I emptied my trash last week and realised I’d reached a point in my life where the only things I was throwing out were coffee filters, cigarette butts and used menstrual products. This realisation, more than any moment that had preceded it, was when I decided to Grow the Fuck Up. My friends laughed and placed bets. My mum just said, “It’s about bloody time, pumpkin.” (Insults are made nicer with terms of endearment.)
“Fuck them,” I told myself. “I am Batman.”
I made appointments with a personal trainer, a nutritional advisor, and a life coach. I cashed up my Metro card and spent the day riding the subway between buildings.
I listened to their advice. I took their pamphlets. I filled in my shiny new diary with their dates. I accepted their exercise schedules and meal plans and organisational tools. I nodded and promised and shook hands.
I bought adidas and Nike and New Balance. I tore up the Metro card and got a bike. I set up a gym in my lounge room. I stocked my fridge with green things in brown paper labels that screamed “ORGANIC” in retro-style fonts. I sorted through my papers and filed everything into colour-coded folders. I put all my pens into an empty tin. I threw out the coffee and destroyed the cigs. I sold my beer stash to my neighbour for his vacuum cleaner.
I started setting my alarm for 6:00 a.m. and became acquainted with the world of the morning. Hair falling out of a ponytail, I pounded the pavement in my adidas, in my Nikes, in my New Balances. I coughed my lungs out on a children’s playground. An awkward little boy with a gap-tooth and soy sauce curls put his sweaty little fat hand on my sweaty, heaving shoulder.
I looked at him, my hands propping me up from their anchor points on my knees. I breathed the exhaust fumes of smoke, coffee and alcohol that were burning themselves out of my organs into his pretty freckled face.
“Are you okay, lady?” he asked me, patting my shoulder like you’d pat the seals at Sea World.
“I’m dying,” I told him.
I woke up in the emergency room two hours later.