Some days this Cracked City feels like a lush, fertile, tree bulging with ripe, vibrant, fruit just ready for the taking. You want to grab at it. Share it. Enjoy it. The more you pick the more that grows.
Other days this Cracked City is a sad, dried up, brittle, skeletal twig in a pot that you hope if you send #hopesandprayers to and toss a ton of water onto, it might come back to life, but the grim reality is that it died years ago. It takes and takes all of your time, energy and resources, but in the end refuses to give anything back. You feel that you should quit trying to achieve the impossible and give up. Get yourself a new plant. Buy a plump lil cactus. They’re hardy.
Some days the city feels limitless. Anyone can have an idea, start it anywhere, at anytime, and thrive in their own unconventional, original, way. Anything is possible. There are no rules. Fresh, unknown, underdog talent has a chance for what feels like the first time ever. That nowadays, finally, we’re all equal.
Other days it’s the same old jobs for the same old boys from the same old money. They ask you what school you went to and you see their eyes glaze over when you tell them. Too late. The shutters have gone down. They are closed for business. Closed to you. Go back. Go away.
Some days the empty lots scattered all through town are wide open, sunny, bordered by art. You look across them, into the horizon of the CBD, and all you can see is growth, hope, a bright new thing appears every week. Those spaces are here, waiting for you, hungry for your ideas and vision.
Other days the empty lots are grey and uneven wastelands, littered with glass shards, brown stagnent puddles, used condoms and DANGER tape. You try to cross over towards to the new things. But you trip, twist your ankle, fall, graze your knees. So you call an Uber and go home to bed.
Some days there are friends and warm smiles waiting to be encountered on every corner. With them they bring fun, adventure, acceptance, love, kindness and generosity. Yes this city is small. But it contains everyone and everything you could ever need.
Other days there is nothing but old white men called Gary in their ill-fitting suits, cringeworthy-old-tinder dates, the too-cool-for-school-cliques and those mutual acquaintances that you’d rather crawl across that glass-strewn, gravel parking lot, to avoid. This city is now painfully too small and there is nowhere to hide.
Some days I love this Cracked City with every fibre of my being. I am proud. I am inspired. I am hopeful. I am resilient. I am passionate. I could write you 5,000 words in a heartbeat on every tiny detail, place and person that I love. I’d never leave, not ever, because I still have so much to give. And I know, I just know, it’s still got so much to give me. We’ve only just begun, baby!
Other days I hate this Cracked City with every fibre of my being. I resent all it has taken from me, form you, from us – the people we loved, years of our life, places of our childhoods, memories it stole. The fear and the tears, the anxiety and the grief. The triggered trauma every time you hear a siren, or see a billow of smoke. The broken shit still everywhere and endless fucking disruptions we still have to deal with every day. The way we have to apologise, justify, and explain our place, situation, our progress to outsiders. How we’ll always be That Place. How tired we all are. So very tired.
Those horrible days drain me of every bit of passion and drive I have. I want to pack everything up and flee to somewhere where life is ‘normal’. Where we don’t have to explain, struggle and fight about everything. Somewhere just to BE.
I scroll the job pages and house listings in other places. Where to today? Auckland? Sydney? London? Paris? I picture myself there. I look good there. I know I’ll do well. I know there’s a new life awaiting. It could be mine.
But then what would I do? What would I fight for?
The answer is nothing. Cos every day life shouldn’t always need to be a fight. We have forgotten that. We have forgotten what ‘normal’ is. This makes me angry.
I go to sleep and the next day all that frustration is all still there except that in the light of day, that idea of leaving just feels like letting THEM win. That is what THEY want.
The bureaucrats, the red tape makers, the old-boys with their old-money, who just want it to be 1978 again. They want us to go away. To shut up. To take our mess, quirk, empty pockets, annoying enthusiasm and commercially unconventional, ideas away. To leave them to it.
We don’t fit in their boxes. Their idea of life. And to people like that, if you’re not one of them, then you’re nothing all.
We could shut up. We could go away. But that would be too easy.
I figure that we haven’t stuck around for this long, through those hardest years, to just give up now.
I know that, yes, I might feel defeated today. But I also know that when I go out tonight, I’ll see something new, explore something amazing, hear something inspiring, that will make me smile, fill my heart, and I’ll remember the good and the WHY. Then that flame will burn again.
Besides, if we don’t fight, then who will? This is our Cracked City too.
We are weeds.
Weeds are strong.
Weeds thrive between the cracks.
Weeds overgrow the pristine ornamentals.
Weeds have the power to take over.
Our day will come.