Tag Archives: suffering

Melbourne | Loss and love at Bourke Street Mall

imageI haven’t posted in a while. I’ll be honest and say I’ve just been working so much and haven’t had time to sit and write, but it’s not just that, I’ve lost my motivation a bit lately. While my life is almost full to bursting with exciting stories to tell, I’d kind of hit a wall with inspiration. It happens every now and again, life gets busy and gets in the way of writing, but when it happens I don’t try and fight it because I know that I’ll always regain my mojo in the end, it just takes time. You can’t force yourself to be inspired and to write beautiful things, it comes naturally or not at all. While I was struggling to express the beautiful sides of life through this blog, something awful happened, something painful and sad and devastating. I may have been struggling with the words to express the happier situations in my life, but once I started typing my feelings of anger and hurt at the dangerous assault on my favourite city and it’s people last week, the words just wouldn’t stop.

For those who don’t know what happened, on Friday five people including a baby boy died in a horrific incident in Melbourne’s busiest shopping centre. A man went on a rampage around the city after allegedly stabbing his brother, mowing people down with his car and leaving 31 people in hospital. For those who were around the shopping centre at the time – including myself and several friends of mine – it was a scary, confusing and devastating experience. I was just about to start work and was walking past the incident as around 20-30 police cars went tearing along the tramlines in the pedestrianised areas to try and stop the man. Police helicopters were circling and police were screaming at onlookers to get away as quickly as possible. Luckily I worked nearby so I could find shelter in the hotel, at this point we had no idea what had happened with vague reports of a shooting/stabbing and a lot of misinformation. My first fear when I saw the police reaction was that it could be a bomb or some kind of terrorist attack, lack of information put this fear straight into my mind.

But I don’t want to dwell too much on what happened, instead I want to focus on what really horrified me that day. While the man’s actions were terrifying and have left the whole city unnerved, it was the actions of the onlookers that really showed me a dark side of humanity. As I ran up the street towards work I was dodging between people who preferred to stand on their phones recording every second of the incident, ignoring police advice to move to safety and choosing instead to share it on social media. A friend of mine was right in the middle of the incident and dived straight into help the injured people – he was brave and selfless in that moment, ending up covered in blood and just grateful he could help stop the bleeding from a man’s head injury. He was kind and patient despite his fears for his own safety and I find that incredibly inspiring. As with all the people who stepped up and helped save lives or to protect their fellow man that day – the ones who stopped and cared. My friend has since received word that the man he helped is safe and recovering in hospital.imageBut less inspiring was the man who stood right behind my friend and videoed the whole thing – instead of helping to stop the bleeding and to tend to those who were seriously injured he preferred to stand there and capture what was happening. I know we live in a modern age where camera phones open up the world to all of us to be the journalists and to share every bit of news at a flick of a button. But just as I always felt uncomfortable reporting the news from a desperate situation when I felt I could be helping to ease the pain and suffering of others, I find it disgusting that people would prioritise social media sharing and Snapchatting attacks on mankind over helping to save lives. Have we really reached a point where sharing an experience is more important that protecting a human life? While this experience may have inspired me to write about my anger and pain, I still don’t see how sharing it could ever be more important than protecting lives. Since Friday, countless people have flocked to Bourke Street Mall to lay flowers and messages of strength, love and compassion. This really makes you see the other side of humanity – the warmth that helps the world to move on and heal after such an incident.

It’s times like these when people need to put down their smart phones and to come together, because that’s what is really important. The love you feel from the other side of the world when friends and family message to check you are okay, the love you share when your best friend’s safety is your first thought as an incident happens, the love you feel from co-workers who rant and cry and understand the pain of others. It’s so easy to get caught up in the modern world we live in and to forget to break it down to the most basic and most important things – those around us who make our lives worth living, those individuals whose lives and presence we treasure more than anything. After hearing about the death of a Lynn legend – Juggling Jim – back at home, it shows more than ever the love for this character. The outpourings of sadness on social media at his death, he brought light into the lives of others and will be sadly missed. His spot on Lynn High Street will never be filled and his memory will be treasured.

image7-1-1

Drowning in a tea cup

Photo by Max Charping

Photo by Max Charping

Life got just a bit out of control recently. A lot has been happening, too much to deal with really so my response was to stop blogging, because quite simply, I didn’t know how on earth to put it all into words. It’s very rare for me to be speechless, or for anything to put my life on hold, but the shock of everything really did just stop me in my tracks. The shock hasn’t completely worn off yet and things are far from settled, but I’ve missed blogging and I didn’t want all my hard work in creating this little world to go to waste, so here I am.

I’m sure all of us have felt overwhelmed by life at times, I know that I have, I just try not to let it take over and start making plans to deal with things. I’m an organiser, someone who deals with a situation and moves on quickly by finding a solution. It’s just the way I am programmed. So it’s been hard the last two weeks to have my emotions up the wall and feel so scattered – I’ve been getting annoyed at myself for moping around. But when those feelings engulf you, it is very hard to see a way out. I know you all know what I am talking about – if you have ever experienced any real pain or suffering in your life, whether you’ve been bullied, lost a loved one or been through a bad break-up. All of these are devastating and turn our lives from the steady and calm waters to stormy tidal waves that rock the boat we once thought was so safe.

It is so easy to get caught up in our everyday lives, with work and relationships, and to let them seem like greater problems than they actually are. We are all guilty of letting a bad situation take over at times, some react by letting it plunge them into depression and others throw themselves into work and other matters to take their minds off it. Normally I am the latter, I throw myself into anything else in order to deal with the problem and move on, but this time things just caught me by surprise and I started to feel like I was drowning in a tea cup.

You might be thinking at this point “what a depressing post, get over it love”, and I am, trust me. But what really helped me was a heavy dose of perspective. It is important, when you start to feel like this, to take a step back from the situation, which can be the most difficult thing. But taking a deep breath and taking everything into account can really make a difference to the way you view things. My perspective came in the form of a terminally ill man who I had written stories about over the past year after he was given a shock diagnosis of a brain tumour and only 18 months to live. He died at the weekend, but only after squeezing every tiny bit of beauty and fun out of life. Writing his tribute was the hardest thing after seeing him so full of beans only a matter of months ago, but it helped to know that I was doing my bit to help the family to come to terms with things.

Something else that has helped me get a grip on things was hearing, from someone I highly respect and have learnt a lot from, that I am an example that he uses of “someone who will go very far”. We had a chat that led to him telling me this and giving me some interesting career advice that has certainly influenced some of the big decisions I’ve been making lately. It was great to be told from someone who is such an expert in their field and has so much experience that he agrees with my plans for the future and encourages them. Definitely gave me the boost I needed to firm up these plans and to make the first move.

I just want to highlight the importance of saying things like this to people we work with, people we have relationships with, our friends and families and anyone we come across in life. It really can make all the difference to share a positive and constructive opinion on peoples’ work and careers. When we put so much time and effort into things, it is important to reward this with praise and encouragement because it could give them the push they really need to make their next move. Don’t be loose with false praise because that benefits no-one and only hurts you in the long run when you have to explain people’s failings as a result of these words. But kind words and support when you can see the hard work that has gone in, that can mean a lot to us twenty-something’s and graduates who are working our way up the career ladder.

If you ever feel like the walls are closing in and you’re taking on water at the same time, like it’s all just getting a bit too much for you – try taking a step back. Speak to people, my friends have been a saviour to me the last two weeks and I don’t know what I would have done without them. Talking about it all also helps get a grip on the situation and to work out your next move. Don’t just go into a black hole of despair and suffer alone – I nearly did and it made things even worse. What are friends for at the end of the day?

Photo by Jill Justus

Photo by Jill Justus

Have you been in a difficult situation lately – what did you do to find a solution and reach the other side?