A few days ago I received a care package from my sister in Australia. It contained everything a good care package should, which is to say ample amounts of chocolate and chocolate based goods (all of which were consumed within 24 hours), superior Australian Band-Aids (I’d run out), cosy clothes and cards expressing unconditional love and support.
And she put all this together whilst approximately 30 seconds away from giving birth. My sister is much better at functioning than I.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a human being in possession of a life will inevitably go through some bullshit, and I’ve been reflecting a lot these last few weeks on how lucky I am to have the support network that I do while wading through my current allotment of bovine excrement. So I’m taking time out from my pendulum swinging between aching self-pity and hyperactive distraction methods to be grateful for a whole bunch of people and their bolstering of my fragile self. This includes, but is not limited to:
Sometimes I am convinced that rather than being a human of standard skeletal construction, I am in fact a mutant. A mutant with a weapon built in to my anatomy, and angled in such a way that no matter what posture I adopt, no matter how I attempt to align myself, I am biologically designed to shoot myself in the foot.
Obviously, this is a metaphor. I’m relatively certain that had I been born with such an actual disfigurement, my parents would have had a surgeon sort it out.
So the last five months have succeeded in breaking me. Have succeeded in tearing me down, leaving behind a shell of a person standing in the rubble of my former personality. All too often, I feel that the part of me that was happy, playful, attractive and fun to be around has died and is rotting away inside me, poisoning me from the inside out. I used to be funny. Now I’m just glum.
I’m going to break the unwritten rule of the internet in this post. You know, the rule that says we only admit to and promote the aspects of our lives that make it seem like we’re living in a Coca Cola ad. The rule that has us spending a ridiculous amount of time adjusting light sources, doing hair and make-up, taking twenty three different versions of the same photo, adding filters and cropping out anything remotely unflattering, then claiming #Iwokeuplikethis.
If you’re looking to buy into the idea of a flawless, rainbow coloured existence where living overseas is a dream filled with magical sparkles and prancing unicorns, quit reading now because this post is not for you.
So before the advent of Sorrowful September, I was lucky enough to spend Awesome August in the country that gave us the Renaissance, pasta, Pavarotti and in-floor heating. That’s right people, I literally spent an entire month luxuriating under the Tuscan sun.
I had been awarded a scholarship to study a four week Italian course at the Michelangelo Institute in Florence, which I was super excited about. Not only because I got to learn Italian in Italy, but because I would have a full four weeks of eating authentic pasta and gelato. And it would be glorious. Friends from Australia who now live in Germany had done the same course a month before, and my appetite (both literal and figurative) for all things Italian had well and truly been whetted by their Facebook pages.
The last time I went through an actual break-up (as opposed to implementing a policy of gradually falling of the face of the planet in order to stop “seeing someone”) I think I was twelve. A few weeks earlier a boy in my class had asked me, through a friend, to go out with him. We sat in awkward silence at the opposite end of school benches at lunch for a little while. And then I decided to tell him, through a friend, that I didn’t want to go out with him anymore.
And then I went and danced to the Spice Girls.
I never did the sickening teenage romance. Upon entering the dating game, I became quickly convinced that my soul-mate was located either in the eighteenth century, or France. Or even more likely, in eighteenth century France.