hobart logo
My David Cronenberg Season photo

I still have the mirror from my childhood bedroom, and it’s hung to the side of my bed. There’s a girl painted on it, taking up three-quarters of the space, blocking that much of my view. She’s blonde, wearing denim with a thin white belt, and she’s having a really good life. I have to look over her shoulder to get to my reflection.

Sometimes I wonder if my luck dried up after H– M– kissed me at Dingwalls. I’d handed him a Polaroid before he went on stage: me getting out of the bath, his name in caps across my chest. I went straight to the toilets after the kiss and stayed there for most of the concert. I took my time in the cubicle to think a thought so big, it seemed to be more like a status. There wasn’t space on the back of the toilet door so I wrote it up my arm while I finished up my vodka: I don’t need anything else for the rest of my life.

My therapist suggested I visualise the things I want to happen. So I visualised being close to my therapist – moving my chair closer to hers, touching her face with very clean fingers. Our hair getting tangled, blending together, my two favourite colours, yellow and grey.

I tried the traditional way of choosing a career first, working from my favourite subjects up, following my inclinations – but when my job didn’t make me happy, I decided to change tactics. I worked out who I was most jealous of when I saw them in their work clothes on the street, and then I worked backwards from that.

The veterinary nurse was wearing a tunic that had pockets for all her equipment, one made especially for scissors. Her cardigan was included in the uniform provided and she looked like the softest thing – she wore hospital shoes outside. So I worked out what I needed to become a vet nurse, got it at the College of Animal Welfare, and now I like my job.

Maybe if I visualise the therapist at my funeral saying nice things about me, I can start to act like someone who has those qualities, one small step at a time. Maybe if I visualise myself doing what her husband is probably doing, driving a car very fast, and I'm sitting in the driver's seat on a thick phone book that lists all the people in town, she'd suddenly want to hang out.

I had a poster of Winona Ryder as Corky on the wall of my childhood bedroom, but my mum took it down and I don't know where it is. I loved how she sat on phone books to be able to drive her cab. I loved how she had no interest in the acting job Gena Rowlands offered her. It's my favourite mental picture – an actor acting someone who doesn't want to act, a character unwilling to change, smoking cigarettes, chewing gum, baseball hat on backwards.

Now I'm nearly fifty, when my crushes appear in my dreams, they’re slanted. They can't stand up straight, they’re ageing, have diseases. I’m dying too, and when I look for toilets in the labyrinthine department store, I make sure I look for easy access with a shower.

There’s so much wrong with all of us and the cubicle doors are still just a few centimetres high.

In real life, I’m basic. When I walk past a vicar, I like him because he’s in black and white, but I can’t stand bishops in burgundy. If the headteacher smiles at me when I drop my niece off at school, I’ll have a good day if he's wearing a blazer, but not if he's dressed for PE. My friend Pickles says I treat life like a game of dress up, but I don’t think she thinks I should change. I still love the sleeveless black t-shirt with the skull and candle that I bought for my date with the death metal boy, though wearing it really backfired.

I go into parties wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt that says Bonjour on the front and Au Revoir on the back, eating candy cigarettes. I borrow girls’ phones when they’re drunk, text their boyfriends that I love how they fill in questionnaires better than anyone else. Then I stand next to the buffet, hang with the meat from cute animals, feel conflicted.

People keep saying it’s good to experiment, but I wear the same thing every day, put on blinkers at buffets, throw any surprise presents in the bin straight away. What if I keep my clothes the same now because I’m not sure what’s underneath, what if it’s that. What if I don’t want a partner of any description, if I can’t have my therapist, what if it’s that. What if I'm just looking for somebody to hold my hand so I can finish my David Cronenberg season, what if it’s that. I keep watching Videodrome but I can’t get through Scanners and I’m starting to think it’s just that.