Between Places

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By Matcho Makata

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This piece was written as part of the blog series ‘My Mind, My Story’ for Mental Health Month 2021. Reflections are by mindshare writers with lived experience of mental health challenges. Content may contain triggering themes.

I think about home… I think about going home. 

I think about outside. I think about what others think I’m doing outside. I think about what others inside think about me… 

I think about the heaviness of anxiety. I think about the effects of living between places, of being between places. I think about home and how I am not from there anymore. I think about the ones that held me…and the ones that threw me away.  

I think about how I am going to eat today. I think about begging. I think about the stress of not having enough. I think about the free meals at the salvos, the free stuff on Facebook marketplace. I think about how many people contact between trades. 

I think about the radius limits and gated communities. I think about the radicals, those that oppose the system… Protesting against the mission of the government placed restrictions. 

I think about those that have the luxury to isolate. I think about the unhomed people and drifters and the hostels and the hospitals. I think about the policemen and the fines and the scrutiny. I think about the renters juggling the homeowners and everyone suffering. 

I think about me. And I think… no one could understand what I think is essential and what I need to do.

I’ve recently moved away from home hoping to settle amongst the opportunity capital and become a great cultural arts leader and not just a volunteer – show them what I’m made out of and grow in a place of discomfort and grind, while being a server at a bar; shaking tins for cocktails at night, then in the evening shaking tins for spray paints at dawn, praying I make a way into the world and pave a path with a sense of self, purpose, and good health. 

But the bar isn’t open and gate keepers are holding me at bay with creative productions and almost every expression of interest feels pointless… but I must apply. I must push these boundaries. Until they realise why I am who I am – bringing out what needs to be heard, what needs to be read. 

I take a tablet of St. John’s Wart with my zinc after a coffee, after my run around the park. I am improving my life everyday. 

I think about the masks and the sanitisers. I think about how they cover up my face, and my identity is erased from the perception of an onlooker’s gaze. I think about how everything has changed. I think about the times I was locked up and how this doesn’t feel that much different. 

I think about those outside now. I think about what they think about me being inside. I think about whether they think I’m judging them from this fortress of solitude. 

But that’s the last thing I worry about… 

I think about those that need to be outside and how they think of home. I think about how they think their homes have changed – how home is different without them, how everything will be unrecognisable if they can ever go back there, and how they may feel that they are not from there anymore.

***

With the combined impacts of COVID-19 and the many wars across the globe, multicultural communities in Australia are experiencing overwhelming grief and sorrow. It is more important than ever that all South Australians practice kindness and empathy, and offer support where they can.

This might look like volunteering time on activities that will make a difference, cooking meals for neighbours who need support, or simply listening without judgement when someone opens up. 

Services are also available for those in distress. Are you from a multicultural background? Feeling stressed, worried, or lonely? You are not alone. 

You can call and speak directly to a PEACE worker (not through reception) on 08 8245 8110 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm or email askpeace@rasa.org.au. They will listen to you, respect your culture, and can talk to you in your language (or arrange an interpreter). If you call PEACE outside working hours, you can leave a message and a worker will get back to you the earliest they are in the office.

 

1 Comment

  1. Ben-Hur Winter on 22/09/2021 at 12:40 pm

    Beautiful words of inspiration during these challenging times.

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