Change use to be my bag. I used to thrive on it. It was exciting and imbued with endless possibilities. It probably started from my childhood, we moved every couple of years when I was a kid, we used to buy or build and then we'd move. Most of the houses – something like seventeen – were in Ferny Grove. The furthest we went, apart from a few years at McDowell before there was even a roundabout (oh that horrendous roundabout) was Toowoomba for six months, well that was a weird trek into a parallel universe. They put all the new kids (including my little sister Rhiannon who was in grade one, I was in grade three) in the new class room with the new teacher. We were segregated from the Toowoomba kids.
One bonus was I did year five work and she did year three work. But it was a strange place for us – no offence to those of you that come from there it's a beautiful country town but it's not so welcoming for newcomers, or at least it wasn't – so we moved back to our old stomping ground.
And I went to Ferny Grove pre-school, Primary School and High School. But we continued the tradition of moving house frequently. And I liked it. Then when I started working as soon as was legal, fourteen and three quarters I got jobs, starting at the horridly unprofessional Snow Deli at Brookside where they were incredibly unhygenic and frequently shorted me or overpaid me. Stupidly I was honest and would tell them (they would make me work it off, rather than taking the over-payment back, keeping in mind in those days it was cash in an envelope pay), then when they under paid me I'd have to get my Mum in to argue with them and look through their books to prove they'd fucked up. I was already smarter then their manager at fourteen. So it inspired a series of jobs, and at one stage I worked three. Full time at Mountain Designs head office Monday to Friday, Thursday night and Saturday at Woolworths Stafford Deli and Friday nights and Sundays at the Ferny Grove Bowls Club. Plus when I could the private boxes at the football – union or league – as the bar attendant serving lovely plumbers and tradies or asshat lawyers and barristers who were always the most problematic.
I then moved into temp work and loved that too, it fulfilled my need for change and my love of meeting people and I was very comfortable with learning new things I was intelligent enough that I quickly adapted to new environments and became friends with staff. I became a favourite of many companies because of my ability to seamlessly transition into their teams.
Then I worked the longest period I ever worked anywhere – four years at Education Queensland – and ironically had just started a job with the Human Resources Rehabilitation Unit as an Executive Assistant when I got sick, very, very sick. And I tried to return to work, but I kept falling asleep and falling over. And I was young and I was naïve. A woman I used to work with saw immediately what I had, she told me her brother was sick just like me. He had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And pretty quickly I was diagnosed with it. Thankfully because that doctor saved my life. I lost my job because I was a casual, which isn't right and wasn't right. My old boss and dear friend went to bat for me. I should never have been casual. They should have made me a permanent employee by then. But the new director of HR had in for me. She really didn't like me and frankly in retrospect I didn't give her much reason to. I was too sick to work, and yet I would go out drinking. I did it because after spending six months as a saint doing everything right, eating barely anything, restricting my diet, resting and working barely existing, I didn't get any better. And when I drank it gave me false energy and for that time I felt normal. I was such a gregarious and outgoing creature. I had worked full time, played netball up to seven days a week, spent lunches with friends every day and always had weekends full of plans. Then bam, nothing. Four walls, revolting food, endless torture and no escape. So I drank. And she heard about it amongst other things I did that were not indicative of a sick person. But I was a kid. And I had lost my world to a torturous illness. I couldn't deal. I sent out mixed messages and I confused people.
Anyway.... that's that. So this incredibly gregarious, outgoing, young woman with extensive and varied social circles was suddenly slammed shut into a box back when the internet was a major luxury and people just didn't really call you. I lost myself. I self sabotaged. And then I would be good and nothing would improve, giving me no incentive not to find at least some happiness in company while drinking instead of the stark isolation I had been locked into. It was and is the most soul destroying and hope crushing world to be trapped in.
It has changed me. I am not who I was. I used to have parties to celebrate my birthdays, populated by seventy or more very close friends and they were legitimately close friends. I was very good at maintaining friendships. Now the limit is no more than two to three people – talking very softly one at a time – or I go into the foetal position shaking and sobbing hysterically because it feels as though my head is being stabbed repeatedly by knives. I lost the ability to maintain friendships with people I had known and loved my whole life, because I couldn't even look after myself. They thought we just grew apart when really they just grew away from me and I never saw them again. They stopped reaching out. And although I still felt exactly the same adoration about them, I simply could not reach out. I became invisible, translucent and weightless. A non entity.
So time stopped then for me. Every thing since has been grey with occasional slashes of colour. Garish reds or the very rare dash of blue with beautiful dots of sunshiny golden yellow.
Now I am me. A shell of she. I shiver and shake at the idea of change. I get overwhelmed with the thought of it all. I used to thrive on it. I loved it. Now it is so complicated. My parents are poor age pensioners. They are my carers. And they're both sick. I am a disability pensioner and I cannot even get myself in or out of bed alone any more. We suddenly have to move house. And it's not like the adventures of my youth, I am a cowering mess. There is still a steel will but it is weakened and cracked.
On the weekend my sister Rhiannon and my friend Fiona came to help pack and I barely helped, I could do much except direct really. And yet by dusk I was projectile vomiting, with gastro, clammy with chest pains and unable to walk, my head exploding with a mitochondrial migraine.
Change. We have to move after just under two years and I'm not even fully unpacked. The house we loved just fell through. We don't have bond. We can't afford movers. We have nowhere to go. We can't afford double rent in case we do find the right place (dual living, hi-set, pet friendly) too early. The owners are likely to be asshats and refuse release our bond even though we've done everything right, They're simply that way. The roof leaks, the lights short out, there's no insulation so we have ridiculous electricity bills because I cannot moderate my body temperature (they promised to drop the rent as we pay way over market price due to the urgency of finding a house to move into, and predictably they then reneged their offer), there were no curtains or rods … I had to do everything to adjust this house to make it safe for me and now we have to move. And I can't work out the how of it.
We will. I will. I'll find that girl I used to be and wrench her out and try to make use of her for the small things. I can't do the big things. I'm too busy trying not to die. But I can summon her up for the little things. The bond loan. A charity loan. Commandeering volunteers. Something.
Please just pray for me, send me good vibes, meditate on good health and a beautiful change, do whatever you can to send out love into the universe for me and my parents. Because we've been through enough. And it shouldn't be so hard all the time. I need a break from the torture.
Help me wrench her from the shell. Help me please? Help us. We need it.
And thank you. For being in my life For hearing and seeing me. For loving me. For your unconditional unwavering friendships – especially those forged online in sickness, in the dark – you are the best of me. And I love you all xxx