As a Melbournian I find myself in a difficult position. I need to break up with my city.
Yesterday it became apparent to me that I am clinging to my relationship with Melbourne’s inner city. Yesterday it became apparent that I had a relationship with my city.
And today I cry and grieve for our time together as I slowly come to terms with the fact it is over.
For a million reasons it’s now confirmed that my partner and I are in no position to rent in our favoured inner suburbs — unless we want to live in a box, which would be difficult for N as he is six foot something.
‘Location versus size’ has been considered in detail over the past few months, but yesterday Reality sat back in its comfy lounge chair and laughed in our faces. ‘Ha ha ha, oh you want to get into the rental market for THAT price in THIS suburb?! Bah Hahaha…’
So we need to look further out… and the reality of this reality hit me in the gut and winded me. I think I spent most of the night in shock and wondering why I had a searing headache growing, wondering why my shoulders were in knots. Woke up this morning and had a spontaneous quick cry and thought, ‘ah that’s better, a bit of pressure relieved, I’m just nervous about the enormity of moving again’. Mosied on out to the bathroom, started chatting with my housemate and thirty minutes later was a crying mess analysing my past relationships and current fears.
Long story short, I have come to realise that I am clinging to my city, and I’m clinging because for me — for many years — my city has been my companion. Always there, always in sight, always making little noises and clinks so I know it’s just out there, people and company are just out there.
This dependency developed after a particularly bad break up, where a partner broke up with me by leaving a note on the coffee table. We had lived together for three years and it was a shock to say the least. I was left in the suburbs — alone, no one around — with a house to pack up and a life to build.
So I rebuilt my life — the life I always wanted. I moved to Brunswick into a gorgeous Victorian share-house, started a job I’d never done before and lived a busy, social, alcohol-fuelled, blissful existence for many years. Eventually I moved over the river to St Kilda West and continued my very comfortable single existence within and with my city. Living alone the tings of the trams and the sex workers fighting at night kept me company and staved off the feeling of being very alone in this big world. This year, three years after moving away, I have made the move back to Brunswick because I missed it.
But what was I moving back to? Why did I move back and what did I want when I got here?
I think honestly until last night I had wanted that time in my life back again. The good memories from the first time in my life when my life was mine (very long story behind this — too long for here). And this isn’t anything to do with being single, this is part of a bigger grieving process I have going on in the background at the moment. The past few years have been weird — like everything I knew was slowly being watered down — still there, but not as much, not as thick, dense.
Gone is the scene I grew up in; the gigs, the crews, most of the venues. A few tokens are left, but my peers have gone and grown up on me — gotten married, had kids. They aren’t doing the same things we were ten years ago. I have felt a very real sadness at letting go of my music scene, my younger social life. It was good. It was fun. We got free drinks and were on the door, we were actually friends with musicians and part of a really great scene. We were the cool kids.
But now has come the time to grow up and realise that this era has ended — before I become one of those sad people who hasn’t moved on with the flow of things — who still thinks they are cool. I am a bit of the way through the processing, the letting go. It’s definitely something I am still feeling. It hurts — it’s very real.
So this overall change in perspective is obviously impacting my feelings about potentially moving to the burbs. Haha, see how I wrote potentially?! I still can’t quite admit it…
I need to let go of a lot of things as I get older, I know this and try my best to do it with dignity and grace when I have to. But gee, breaking up with my city is something I didn’t even realise I had to do.
It’s time to surrender myself to this next path; I enter it with happiness, willingness and love.
It’s just that I may shed a little tear for my substitute boyfriend when the time comes to say goodbye, for he has been so very wonderful to me. It’s scary growing up, it’s scary trusting again, it’s scary letting go. It’s scary letting myself be happy, to trust that I deserve a good life with my partner.
But when I have my soul mate beside me I feel a strength, security, warmth and power that I could only mimic in a pseudo-relationship with a city. Now I have the real thing. Now it’s time to let go and really be happy.