Boundary

An intangible gift.

An intangible gift. Drawing Luke Hockley.

An intangible gift. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

My fear is that I sit just outside of really talented at anything.

That I’m ok.

Adequate.

While others are gifted and inspiring.

I am afraid that I am destined for a life of mediocre.

I’d really like to be able to see through this. To see this for what it is…

But what is it?

It is a desire to have a natural, technical gift and to have honed that gift to a point of excellence.

What would having this kind of gift mean? What do I think it would give me?

I want to say ‘recognition’, I want to put this desire down to a need to be liked, a need to be celebrated by others…validated, but that’s not it. That’s not what I feel when I think of having this kind of gift.

I feel ‘freedom’. I am searching for the ability to use this ‘gift’ to make things.

At the moment I have music in my head. The ability to create music. To sit at the piano and play and sing, to create something from nothing.

I think I do have a gift. It’s just not so tangible. Which confuses me, I think.

Insight.

I think I have an ability to look at something and see the fabric of beliefs and ideas and history and story that is making that thing be the way that it is.

Then, I respond to that fabric.

I draw on my creative skills, as they are, to question, to challenge, to reflect…to imagine something new in the hope that we can see the fabric and choose how we want it to look in the future.

It seems like such an intangible gift.

I don’t think that makes it less valuable.

There’s something else.

I’m a dedicated craftsperson. I love learning. I have an ability to hone my skills. Then, when I respond creatively to some insight I’ve had, I have the tools at the ready to create.

The other day, at the gym, a friend said to me they wished they had lean muscle, rather than the bulky kind. I laughed…because they have the kind of body that most people at the gym are desperately looking to have.

I laughed because humans tend to do this. Or, at least, I certainly do this.

I look at the world and find the opposite of what I have and decide that that, that thing that I am not, is the most desirable thing to be in the world.

That if I only had that, then I would be happier and more creative and more special and unique and…everything, you know?

This is crap, though.

Really, it is crap.

The people I admire become distinct and interesting and beautiful because they take exactly what they have and amplify that.

Spending energy on a desire to be something else is a way of avoiding doing the work it takes to amplify what I’ve got.

It may also be a way of avoiding taking the risk of being seen, really seen, for what I am.

This is where it comes back to external validation.

My experience is that people living in their ‘gift’, whatever that may be, are not liked by everyone. Being liked by everyone is impossible and unlikely. The pursuit of this dubious goals is also likely to induce a kind of ‘mediocre’ that stifles things.

The unconscious goal of being liked by everyone is incredibly unhelpful to me.

Accepting…no, embracing, that the stuff I make will appeal to the people it is meant to appeal to, that’s where the gold is.

It frees me up.

To use my gifts.

To do something.

Right.

Thanks.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,379

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What is fire?

What is fire? Drawing Luke Hockley.

What is fire? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

It burns.

Uncontainable unless it’s contained.

Painful if it hits the skin.

Mesmerising.

Seductive and comforting.

Terrifying.

Totally overwhelmingly terrifying.

Intense.

Wood become air.

How? How does it become air?

What is fire?

Love

Luke

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Day 1,356

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Escape.

Escape. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Escape. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Escape.

From my cliched writing.

Words that have been dribbled so many times.

By me.

By everyone.

Escape.

Myself and my view of things.

The impossible escape.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,344

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Some wood.

Some wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Some wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Some wood burns much hotter than other wood.

How would you ever know that?

Unless you had a wood fire that you relied on for your warmth.

The stringy bark kind of wood doesn’t burn that well.

Redgum is the ideal wood, apparently…but we don’t have that on our property.

We’ve got a wood called Redbox, and that's a keeper that one.

It’ll burn long and hot.

Which is very good for making a house full of visitors feel warm and cosy.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,279

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Sometimes it hurts.

Sometimes it hurts. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Sometimes it hurts. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Sometimes I wonder if I am up for managing the breadth and intensity of the ideas I have for changing the world.

I feel a bit like a ghostbuster who is trying to control one of those big streams of light without crossing the stream with anyone else.

I see what needs to be changed, I have a sense of what that might look like, I imagine a way that could happen, I throw it out into the world…and I try and manage the chaos of that as best I can, doing as little damage to myself and those around me.

But I don’t always succeed.

Sometimes it hurts.

Which makes me feel like pulling back and hiding.

And I don’t know what to do with all that.

Love

Luke  

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Day 1,274

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Gender neutral toilets.

Gender neutral toilets. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Gender neutral toilets. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

We had a story telling event at the studio the other day and, as part of the event, the toilets were set up as gender neutral.

This essentially meant a sign on the toilet doors that covered the “Male” and “Female” with “Gender Neutral – x cubicles, x urinals”.

This was my first time being involved with creating gender neutral toilets…so I had lots of questions (which I felt kind of shy to ask, but I did anyhow…)

It all boiled down to one question really…What’s the etiquette?

Well, as I’ve understood it, it goes like this…

Everyone is welcome to use whichever toilet they like, knowing that certain toilets have urinals. Which means if you use that toilet you are comfortable seeing someone standing at a urinal or being seen standing at a urinal.

This makes total, logical, sense.

I still found it surprisingly unnerving though.

Which makes no sense.

But that really goes to show how ‘gendered’ our lives are. From very little I’ve been taught that it is ok to go to the toilet with other men around, but not with women. And that there really aren’t any other options (genders) than that.

It also raises some uncomfortable questions for me.

Do I trust men to be in the same toilets as women?

How incredibly sad is that.

Oh my.

I left the gender-neutral toilets in place on the Monday and then for the Campfire that happened on the weekend. I’m very curious to know what others think about this.

Why do it? The benefits, of course, are specifically for people who don’t identify with this narrow male/female gender identity thing. Gender neutral toilets, as far as I can tell, are a way of being inclusive, a way of saying to everyone…we don’t need you to make some grand statement about how you define your gender just because you need to have a wee – that’s your business, tell us what you want to tell us when you want to tell us. If you just want to use the bathroom, these gender-neutral toilets allow you to do that, no questions.

I’m sure there’s more than that in it all. But that’s what I can see. I really like this idea, a lot. I’m aware that, like any change, it could make people feel uncomfortable. But we need a bit of that, don’t we?

Otherwise things stagnate and the patriarchy wins, right?

Love

Luke

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Day 1,273

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The thing I think I need to look at.

The thing I think I need to look at. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The thing I think I need to look at. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The thing I think I need to look at is not necessarily the thing I need to look at.

Because sometimes looking very hard at the thing I think I need to look at is just a way for me to get better at worrying about the thing I think I need to look at.

At these times, I’ve learnt, the healthiest thing to do is to look at something else. Almost anything else will do.

Then the thing I think I need to look at can have a bit of time outside the spotlight to sort itself out and work out whether it really, actually, needs to be looked at.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,271

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A walk along the creek.

A walk along the creek. Drawing Luke Hockley

A walk along the creek. Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

I went for a walk yesterday along Merri creek with a dear friend of mine.

We had some things to talk about, which we did.

There was a moment where we stood under a bridge and played with how the sound reverberated off the massive bluestone arch.

This incidental, childlike playfulness is the stuff of magic.

When these experiences are missing, when a friendship becomes purely about some project or outcome or a working relationship…or much worse when it becomes just about working out conflict or having difficult conversations, then the relationship lacks the reserves to keep itself going.

I find it can be so easy to let these things slip, or not make the time and space for them to happen. They seem like ‘nothing time’, finding time to be bored together so that something light and curious emerges.

In my experience these spaces are where friendship is built.

Which is the most important time of all.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,261

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Boredom is like anger.

Boredom is like anger. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Boredom is like anger. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The boring bits are the hardest part.

When I am making something it’s easy to do the exciting, interesting, fun bits.

The bits where it feels like something is happening, or at least it feels like I am making progress…or even when there is some great struggle to be had.

The in-between bits, that’s what gets me.

It’s hard to see that any of the effort is worth it when I am bored and nothing much seems to be happening.

I suppose boredom is hard to interpret in a creative process.

Does it mean things aren’t working and that it is time to change something? Or are things about to all click into place and something amazing is about to happen?

I feel like boredom is like anger. It is an emotion that is a front for something else altogether.

But what, I wonder?

Restless, shifting, in transition, searching, uncertain, curious, contemplative.

Yes, I’m wondering what’s next.

I think that’s it.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,232

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I can’t believe I’m back here.

I can’t believe I’m back here. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I can’t believe I’m back here. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m concerned that I have started repeating the same letters to you.

I sit down to write and when I think of what I’d like to write I often think…

“Oh, that again…I can’t believe I’m back here.”

It’s one of the more disconcerting things about this daily project.

There’s nowhere for me to hide from myself.

Here I am. Every day. Checking in.

I see patterns in myself much more clearly than I might have.

But also, sometimes I’m still lost in those patterns and can’t see any rhyme or reason to them.

I know they are repeating. I know I am back at some familiar and uncomfortable place…but don’t know exactly how I got here and what might help me get out of here.

I guess I have some more clues. I have a broader sense of what is going on. It has been about 3 years now of daily writing and it just surprises me that I am still repeating the same things with only a little bit of extra insight.

Shouldn’t I have myself all figured out by now?

Ha!

When I see that written down I get how that sounds.

Being a human is a complex, long term project.

That’s it.

That’s just how it is.

Strangely I find some comfort in that.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,225

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.