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April 29, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Missing: One ‘A’ Game

I have recently taken stock of my life. If I had to specify the trigger for this burst of life administration,* last weekend’s ‘sitting in a Lambton Qy shop window in bridal attire listening to people sing karaoke to Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ while passers-by avoided my gaze’ springs to mind. I went with some friends to the Brides exhibition, wore a massive tulle skirt, posed in it for a photo captioned “Waiting for Joyce”, and snickered at a girl who boldly made her two mates dress up as her bridesmaids. I don’t think even Beyonce would have taken that initiative had it not been for Tina. Be your own Tina, guys.

Romantic inventory at the end of April has seen another breakup season come and go. Hopefully you dealt with it better than me. I tend to overanalyse my friends’ estrangements and act like it’s happened to me. (As I once saw a girl outside Hope Bros at 1 am yell to her mate, “I JUST WANT TO FEEL SOMETHING!”) Now people are coupling up again. It is unclear whether or not this is worse. No—this just in—it’s worse. I went to my friend’s birthday the other weekend and her father tried to set me up with her cousin. He seemed like a nice guy. He stuck out our conversation for ten minutes and then spent the rest of the night talking to his parents. My dad was standing near us, watching and laughing. Now my dad knows I don’t have game.

Dismally understocked, just to really flog this metaphor, is university. I recently re-watched the entirety of Sex and the City while dipping in and out of study for an equity law test. It got me thinking—wait for it—“am I holding my heart on trust?” I sat the test the other week, mired myself in intellectual mud**, did some mild numb-troll-face weeping up Willis St, ran into my friends at KK Malaysia, and told them “This degree is a brick wall against which I bang my head, hoping to eventually melt the mortar with my tears”.*** They said “This laksa is hot AF. It might help.” What good people.

Being a student for years on end is exhausting. I’ve done, what, three and a bit years, and I’m only now reaching the relatively heavy stuff, and I feel like my brain—hands-down my favourite asset—has stopped working.I’m giving increasingly flippant answers when asked what I study and whether I like it, and the expression ‘burnt out’ materialises incessantly in my mind of its own accord: in Verdana, no less, which is just rank. My friend said to me the other day that he was “so busy—there’s no end in sight.” I feel occupied, but conversely, there’s no beginning in sight. I could be here for a while yet, muddling through whatever I muddle through to fill my days. It’s even more tiring when guilt at actually having it really, really easy is factored in.

Everything I say or think at the moment deserves the qualifier “This is a typical early-20s state of mind, but—”. I guess the need for a qualifier is a late-teens realisation, so at least I’m meeting the milestones. Look, I know it’ll end up all right. (Two words. Always two words.) I have been experimenting with short-term remedies, like face masks, taking my flatmate up on his offers to watch clips of dressage set to Missy Elliott songs, and eating alone at Maranui. There is also actual therapy. By which I mean: don’t just google “how to alleviate crippling self-doubt”—it thinks you mean “how to alleviate crime”, and then you feel bad once more for having upper-middle-class ennui.

Arrival at last!, at my comforting, oft-reached conclusion: throw some money at yo’ mental health. Go on holiday. So I am going on holiday. Ten minutes into planning said holiday, I realised that anyone doing the same who denies actively thinking of how travel can be used to maintain (let’s face it, spice up) their online presence is a liar. That’s right, motherfuckers, ima hang out with sloths.

I didn’t mean for this to turn so horribly reflective—the last diary I started, I pledged to burn as soon as I used the word ‘exquisite’ in relation to an emotion: it was in flames after only three weeks—but an internal monologue that keeps coming back to the kind of stuff I’ve just talked about is indicative that I need something to look forward to. To remind me that, however faded or frayed my motivation is, I might after all have something going for myself. The occasional pleasant surprise helps, too. Last week my brother came home from his first half-semester studying in Auckland. I hadn’t realised I’d missed him. He had one-and a half eyebrows and multiple proud new notches on his belt—God bless double standards. He said to me, “You think about shit too much.” He might be right.


* ‘Lifemin’ is better, but people awkwardly don’t watch Miranda. I would try to softly prod you toward doing so, but all the library’s copies of Nudge were out.

** I.e., it went very badly indeed|

*** That is actually how I talk.

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