Thirty-one years ago I completely detached myself from society for a brief, exhilarating two and a half months.
I was young and rebellious traveling the State of Victoria with my reckless boyfriend, 8-years my senior. I must have looked a sight, but with no mirrors came no worries.
My jeans torn, hair unbrushed, feet more often than not, bare. We camped on river banks, swam naked, fed from the clear waters, boiled lobsters over campfires, picked berries, baked pies. And for the sheer joy of it, we tore up earth on his motor bike... bikini clad on the back, arms wrapped around his waist, the wind whipping our every sense.
Wild and free, we lived each moment with pure, unadulterated abandon.
One particular day came with an unexpected life lesson.
Hidden in dense Australian bushland we discovered an abandoned house. Crumbling and falling apart, it was clear no one had lived there for decades. Pieces of a life once lived lay scattered and forlorn, inviting our curiosity.
Poking about each room we found stacks of old magazines strewn, collapsing into the soil beneath rotting floor boards. Dirty covers adorned with faces from the 1950's and 60's peeked out with irresistible allure. Instantly I became high with excitement. People! Society! Words! I had to save them. Dusting them off I gathered each one and clutched them tight as we sped back to camp.
Over the next week, while seated high above the banks of the Murray River perched on the smooth silver trunk of a fallen gum, I devoured every word, absorbed every article, every ad.
So much so that eventually my saturated mind ever so subtly began to shift. To fall in line. Blend with the words, the visuals, the messages. As if my 1990's mindset was gently being sucked into a time-warp, overridden like a computer chip, fragmenting, transitioning.
Ads geared at women selling vacuum cleaners, washing machines, cookware, happy wives serving dinner to their husbands, business attire for men, smiling families, well behaved children, perfect lives...
A whirlpool of order and structure, of societal undertones, of being told how it is, how to be happy, silently uploading to my brain.
A realization that when finally woken up to, blew my young 23 year old mind. For the first time I witnessed the truth behind the illusion. Like a neon sign blinking, it revealed the malleability of my thoughts and the ease in which they can be hijacked.
And in that one brief moment of time... I was awake.
One awe struck moment.
A moment that has lived on inside me over the years, evolving from a thin beam of awareness into a bright pool of curiosity. Illuminating my desire to see beyond the illusion. To tune out from external chatter, to turn inward for answers, to live my truth.
To wake up!
All thanks to the adventures of my wild and rebellious younger self.