It's time for one of those discussions again. You know you had it coming, just go with it...
I recently went to Melbourne again, read Amy Poehler's Yes Please, and had some very interesting things happen to me. Not all of them were ooh, that's groovy things either.
Here's the thing about Melbourne; it's wonderful. Straight up, hands down, fucking brilliant. It's cool and hip and chillaxed and hectic. It makes me feel inspired and desired and broken and reborn. Melbourne has the ability to pull me out of myself and put me back together the way I'm meant to be.
Sydney has sucked the life out of me for years. We have an ambiguous relationship, and I feel my indifference more keenly when I'm away from it. It will always have a special place in my heart, but I cannot wait to miss it.
Melbourne also gives me clarity on things. Maybe the air is different down there or maybe the company pushes the inspiration (all credit to lá mama), but I think better in Melbourne. Job thoughts, home ideas, relationship issues, everything marinates gently in my brain and produces clear thought. Maybe it's not exactly Sydney that clouds my judgement, but it sure as the stars doesn't help it.
The amazingingness that is Amy Poehler made me remember some truly intriguing things about myself recently. Her book verbalised some concepts so eloquently and made me recall some of my absolute favourite things.
My currency is quirkiness and combination. I really hate fake people. I enjoy saying and doing whatever I want more than I let on. Pretending not to be angry is really tiring.
When people are rude and selfish, I forget that my life experience exceeds theirs and demands more respect than they give me. Your mother always knows best, no matter how much you think otherwise. Sleeping through the night is better than just about anything you can think of.
Amy made me remember that other people have struggled too, and they have kicked ass. They didn't become superheroes overnight, and they didn't suddenly solve all their problems with money and fame.
She inspired me again to realise that the hard things happen for a reason. The hard things toughen you up, thicken your skin, and make your scars blaze with fire.
There are two types of fire that everyone has; soulfire and hellfire. The former is the inspirational, the burning light, the good and warm flame that helps you be nice to be people, that fuels your creative juices, that makes you stronger in the face of adversity. It gives you strength where you thought there was none, and brings things out in a beneficial light. It's an outpouring-energy sort of deal.
Hellfire is an altogether different beast, though of the same origins. Hellfire is the wrath of anger, The Rage we all carry. Some of us use little pieces of it all the time, some think they never use it at all. Some people only ever use it, and turn so far into the darkness that they are irredeemable as constructive members of society. Hellfire is the fire that keeps you as you. Too much feeding = selfish nightmare. Just enough = strong, independent, secure creature. Savvy?
I realised recently that I'd lost my balance and been using too much soulfire. And here's the problem; the fires feed each other. Being amazing and wonderful means you know when to be harsh and firm. Letting your fangs out for a while and giving people hell reminds them you are not to be trifled with, and makes being gentle next time easier.
Without clouding the conversation too much more with conceptualisation, I want you to think about something we have discussed before; have you said yes when you meant no? Have you smiled when you wanted to cry? Have you let someone else control your tide without consent?
See where I'm going with this?
Complacency is a dangerous boat if the trip is long (yes, I just made that up, go me). Seeing the good in people is lovely, but being aware is better. Enjoying the flow is beautiful, but staying hungry will keep you alive.
People, by nature, are self-interested creatures and are out for their own survival. You can't blame them for that, they are hard-wired that way. What you can call people on is open nastiness and hostility. But if you're complacent, your time may pass and you're left stranded. Who left you stranded? You did.
I got complacent recently. It's as simple as that. I let my mind wander and forgot that not everyone has my best interests at heart. Reading Amy's book and reviving myself in Melbourne have hopefully caught me up, but only time will tell.
Using soulfire means that people can get the benefit of your light without paying for it. You openly share your grace and give freely of your love and wondrous spirit. Most will soak this up like sponges and give back just as heartily. A tremendous energy-sharing love-in ensues, and everyone goes away happy.
This happens nowhere near half the time. Mostly, you just don't notice it because you are wonderful and fabulous, and with some luck have wonderful and fabulous family and friends around you.
But you can't tie those people to you and carry them around for good luck (tried, didn't work, excellent awkward story). Eventually you start to bleed yourself dry because you haven't been feeding the other inner fire.
Ever feel like you gave so much and have no more to give? Your hellfire died down to a cinder, and it will take time to stoke it back up. Do you feel mentally exhausted pretending everything is fine and being the biggest grown up in the room Every. Damn. Day? Your hellfire fell asleep waiting for you to let it loose for a while. Wake it the fuck it. Now. Right now.
Righteous anger is an amazing weapon to have in your personality arsenal, and a million times better if you know how to use it judiciously. No one can teach you this but yourself. Much like everything else, remembering to rely only on your own good self will be the greatest risk you ever take.
In this life, I got lucky. I was bought up by a woman with more inner strength in her little finger than most people have in their entire being. I hope more than a little of that has rubbed off or worked it's way into my being by pure osmosis.
Because, at the end of the day, only I can choose to be strong. Only I can choose to stick up for myself and fight my own battles. You can be given everything or nothing as a child, but you choose your own destiny.
That's why the next asshole who blames their parents for all their problems in their life can meet the business end of my fist. To a man, all the people I know don't live in war zones. They have money in their pocket, food in their home, and an actual home for that matter. The biggest threat to their existence is paying rent as well as eating out.
But I digress. Sort of. Back to the hellfire.
This makes it sound like I'm angry at people in general. And I am, but not just them; I'm angry at myself. I'm clever, educated, fit and self-aware. I practice what I preach and try to learn from others. Most of the time I try not to get defensive when I'm told I'm wrong, but I also don't hold back when someone else is off-track.
Why then did I let myself be walked all over recently? And it occurs to me that I have been letting it happen for a little while. You know why; complacency. My hellfire took a nap because I was all sweetness and light for so long, it thought I'd become a doormat.
It's never too late to breathe light into a dying fire. The time to fight some battles can pass, but pulling yourself back on the right path has many roads that can get you there.
So, today I'm thinking about hellfire. I'm thinking about hauling myself firmly back onto that track and running as fast as I can.
Understand, it's not about randomly ripping nasty people to shreds indiscriminately. Most of them aren't worth it, for one thing.
It's about being bold and brave and badass. It's about reminding the world I'm a warrior first and a lady second.
And it's about respect. Deep and meaningful, hard to earn, easy to lose. I'm not going to bullshit you and say you need to respect yourself before others respect you, but it certainly helps.
My present to myself is going to be feeding my hellfire with my soulfire. Building my backbone back up and making sure I share my light with those who deserve it.
To those of you who always support me, who always have my back, thank you. Words will never be enough and I want to tell you when things are mundane, not just in the heat of the moment.
For those of you who have messed with me recently, I say this very quietly and very calmly; eventually I was going to wake up. Now we play by my rules.
Be bold. Be Brave. Be Amazing.