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/

NOSTALGIA: OUR FAVOURITE FRENEMY.

Issue #4/2016 of the UOW’s ‘Tertangala’ came out today, and again, I was lucky enough to have something published in there. For those who don’t have access to the beautiful copy, here it is for ya:

NOSTALGIA: OUR FAVOURITE FRENEMY.

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Nostalgia is a terrifying emotion for a lot of people. We either clutch onto it with all our might, or we have it tightly gift wrapped in a brown paper box, tied up with blue ribbon and sent off to Timbuktu. It’s hidden everywhere. It’s laced in the trees of your backyard. It’s sprinkled on your mother’s apple pie. Your bedroom, no matter how young or old, is completely exploding with nostalgia.

I crave it. Nostalgia is something that grounds me; that makes us human. Experiencing it places us somewhere on the emotional scale and perhaps for some people that can be a bit too much. Once, while having a conversation with my friend’s host-brother from France, he told me “Australians are fixated with the past”. All of our stories, a large source of our humour, are based on things that have already happened. We can’t seem to move out of it, we love to talk about the no longer. For him, it was nice to watch us relish in the days of our youth, but it didn’t seem very constructive.

I suppose he was right. What good is going through your wardrobe and finding a stuffed toy that you’d thought you lost, but really, she sat there waiting patiently for you to find her? Okay, maybe he was crazy. Finding things that remind you of, not a better time, but a different time is what helps us grow. I look at reminders of my past: stuffed animals, a photograph, an old jumper, the scent of a once-used perfume and I think of who I am today. I compare. What once was, what never became, and now what is.

I hold a navy blue dress before me, remembering my 18th birthday when I first wore it. I was thin, I was tanned, my hair was long and my smile was wide. I looked healthy and happy. I look at myself now. I’m still me. The navy blue dress will still hug me in all the right places, but I would never wear it again. I have let go of the essence it held. I am not the 18-year-old version of myself who would wear this and rock it. I am the 21-year-old who looks at the memories the dress holds, happy  they happened, but glad they are over. In a sense, the dress is a small factor, a minor contributor in the shift that makes me an evolving human being. If I wore that dress now, regardless of how it fits me, I would look like an idiot. Maybe not to anyone else, but the mirror tells me it’s not an option. I’m a different version of myself three years later, and it’s time the dress gets posted on UOW Students Buy and Sell. $25. Time to go buy a book.

One would assume that in the modern days of consumerism, when we’re constantly replacing the old with the new, that nostalgia has escaped us. But no, it has found new and innovative ways to creep into our lives. Hugging onto your stuffed walrus Mookie might transport you back to a simpler time, and you thank nostalgia for being a gracious old friend. But you forgot about nostalgia’s backstabbing side. Thankfully, Facebook has reminded us. Each day, nostalgia knocks on your door with a simple notification.  “On this day, seven years ago, you wrote a status that could diminish your entire social life. If you decide you want to do this, please click the ‘share’ button, if you’re happy and you like yourself, please keep scrolling as if 2009 never happened.” Thank you Facebook, but most importantly, thank you nostalgia, for reminding me that if I met my 15 year-old self, I’d flick her gently on the nose and tell her to take a hike.

 

THE FAIRY AND THE LUMBERJACK.

tumblr_no7c7fqo6r1qczwklo1_500Sitting atop the white fluffy mound, she plucked a chunk from the mushroom, indulging in a rich and satisfying meal. Transparent, rose tinted wings glitter from the crisp blades of her shoulders. She applies powder to her cheeks, giggling sweetly. Waving and blowing kisses to a nearby cluster of squirrels—she sighs in their direction. ‘What’s the matter?’ one of them asks, to which her plight hand points north. A human, his back the width of nearby oaks, stands grounded. One hand gripping tightly around the handle of a saw, his other rummaging through a forest of facial hair. The squirrel nods sympathetically and the dear fairy, the size of the lumberjack’s palm, flees through the air, landing gently on his shoulder. Humming a silent lullaby into his ear, he drops to the floor, numbed with sleep; her delicate lips planting seals of love across every inch of his face.

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.

I’M OBSESSED WITH MERMAID SYMBOLISM.

I’ll do anything I can to incorporate the image of a mermaid into a piece of writing. So, here’s a piece of micro-fiction I wrote, doing just that:

I found you deep beneath the rising tides, buried in the folds of pebbly sand. Your eyes were closed, your arms were limber; you were still breathing air. How peculiar, I thought, a creature with these legs still alive, in a world such as mine. Starkly naked, I decided you needed some garments. I fashioned you an outfit, made from the finest seaweed and shells. No one was to know you were different, because I decided to keep you forever. He doesn’t have to be like me, I promised myself. Until the day that your lids struck wide and you placed them upon my scales. Erupted with disgust, you slid through the weeds and the water, deserting your selfish lover on the ocean floor.