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Winter Feels

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Winter Feels

Andrew Ryan

This time of year is always hard for me.

I am notoriously bad at taking care of myself, and in winter the effects of this are far more obvious- sickly, undernourished, unenthused, cold despite a billion layers of clothing, and this year I have no job to get me out from under my doona. Everything done in bed, or it doesn’t get done. Or, more realistically, everything attempted in bed and nothing gets done.

I want a beach holiday. Everyone with forward planning skills and a need for sun has run off to chase our shining solar God to some other part of the world, and all I have been doing is sitting at my computer, or sitting around a fire, or standing in the crowd at some gig with my camera, dreaming of a magazine expense account to fund a trip to wherever it is people go to escape Melbourne winters. I want to do that migration for the first time, write about that migration, take photos of other people doing that migration. Get some good quality Vitamin D all up in my cells while I live a new experience. Oh motivation to make dreams a reality, where do you go when you’re not around?

Craving travel but being economically stuck in this suburb of Melbourne (which is actually really pretty, I’m not complaining about my home, I swear), feeling exhausted from trying to stay warm and comfortable and sane, I have been trying to come up with a way to at least get a change of scenery. Somewhere different, somewhere I can have my perception of the world and society’s ills jolted. Somewhere with free accommodation.

One friend lives out in the country; I could definitely visit her, only she was due to give birth to her second child yesterday, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to do my first visit to her country home at this point in her life, this moody around a newborn baby would be terrible ju-ju…
Another friend lives on the coast, and he said I can come visit any time, except he is stupidly hard to get in touch with, what with all the surfing and (I assume) bong smoking that goes on over there, so that’s out until he remembers that he asked me to take photos of something for him, and he calls me again to arrange something concrete…
Which leaves one last friend living in the country, and that’s looking good, maybe next week, oh man I hope so I hope so, maybe next week I’ll write from that country town and I’ll be all invigorated and inspired and can write about what that little place is like…

Until then, I will continue to struggle through cold winds, frustrating near-poverty, and a more-than-vague sense of despair resulting from the treatment of asylum seekers by the Australian government, and the recent loss of a great Indigenous leader to suicide.

Honestly, I have been tempted to ignore all of my responsibilities and drink myself in to a stupor, like I used to do every time I felt The Weight Of The World on my skinny, lightly freckled shoulders, every time my poor decision making ended up kicking me in the ass and in my mind. Further bad decisions to ease pain of bad decisions, it’s no wonder my smoker’s-cough has persisted this long. Predictably, this reactionary fuckingmyselfup usually resulted in worse health, worse financial situation, and a bunch of poetry about suicidal thoughts and tragic sexual/romantic encounters. One of those poems got published in an erotic fiction publisher’s blog though, so it’s not all bad…

BUT. Magically, I have managed to avoid repeating that cycle. Maybe not magically. Maybe I’m just growing a little on the inside. Yeah, instead of doing that thing I said just before, I’ve found myself ignoring only SOME of my responsibilities, only SOMETIMES drinking too much, and- get this- revisiting comedy series I used to love. COMEDY, MAN.

It’s a fairly standard, straightforward thing, right: comedy makes people laugh. But the thing is, it feels as if I’d forgotten it was possible to lift myself out of dark thoughts and feels, out of feeling shitty. Sure, I laugh with friends when they’re around, and boyfriend is hilarious, but the general thought process is often quite overcast. I’d go deep in to realist dramas, I’d watch horror, I’d read books about sociology and indigenous and political issues… I find it very, very easy to get stuck in to tiring out my brain with all the gloom and serious. Masochism. Innate, inbuilt masochism. Sometimes I forget there is any other way.

BUT NOW I HAVE REMEMBERED THE OTHER WAY. I have decided to watch more more more more good comedic social commentary as often as possible to top up my faith-in-humanity in between whatever beach/country town working holidays I end up going on in the coming months. That’s what I need. Yes. Laughs. And to remember that it’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to laugh.