The Edit

Friday, 30 September 2016

Twenty Four

So a lot can happen in a year.

The world as you know it can be completely turned around.

Your magazine can fold at the start of the year. A move that, while you completely understand the reasoning behind, still felt a bit like getting the wind knocked right out of you. Of all the challenges you've faced, this is going to be one of the biggest ones to date. You will have the conversation after your holiday, sitting in the outside bit of a cafe that serves green eggs and ham. Before the words are even uttered, you would have already known what was coming. You will take it surprisingly well. The eternal optimist in you shinning through even though sometimes you really don't want it to. You finish one more issue. You go do the shoot and bring your brother. It will be a fun day, like always. At this point only you and the magazine's founding editor knows. You share knowing looks throughout the day, both probably trying not to be emotional. It's a success. The photos turn out amazingly, everyone is happy. You start coming to terms with this decision even more. You write your last column, you tell the team, the public starts to know. It's a lot harder than you thought it would be. You try and go through the whole grieving process of losing something so dear to you. Something you never thought you would ever lose. During this time you lay low for a bit. You lose interest in writing, frustrated that the words that would often flow easily, fluidly, are nowhere to be found. You try and stay way from writing altogether - blog, your novel, words. It's a loss that needed to be felt and mourned. But never in that period did you think that it was ever ever a bad idea. That it was something you'd regret doing. That there was someone to blame for it. You knew in your heart why it had to happen. Believing it took at least six months.

Meanwhile things are still happening. You're involved in one last project - a web series that you've played a role in conceptualising and bringing to life. You will play a fashion person called Lu Leaf and will have the time of your life filming her scene and then bringing her alive in a stage. You will film the dream scene you've had in your head - a hallway scene. You know the one. The one in the movies where they walk down a hallway/corridor in slow mo. Think Mean Girls. Think Jawbreaker.
It's all so fabulous, a welcome escape in February. There was still your actual marketing work happening and business as usual like PechaKucha, and this project will come straight after you put to bed the last issue of Blacklisted. You start freaking out that after this web series and play, you will officially be projectless for the first time in five years. You will have weekends without an agenda. Evenings without anything to do. You wouldn't know what to do with all this free time. In fact, right now you can't even remember what you've done with them. There might have been days when you didn't get out of bed. It's still a blur.

Your friends can move cities and countries literally within days of each other. You will feel alone when that happens. On a Friday where you say goodbye to your gbf (gay best friend) over breakfast in the morning and try to hold back the tears as he drops you off to work while Natasha Beddingfield's 'Unwritten' is playing in the background. This is when you realise that it's an end of an era. No more Thursday nights of going around shopping malls because it's late night, no more Sunday fundays or even Saturday faturdays and everything else in between. The coffees after work. Constant companionship for the last two years. But you will go about your day and carry on. You will go do some work, laugh, post photos on your Instagram of the last breakfast. Then you will do this all over again a few hours later when you face the other constant in your life. You will go to a shopping mall, because that's one of the only activities you can do on a Friday night that does not involve alcohol. You won't even remember what you ate, or what exactly you did that night. But what you will remember is the last of the conversations, the nostalgic talks about the times when you were studying to get a degree and things were a lot simpler then. The night will be cut short because your friend still needs to drive to Taupo that night before she flies out a couple of days later. You will sit in her car that's parked outside your driveway and again try not to cry. Suddenly Scotland seems appealing after all. The 'let's all move overseas' plan that you've always talked about now becoming a reality for two of your good friends. You will be happy for them, even though a part of you will wander through 'what if' land. What if I moved? What if I didn't have to sacrifice the things I did last year? What if I was leaving too? What ifs, what ifs.

Oh and there's a boy. This boy has been around since 2013. Well, longer, but you have only discovered him at that time. But this boy has stuck around through the shit, through the good times, another constant in your life for the past few years. This boy hasn't let you down yet. He's always there picking up the pieces. You've never truly believed in signs before this boy, never felt half the things you've felt before. Sometimes you think you're going crazy. He doesn't even know you exist. Well this is the year that changes things. You will fall out of 'love' with this boy. You will start to grow out of the things that used to give you such happiness. You will start to want to hear about things straight from the horses' mouth instead of other people's interpretation of him. And you will feel weird about no longer feeling the same. It will feel almost, again, like an end. You will go with the flow, because feelings are fluid and you know better by now than to try and explain feelings.

At 24 you will become a citizen of the country you've been calling home for the last 7 years. A country that feels more home than any place has ever been. It's still strange to think that life existed before here, that you had lived another life, saw how the otherside of the world lived. Experiences that as hard as you try and explain no one will ever understand. This is also the year where you start embracing you. Fully. As you are. You start embracing your curves and you will learn how much fun make-up actually is. In fact you will have too much fun with it and start buying all these products. You will become addicted to how fun getting your make-up done at a beauty counter is, and you will spend your hard earned money on all the good brands but still turn up to work most days make-up free with only lip balm. You'd keep buying them anyway. You'd start embracing your singlehood. Enjoying your own company even more. You'll go on more solo trips, checking in to your favourite 5 star hotel for a couple more times on your own, just chilling out, dreaming, scheming, relaxing.

You will realise that you don't just love yourself, but you actually like yourself. Therein lies the difference. This is the year you start to want to give back more. You're more 'woke' than ever. You will still feel helpless when you read the news. When you see names of unarmed black people killed by police. When you hear of the refugee crisis. But more than helpless you will feel an urge that you have to do something. You understand that the weight of the world is not on your shoulders, but that doesn't mean that there's nothing you can do to help. You will start using your voice more. Posting opinions on Facebook, enjoying the debates that happen when you start speaking up about something you're passionate about that people might not necessarily agree with ("but Jess, all lives matter, why are you saying this?"). You will get frustrated and at the same time you will start thinking that conversation - talking about it, disagreeing, debating - is still a good start to change. That while you can't change people and their opinions, you can open a conversation and at least be heard.

There will be new people in your life. People that may have already been there before but are only stepping into light right now. You will make new memories, form new bonds, have new traditions. Inside jokes. The whole shebang that comes from close ties. The people who stood by you before will still be there though, and by now you'd have a pretty good idea of who really has your back when push comes to shove. And sometimes people come back. When you least expect it. They will return as a constant figure in your life. You will have people to make plans with again. Your weekends will be booked. You will get closer to someone and not only be good friends but be good colleagues to. t's seeing amazing things happen to people you know. Your childhood friend walking down the red carpet at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, her mother winning the best actress award. It's the friend who just got engaged, who's dream was to always get married and have someone to take to family holidays with her because she'd be the only one without a partner. It's overwhelming moments of joy for other people.

You will have a crazy amazing day where you wound up at a lunch function with Lorde, sit together afterwards, and have a good pep talk about words and how important they are. You will be reminded of this at that function, as you hear a poet do a reading of her work. It will spark something within you and you will revel in that feeling of words filling you up again. On the same day you'd be filming of the pilot for a project you're involved in. You will walk in and have one of the crew tell you that when you walked in, she immediately knew you were an actress. That again will resonate with you, because it aligns with something you've known for a long time. You're going to rush off to a Starbucks immediately after, where your backstage crew for fashion week is waiting along with the designer you're working with. See, that's another thing about this year, the opportunities will come at you from nowhere and everyday. You will run a backstage at New Zealand Fashion Week and it will be quite an experience. The night before that, you will sit in your favourite bar in Grey Lynn drinking Pimms in a teapot, with the goodest of friends, wondering how you got to this point exactly.

Because that's the thing about 24. It's an old childhood dream that you realise still lives within you. The funny thing is, is that you would have always known this was your destiny. What you were born to do. And no matter how much it's suppressed - by people not believing in it, by you sometimes thinking it's too big of a dream and that the goals you have set for yourself is too high because no one has done it before - you know it's not going away so you may as well embrace that dream and do it. It's new goals realised too. A clearer understanding of who you are. There's a new energy at 24, a new focus that you've never had before. 24. It's the people that are in your life right now. The inner circle that you've never had as solid as this before. It's the family memories and the movie nights with your mum on a Wednesday evening. You will join the 48hr film competition after many years of saying you want to do it. You will write a script for the first time, do it in 2 hours, and act in it too. You will see it come to life on a big screen but you won't cry. 61 people will vote for your film. You will let that sink in for a moment and realise that you just watched something you created from scratch come to life. When people laughed at the jokes, when the actors said their lines so seamlessly it was no longer yours but became their own, that's going to be one of the highlights of your life so far. 


It is what's good in the world, not because of, but in spite of.

And as for that boy? He'd still be there. Still unaware of your existence. Still living his life to the fullest, doing his own thing. And that's exactly what you're doing too. You're finally doing you. You still hold on to the belief that someday, one way or another, your paths will cross. You will no longer care on the whys, whens, or hows. Finally you have learnt what it's like to truly have faith in the unknown.

But right now you are turning 25 a week from now. You are obsessed with Sex and the City, words, writing, wearing colour on your birthday, and the heart shaped neon light on your desk. Your day will have been a bit surreal, getting emails about another paid acting gig and a potential TV gig. You would have worked from home today and wrote a few stories, gone out for brunch with your brother while your mum catches up in another table in the corner by the big window. You secretly paid for your meal and the look on their faces when they found out was such a delight. You would have bought a pretty bunch of flowers today too and arranged them in a large vase.

Your friend would post on your page and say that "twenty five will be a good loop around the sun for you, I can just feel it!".

And you know what? You will agree. Wholeheartedly. Because you feel it too.

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