In the past several weeks I’ve given a lot of thought to reinvention. This is, in no small part, due to the fact that I’m trying to completely reinvent myself as a woman, friend, potential lover, and as a participator on this weird, spinning ball.

When faced with the unthinkable I’ve decided to embrace change and become better at everything.

It’s Spring. Birds are getting busy in trees and pastel-colored, pretty things are growing. Girls wear short skirts and pink lipstick smiles. Sex and sparkles scent the air.

Earlier this year my life exploded into a million shards of glittering, fragmented glass when the person I have dedicated the last few years to nurturing and loving left me and turned himself to stone. It was an almost unbearable shock. I wept and buckled, I careened into walls, I fell. Now, almost three months later, while still grieving, it’s time to dust myself off and emerge from the ashes. Shit, it’s time to chop those ashes into one long sooty line and inhale them through a rolled up hunji.

Phoenix, I am.

The trauma of loss forces Self under a microscope. This is a good thing. In the laboratory of post-love introspection I’ve come to several illuminating conclusions about my character, experimented with ways to reprogram it, and determined that anything is possible.

It’s no secret that I’ve been a temperamental bitch for most of my life. Only-child spoils and a sense of entitlement have taken decades to smooth over and grind down into some semblance of humility and connectivity with other humans. It’s taken my own lifetime thus far to shake the feeling that the entire world revolves around me, even though, on occasions, I know it still does. If I’m not careful, ever vigilant, my sense of entitlement, coupled with a massive dose of judgment, and, more often than not, a solid and unhealthy incomprehension of life when things are not going my way, can lead me astray. I am programmed to stomp my foot and throw a massive tantrum if my expectations are not reached.

Until recently I was not aware of just how badly I was failing at keeping my inner-monster at bay.

Like all of us, I have my dark stuff. My things to work on and improve. For the last few years I’ve complained bitterly about the city I live in, the weather, the poverty, the filth, the grime. I’ve felt lonely and blamed everyone else for the reasons I was discontent. I’ve demanded and pushed for alternatives without allowing myself to find beauty around me. I’ve constantly craved something different without allowing myself to see how truly lucky I already am.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fucking awesome and I know it. I’m kind, I’m loving, I’m thoughtful and considerate. I care about people and stick up for underdogs. I confront things head on and will work and work and work on something until it’s completed. I am not a quitter. I’m smart and funny and creative and supportive. I am determined to love and evolve. I’m filled with passion and lust and excitement and a willingness to dream. I nurture people. I cook for them and care for them and play good little wifey. I’m a little bit kinky and a lot naughty. I’m still pretty. No, fuck that, I’m a fox.

Yay me.

It all counts for nothing when the person you love walks out the door.

It’s my solid belief that we’re all fucked-up quite deeply. Life and relationships are hard, but, if you’re lucky, you find someone, in all this craziness, whose fucked-upedness is something you can work with. Someone who’s fucked-up in a way you can live with and laugh at. I found that person. I loved him absolutely. His fucked-upedness was difficult and annoying and frustrating and sometimes made me want to throttle him, but I would never have walked away. I recognized his potential to grow around those few aspects of himself that weren’t always beautiful. I recognized our ability to be incredible partners and to help each other heal the holes we both had. God knows that through being together we were certainly able to see those holes. We triggered the stuff in each other that required work. To me that was a precious gift. I was committed to him. I had found my person. My partner in crime.

Not so for him.

And so, alone, I venture forth into a new era. Determined to combat the parts of me that I think need growth. I tackle new adventures. I give myself routines. I work hard and see results.

I wake up in the morning and practice “mouth yoga”, quite simply, I smile. I get up and write three pages of stream of consciousness rubbish and drink a perfect cup of tea. I do fifty kettle bell swings, some Bosu ball crunches, stretch and wonder at my new six pack (seriously). I read a daily meditation and either feel inspired or slightly annoyed at the cheesy vibe (this is still a process). I leave the house feeling accomplished and walk to work seeking out beautiful things along the way. I send happy thoughts out to passersby (“I hope you get laid tonight”, “I hope you find what you’ve been looking for”, “I hope you feel loved today”). At work I practice kindness and compassion even in the midst of all the madness. I do not let stress take over. If things get weird I remind myself that I am loved, lovable, successful, creative, a positive force in the world, a good boss, a great friend, a writer, a lover and a person deserving of incredible things. After work I swing kettlebell’s or go to therapy or acupuncture or a friends house or on an adventure. In bed I write down at least five things I am grateful for from the day and go online and fill in my daily positivity test. I go to sleep and try, every time you think of him, to send him kindness and love. On weekends I’m enrolled in Tango classes, Aerial Arts at the Circus School and am considering salsa, boxing and Capoiera. I’m becoming Super Activity Woman. My body hurts, my heart hurts, but I am very much alive. For a girl who once spent two years in a fetal position with clinical depression this is no mean feat.

In the past twelve weeks I’ve gone from a person who tends to look on the more pessimistic side of life to a person who celebrates the good stuff. I find myself looking for beauty. When I feel my demons rise I know to calm myself and find something in the present to inspire me: sunlight reflecting on a window, a flower in the breeze. My online positivity test has risen from below a 0.5 to 2.5 (out of 3). Stranger yet is the physical shift in my body. Even in the face of tremendous grief and emotional tumult my body is healing itself. For over two years I’ve limped and cringed with knee and foot pain. Not any more. I’m almost pain free.

Wishes do come true.

If those wishes counted for something I’d get time to do it all over. There’s nothing I’d love more than to be able to take these new tools and work towards building an incredible future with the person I love. But it’s an impossible and improbable dream.

He’s gone and I’m growing without him. There’s no going back.

Life goes on and it’s still beautiful. I’m busy filling my life with people and new experiences and have fallen in love with the city I used to hate. The fog is less oppressive and the omnipresent filth and grime look charming in the right light. Something deep and dark has shifted.

Without this break-up I cannot say I believe it would have happened.

It’s an interesting time.

 

Here, turn your volume up:

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

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ZOE BROCK was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. She has lived in more cities and on more continents than she can count (truly, she's a model and can't count) and is currently residing in the deep fog of San Francisco. Her true home lies on the dusty plains of Burning Man where she feels safe and challenged and truly alive. Zoë once had a very popular blog on MySpace and writes everything from awful poetry to truly delicious dark satire, and all sorts of sexy things in between. She has appeared on the cover of Elle magazine, inside the pages of Vogue, Cosmo and Marie Claire, to name a few, and is working on her memoir, an expose of 'growing up model'. Zoë is also a certified yoga teacher. Yes, that means she's bendy.

23 responses to “Positively Weird & Wonderful”

  1. More mouth yoga.
    Air kisses.
    xx

  2. Brad Listi says:

    You’re a fighter, Zöe. Good on ya.

    It’s the hero’s way to go.

    Also: Is San Francisco really that dirty?

    • Zoe Brock says:

      yes. this place is scungey. there’s moss growing on the trash, that’s how long it sits there.

      and more homeless than you could poke a stick at (which you shouldn’t because it would be rude). I tried to pee in a park the other night, out of necessity, and couldn’t find any privacy… too many poor bastards asleep under the tree’s.

  3. I honestly thought I was the only person who did that vibe-sending to strangers. I mostly do it when I see someone in a great mood and want to send bounce back some of the positivity they’re sending out back at them, or when one-half of a couple is asleep on the other on the last tube home (one of my unable-to-resist ‘aww’ moments). Maybe it’s a becoming-enlightened-only-child trait…

  4. Michael Garwood says:

    SUGOI! I see you! It’s been nearly five years since my first glimpse into the thoughts that are your words Miss Brock and it is so very refreshing to have you back on my screen to experience you again. With your absence my commenting skills have gone away. Though now I can feel them slowly returning and once again I think I will be on the verge of something epic. Miss Zoe, you and Listi got my attention with your writing and you both inspired me to tap these keys in the hope that I could obtain the mondo level of skill you both have with the English language.
    Life is a crazy thing for me being a full time traveling gypsy. For the last eight years I’ve been living out of a suitcase bouncing around the States, China, and Japan like I’ve got bowling balls for pants. My days off are filled with meeting all kinds of interesting people in my pub crawls around the cities I explore. Were you aware that I and Mister George London met up at a pub in NYC a few years back via the MySpace world that we were a part of then? If I make it to his neck of the woods in the future I’m going to have to look him up again and if I make it to California I’ll put an invitation out to you to do the same.
    Keep on KICKING ASS on your laptop! I’m going to go down to the pub and get me some Guinness and maybe find some eclectic persons to talk too about the interesting time that we all live in. Cheers!

    • zoebee says:

      stuntman time!

      you’re a gracious and charming mad man, Mike. Completely bonkers and I wouldn’t have you any other way. Don’t go changing… and I too hope to share a tequila with you one day. xx

    • One of my MySpace meetings that went without photographic proof. Was great to meet you Mike, and you’d better say hi if you’re here! Hope all good with you and your travels. Hope the hot air is the best kind and the thermals rise up to meet you!

  5. Esther Sanchez says:

    I’ll teach you how to salsa, Silly.
    xoxo

  6. Zara Potts says:

    Dearest Z,
    You are a total fox.
    I’m so sorry that you are having to go through this sometimes eviscerating process. I have been working myself through that same godawful dark tunnel for the past two years and it’s been shithouse. BUT you are absolutely right when you say that without the breakup the new found self awareness wouldn’t have come. I know that all the pain and grief of my relationship break up was completely worth it because now I find myself to be a much kinder, creative, happier person and without the pain of loss I would never have started writing, would never have seen my own possibility, would never have nurtured and loved myself as I do now.
    It’s going to take time, my love. You will have good days and bad but you will come through this as a much brighter, shinier, lovelier phoenix.
    And you will fly.
    xxx

    • zoebee says:

      It must be a zee thing.

      You’re a fox too, my dear.

      Oh how I wish you were closer. I’m so stoked you’ve joined the tnb family. what a great thing to come out of a shitty relationship/bust up.

      THERE IS A GOD!?

      nah. there isn’t. but I’m awfully glad you’re here. xox

  7. Andrew Watt says:

    Yay you!

  8. dwoz says:

    Amazing how easy it is to slip into darkness, one tiny moment at a time.

    That being said, I really thought I was going to lose my lunch with all the treacly blessings of positive goodness and bright.

    Where’s my BUCKET!!!!????

    🙂

    sorry for the emoticon. I’ve been told that I can be misinterpreted at times.

    You seem to be starting to doubt the zoebeecentric model of the universe…that it somehow is not supported by sound, competent science. What a mistake that would be. yes, the world DOES follow an eccentric orbit.

    z

    • Zoe Brock says:

      well it’s a good thing I didn’t write it for you, then!

      I’m doubting nothing… just loving more and hating less. It feels good.

      Here, borrow my bucket… but it needs cleaning first.

      • dwoz says:

        no actual need for the bucket…I’m sort of climbing on that train too, as it happens. There is too much good around us to even hope to catalog. Amazing, really.

  9. Another beautiful piece that, from what I can see, brings you more than halfway to where you want to be. Really, those ashes didn’t stand a chance.

  10. eden rountree collins says:

    Wow Zoe.
    It is interesting to read your honesty, growth, and humility.
    Did not know you had it in you.

  11. Joe Daly says:

    Zoe-

    I love that you throw your dirty laundry onto the table with all the zazzy and flowery stuff. That’s the kind of honesty that makes people root for you, I being one of them. But you don’t really need (wait- I just remembered what “root” means Down Under… sorry) a cheering squad- sounds like you’re taking a look at what’s in your toolbox and trying out some new solutions. That fucking rocks.

    Breakups blow. Like all soul-kicking experiences, the worse they are, the deeper our self-reflection. I feel bad for the people who turn their energies outwards, at other people, rather than use the time to do a little house cleaning and get rid of the shit that’s not working for them. Keep on keepin’ on!

    Btw- I really dig SF. It’s really all that crimey? Hmmm… recalling my last visit there, yeah, I’d say it is. If it makes you feel any better, we’re still getting crushed here in San Diego. It’s down in the fifties right now. Are you effing kidding me, God?

  12. Erin says:

    I am about to go through a divorce that is just like this. We triggered issues in each other, but I thought we fit together. He’s turned into a stone, a stranger. Thank you, Zoe, for posting this.

  13. Simon Smithson says:

    Good! Keep it the fuck up. It’s no sin to approach the world in ways you’d rather not if you’re unaware of it; all of us have to make our progress and see what it is we want to change about ourselves, and the only way that works (and it’s a stupid, stupid way, don’t get me wrong) a lot of the time is by stepping right in it.

    But when that spark ignites… make sure you keep it burning! Pile wood and paper on top of it, kerosene and dynamite and say ‘Hey everyone! Come look at this! I’m building this giant fire, feel free to throw as much kindling on as you can!’

    And if some fuck comes along with a bucket of cold water… kick him in the nuts.