“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.” ~ Joseph Campbell
As school holidays drew to a close this week, I was feeling pretty good. Actually, that’s a lie. I was feeling the best I’ve felt in months. Then, out of nowhere, the universe threw another bucket of shit at my feet and I found myself driving and crying and talking to Greners on speaker phone and giving into her demands to “pull over before you have a bloody accident”. In a nutshell, I lost my shit, cursed the world – throwing every curse word I could muster – and briefly contemplated smacking my forehead against the steering wheel, repeatedly. Feeling shit is one thing, but feeling shit and looking shit is altogether worse. Eventually, I stopped sooking, drove home, had a shower and vowed not to cry anymore because – let’s be honest – crying is a pointless exercise which achieves nothing but puffy-fuck eyes and lots of snot.
All I can say is, I am so lucky to have the friends that I do. They know how to make me laugh – by being lewd and vulgar and awesome. One of my oldest friends in the world, Bron, came to stay with me for a few days. We went shoe shopping and spent too much money on clothes neither of us needed, but had to have anyway. Before we went out for dinner with two of my other favourites, Bron had to stop at the chemist and buy a puffer – because she gets the dirty asthma-wheeze from laughing too much. When we are together, we laugh unreservedly at each other, at ourselves, at the sheer stupidity of the general public. Clocking time with old mates makes me feel alive and loved; there is nothing I cannot overcome if I am surrounded by people with whom I can spend whole days at a time without getting sick of them. Bouncing ideas off Bron and Nat and Hamster and Reba and Kez and Cas, I decided it was time for me to move house. Apparently you shouldn’t make major decisions when your life trajectory veers off path, but to that I say whatever, Trevor.
On Friday night I trawled realestate.com and made a long list of open for inspections for the following morning. I set my alarm for 7am, I prepared myself a little picnic for the snack-attacks and I went to bed. The first open house was at 9.10am. I woke up at 9.45, having set the alarm for Friday – because I’m on school holiday time and I forgot what day it was. I stuffed myself into clothes at record speed and hooned out in time to get to a 10.15 open house. That’s no mean feat, by the way. I am the slowest, most ridiculous person in the morning. I like to drink my coffee in contemplation, I like to turn a few circles and faff about and take 90 minutes to get shit organised before I walk out the door. Sometimes, I don’t even know what I do, but I end up late and then I get anxious and then I get angry that I made myself anxious when it could have been completely avoided if I didn’t spend all that time doing absolutely fucking nothing of any value.
Driving to the first open house, I had my iPhone on shuffle. City and Colour’s Against the Grain came on. In the third verse, the lyrics are:
When all your friends have come and gone,
And the sun no longer shines,
And the happiness for which you long is washed away like an ocean’s tide,
When all the hard times outweigh the good,
And all your words are misunderstood,
When the day seems lost from the stars
You must follow your heart,
You must follow your heart.
I’ve heard Against the Grain a gazillion times because I think it’s a beautiful song. But on Saturday, I found myself getting all teary-eyed at the traffic lights and a self-pity session seemed imminent, so I had to hit skip, lest I ended up sobbing like my brother did that time he happened to wee on the electric fence (true story, by the way).
I saw shitty little flats that were billed as “charming”; I saw shoe-box apartments that resembled what my wild imagination conjures when someone uses the term, “crack den”; I saw a depressing snapshot of my life in bleak little hovels; and then I stumbled upon a bunch of brand spanking new apartments in the heart of where I want to be. I applied then and there, on the spot, and had to restrain myself from begging the realtor to rent it to me. I should know sometime this week if I get the place or not. Whichever way the cards fall, I figure I need to be in a new space to live a different life to the one I had planned for so long. I’m starting afresh – and despite the unprecedented turbulence of the past few months, and the enormous uncertainty of my future – I actually feel liberated.