An Essay on Essence

From the plane you can’t see the trees for the forests. Towns are dwarfed by the mountains. A thousand little lives worth nothing to the immensity of the world.

I’m sitting out front of this cozy Japanese restaurant in South Hobart, holding my coat tight around me. The inside is full – I just wandered in without a booking so the only option was bracing the exterior seating, at least half-shielded from the wind.

I’ve loved walking around this town just yesterday and today. We joke that Brisbane is just a big town but it’s certainly a city in comparison to here. So much of the architecture is historic, grounded, a perfect backdrop for what I need from these four nights away.

I walk past a cafe I bought a coffee from this morning. A sign on the door and inside had notified patrons that this is their last day before closing – no reason given. They’d invited people to celebrate and share one last drink. True enough, I see through the window there is merriment inside, friends and neighbours gathered around the tables. One of the staff members, an arm around her, wipes away a tear. I keep walking, but I hold that moment of bittersweet Life as I go.

In the last while I’ve been disoriented by changes, after what had been a slight diversion – after teaching at QUT for a single semester just after graduating, then taking a role on an underdog political campaign; seeing that campaign win and revolutionise this little party. Those have been growing pains for me no less than anyone else.

This has meant a 180 degree shift in career trajectories, and relegating creative work and filmmaking to a practically neglected hobby. But working in politics has at times been some of the most fulfilling and meaningful work I’ve ever done. Other times I feel like I desperately miss working towards artistic endeavours full-time.

I read the news – and sometimes I only need the summaries posted by activists on twitter. Another trans woman violently assaulted. Very recently, an older cisgender woman attacked because she was mistaken for being trans. I feel more fear for just existing now than I did half a decade ago, when I was less likely to pass, and had less self-confidence. Western conservatism has turned its ire on us more strongly than ever. How do you push through?

Sometimes, I feel like I am the most alive and somehow closest to achieving what I want out of living when I’m sitting around my dining table playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends. I would usually dismiss that as just part of the feeling of enjoyment and fun. But in my position as the DM (dungeon master or game master, for the unaware), I’m often not nearly having as much fun as I plan, coordinate, try to predict a handful of outcomes and stress over non-player characters’ reactions to the situation.

It would make a lot more sense to reconceptualise it as something that fits in with what I want to do, love to do and find joy and fulfilment in — among everything else.

I’m maybe 11 or 12 years old, in the backyard and sobbing. Though I keep choking up, I manage to say what I need to say to Dad. ‘I struggle to talk to people. It hurts. I just can’t say what I want to say.’ That probably should have put me on a pathway to an autism diagnosis, I at least get hugs, love and reassurance. Some time afterwards, I feel I can’t cope with life and attempt suicide for the first time.

I think being in the cold for this holiday has been brilliant for what I’ve needed to do. In the cold I’ll walk quickly, and the movement keeps my head going. Being warm and sluggish is good for cuddling up, sleeping and recovering.

For my purposes, I need to move to reset and reenergise. To give myself the confidence to know I’m moving in the right direction. I’ve been doing as much of that back at home too, waking in the cold hours just to head to the gym before work, jogging almost every single day.

My face is flushed with shame, fear, embarrassment. After I last had a breakup I put up a lot of walls. I spent about four years just focusing on myself and hoping those walls would come down when the time was right. In the end I was surprised they did, but I fucked it all up over someone that doesn’t feel the same way. I remembered what one of my mentors says about always going for “radical honesty”. That wasn’t really meant to be about such personal matters, I don’t think, but I tried it anyway. So there I was, feeling both absolutely terrible and completely freed, all at once.

These last days I’ve put my mind to work on decoding this problem — if you thought someone like me would have made some real, proper life goals, you’d be wrong. It could be that I should have done this earlier, but winging it got me this far. There’s no point regretting that.

Here’s what I’ve come up with, as a draft at least, for some simple understanding of what I’m about and what’s actually driving me. It’s a little vague, but I think that’s good. It’s not restrictive, it’s freeing. I can do whatever the hell I want with myself – if it follows this I’m probably on the right track.

But first, I have to acknowledge this:

You are where you are and what you are because of a willpower and determination that you don’t give yourself credit for.

(How else did that scared, voiceless kid turn into the person I am today? Not on a whim. Not without great effort and sacrifice.)

I have to remember this because the same is true for the future. If I’m going to keep growing and be impressed with the changes I’ve made in the future, I have to keep up that strength and willpower. It’s not going to fall in my lap.

And so here are the goals I have set:

– To spend time using and developing a unique, original, and meaningful creative voice.

– To work for and leave a legacy for the benefit of others.

– To express competence and strive for expertise.

– To spend time learning and gaining understanding.

– To seek out and savour the moments of paradise wherever they may be found, especially in natural places.

As I look back on them again, they do seem vague but in particular the first point is essential and clarifying for me. Working on this unique, original and meaningful creative voice doesn’t specify a format for that voice. I’ll keep working on it in my writing for fun but I can do it as part of my work as well. I’ve told myself before that maybe I’ll come back to film and more creative endeavours at some point, but I’ve been desperate not to feel like I’ve been leaving it behind forever, the longer and longer it’s been. But this makes more sense. That voice is my own and I can find any number of meaningful outlets for it.

It was unintentional that the list was bookended by perhaps the two most important ones for me.

The creativity and words that I have had a drive to produce for as long as I can remember.

And the reminder to spend time seeking out and enjoying bliss even if it has nothing to do with following any other goal for myself. (I am calling this one the Alive in the Sunshine clause.)

I think I’m going to return from this time away feeling pretty okay. The real work happens every single day, if you know how to do it. I do now, a little better than I did before.

Anyway, I’d better go and pay for my ramen.


Windows in the Water

Can we pause, just for a moment, here on the bridge?

The city lights are mirrored on the black surface of the river and I’m reminded that this ordinary town can feel alive. Corporate LEDs in red & blue, but people too.

But being human – being emotional, wired with life – often hurts. Cope with it. Have to just put soles to pavement and soul to paper.

The chill breeze will bring rain but after that will be the sun again and after that more storms. You can’t escape it, lean in, forget the umbrella. Live in wet weather. Bear through that stupid bloody red hot sun so you can come back to enjoy the real days that dress in grey.

Tonight though it’s clear. With every light on the water is a life, someone behind the window living their everyday. Certainly a nice person, trying their best, caring and giving when they can.

Us too, probably, just people out there behind the light in the window, worthy of the best intentions?

Through the fog

I don’t remember much about a good few years around early adulthood. That ever-present fogginess of deep depression has removed so many memories and put up an opaque screen between the rest of them.

I was prompted earlier to remember some of that time and I only get glimpses. It’s a little easier when I go earlier rather than right in the thick of it – around 2015. Because of all that removed time it doesn’t seem so long ago, but 8 years before 2023 is significant. 18 is almost a lifetime ago.

I was anxious, yes, and depressed, that too. Recently out to myself and some others and enduring the chaos that surrounds that. Maybe it seems a little petty now. I wish I could reassure myself that some things would turn out okay. Others wouldn’t.

Ironically, the relationships that at the time were all on the rocks (family) would all stabilise and get better. Meanwhile, the new friends I was enjoying the company of, who were supportive, I’d lose sometime in the depression-storm of 2016.

That will hurt, as will losing the relationships with people I had gained in the first year of uni, just like the loss of high school relationships before. “Get ready for that,” I’d say. “You’re going to lose so many more over the years.” That wouldn’t be reassuring. It still hurts.

I’d really like to tell myself that there will never be a Eureka moment that you’re sure you’re trans. Eventually you’ll realise you haven’t questioned it in a while, and that’ll give you a spark of joy. But I still wish for anyone questioning that you could just take a quiz to give you the answer. Just a single question to ponder that makes you sure, once you’ve answered it, if you’re on the right track.

But in that regard, I was on the right track, and still am.

I’d probably say to not be scared of taking medication. The first thing I try (lexapro) wouldn’t be the best. So hold tight when you adjust that dosage because that’ll give you a two-week period of the greatest depths of despair. Just pull through that and it’ll help. Talk to your doctor.

I couldn’t lie and say the worst times weren’t yet to come. I was going to drop out of uni, then come back after some time off (and experiencing Mutual Obligations Hell). There’d be more friends there to meet and lose again.

There’ll be uncountable disappointments, and I don’t think I’d be able to assure past me that I’ll achieve any of my dreams. It would help a little to know that I’d have new dreams and achieve some of those ones.

“Love yourself a little bit. It’ll get easier to do that, but you have to try.”

That might help to hear. As will “you’re still going to think of Georgie sometimes,” – the friend I lost to suicide in high school. Some people should never be forgotten.

On that note, I definitely wouldn’t warn myself that Dad would pass. The fear of that happening as he got older would already upset me at times, and if I was forewarned, I would be spending so much time with him that it’d be impossible to recover. Better not to know.

And what would past me say of what she sees?

I can’t help but feel like I’d be unrecognisable to my former self. I’d probably hyperfocus on some of the things I’m still dysphoric about, even though managing that is so much easier now than it used to be. 2015 me would probably be shocked (if proud) of how busy I am now, with a proper job and everything(!)

Some of the hardships that remain will connect us. I still get anxious with people (although the difference is night and day). I still have fucking awful depression days sometimes, but less often and less severe. I still have a fear of being unlovable.

But I still care about people, and there’ll be a lot more people to care about. Even the fleeting people whose intersection with my life was brief. I’m glad I cared about them, even if they’re gone like so many other memories.

Sometimes I think it’ll be worse before it keeps getting better, because that’s the way it’s always gone. I need to remind myself that it’s not necessarily true. Hopefully if in 7 or 8 years I sit down and think of who I was in 2023, there’ll be less to be sad about, or won’t be quite so many awful things to warn against (or choose not to tell).

Back then, I wouldn’t have been confident in saying I’d still be around by now. But that’s no longer true. I don’t think I’m going anywhere. If things have shifted so radically in the last 8 years, that actually gives me a little more excitement for the next 8.

NYD 2023

It’s been over a year and a half since my last post. Oops. Time really has flown since mid-’21 and despite a few times when I thought to myself that I really should put some content up here the increasingly worsening issue was the amount of things that I would have to write about.

So here are some thoughts and recollections over that period, not necessarily exhaustive, comprehensive or chronological. It’ll be a bit stream-of-consciousness but it’s better to get something out than to ponder infinitely about the best way to write it all and end up getting nothing out there.

Speaking of which. I’ll start with one of the most recent events, which was completing the 2022 Nanowrimo challenge! That involved writing 50,000 words in the month of November (~ 1,667 words per day). I’ve completed it before in 2016 and 2017, so this was 5 years since my last attempt. In 2016 I wrote a series of teleplays but 2017 was a novel, as was this last year’s project. Since last time, I had mostly only written in screenplay format, which molded my writing a lot.

Most notably, I was used to writing as efficiently as possible, stripping back anything unnecessary and packing as much meaning as possible into a few lines. This is of course night and day with the style I needed to write for a novel. That part definitely wasn’t easy and I don’t think I had successfully managed to switch my brain into Novel Mode entirely. Something to continue working on.

The other important part of getting through Nanowrimo, which conflicts with my personal style is writing quickly (hitting a huge daily word count, and it’s of fresh material not adhering to any planning or outline, too), where with short screenplays I was very used to only moving on with a scene when I had edited it several times and was happy with it – and particularly in that editing, it often involved shortening rather than lengthening it! The lesson here is to just write, write, write, knowing the editing will come later, not worrying about perfectionism (and that’s what I’m trying to do here…)

I’m left with 50,000 words of a novel draft that’s far from complete (probably about half-done in terms of progress through the plot), and I haven’t touched it all through December. Thankfully the other good thing about the month of writing was getting into a habit that was working well for me, that was generally about being early to bed and early to rise and getting as much done before as possible before work. I’m going to try to keep that up – it worked better the more routine it became – and see how much I can do week by week to continue the story. In 2017 I made the mistake of trying to edit my 50K draft instead of continuing on until the draft was done, and then editing. This time I am not going back to edit, just going to carry forward until I find the end, then I’ll think about editing.

BDMR Act reform – despite the Qld Attorney-General saying that they’d come out with their reforms by the end of 2021, it was the last sitting day of 2022 that they brought their bill forward. I don’t really have the energy to go over the details of it all at the moment but it looks pretty good! They even included some stuff about waiving fees for people in need, which I think is a conversation that wouldn’t have happened without my petition. These services should be free! The bill won’t be debated until Qld parliament sits again so that’ll be interesting. During the year I was also harassed on Twitter by a bunch of TERFs – that’ll likely ignite again.

The elephant in the room with the events of the last year and a half is pretty obviously the federal election campaign. I guess we did a good job, hey.

I came on to help the campaign in Ryan before it was officially launched – I wasn’t 100% sure what I would be able to assist with but I thought I could help with social media and such. We launched our candidate, Libby Watson-Brown, and the publicly facing campaign began by doorknocking in Auchenflower on 22 May 2021. I was keen to get more of a sense of Libby so we went out together to hit the doors. She’s incredible at talking with people – which I definitely knew from entering doorknock data on Michael’s 2020 campaign, as she was a prolific doorknocker then.

To make a long story short, I eventually found myself hired on the campaign and put into the Campaign Manager position! While I was never alone there were about a zillion skills I had to learn and put into practice all at once. We saw the outside chance of winning, and we knew that if there was any chance of making it happen, it’d be a sprint and a marathon at the same time.

I was working on campaign strategy, volunteer management, internal and external-facing comms, social media management, graphic design, fundraising, events planning, materials development, and spending my weekends knocking on doors like crazy. We tracked our stats and I ended up with over 800 conversations with people on their doors over the year – and there were several other committed people with even more than that.

The weeks went by, all blurring into each other. I cried, I cheered, we responded to COVID circumstances again and again and again, the city flooded and I was without power for five days — traumatised by that — I burned out, I picked myself up again, we kept going. We created our own inspiration. If anyone could pull off what was needed, it’d be us.

On Election Day my job was to drive Libby around so that we’d visit several polling booths, so we met at her place early. It was the 21st of May, a year after that first doorknock, and the skies brought a heavy downpour the entire day. We hugged and laughed and I tried not to cry. It was a hell of a year. We chatted to voters all day, and checked in with volunteers. Spirits were high everywhere we went – it was wild. We ended the day in Mitchelton, continuing to chat with the last voters after the sunset.

I went to the Griffith campaign office, where we would enter all our scrutineers’ data, as Libby went home to change clothes and relax before the party in West End. In the car I got a call from a scrutineer at the pre-poll count. The piles of votes were showing incredibly, even at the booths we had the lowest vote traditionally. I arrived at the office and collapsed on the floor in tears. It took a while for the results to come through, and as we left for the party we were still waiting on a few crucial booths.

We arrived late, and ran into the hotel. On the TVs we saw Amy MacMahon introducing Libby for her speech. Upstairs I pushed through the crowd, saw Libby began to speak and put my hands over my heart and cried the stupidest, ugliest tears I have ever cried. The TV switched to the ABC went to Antony Green showing Ryan going Greens. Libby called out my name and I went up on the stage to hug her.

Libby and I hugging at the election night party
Libby and I hugging on-stage at the Election Night party. With Michael, Stephen and Max in the background. This photo still brings me to tears sometimes…

I’ll skip the political analysis of the victory, and how we actually managed to do it because this seems to have been more of the personal story of it all – maybe something there for another post. No promises.

The rest of the night was mostly trying to desperately give Libby space to breathe as a million people were coming up to congratulate her. There was a brief interlude on the phone in the stairwell of the loud, packed hotel as I explained to Adam Bandt and team that the last pre-poll results we hadn’t seen yet didn’t matter, our lead was too big on every other booth, we could call Ryan a win.

More than half a year later, I think I’m still in disbelief about it all. I worked hard but at the same time, I went from within a year going from not thinking I would ever speak to strangers at their doors to doing training events about the practise. Frankly that still feels bizarre.

What’s next on this front? I don’t know exactly. But I loved everything about the job (and about winning), and I’m never going to forget that.

Looking forward I am feeling really unsure about 2023. In a lot of ways I’m in a better life position than I ever have been at the start of a new year. Last year I had a lot of purpose with the campaign, and I was feeling very confident about my mental health state as well – this year maybe not so much.

I do really miss doing film stuff. I tried to progress things with the VFX for Clouded but eventually got told by a company that they can’t do it for me with my budget, so I need to find another avenue there. It takes a lot of time and motivation to try to move anything forward in that sphere, it’s tough. It doesn’t help that I haven’t connected with anyone from uni in a long time. That’s sad.

In just a couple of months it’ll be three years since losing Dad. That wound to my heart still aches so badly. I was getting sick of crying every time I saw a photo of him, so as a kind of exposure therapy I changed my background on my phone to him. I don’t know how much it’s helping. Three years hasn’t been enough time to heal. With every positive event in my life I wish more than anything that he could’ve been here to see it.

In October I’m going to be getting Facial Feminisation Surgery, which will include a trip to Spain to have it done by the premier practitions of the surgery. I had a consultation with a surgeon about it several years ago, but it wasn’t doable with finances, and then COVID blocked any hope of elective surgery. After an online consultation with Spain’s Facial Team I felt like they were the best option to go with — they clearly understand trans people and what’s involved in FFS much more than any Australian surgeon I’ve looked at, with their awkwardly written webpages clearly not created with any trans consultation. I’m really glad about getting FFS, but I know I’ll be anxious and scared, too, especially as it gets closer. However, with the amount of facial dysphoria I have, I don’t feel like not getting it is an option.

One more random thought to finish off this post was that I was really influenced by watching the film Everything Everywhere All At Once this year (I actually watched it three times, showing it to different people each time!) If you haven’t watched it, consider this my strongest recommendation, and I won’t spoil it to say that I found it so important. Remember to be kind, especially when you don’t know what’s going on.

Peace, love, and solidarity —

In Headfirst

Firstly, I want to mention the recent loss of Thomas Coyne last Sunday, a colleague of mine from the Queensland Greens. I didn’t have the honour to have met him personally, but from party meetings knew his work, his strength, and the energy he brought. Our whole family has been grievously wounded by this loss; of which we would not hope to recover from. There’s no replacing such a bright spark.

This tragic and sudden loss is a very sad reminder to care for our loved ones and hold them tight whenever we can. Rest in Power, Thomas.

I’m writing this update from the air – on my way to Melbourne for a few days. I haven’t had much of any kind of holiday since December ’19 / Jan ’20, also some time in Melbourne, with Dad. I may have mentioned that time previously; the attendance at the Boxing Day Test which we’d always planned to go to, pre-COVID, and before his passing. A lifetime ago.

… I’m probably about due for a holiday.

Let’s flash back to a bit over a month ago. I indicated that I was going to make an application to a Screen Qld initiative, which closed on the 12th of April, and that was going to be no small feat to get done.

I found myself becoming overwhelmed by the news and social media; the women’s March4Justice was about to happen (which I attended), highlighting sexual harassment and the poor treatment of women in our society; there was a new rush of transphobic rhetoric surrounding “super straight” trolls; among other issues, it seemed that social media was inundated with trash that I didn’t need affecting my mental health. It’s rare, if ever, that there won’t be a negative news but my point remains it seemed particularly rough at the time.

My solution was naturally to take some time off, to shut the tabs and close the apps for a while. My theory was that it would have a secondary benefit of removing a distraction from the work I needed to do, and help me focus, work on discipline, especially with a deadline to work towards.

Otherwise this year I’ve been working on my goals, both professional and personal. One of these goals has been to do more regular exercise, another to do more learning via podcasts etc.; and after my shunning of social media I combined these, sucked it up and started going on an early (~6am) walk most mornings. I usually struggle with carving out the time in my day to do exercise, so just getting it done early in the morning has been the key for me. I’ve been enjoying two podcasts as I go, being Scriptnotes and The Screenwriting Life – I highly recommend them!

The exercise has helped fuel creativity, the discipline with making the time to work, with the podcast material and teaching keeping my development of writing practice centred in my head. For the Screen Queensland initiative, I came up with a new short film concept and pushed it through a few revisions, and ended up submitting it, as an 11 page screenplay (plus some director’s materials). I am absolutely not expecting anything to come from it, as the funding isn’t particularly directed at individuals straight out of uni as I am without much work to prove myself. Either way I’m very proud of getting that new script done (my second short film written this year!) – it’s at a second-draft stage so I’ll be putting more effort into it at some point, hopefully getting it (both scripts, actually) to a production-ready state.

The side effect of all this has been that I’ve been in my own head a lot more lately – a good thing – greater clarity, lessened feelings of depression, more focus and self-understanding. The sense of being responsible for myself and my progress is empowering; especially not having industry employment or pathway towards such, it’s an onus on myself to get work done and improve myself.

I wasn’t really off social media/news very long after all – it’s so hard to stay off, and my petition being tabled in Parliament drew me back to make posts – but since that break I’ve been tending to only check platforms 0-2 times a day, which is quite a reduction to the amount of wasted time and energy previously. I need to continue to not just be happy using it less but actively ignore the desire (read: addictive elements of social media). The headspace is much better spent on… just about anything else. Funny that.

It’s been clear skies above my head lately but I’m not distracted by the horizon: it’s one task, one day, one page at a time for me.

Anyway, that’s about all for now. I’m awaiting the Attorney-General tabling a response to my parliamentary petition later in the week, and will likely update then. Take care – Esther.

Petition Articles and More

I promised I’d post again when further articles about the petition that were in the works were posted, and here they are.

The first article is from The Advocate: 10,000 signatures paving the way for Transgender rights as Queensland falls behind. The second is from UQ’s student paper, Semper Floreat: LGBT+ rights – rapidly growing e-petition.

Both feature quotes from me and have different perspectives, so they’re worth checking out if you have the time. A reminder, the petition ends in two weeks now, the 23rd of March, so keep sharing and contacting the A-G before it ends. We’re nearly at 10,500 signatures.

When I last posted I had just gotten the job at QUT, and I’m glad to say it’s going well (two weeks of classes in)! I enjoy being able to help people with their writing, and it’s excellent motivation to improve my own screenwriting.

I’ve got a rough first draft of one short film, and I was just starting to work more on writing a TV-series pitch and create a bit of a framework for working and improving my writing when some news came out yesterday – Screen Queensland funding six shorts through their diversity program, RIDE. Naturally, I’ve now completely pivoted to work on an entirely new script and I’ll be trying to apply to this program.

It’s head-down, tail up for me, as usual. Until the next update, take care – Esther.


The 15th of January (almost a week ago now), is Dad’s birthday. I’m using the present tense with intention.

It’s difficult to accurately describe how I feel now, nearly a year from losing him. I’ve been particularly sad lately, surrounding his birthday, and among the holiday period surrounded by other family, noticing his absence so clearly, but I haven’t been distraught, I haven’t been devastated.

I think it’s been easier because I’ve made a conscious effort to shift focus. It has hurt so much to think of what we lost by losing him, and all the potential we could have had if we’d just had a little more time. I want his birthday, every year in the future, to be a day of celebrating him, commemorating him. We can do this for other significant figures, I think it’s appropriate to do so for Dad too.

He aged like a fine wine: only growing cleverer and wiser over time. If he’d been allowed to continue, I’m sure his wisdom would have grown infinitely. It’s in that spirit that I’m choosing, not in an attempt to avoid the grief, but just to find comfort and strength in acknowledging and holding onto some of the life lessons I learned from him.

He was so worldly and well-travelled. One of my favourite experiences was when we got to travel together in Japan, just the two of us (my alternative to Schoolies). He was such an example of the benefits of exploring and celebrating other cultures.

At the same time, the world could be so small to him – he knew so much and so many people. Part of that comes from the exploration, but also the curiosity he had for everything. I daresay he was almost an expert on so many things – from Australian history to Zen. He was a ravenous reader, and always espoused the benefits of having too many books, and never letting go of them, even if he had a negligible chance of ever reading them again (this one is a Bad Lesson, I know!)

He was incredibly witty, I know it’s from him I got my sense of humour. Never underestimate how much you can give to someone just by being funny once in a while.

There was so much love in his heart, especially for his children and grandchildren, but he always had room for more. I don’t think this is entirely inherent in a person. I think that it’s a conscious choice to make that room to care for people, or beliefs, or endeavours. I know I’m the same way – I’m quick to care, and there are times when you should be careful and guarded, but I’d much rather be this way than cold to others.

Make time for art. He was excellent at drawing, and fancied himself as a bit of a poet. I know he would have wanted to have written a book at some point, but never did. It’s a real shame. However, the lasting effect of that passion for the artistic has made such an imprint on my life, and my siblings’ as well, I’m sure.

Do what you can to take care of yourself as well as you can, but also learn to ask for help. Unfortunately this was a lesson I wish I could’ve taught him more.

It’s completely cheesy to say, but ‘be yourself’. That’s what he did, and just look at how much he’s inspired and taught me. Just by being him.

And finally, from him I know that you don’t have to be perfect, to be the best.

It would mean a lot to me if you would consider taking some of these lessons into your own heart. I’ve had enough for now of thinking them over, with sadness yes, but with the strength and comfort only my Dad could provide.

Take care, Esther.

(Featured image of this post was him and I at the Boxing Day test at the MCG in 2020 – something we had always wanted to do together. It makes me so happy we finally got the chance to. There’s a bonus lesson in that, but I won’t spell it out for you.)

Paying Respects (to 2020)

I struggle with the words to describe this retrospective, on this first day of January, 2021. It would seem appropriate to bury the past year, to put it in the ground.

I spent much of 2020 in deep pain. The first few months was spent trying to recover from a broken heart, until my father passed and grief took the podium position. A lot of my plans were cancelled with the pandemic. Most of the year I was severely depressed, albeit not experiencing the worst this illness has heaped on my shoulders, it has nevertheless been a heavy burden. This is all broad, but at least a summary of the most significant hardships of my year.

So – bury it. Grab a shovel and dump the rotten year where it belongs. Right?

I spent much of 2020 as part of something greater than myself. Whether it be as part of the political campaigns I pledged most of my free time towards, or all the film projects I worked on. As much as I struggled with all of the aforementioned ills, my places in these collective wholes gave me purpose, company, meaning.

At the beginning of the year I felt close to two or three people. With all the irony of “social distancing”, in 2020 I made more close acquaintances and friends than probably the entirety of my life prior. For all these people, I feel so humbled and honoured to know, each one of you all is unique, talented, powerful, and important to me.

After six years at university, I’ve graduated with a degree. The long, difficult path to this accomplishment finally reached its end. For a while I wasn’t sure I’d make it here.

With all of that, it’s hard to put 2020 to bed so unceremoniously. The year was, perhaps, the most significant in my life so far, and that’s not to be buried.

So, this accursed year cannot be forgotten. Let’s put a marker here, so we may acknowledge it for every year to come, and look back at it from further along our paths.

Let’s not forget you 2020, you awful, wonderful, heart-breaking, desperately human year.

Bring on 2021.

Featured image is of my cat, Tess, because she was the light of my year (every year).

What I Want Today

So, today is my twenty-fourth birthday. I’ve spent most of the day so far cleaning my apartment and sweltering in the heat of the solstice.

This year has obviously been particularly difficult, and I’m not exactly one to ask for much from anyone else, so instead of gifts or consumables today I would appreciate a very simple thing from everyone that reads this:

spend three minutes of your day thinking about how you can make the world better over the next year

Do with that what you will, but I’d like to provide some options you may wish to consider:

  • Be more kind and make generous assumptions about others. If you see someone else struggling, ask how they’re doing and help if you can.
  • If you are privileged enough to do so, donate your time or money to a good cause. I’d suggest researching effective altruism and The Life You Can Save. It’s all about making the most impact from your dollar and ensuring half your donation doesn’t go straight to the CEO.
  • Be more political. No, that’s not a joke. Unfortunately, the less everyday people get involved in politics, the more sway large corporations and politicians’ mates have. Massive plug to join our movement with The Greens, because poor people, working folk, and people who want to save the planet from climate change need a say, now.
  • Stop and take care of yourself. If you need someone to talk to, I’m always an unjudgmental ear. I’ve seen way too many people struggling with mental illness over the last several months. Yes, this is on the list of things you can do to improve the world because you improve the world for so many other people. Of this I am sure.

That’s all from me – much love, and enjoy the holidays, whatever you celebrate.

Heavy Footfalls

Another issue of Late Night Writing… I’ve been making a lot of big strides lately, but every one comes with an emotional toll with Dad everpresent in my heart.

One foot, after the other, footfalls, heavy.

The sorrow springs forth without notice from where it lies. Buried in the garden, buried in the fields. Scattered over streams winding far away from here. In the end, not buried at all. Barely masked, barely hidden.

A day becomes a month, two steps from half a year, four from a decade. Pain should fade before the memories, instead pain comes without memories, and memories won’t feature without the hurt.

Watch – another step forward, falling through two decades before it lands. Half wishing to be taken with it to fill my lungs with dust and dirt on the floor.

Listen – no rhythm to the movement. No familiarity in the drumming. Just one step, then another, weighed down by the world.

I’m longing for the day when the weight lifts, and terrified for the day when there’s none left to bear. When it doesn’t hurt so much, will my thoughts still turn to you?

Options fall away and the blinders come on. Nothing left now but the road. Would you bank your pride upon my progress?

One foot, after the other, pushing forward against the storm of dust. Each step saturated with all of you. Each step moving further from you.

There’s something to be said of the simplicity of living amongst the ashes.


Look out over the future with me. Lend an ear to the wind’s last whistle. One foot, after the other. Footfalls, heavier.