Desperately Seeking An Authentic Voice

I keep saying “I am going to start updating my blog regularly (no really this time)” and yet never do. A lot of that comes down to guilt – if I’m blogging, I’m not writing or looking for a job and therefore I’m being lazy, useless, worthless …

Those of you who know me well can see where I’m heading and to be honest, I feel a little nervous writing these words. I’m trying to convince myself that the best I can do for me is to post this after I finish and not consign it to languish in the drafts folder forever until I finally delete it.

You’ll have to forgive the long indulgence – but there aren’t many of you reading this now unless I’m still in your rss folder, so maybe you have already forgiven me.

2012 has been a shit year.

I should qualify that a little.

2012 has been a mostly shit year.

It started well enough with a trip home to time in with all of my friends who also live elsewhere visiting their families; I celebrated the wedding of two sets of dear friends (and another set later in the year); friends came over to my part of the world to visit; I had been shortlisted for a couple of great day jobs, and I even had a couple of writing gigs on the go.

And then it all fell horribly apart. It started with a new state government who froze all new job recruitments (including the ones I had been shortlisted for even though they were with arts organisations) and then sacked 14,000 employees en masse; the writing gig fell over in a manner that it usually does; the freeze spread out across the market as government departments and employees stopped spending money, and soon the freelance work dried up.

Since then it has been one long dark night of the soul as I struggle though yet another job application, yet another rejection letter (or mostly silence – really employers, is it so hard to have a standard “sorry you weren’t suitable for the role” email?) and wondering what the future holds for Beloved and I if I can’t afford to live here anymore.

At the same time, the loneliness of a new city has been crushing. I’m in my mid-30s, I did all the things you are meant to do when you’re in a strange town – join a sports club, go out with work colleagues for drinks … but I haven’t really made any friends. Back in the colonies, it seems that everyone in the vague sphere of my age have settled down into their own lives and friend circles. I’ve been here for almost 2 years now, and I can’t say I have a single friend here that I could hang out with and go see a movie.

It’s not that I feel nostalgic for London, I definitely don’t. I could barely afford London (where the minute you step out the door, money seems to leak out of your wallet) and so never really saw anything that makes that place what it is. But I did have friends there – everyone is new there, so it was easier to have met a friend of a friend at a party one week and then head out on an adventure with them the following week. But here, people have their friends from high school or uni, or their kids go to school together so they hang out over play dates – we say hello, we make small talk, and everyone goes back to their families. Where are the people like me? Probably off on their O.E. for the last 5 – 7 years (like us).

I feel miserable, absolutely and utterly miserable. I know all the affirmations about tomorrow being another day, and keeping my chin up, staying strong, being positive, not looking back, to keep fighting, but it is so fucking hard you know?

And why am I telling you all this? Because I’m tired of pretending that everything is ok.

This blog isn’t meant to be anything like Maupuia Masala, because, you know, the internet isn’t that sort of place any more. A lot of the people I used to follow have stopped writing blogs now – facebook and twitter seem to fulfil their needs. And yet, I wonder if any of them miss the connections we used to make with complete strangers as we wrote about our ordinary lives online? Facebook hasn’t been the same since they started throttling traffic to your feed, and sincerity is hard to find on the wit or outrage chamber that is Twitter. As the world becomes more connected, I’m finding myself increasingly disconnected. I feel like we’re always “on” with public personas where sincerity and authenticity are treated awkwardly.

I don’t know what the solution is but I’m hoping that I’ll find it in 2013.

In the meantime, maybe I should be the change to create an authentic world. I don’t know if this means more blogging and less social networking. It certainly means more real letters and postcards – I’m finding the physical act of putting pen to paper to talk to people very therapeutic and calming even if occasionally I do find myself sobbing as I write (do let me know if you want one of those by the way – just leave a “yes card/letter for me” in the comments and I’ll reply to you with a private message to get your address).

I feel like I have lost myself in the noise and the stress of the last year, and I really need to find my ground again before I drift off into another spiral of despair.

This much I will say; I am going to shed the “public persona” part of me. It’s just another form of bottling it up. I don’t care, future employers, if you see this – authenticity is important, we are constantly being sold at or are selling a version ourselves and I’m sick of it. My mistakes and my character flaws make me and are probably the greatest things about me. If you don’t like that, then you probably don’t want me as your employee.

And thank you, everyone else for reading.

It’s probably all a bit awkward right now.

Sorry about that.


2 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking An Authentic Voice

  1. Hey Sonal,

    Sorry to hear you’ve had such a shit year – you’re a good person and you deserve better. B and I have had equally shit years for differing reasons, so know that you’re not alone on that score. Hope to catch up soon, if not in person than by paper correspondence πŸ™‚



  2. Hey Son! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to this entry – as with all things online, I am staggeringly behind. But I am so, so sorry to hear it’s been such a shit year for you. 😦 QLD is definitely not the greatest place to be right now, financially, and as we’ve discussed, not really culturally either.

    I know what you mean about it being hard to meet people too – I think Auckland (and possibly NZ as a whole!) is much the same, especially in this age group. Luckily for me I already knew people when I moved there – it would have been a very different time if I hadn’t. It’s very hard to break in as a newbie.

    I was just recently talking to a friend of mine who’s currently living in London about how NZ is great, but when you’re in your 20’s and 30’s it can be hard to live here, esp if you’re single. That’s because it’s a real “setlle-down” sort of place, great if you want to nest and so on but not so many options if you don’t. I imagine Brisbane’s similar.

    We are of course heading to Melbourne soon, OMG!!! And hopefully that means we may come to your neck of the woods more often for visits. I still haven’t seen the Gold Coast ; ) And of course Mum and Dad are close, so I’ll be going there anyway.

    Hang in there babe, as George Harrison says (quoted, really) ‘this too shall pass’ – although of course that doesn’t lessen the crapness of having to live through it at the time.

    Lots of love to you and my sympathies. Thank you for your post, it was brave and honest and has a wonderful message. I think any employer seeing that would think you’re great, unless they’re a shit-head. πŸ˜€



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