moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
- a women speaks, Audre Lorde
How's your heart? Has your soul reminded you that you are loved by many, but importantly, has it told how much you mean to me Zac?
See, the thing is, I turn 25 today; the same age you were when I met you in Brazil. And there's a few things I'll like you to know, as we've shared the same wavelength for the last five. Who would have thought, hey? The soft spoken sensitive souls running, hurdling, making things happen for themselves. I'm in awe of you and am endlessly wrapped and bound in the inspiration you give to me.
I still remember the bumpy sweat ridden bus ride to Tatiane Lima, and how you asked about my dreams and goals. I was timid yet high energy and open (my life is an utter, utter contradiction), insecure, and wore the soul draining weight of my worries on my shoulders, leaking onto my sleeves. But there's no room for worries now, how things have changed for the better, as I hoped it would.
Allow me, to show you what your blessings and support and love has helped me do
20. A new inspiration rushing.
I left Brazil, i.n.s.p.i.r.e.d. I had more confidence showing people how much I loved food and food cultures. Yes! That's right, I love feeding people, asking about they're fondest food memories (with dreams to recreate that moment for them), walking through markets, playing with textures and flavours, to then create something so close to my heart, regardless of the clock us humans cuff ourselves too. Being fascinated by how communities around the world hunt and gather and the techniques etched into cultures. Ah, do you understand my love for this craft? I love it more than anything else Zac; it's the Epipen to my sanity, best believe it! I accepted I needed to change my career path. But, I didn't - though the seed was definitely planted. I was still (barely) attending physiology labs, praying my elephant-like memory would help me fly through these exams.
21. Crazy (...but the 'good' kind)
I started volunteering as a tutor/support teacher, worked retail, worked hospo and as a respite carer. Would not go to uni... because I just had this idea of a cake inspired by Tim Burton. So I made it, posted it. People wanted it.... and so a side gig of cake making began. how's my social life at this point? Textually. Active.
I saved. This was it! Quitting jobs and buying a one way ticket to Burma. To then end up trekking in Annapurna, hitch hiking with Korean grandpas in Safranbolu, running away from a Ukrainian pornographer in Barcelona, eating the best street keftas in Fes, flirting around in Lisbon, teasing nerdy cousins in London... coming back to Melbourne like 'I must continue to live my life dense with experiences, no matter what!'. All fun and games, it was also the time I acknowledged I needed to get help, and improve my mental and physical health. A rocky road ahead (but here I am today! Still alive zac zac!)
23. 'When is this all gonna end?'
Transition sucks zac. And you had to hear all about it. I was everywhere. I juggled finishing degrees, starting a career that was apparently 'degrading' and I was being severely unhealthy. I became painfully obsessive with losing weight (possibly from all the 'you're pretty, but you'd be prettier if you were skinny' that Sri Lankan aunties looove to lash out). I was cramming life, 'forgetting' to eat, seeing my collar bones protrude just that tad much more. My days would start with the 4.57am train to cook a service (have my ass slammed), then school, then another food gig... but I still pushed to better myself. Dont worry, I had fun too... after all the ones I loved were always just one dance away. I was juggling Zac, but barely keeping it together. This transition period was one of the hardest things of my life, and I did it with my own two blistered and chapped hands.
Reflecting makes me so proud Zac; though the current bundle of humans in my life are unaware (as I charm my way through as looking as the 'cool calm collected, I-was-always-this-way chick') you know what a shitwreck hurricane it has been to build the human I am today! Acknowledging anxiety and depression, admitting to body dysmorphia, letting go of family 'mistakes' made this year, and I could finally breathe. (...I've heard that's good for you).
24. 'Cookie! Do you know I love the colour of my skin? I do, and why has it taken so long?! It's so dark and lovely. And my soul Cookie? Cookie, you know I've never stopped giving, I'm beautiful in that way, I've always known it would energise me Cooks. Cooks why didn't I listen to you, my deep burnt skin is beautiful! I know I don't look like a typical Lankan girl Cooks, but I am beautiful! and my body? shape? and my height? and my face? It's crish. Cookie, I want to be Crish... for the rest of my life! And for one thing Cooks, I never want to stop nourishing you with my love.' - October 2017
Zac, I've have just fallen in love with myself. I feel like I found a part of my heart I didn't even know I had lost. I feel great this year! I was in an industry I truly loved, making connections, realising my ability to reach out and remembering the little things (I see you James, 7.30am, loving the Santa Isabel filter from Guatemala, I've got you!) Being 'generous sunshine' and adding the goofy energy to teams... still getting shit done. Oh. So this is not how I'm meant to act? Well guess what? This how I'm running my life right now, or head to the sidelines. Sass and attitude was given left right and centre Zac, and oh, how you heard everything! My fire was burning, I let go of expectations, I embraced my individuality and have found ways to always come back to myself. And the best thing yet? As much as run around, as much as my work demolished my hours, the bundle of loved ones were never out of my sight. Zac, everything I do, and will do, is to one day make you and the others feel immense joy, warmth and love. After all, who am I without the guidance you've generously given to me?
Which brings me to 25, in a city I DREAMED of experiencing, and I told you this from the beginning. You said to 'give it 5 years', I scoffed and threw your spirit on the coat hanger. But here I am zac, standing, running, taking time off, celebrating... to only know what the next 5 will hold. Why does this just feel like the beginning of another marathon?
Zac, my soul loves you purely, unconditionally and deeply. Thank you for believing what I could be... from the minute you met me. I am beyond excited, for the both of us.
'So when I'm 30 Zac....' (and herreee. we. go.)