I get to the point where I think I may just lose my mind. Where I go through motions, day after day, hours slipping through fingers as if they were ashes. Each day an accumulation of nothing much. I’m in a fog… it’s easier. Because I am exhausted. When you’ve examined your own mind so much that there just isn’t any stones left to turn over… what do you do then?
I need to get the f*ck out of here. Yesterday would have been too soon.
So, the way I do every now and then… I run.
It doesn’t really matter where, just as long as it’s not here. I book a flight to Melbourne, harass the Melbournians on Twitter until someone offers me a place to stay. I give myself twenty fours hours between when I book my ticket, and when my plane takes off… a ridiculous timeframe, really, not nearly enough minutes to squeeze in the things I need to do.
And I do not care. My house is disgustingly filthy. There are so many clothes piled up, waiting to be washed, that it’s much too much of a task to even begin and I resort to ruffling and rack using through a heaving basket of limp, warm clothes, pulling out only those things we will desperately, definitely need; I was them on the quickest cycle possible and wash and throw them in the clothes dryer despite the sunny humidity of the morning sun. My heartbeat repeats to me that I am ’selfish, selfish, selfish’, and I think that’s probably true. But what other way is there to be, when concept of a good mother is so far in my rear view I can’t even remember what it looks like anymore? When I’ve forgotten how to do this life-thing somewhere amongst the stealth, sneaky, silent months of a Christmas that didn’t feel like one at all? (”There are not enough presents”, I think to myself as I elf in the middle of the night. My wrapping duties once took days upon days and decades of wrapping paper… There are less people to gift, every year, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing at all.) A January, a new year, a tipping point that has crept it’s hands around the base of neck, thick wrists resting on my collarbone like a bad dream that’s just waiting for me fall asleep…?
I tell myself it’s for the good of everyone, running away when I need to… but the further I go into the After, the more that feels like an easy cop–out, a simplified excuse. Do I really still need to do this, let pressure off by acting like I’m sixteen again and running away from all my responsibilities? Or is it just that I enjoy it so much I’m happy to take it as a Get Out Of Jail Free card whenever I can, to the detriment of my kids and those people who are left picking up the slack of child–wrangling I’ve left behind?
I don’t know. But my children… they are sucking the very life from me. And I just cannot replenish it quickly enough.
I need to get the f*ck out of here.
Every time I go to Melbourne, I meet people I feel like I already know. I never really want to leave, never want to come home. In some parallel universe, I’ve been living there for years, basking daily in the people, greedily soaking up the infinite energy of the city.
In this Real Life, I eat and laugh and sleep and smile, listen to music and watch movies. I spend an afternoon wandering the Queen Victoria Markets by myself, watching people and just feeling… like myself. It’s been a twisted scarlet ribbon of time since I’ve felt like just me, and been happy and contented with being in my own skin, as opposed to trapped and ready to jump out of it.
I fly home again the night before New Years Eve, suddenly stricken with a funny woebegone homesickness for my own space.
I’m not sure how, but I’d forgotten what a f*cking disgusting my own space was. I begin to clean, to rearrange and resettle the house after the influx of new Christmas toys, the fluster of the Christmas tree. I complete tasks I’ve been procrastinating over for months… I even climb the small wooden ladder to the top shelf of my wardrobe and open Pandora’s Box. It’s a box of things from the Purple Before, and I can’t describe it’s contents to you, because I dared not look. I open the lid enough to put two things inside– photographs I’ve taken down from the walls because I just can’t walk past them every day anymore, and the baby blanket I bought the Bump home from the hospital in.
It’s as if there’s some venomous snake (rope) uncoiling itself within… I close the box with a snap, lest it bite me.
I spend New Years Eve and most of New Years Day Japanese–style, cleaning my house from top to bottom. Bunny refers to it as a ‘life clean’. Really, that seems to be the best phrase for it.
There are layers of shed shrouds around me, or so it feels– they whisper off my shoulders like ghosts, skimming away so silently I never even see it happen.