Now that the dust is settling around me, I am taking some time to pause, reflect, and every hour or so remind myself that I have done it. I moved to Melbourne. I live here now!
Just over one month ago, a few days before my 30th birthday, I decided to make this move. It seems that I am the only person who was surprised by this decision, which came suddenly like a bolt of lightning all up in my brain.
At the time of my epiphany, I was in Melbourne for a week of leave to celebrate my birthday with my parents, my brother and his partner. Spending time in this city, I somehow felt more like myself than I had for a long time. With each day I felt my identity strengthening and my resolve galvanising; it suddenly became apparent that it was time to move forward, and this is where I want to do it.
A year ago, my daily goal was to get out of bed, clean my teeth, have something nutritious to eat, try to summon the strength talk to another human, and not sleep for the rest of the day. I often did not achieve this goal. I did not fret that I was unable to achieve my dreams – I fretted that I had no dreams. My view of the world was myopic. I could not conceive of a better life, and was filled with bitter resentment at all that others were able to do that I could not.
Things began to change for me when I moved in with Minyarose, a beautiful and talented photographer who I met through mutual friends and was looking for someone to rent the spare room in her recently renovated house. It did not bother Minya that I had suffered setbacks as a result of my mental illness. She accepted me for exactly who I was, and for the contribution I made to her home. Very soon, I had a job and settled into a happy domestic routine – she cooked breakfast; I made lunch. Our friendship grew with every shared meal.
Slowly I began to feel less like someone whose life was defined by an illness. Most of the time, the only reminder was the handful of pills I continued to take morning and night. Occasionally I had bad days, but they were far outnumbered by the good. And then, sure enough, I began to dream again. I rediscovered an eagerness to return to study and move my career forward. I joined a writers’ group. I embarked on a creative project with an inspiring and talented friend, which excited my passions for history and music. My world began to grow. I soon realised that I would need to escape my stifling job and find something that would allow me to express myself. Then I came to Melbourne, and my path was clear.
The weeks that followed my decision were filled with sad goodbyes, but also celebration of the life I had in my hometown. In the past three years I have cultivated an amazing and eclectic group of friends. I am eternally grateful for their boundless support, and I know these friendships will be life long.
There has not been one moment of doubt or regret. I don’t have a job, but I have enough to pay the rent, for now. I live with my brother and his partner, who are both incredibly brilliant, and also supportive of my decision to forge a new path. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I know I’m going to do something.
This will be my last ever post on Cattle & Cane. But I am starting a new project, where I will be exploring my adopted home through curious eyes. I hope you can follow me there – The Go-Between.