So I left Adelaide on Sunday, miraculously paler than when I arrived because of my spectacular skills in reverse pigmentation.
I am so happy to be back in the green, fresh, cosmopolitan landscape of Melbourne before I go to Sydney next week.
I’m currently sat in a frozen yoghurt cafe that plays non-stop Beyonce. Genuinely the most empowering dairy experience I’ve ever had. I’m hiding from the rain pretending I’m a travel writer. Little do they know I’m just writing this and making a list of my favourite pasta shapes.
Our last week at the fringe was jam-packed, the highlights being a life-changing theatre performance*, more age comments (“Are you girls doing the fringe to fund your school fees?”), exceptional taxi banter (“Someone keeps murdering people and telling everyone that it’s me.”) and an unforgettable trip to see a giant panda.
I had an incredible experience working at the fringe with Tamar and am very proud of what we managed to achieve there, even if we did need proof of ID to get into our own venue on the last night. I found this photo of us at our first Edinburgh festival and cannot believe a) the two of us have managed to take a show to the other side of the world and b) I didn’t bring that sequinned top with me.
I’m also excited by how much I love writing this cringe-fest blog and amazed that I haven’t yet chickened out and shoved it into my abandonment corner, along with my cello, a copy of The Goldfinch and all hope of becoming a national hurdles champion.
So I was (surprise surprise) pretty nervous about sharing the last one with everyone in case I’d be left to recite all future posts over Skype to my labrador.
When I sat outside my little cabin and wrote about how I was struggling because of my anxiety I didn’t think I’d ever actually show anyone. That was about as attractive as holidaying in an abattoir. Writing it was just a distraction, because my normal go-to in times of sorrow (re-runs of Pingu) wasn’t enough that day.
I’m really glad I did though. Thank you all so much for reading it. Never in a million years did I expect the response I got.
Just your taking the time to wade through my shambolic emotions blew me away. Your support and friendship is invaluable to me and makes me feel much braver and stronger. It’s already made such a huge difference to my trip and my outlook on life.
I was very humbled to receive messages from so many people who have experienced or still do experience anxiety in some degree. Because of you I now feel less alone and more confident in taking steps towards “recovery” because my worrying feels like more of a real, less of an imagined problem. You are all total babes in the most meaningful sense and your stories and advice are better for the soul and body than all the kale and yoga in the world.
There is a lot more I want to say about this. I have experienced some mixed emotions. There is a definite and increasing part of me that is upset at the number of people it seems I now know who struggle on a daily basis, many outside the knowledge or understanding of their loved ones, friends, work colleagues, (labradors).
This is absolutely not okay. And a little alarm bell has been going off in my head for the last week which normally only sounds if I’m having a sugar low or, more significantly, feel a sense of urgency and determination to do something.
In the first draft of this blog I wrote another million words about it. And then deleted it all because it didn’t read right (and it was genuinely like a million words.) Then I re-inserted the metaphor I was really proud of. Then published it. Then deleted it again because the metaphor was actually mortifyingly bad.
Clearly I’m in a funky place.
So I’m going to tell you a little bit more about Melbourne instead, and then maybe when I’m high on vitamin c or drunk or on a turbulent plane I’ll rewrite and post everything I really want to say about anxiety, about our society, and the future of my generation. When I have the words to do it justice.
So in the meantime – say hello to Melbourne!
I am head over heels with this city. It’s vibrant, it’s friendly, it’s got heaps of character. Like a perfect date. The weather is mental which suits me just fine because it matches my hair and my daydreams. Chapel Street, where I’m staying, is incredibly cool, like Brick Lane but better because it has ice cream (seriously – APPLE PIE ICE CREAM!) instead of bagels, and I can wander round pretending I know about vintage clothing and trying desperately to like coffee.
I have discovered though that just because Melbourne is cool does not mean I am cool. Just because everyone else has the best hair in the world does not mean I can swish mine. Mine will get stuck in an air con unit. Just because everyone else has an iconic outfit does not mean I can pull off leather or retro sunglasses. I will look like a fly in bondage.
Yesterday I must have looked a bit too cool in the afternoon having a look around the Gaol pretending I was in Orange is the New Black because when I got home I poked myself in the eye with some raw spaghetti and had a sharp, cosmic jolt back to reality.
I feel much calmer and happier in Melbourne. I’ve only had one irrational moment, where I thought the storm outside my window was a tsunami. But even a giant wave beats the heat, the dust, the sweat and the cockroaches in Adelaide. I lost my confidence there; jumping back into work made me doubt myself again and where I am headed.
Whereas in Melbourne I know who I am.
The girl keeping every ice cream parlour in business.
And I like it that way.
Thank you for reading as always. x
*Fake It ‘Til You Make is a piece of theatre written and performed by Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn exploring the effects of and stigmas behind male depression. It is revolutionary and everyone should see it.