Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a cis, demisexual woman navigating the world in a nontraditional body? In this ongoing column, Nina shares the interior monologue of everyday, the one just for herself, to help her understand what’s going on in her mind. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s sad—life can be awful—sometimes it’s about how her disability affects her day-to-day social interactions. We are very excited to share it with you.
7.23pm On the couch
**Extremely Andy Williams voice**
It’s the most
of the year!!!!
It’s time for Survivor to air, who are we kidding? Dean & Grace & I are all prepped (they are busy but I have roused them so we are going to watch the show together like the housemates that we are).
Dean says he doesn’t know if he likes the champions vs contenders idea. Thinks it’s a bad gimmick.
Grace agrees w him. I say to them, give the schtick a chance, guys, it could be fun.
The best part about this show is honestly the fact that we watch it together all rugged up on the couch, sitting in each other’s sweaty pheromones and swallowing each other’s opinions.
3.8.18 At home, on the couch
Strap urself in baby and meditate for a good month ahead. My birthday just gone, the week has been fairly uneventful (except housemate time!! glorious).
C arrives tomorrow, then Liv’s hen’s party, then Ellen arrives, then the wedding, and then… because everyone is back in town and we haven’t all been together since 2012(!!!!!!!!!!)—mysterious how we are all aging instead of being forever youthful heroic (duplicitous and kind of evil) versions of Mila Kunis in that bad movie Jupiter Ascending—Isobel & Ellen have organised a night out on the town. Then Isobel’s birthday, then queensland poetry festival.
Just got off the phone with C again. Liv’s hen’s night is going to be fairly low-key. C is wanting to organise some fun games, great idea.
2.23pm Waiting for C to pick me up
Running late! Wanted to do my makeup for tonight & got distracted by the 29 different kinds of brown I could put on my eyes to make them pop. Christ on a bike, I am sounding like a beauty guru (is that my one aim in life?). Also, forgot to pick up cheeses and biscuits, so going to be even later!
2.59pm Newfarm park
C & I arrive, she drops me off and I make my way to the river to find June & Isobel. What an afternoon for it. Picnic times, pal times, who could ask for more? There are so many ppl around enjoying the sunshine w their dogs & kids & friends & food.
Isobel says she loves my look today & I’ve brought highlighter with me so we can play around w our makeup before going to Liv’s thingydo. Ella & her bf arrive, and we slowly unwind in the afternoon sun. We laze around on the picnic blanket, eating strawberries & talking abt the week. C says, ‘I’ve got a few games for us to play tonight but want to check if they are corny or good.’
‘There’s two truths and a lie, & another one that I want to keep a surprise.’
‘You won’t even tell us?’ I ask.
‘No, you guys would have an unfair advantage,’ she says.
‘I just really love weddings,’ I say, ‘who else can have a wedding next? I just want to go to some fun parties, nobody has to get married.’
Ella’s just celebrated her parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. She says, ‘Why do you like weddings so much?’
‘I don’t know,’ I say, ‘they just seem like a lot of fun, you know. Everyone is there, everyone who you love, & you’re just having a good ol boogie…’
‘Well, Liv’s wedding is going to be great & we’ll certainly have a good boogie,’ C says.
7.8.18 Two days until Liv’s wedding
C, being a bridesmaid, has many duties e.g. looking great, doing make-up the morning of the wedding, having jewellery in the theme of the wedding (which, as far as I can tell, is neutral-chic-on-a-tight-budget), being her reliable self, etc.
I am merely a vessel of friendship today. I am here for chats, for moral support, and for healing. Not feeling the best today. Not feeling good at all. Brain fuzzy, feeling fluey, throat very sore, feel like am abt to faint at any point.
But, the preparations must be made! C & I meet up at Indro, eat some food and I help her pick out an eyeshadow stick. In the meantime, she says some accidentally wise things like you do you & I love you for who you are.
9.8.18 The big day
We had originally planned, Ellen & Isobel & I, to go together to the ceremony & then make our way up to Wivenhoe for the reception. But, plans have changed, okay, so we just have to fly on the back of the wind. I’m trying calmness (fun? Calmness? Fun?). Big events always put me in a bit of a tizz bc I love the energy of love, I think it’s called, collective effervescence.
Liv has been overseas for years & is low on cash & is doing the wedding on a strict budget—or, how you say, in French, ‘budget’—which is absolutely glorious to me. Budgets keep my heart throbbing.
12.34pm Putting on a nice dress and some nice makeups
Today I am going to wear a nice dress!!! And some nice makeups.
Looking fresh to death.
4.30pm Up in the hills somewhere beyond Ipswich near a dam and surrounded by fields and trees
I can just feel a sing-along coming on…
the hiiiiiills are aliveeeeeeeeee with the souwwwwwwnd of muuuoouuusicccc .
Isobel hates it when I sing out of context in the middle of the day! But this nature is so gd beautiful & we’re both lookin’ fine & love is in the air baby, what’s there not to celebrate??? I’ve got some heavy earrings on, we’re abt to all be in the same room together for the first time in six years, & Liv has just gotten married to her love!!!!!! What’s not to love??
4.35pm In the hall
In my usual style, I fell up the stairs just now. I guess a hundred years ago when this hall may’ve been built, the builders weren’t thinking that I, a woman with cerebral palsy, would want to one day walk up those stairs without falling down.
The hall is stunning! Imagine your favourite neutral tones, being surrounded by soft lighting, and feeling like you’re abt to feast on the nicest food ever. Isobel is mingling. She comes over, says, ‘Neenbean, what r u doing on your phone? This is a reception, Liv will be here soon.’
‘I know.’ I don’t look up from my phone. ‘I’m taking notes.’
‘Ah, ok. But r u going to do that all night?’
‘No,’ I say, ‘rude.’
‘Yes,’ she says. ‘Then, take some notes and then time to mingle.’
Ellen has arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Liv has arrived!!!!! She & husband r holding hands!!!! Both look stunning!!!!! Am dying of happiness!!!
11.8.18 Tara Thai, Fortitude Valley
Very rare that we are all together, seeing that C and Liv only returned from the UK last year & we all live in different cities now. Liv has gone on honeymoon w her hubby (v nice) but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t boogie down.
Apparently that is what tonight is for, a boogie down. Everyone else will be on the sauce, but me, I will mildly be on the sauce, given my proclivity for crying when drunk & given the awful awful hangover.
Great food, check.
Great pals, check.
9.01pm Black Bear Lodge
Time for a boogie!! I don’t care what music is playing as long as I am allowed to dance.
That is a lie. I care very much what music is playing because I respond well to pleasing sensory stimulus and absolutely hate listening to music if I don’t like it. Just bein tru to myself tonight.
11.00am in bed still
Flirted w a dirtbag last night. His mouth was too big for his face but I didn’t want to hold that against him, & then his friends wanted me to tell them my age. Instead of telling them (too easy) I said, ‘How old do you think I am?’
One of them, who ended up liking me towards the end of the night & not hating me, said, ’21.’
Very pleasing! Also strange for him to be so off re my age, but who’s a woman to blame? I said, ‘Just because I have a cheerful demeanour, that means I have to be young?’
They did not know how to answer that one & instead of messing w me, decided I was their friend too. I told the married one abt the Land of Tragedy for abt 20 mins. They ended up walking me back to my friends, & the big-mouthed one said goodnight, never to be seen again.
Ur girl is back on tinder!!!!!!!! Since the weekend episode, tinder might be preferrable?
Dinner with the pals for special occasion. Goddamn I am a fan of celebrations. Thank goodness to have so many nice ppls in my life. Best pals, best food, best sauce.
I told pals abt my date yesterday w a man who was talking abt people w disability in a not-very-nice way. I don’t take well to that kind of talk. So (when I have the energy & resilience) I spend time w ppl who make little mistakes using different or hurtful words, to help them understand what their words actually mean. Like calling ppl out when you see discrimination. Like calling ppl out when they say something that’s a little off, but not really arking up abt it. At least, that’s what I try to do.
23.8.18 Queensland Poetry Festival time
Get ready for the big one, all! Get ready for Vital Signs. So much goodness coming to Brissy in this festival.
Side note, I’m feeling awful though. Don’t @ me.
How do I feel bad? Let me count the ways:
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Hating the look of my own face
- Not able to leave house without crying
- Throat has been bleeding on and off for the past two weeks
- Not feeling hungry, or feeling hungry but having lost the capacity to perceive feeling & therefore not knowing that I am hungry
10.26am About to leave home, wearing jeans, so comfortable
On the phone to Lugia, talking to her abt the date from the other night. She is advising against seeing the dude again.
‘But,’ I say, ‘he has an okay energy.’
‘An okay energy?’ she asks. ‘What’s that even mean?’
‘I don’t know,’ I say.
‘You’re not making any sense,’ she says.
‘I’m not seeing him after today.’
11.15am In West End
Sitting across from the dude. He’s nice, easy-going. Conversation isn’t hard. I ask him how the tinder game is going for him. He says it’s slow. I say it’s not going very well for me & I probably need some time off.
He offers to drive me home.
9.08pm At home, on the couch
I watch To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and can’t stop crying for some reason. I’ll put myself to bed soon.
26.8.18 Last day of the QPF
Am running late for Ella’s event. Might miss the beginning of the event.
Don’t know the time, lying on the floor w my handbag & everything strewn around me
To get to my car from my apartment, there are four sets of stairs. The first three sets of stairs, I traversed successfully just now. The fourth set of stairs, I twisted my ankle, fell down, landed on my left side, hit my head.
Everything hurts and is a little bit numb.
My head hurts.
My head hurts.
What do I do?
Grace is upstairs, I think to myself. Grace will know. I sit up, cross my legs. I get my phone out & call Grace. She comes down the stairs, into the hallway near the garage. It’s a public space so anyone could pass us anytime.
‘Did you hit your head?’ she asks.
‘I don’t know, maybe.’
‘When did you fall?’
‘Just now, I think.’
‘You’re probably not in a fit state to drive,’ she says. ‘You might have a concussion.’
I’m not going to QPF until this afternoon since I fell down. Have texted Isobel & let her know. Grace says I need to rest, need to not drive. She says I’m not allowed to nap but I want to sleep so badly. Am lucky she was there to help me.
3.30pm Bloodhound Bar
QPF has been v nice but ur girl is hurt all over. It’s time to call it a day.
Still unbelievably sore from the weekend. The bruising is intense & the physio says injury, injury, injury, blah blah blah. Says I have to wrap myself up in healthy cocoon while my body heals. On the phone to Lugia, talking abt the meaning of life. What is the meaning… of life? How… does one find purpose? What effect does dealing w chronic pain & physical torment have on one’s sense of permanency or transcendence?
For answers to these riveting questions and more, don’t @ me.
Nina is a poet and writer living on Turrbal Land. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was four years old. She tweets @ninabaldotto mostly about poetry and the weather.