The Same Coin: A Eulogy to My Burnout, An Ode to My Twenties

Words by Jaime (she/her), 22 QLD  

 

 

The Same Coin: A Eulogy to My Burnout, An Ode to My Twenties

I want no expectations of me.

I want to be nothing.

Not a ratbag, a promising young woman,

A travelling soul, a broke student,

A girl in love, a girl out of love,

A girl, a woman… No.

Just nothing is fine.

 

I want to lie in the space of in between,

That gap before two sides touch,

The pocket of air stuck between kissing tectonic plates,

The space separating teeth.

 

I do/don’t want to be anything/everything

Sometimes I just want to be,

Bee and buzz right away

Into the clouds

Letting the world pause,

Where I just sit and watch

And still get my participation medal.

 

There is nothing more humbling than realising

The world will still

spin/riot/sleep

Without you.

I want to pause time,

Not myself.

I can lie and lie and lie

In sunlight, pretend it’s a forty-hour day

Only to have a sunburnt chest by late afternoon,

A sharp reminder that the day moved on,

And now its branded itself over my heart.

 

My search history is horrendous,

A shifty timeline of my life that

Lives in private tabs.

1. Best sexy fragrances 2023

2. How to smokey eye

3. Can you have sex after missing two pills in a row?

4. Abortion cost?

5. Met gala theme

6. Pad See Ew recipe

7. Bridget Jones’ Diary

8. Where to watch Bridget Jones’ Diary

9. Dominos

10. Colin Firth

11. Colin Firth age

12. Colin Firth single?

13. How to do taxes ATO

14. Can cheese make you bloated?

15. Flights Honolulu

16. Am I lactose intolerant mild

17. Can I still eat cheese lactose intolerant

The tabs go on,

And on,

And on,

A scroll through to eternity.

Each tab a chapter/window/reminder

Of my life,

Hoarded onto my phone for its lifetime.

Don’t even ask me about my notes app,

A trash can for grocery lists and

Drafted breakup messages.

Sometimes not even mine…

Groceries I mean.

 

I cry when I can’t go out,

But hate myself every time I’m getting ready to go out,

There’s a hot rage of jealousy when

I see my friends without me,

And nagging voice that belongs to my self-consciousness

Whispering sweet nothings into my ear like:

‘You’re not going to be as good of friends with them now

Because you chose to stay home

instead of going out’,

And

‘You’re missing important memories,

Important people,

Important moments,

You’ll never get this chance again’.

And

‘You don’t have enough close girlfriends to

Make up a bridal party,

staying home isn’t helping’.

But I’m so goddamn tired

And this is the fourth time this month

That I’ve gotten tonsilitis,

So most of the time I tell

My self-consciousness to shut the fuck up

And then cry while watching Snapchat stories.

 

Drinking is fun, until it isn’t .

Partying is fun, until it isn’t,

Dating is fun, until it isn’t.

Full stop.

 

I kiss boys and I kiss girls,

But the whole time I wondering

What it would be like to kiss myself.

Maybe that’s narcissistic,

Or maybe I’m just really worried

That I’m a terrible kisser.

Either way, I’ll never know.

 

I have a big girl job

That makes me want to gouge my eyes out.

I hate being a big girl.

It’s clumsy dress up in oversized corporate clothes,

Feeling small in my heels.

It’s a big girl job

Because I don’t feel like a woman.

It’s playing pretend;

A child with a phone,

A child with a credit card,

A child taking minutes.

My anxiety rereads and rereads all email drafts,

Nearly explodes when I hit send,

Only for the reply to be:

‘Looks great thanks!’

 

I reinvent myself every week.

This week it is solo backpacker,

Next week it is boss ass bitch.

I buy into the trends,

And like a chameleon,

I change with the colours of the day.

And when I’m done with her,

This girl I’ve altered, and trimmed and changed,

I shed that skin, and hang her on

A coat hanger in my cupboard.

I’ll rediscover her when I move houses Only to roll her up and shove her into a

Shopping bag to drop off at

Lifeline.

I’ll miss her I already know,

But you are never the same woman twice.

 

My dinners are fulfilling

But never filling.

Ravioli filled with hopes and dreams,

A glass of wine with auras of depression,

Salad with chopped up motivation,

The whole pack of cinnamon donuts from Woollies,

Full stop – they’re spiritual enough as is.

I want to eat more,

I want to taste more.

 

I want to taste the sun coming up,

Inhale the first rays that spill over

The horizon.

I don’t care where I’ll be, or who I’m with,

I’ll just be happy to see

the birth of another day,

And maybe this will be a great one.

 

I want to swallow the stones of

Doing something by myself,

Truly by myself.

No friends, family or even a clung

To stranger to hold hands with.

Just me, hands out at the alter,

Waiting for independence to bless me.

I try so hard to make the step on my own,

But it feels so exhausting, until

I turn around and like riding a bike,

I’ve realised I’ve actually

Gone further than I thought.

 

I want to lick the tears

From my cheeks

Like a goddamn lizard,

After a boy I didn’t even like,

Crushes my heart.

I feel like rejection is the opposite of love,

And it hurts more than hate.

I want to feel my sadness,

Feel the pain,

And genuinely know and believe

That I have to do better for myself.

I cannot get into the habit of tolerating

Other people’s bullshit.

 

I want…

I want…

I want…

How selfish of me, really.

I want everything, and nothing. And nothing is such a big want.

No one can give you nothing,

So I lug around this suitcase

Filled to the brim, zipper

Ready to burst

Of magic, and ibuprofen,

heartache and mismatched socks

And mismatched expectations,

A flip book of changed minds,

Confetti made of all the dreams I’ve ever had,

And the ones that are still to come.

 

Maybe I am selfish.

What a precious adjective to have

Clung itself to my skin.

So? I want for things and people and nothing.

A juxtaposition of desires.

At least I know what I want,

And who cares if that changes every minute.

I’m still figuring it out,

And right now,

I just want to take a nap.

 

Goodnight.