Laying and Lying in Paradise Isles

And here I was thinking we had finally made it. We were all grown up. And high school was over. But as someone close to me said recently… ‘High School is never really over. We just go grey.’

I feel like I have spent my twenties engulfed in numerous themes of exploration. When I was younger it was the idea of romantic love. The overspill of teenage passion crashing against the waves of adult commitment. This took up a lot of brain power and question time. Most of which were ‘Do I love them?’, ‘Do they love me?’.

That phase was catastrophically interrupted by the tidal wave that was (and always will be) the subject of Surviving Grief. Unfortunately my theme-change came on very suddenly and my mind took a dangerously drastic turn. All of a sudden I wasn’t so worried and about what makes a wife, I was petrified of what makes and preserves a life.

I was like a private investigator trying to uncover ‘cheats’ (if you will) to mend a broken heart. I was all wrapped up in the quick fix and examining behaviour patterns. My google search history was a long list of intricate questions. “How long until its okay to make a joke after a family member dies?”Tricks to prevent public crying.” “How do you become truly enlightened?”

Since then, numerous other themes have found their way into my life and dominated significant periods of time. Freedom vs Ambition. Independence and Responsibility. And more recently, thank heavens, finally, the Possibilities of Financial Investments.

These are the keep-you-up-at-nighters.

(I also spend a great deal amount of time thinking about my dog).

Early this year a new yet recognized theme landed in my lap. It has unfortunately has taken up more than its fair share of my time and sleep schedule. I have been supremely surprised by its reappearance and recurrence of late because, as I mentioned, high school is over. However this year, for the first time in a long time I found myself needing a refresher course on Friendship and Trust.

I am very lucky. I have a overwhelmingly magical group of friends. Many of which have known me from before I had braces and training bras. These people have saved me from myself, saved me from an inordinate amount of strangers whose worlds I thought I could brighten when in fact they didn’t really deserve our time, they have saved me from drunken embarrassment, loneliness, break-ups, make-ups, career let downs – they have covered me at work, in blankets and most of all, in love. However most of these people, don’t live in my home country. This is the double edged sword of having a heart that belongs in paradise and a mind that thrives on city stimulus.

Most of my friends are doctors, lawyers, public relation executives or business owners. I don’t think that is what makes us smart though. I think what makes us stronger and smarter as women and humans is our ability to question the world around us and in great detail (especially when drinking wine) ourselves. Honesty has always been a given. An unquestionable pact. We were never scared of the hard conversations. The confessions. The figuring it out. Those moments bear no fear in comparison to the ocean of misery that must be true loneliness.

millies birthday

This year, whilst re-establishing myself in my island home, I have obviously been meeting and re-meeting the people of my past and hopefully my future. I have been be-friending people all across the country. Much to my complete delight, there are plenty of magicians here too. Some true high-school graduates who have so much more to offer than a dimly lit ‘selfie’.

Much to my disappointment though, I have also found myself surrounded by people who haven’t yet freed themselves of the prison that is egotistical livelihood. They haven’t yet worked out that 100 facebook likes a friend does not make. They haven’t worked out that to be truly loved, you have to be true.

This does not make them bad people. This just makes them lonely.

I have been lied to and about, more times this year than possibly in my entire history. Worst and more confusing still, I have been lied to and about and then hugged and giggled to. This puts me in a very strange and unfamiliar position. If I hug back I am an enabler. If I walk away I am an abandoner. If I yell and demand better I am a controller. It really is a complex web that is completely exhausting.

Since I don’t have my hoard of queens around me everyday, reminding me to not worry about such people and my never ending endeavour to be the stars that helps steer their ship, I have found myself in so many pickles I could sell them in bulk to McDonalds.

The main theme of 2014 has unfortunately been, how do you show someone love if they don’t deserve it. How do you teach someone about trust if they refuse to earn it. How do you help turn someone else’s ship around when they refuse to see they are sinking.

And unfortunately I am being forced to realise, you don’t.

At the end of the day, and this year, I have chosen to remain what I know and have earned. I have chosen not to ignore the years of slowly learning to be honourable, just because others are still on their journey. I have chosen not to hand out free and feeble compliments if I do not genuinely mean them.

I have chosen not to go backwards just because that is sometimes the tide of the Fiji ocean.

The part that angers me the most is the space this untrusting and skeptical culture takes up in what is otherwise a sublime place. It is the fact that the people living and breathing this immaturity, make it an unattractive place for my peers to return to.

So maybe I am not playing by the rules of society here, by snubbing the displays of friendship that sacrifice the real thing.

But I would pick a passionate argument over a fake smile and a conversation of white lies any day of the week.

I used to think it was a given. However in a land of big fish and one very small (yet beautiful) pond, it appears that people are willing to settle for less. It appears that is what matters.

It appears. But it is far from real.

(And I don’t really dig it.)


chatting in paradise


  1. Raftwoman

    Truly beautiful writing Matisse. Struck some deep chords. When I was betrayed when 18 when trying to find my way in a new country with a very different culture by the one person I trusted to really be my friend, I was bereft. I burned all the poetry and diaries I had written from when I was 12 and decided to kill myself. I had it all worked out, was relieved I had made the decision. I did a clear up and tidy of all my stuff, and decided the time, place and method. First though, I would go with the family on the family holiday. I didn’t want to cause undue problems and stuff up travel plans my parents had.

    We went to Fiji.

    There an amazing young man, who stood tall and carried himself well, who moved like he knew who he was, who walked up to my family table and asked me to dance. We danced. The rest of the evening and the following evenings. And we talked and talked and talked for the next week. He took me to meet his mother at a beautiful spot just up the road and we snorkeled. And talked.

    From then on I knew that the betrayal had nothing to do with me or who I am.

    (He still remembers what I was wearing that first night, 38 years ago, by the way.)

  2. Gallivanta

    I always found Fiji complicated like that. It seems you are learning how to manage, by being true to yourself, even if it is a struggle sometimes. By the way, in my very late age, as in this year, I made it my mission to remove the word ‘deserve’ from my vocabulary. For me it is a divisive word that creates anguish so I am choosing to ignore it. It has helped my perspective. Unfortunately, the Government seems not to have heard my little protest; they still insist that there are deserving poor and undeserving poor. Our whole society seems to be divided in to those who deserve and those who do not. 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s