on escapes and clean slates

For the past week I’ve been waking, horror stricken in the night with the realisation that I can’t breathe. Don’t worry; so far it’s all false alarms. I sit in the stillness of the dark and rationalise that the thick warmth trapped in my room is in fact the result of the too much breathing that comes from possessing a mess bomb of a mind and being an anxious wreck while if anything, sleeping all too heavily. Opening a window, I release the fuggy night terrors onto the lamp lit lawn, before crawling back into bed.

Lately my slumbering self has been plagued by an overabundance of unwelcome dreams. You know the kind; you’re scrambling naked through some public place, entirely conspicuous, or you’re back at school and stuck in that moment before you give a speech, sweaty palmed before a staring, dumb faced class.  Worst still, the dream where your past lovers rock up in a posse and begin casually listing your many and numerous shortfalls, unanimously agreeing that you were singularly their biggest mistake. It’s very disconcerting.

The source of my sudden restlessness and increasingly fragile sense of self is that in the very near future I intend to quit my life. And I am terrified. As you know, I had already made the decision to relinquish my full time position in the New Year. In my mind I figured I could throw in my job, but remain in the area and work for my boss on a casual basis, as a kind of safe guard against the prospect of having to fend for myself. I figured it couldn’t hurt to establish for myself a safety net. After all, surely starting over isn’t something one should rush?

As is often the case, the sneaky little nuisance of a notion came to me without warning. I was chatting to my sister about the cultural Mecca that is Melbourne City, and suddenly I was announcing, in a tone that sounded all at once flippant and completely foreign to me, that I plan to move there before the year is out. Naturally, my sister was both shocked and impressed by my apparently sudden display of recklessness, and believe me, she wasn’t the only one. Me, who had always been grounded and sensible and safe was now announcing impulsively, yet with total conviction, that she planned to pick herself up and, with zero prospects, venture into the unknown. I have since learned that backing out of a terrifying decision is a lot more difficult once you have spoken it aloud, for I am as proud and stubborn as I am cowardly. Maybe I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. Perhaps I should have begun speaking my thoughts a long time ago.

If you’re thinking I sound a lot like a pathetic pansy, you’d be right, though it should be noted that although I become a cot case in the small hours of the morning, by the light of day I am typically quite composed. Sure, there are moments when the prospect of walking out on the life I’ve spent the past five years establishing summons my old friend Anxiety, who meanders in unannounced and casually sits on my chest, stripping me of appetite and making basic functions such as breathing an encumbering experience. But for the larger part, my pathetically irritating and unrealistically confident inner self is sitting back with an air of self righteousness and superiority, reflecting like a would-be philosopher on our very brave and risqué life decision; that by throwing it all in we are winning back our freedom. It is true that in some moments there is a sort of weightless calm that comes with recklessly abandoning everything, but I can’t help but think that this feeling is not dissimilar to that which is felt by a suicide bomber or a man enduring the final stages of a terminal illness. And I’m certain at times I possess the same desperate look in my eyes.

Needless to say, it’s not all bad. For a girl whose life has always been plagued by indecision, while I certainly don’t have a grasp of what it is I want, I do have a growing awareness of the things I could easily do without. My current life, for instance.


So. Know of anyone in the big smoke who’s in need of a writer? As of the New Year I am officially unemployed. Feel free to drop me a line, or look me up; address, Struggle Street.


5 thoughts on “on escapes and clean slates

  1. You could always take a year’s leave without pay …a leave a safety line there …chuck it out in 12 months if alls goes well but won’t leave you in a mess if you change you mind…

  2. Keep your eye on the prize and tell Anxiety you don’t need him! What you are about to give yourself is an impossible luxury to many people. Its the kind of thing people really do write books about – finding yourself and discovering what truly makes you ‘whole’.

    Have you decided what you are searching for?
    SOMEthing else or ANYthing else? ‘Cos there’s a big difference…

    As a one whose known you as the straight laced, sensible, regimented, teacher-type your whole life, my heart is rejoicing in reading your plans and thoughts for your freedom journey. Take it with both hands and milk it.

    Infact, milk the f*&k out of it!

  3. You do sound a bit terrified! If you need comfort for the worst case scenario, know that taking a year… or two… or five out of a particular career path does not mean that you can never go back. People do it all the time… just look at all the working mothers out there. But I think, perhaps, that you need to lose the safety net. Perhaps the clarity comes when there is a yawning chasm of nothingness surrounding you.
    Anyway, you might like to check out this song – the lyrics might be particularly close to home…

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