You look tired Damocles. Tired and tanned.
The way how my mother said this to me, expressed pity and sympathy for her oldest son.
I was in the middle of my skincare routine, when she said that to me. There was no malice in her voice. It was just an observation.
As I turned around and acknowledged her statement with a weary nod, I looked back at the mirror and applied my eye cream, something that was supposed to de-puff the eye bags that were starting to darken with each passing day.
Looking deep into my own pupils, I could see the pale hands of exhaustion that marked the creases and folds of my eyelids, the bloody veins that covered the brown iris, and the dark mystery of my soul.
Clenching my jaw, I watched the way how the vein flickered and disappeared along my face with the motion, before applying the final touch of moisturiser to my face.
Closing my eyes, I exhaled deeply.
My hands went to my phone and I started checking over my schedule for the week.
Tired …. fatigued … ragged … these were all good words to describe how I was feeling at the moment. However, my mental strength hadn’t abandoned me yet. There was still a fire of defiance inside of me, that burned bright and true.
It was this brazenness that made me keen to start the long day tomorrow. I had work at the Melbourne Showgrounds from 0630 till 1200. Then came my latest new job, Federation Square: Events Operations Supervisor, from 1300 to 1700.
A 10 hour day beckoned to me. Challenging me. Taunting me to conquer it with some semblance of professionalism.
I can do it, but my God is it tough to do it, when you feel this urgent need to write and write and write, despite knowing you have to be up by 0500 soon.
It’s 2202 at the time of writing this and I know if I can get to a thousand words or more by 2300, and truly express everything off my chest, then I’ll go to bed quicker.
That’s the trick to beating my own mind. I need to be at peace in order to sleep quickly and efficiently. I need to know that I’ve gotten everything off my chest, mind and plate. The thoughts cannot continue to run, or else I will never rest properly.
I will sleep fitfully, dream restlessly and snap awake at the most inopportune times. Like a few days ago, when I knew I was allowed to sleep in till 0900. So I decided to go to bed later, around 0100 only to bolt awake at 0630, because I couldn’t relax my mind.
It’s strange how all of this work. My methods and techniques in dealing with my mental hiccups and moods are all unique strategies known to me only. They only work on me, because I’ve crafted them to do exactly that.
Writing out my thoughts … listening to certain songs … even sitting a certain way, helps truly relax me and calm me before the storm of my own creation arrives.
And it is a wicked storm that will last 10 hours, before throwing me out of the eye and flinging me God knows where.
Where will I be after tomorrow’s long day?
I suppose it’s also extremely curious the effects of public transport has on me.
I’m a racer at my core. To go from A to B extremely fast, is what drives my passionate side wild.
Public transport doesn’t deliver that rush for me, for obvious reasons.
Instead it creates the strangest sense of purgatory I’ve ever felt.
So much so, that if Heaven, Hell and Purgatory are all real realms, created by your worst fears, then my form of limbo would exist on a train. Destination nowhere, random stops along the way, always in transit and never quite fast or slow.
Because I’m not in charge of the driving element, it is a bizarre feeling for me. I don’t like not doing anything to warrant the speed in which I am travelling.
Nor do I particularly like looking at strangers in a cabin for an hour in the morning and evening. There is just a strange sense of dis-connection that I can’t quite fathom.
It only adds to the strange tired surrealist experience I am currently going through right now.
This is a dreamlike episode I am currently putting myself through. Everything has slowed down, to the point where my thoughts are no longer running away from me, I’m typing at the perfect speed and thinking in sync with the sounds of my fingers hitting the keyboard.
The music, is on a loop, a pair of songs, so alike to each other, heavy beats and the slow strum of a guitar: Out of Time by Brian Reitzell, courtesy of the American Gods score & The Pink Room by Angelo Badalamenti, sourced from the atmospheric Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
It’s putting me in a strange trance, where every thought is loud, clear and almost echoing in my mind.
I’ve chosen this lifestyle.
The events life is characterised by hard manual work, constant patrolling, endless tasks, burning sun, pouring rain, tireless customer service, thankless acknowledgement, strangest hours, stressful situations, long bouts of boredom and the feeling of being completely alone whilst working in a team.
You are surrounded by thousands of people who are there for a good time, that only you can provide if everyone follows the rules.
The priest in a brothel. The chaplain in an army. The designated driver in a bar. The guy who is at “work disguised as a party”.
That is the cost of the events lifestyle.
I’m not joking when I say that I’m truly not sick of it yet.
In spite of the baggy eyes that look back at me, the trance state I am in to prepare myself for the long hours tomorrow, the calluses on my feet and stiffness in my shoulders, I’m still wearing a smile.
It might be tight, weary and a little bemused but it is a smile nevertheless.
I wouldn’t have my own career any other way. I love the down-to-earth nature of everyone in this business. I adore the physical strain against weather, safety equipment and events infrastructure. I’ve even made peace with the fact that events are temporary not permanent installations to be appreciated.
No, I’m not beaten yet. The determined fire within, still rages on.
I’m just need a bit of rest, that’s all.
However as promised, at 2249, I’ve finished writing over a thousand words, cheered myself on and steeled myself for the upcoming days, where I will be at a Marathon, an iconic square and a royal showgrounds.
And am I really out of anything if I can do all of that?
No. I’m never out of the fight against life.
I will bend it to my will.