Its currently 7am on the day after the last day of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference. I’ve been up for an hour or so, despite being told I could sleep in. I woke up because I’m sick and my nose was blocked, but I stayed up because I’m so goddamn sad at the moment that I couldn’t go back to sleep. I’m sad for a lot of reasons, not least of all because its the end of the conference and I have to try and leave lovely Alaska for the second time in my life this evening and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to go back and it feels like my goddamn heart is goddamn breaking into goddamn tiny pieces.
Sorry, I’m not being very entertaining, am I? Neuroses! Travel disasters! Food! I’m getting old!
Is that any better?
I just can’t help it. I’ve been so fucking low for pretty much this entire week. See, attempting to recreate wonderful past experiences isn’t always the easy and straightforward thing you assume it might be (I should have known this – I’ve read Summer of the 17th Doll ). And sometimes, quite frankly, its a fucking disaster (please excuse my appalling fucking language in this post. I’m fucking tired and fucking sad). Don’t get me wrong, the conference has been great this year, but last year was such an incredible high, that it was always going to be difficult (near impossible) for any other conference to live up to it. And comparing the two isn’t doing me any favours this year.
I forced myself out of bed yesterday to go to the final day of activities, when all I really wanted to do was to pull the covers up over my head and sit in the darkness (well, the semi-darkness. It is Alaska in summer). Of course I ended up feeling better once I got out of bed, but there is still clearly something wrong with how my emotions are currently wired – someone told me I had lost weight and looked great and I almost burst into tears. I cried during the Glee club’s rendition of ‘Runaround Sue.’ Those are not rational reactions to the stated stimuli. I’ve been so low, and now its the end of the conference and I have to go home to London and I’m not entirely certain what I have to look forward to over there anymore. I know that’s not true and there are, actually, many exciting and wonderful things, like spending a month in Edinburgh and going to Morocco and friends that I adore. But suddenly everything seems a little lack-lustre, a little dull in the UK. I really like it over here. I really like the USA. It feels like some kind of insane break-up.
But, like any break-up, I’m also left wondering what was the attraction that made me feel so strongly in the first place. And whether or not I’m only sad because I don’t have the option of staying (would I really stay if the US Border Control suddenly turned around and said, ‘We’ve thought long and hard about it and clearly you love the USA so much, that we’re going to make an exception in your case and you can live here if you want. Good luck, God speed and please don’t tell too many people about this.’ Ok, yeah, I’d probably stay). Whatever it is, right now I’m feeling such an incredible loss, emptiness and sadness that it’s almost unbearable. It doesn’t help that I’m sleep-deprived, sick and sitting in a darkened, empty room on my own. I’m sure I won’t feel so horribly lonely once people wake up and we go to breakfast. But, I’m not looking forward to my solo plane trip out of here. There may be inappropriate crying. Like the time I cried watching Mamma Mia on the plane to the UK (actually, I think I cried every time I saw Mamma Mia. Bad example. Umm…. the time I cried watching Starbuck on the plane to the UK – a film about a man who donates so much sperm he ends up fathering 533 children. It was very emotional!)
Anyway. This post is only half about sadness, and it was meant to be a side topic, if my own title is to be believed. So, without further ado, three more new things –
1) I said what I was thinking and I (think I) behaved like a grown-up.
I don’t say what I think much (‘but, Jenny, you have a blog, you’re always telling us what you think! You never cease to tell us what you think! In fact, we’re probably a little sick of hearing about what you think! You overshare in a way that makes us uncomfortable and talk about food in a way that makes us hungry!’ Be quiet, unknown internet people and let me make my point). Or, when I get very emotional, or very overwhelmed, I am liable to get very confused and to just say the first thing that comes into my head, which usually turns out to be: ‘Oh, that’s ok!’ And its not until later that I realise how angry/hurt/upset/insulted I actually am. I’m then not great with expressing those feelings, because I’m not really comfortable with the idea of people not liking me (pathetic, I know. If I only I cared less about other people). And, deep-wired somewhere in my brain is the feeling that if I am angry, or I cry, or I express a strong and/or controversial opinion, people will dislike me. On Thursday, I managed to say pretty much what I was thinking in an emotional situation, despite still being majorly confused and overwhelmed.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
2) I met a man named Forrest
I don’t know about you guys, but the release of the move Forrest Gump in 1995 was the bane of my adolescent fucking existence. For years, ‘Run, Forrest, Run’ in appalling Southern accents was pretty much the standard response to giving people my name. At the start of high school, my nickname became ‘peas and carrots’ (‘Me and Jenny were like peas and carrots again’). And I can’t count the number of teenage boys who thought that, ‘I may not be a smart man, Jenny, but I know what love is,’ was the most original and tailor-made-for-Jennys pick-up line that anyone had ever come up with.
Of course, its all died down since then. I’m now allowed to live my life without being hounded by fake Southern accents wherever I go.
In reality, I had, up until recently, never met a man named Forrest. I didn’t think it was a name actual people were given. It was fake name, only given to Tom Hanks in wildly successful, Oscar-winning movies. But, this week, I met a man named Forrest. A real one. And, to be honest, when I gave him my name, I was incredibly surprised he didn’t comment on it. Or start talking in a Southern accent. I felt cheated. Surely this was a moment for him too? I mean, ok, its a bit ridiculous to start quoting just because you’ve met a Jenny, but, surely, a Jenny and Forrest together…? And then I realised. Meeting a Forrest might be a bit unusual for a Jenny (especially a Jenny from Australia), but meeting a Jenny was probably not unusual for a Forrest. And he was probably just as sick of having Jenny’s making stupid comments about how life was like a box of chocolates or some such. So I kept my mouth shut. But, in my head, I was still awfully pleased to be sitting next to a Forrest and thought it would be an amazing coincidence if we turned out to be BFF’s.
3) I climbed the hill behind the Valdez Civic Centre
So, I haven’t always wanted to do this, but, certainly since I went to Valdez last year I have wanted to do this. Because, for some reason, I never got to last year. This year, I did it after the Gala Night, even though there was a pile of snow 4 ft high over parts of the path and even though I had on my nice dress and even though I was in heels. Because I am not the sort of person who cares about those sorts of things when it comes to nice views, goddamn it! And I only fell over in the snow once. And the snow only went on my stockings a little bit and it dried almost immediately. Success!
Pictures to follow, I apparently left the cord that connects my camera to my computer back in the UK.
Well, that’s it. Alarm clocks are going off, and its getting to be a reasonable hour, so perhaps I should get dressed. I may have actually managed to slightly jolly myself into a better mood. Slightly.