Looking Towards Clovelly

Looking across towards Clovelly Beach at sunset.

Under a clear sky
I search for answers;
None come,
Only memories

This is a photo from my archives. I don’t think I’ve shared it before on the blog, just on Facebook and Flickr, so it should be new to most people.

I had meant to post something else today but I’ve had a hard week. Last night was three years since my father’s suicide attempt and I’ve been finding it quite difficult. It’s basically been three years of hell and while I keep thinking it will get easier, it never does. Maybe it never will.

One of my friends suggested that I use photography to try and focus on something positive today and so, as I didn’t feel up to getting out to take any photos, I decided to look back through my archives instead. Which is when I came across this.

It’s from back in late 2012 and it’s one of my favourite photos. Perhaps it’s the water or the light but I have always found it very peaceful and calming and I often come back to it when I am having a bad day.

I also find it quite positive as no matter what I am feeling, it always reminds me that the sun will rise the next day.

I took it on a walk, looking back towards Clovelly Beach, and looking at it I can still hear the wind roaring around me and the seagulls calling and breathe in the rich smell of the ocean.

People often ask me if I miss Sydney since moving to Newcastle. The answer is yes and no. I don’t miss the noise and the traffic etc but I do miss my friends and the culture and beautiful scenes like this most of all.

This was the Sydney I loved, the Sydney I was heartbroken to have to leave just a few months after taking this, when everything fell apart.

Interestingly my father was with me at the time I took the photo. I feel like that was one of the last real moments we shared together, before he disappeared behind the mask of someone I didn’t recognise.

Mental illness is a terrible thing but I think one of the things that doesn’t get talked about as much is how it impacts the people around them. How families suffer watching the person they love transform into someone else; how they can suffer horrible abuse but have to endure it because they are not the priority; how their lives are interrupted too and are never the same again.

Families and friends are the silent victims of mental illness. I just wish they received more attention and understanding. I know it would have made a huge difference for my mother and I and helped us in recognising that what we were experiencing was not acceptable and that we weren’t alone.

I hope you like the photo and the haiqua and that perhaps, if you’re having a bad day as well, it can help you find peace too.

Photo © CJ Levinson 2012
Haiqua © CJ Levinson 2016

Come Home

The Long Road Home

Sitting alone with my thoughts
I feel the tears come again
They run down my face
Like rain in the desert
And I’m not ashamed
For I’ve seen stronger men cry
For far less than this
And so I cry and I cry
Until the tears fall no longer
And then I stare at your picture
And wonder where in the darkness
You have gone?

I just hope that
Wherever you’ve gone
You’ll come home soon

All I wanted was to help you
But you pushed me away
Time and again
Like I meant nothing
Until my tears became fortresses
To protect me from your armies of pain
You hurt me so much
That I didn’t think it could hurt any more
And now I know I was right about everything
But it brings me no comfort
I just wish that you’d heard me earlier
So that perhaps we wouldn’t be here today

And I hope that
Wherever you’ve gone
You’ll come home soon

And I know that deep in your heart
You didn’t mean the things you said
And I know that in your right mind
You never would have done it
But something deep inside
Has got its hold on you
A monster eating away
That’s filled you with lies and deception
But I know it’s not you
And so I forgive you
I just hope that in time
You can forgive yourself too

And I hope that
Wherever you’ve gone
You’ll come home soon

It would break my heart if you ended your life
So we’ll find a way through this together
I can’t promise not to be angry
Or not to cry or feel betrayed
But I promise to still be there
And I’ll take your hand and lead you forward
And walk with you through the darkness
Into the light
And whatever the future brings
We’ll face it one day at a time
And get through it together
So please come home soon

Wherever you’ve gone
Come home soon

I wrote this poem over the course of the last week. I wrote it in two sessions and it’s probably the fastest poem I have ever written; it took about two hours to write and each time I sat down, the words poured straight out and needed very little editing, which is unusual for me.

The poem really started as a way of processing a very difficult situation my family has been going through these last few weeks. A member of my family tried to commit suicide two weeks ago; while I don’t want to say who it was publicly, it was someone who is very close to me and it was an extremely close call and it has left me absolutely devastated.

It came without any real warning and I’ve been going through a mix of different emotions since, predominantly shock, and also anger. The anger isn’t necessarily over the attempt itself but over other factors as well and while it’s a natural response, I realised several days ago that I haven’t really been processing it properly and the anger has been making my pain a lot worse as well and it’s something I have to try to let go of. So writing this poem has been my way of trying to do that and to accept what happened.

The poem is probably the most personal one I’ve written and is based on my own thoughts and feelings but I’ve also tried to make it so that hopefully everyone can see a bit of themselves in it too. I wanted it to feel personal but unique as well so that hopefully everyone who reads it can get something different out of it.

The photo by the way is one of the first street photos I took, of a man who seemed a bit lost in his own world. He didn’t even notice me taking the photo and I thought the scene suited the poem.

I hope you like the poem and that it brings some hope and beauty to a dark situation, one I know many people find themselves in. Mental illness and chronic depression are terrible ordeals, not just for those suffering them but their families as well. ~ CJ.

Photo: The Long Road Home © CJ Levinson 2011
Poem licenced under Creative Commons