I wear melancholy like an arsehole wears a cheap suit. I think it is a natural state for me, that I am at my most comfortable when feeling mildly sad. The detachment that comes with this leaves me on the outside of most gatherings and I flutter from person to person unable to relate but ready to entertain with quips and asides. I’m certain it cannot be healthy but it does feel like hugging an old friend, snapping together like pieces of a jigsaw that in hindsight were always meant to be together.
It would be nice to shake this though.
I’m not certain it is how I want to spend the rest of my life. I’ve seen enough to know this is a one way trip to living alone in a old age home with no one visiting, the night nurse stealing my chocolates and constantly stuck with a piss stain on my pants that looks like Nazi Germany slowly spreading over Europe’s borders. The thing is it is difficult to change who you are especially when you’re in a time of your life where you’re saying goodbye.
I’m saying that a lot lately or at the very least getting ready to. It feels like it is time to move on, to make some decisions that will hopefully inspire me for the future. This feeling didn’t happen immediately. I think it began in the middle of last year and has slowly been fermenting away at the back of my skull, preparing me to be able to let things go. I came to this realisation a few hours after seeing the JJ Abrams movie, “Super 8” and it’s homage to everything 80’s, the time when I was a teenager and still convinced everything was going to be ok.
Don’t get me wrong, there were still anxieties to deal with as this was a moment in history where we were convinced that nuclear war was just around the corner and we were hoping that Sting was right when he asked, “Do the Russians love their children too?” That’s right: Sting was asking all the right questions. Crazy times. I was a teenager and attending Woodville High School in Adelaide. I dreamed I would be a writer by profession and had no other plans for life as I figured this was exactly what I was going to do. I didn’t want to be a comedian, just an author of books who would get to hang out with other authors discussing author-y type things.
This was a golden time where you would have childhood crushes on people and they are the purest form of love you can experience as they are unfettered by hang-ups, issues and experience. You would feel absolute joy when you caught the person you had a crush on looking at you. You lived to make them laugh. You wrote shithouse poetry that you shared with them and when they nodded their head and stated, “Wow, that is beautiful” you had to stop yourself from passing out. You were so delusional that you believed the person you adored looked exactly like Martika of “Toy Soldiers” fame. When they came to the door of your house you had to take a deep breath and quickly rehearse what you were going to open with:
Nope, too blokey.
“Wow, you look amazing, the way your face matches your head and your eyes are below your forehead…”
Goodness, don’t get all Daniel Day Lewis in “Age of Innocence” on her!
Duh. You invited her over, why are you acting surprised she’s turned up?
What you end up using is the classic, “Hi…” complete with cracking voice and dry throat. You never kissed, you never held hands but you shared all your secrets until the day began to darken and when you said goodbye you raced home to sit alone in your room listening to Bowie sing, “Because You’re Young” while working on some new yet still horrific poetry.
But I digress.
I’m not certain what is next. Maybe I shouldn’t think about it because the poles are about to shift and wipe us all out or the sun is expanding or the Mayans reckon we’re cooked by December next year so really what is the point? In the off chance that things keep on keeping on I will make at least some provisional plans. There has been a line drawn in the sand of my life and I need to act as I’ve been here before.
When I began performing I was in a duo called “The Bunta Boys” who sang, yelled and danced from April ’94 to Feb ’99. In ’97 we should have moved to Melbourne having learned all we could in Adelaide. We didn’t and over the next 18 months lost inspiration, determination and an overall sense of desire. I restarted my career in August of ’99 as a stand up comedian and by the time the 2002 Adelaide Fringe had finished it was time to move even though my life was pretty darn sweet at the time. I knew inertia lead to death and have never doubted that move.
It is happening again. The inertia of my life is dragging me down and even though everything is essentially fine and fun if I don’t do this I think I will slowly sink it an abyss that might be too much to overcome. The only problem is that I am uncertain what the next move is. All I know is that it is time to have a look at everything, shut some doors, turn off some lights and try to leave things tidy. Most importantly I have to shake this melancholy and not get too comfortable with it. Feeling like a character in a Nick Cave song is all well and good in your twenties but 18 months off turning 40 might be pulling the piss.
Everything ends. Once you embrace that you can make the hard decisions and move forward. The thing to remember through the tears and the anguish, the stutters and the false steps, the awkwardness and the false bravado; that once you say goodbye to what you know and step into the unknown, there really is only one thing left to say:
13th of June, 2011