July and Jess have the same amount of letters

July and Jess have the same amount of letters

When I met him at the arrival gate after six weeks apart I burst into tears as he wrapped me up in a hug. The tears were a surprise to both of us. It was not that I had been unable to function without him around. Its just that I was glad he was back and that he had not decided to stay away forever. I got presents. Zines including one that had fun facts about foxes, a colour wheel necklace, some books, an iron patch of a red panda with the words RED PANDA APPRECIATION CLUB,  a badge from an Amsterdam art museum, the catalogue book from The Ann Frank Museum and a couple of other things.

I read poetry at a library with a couple of other Melbourne poets. I made friends with a guy from Mexico who engaged me in such wonderful conversation that we ended up being the last to leave the library after the event ended.  An ex friend had been at the event and the shock of seeing her made my already high anxiety so much worse that I discreetly took the valium out of my front pocket of my dungarees and swallowed it with  a cup of tea I had made at the table where the event organizers had set up free tea and coffee and biscuits.  I want to go say hello and clear the air. I do not end up doing it.

time is set aside to write something for one of the events I will be in at The Red Dirt Poetry Festival in Alice Springs ( August 2- 6) It makes me a bit sad. The way writing about high school memories has a tendency to do if those memories are not so stella. Dont get me wrong its a blessing that I never peaked in high school. But lost female friendships hurt even ones that happened over 15 years ago. The event is called Mixtape Memoirs. You have to choose a song and then read a poem or rant or short story connected to the song and the memories of high school. It was difficult to chose between two very strong contenders. I ended up choosing Bjork’s song Human Behaviour for reasons that only the people at the event will be privy to. And then the rest of you when I share it on this here blog.

I have a psychiatrist now. I show up to my appointment a day early. Which is devastating as it took so much effort to leave the house to get there. The next morning when I arrive I come with the books I read since our last appointment in order to show him what an avid and willing patient I am. I plop the two books on his desk with a grin. ”You read these since our last appointment?” He says sounding impressed which was the whole point in bringing them. The last appointment had involved him asking me what I knew about Borderline Personality Disorder. I told him i had studied it in my psych degree and that a character in my favourite show ( Crazy Ex Girlfriend) had just been diognozed with it.  When he tells me that its a disorder I have. I am shocked. When I read the two books I find in the Readings near nova cinema in Carlton, shock turns to recognition. Constant emptiness, rage and anger out of proportion to the situation, chaotic relationships, impulsivity, lacking that protective veneer normal people have that stops them jumping to the worst possible thing everyone is thinking about them, erratic mood, not trusting my own feelings. Feeling different from everyone else in my family, not difficult as I was different and am.

The three year anniversary of a friend’s death comes around  on the 27th and I go the whole day thinking about her. I think about how so many other people knew her better and were so much closer to her than I was. But she was so kind to me every time we saw each other at lit events. The first time we met was at a monthly feminist panel discussion that I had been invited to be on, a panel about feminism and disability. The first panel I ever did. She was introduced to me as Kat and as an amazing feminist and friend. The last time I saw her was at The Royal Melbourne Hospital on an early morning. I was there for a routine biopsy of my new transplanted kidney. A biopsy that would go terribly wrong. She was there for a job interview to be a councillor at the hospital. We chatted for a few minutes as my partner and I waited for the elevator to open. I wished her luck at her interview. I should have hugged her before getting into the lift. I was all muddled with nerves about the biopsy.

On the day she died I was in intensive care struggling to stay alive connected to so many machines and coming in and out of  drug induced psychosis, unable to know what was real and what wasn’t. When my partner told me about Kat’s death. I looked up at him from the hospital bed and cried so much the tears pooled around my ears and the pillow. ”Ehy are you telling me such things.” I sobbed.

Then a few moments later my grip on reality dissolved and the horrible news was forgotten. I went back to imagining other awful things as true and pulling out an important tube in my neck. Until a couple of weeks later I was getting better and in the ward recovering. Thats when I remembered the news and asked if my friend dying had been a horrible hallucination like so many others. I really wanted it to be. It wasn’t. It was real. Kat was gone and I had not even been able to go to her funeral and say goodbye properly.  I am sure she would understand but Im still sad about this. I should have hugged her before getting into that fucking lift.