Aging is not that scary. I am not worried about turning thirty. I don’t mind little lines on my face. I think in my head I thought thirty looked a lot older. I don’t know what it was meant to look like but it didn’t look like this. This isn’t so bad. I still get pimples which quiet frankly I am confused about, you get old but at least the pimples have stopped--that was what was promised,but no, they keep coming, I mean maybe if I actually took my make-up off at night and cleaned my face in the morning like an actual grown up things would be easier. Well, I could do these things, or simply accept the fact that my face will always be slightly blemished. Aging for me is not scary because of what my body is becoming. I mean it is slightly annoying that I have to watch how much I drink not only because of the hangovers that insist on getting worse and worse which I’m sure is not a surprise to anyone but also that the calories insist on hanging around permanently after every major night. I mean, it’s like they found a home and now they’re nesting. And now I have the imagine of little things nesting in my body and now I’m moving on….
But… I can’t.
To me moving, changing, evolving isn’t the scary thing. The scary thing is being stagnate. It’s sitting down one day and staying there. The cushion beneath your arse compressing and squishing—caving. It’s the dust slowly snowing down and settling on your frozen form. It’s not the Havisham complex, it’s not that someone burnt you, scarred you so badly it sent you off the rails, and you refused to ever go outside. It’s that you go outside, you live your ‘life’, you go about your day but all the while you’re in the Matrix. Your body is moving but at the same time it’s not. It’s still sitting, in that chair. The cobwebs accumulating.
Each problem in life tries to press itself into your bones and muscles, stiffening and knotting. Each problem reminding you that a part of your life is falling apart. Aging isn’t scary. It’s time.
There’s a sloth named Gavin that I’ve been carrying on my back for the last few years. It wasn’t as if he didn’t give me enough time to run away. He just slowly crawled up my body and hangs off my shoulders now. In a way, the company is reassuring. But it’s exhausting trying to go through life with my hairy lumpy passenger.
I guess by starting this platform for my writing, I’ve asked Gavin to sit on the chair for a while. It’s all right because I just bought a new 3-piece set. See! I am a grown up now.
I am actively taking control of my life by being active. This means going to the gym. Don’t worry, this is not going to turn into an ‘inspirational’ post about how to turn your life around by being healthy. Yes, do that if you want. But also, being active is as much about power as it is about looking your best.
The most hilarious thing is that I actually like exercise, as much as I joke about why I hate it. I hate how seriously people take it. We all look ridiculous moving our bodies in front of mirrors to heinously aggressive music. Let’s laugh, or at least smile guys. Why are we all dressed in some black gym uniform; an army for Nike and Lulu Lemon? The best thing about exercise is that it forces you to actually be in your body and not overthink all of everything. Oh, what a terrible contradiction there is when gym culture also tells us not to be comfortable in that body.
I am trying all the classes just in case I dismissed things out of pigheadedness. The lead me to the strange and arduous word of body attack. It is not a misnomer. There was an actual attack on my body. I thought I might throw up. Three times. Beautiful lithe blondes with their hair tightly braided paraded star hands over my limp body. Their power obviously lies in those braids. How else can people remain upright under that much force? I will test this theory by arming myself with two neat braids the next time I bring myself to masochism. Watch this space.
Important lesion: do not wear fisherman’s pants to classes at the gym. They were made for tourists eating space cake and drinking Chang, i.e. when they’re beside a beach and won’t have to stretch themselves one iota. They can’t maintain basic integrity thus leading you to misplace yours. Many things crossed my mind when I heard the stagnated but deliberate sound of my pants tearing. What to do when you’ve hedge your bets and your hedged in? Leaving would draw attention to what I assume was a gapping hole that exposed my neither regions, this, therefore, was not an option. During the crazed aerobics I tried to suss the extent of the gap but, alas, that also would draw far too much attention to the area. I settled with simple blind faith. Black undies, grey/black pants… maybe no one would notice. And no one in my class did. Hindsight tells me that this was more because of most of them using up all of their energy following the instructors fast pace, maintaining breathing—in an attempt to hold off a heart attack, and trying not to projectile vomit, rather than how slight my indecency was. I know this by examining the results myself in the changeroom afterwards but also because the following class, with nothing to distract them, individually—in an excruciatingly drawn out process—bared it to me with the amused expressions on their faces.
Now, I know I said we need to laugh more at the gym, this wasn’t what I meant. I get the joke of it. I tell you this now because I get the joke. But these braided blondes dance around in short shorts and sports bras and my undies—which remain mostly hidden—are the same size as these ‘shorts’. I would wear those ‘shorts’ to the gym. This isn’t about me shaming them. But I cover them up, then accidentally expose them… it’s hilarious. And it is, but why?
It’s now 345 days until I become officially too old to not be an adult, and I had a terrible week. Terrible. I think I panicked under the pressure of an adult that I went three steps back. Maybe four. I have done nothing productive: barely any exercise; it took me 5 days to post the previous blog entry (that was already written); I did eat pretty well; my room still looks like a teenage boys room (or a teenage Ingrid’s room); did no writing; did no homework; didn’t always brush my teeth before bed; didn’t wash my face before bed; I set soba noodles on fire; and oh, yes, got terribly drunk… a lot.
On the Guilty Feminist podcast, someone (sorry wish I could remember whose words stuck in my head. This is now a much less insightful comment and I want to give them credit but I can't so just go and listen to every episode to catch that one sentence. It will be worth it. It's amazing.) said that when you’re a kid, remember then? Yes. You get drunk because you’re happy. And now, that’s not really the reason. While I don’t think that means anyone should stop drinking entirely, I need to become better at telling myself that a nice cup of tea and bed will solve this problem far more than tequila. It’s not that I am blocking this little voice out. I’m not. It’s just not there. I think that little voice gets drunk before me and then passes out. Poor sensible little voiced Ingrid.
I stayed out till past 4 in the morning 3 times since I last wrote that. What was I doing? Having a great time. Or… Having a great time? Let’s say, there were good times and bad times. Started alright and then got embarrassing. Not gut wrenchingly embarrassing, more like cringe worthy. I ended up and a bar I frequent, basically getting asked to leave. Why behave badly in a bar I go to all the time? No idea. It’s stupid. It started when an older guy said that he didn’t like pinot noir. Obviously, my Colleague and I took massive offense, it is, after all, the most versatile grape. It goes from being thin and watery, or thick, dark and fruity—all of the best ones are in the middle of that. We then became best friends, and he offered to buy us a margarita. We had paid. Were about to leave. So close to being not dick. My Colleague and I can drink a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot, a lot. But we have a switch. This switch says; ‘go home. You can’t handle this anymore. You’ve turned dark. Leave.’ Little voiced Ingrid wakes up and finally starts talking again. Unfortunately, free drink can trump that. Damn you Margarita.
My colleague and I then got into a fight. Not a reasonable argument. Not a healthy dialogue. A yelling match that scared people around us. It started with the fact that my Colleague said that #metoo was a frivolous campaign. I took justified offense. I said that while it is problematic that people feel they are changing the world through twitter without changing any other parts of their lives, twitter is reaching women globally and making them feel like they’re a part of a greater community that has a voice for once in their lives. Well, that’s wat I meant to say. I think I might have said, what? No! Of course you say that! You man! Shut up! To which he said, you’re being such a girl. To which I said, just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you aren’t misogynistic. And then we got off topic about who was arguing better. ‘No, I didn’t say that. You weren’t listening!’ ‘I was you weren’t saying anything!’ ‘What was I saying!’ ‘Nothing!’ ‘See! Not listening.’ Oh, I pity everyone that had to listen to us.
I then decided to drink some more with my older gentleman friend and rant about my Colleague and why I didn’t pursue being an actor. It’s kinda really comforting, when at a man’s house at 4am you have been ranting about women’s empowerment already. He didn’t dare make a move.
Little voiced Ingrid gets hers back the next day. It comes in the form of her replaying everything I did the night before. I started a story with, this is so amusing, to have someone at the end of the story say that it was false advertising that I said that. I wasn’t very amusing. Not even slightly amusing. I tripped. I yelled. I screamed. I might have fallen asleep in my uber. And then I had woken up to facebook msg saying answer your phome, all hells broken loose at work. I didn’t start for 3 hours. Keep it together until then. Please, I’m focused on trying to eat soup at the minute.
My sister got a message yesterday from our real estate agency saying that we were 8 days in arrears and pay immediately. The anxiety of renting is sometimes too much for me. Moving house was so intense. So, we really should pay; our $5! Five dollars. I don’t know how we still owe five dollars. They told me to pay an amount of money. I did. Done. No! Wait. It wasn’t including the transfer fee and now you need to incur another transfer fee to pay the outstanding transfer fee! Is this really a thing?
But there was one shining moment this week where I felt like I was a grown up. One moment that I can look to for comfort. My dog killed a rat. So many parts of this story make me feel uncomfortable. As a vegetarian, the killing of anything makes me feel... not the best. When Pilot catches bird and they’re half alive… it is not pleasant. You need to put it out of its misery. It won’t survive, it’s too far gone, the shock has already sentenced it. Decapitation by a shovel is the only way to stop its pain. But I cannot tell you how awful it is holding the shovel above a little bird’s head.
Thankfully, the rat was dead. And I hate rats, hate them. It was a huge rat, as big as a cat. That was how I knew that the dog killed the rat and not the cat. If the cat and killed the rat, it would have been incredibly impressive. I pictured it for a while, Littlefoot is a badass. Maybe Littlefoot did kill the rat? We will never know. Maybe it was a united effort so neither could get the blame; murder on the orient express style.
So, they both were sitting there, proudly over the rat. Being like, look what I’ve done. My sister could do nothing to help. It was too much for her. She asked if she could do anything that didn’t involve getting anywhere near the rat. I commanded her to put the kettle on and make tea. I grabbed the dust pan and brush and scooped this oversized rat onto it. I then had to make my way through the house to get to the bin out the front. The rat took up all of the dust pan. Its thick tail limply hanging down the side.
The rat was just playing dead, or so I thought. It could pop up and mock me. It would be at eye level if it stood up. I stared at its open eyes and the two yellow teeth poking out of its mouth. It didn’t move. It wasn’t a trick. It just lay on the rubbish when I put it in the bin. I had to keep reminding my sister it was there when she took anything out to the bin that week.
This week has been full of anxieties, procrastination, and dead rats. I coped with this by attempting to drink my way through all of the alcohols in the world. This was not clever, not helpful, and not smart. This week will be better. Yes? Yes. Little voiced Ingrid, speak louder.
I am an adult--but I hate calling myself that. I never really thought about why. I am not a child, I outgrew girl many years ago. My sister pointed out that when we are 18 we’re more than happy to call ourselves an adult. And we were babies then. Little babies! I'm happy to be called a woman, or a lady--never madam though, this is offense when someone is under the age of sixty (and they also might take offense—actually it’s best avoid that word altogether). Girl and madam. Never use. One is patronising the other says you think I will never have sex again as I am your great aunt.
It's not that I think I'm immature or irresponsible. My dog is still alive, fed, and happy. I am the assistant manager of a wine bar and I don't even drink all the wine. Not even all of it.
I've thought about it, the reason that adult becomes a scary word is that, I've always thought maybe, by the time I was an adult, I'd have my shit together. This doesn’t mean I want to become more serious. That’s not being an adult. I don’t want the only way for me to run free is under the mask of being drunk. I want to be silly and audacious while being an adult.
I set myself the task of writing this and after a moment of hesitation I reached for the bottle of Gruner Veltliner. I then thought that exercise simulates the mind more that a depressant and took my dog for a walk—see! Adulting already. It was late, but because I just moved to a new area I felt safe. It’s well lit, inner city Melbourne. There is such a wonderful freedom of enjoying the night without the fear of the shadows. I power-walked around the park listening to movie soundtracks (the best motivational music out there). I came across the exercise bar and it struck me how much I used to love the monkey bars when I was a kid. I remember playing on them for hours. Swing up and around, holstering yourself to the top and making fun of all the people still on the bark. I tried to do a chin up. The ‘adult version’ of the monkey bars--being an adult sucks.
I wish I didn’t have to turn thirty and I could just turn into my dog instead. I call her trouble crossed with happiness. Doesn’t that sound like the best thing to be? When she first gets off the lead she shoots away. She is so fast. It’s amazing when we’re at the park. It’s terrifying when we’re on the road. We sit at every road when she’s on the lead and still she has no conception of how dangerous they are. At the park, she flies. She is so happy. And if you relax and smile and watch her, you’ll be so happy too. There’s even childish glee that comes into your life. This is my version of being an adult; knowing when to be a kid again. In the middle of the park there’s a lamppost, it calls to you in the dark. The light falls in a strange and different way. Slowly the snow starts to fall, Mr Tumnes steps into the light and invites you for tea.
It this chasm between being an adult and a child. I feel like I am trying I navigate the journey but somehow I got turned around and ended up on the wrong continent. Don’t even know which continent it is, it’s just so wrong. Now I have to channel Gertude Caroline Elderle and start swimming until I recognise the world around me, and myself.
I went back home a few weeks ago and watched how Geelong has changed. The nightlife was no longer just drunk teenagers being peeled off the streets and smooshed into divvy vans. There are now wine bars and prohibition themed cocktail bars. I am not against this form gentrification. That said, obviously I had the most meaningful moment when I was at a club called Lambys. If you are not known in the G’town, Lambys is a club situated below a wool museum, hence the witty and clever name, Lambys. So there, while I was drunk enough to have my first (and let’s say, last) watermelon cruiser, I was complaining about who I should invite to my birthday drinks. I was playing the pros and cons of repetitive overthinking, when my friend asked me if I knew what I wanted. I should also add that she too had been inebriated enough to partake in the watermelon cruiser, so the question was more phrased as an intense integration by a renegade cop than a a request.
But it stuck with me. What did I want? It stuck for many reasons. The next day I had woken up, fully clothed, wearing a scarf that I don’t remember putting on. I discovered my shoes in the lounge room slash apparently d-floor from the previous night. I pieced together that we had left the club to make our own more sophisticated party, I had entered the house kicked off my shoes, my friend had put the tunes on, I had become cold so thought that the best solution was to put a scarf on and then, of course, immediately had passed out. This took me some time to recall. When I first woken up, in my head we were dancing to a terrible cover band while a 22 yr old had a crack at me and then, next minute, I was wearing a scarf in bed. I definitely had my life together.
The words swam in my mind: what did I want?
I have always wanted to be a writer, but never felt like I really had the discipline or the wisdom to be one. I am starting this blog to help with my disciple and to show myself that being a writer is just writing. I have a voice. It doesn’t have to be wise. It won’t always be. But I do have something to say and something to teach. For example, I can teach you the perils of overthinking. What is not known about the burden of overthinking is that after thinking too much, you become disorientated and frustrated which can lead to the conclusion that there are no good options so therefore you might as well do something completely ridiculous because at least it will be hilarious and at least you will have a few stories to tell. This never ends well for me, but you have to laugh-otherwise you might be crying.
This is the place where I will tell you a few things about my thoughts as I actively work on achieving my goal of becoming a writer, finally, so when I turn thirty in 352 days, I can say, at the age of thirty, I am now, officially, an adult*.
*an adult doesn’t mean that I have everything figured out. I define it as someone that understands what they want and tries to achieve this even though they might self-sabotage or be completely shit at it.