MEMORIES

It’s interesting to me how everyone’s brains are so different. Not so much in the way that ‘you might be better with numbers and I’m better with words’, but rather our memories. How we involuntarily choose to store certain information, and not just facts and anecdotes, but the things that happen in our lives.

I’ve always felt as though I remember every waking moment I’ve ever lived. Obviously, that’s truly impossible. There are many days and evenings that wore similar colours and emotions, they blur into one big pretty picture. But if someone were to bring up a specific event to me, I can almost always transport myself back to the moment. I could tell you what most people were wearing, why we came to be there, a few conversations that may have been had. This is not me bragging about my fantastic memory– it’s not even photographic. Perhaps I can reminisce clearly on a moment in time, but I couldn’t tell you all the information on a page after looking at it for a mere minute. I just find it fascinating how these moments are banked and filed in the back of our minds.

Sometimes I’ll be lost in my own head and a memory from the age of six or seven will surface, and I know that I probably haven’t really visualised that memory at all in my life since the moment it happened. What brought it forward to my immediate thoughts? Besides the train reaction of thoughts that transported me to that memory, what part of my brain decided that I might need it one day to understand the way I feel about certain things?

What really rattles me is repressed memories. If anyone hasn’t seen the Netlfix series ‘The Keepers’ you need to do so, immediately. It might not be the most pleasant of experiences if you err on the religious side of things. Heck, it’s not pleasant at all really, but it certainly consolidated my opinion in that area of things. Anyway, a woman in that series experienced sexual abuse for a number of years while she was a teen, repressed those memories, and they all came flooding back to her when she was about 50 and happily married with children. She was forced to relive those moments and accept this horrifying thing that had happened to her.

How are we to know that we don’t have handfuls of repressed memories? Ones that may never float to the top. Ones that fester and grow weeds and force us to become a version of ourself that we cannot control. Not trying to get dark here, but even the depths of our mind is uncertain. Maybe we don’t ever truly know ourselves. I definitely read something the other day (couldn’t tell you where– there’s my fantastic memory in action) about how the person we think we are is different from the way each person views and experiences us. So we’re not always the person we know ourselves to be, but a multifaceted gemstone that glitters for some and looks dull to others. No matter who you are or what you do in life, not everyone is going to like you. Some people are pieces of your puzzle and others are of a whole different game.

I’m a very nostalgic person (I even wrote a piece on that, have a flick through the categories section to find it) so sifting through my memories is something I do often. I like to see how time has changed things: relationships, appearances, our overall outlook. When I’m lost reminiscing it occurs to me how crucial time is to the memories we have filed. Does our opinion of something alter the way we remember it? A certain moment in my life looks completely different to the others who were there– maybe I thought I was being hilarious and they thought I was being kind of a bitch.

The moments that link together to paint the portrait of our lives are simply that: ours. How we remember these moments and let them unintentionally define who we are is, to me, uncertain. We can control how we respond to situations, of course, and that tells a lot about who we are, but can we really control how we perceive and remember stuff?

There’s probably a scientific/psychological explanation for all of these musings. But I’ll leave them at that.

A.

 

 

Side note:

I often feel like when I write little observation/musing posts that it sounds like I’m leading up to a point that never eventuates. Let me know if you’re getting that vibe too. Not sure if I like that.

 

 

 

 

THE FEAR

I often wonder if it’s just me, or if we all have a massive fear of pursuing the the thing we love. I suppose it really comes down to a fear of rejection. That we won’t succeed, or that even if we do, it won’t be in quite the ways we set out to.

After four and a half years, I’ve completed my university degree. A double degree in Journalism and Creative Writing– I am verging on 24 years old and I have two bachelors recently tucked under my belt. I’m chuffed, to say the least. What’s slightly freaking me out is the horizon, and the thing sitting on top of it: a cocktail of tantalising and daunting. I need to keep writing. At uni, that was my homework: go home and write. Whether they gave me a topic, a prompt, or nothing. I was doing the thing I love all the time, but mainly because there was an eccentric lady or a surly man 45 minutes north of here waiting for my content. Now, nobody really gives a damn about whether I write or whether I knit. I mean, the people close to me maybe care a little, but more because they want me to continue relishing in the thing I love and the thing that gave me a hefty hecs debt. So here I am, once again, writing about writing or rather, writing about how scared I am of writing.

The most wonderful and inspiring lecturer I had at uni– Hi Shady! (if you so happen to be reading)– once gave us a lecture about rejection. She put everything she had on the line and literally read out every moment of rejection or failure in her life. But then, she read another list: the silver lining that came from each of those moments. I guess we have to continue pursuing the dreams we have because the silver lining will always shine brighter than the mishap. Well, that’s what I’ll continue to tell myself, otherwise we’ll never do anything we really want to.

I’m really here to say that my butt is going to be whipped into gear and producing more content for my “readers” or even just the empty, cyberspace abyss. Either way.

In the next few months I could be writing any kind of nonsense: anecdotes, observations, fiction pieces, whatever.

Then come October, the blog might get a little more riveting. My boyfriend Abel and I will be heading back to my mother land. First stop: Hawaii. We’ll stay there for a brief stint, four nights, before we head to San Francisco, where we’ll visit my Aunty Lauren, her husband Kurt and their two kiddies. Next stop: NYC, about five nights there and then it’ll be crunch time. After our little city-hop, we’ll be buying a van, and visiting my family and friends in my hometown in Connecticut. We’ll drive up north along the east coast and head back down to be with family over Christmas. Once the holiday season comes to a close, we’ll make our way south along the coast, visiting my Nan in South Carolina and my parents in Florida. Then we’ll go west, ensuring we’re in California for Coachella in April. This is a pretty rough outline of what we’ll be doing, we’re both open to all kinds of possibilities and changes to our plans. I’m an organiser, but travelling is about spontaneity and going with the flow, whichever way that may be.

In the meantime, I’ll be working, reading and hopefully writing.

A

 

PASSIONATELY OPINIONATED

I used to be a very opinionated person. Not that I no longer am, but I have learnt something: not everyone wants to hear your opinion. In today’s world, we have to be careful. I don’t know if I love or hate that. There’s something so inspiring when someone cares so deeply about something, that they will do anything– go completely above and beyond, to try and convince you of its truth, its worthiness. They care about something and they want to share that with the world. Bless them.

But there are the opinions that will get you into trouble. Not everyone wants to hear why you think “Trump isn’t so bad”, because most women will feel slightly offended that you would like to endorse a man with rape allegations to be your future president. However, he is going to be the president regardless of those accusations, so I’ll just put that one aside for now. It was just a sliver of an example of opinions that will lead to either my own, or your foot, inside your mouth– you choose.

Being an opinionated person means that you have to learn how to control that, to know when to rein it in, and when you can let it run free. I used to let my head-strong attitude rule all of my being and get me into sticky situations. Actually, sometimes they weren’t even that sticky, it became a matter of “coming across too strongly” or “always needing to be right”. And no matter how hard I tried to defend myself against this matter, my argument only became thicker and everything I tried to do reinforced any of my opponents’ beliefs. Having too strong of an opinion or caring too much trampled over the ideas I wanted to express and ended up bruising my personality. This is something I don’t want for people. I want us to care deeply about something and voice that to our peers– without judgement.

Maybe this isn’t the case for everyone, maybe everyone else’s opinions are treated with grace and accepted for being what they are– the thought of an individual and not a specific group or body. But for me, particularly through the years of my youth (ok, I’m really only 22, but I’m talking 19 and under), this was a trait that held me back. I stopped talking about things I was passionate about in case they were slightly controversial. That was never the case before. I now know that I can’t place my opinion in front of someone and expect them to scoop it up, cuddling it like a newborn puppy and asking me kindly if they can take it home.

In this world we will find the people who share the same values and our opinions will sway with the current of our lives. I have learned when it’s time for my voice to be heard, when someone is in need of an alternate opinion, and I’ve learned with it’s time to bite my tongue– and bite it hard. Because sometimes you can feel a certain way, and you can have something important to say, and no one will hear you. You’ve just got to look for the people who want to hear you, because they too are passionate about something or other.

 

— originally posted on my mytrendingstories page, check it out errybody.

https://mytrendingstories.com/article/passionately-opinionated/

WE HEART COFFEE.

I wrote a little something that got published in the UOW Magazine, Tertangala, and since not everyone has access to this mag, here it is for anyone else who wants to have a read 🙂

WE HEART COFFEE

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She is smooth and she is warm. She is a giver and not a taker. She casts her spell; a full-bodied aroma that canopies itself around every curve of your body, filling deep inside your pores, until you succumb and hand over $3.80.

“One small cappuccino, please.”

We have accepted this legal drug into our world, one that’s smell is far more enticing than it’s taste and yet, we don’t know how to say “no”. We cannot live without the endearing cup of joe that makes the day five trillion times easier. All coffee-drinkers will agree: this is not an exaggeration.

However, that is the thing about coffee; it makes us crazy, in more ways than one. If you miss your daily dose, it’s likely you’ll find yourself yelling at your boyfriend for being five minutes late, or crawling into bed at 7:30 pm with tears of frustration rolling down your cheeks, cursing your body for being so tired and weak. Most of the time, if we miss a cup, we don’t even realise. We go through the day, as per usual, and suddenly problems start to arise. The simple task of plugging in a phone charger can take an extra few moments, because you can’t seem to line it up to the power point quite right. Our anger isn’t heavy or vengeful, it is tearful and confused. Without coffee, we are nothing.

As university students, coffee has become something friendly to us. There is a vast range of coffee suppliers on campus and where we choose to indulge is quite sacred. If you visit a different café than your usual, one might equate this to cheating. But really, you are only cheating yourself, for you know what roast agrees with you best, you know which barista will provide you with the silky-smooth soy milk that you desire, and to go anywhere else would merely ruin the consuming experience.

Drinking coffee goes much further than the smooth taste and long lasting effect, it’s always an appropriate social occasion. “Coffee dates” can be with anyone from your grandmother, perhaps an old teacher or professor, or that cute guy from biology you’ve been eyeing off for a while. But asking him to join you for an evening, alcoholic beverage seems a bit too risqué when you’re genuinely looking for a good conversation. No matter how much we like to believe that coffee “loosens us up”, it tends to do the extreme opposite. With a few shots too much, we turn into highly-strung, stressed out baboons. One would suggest that you don’t have a cuppa before your date with hot biology guy; a shot of vodka would almost be a better option.

The undoubtedly worst part of identifying as a coffee drinker is not how crazy it makes you, but how crazy it makes you about coffee. Anyone who has worked in a coffee shop will agree that coffee customers are the worst kind of people. Not only are they grumpy, and make jokes like, “better after this coffee” when you ask how they are, but they’re arrogant. If you work for a local business, local customers will assume that you know their coffee order by face, regardless of the fact that you have never served them before. They will hand you their money, with a blank look on their face, and then a frustrated brow furrow when you look somewhat confused, because you seem to be serving a mute. Even worse than this, customers become so consumed by the coffee drinking business, they try their hardest to conjure up the most difficult and unheard of beverage; “one large triple ristretto soy latte on decaf please.”

Coffee is delicious, it’s good for the soul and the mind, but those kinds of people are the worst and the coffee world would be a much better place without them.

BIRTHDAY DEJAVU.

I remember last year when I wrote a blog post about how I had to change my ‘about me’. I had to change the age from 19 to 20. About two seconds ago, I was visiting my page and realised, that’s not me anymore. I’ve been 21 years old for the past month. It was time to edit my about me again.
Looking back on that post from a year ago, https://annikatague.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/a-slight-change-in-my-about-me/, a lot of things have changed and a lot of things have not.
I still worship Stephen Markley as a writer, but only recently have I begun divulging back into this passion. Some crippling anxiety was holding me back; as a writer and as a person in general. I feel like I’m finally on my way back and hopefully I’ll be finding new and exciting things to write about. I’m 21, I’m young, but I’m getting on, and I think it’s time I put some focus into the things I love to do, and work out how to spin them into a successful career. Look, I’m not stupid. I know that this is going to take some time, I haven’t even finished my degree for christ’s sake– I’m just feeling itchy!

For the past, I’m not even sure how long, I’ve felt pretty lost. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I think this happens to most students in the midst of their degree. I feel like I’m not doing anything with my life, while actually, I’m doing a lot. I’m just starting off. But I guess, for me, I wish the launching of a career path ensued lots and lots of dough, meaning I could travel and learn all at once. I know, I knoooooow, “go on exchange!” everyone tells me. I really don’t have an excuse not to, except that I don’t really want to? That’s legit enough.

Some of my friends are moving out of home– to Sydney, to London, to anywhere but here. And I guess I feel a little trapped, and when I say trapped, I mean trapped by myself.
I’m not scared to leave, I just don’t know where I want to go. Moving out of home would require transferring university’s and would mean zero savings for travel. That just doesn’t seem like an option at this point. I have to buckle down for the next 2.5 years and finish off this degree, because if I defer, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. My good friend Elle has just made plans to polish off an intensive personal training course, and then she’s jetting off to live in New Zealand for three months-indefinitely. My boyfriend’s brother is going over there with some friends around the same time as well, and if Abel hadn’t suggest that we go and visit them for a few weeks during my uni break in June/July, I just think I would go crazy. Finally I have something to look forward to.
It’s crazy how quick things change, how we easily change our minds about what it is we want to do, based on certain circumstances. Earlier this year, Olivia and I were planning on setting off to Europe in two weeks time, for a crazy, drunken, winterland escapade! Neither of us predicted falling in love and settling into committed relationships (a little cocktail of vomit and swoon, I apologise).

I honestly don’t know what the point of this ramble was. Scroll through my entire blog and most of my posts wind up this way. They start out promising- full of purpose and with a solid point, and end up being a super lame spiel about my current emotions. I’m gonna peace out before this gets super sappy and I start talking more intently about love– because I’m known for that these days.

FILMS BESIDES ‘FORREST GUMP’

When you’re apart of westernised culture and you live in a western society, it’s not often that you’re exposed to things outside of this realm. Unless you go travelling and/or seek cultural differences, usually your world is enriched by everything and anything western. It takes quite a lot for another type of cultural influence to actually snake it’s way in there. And being apart of westernised culture, we assume that everyone around the world wants to be on the same page as us… “yeah they’re different, but they all strive for the types of things that we have.” Not true. Just because films, television programs, and music etc. that display western culture make the big bucks, doesn’t always mean they leave the longest lasting impression.

Looking at ‘Nollywood’ and Korean Cinema, we can see how other cultures attempt (and succeed) to make connections with people of their culture. Nollywood (Nigeria’s film industry) is the third largest in the world. Directors in this industry adopt new technology as soon as it’s available and affordable for them. The films in this industry are mass produced; new titles sell in market stalls and shops an average of 50,000 copies. “one of the characteristics that marks Nollywood as an autonomous local cinematic expression is that it looks inward and not outward” (Okome, p. 1 ). The fanbase for Nollywood films is starting to grow now that they are being shown at film festivals around the world and getting the type of attention that they deserve.

Although, being apart of a western audience, I do have to question how much these types of films would/could “take off”. We are used to viewing blockbuster films with top quality CGI and oscar-winning actors– could Nollywood films really take a legitimate seat with us when our standards are already set so high? Yes, we love a low-budget indie film– but, it’s gotta be grabbing and clever and different. My point being, maybe Nollywood films are a bit too different for western audiences to grab onto; they might have some good themes, but have they got the punch?

Then of course there’s Korean cinema, which has completely taken off all over Asia. Pop culture in South Korea is extremely influential across Asia, particularly in Japan. Which means that films produced out of this are obviously going to be very popular in a lot of Asian countries. These types of films focus on a lot of relevant issues for teenagers across Asia, particularly surrounding the family environment. But because this realm of cinema is so vastly different from western culture, it’s much harder for it to branch out on a global scale.

While both Nollywood and Korean cinema might be some of the highest grossing film industries across the world, it’s uncertain whether or not they will reach and have an impact on western audiences. We can only hope that viewers will break down their standards and expectations for films and be able to view this type of cinema in a new light and possibly develop and appreciation for it.

YOUR INTERNATIONAL NEIGHBOURS.

Many students, when first embarking on their degrees at university, are enthralled by the idea of going on exchange. They want to study abroad in America and experience the “college lifestyle”. Or they want to go to France and improve their language skills. Most students will choose a destination, like the United States for example, because it’s an English speaking country– and that’s fair enough. It makes cultural engagement with other native students much easier to pursue. But, going to a country where they speak a different language and are governed by a completely different culture is often more beneficial in the long run.

However, there are a number of problems with this. Often universities and exchange programs will hook you up with other students embarking on the same journey as you. You have someone by your side to turn to who knows exactly what you’re going through; the homesickness, the language barriers, the fear of being in a new city, etc. As an exchange student, you’re lucky to have these kinds of people nearby for moral support, but this can be quite detrimental to your overall experience. Often exchange students won’t branch out of their comfort zones and spend most of their trip buddying up with people who speak their native tongue. They’re not forced to be immersed in the culture around them, because they’re not properly engaging with local people who are apart of it. The entirety of exchange programs promote this idea of learning and experiencing a different world and culture first hand, but so many people aren’t getting that much out of it; it winds up being a lengthy holiday with some kids from back home.

Knowing that this kind of situation happens often, local students at Australian universities need to be aware of the international students at their school. We need to make the effort to communicate with non-english speakers to help improve their language skills, and we need offer them a view on what the modern Australian lifestyle is all about. (Marginson, p. 1).

Obviously, the government thrives on international students entering the country: they have to pay their tuition fees upfront. There is a lot of information and advice provided for international students looking to study in Australia; http://www.internationalstudent.com/study_australia/

Exploring the benefits of choosing Australia for your exchange destination. But it takes more than these simple guidelines to help international students slot into our society with ease. Fellow students needs to understand that these individuals still have their background– they are not supposed to change their ways and automatically become “Australian” and fit nicely into the categories that we want. Instead, we need to show them the differences of our lifestyle compared to theirs. Not highlight why we think it’s superior or that western culture is better, but allow them to experience it as a whole and not sit back and highlight our differences.