Interstate escape routes, park walks, and an inflated kids pool turned into an adult ball pit. Slow days at work, morning yoga sessions on the mat, Valentine’s Day roses, and naked swims alongside bioluminescent plankton. The zeitgeist of the past two months can be attributed to the definition of ‘mending’; mending boredom with trips away from home, mending loneliness with phone calls abroad, mending my own petulance with mindful activities. But in this time, I have found that the biggest remedy of all has been the mending of relationships.
Over the past two months, I have considered my parents like my default lifeline – fixated to their side like a social barnacle. Yes, there are days where all we do is bicker with each other like an itch we helplessly and ruthlessly are addicted to scratch. And yes, on those particularly challenging days, my mother and father do make me want to pull my eyebrow hairs out follicle by follicle. But that’s what true family does: you’re driven insane by your love for them and theirs for you. After two years as empty-nesters, we now live under the same roof again, where both of them are forced to witness and wake up to my most raw, ugly and unfiltered self. And yet they continue to turn up every day and love me none the less for it.
The other beloved person who has been a miracle amongst the masses is someone that is continually missing from the images below, and consequently, any other photographs from the past year. March marked my one-year anniversary of being back in Australia after having to leave London. Sorely, this also meant it has been one year that David and I have been doing long distance for. It is a strange time to lay down new roots, but an even stranger time to just be sat in limbo, waiting for our future together. Both my escapism and my reality, every single day with David feels like we grow and understand more about who we are as individuals but also as a couple. I’ve never had someone who could dig so deep into me and peek under the covers and places of myself that I thought I successfully and unknowingly had hid so well. It’s both completely terrifying and exquisitely lovely. Long-distance is fucking painful as it is, without the added layer of a global pandemic, but there is no one else I would travel to the other side of the world for and continue to the ends of the earth with.
There are many, many others, too – your benevolence does not go unnoticed. Whether they are fostered solely in the private rooms of WhatsApp, over brunch once a month or in the daily Zoom calls with colleagues, the presence of people has been what I’ve craved the most. I believe there is a correlation in the relationships that we have with others and the one we have with ourself. There is a simple truth that if you are harsh on others, you are harsh on yourself. Each day, I am actively trying to be kinder to the people around me and to myself. It’s really hard work. Before I bicker back, ignore a message, say no to plans or roll my eyes in that 9am meeting, I stop for 3 milliseconds and try to choose the alternative route. I try to remember that I can choose to be kind. I try to remember that we’re all humans who make mistakes. I try to remember that everyone is just trying to do their best, as am I.