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.
It’s been really hard to get going since the hell of last week. I saw my GP though & my GP is v wise. It makes me thankful to finally have a good GP and makes me hope that ppl who have ongoing health problems, be they disability related, mental health related, or other (2 many 2 name right here) can find a good, supportive GP.
Sometimes my GP is so supportive, so kind, it makes me cry.
I can’t help but express the sincere gratitude that I feel for having friends who are attentive & loving. I called Leo this afternoon, a bit down, & she decided to come to my place. I didn’t really feel like talking & I didn’t really feel like cooking. I was especially sceptical of what we would eat for ~dinner~. But, she has spent the night w me & I feel more energised than I have all week.
10.31am At home
Am standing in the bathroom, brushing my teeth. Have to go to yoga at 12.30, get those muscles moving. Grace comes & leans on the doorframe. I say hello. Next thing I know she’s wiping away the tears in her eyes, saying that her bf may break up w her.,,,,,,…..
Still brushing teeth. Must spit out toothpaste…. Grace tells me she needs to pee so I get out of the bathroom quick smart.
Grace comes out of bathroom, finally!!!!!!!!! We snuggle up in her doona and she tells me what is going onnnnn for her. I need to be brought up to speed: as far as I know, she and bf are v happy? We, her housemates, have hardly seen her lately. (!!) Sign of a joyful, romantic, abundant time? ~~~~romance~~~~~.
Her bedroom is void of sunlight and we snuggle nice and close. Every now and then I pat her on her jumper. She’s not a hugger, so I don’t force a horizontal hug on her though we both know I want to.
12.09pm Still in Grace’s bed
She plays with the tassels in her blanket. ‘I just don’t know what’s going to happen, and I want to know,’ she says.
‘Yep,’ I say. ‘I have to go to yoga now.’ Gosh I’m the most helpful person.
12.26pm On the way to yoga
Running late, tho what’s new abt that? Grace & I have talked abt possible plans for the week… if she has a rough time of it & the romance is ended……………… my parents are coming down on Thurs & I’m off work so we can just chill out together.
Actually, Life of Tragedy v awful & driving is v hard rn, bc of two-pronged pains (!): emotional and physical.
2.27pm A little reverie
Just FYI yoga was great, and physical exercise is the best. Going through my notebook. All I wrote last week, in the aftermath of going home and spending time w Bebe:
There is no way to record or to trivialise what happened here. I cannot bring myself to describe it. You do not understand what it is like to have lost a child. You do not understand what it is like to have buried him.
These words escape me & fill the space up with grief—a fog that suffocates as it moves—& all I know is that I need to sleep. Without this sleep I will fall apart.
11.11am In the car
On the way to get Mum & Dad (M&D) from airport. Exciting, as this will be the first time in 5 months that M&D get a break from work, hospitals, & reminders of Tragedy. Mum reports she is v anxious & teary, but that is ok! We love tears here. Grace is w me. She is also teary as she is in post-dump shock.
I text Mum & tell her Grace feels a bit blergh today. Mum responds, ‘Ffs. I hope she is under no illusion that we ARE the blerghs!! Hahahha.’
I tell Grace this. Grace is satisfied w this response.
Mum, she’s not wrong.
12.02pm Oxford St, Bulimba
We are sitting at this café where they have mini wooden sailboats on the table. The waitress (not friendly) tells us to ‘hoist the sail’ when we are ready to order. Mum raises her eyebrows at me. ‘Is this a nice place, Nina?’ she asks.
‘They do good breakfast.’
‘It’s clever, isn’t it,’ Dad says as he plays with the purple sail.
‘Don’t put the sail up Dad, they’ll get mad.’ I take the tiny ring off the tiny hoist. The waitress eyes our table.
M&D want to talk w me, but also, Mum is sensitive to Grace’s blerghness. However, Grace v familiar w me being blergh and unloading on her the LoT stories, so we are all quite comfortable in the blergh.
6.01pm Walking out the door @ home
Running late, running late!! Decided to do my makeup tonight as M&D, Benny & I r going to an Italian Club somewhere south of town to watch a comedy show. Of course, got carried away w the makeup and now I have big red smudges of lippy all over my chin. But the others are waiting for me to get them from the city, no time to waste.
Traffic will be awful.
6.35pm Elizabeth Street
Traffic not so bad. Everyone looking v sharp, good work family. Dad makes me get out of the front so he can drive (frankly best part of them visiting is that I don’t have to drive so much).
12.22pm Been a long fucking night of comedy, hasn’t it
I’m in bed finally. Don’t even want to go into it too much except to say that for the last 60mins I’ve been in the back of the car, throbbing pains in my back, my eyes dead as two dead fish swimming upriver. We drove Benny home ofc & then I dropped M&D off & now I am home. The worst thing from 2nite is the complete night of pain. In the back. In the lower back. In the neck. Up & down arms. Numb legs. The show went for a very long time & there was no time for me 2 stand up and stretch at reasonable intervals.
Something as simple as attending a show w my fam is actually a night of pain. Swallow that one, why don’t u. They say that I’m grieving my pain comes up new like an allergic reaction but this isn’t new and yes, I am angry.
4.30pm At home
The day is freezing and Mum is glad she brought her winters. (That’s what she calls winter clothes). On the couch w Dad. Mum upstairs napping. Went swimming in the public pool today w Dad… was v nice.
He wanted to talk w me abt life & debts & my worries etc.
Have to take M&D to the airport soon, and then Grace & I are going to a burlesque show in Newmarket to watch her friend’s ‘Jellyfish’ routine.
8.12pm Newmarket Hall
Okay, so the show has been going on for abt an hour and a half. I’ve stepped out, grabbed some dinny, & now I’m back for more burlesque! Grace & her colleagues are very keen to see their friend do her dance.
The dance… has started. Grace’s friend is named ‘Memoir’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and she is dressed as a jellyfish!!! She is taking her jellyfish tentacles off, piece by piece!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They’ve turned the lights off and Memoir is swinging some lights around. They are glow in the dark lights. Memoir is such a good jellyfish!!!!!!!!
Hot Date is going to laugh at me when I tell him abt this. I did not know that Grace’s burlesque invite was so very burlesquieeee.
6.25am In bed lol so cold
Grace & I have had a lot of housemate time lately, which is lovely. We are going to Newfarm Park this morning for a park run. I did say to her that I’m probs not going to run (defs not). I get up & put my clothes on super quick & go to her room.
She says, ‘I’m only going for a park stroll.’
‘Yesssss,’ I say, ‘not a park run.’
‘It’s too early, it’s too cold, it’s definitely only a stroll.’
6.56am Newfarm Park, along the river
Ok so we’re here & there are all these keen runners, Grace’s friends, and me. I… will not.. be running. And I don’t want to hold her back. I’m starting to feel guilty. A little worried that she’ll want to go ahead & I’ll be too slow. But all this is very normal and I’m breathing in the deep, clean air of the morning, walking down to the edge of the river with all the runners.
Grace said we’d probably only go really slow & have some breakky after, which is fine w me.
The sun is blinding, my feet are sore, I’m finding it hard to keep up. I’m not as fit as I thought I was, tho to be fair, Grace rides 10km a day. Everything is a little sore. Walking… walking is not ideal, walking is a little painful rn.
I can’t put into words, it hurts. Walking behind everyone else reminds me of all the other times I’ve walked behind the crowd, waiting, waiting, patiently, to join them again, feeling left behind, feeling sore, feeling tired, sad, and inadequate. My sneakers are squeaking, my jumper hot against my skin. Everything hurts.
But Grace invited me here so we could walk together, and she’s v kind to me. No-one else seems to notice my stuff today.
Still, very, sore.
Don’t @ Me Questions
Hello, if you (or anyone you know) has questions about what it’s like to live in this body—my body—pls feel free to email me. At the end of next month’s column, I will answer questions as best I can. If you would like the questions to be anonymous, that is okay!
My email is nina [dot] baldotto [at] gmail [dot] com
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.