright” or “hang in there”.
you eat it to excess.
you lash it over your back.
you use it for sex.
you might sharpen it up to cut with.
you’ve painted a picture of it on all your mirrors.
you let it excuse you from life.
you hate it.
you need it.

some readers will be aware of the book that saved my life. I must have ordered and given away to friends about ten copies by now. If you’ve got pain, and you don’t know how to look at it differently, or do anything with it, but you don’t want it in its current form anymore then read this book. It’s called This is How by Augusten Burroughs.

I read the book, recommended by an old mentor, back in February 2016 when I went to check my hope balance in my app and discovered I was bankrupt. Hoperupt. Whatever.

That same year I went into massive hope debt, and not that I made much song and dance on the internet about how bad things got, but the experience of romance-failure-long-distance-friendships-familial-collapse-professional-overwork-creative-impotence-financial-hardship-haven’t-eaten-three-meals-in-a-day-in-possibly-three-weeks created a serious collapse that I feel very vulnerable, but not ashamed, to share. In the midst of a doctor-ordered week off I made some choices. One of which was to take all the hell and fashion it into the one thing I could still count on to pull me together: theatre.

so I wrote a thing. and then I let other people read it. some of the bleakest and most fraught thoughts I’ve ever had about life, and myself. things that could compromise the way people know me, the way they relate to me. and they gave me advice. and I listened. and I had patience. and I rewrote. again. again. and again. I invited other minds into my madness and their creative flows were like balm. unimaginable change to pain I once thought insurmountable, suddenly was pink and clean and pliable. someone I look up to shared a message to just book the venue and make it happen. so I did. so here we are.


Burlesque by Force is on in Feast Festival in my hometown of Adelaide this coming November. It’s a one-man show, self-penned and autobiographical, crafted with the support of director Marissa Bennett and designer Stephen Moylan, under whose transformative powers I truly believe this will be something fantastic to share. I’m unashamedly nervous and excited.

The show was based on the idea that when it comes to storytelling, imbuing sexuality becomes treacherous ground for those who’ve experienced sexual trauma, whose consent has been exposed to them for its fragility. This work is a subversion of that burlesque idea, where it’s not about the tease, it’s about the time it takes to step onto a stage and reveal yourself; and not to allure, but to connect.

There is more to say. But for now all I can ask is that you save the date, buy a ticket now if you’re keen, and spread the word.

Big love.

NB. If you’re a Melburnite wanting to see the show, tickets are also on sale for the Melbourne season next February at Butterfly Club.



if you’re reading this, then it must be Friday, and the Melbourne Fringe program has been announced, wherein you may or may not have spotted an event that is a touch of poetry, a touch of ritual, and a touch of…well touching actually! (pg 70)

Cut to earlier this year, I was drawn into watching Catfish with my wonderful lady lifeperson. This episode caught a young man masquerading as a woman who bullied him in high school and using her image as a front to flirt with men. One such duped man, after initially being horrified and embarrassed by the discovery, returned to the remorseful keyboard con and encouraged him to find God amidst revelations drugs, prison and self-harm had accompanied his catfishing. I understood perfectly: because when nothing in life can heal an infected wound, we look beyond life. We seek a place in ourselves willing to support a fantastic idea of salvation and forgiveness that cannot connect to the cruel darkness of life as we experience, so must be constructed in an imaginary oasis. Many find religion repelling, toxic with extremism and prejudice. But there is still something in ritual, in faith, that matters.

Cut to seeing Black Birds at Testing Grounds around the same time, having fallen in love with their poetry work woven into physical performance regarding race, womanhood and connections within self. After the show I was inspired to write about my own experiences with racism, and shared these with the women to thank them. They suggested I do as they had done, and share my work, even at Testing Grounds. Hmm.

Cut to attending a spoken word poetry evening the previous year. I’ve never quite gelled with these open mic events. A poet gets up, pours their heart out and all the while you can’t really focus on them because you know another is only a few minutes away. Judging work in this way felt like going to the cinema while your phone vibrates in your pocket, the distraction of something else keeping you from immersing in the hard work of the artist.

Cut to today. Tickets are now on sale for EVE ST JOHN, an immersive, interactive, individual poetry audio experience. I’ve collected a series of works written over a ten-year period and co-aligned with some spiritual and metaphysical cues I’ve taken from life as I’ve experienced it. Those who buy a ticket are welcomed into an eleven-minute experience of some of these works and a zine of the whole catalogue. During the experience, you will hear the works while I gently wash your hands, face and feet.


EVE ST JOHN is a collision of mythologies, informed by a tonne of metaphysical memes like the zodiac, the tarot, the Bible, the Oracle of Delphi, Bardic tradition and Hawaiian psychological affirmation practices. The purpose is to give people a chance to experience poetry in a different way: free from distraction, heightened senses, hearing a variety of works by one poet and getting to engage with that poet directly. It’ll be intimate, quite the experiment that I’m very grateful to Testing Grounds for believing in and hosting.

Only thirty-six people will have the opportunity to see the work over three nights. That’s twelve people each night I will interact with, and each of these people will hear poetry no other ticketholder that night will hear. Each of the twelve experiences feature different works, offering you a unique experience to discuss and keep memory of.

So if it’s something you’re into, snaffle one of the thirty-six tickets.
If it’s something you’re not sure if you’re into or not, check the facebook out where I’ll be posting content and teasers, see if you can be tantalised.
If it’s something you’re not into, hopefully it’s something you’re into sharing. Support independent art, support experimental art, support Australian work.



it’s a whole new me.

It’s about 1.55am, and I realise that I’m pursuing what I think my body needs, rather than what my body is telling me, bellowing, it needs. Not sleep, but serenity. And this is what came out next.

Anxiety has been drying out and excavating a canyon in my lungs and lower back for about five hours now; an attack, the likes of which I may have felt before but I’m sure my brain has put behind a wall. It’s physically painful. But more than that, it’s disappointing. I fly to Japan in about five hours’ time, and I realise that unless I can feel this out now, it’s going to be much less than it could be, an exercise in overthought and not one of adventure, like the universe had-in keeping me busier than I can recall being-prepared for me. I chose to spend my last night at home, in bed with my human-for-life and our two dalmatian daughters, and it doesn’t take long for me to realise that for all their snoring, sulking and space-hogging, that they have blissfully brought to life my single greatest fear:

That I have got everything I wanted.

I will watch their sleeping forms until I wake up, because I can’t go to sleep now, because this moment is one I want to tattoo into my psyche: only one of them has the sense that I had given it all up – happiness, and contentment. It blows my mind that they love me. Even when I spoil it, say the wrong thing, however selfish or sour I can be, they love me. When I am generous, when I am patient, when I am firm, when I am open, they love me. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I test, they love me. And for all I am so deeply anxious and afraid to have so much to lose, I know I earned it. We did. We sacrificed, and we gambled, but we got here. And I’m so glad we made it.

When it comes to the love of a man, I’m a bit of a Hero. Not like with superpowers and a tingling sensation for innocents needing help (although…), but like the Hero of the Greek myth. Hero lives on one side of a strait, and Leander, her lover, on the other. Nightly she leaves a light on to guide him, and he swims the channel to be with her. One night, a storm rages and gusts blow out Hero’s lamp, and in the churning waves, Leander drowns. When I first heard this story, it ached with recognition in my loneliness. Because I am hard to reach; and though I will give my all, and show my depth, on my island I have been content to wait for love to prove itself after many years of seeing it fail. I meet men who mean it, and in my pendulum soul that swings between desperate desire and incomparable independence, I can appear too much. But I can feel something different today – an itching in my palms, ready to build a bridge, or a boat, or a boardwalk and no longer wait for him to wash in, but courier myself to him halfway and in hands calloused with care and courage, caress his weary but welcome shape.

This time last year, I wrote a blog about stepping back from the purposeless promulgation of my opinion through social media, about changing my strategy for life: not to write what I know, but what I do. And therefore, make my life worth writing about, worth reading. In the space of the past twelve months, I have:

  • quit my job
  • started two new jobs
  • dated
  • felt love
  • put creative projects into practice
  • moved state
  • moved house
  • mended bad relationships
  • made peace with lost relationships
  • had no money
  • started a Master’s degree
  • seen a therapist more than three times
  • felt relentless guilt
  • been so anxious I vomited and came within a hair of soiling myself
  • saved a life
  • planned my life, and future little lives

By the time this year is out, I’ll have performed again across the country, and put plans in place to do so across the planet. I’ll have visited the country I have been wanting to visit for nearly twenty years, seven of which I spent studying the language. Plus I’ll see a new place I never thought I’d visit. I’ll be travelling on my own, but I have a foundation of family so firm beneath me, I look forward to being home. I’ll have made it halfway through further study. I’ll have another new job, and my new dream will be hardening it’s lines and colouring itself in. And my person will be along her journey too.

What I’m saying is: the time it takes between deciding to stop dreaming and start doing, and those dreams becoming real things, is swifter than it may read on paper. The life lived where nothing you’re doing serves your deepest, darkest, most delirious, perhaps even most shameful, ambitions, is tortuously slow.

So I just kinda did the things I knew I had to. I met with a financial adviser and made a plan (because although my debt is a multiple-tens-of-thousands obstacle, it’s not an excuse) so I could quit my job and find a new one in the industry I wanted to take a second shot at. I asked for the job that I wanted. I got a psychologist in Adelaide, because she was the best, and made Skype sessions work. I accepted help from friends, and when it all went pear-shaped, I didn’t stop accepting. I got up early. I went to bed late. I fell back into old unhealthy habits, and asked for help again. I made room for imperfection and fault. I took blame where it was warranted, and I took pride in what I create. I budgeted. I over-committed, so sometimes I cancelled. I pretended to be the person I was beneath the pain. I phoned things in. I missed deadlines. I renegotiated payment plans. I did whatever it took to be able to make the dream of seeing one idea I had be something I could put in a program come true. And if you look closely at the above image, you’ll see I’m doing just that.

The way we share our lives now is a vortex: sucking content from us for the wealth of people we will never meet, but in our sociopolitical setting, always resent. Take a second to think about what you’re printing in permanent ink on the internet, and spend that second aligning the post to the point: do you want to connect? do you want to vent? do you want to increase your self? do you want to “build your brand”?

This past year has taught me that “now” is all we’ve got. Not literally, but in terms of our mindset for what path we set our lives on, and what gear we’re in. There will never be a “right time”, you will never have “enough money”, you will never achieve “once I’ve done this, then that”, you will never feel “like you’re ready”. I’m not saying force it. I’m saying, don’t wait for every green light on the whole strip to light up before you rev your engine. If you know where you’re going? Then go. Chip away at it, one step at a time, little by little, peaks and troughs, plateau then push. Book the flight, book the venue, book the fertility specialist, book the course, book the headhunter, book the dinner date, book the book-reading-quiet-time.

I did.