Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Postcards from Melbourne (Part 2)

(Errrr.....this was not the post I sat down to write, it just came out. The final installment of my Melbourne reflections will come when my best friend passes on a copy of the letter I wrote her while there. Until then, here's this, and I'll be back in a few days with the post I thought was coming.)

Dear moment,

We have about fifteen minutes, I think, so it’s rather a long moment. It has been a very long day, a very hard day, and I’ve spent quite a lot of it talking myself up.  First there were the few hours before my presentation where I tried to convince myself it would be OK, and pictured Rocky pumping himself up in my head while I ate breakfast and drank a really good cup of coffee. Then after my presentation I had to skip the next session and try and talk sense into myself before the mentor collared me at lunch and actually managed to talk sense into me. If I trust him on everything else, maybe I should believe him when he says it was truly excellent, that I was truly excellent.

So I’m sitting here, having ordered what will be a truly excellent pizza I will eat in my plain little hotel room I have come to rather love (once I’ve stumbled there without the shoes on that have been killing me all damn day), and I am watching the very natty dressers who work here as they buzz around and tease each other on this quiet Friday night. The staff here are so friendly, and each of them seems to pause as they pass by me – I think I really must look every bit as shattered as I am. I’m thinking to myself that this day I have been working up towards for five months is here and almost over, and that this is probably a time for celebration. I did OK today. I didn’t make too much of a goat out of myself, I managed to not sprint from the room the moment the thing was done to throw up, and I had a number of lovely chats with people today, including with almost all the people who came to my presentation and wanted to speak with me about it. This is a day worth remembering.

It occurs to me that I have some money, the money I have been stashing away for five months so that I could actually live a little while I was here, on this very important trip. And the wine list is right there, oh look! The glass of red I really want will almost surely make me fall asleep right here and now, so instead I order a pinot gris and I’m happy as I smile and ask the waitress for it.

I’m waiting for the wine and for a moment I hate that I’m here by myself at the end of this day. One of the worst things about being single, one of the things I rarely think about, is that when the good stuff happens you don’t have anyone with whom to share it. I feel this very strongly because I am terrible at celebrating. I don’t know how to jump up and down for myself and get excited for something I did. It does feel very lonely, and for a second I hate that it’s just me in this little restaurant with the friendly, well dressed staff and that I will go home by myself to the little yellow room.

But here’s my wine, and I suddenly know that no one else is going to toast me, no one else is going to acknowledge how momentous today was and what an achievement it has been to just get here in one piece. I got on the damn train to Melbourne rather than walking in front of it. This was my day, this is my moment, and although I’ve spent most of the day shaking and close to tears, it really was one hell of a time. I raise my glass to myself, just a tiny bit so no one knows what I’m doing. And I blink the tears away and try to breathe.  There’s no self pity here, I promise, it’s just the way it is. It’s quite OK. I need to get better at cheering myself on.

I’m alone in this moment, and it feels pretty damn good. This little space of time, for me and my glass of wine, is golden. For just a bit I am the luckiest girl in the world.


Me x

(Yeah, I know, it was a big postcard.)


  1. What's interesting to me is the flip side of this: I sometimes feel that whenever something really great happens, it hasn't really happened until I've told my husband and my mum. I can't really celebrate without their approval. What this means in the context of my mum's illness is, occasionally, troubling. Will things only be half as exciting when she's not around? Will I spend the rest of my life half-celebrating?

    I think I need to get better at cheering myself on too, just in case. In the meantime, I'll be raising a glass of wine to you tonight. I have no doubt that you were indeed truly excellent. Cheers!

    1. Oh, Kirsty - thanks so much, what a lovely first comment.

      I really do know what you mean, and I think that very difference is partly why I'm not good at it. Good news and various successes do feel so much more real when we share them with people we love, I believe that strongly. But because I'm not good at asking for what I need and want, and because I rarely see the people with whom I am close (my sister being the exception), I have to get better at celebrating my small thrills.

      The trip was more than two months ago, but this drink on my second last night in town was one of my favourite bits and I've been thinking about it a lot.

  2. *Raises a glass of vermouth* To my Mozzie!!!

    This is so true, I agree, it's difficult to celebrate on your own, these small moments of happiness are better shared, and I hear you about the single situation, but we'll get to it.

    I think celebrating on our own is one of the most difficult things to do, yet very important and brave. You took a big leap there, you must be and should be very proud and as I've already said, I trust your mentor and I'm sure you were amazing. This was a big deal and you passed it with flying colours.

    (As for me, I have to share my small achievements with my parents, specially with my mum and a special friend).

    SALUD! Loves ya!

  3. We'll have to toast your achievement when you're next in Melb!

    1. Aw, thanks love - but I'm hoping there'll be more to celebrate when we hang out next!

  4. xx

    Sorry I missed this one. Raising a belated glass.


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