It’s the last day of Adelaide Fringe and the weight of exhaustion is hanging off my eyelids. I can’t speak without a rasp. My shoulders ache with the pain of a thousand speckies. I have blisters on my heels from the time I gave a girl that I have a massive crush on my socks to wear. I haven’t been to a supermarket in a month, I’ve purchased enough bottles of water to fill a small aquarium and I dare not login to my bank account in the fear the screen will suck me into a vortex of credit card debt.
Most notable of all, I can’t remember being happier.
The Adelaide Fringe is cocoon of creative flair and nocturnal folly. For a few weeks each year the city grants its locals and vistors permission to be odd. I’ve seen skinny men in suits bend backwards far enough to kiss their own bum, heard beatboxers make inhuman sounds, danced amongst glitter covered zombies in a Halloween themed drag show, binged on baked goods between the hours of 2 and 6am multiple times and walked through the streets during peak hour traffic in a lion onesie.
These experiences sit comfortably in the context of Fringe celebrations. Over the course of the festival I’ve been so swept up in this Adelaide mischief that only today I remembered I have adult responsibilities to return to tomorrow. Despite this being my third year in attendance, in honesty it’s the first year I’ve let myself enjoy it all.
In the last two years I’ve brought my solo shows to the Fringe with a painful amount of seriousness. When starting out as a performer one’s ego can be untamed and ambitions ill-considered. In 2011, I remember making strident complaints after a show about an audience being too quiet. To my much needed shock, a reviewer overhead this gripe and published it. Last year, when searching my own name in a Twitter search (I know, I think it’s sad too), I was nearly brought to tears by a vicious Tweet about my show. Both years I would sulk my way home after shows, neglecting the Artist Bar filled with interesting people, just to stew in my own vanity and plot my future in this career.
Perhaps it’s maturity or perhaps I’ve just gotten over myself a bit but I’m getting much better at just enjoying life. This year’s Festival for me has been marked by one key difference: friendships.
There have always been caring and lovely individuals around me. In Melbourne, life can be fast paced to the point that you spend all your time trying not to miss out on anything. I see even my best friends only once every couple of weeks. Adelaide Fringe after three years has broken my social shields and obsessive work ethic, allowing the people I meet to affect me more. Where in the past I would often withdraw to my writing at home, I’ve now let myself experienced things I never thought I would do.
Some of the most intelligent, warm, charismatic and wonderful human beings stroll around this festival. I’m proud to say that getting to know many of them has made me less self-focuses this festival and more open to a world that has always been around me. So this post is a thank you to the people who gave me permission to be the odd person that I am while in their ever so awesome company. Alise, Brianna, Bart, Sarah, Karina, Milly, Amy, Heidi, Jackson, Guy, Andy, Hoops, Frisky, Dan, Sharon, Tommy, Neil, Jon, Bok, Claire, Nick, Dave, Claire, Tommy, Matt, Barry, George, Hannah, Reece, Mannish, Damon, Gillian, Damian, Fraser, Enrico, Fleety, Danielle, Merve, Ryan, Patrick, Jon, Alexandria, Abs, Sean, Belinda, Angie, Liz, Dave and Imaan I love you like a vegan loves quinoa.
So as the Festival evaporates into a cloud of Facebook photos and memories, I will look back on it all as a reminder to be open to discovering new relationships and exploring current ones. For now I’m just happy I’ve let myself be happy.