When I was 22, three things happened that will
forever mark the narrative of my life. I graduated from university,
I broke up with someone who I loved, and I fell apart.
Adulthood had arrived with an unwelcome suddenness,
and, terrified of being rejected by my dreams, I instead retreated
into a shimmering expanse of meaningless good times. And by that, I
mean I made Melbournes choice den of debauchery, Revolver Upstairs,
my home base. I became a mess, and in a way, it was exactly what I
had always wanted.
Since the end of my 21st year, I have been kicked
out of a club on six different occasions. I would go out at least
twice a week, and going out meant getting as fucked up as I
possibly could; meant blasting a hole through my consciousness. I
wanted to embarrass myself, to have a good story to tell
the next morning, to be able to play at self-disgust but really
loving every second. Up until this time in my life, I was always
afraid that I wasnt brave or interesting enough to disintegrate
completely. Well, I disintegrated.
I threw up in bars and on bars, into gutters and
into bins; I threw up on the Sandringham Line train so frequently
that my friends referred to that act as doing a Jane. I passed out
in toilet cubicles and at parties; a friend woke up to me passed
out in his backyard with my shirt off on one occasion. I threw
glasses across the dance floor and out of car windows; I pissed on
the dance floor several times rather than line up for the bathroom.
My feet, for a long time, were blistered and rubbed raw and spotted
with blood from dancing for hours on end.
I would drink all the time. There was a bottle of
wine perpetually next to my bed and I would start drinking out of
it as soon as I woke up. I drank at work, either out the back or
out of a glass I kept under the counter that I would top up
throughout the shift. I would go into work cooked I would go to
Revs at 9 or so in the morning, take a pill or two, and start work
at 12. It isnt a huge surprise that the store closed down, with
employees like me. I got a new job, and spent my first shift
struggling through a comedown. My previous job I had quit because
my panic attacks had gotten too intense for work.
In my room, dirty clumps of ash sunk into the paint
of the windowsill, smeared into a permanent, think black layer.
Cigarette butts clogged every available surface. The room the
house, in fact stunk of smoke, sweet and stale, but I was in it so
much I didnt notice. Plastic wine glasses and ceramic mugs, rimmed
with the deep red of old wine, sat for weeks beside piles of