52 Week Writing Challenge

So here I go again… trying another writing challenge. I just can’t seem to find one that sticks.

The challenge came from the writer, Ray Bradbury. I have to admit that I have never actually read any of his work. His name was always vaguely familiar to me until I found his 52 week writing challenge.

Today is Sunday. I am going to start with my first story of this week with the goal of finishing it by the upcoming Saturday. Wish me luck…

Raging Conversations

A couple of days ago, I learned that raging conversations is a thing. I also realised that it is a thing I definitely do. And it’s something I really don’t want to keep doing.

In that article, they write about how replaying negative conversations in our heads is really just hurting ourselves. That’s when it occurred to me; other people may say hurtful things out of anger, but if I replay it over and over again in my head, I’m helping the other person cause maximum damage. Why do that?

So this is the beginning of the journey to stop raging conversations and negative thought loops. I looked into meditation and mindfulness exercises to see if it could be of help. I found there was a depressing amount of practical information on how someone can stop the negative replay of raging conversations.

There were some practical exercises about how to bring oneself out of negative thought loops with YOURSELF, but what can we do when another person is involved? How do you calm down enough to stop hearing them with a negative filter on?

Imagine you’re in yet another angry argument with your spouse. Then somehow you get the mental fortitude to say, “stop, I need to meditate and calm down before we go any further.” How would that go if the other person is angry as well and they are unwilling to back down? In an argument with someone else, you can do everything right on your part and still it’ll end up horrendous if the other party does not relent.

Well. This is a record of my experiment. I will attempt a calming exercise the next time I am in a heated argument with my husband and we’ll see how well that goes.

The Vessel

A space ship that has literally everything. It would allow me to go virtually anywhere.

The Unrequited Love Poem

Okay. So this is not a poem. The writing prompt project asked me to write about how I feel when someone doesn’t love me back.

I can pin point this to an exact moment. Grade ten, I was 15. I was in love with Kris, my best friend. I met Kris in middle school and we became friends one day when we walked home together.

It took me one year to realise I had a crush on him. It took me another year to get up the courage to tell him.

Kris had stayed home one day because he was sick. I think he was really just cutting class. Lia Kim and I had been talking about how much I liked him.

So we went to see him. And we were in his kitchen when I told him. I couldn’t even look at him when I said it.

Kris was so calm. He didn’t miss a beat. He said it was better if we stayed friends because we had such a good thing going as friends.

It killed me. I felt like I suddenly could no longer face the world. I don’t know what I had expected him to say. Perhaps I was hopeful? I had so many fantasies of how a life with Kris would be like if we were both in love with each other–but in that one instant, all that hope was gone.

Then came the self doubts. Why didn’t he want to be with me? He had told me he thought I was amazing once. He looked me straight in the eye and said it, so why didn’t he want to be with me?

It took me a whole semester to recover. I kept to myself and stopped eating lunch with everyone. I literally could not face anybody.

At that time, I didn’t understand how attraction worked. I thought that if two friends thought of each other as amazing, then naturally they should be together, right? I was clueless about chemistry. I don’t think I even felt a sexual attraction for anyone at that point. I had girlish crushes, but anyone who’s felt sexual attraction for another person would agree that a crush and sexual attraction are not the same thing.

Kris really liked this girl, Jocelyn. Back before I spilled my guts and got shot down, I always asked him why he liked her. His answer was always, “she’s got big boobs.”

To me, Jocelyn was a superficial fob who wouldn’t really be friends with us if she wasn’t so foreign. She wasn’t funny, kind, or amazing (all traits Kris had attributed to me at one point). Why did having large breasts suddenly top all of those things?

Now that I’m a woman in my thirties, I understand completely why Jocelyn’s breasts won out over any other connection for a 15 year old boy. I wish this was something I could have learned much earlier in order to save the months of hurt and isolation I put myself through. Still, I’m glad I learnt my lesson, anyway.

Unrequited love. If unchecked, it becomes an obsession.

Outside the Window

It is cloudy outside right now with tiny patches of blue sky. It is 2 pm in the afternoon in Kordabup, Western Australia. Not thirty minutes ago, the sky was relatively clear and the sun had been out. It’s much more windy in this small corner of the world than most places I have lived. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had days where we started will brilliant sunshine, only to be met with massive downpour of hail in the mid afternoon. Then the day might end on a clear starry night.

The weather is unpredictable here. It matches the daily happenings around this place; there is no strict routine. There is always something new and different each day out here on the farm. Yet there is a sense of peace being out here.

In this tiny, remote corner of the world, we’re sheltered from all political strife. I truly feel like an Untouchable now.

This is the first of a series I am doing of daily writing prompts. I decided to start this today so it’ll help me stay in the habit of writing once a day. 

Measure of Happiness

How do we measure happiness, exactly?

I was feeling pretty glum the last couple of days, and all of the things in my life that worried me felt suddenly impossible to overcome. And one thought kept playing on loop in my head: when was the last time I was truly happy? 


The answer should be obvious; any moment I get to spend with my husband and my son, that should be my last happiest moment… right?

Except it’s not. Having a newborn is tiring. My son is the best baby and we had him in the best possible circumstance. We’re surrounded by grandparents, aunts and uncles who don’t hesitate to help out whenever they can. But. I have not had a full night’s sleep since the first day Finn was born. That’s just a fact of life I have to accept.

What about the last time Jamie and I went out on a date? When we celebrated our three year marriage anniversary? I should have been completely happy then, right? But I wasn’t. Because while I was trying to enjoy myself, there was a constant thought running through my mind: Finn. I can’t shut it off. I can’t make myself stop wondering if he’s hungry or uncomfortable.

It may sound like I am unhappy with Finn–that’s not the case. Finn makes me happy. Feeding him and cuddling him makes me happy. Being with him makes me happy, but those are all little happy moments strung together to show that Finn is now a person that makes me happy, but he alone is not responsible for contributing to my overall happiness with life.

Because Happiness, with a capital H, is something that encompasses every area of a person’s life. I can be happy with my son but be unhappy about something else. Being happy with Finn is a distraction, a relief, a burning torch in the darkness against all other depressing things that an adult has to worry about.

So I thought of making a “form”. A sort of a quiz with questions about how I felt about all different areas of my life. The quiz would help me identify what I was unhappy about exactly, and knowing your enemy is half the battle, or some type of saying.

There are many psychological and sociological studies done on Happiness. It’s like an elusive puzzle that countless people have dedicated entire lifetimes to solving.

The way I have always seen it is in categories. There are several different areas of our life that are variable. Some are within our control, some are not. These are:

  • Basic Needs (like food and shelter)
  • Personal (how you see yourself)
  • Relationships (family, friends, love)
  • Work (how fulfilled do you feel in society)
  • Financial (financial freedom?)

That is how I’ve broken down the different factors that contribute to our overall happiness. Basic Needs and our own perception of self seem to be the most important in my mind, because that’s where it all begins. Then we extend to our close and personal relationships, and then our place in the world, and finally how we feel about our financial standing.

I put myself through the test, and here’s what I found.

  • All my basic needs have been met. Happiness filled up to 20%.
  • While I am not completely happy with who I am, I am okay with who I am and I am optimistic that I will continue becoming a better person. Add 15% and Happiness is filled up to 35%.
  • I am happy with my choice in family. Jamie and Finn are two of the most brilliant bright lights in my life. There are relationships I wish could be better, like the one between my parents and I, but I have come to accept to leave the things I can’t change. I have great friends but I live much too far from them, which makes me lonely. I would say in relationships area I can only add 10%. We’re up to 45%.
  • I’m completely out of work right now. I don’t have a job. I started my “career” later than most people, but I did well in it. I don’t work right now because of two reasons: Finn, and living on the farm. Am I worried about unemployment? Yes, but only in so much as wondering how my small family and I will survive. I don’t feel defined by unemployment as it is much by choice. I choose to have the lifestyle I have now and if I were to choose to work again, I would not have much trouble getting work. I am also lucky in that I don’t define myself by a “career”. My measure of “productivity” is tied to everything I can do well rather than the few things I have done. I see boundless potential in myself as I have learned that I am adaptable–and I take pride in that. I’d give myself 20% in this area. So we’re up to 65%.
  • Money: Personally I am just okay. When I say personally, I am referring to money that is just my own, and not shared. It’s strange that even though we are married, I don’t see Jamie’s money as mine. I don’t see financial assets as ours unless it is something that we actually put equal shares in. I don’t know why I think this way and I don’t know how to change it. I also don’t think I should change it. Thanks to the Australian government, I have enough parental leave to last me for a few months without worrying. And the cost of living here is very low, therefore I am doing fine. Ultimately money is not very important to me. I do wish I had more of though (doesn’t everyone?). Add 18% and that brings us up to 83%.

83% Happiness–that’s not too bad! That’s a B+ if we were to measure it against my old middle school grading scale. I can now tell myself that when it comes to overall happiness, I am doing just fine.

And that’s the whole point of this exercise: helping myself accurately gauge level of Happiness so that I don’t end up trapped in a well of negativity.

Expectations versus Reality

Everyone says marriage is hard, but sometimes I wonder if it's really supposed to be THIS difficult.

Right now everyone says it's the new baby that's throwing us off. I really hope that is all it is.