TEMPORARILY PERMANENT

megan-savoie-232972After months of waiting, the contract had finally come, but no major waves of excitement hit me. I knew I would sign it first thing on Monday, yet I couldn’t bring myself to do so any earlier.

Whilst the contract was five or six pages, it felt much larger, more profound. My signature would say yes to many things: not just a new job, but a new city, a new life.

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ALIEN CITY

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I’d thrown myself into a world of unknown variables. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t geographically close to my various batches of parents. I wouldn’t have sibling footy matches every Sunday morning, nor those mandatory Tuesday night dinners. And, it was likely that I wouldn’t feel comfortable in my skin and my new surroundings for quite some time. The familiar had now been replaced with the unfamiliar and I was madly searching to collect new memories, new friends. Most importantly, I wanted a better version of me to be birthed in this alien city.

Whilst I had originally fought the idea, I knew this place would shape my 24 year old self for the better. It’d be an awkward journey to begin with but this experience would provide me with some trapdoor to the next parallel universe, one in which I was older and wiser, more emotionally resilient. The final creases of immaturity would be ironed here. The best bits of me would surface.

UNIVERSITY HEARTBREAK

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Everything about you was thrilling. The handsome son of a diplomat, you were worldly and smart and happy to flirt with me. Although you filled that role for every girl in our circle.

Even so, I look back and realise I was a magnetic (albeit insecure) young woman. Whilst I was loud and silly, I was sociable and funny and physically appealing too.

So when we met through mutual friends in first semester, we clicked.  We flirted online and in-person every day for 6 or so months. I came to like you a lot. At the time, I thought those feelings were reciprocated.

When you made it known that those feelings were unrequited, it hit me like a rock. I couldn’t sleep that night. I cried. I was confused. I played a lot of Third Eye Blind. Fuck.

In 2017, I still feel a twinge of nostalgia for you. But to be frank, I feel more fondness for the 2011 me, the one you helped form. I was an excited, energetic, overzealous person.

I don’t miss you. I actually miss the old me.

NAVIGATING MY 20s

CompassI’m not sure if I should be living here or interstate, by myself or with you. I’m not sure if it’s normal to not miss you anymore. Long distance is shit.

I’m not sure where I should be working either. University is long out of the picture but that first job burnt me bad. I don’t know where I fit anymore.  Apparently I have too many soft skills and not enough hard skills. I also have an excessive amount of student loans. What the fuck.

Why does this journey feel so difficult to navigate right now?

ANNOUNCEMENT

ben-rosett-10613In an instant, his air shifted. My brother was not impressed. He was facing away from me but I was imagining the worst and I’d probably be right.

He’d try and hide his true feelings but it’d be no use. His puffed cheeks and stunned eyes would give him away. His lack of words wouldn’t help either.

Yes, Mum was getting married. And thankfully, my brother would have 12 months to practice his happy face.

SEIZURES

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I don’t remember much of the actual episodes as I’m going in and out of consciousness when they occur. But the usual memories revolve around the nausea I feel when I wake, and my flimsy body slumped on its side, lying on the floor.

In the days that follow, bruises emerge and I find solace in my battle scars. These marks on my chin, arm and legs are bloody impressive.

Unfortunately, it always turns out that my confidence has taken an even bigger beating. It’s like an old-school PC that has suddenly crashed and now rebooting – my mind feels slow and plain. For weeks afterwards, English feels like a second language. I’m not sure if this is a direct side effect of the epilepsy or if it’s just my self esteem dwindling. Recovery time is critical but I tend to neglect it.

TIRED

5l4xagmsno0-benjamin-combs.jpgDays later, I still felt exhausted. Freedom had come but I craved nothing more than bed. My body was weak and I needed fat injections of rest, quick.

I typically don’t think much of people who complain about years gone but 2016 had shifted my mindset. The year had twisted and turned and brought too many changes. Whilst unhappy families and struggling siblings were commonplace, long-distance relationships and unprofessional workplaces were new ones for me.

2016 had changed my body too. I had become sluggish and fat and unmotivated to do anything about it. Worst of all, my limbs would unleash fury every few months and the seizures would leave me bruised and battered.

SAM

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Sam and I left the lights and comfort of Xavier’s house and walked onto the dark residential streets of Hawthorn. I hadn’t thought much of the journey home but was now unsure of what would eventuate. The atmosphere around us had shifted and everything felt serious. Even though the midnight air was cold, my heartbeat was rising and my cheeks were hot.

My thoughts grew loud and I felt scared as we forced small talk.  He spoke about his car being close and I joked about us never finding it. I winced as the words emerged but was grateful that he couldn’t see my crumpled face. My inner monologue continued: ‘Why am I so nervous right now? We’re only friends, right?’

As we climbed into the car’s interior, I could feel his body warmth and I struggled to keep my cool. His presence was intoxicating but terrifying. Especially as he seemed perfectly calm in this environment.

Sam turned the ignition of the car on and undertook the usual checks: Seatbelts. Check. Low beams. Check. Music. Check. His playlist began and a romantic Lior song began to play over the speaker system. “I get lost, I get lost in you, like a prisoner walking towards the ocean. It’s hard to imagine, how something could swallow you whole”.

He dropped me home and I stumbled into bed within minutes, drunk with confusion. I had never considered him boyfriend material but now I didn’t know what to think.