listening to disco (in the bath, my bedroom, everywhere)

i’m lying in the bath listening to ‘what’s a girl to do’ by fatima yamaha. my face is bleeding. i haven’t got a nose bleed, or anything else along those lines- i’ve just been picking at my chin; my cheeks. lately, i’ve been breaking out more than ever before. it’s because i’m stressed, anxious; constantly nervous in a way that i’ve never experienced. this year has been rough on my mental health in so many ways that i never thought possible, and my skin’s been showing it – no matter what time of the month it is, there’s a zit sneaking up somewhere, reminding me of how stressed i feel. even in the most mundane moments, i’m riddled with tension. i’ve been experiencing so much discomfort in my own space that it’s started appearing in physical ways – not just in my skin, but in a bunch of other ways, too. like what i’ve felt like listening to. all i’ve been listening to is disco. and funk, among other things.

i don’t know if my sudden interest in disco (and funk, and house music, and whatever else) has that much to do with my current mental health status. but i’ve been thinking about it a lot, and i’ve decided that it does, because i’m into this concept i’ve come up with. basically, for the last month, i’ve been filling every silence with grooves. i used to only listen to this kind of music when i felt like dancing – like, when i was about to go out with friends and we needed to warm ourselves up. but in my downtime i would always settle back down to quiet music – no matter what, i’d be coming home to joni’s ‘blue’ at the end of the night. but lately it’s not just been my downtime that i’ve started filling with grooves – it’s literally been every silence. i shower to maria kozic, i eat lunch to fonda rae, i fall asleep to duran duran. i can no longer deal with my own settled in, quiet time. i can’t wind down because i’m constantly looking up another website to stream hours of disco from (this page i scoured out here is good). it’s never ending. and i know that the way i’m describing all of this sounds like some sort of living-hell-experience with no silences, but i’ve found so much goodness in this. so, hear me out.

basically, i’ve been filling every silence because i’ve been afraid of being alone with myself – with my mental health all muddled up, i’ve been trying my best to keep the quiet as far away as i can, so i won’t have to listen to myself think. if i let myself think too long, i get stuck – reverberating between my own walls, i feel enclosed and confined by my own brain in a way that feels claustrophobic; like my sense of self starts threatening my real self. if i fill the silences, i can’t hear my sense of self speak – she gets drowned out, so instead, i can only focus on my real self: my physical self. this is the girl you’re seeing;  the girl you’re hearing as you’re reading this. she’s the girl you know, and the girl i’m trying to get to know again. it’s easier for me to get to know this girl again if i concentrate on my tangibility; my concrete identity. one of the best ways i’ve realised i can do this is through dancing. so in comes the disco.

dancing in your bedroom is one of the best ways you can learn to inhabit your own body again. i mean, i know i’ve been living in my body this whole time, regardless of where my mental health has been leading me – but when my insides feel like they’re in shambles, i start to feel a sense of disconnect between the whirlpool inside my head and what’s really going on, outside in the real world, beyond me. dancing has been one of the best ways i’ve realised i can reconnect with my physicality; the real world. it’s important to me that these reconnecting experiences take place in my bedroom, specifically, because it’s important that no one else is around to watch me have these moments. i mean, i know that dancing among friends is fun, but in order to re-inhabit myself in the right way, it needs to just be me. me, my bedroom, my disco, and my bad skin. it’s one of the only ways i’ve learnt to be alone with myself, and it’s so much fun. being alone is less frightening when fatima yamaha is keeping me company.

i’ve compiled a playlist of what i’ve been grooving to lately. i recommend you listen to it in your bedroom, with you and only you. listen in on 8tracks here.

all my love,



(PS. we’re compiling a video that will go with this post. it’s a homage to bedroom grooves – if you, or anyone you know, resonates with experiences of dancing alone, feel free to send a clip of you dancing to lucky star by madonna to – we’d love to see yr moves!)

girls talking about boys talking about girls




Well what colour are his eyes?
I don’t know he’s always wearing shades
Is he tall?
Well, I’ve got to look up.
Yeah? Well I hear he’s bad.
mm, he’s good bad, but he’s not evil.

i remember the first time i listened to the shangri-las, in the car with madz. that seemingly nonsensical statement “good bad, but not evil” resonating with both of us as we daydreamed about the good-bad boys we’d known.

when i first became friends with maddy, i was in a very, very long term relationship. the kind where you imagine your futures together and become a “we” instead of an “i”. this had been especially true for me, as i had been so wrapped up in my love for this boy that slowly, without noticing, i’d been erasing parts of myself that were all my own. i stopped writing, at some point. i never really noticed until i’d started again. maddy scooped me out of the comfortable little hole i had created for myself, and i can never thank her enough for it. for the first time in years, someone wanted to know me as an individual, and i was scared when i realised how little there was left of her, of me. that relationship ended and even though it was beyond painful , i still consider myself so lucky to have had a love that was so good and so strong.

it’s been a while now, and the three of us single gals started to spend a lot of time talking and thinking and dreaming about boys. men, really, but i think it speaks to the idealism and the nostalgia that was really driving us that we never said so. it was always about boys. boys who would be exciting but never mean. boys who would make us feel interesting and interested and care about the dumb things we cared about. i think having a friendship like ours means that once we voice our feelings about something and share them with each other, they grow. we feed each others thoughts and emotions till they become bigger than we expected. sometimes, this is like a superpower. when we pool our creativity it turns into something magical, something good. but with this, it became something a little toxic.

thinking about boy gave us something to look forward to. it meant more nights curling up and watching rom coms, more nights out dancing hoping to catch someone’s eye. for me, i thought it was the natural next step, it meant i was moving on. but the time i spent thinking about boys was time i spent once again neglecting myself. i was a teenager, still in school when my ex-boyfriend and i got together. i had never spent time alone with myself, the adult woman, and focusing my time and energy on crushes with my friends meant i wouldn’t have to. despite all the great things we’ve all been achieving the only achievement that mattered to us was finding The Boy.

one by one, we each began to feel the toll of this. i think the key thing we all realised, or that i certainly did, was that once i had found the elusive Boy, i had no idea what i wanted to do with him. when i gave myself the space to think about it, i knew i wasn’t at all ready to be a “we” again. so what was i even looking for? in so many ways my life is better than it has ever been. unlike when i was a kid, i no longer live in fear. i am surrounded by people who i love, and people who love me back in a beautiful, uncomplicated way. there’s no pain in these relationships. but in other ways, i feel like i’m drowning. i feel too loud in my own brain, like i don’t have enough creative output, i feel too smart or not smart enough, pretty but in a fuckable not loveable kinda way. finding The Boy was a way of deflecting the attention from all the parts of myself i wasn’t ready to deal with, and also hoping to find someone who would make them all seem okay.

realising what this was doing to us has meant that our conversations are once again interesting, dynamic and varied. it’s meant that madz is writing some of her best poetry i’ve ever read, and charlie is creating beautiful art and beautiful food just because she can. for me it’s meant learning how to make music and sounds, learning to put pen to paper without tearing up whatever i come up with.

there are still boys. they still make me feel fluttery in my stomach and we talk about that sometimes. but i approach them as aayushi, a person i think i’m happy to know.

all my love,


my shadow



anxiety has no concrete way of taking over you. when you feel like you’ve built a solid collection of ways to combat it, it’ll come up with an entirely new way of overtaking your entire being and unsettle every part of you.

i thought i’d successfully built up my defence against it. i thought i was ready and waiting. i’d written a list of what to do in a situation when the symptoms occurred. i knew all too well how it worked. how it builds up, paralysing my mind and body. and i knew exactly how to respond to this and what i needed to do to bring myself back to reality.

but, because it’s anxiety and it’s whole thing is to fuck you over it’s decided to take a new form. a new form of intense, mind altering panic. but i don’t know how to deal with it. i don’t have anything in my collection to help. it’s new and different and i’m not into it at all.

apparently my anxiety has decided to take on a new attack method. and it’s on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. i guess it decided the old way wasn’t efficient enough.

it’s called dissociation. everything closes off. mind, body, thoughts, feelings. everything feels entirely numb. you’re cut off from the world. when this happened it was so new to me i had no idea what was going on. i didn’t even notice it was happening. it felt unusual, but not like anxiety. i wasn’t able to recognise it, so i wasn’t able to use my defences like i usually would.


i suppose now i know, and i’ll be able to figure it out. but i’m not sure. the unfamiliarity made it even worse once i realised that something was happening to me. i had no idea what was going on at all. so i panicked. i don’t really understand how things can change so fast in your body as much as they did on this day. i guess i just don’t know enough about bodies. but it’s incredible how a feeling of being completely separate from the world and yourself as a physical person can change so intensely quickly to everything being overly within yourself. thoughts that won’t stop. locking onto them and not being able to shake them away. and the over-breathing and over-moving that go with the over-thinking.

it’s been a long time tackling this shadow in my brain, and i’ve always known it reacts to different things. and now i know it appears in different ways too. but i know this now. and knowing is going to help me build my collection of ways to deal with it this way too. at least that’s what i hope.

i know i’ll never be rid of it. it’s always been with me and it will always be. we were working together just fine, not great, but fine. another obstacle came inbetween us, but like any relationship, you just need to work out how to make it past that. it’s really hard. but now i think we’re beginning to get along better and we know what one another need. i think we’ll be okay.

all my love,


national parks: how to breathe better

the best kind of air is national park air. you’re surrounded by untouched flora, you’re protected by trees, you’re finally able to take in the quiet. the sound of traffic is at least thirty minutes away (at least in namadgi’s case), and you feel calm. a few weeks ago, we all needed a little bit of calm. so we went to namadgi national park. booroomba rocks, specifically.


booroomba rocks is my go-to bush walk. i’ve been coming out here since i was a kid – i was on this track the very first time i saw a brown snake; the first time i heard a lyrebird. i was here the first time i carved my name into a tree, and it’s still there today, tattered beneath flaking bark, amongst other names. as i got older, it continued to be a particularly significant space for me – i was here the first time i told a boy i was very genuinely, completely in love with him, and i’m still sure that the reason i had the guts to say that out loud was because of where i was. so now, booroomba rocks has become a safe place for me – whenever i’m feeling anxious, i’ll end up out here sooner or later. so when charlie, aayushi and i all needed a day to ourselves, we went here.



charlie packed a picnic, and aayushi brought her tarot cards. we sat at a picnic table and she cast a circle around us. it was cleansing and quiet and the air felt better than ever. we ate bananas, dates and other things i can’t remember. aayushi read my cards and told me what’s coming up for me, and i finally felt a little at ease about where i’m at right now.

we nearly lost the car keys and got trapped out there forever, but we felt fine about it – national parks kinda cast a bit of a spell on you. it’s something to do with the trees, the air, the earth, pushed altogether in this untouched, consuming kinda way. it makes you forget about the world that’s thirty minutes away, and forget that getting trapped out in the bush could probably (most likely) be a pretty sticky situation. it’s the best thing about the bush – especially in a place like canberra. it’s a little slice of calm that’s always in line of view, out by the mountains in the horizon. like a constant reassurance – even if you can’t make it out there right now, it’s always just in reach.

14303734_10153911291607896_1005337361_oall my love,