A Friday In November
This week has been a week of waking up sad. It is as if as soon as I open my eyes and feel that sleep is gone and the day cannot be avoided, it hits me. I am old and will continue to get older. I will die. I will not have done all I want to do. I am wasting valuable time even having these self defeating thoughts. Why am I wasting time? Friday morning brings with it a blessing. A very concrete reason to get out of bed and attempt to get myself better. It is psych appointment day. I like my psychologist. I get up out of bed and turn on the radio so as to have some friendly voices in the back round as I get dressed after my shower. I wonder how many other triple R breakfaster listeners are getting ready for mental health related appointments? How many are avoiding them?
There had been good things about this week. I had received a package in the mail. It was from Celeste and it was so lovely that I almost cried with how strong the feeling hit me: being loved and loving back. I had long stopped being angry at her. It felt weird to even look back at those past feelings with anything other than shame and embarressment. Chalk it up to confusion deep in my cells. I lay the gifts out on the bed and gaze at them in turn. There is a purse in the shape of a slice of fairy bread. The sprinkles are made from coloured sequins. There is a bar of soap with packaging that contains a poodle picture and the words YOUR A FANCY BITCH. I laugh. There is a hanky in such lovely packaging that I think I will never open it and sully the hanky with my snot. The picture on the hanky is of a little girl and some black cats. You can frame hankys if they are pretty enough surely. There is a photograph with a note written on the back in black texta. I run my fingers over the words knowing that Celeste has written those words with her own slender hand. The photo is one I know she has taken herself and gone to all the trouble of getting it printed.
My beautiful Jess
I don’t really ”do” christmas but these just had your name on them. So proud of you and your literary presence: I hope the purse does not make you like your egg purse any less. Love always C. XXX
I felt like such a society lady, two purses to alternate between! Somedays I may want to carry coins, myki card and lip balm in an egg and other times it may feel like a fairy bread purse kind of day. How extravagant!
As I get dressed into my high waisted shorts and blue and white striped t shirt, I consider if today will be more tearful or contemplative or angry, when speaking with my psychologist. The first few were mostly crying. It is a nice cool morning as I walk to the train station. There are birds singing and as I cross the street I see a woman pushing a small young boy in a wheel chair. The woman is chatting to the boy as they go in the opposite direction to me.
On the train into the city I read my poetry book about the life of Frida Kahlo.I put a postcard in as a placeholder for the page that holds the sentence that makes me think it would make a good tattoo if I was to ever get a text tattoo.
The visible wings of the misshapen angel.
I smile at the thought of how that line applies to Frida and myself. I wish my parents had purchased me a book on Frida Kahlo back when I was 11 years old and crying in front of the full length mirror in my bedroom. I was looking at how deformed my body was pre spine surgery. Oh Frida, better that I become aquainted with you now than never.
I get to my psychologist 10 minutes early. I hand over my new mental health plan from my GP. This makes me feel quite accomplished and organized. Not only did I sort it out, I actually brought it with me to the relevant appointment.
My Psychologist comes out to the small but pretty waiting room (there are always fresh flowers on the coffee table and water jug with glasses).
When I sit on the couch across from her I am talking about the Frida book that I have in my hand. I could spend the entire session simply waxing poetic about why I love that particular artist. My psychologist knows this all to well and manages to focus the session back wher it belongs: on me and my feelings. I squirm as she asks me how I am.
I am very good at saying I am fine to people when they ask me that. In fact I prefer it. I hate being a downer to people unless they are are a white male asshole. If I did that here I would not get anything out of the sessions.
So, I tell her the truth. I tell her about my morning sads. I tell her about what I am working on in regards to writing about being raised mormon. I tell her how it is affecting me and bringing up all this stuff that is slowly festering away inside of chest most of the time on most days. I cry very little. I do get angry.
She tells me the anger is a good thing and that it is good and healthy that I am writing about this stuff. It is good but it is also dangerous for me emotionally and mentally.
”Did you know that mormons in America voted for Trump. How can my relatives have faith in a church as racist as all that?!”
”I want to write about growing up mormon. I want to tell it how it was for me. I want my parents to understand that just because i find many faults with the church’s ideology. That does not mean that I think they are bad parents. I would not swap them for any other alternative.” I look at my shrink a moment. ”I would not even swap them for Beyonce and Jay. Z as parents.”
She laughs a little and says that I am funny. She does not make notes when I say something funny. She makes notes when I say serious things.
I like how when my psych says that we have run out of time, she does not immediately get up and usher me out. She usually sits with me for ten or fifteen more minutes, trying to get me leaving her office on a more positive note. Or maybe she is more concerned with me on the days that she extends my hour.
When i exit the office and make my next appointment, I see a man sitting in the same seat in the waiting area that I was sitting in. we glance at each other and he looks away quickly as I am still smiling at him.
Coming out of the building and entering the city streets again, feels strange. I feel tired and drained and like I just want to either drop in a heap and cry or walk and walk untill I cannot walk anymore. Is it a strategy to to quell depression by simply running yourself beyond the point of exhaustion?
I eat. It is a little past midday and I have not had breakfast. I walk towards Elizabeth st and make my way to some comfort food in the form of Chicken parmas and chips and lemonade at Shnitze. There is a cue but it moves fast. I pay the handsome young asian guy, take my table number and go sit at the window so I can people watch as I eat. Knowing how good these tasted, even when all messed up by meds, makes me appreciate them even more now. When the chicken, tomato sauce and grilled gooey cheese, is placed before me, I get hand tremours in my excitement to get it all in side my mouth. People think eating alone is a sign of having no friends. For me, I find eating alone a lot less stressful. Maybe thats because as far back as I an remember, people have always showed a great deal of interest in what or how much I eat. Eating alone and unwatched is one of my pet feelings. A feeling that I love like I love a kitten. It could simply be due to all the preservatives contained in the Shnitze chicken and chips, that made it taste good to me even when my taste buds were missing in action thanks to the antibiotics cocktail I was on.
After eating as much as I can, I leave for my next activity that I hope will lift my spirits a little above the emotion sharing hangover that is swirling within. I get a number 19 tram to Sydney Rd. I go to Tinning Street Gallery space to look at the paintings on small postcard sized canvases by Shaun Tan. They are painting done of cities all over the world that Shaun Tan has seen on his travels. There are also paintings of Brunswick, his home of ten years.
Tinning st gallery is down an ally with lots of amazing street art. The space is open and it is calming as soon as I walk in. I have had anxiety attacks here…I push that thought away and look at the cute baby being held by their Dad as they look at the paintings together.
There is something about seeing the artist’s painted impressions of the world around him, that is soothing and nostalgic to me. It could be because the paintings are small. Seeing the hugeness of the world reflected back at me, through expressive and beautiful and small paintings, makes me feel like the world is big and overwhelming. The world is also made up of many tiny details that can be focused in on if you know how to, every now and again.
It was the paintings of night time scenes that I love the best. It seems like a sort of witchcraft the way the artist manages to create moody evening scenes. It seems like You are looking at the city street sprawled out in front of you and if you stepped a little closer you would be in it. The one pictured seems to be painted from the view seen through a car windscreen or while riding a bike through the night. It feels as if you are moving through it at an incredible speed, causing the street lights and head lights to warp and waver.
I walk around the gallery 3 or 4 times and stand at varying distances from the paintings. There are rows of paintings that are a well above my eye line and height. I wonder if this affects my perception of the paintings that require me to crane my neck up and stand on tip toes so I can get a little closer. I wish that I could ask the Dad if he would mind letting me sit on his shoulders so I can look close up at the small paintings standing on the highest shelf. When I leave the gallery I have decided that though the small city scape paintings are lovely, I prefer his weird and surreal children’s book illustrations.
Then the voice of my mother whispers with the memory of words she has spoken: ”Is nothing sacred?”
Perhaps but the answer is different for everybody. For me it is wandering an art gallery. For me is the kiss on the scare on my belly left side, as I switch off a lamp. The scar that I received while out cold on a operating table, while he sat in a waiting area and waited with my parents, for news. It is me sitting in the garden with a book. It is the sound of him playing guitar in the other room as I write. It is drinking a glass of water after making love and giggling. Is there anything so scared that I will not write about it? No. But there are secrets not mine to tell. Some promises are sacred, not any that I ever made to a heavenly father as a child, though. I break them like windows.
I go to the art and framing store. Outre Gallery to pick up something I got framed. It is a print from an art exhibition that Leong and I went to in Nara, Japan. It was after feeding the deer. It was a retrospective of a Nara born artist that had been working for over 3 decades. Time vanished and five hours later we were finished and drunk on creative possibility realized. The artist’s name is Seiji Fuji Shiro. The work I had printed is of a black girl holding a playing card that has no numbers, only some abstract shapes and squiggles. It is an image made completely from coloured paper and the border is a forest with some playing cards placed amongst the green foliage. The picture makes me think of chance and the roll of the die and how slippery my hold on every minute of the day, is. Most of all the image reminds me of a very good day. I cannot wait to bring it home and hang it up on the bedroom wall.
While I wait for the woman to go get my art work, I look at the display of pins and badges and broaches. I see one in the shape of a knife. I fall in love with it. It looks as if it may be a little bit sharp at the point. It is created by the person behind the brand Bad Girls Art Club. It is shiny and promises bloodshed if used with ill intent. It reminds me of another piece of jewellery that I had given to me once by a blaggard and a fake. This one is better. This one will be a gift for myself from myself: a physical manifestation of closure. I pay for it and immediately pin it to my lapel under my Feminist Killjoy badge. They are perfect accomplices.
I am given the framed artwork. It is wrapped in bubble wrap. I exit the shop with it tucked under my left arm.