8 February 2006

'I am a Rock, I am an Island'

It snowed again yesterday so once again the ice blanketed the trees and water drip, drip, dripped off the powerlines as it quickly melted. Then whoosh…splat! as clumps of snow fell from roofs to the footpath. It didn’t last long, the snow.

I felt a dissatisfaction burning in me – something gnawing at my insides. A desire to flee, to move on, to go home, to do something; to not stagnate, to stop watching time pass me by, something, something…anything. I wear my existential angst like this season’s winter coat: easy to shrug off, but occasionally I like to stay wrapped in its cosy familiarity. And sometimes it’s good to ponder, to evaluate, to wonder what the fuck life is all about. What is the point? What is the meaning? What is the purpose? What are we doing here? We live, then we die. That’s it. We fulfill our basic biological needs and the rest is fluff – filler to occupy us while we avoid thinking about the inevitable. Some people don’t even get their basic needs met; their life is a real struggle, but surely their lives are more real. I live in a highly-consumeristic society, yet feel quite detached from it as it seems so futile. In the end, does it matter what we’ve achieved, how much we’ve earned, what we’ve accumulated?

Deciding to go for a wander around my favourite area, I jumped off the train at Shinjuku. I was still feeling restless as I walked the streets. I felt a yearning for something, but was not sure what would alleviate the empty ache and sense of alienation that comes when you realise that you are totally alone, even though surrounded by thousands of people. I’m not participating in life here, I’m merely observing it from the outside. I can’t read anything - I find the three alphabets baffling; I can’t understand what anyone around me says. Even when I speak with other English speakers, it can feel as though we’re speaking different languages as we just don’t get each other. I have to slow my speech down and hold back on that most baffling of things – the Aussie vernacular – in order to be understood.

I am completely alone. I now realise there is a limit to my self-sufficiency. I’ve always been highly independent and I keep drawing strength from the well, but its supply is finite – it needs to be replenished somehow. I’m just not sure I have what it takes to restock it after tapping its resources almost dry.

'And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.'

Update: Note that I used Paul Simon's lyrics, but I was actually listening to Albinoni's Adagio when I wrote this, so I totally blame him for the tone.


  1. Oh GG! I could so relate while reading your post. Sometimes, regardless of whether we understand the local lingo or not, we still feel like a bystander to life here in the big city. It is a plain fact that we whities will jsut never fit in, no matter how hard we try. I so know how you feel and am sorry that we couldnt catch up earlier in the week. As you may have guessed by my absence of posts, I was feeling a bit snowed under myself this past week. We must get together soon. hugs to you girl! NG

  2. Hey fellow whitey, thanks for your lovely comment. It's reassuring to know others go through it as well. Am over it now but it's like a freaking rollercoaster ride here. Hope you're ok and I'm sure we'll talk soon. x