Dear diary


It’s 3 am. I’d gotten out of bed thinking it was closer to 7.

So, here we are.

On the one hand I think that maybe I should just go ahead and start my day. It’s not like it’ll matter when I get what done. That’s to say if I even get anything done at all. . . Happy Quarantine!

On the other hand, I feel like I don’t want to wake up early. That’ll just give me more time to waste.

I don’t know how people are doing fitness challenges and catching up on hobbies and online learning and whatever else they make do with during this time. I thought I’d be the same. I’d hoped I would be. Whenever I think I spent the day productively my screen timer tells me I’ve spent more than 7 hours on various apps.

Not the good apps like Duolingo to catch up my French or GoWOD to improve my mobility and keep my body healthy or Mindvalley to do some, much needed, self-improvement. No, we drool through mind-numbing 15 second TikToks that never change yet always entertain. We scroll through the same Instagram feed and the same Facebook timeline again and again.

So, now we’re trying to write away our frantic search for being.

It seems to help. To quell that sudden, incessant need for something now that I’m awake.

Perhaps I am more of a morning person than I thought.

I guess it may be a need for me to express. Without art, music or people, I feel like my emotions and I have nowhere to go. I think I was just trying to survive last year. I focused on making it seem so worthwhile and effortless that I lost scope of the meaning in the journey.

Maybe some leverage will get me on a better track. One where I don’t waste days away consuming instead of creating and contributing.

I am afraid to keep writing. Chronicling my decent into mediocrity. I don’t think I could stand looking back at a year of just getting by.

Not learning and not improving as much as I’d like.

Yes, I’m harsh on myself. I’ve done a lot, but I’m capable of so much more. Yet I don’t allow myself to be.

I don’t think I fear what it will cost me; I think I fear that none of it will matter.

Even now I wonder what is the point of writing this? What do I hope to create?

I’m sitting on a plush carpet in the middle of my studio apartment writing.

I’d arrived in Melbourne early this afternoon. Spoiled with food and snacks on the plane that Mom had bankrolled, but paid for the weekend groceries and my taxi on my own.

On my own.

There should be an emotion to it. Some feeling of change or disruption.

Not just hollow acceptance. This seemingly inevitable shift in my entire reality.

I was packing out my luggage when Mom messaged me. I laid uncomfortably on the bed amongst my clothes as I replied, but I didn’t get up when I finished. No, I moved come stuff to give myself a more comfortable spot and went on social media.

And that’s where I stayed for more than 4 hours. Despite creeping hunger, despite tired eyes and the need to pee, despite all the stuff I still had to unpack. Despite the famous “just one more photo”.

I put my phone on the charger in another room and ate dinner in a quiet solitude asking myself “Why?”. Genuinely.

 Am I just afraid to be alone in a new place for the first time or am I really addicted to this vile thing?

I could’ve stretched the soreness from my legs after a long flight coupled with the previous days’ hard gym session.

I could’ve done an online lesson.

I could’ve gone to explore the city.

I could’ve called friends and family.

Even now, I want something. Nothing that’s good and solid and will help me. But my phone or another whole plate of complimentary cookies.

I feel like a mindless zombie and I despise it.

How can I even imagine the changes I want to experience this year if I can’t work on myself given all this opportunity? Maybe I’ve always been too soft on myself.

So, I’m at that place again where I let my mind wander and wail about the void of thought and I look back into the glare of its disdain. I tell everybody I’m happy to be alone here. Truly, I think I would’ve gone mad had I been with anyone else.

Here at least I can sing and dance like nobody’s watching. Only mildly worried that the next door neighbours can hear me belt out ‘Into the Unknown’ with a staggering lack of regard for my limited vocal range. I imagine being with family would be stifling. I love them. Of course, I do. But I’m not myself around them. I mean, who is, really? I’m not a fan of sharing other people’s space because it’s always felt like even when I’m giving them mine, they assume I’m intruding on theirs.

Because I don’t want to be seen as ‘moody’ even though my brother gets to throw fits like it’s an Olympic sport. I don’t want to be distracting when I actually just want to move and play and do something other than sit and wait and wait and wait and ache.

I don’t want to be cooped up with friends either. We’d drive each other to murder. Never mind that they are all literally half a world away. Who said making friends was easy? Did they have a concept of how time flows on earth? How emotion makes a year in solitude drag by like a limp deer looking at the taillights of the offending truck as it drives off like nothing had happened. Because maybe nothing did. I have nothing to show for the year that has gone by. Maybe it’s for the better.

I thought I’d make friends. Though with no thought as to how one actually does that in a world so far removed from your own. Back home you just ‘vibed’ with people and everyone kind of unanimously decides to stick together and tolerate one another with greater affection than one might pay a slug in the dirt.

I have yet to find my fellow slugs here. Not for want of trying. But I guess, I don’t yet trust what the dirt here has made them. I don’t trust the lack of colour in the faces around me. I don’t trust the monolinguistic conversations that always sound the same and never speak to what lies beyond the crystalline borders. I don’t trust their money and how it seems to appear only when you need booze or UberEATS. I don’t trust that they can see beyond their coddled inner-city lives.

But maybe my interactions say more about me when I keep finding myself in their company than the lack of quality company I seem to keep.

The bike chain needs oil.

I feel I can’t be bothered to make friends. It’s not like I’m staying anyway – though who knows at this point? We never even planned for me to stay in Australia. Now a year and a permanent residency certificate later we say things like “Hey, how you goin’” and “Yeah, nah”.

And suddenly, I feel so stupid for wanting to write a poem.

Like the little girl who always saw and felt and thought so much realized she never really had anything real to write about at all.

The love, the pain, the disappointment. The shear self-importance. They were all just to there to mask the fact that she’d never meant anything to anyone outside of her family. Would she ever?

I’m so content being alone. Here and now, I feel like I can breathe. How could I ever go back to compromising myself for someone else’s affection?

5:45 a.m. Let’s put on the kettle.

April 10, 2020 08:40

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15:55 Apr 16, 2020

This is my favorite sentence. I've felt like this before. "I’m not a fan of sharing other people’s space because it’s always felt like even when I’m giving them mine, they assume I’m intruding on theirs." Good job portraying the monotony of quarantine and being alone.


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Keerththan 😀
05:03 Sep 01, 2020

Wonderful story. Loved it. Well written. Would you mind reading my new story "The adventurous tragedy?"


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Lily Kingston
16:19 Aug 26, 2020

This story flows so well and is so relatable. You hooked me from the beginning! “ How emotion makes a year in solitude drag by like a limp deer looking at the taillights of the offending truck as it drives off like nothing had happened.” —> I also love this line! Keep up the good work and keep writing!!


Yolandi Bester
00:53 Aug 27, 2020

Thanks a lot! That's one of my favourite lines too :)


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P. Jean
03:44 Aug 03, 2020

I felt like you have a hidden camera into my life! Your story really felt smooth and yet disjointed enough to be planned to look random and moody! I have put crime scene tape across my recliner to remind me we have acres and acres. Go investigate. Back to your writing. I hope to read more!


Yolandi Bester
03:47 Aug 03, 2020

This means a great deal. Thank you for the encouragement :)


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