When I left the US, I felt like I was ready to slip back into my life, like a greased up seal into a warm bath. To quote Spencer Hastings quoting Winnie the Pooh, ‘How lucky I am to have known somebody and something that saying goodbye to is so damn awful’. I was ready to face reality, but with a host of great memories backing me up, like sassy broadway dancers and this was my big solo number in the musical of my life, which is probably called something like ‘That Stupid Guy – on Ice!’
But reality, in all its inimitable style, has really managed to be quite grinding. As always, there is an adherence with jotting down emotional truths in this series that I am usually quite comfortable keeping to myself. Mostly because when you write about your minor troubles, you sound massively whiny. But glossing over little whiny truths is the beginning of the rose-tinted glasses recipe.
There were lots of little things – the sudden realisation that I’d massively under-planned my budget and I was broke, the credit card debt, the endless jet lag, the cold, cold Sydney winter. There was sitting in the hospital as the doctor failed again and again to insert a needle into my hand as he made small talk about my trip. ‘Sounds amazing’ he said, jabbing into a new clenched vein, while I held a bandage to all the other ones. ‘Bet you wish you were back there now!’
There was the moment where I fucked up an opportunity I was working really hard towards, and an argument with a journalist who misquoted me, a big decision I have to make, without the framework to actually do it. A friend died, and then I watched as people who were close to her were devastated and destroyed.
Life was really being very real, you know?
Even the project itself, which had been giving me little sparkly, tingly feelings that I find I get when I’m doing something special, something exciting, even that became tainted somehow, when one of the first things I published when I got back into the country managed to massively upset one of my roadtrip buddies. It was purely my mistake, a mixture of a poorly written sentence and a flagrant disregard of why mentioning that story and those issues could be upsetting. All those questions about the legitimacy of writing about people’s lives, the hows and the whys of reducing friends into quick stories with three measurable beats and a trite takeaway, they suddenly seemed far more pressing, far more of a concern. The impetus to actually write anything dried up, and I’ve been waiting patiently for the words to come back, which they’ve now done, today, while I am hopped up on medication. Last night I woke up sweating and expelling various gross things from my face and I thought I was back in New York, when I was sick there and I tried to blow my nose softly so I wouldn’t wake up my sad European AirBnB hosts who were sleeping in a loft bed about 42 inches from me.
The problem with reality is you can never fade away from the hugging scenes with four cars driving off in different directions after A has been successfully unmasked. Instead, there’s always another series to milk. The episode just keeps on going. It’s messy and weird. But at least everyone gets new haircuts.
The last paragraph probably makes no sense if you haven’t seen Pretty Little Liars. Oh well.