Monday, 3 December 2018

Thoughts Over Brunch

I'm reverting.  I'm back and I'm reverting into the person I was last summer -- as if I never moved away at all.  I went from gossiping over decadent brunches in Sydney to psychoanalysing feelings and society over smashed avocados with the people who know me best, the way I used to.

However, I must still share something I read the last time I left this home:
But there are ways in which tiptoeing between two worlds can get lonely.  High school friends can't quite grasp your new college self, no matter how many stories you tell or Instagram profiles you show them.  College friends can guess the person you were before they met you, but they're in your life now and don't have too much time to play catch up.
You'd think my high school friends would not be able to fully understand me, given the experiences I have had this year without them -- only, I don't feel as if I've changed at all.  I know I've learned things, but as I said, I'm reverting.  I'm realising from the quality of my conversations that my high school friends know me better than I thought, and my university friends are still very much left in the dark (for now).


Brunch on Tuesday, 27/11/2018

I wrote, "My goodness, I forgot what inspiring women and chat-worthy friends I have here... can we just sit here and appreciate that these girls are still the most genuine people I've ever met.  I do take this home for granted sometimes.  It's done me good."

I say genuine because after all the things that have perhaps irritated me in Sydney, about the culture and what people find important, talking to these girls was like a breath of fresh air.  Arriving in a new place, I remember thinking that everybody was too good to be true... until I got to know them and their inevitable flaws, and got sucked into their culture.  It just makes me appreciate how amazing the people I knew before actually are -- with their lack of insecurity and need to impress people, with their genuine non-poser flawed political views, with their ideas (the fact that they actually have ideas)...

I remember asking my friends over brunch in Sydney, "What are your new years' resolutions?", to which they replied with self-conscious shrugs, perhaps not feeling close enough to share, or perhaps realising that they hadn't thought about setting goals for self-improvement at all, before continuing to discuss which boys are attractive in our cohort.  Meanwhile, my friends here were ready to offer what they'd learned throughout the year, and what they were looking for next year.  We discussed summer plans and projects to make content, and I realised that being around people who consume content and new ideas, and who talk about them, make you inspired to do the same.


Brunch on Thursday, 29/11/2018

Sometimes a situation is terribly wrong and we don't process it the way we should.  We think, because we've always lived a fairly average life, nothing that major could possibly be happening to us.  It's no big deal.  We're being melodramatic.  I personally am unsure if anything drastically emotion-worthy has ever happened to me, but it makes me wonder, how do we actually process these events if they happen to us?  Do we push past with nonchalance, not giving the situation the attention it deserves?  Do we ever cry?  It all just seems so surreal.


Brunch on Friday, 30/11/2018

She told me that when she was younger she was so self aware, but after growing up she realised that it all doesn't matter.  She said it as if it's normal for people at this age to have gone through that learning process -- to realise that the world isn't a movie and you're not the star, that what others think of you is so irrelevant, and to just stop caring.  I feel as if I never learned this lesson.


Dinner on Friday, 30/11/2018

She went to a political 'girls takeover' at the parliament house a couple of days before and had noticed that all the politicians were rich white people, elitist, kind of sheltered and oblivious?  I mean, we both agreed that we felt as if the state of leadership and decision making in this country is not our responsibility, but here's hoping our new generation will do better.

School was a flat line of months where nothing happened.  I have no idea how we did it.


Brunch on Sunday, 2/12/2018

I used to think that everybody in a similar situation to myself must be living the same experience as myself, but I now understand that this is not the case.  The theme of our conversation was independence and experiences.  What I experienced last summer, she's experiencing this summer.  I realise that in school I may have had experienced a job and people that partially shaped me, or a personality that had me always craving something to change -- and each person around me lived differently and thought differently.  I think it's the summation of our experiences that makes us any different from the person next to us, and by comparing and contrasting experiences with the people we understand ourselves to be, that's when you can see how a thing shaped you.


Dinner on Sunday, 2/12/2018

These girls were graduating.  While they may be a year behind me in school, I have always thought they were a year ahead of me in life, because they always seem to bring something new to the dinner table.  However, I have also learned to take their opinions with a grain of salt, because I forgot how suppressing culture within a high school can be.

One of them discussed how she needed to have no obligations for the year, like that one time she spontaneously drove two hours to the beach.  She said she snapped and for once was not worried about anything.  It's that feeling I had two winters ago, where you see a pretty road and have nowhere to be, so you can drive and drive along it between the trees, blasting some good music, having no idea where you're going.  She spoke of those plans where you go overseas to work and meet people, and learn things about yourself -- the things people like me always say we're going to do but never end up doing.

I feel like she has that need to leave this place, like the people and the routine are no longer enough for her.  I think it's a personality type.  Some people like change and others don't.  Change fast-tracking your self-development though -- is self development not just happening all around us?


Monday, 26 November 2018

A Wide Expanse

First year is over and I'm home again - away from the constant company that is living in a dorm.  Basically, I'm alone, and will be alone for the next 3 months.  It's daunting and I'm unsure what to do with my time after a year of constantly having people to chat to.  Being honest, my mood could be described as bored, impatient, longing, lonely and displaced.  There's a wide expanse ahead my friends, and I need to embrace it.

To start with, I guess I'll be writing more.  What I need is inspiration, to be the 15 year old girl with so many feelings and thoughts she felt the need to post them in an album on the internet.  That girl used to scrapbook a photo a day, make travel journals, write books, post weekly on this blog -- she was so... reflective.  I'm not sure about how I feel about being reflective.

A year ago I was crying in this bedroom.  I was leaving this city, thinking of all those nostalgic memories *and nostalgia is really looking back at things and making them seem better than they actually were* and absolutely not looking forward.  Fast forward 9 months and I'm crying again, as I'm packing to leave the dorm *oh gosh it's just been such a good year, and it'll never be the same again, sob sob*... why is it that we look backwards and not forwards?  Why do people with blogs and diaries and Facebook albums sit around reflecting on their life and who they are and how they've grown, when it just makes us sad?  Is reflection the basis of self improvement?  Recently a boy messaged me about something I would've given anything to go to last summer, and this summer, I don't even want to go -- that's self growth, but does it make that entire summer I cried about leaving completely invalid?  Why cry over it then?

Furthermore, I'm starting to think the only reason I've cried about leaving things in recent years is because of a boy.  I associate a time with a place with a feeling... with a boy.  At breakfast with my mum the other day, she hypothesised that my cousin was interested in a boy, simply because she kept mentioning how much she'd miss her friends since she wouldn't be seeing them for 3 months.  My mum passed the point that in all honesty, we don't get too worked up about not seeing our friends, because we know we'll catch up again, some time, and we'll be fine without them.  A boy on the other hand... they're the ones we drive ourselves crazy over in the wide expanse of not seeing them or not trying to impress them or whatever.  It's pathetic.  Boys aren't worth it.  They aren't worth the better half of our brain space.

You know what else isn't worth our brain space?  social. media.  The big question I'm asking is, if you invest too much thought and time into your social profiles, do you become the person you are on social media?  Are your photos on Instagram now the definition of you?  Are your comments now the definition of your personality?  Are the people who tag you in posts the most now your closest friends?  I see so many girls post their every move, with perfect captions and perfect aesthetics perfect for the image they're creating.  I see these girls the way they've curated themselves, and I wonder, are these girls now in reality, the person they want others to see them as?  And is that such a bad thing?  Personally, I think that yes, genuinely being the person others see you as, which is awesome, makes you awesome.  However, is this not limiting?  Aren't human beings more multifaceted than any two dimensional profile we could possibly create on the internet?

Side note: gosh I wish I could write a novel that really was a two dimensional accurate representation of these multifaceted human beings.  That's such a 15 year old thought right there.

Anyway, those are my thoughts after taking a step back from this year's constant 9-month-long exposure to millennial culture *it's a little toxic but when is society not?*.  In this wide expanse I plan to think for the first time in forever.  I may be obsessed with self improvement, and yes, self improvement is mostly looking back and being glad you've changed, but perhaps I should be open to the idea of looking back and being sad you've changed.  There are some thoughts and traits that do not need to be kept.  As I said, society is always a little toxic.

Being honest, my mood towards this wide expanse could be described as: hopeful, open and relaxed.
*let's get cultured*


Sunday, 15 July 2018

Self Care

Recently I've come to realise that we all have things we do alone, and we all really must do some things alone.  Living in a dorm, I've noticed that it's easy to fall into this trap of constantly craving companionship.  With people constantly around, there's always someone to walk to the grocery store with, to exercise with, or to watch television with.  However, as counteractive as it may seem for certain extroverts, not doing a few things alone is no way to live at all.  We all need to breathe some fresh air of mental self care on the weekly.

We all do this in different ways, which are somewhat unfathomable to each other.  Here's some of mine:

When in Sydney, the best way to clear my head or daydream is by going to the beach alone.  For some productive, endorphin-pumping time saving, I jog down to Coogee, or all the way to Clovelly, and take a seat on some rocks.  The sitting on the rocks bit is more of a photo opportunity, but it's the walk back with some good tunes, a good view and fresh air that is really good for the soul.

- and I cannot wait for the summer, when it's finally warm enough to swim in the rock pool again - at sunset - or early in the morning - salt water makes floating on your back serene like a Kendall Jenner Instagram post at the Maldives.

With a lot of free time, the best way to spend it could be by catching up with friends and going out for brunch or shopping or clubbing, or it could be by watching those movies you sometimes randomly feel like watching.  Here's a little list of which I know at least one will jerk that weird urge like huh - I haven't seen that in a while...
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Wild Child
No Strings Attached
Anne of Green Gables 
We're the Millers
Stuck in Love 
Now You See Me 2
Also watch Glee (or season 7 episode 18 of Grey's Anatomy) - some emotional singing can only ever be inspiring and good for the soul.

You could also simultaneously do something you haven't done in a while, like painting your nails.  I was recently deciding between the trusty old go-to silver, or something a little different *since I'm a different person now* like a deep maroon.

When in some serious self-indulgent existential crisis, I think the best thing to do is learn more about myself.  This can be done in the form of writing down your thoughts or reading old diaries.  The other night I lay down and read my diary as if it were a book for an hour.  I read the last six months of my life, about leaving home, which boys I liked but didn't realise I liked at the time, who and what were annoying me --- giving myself some insight into who I actually am.  It is, I think, only at times like these that you can truly undergo self improvement.

Having been home for two weeks, I've also gone back to my old go-to time for thought of driving.  Living in a small, green city, traffic is sparse and the view is almost always good.  In fact, drive 20 minutes in any direction and the scenery looks positively rural.  It's like escaping.  My favourite place for mind cleansing is driving along the main highway at 100km/h, alongside green hills of mini trees and mountains in the distance, singing along to music I have known very well for a long time.  If that doesn't feel like home, I don't know what does.

My main coping mechanism of my final year of high school was going to group fitness classes.  And by group fitness, I mean something like dance aerobics - something that resembles dancing but is super easy to follow.  Honestly, the music is infectious, and it gives you an excuse to drop whatever you're doing and take a break, and the cardio can only be a good thing.  The bigger the class the better, and during school I was fortunate enough to live walking distance from the largest gym in the city.  I remember one time I forced my friend to come along, and once she got into it, she couldn't stop smiling the entire time.

Finally, when given a vast amount of free time in the company of only yourself, it can be beneficial to learn something new.  Given a day to myself, I used to spend all day lying in bed with my earphones in, listening to TED talks.  Lately I've also been considering podcasts and reading non-fiction.

Here's some TED talks that have previously caught my attention:
The Danger of a Single Story
Before I die I want to... 
I Am Not Your Asian Stereotype
Why teens confess to crimes they didn't commit
How a male contraceptive pill could work 
I recently also visited the Victorian State Library, and after oggling at the pretty white dome in the pretty white room, I migrated to the bookshop, where I took a photo of every book I thought I'd like to read later:

12 Rules for Life - Jordan B Peterson
The Geography of Friendship - Sally Piper
Geek Girl Rising - Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens
Feminist Fight Club - Jessica Bennett
Utopia for Realists - Rutger Bregman
Cringeworthy - Melissa Dahl
The End of Old Age - Marc E. Agronin
Overthinking is Overrated - Niels Birbaumer and Jorg Zittlau
101 Dilemmas for the Armchair Philosopher - Eric Chaline
I Feel You - Cris Beam
The Inflamed Mind - Edward Bullmore
The Happy Brain - Dean Burnett
How to Build a Universe - Brian Cox and Robin Ince
Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It - Daniel Klein
Ignorance - Robert Graef
And here's some cute photos I took from a book about growing up and moving to a new city -


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Who wants to be Carrie Bradshaw?

Let me break down the last few months for you: First up, the only television shows I've been consuming are Love Island Australia (If you're from Australia and haven't seen an episode you're probably lying.  Also, Erin is my favourite) and Sex and the City.  And then on top of that, the last eight weeks of my life have been spent learning about conception and babies.  Do you see a common theme here?  Basically, all I've really been conditioned to be thinking about, I guess, are love and sex and boys.

But to be honest, this has got me thinking, when haven't I been obsessing over some boy?  Since I was 15, I've always spent my moments of mental down time daydreaming about someone.  I've always let them be what I was most excited for in my week, or month, or whenever I would next see them.  That's not to say it was constant unhealthy obsessive crushes.  In fact, it was more like 2-3-5 crushes all at the same time.  It was just constant flirtation with the idea of what could be.  What my break down is, is perhaps I was bored and had nothing better to think about than boys.  Maybe that's just a me thing, or maybe it's not.

Watching Sex and the City I hear Carrie Bradshaw and her friends talk about their boyfriends all the time.  They're always thinking about them, having their lives revolve around them.  I even remember in one episode Carrie saying to Mr. Big, "You're all I think about.  Everyday."  I mean, come on girls, surely there's more to life than finding a boyfriend.  But then, these women are all relatively successfully living their dream.  Carrie's a glamorous writer who goes to glamorous parties all the time.  Miranda's a successful lawyer in the most traditional sense.  Yet both women still obsess over their loneliness.  Are all women like this?

And it's not as simple as curing your loneliness by finding a boyfriend.  We can't just find a boyfriend.  We have to overanalyse, especially at 18.  Those successful either found love on Tinder or were "tuning" for months and months.  You think people are dating, but instead they describe it as "getting there", of which I do approve.  But "getting there" or even before "getting there", there are a million thoughts running through your head, and through your mouth over brunch with a girlfriend, about whether he's right.

Do I actually like him or do I like the attention?

Is it lust or is it love?

Do I see myself marrying him one day or is it just for fun?  Because if it's just for fun, I shouldn't be wasting my time.

Is he too wholesome?

Do I want to hoe around instead?  I mean, this is the age for it.

Never put all your eggs in one basket, unless you're dating him.

Dating him would mean foregoing the attention of other boys.

Being single is just part of my identity, though.

Am I too young to be considerate of someone else?

In our final lecture of the semester, we learnt that while boys may think with their *****, girls are turned on with love and affection.  Girls inherently, scientifically, want a boy who will kiss them on the forehead, who will pull them in close while walking on the sidewalk, who will offer their jacket or buy them flowers, just because they care.  Scientifically, girls just want a boy who actually cares.  So what does this mean, socially?  Does this mean that girls feel lonelier than boys when single?  Does this mean that girls care more?  Does this mean that while boys may enjoy that sneaky kiss in the club, girls, in actuality, do not enjoy it at all, and are potentially only enjoying it as a social construct?  So maybe girls are thinking about boyfriends more than boys are thinking about girlfriends, which isn't such a good arrangement if you ask me.

But here I am, always having been seen as the future "forever alone career woman", whether by myself or my Facebook meme tagging friends.  When you're feeling independent (or defensive) there's something empowering about saying you're work focused, that you don't have time for relationships or children or family (even though of course I'd love to have this white picket fence dream become a reality.  This is why that lecture about your eggs drying out at 35 scared me, and every other girl in the room, so much).  Throughout the final years of high school, whether out of fear or self-preservation, my motto was always "cute boys will distract you from that 99 final mark".  And while I don't actually want to be the "forever alone career woman", it'd be nice to stop thinking about boys all the time.  They really are distracting.

So, no.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be Carrie Bradshaw.  There's something pathetic about thinking about boys all the time, and I firmly believe that the right person will hang out with you and care enough to kiss you on the forehead and pull you close just because he wants to.  But then again, I'm 18 and Carrie's hitting the egg freezing 35.  I have time.


ALSO SIDE NOTE: I changed my blog name back.  I think I have a soft spot for nostalgia and continuing this blog exactly as was when I made it at 15.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Thoughts: It's been a while, but let's talk about the past

Last night I said I was a passive agreer.  I was just telling some anecdotal story I'd told a million times that day, about how some guy took a second cookie and the girl next to me was like "oh my gosh, he took a second cookie?  How rude." and I was like "Yeah, gosh, how rude." - you know, passively agreeing.  And then like 20 seconds later I took a second cookie and this girl looked at me like "what the fuck."  Anyway, so I had said I was a passive agreer, and then this girl who had just walked into my room said, "to be honest, I think you're passive everything."  She was so right.

Hence, the renaming of this blog.
I hope you can all still find it :) or not :)

So, the last time I posted was September last year, apparently.  Back then I hadn't experienced anything.  But skip forward a few months and we reach December 31st: the last time I wrote.  Typing those letters b l o g g e r into google for the first time in ages, I stumbled across a little draft I never knew I never finished:

I'm at a brown coffee table painting my nails silver for the new year, probably running late for work, wondering why I'm writing on the blog I haven't set eyes on in 3 months.  I thought I'd said an unplanned goodbye already, but the new year has always been the most thoughtful time of year for me, and for the last three new years, I've done my reflecting here.  Perhaps this blog is in the cards for 2018 after all.

Looking back on 2017, it was a lot.  In all my medicine interviews I kept getting asked the question "What are you most proud of from the last two years?" and while I gave them all some lame answer about how I was proud of my academic achievements, which they so did not want to hear, in reality, I think my answer is "the person I have become".  Having finished school, being so comfortable with the network of people I've built around me, being confident, feeling pretty, knowing what I want, feeling ready for so much more... that's how I'm ending 2017.

And tonight I will not be getting drunk, or making out with strangers on the street at midnight.  Instead I will be in a pretty white restaurant with family and friends, and we'll eat, maybe go outside and dance with the strangers on the street, and at exactly midnight we will watch the fireworks.  I love that exact moment -- what you were doing at midnight.  Although, now that I'm writing this, I'm not sure why it's so significant.  Perhaps it's supposed to be that changeover moment where you transition into that person you want to be, who from that moment on will not be eating chocolate and will instead go to the gym.  Or perhaps it's a moment of celebration, saying goodbye and thank you to the year that has just passed.  I like the former, personally.

And now we're here: 2018.  It's a Saturday night and for some reason, the moment I closed my embryology notes, the people yelling outside my dorm window decided to shut up.  Oh well.  Too late.  I'm here now.  I'm here and I'm thinking about home -- not Sydney home (and Sydney is now home), but my other home.

The other home is a figment of my imagination now.  It's still there, standing, with my mum and my dad and my sister.  The snapchat maps still show me who's at the mall, and who's at home, and who's at the gym.  But, there's one tiny difference this weekend.  On that map is a boy from my classes, visiting those malls and a 10 minute drive away from my friends.  It's wrong.  It's weird.  It's a reminder that things are not the same and never will be.  Seeing him there, out of place, makes me homesick.  I think about what it would be like if I were there.  Well, I wouldn't be running late for work, and I don't even know where my nail polish is kept now.  My friends are now all doing different things.  I can't even picture their lives, even when they tell me all about it.  That home doesn't exist anymore.

Today, for the first time since I was simultaneously hungover and in the middle of a fever, I spent the whole day in my room.  The plan was to study, like old times, at my desk, in my room, alone.  This time though, I felt irrationally lonely.  It's all these small things that used to be so normal for me, that take me back to the night before I left, when I cried and cried and I didn't know why, because I should've been so excited for the big future I'd always dreamed of only a day away.  And it really is like living a dream, but sometimes I need to sit here and mourn what I don't have anymore.

I'm low-key in love with my sadness.