Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

459 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

On Change, Homelessness & Survival Party Mode

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

On Change, Homelessness & Survival Party Mode

Andrew Ryan

At the time of publication of this week’s musings, I will have been homeless for 13 days. My boyfriend and I were going to move into an incredible warehouse space, but after a weird interaction with the woman who was to be subletting it to us, which included her being intoxicated on god knows what, the changing of rental price, and broken promises about cleaning the space… we decided we couldn’t responsibly get involved with her, let alone give her our money.

It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. We had to move out of our apartment the next day, were totally stuck and I was fucking terrified. I’ve never done this before. I hate imposing myself on people. I hate it when I can’t look after myself properly.

A few frantic phone calls were made, we found places to store the stuff we didn’t ditch in local alleyways, and tried to figure out what the fuck we were going to do.

I didn’t sleep very well that night; I had multiple fits of anxiety and woke up yelling twice. I was angry at our ex-soon-to-be-landlord, angry at the rental market, angry at the owners of our apartment, angry at my housemate, angry at my boyfriend, angry at the guy I lived with nearly two years ago who burnt down the garage and subsequently ruined my trust in sharehouses found on gumtree…

I can’t bring myself to live with strangers, and no one I know has any spare rooms going until at least three weeks from now. After having to go to work over the weekend on about 5 hours sleep in two days, my mind and body felt totally shattered and everything was a daze, and then All Good In the Wood backyard festival happened and my state of mind was elevated to happiness again. It’s been a weird, hazy rollercoaster ride of emotion. It feels like I’ve been on psychedelics (I haven’t though).

The icing on the cake is that now boyfriend and I have split up. Within two weeks I have gone from being a relatively stable and functioning member of society to an exhausted, trashy, slightly-more-boozy-than-usual bum who gets my mail delivered to the bar I work at, while more often than not nursing my hangovers until well after regular business hours, which means I get fuck all regular business hours things done. Ive got to go to Centrelink. I’ve got to talk to the bank. I’ve got to pay my overdue phone bill. I’ve got to think about my mid year uni entrance. I’ve got to find somewhere to store my boxes longer term. I’ve got to keep up with my interests or I’ll go crazy.

It’s not nearly as bad as I expected though. I’ve had my stressed out moments, despairing that at this point in my life I probably should have worked my shit out a little better (NEARLY 25 TAHLIA WHUUUT), I can’t sleep without help from various substances, and I haven’t had any time to myself except for showers, but when it comes down to it, I’ve discovered that the people I know in this part of the world are fucking LOVELY. I’ve always got a couch or a bed, always got hugs and kisses on the cheek when I want them, and always have access to good, sound advice. The support of good friends is something I cherish, and I’m lucky lucky lucky to have landed in a great bunch of people.

The most interesting part of all of this is that nearly every time I’ve spoken to someone about my current situation, either they or a good friend of theirs have been homeless for a longer chunk of time than anyone should be. One friend has done it twice, and one of those times was for a whole year. Maybe it says more about the kind of circles I run in than the state of the rental market, maybe it doesn’t, but it’s still far more common than I realized before I embarked on this journey from house to bar to house to café to house every day.

I started to read the biography of one of one of my favourite painters, Modigliani, about a week before this homelessness thing happened. By the time I got to the description of his vagrant lifestyle, I was in the same boat, and have since decided to embrace the weirdness and newness of this situation and just go with whatever happens. I couldn’t paint because all my things are in boxes, so one day I woke up and decided to buy some drawing pads and some pencil, and began drawing the people I hang out with. I don’t like most of them-they’ve got nothing on Modigliani, that super talented classically trained fuck- but other people seem to dig them, so I’m considering that I might be able to start selling them.

So my life at the moment is the weirdest it’s ever been, but it’s also the most inspiring. I’ve gone into something of a survival party mode, something Melbourne seems to be full of, and everyone gets it, and it’s not a big deal. It’s my turn to learn about myself and people and creativity in this way, and I’m kind of getting a kick out of it. That being said, I cannot WAIT to have my own bedroom again, but I have a feeling I’ll appreciate my own bed and walls with things of my own choosing on them more than I ever have before.