Of Nothing

︎ 14/1/2022 | 9:45PM
︎ Tin Can Bay, QLD, Australia

Disconcerting means waking up to no experience whatsoever. This morning I was greeted with nothing. I wake to a hollowness, a drum inside my head, an alarm that takes me nowhere, an attentiveness to nothing. Depression means nothing. A compounding and total moment of nothing. A full absence. A complete and accidental abandonment of self.

The thing that brings nothing.

I wake with a knowledge that the day is wasted. Soon I float in a peninsula. I feel and remember my body for the first time in weeks. I watch a smiling child play in the sand and I remember the lost smile of adulthood. I ask my friend “is it all bad?” and I receive “for us it is, for others it probably isn’t.” I smile at shared access to nothing and for others who have something.

When I am not depressed, I forget about nothing. Time rips by and I find myself awake for so long I am pleasantly repulsed by the length of the day. When I am depressed, I remember nothing. Time disappears and I find myself dreaming about staying awake.

An explanation for my moods is not wanted or welcome. After therapy and medicine, I mourn nothing. Before therapy and medicine, I was already grieving losing nothing.

The depressed person moves with an unbearable proximity to nothing and an resonant fear of something.

This evening I embrace nothing.

Aleks Hammo x (10:07pm)



BEING IN THE WORLD

︎ 6/1/2022 | 9:20AM
︎ Currumbin Valley, QLD, Australia

A truism: where real world begins and cyber world ends is unclear.

We are ensnared in many cyber worlds: doom scrolling, noise-cancelling all environments, consulting YouTube as universal oracle and truthteller, ingesting Netflix the beloved SSRI, injecting New York Times podcasts as news-illiteracy antivenom. Do these cyber worlds propel us into or pull us from the real world? 

Cyber worlds can push us into trance-like states that manifest in mortifying self-neglect. The TikTok trance means I forget to breathe or move; the YouTube trance means I ignore my primal and fundamental needs: food, water, toilet; the Spotify trance means I hear the same songs when I’m pleased, depressed, lonely, anxious.

In 2022 I resolve to decimate my screen-time. I want to end these trances. I want the real world back. I must ask myself: what is the real world?

In A Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Harraway tells us what we are: we are cyborgs, “a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.” Perhaps ‘social reality’ is something like the real world, and ‘fiction’ is something like the cyber world. Perhaps there is a clean split between these two worlds; perhaps I put my phone on Do Not Disturb and I see the world as it is; perhaps there is a real me, a non-cyber me, a me that I can reclaim.

Is there a ‘real me?’ The Mobile Phone is not a new appendage, it is just a very sophisticated hammer. If relying on appendages to navigate the world makes us cyborgs, then we are cyborgs. We have been forever.

When the hammer breaks, we see the hammer as it is—it is not a hammer if it is broken. When the phone breaks, we break—we are no longer what we are. Can I be me without my phone?

Be intentional with cyber worlds. The cyber world and the real world have bled into each other, but this should not mean that we stop breathing.

When the phone breaks, I do not want to break with it.

Aleks Hammo x (10:28am)



FRIEND AND FATHER

︎ 31/12/2021 | 9:18PM
︎ Lennox Head, NSW, Australia

This time of  year is excruciating—boundless rumination, dramatic insights, painful regrets, a  sense that time is wasted.

I was dumped by someone I was falling for on January 1 2021. A few hours after the breakup, a bird fell out of the sky and landed next to me. I am a misanthrope but this was morbid.

This year a queer Lebanese-Slovenian-Australian from Sydney made themselves a central fixture in my life. This new bond transcends any kind of love I am familiar with. Perhaps it’s because there is none of this stuff: is X enjoying my company, does Y want to be here, am I letting Z down by not being as present as I usually am... Optics from an anxious brain.

This new bond has opened my heart to something difficult: closeness. Only child; no family in Australia, nightmarish absent father trope. I dream of a future grounded in trust, care, reciprocity, and support. I am reminded of something my friend said: how would it be to “rawdog my emotions?” (a quote from some author talking about life off antidepressants).

Yesterday, on the bank a busy lake, I met two gentle and soft-spoken men from Sydney. One of them quoted something he recently read: “…being in a relationship requires you to choose your partner every day.” Love, romantic or not, demands precisely this. Relationships are imperfect: disappointment, disillusionment, neglect, self-loathing. Yet love often endures. The quote struck me as devastatingly insightful: you love someone for their imperfections, for their quirks, for their differences, and for the capacity to move through these challenges together. When you cannot move together, perhaps best to move on.

I have a sudden urge to write a poem (9:52PM), I have never written a poem before:

for too long
i waited,
distance from blood
is further away than memories
of my father,
“tomorrow” he said,
it's been two decades since
tomorrow, but i wait
eagerly for a day
of rest, when ambition
will become still,
and mind will smile
like learning child

I am grateful for all who have held me this year. I respect all who try so hard. I cry and grieve for those who do not have what I have. I ache for the tormented minds of my generation. I can never tell if I am dramatic or realistic. 

Challenging but rewarding. Ready to do it again? 

Goodnight, and may your transition into the new year be a smooth one.

Aleks Hammo x (10.18PM)