Tag Archives: memories

Things that university taught me

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I finally truly hit that uni is almost over. And I say almost because I still have my thesis to obsess about, so expect a lot more gushing/groaning on that department. Thinking back however, there’s a few things I’d like to share that I think will stay with me for a long time:

  1. Most of the stuff you learnt after year 6 is irrelevant. Unless you do Creative Writing. In which case everything is relevant.
  2. Movie/TV references are the currency.
  3. There is no such thing as optional reading.
  4. Laundry doesn’t get lost. It multiplies in your absence.
  5. Walking distances are proportional to your bank account.
  6. The faster you learn to cook, the faster you become popular.
  7. Hand-written notes rule!
  8. Opinions don’t matter. Everyone will do their thing regardless.
  9. Online shopping (window or not) can be addictive.
  10. The walls are always less soundproof than you think.
  11. You will feel decades older than the first years. And you will find yourself quoting your grandmother.
  12. Supernatural has gifs for everything.
  13. Scented candles always help.
  14. Any day is pancake day (and any time for the matter).
  15. Having fancy-dress costumes is more important than having practical clothes.
  16. You will run out of pain killers the day before you need them.
  17. Illnesses can be postponed through sheer will-power.
  18. Embrace the geek.
  19. Learn to saw. Tights are expensive when you buy them every second week.
  20. Weather and temperature have no relation to outfit choices.
  21. It is perfectly acceptable to go to the supermarket in your pyjamas.
  22. You will develop as seventh sense tuned to find the nearest chocolate. Also an eighth one for coffee.
  23. Fairy lights are an essential decoration.
  24. So are skull-shaped candle holders. (I have diverse interests…sue me!)
  25. Carrying around a creepily questionable book and openly reading it in public will -hopefully- repel any unwanted social interactions.
  26. Morpheus is the most important god ever worshipped.
  27. Your music tastes will inevitably shift to things your teenage self would cringe at.
  28. Disney is still awesome!
  29. There’s never enough money.
  30. There’s never enough time.

There’s more, but if I kept going we’d be here till Kingdom Come. One day, many years from now, when I’ll be a mostly-functional adult, I will write the full thing. Then print it out and use it to wallpaper my house. Just because I can. I did mention that I’ll be mostly functional, didn’t I? 😉

Tea with Molly Bloom

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One of the greatest lies anyone will ever tell you is that following your dreams is the way to go. I don’t mean you shouldn’t. In fact you should, and if you actually make it to your personal pot of gold at the end of your rainbow more the power to you! The problem is that when someone tells you to follow your dream, they usually mean what they think is your dream. It’s not even because they think they know better (ok, there’s always the occasional asshole that thinks so and will not hesitate to tell you). Most of the time they genially have you’re best interest at hand. They truly, wish for you to be as happy and safe and secure as possible. So you pluck up the courage and confess what your secret labour of love is. And with a snap of your fingers, the light of encouragement fades a little, their smile becomes a little forced.

 

Because you told them your dream and it’s not something easy, or –what’s that other expression career advisors like to throw around? – marketable, or even the kind of thing that you talk about at family reunions and can easily attach the word “successful” to. So you begin to compromise, because you care about them and the last thing you want is to make them worry. Alright, you say, it’s a bit out there, and of course I will look for something that pays the bills first but, you know, as a hobby? On the side? And if it ends up being the main thing I do, then great! But I’m not going to be heart-broken if it doesn’t work out. Except you will be. And you will become bitter and sad. Because while you work that in-between job you’ll realise that when you get home tired, and there’s nothing prepared to eat and you still need to do the laundry, there’s no time or energy left to do what you like. Of course some people find both these so elusive things. Me? I know myself well enough to know that once inertia has settled it won’t matter how much I love that hobby. The very idea of moving from whatever flat surface I’m lying in will be too much to consider. And no, the advice “force yourself to do it and eventually the mood will come” is about as stupid as advising someone with a broken leg to work on their marathon time.

 

Or you will choose to fly in the face of adverse winds, do the improbable degree, dare to apply to jobs that tickle your interest. And with every non-answer or negative answer to your applications you’ll get more disappointed, more convinced at your uselessness. Don’t get me wrong, dear reader. While this may apply to you, it is also (mostly) a letter to myself. So where was I? Oh, yes, my sparkling, glitter-sprinkled future. Or rather how easily “I’ll chase my dream job, I don’t care what it takes” became “I just need someone to trust me enough to give me a job so that I don’t have to look at the end of my degree as the start of a free-fall without a parachute”. Less than four years to reach that conclusion and I’m not even twenty-five. And it’s harder when people believe in your dreams (or their idea of them) more than you do. How do you explain that you care more about a steady source of income, even if it doesn’t relate to what your degree says it’s about?

 

How do you make the older generations understand that even a cinema ticket or a night out for drinks have become so loaded with guilt (because you’ll see what’s left in your current account and it’s always so much less than you thought it’d be and never mind that you have a savings account these are savings they’re for emergency you shouldn’t touch them and you thought you had finally figured out budgeting but you didn’t because no one has shown you how ever and suddenly the idea of living off crackers milk and apples sounds appealing) that you cannot even consider it seriously? How do you explain the sensation of never being good enough, even though you try as much as your mind will let you, because when you have it already weighting on you that in the end it won’t really matter because someone more qualified will always be there to make you look worse? How do you explain the tears that aren’t really triggered by anything in particular, at least nothing apparently serious, but you’ve been holding it for so long that even something as little as a broken light is enough to have you curled up with your pillow and sobbing like someone just died?

 

How do you communicate the crippling fear that hits you every time the phone rings and you have to speak to someone or, even worse, when you need to be the one to make the call? How do you translate the constant feeling that people around you just tolerate your presence, that even when they seek you out they don’t much care about what you need to say? How do you get over the feeling that those feelings are confirmed because you tell them something and then two days later they text you like what you said didn’t even register? (Apparently “I’ll be sleeping at the library this week, I have work to do” has the response –before the week is over- “Come over tonight, we’ll have fun” No, actually we won’t. I’ll be tired and just want to get home but I haven’t yet found out the proper way of explaining that just because we seem to be having fun together I actually want the company. Because most of the time I don’t.) How do you illustrate the internalised panic attack you have at any given professional, semi-professional, or potentially-professional scenario because all this is running through your head and you don’t know what is expected of you because you cannot understand the rules of the game but just this once you want to play because you hope that if you won even once (no matter how small the victory) then maybe next time it’d be easier?

 

How do you give up something as small as living in a place you know you’d be happy in because it’s small and therefore jobs there are even harder to find? For how long can you stop yourself from screaming at them, telling them that you don’t want to be this messed up, you don’t want the voices or the fears or the nightmares or the feeling of being a failure but you can’t help it? Not when you cannot remember the last time anything that comes with the word “finances” attached to it came without any stress or frustration. Not when everyone went out and did things while you stayed inside and watched movies because you were tired of how loud everything out there had become. Not when you feel too young for everything expected of you and at the same time too old for it all.

 

Not when the few times you manage to open up to anyone and explain why you are angry and don’t want company you feel even more horrible afterwards because everyone has their own problems to deal with and who are you to hoist upon them your own or because you’ve done everything short of screaming “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and they offer company. The whole “no means no” concept is not a joke and does not only apply to the dating scenario. There’s precious few people whose presence I can tolerate for any length of time and a friendly smile does not immediately mean that I want to be around you. Just because what is inside my head is dark and horrible and most of the time yields a particularly sharp scythe doesn’t mean that I will instantly act like a bitch. I am Slytherin enough to understand that social interactions (not hanging out, that’s different) have their uses. And damn my madness even with all this (or maybe because of it) I want to help other people feel happy. If stitching a smile on my face and swearing everything is peachy is the way to do it, well lies have been said for worse reasons. Besides, the line “I’m never ok” sounds overdramatic when spoken aloud, don’t you think?

Veni, Vidi, Trepidati (I came, I saw, I panicked)

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A bit of context please! The following story is based on an “adventure” of sorts I had last year. I might sound unlikely but, yes, it did indeed happen!

Saturday, 26th of October, 4:30

Espresso shots so far: 1, mental awareness: 35% (zombie), panic attacks: 1 (minor)

The special tune in the alarm clock and the obligatory pre-trip nerves appear to be the only reasons I am functioning at this infernal hour. It also appears that caffeine and sugar do not have their fabled WAKE-UP effect on me. Note to self: Do not trust advertisements again.

 

Stumbled over my backpack twice while looking for my hairbrush. Found it under a pile of clothes awaiting ironing. Dread to think how it ended up there. Was under the impression last night that all I would need in the morning was ready to be packed. I stand corrected.

 

6:30

Mental awareness: 45% (systems booting)

Taxi arrived the moment I opened the door. Thank heavens for good timing, or flat mate would have had my head for making noise so early in the morning. Will probably still do when I return… Had to kick the door close. Coffee still in hand, I had to wrestle a backpack and a drawstring bag onto the backseat and then proceed to make pleasant conversation with driver. Now, why do I have a bad feeling I am missing something important?

 

6:45

Mental awareness: 60% (systems loading)

Arrived at the rail station. First thing I noticed was the train on platform, preparing to leave. Yet, it appears I am about an hour early. That can’t be right. Better check with the nice gentleman by the platform doors after I finish my breakfast.

 

6:46

Mental awareness: 115% (panic attack imminent)

A MISPRINT! THERE WAS A MISPRINT AT THE TICKET OFFICE! I had specifically asked for the train leaving at 7:30, so that I would not have to pull an all-nighter just to be at the train station on time. Now I realize that the printed time on the ticket is 6:30. How could I have possibly missed that? Still, deep breaths, deep breaths now, no reason to freak out just yet. I can change the ticket for one on the very next train to London, no harm done, just a slight delay, right? Right? Oh, who am I kidding? THIS IS TERRIBLE! WHY ME?

 

7:00

Mental awareness: 95% (systems operational), mood: bad

Apparently printing error was my fault. Had to buy whole new set of tickets for part of the journey. Think that I hate the railway system a little more than I used to. Had to waste ten minutes waiting on a queue just to talk to someone. Conversation at the ticket office proceeded as such:

Me: There was a misprint in my ticket. Can I change it for a later one? Preferably one for the very next train to London.

Unsympathetic employer: I am afraid we cannot change your ticket. You will have to buy a new one.

Me (beginning to panic and not really caring about my account balance at this point): Fine! I need to get to Cardiff. It’s an emergency.

Unsymp…You know what? Let’s call him Joe: Well, the next cheapest fare leaves at four in the afternoon.

Me (hyperventilating as next train to London arrives at the platform): No, no! You don’t understand! I need to get to Cardiff as soon as possible! Just give me a ticket for the next train.

Joe: Very well Miss. That’ll be *** pounds.

Me: Gah!

 

Now sitting on the train on my way to London, I find myself unable to focus on anything other than homicidal thoughts involving printers, credit cards,Ticket office employees and  P. “I can’t access my bank account,” he said! “Can you come give me a hand sis?” he said. “It’s not that far!” he said. Ugh! Deep breaths now! Perhaps some calming music will help.

 

8:30

Mental awareness: 65% (still sleepy), mood: annoyed

Almost in London and struggling to keep myself awake. The effect of the music might have been too calming. Opposite seat has been taken over by someone who can’t possibly be anyone other than a retired Inspector Gadget. He has spread more electronical devices on the table between us than I thought possible and his legs have expanded to the point where I have to practically climb ON my seat to avoid being stepped on. Too tired to do anything more than the occasional glare, to which he is impervious, as he is hidden behind his newspaper. I hope Dr. Claw gets you sometime soon, you leg-space invader!

 

9:15

Mental awareness: 85% (not bad…), mood: cautiously optimistic

Unbelievably made it to London Liverpool Station with time to spare. Was not sad to part with Inspector Gadget. Had brief moment of confusion as I tried to find my way from Liverpool Street to Euston Station. Decided to play it safe and run the distance. In retrospect not a good idea since I was carrying two very awkwardly shaped bags. My mother was right. I need to exercise more… Must have been quite the show, bursting to the platform out of breath, bags nearly flying out of my hands and asking panicked about the train to Cardiff. Somebody must have been having a good laugh at my expense since I had barely caught my breath before the train rolled on the platform….

 

11:00

Mental awareness: @#$%*blue screen of death! @#%$!&*

Birmingham has more than one train stations. BIRMINGHAM HAS FIVE BLOODY TRAIN STATIONS! WHY, UNIVERSE, WHY? Ticket said change trains in Birmingham, so when I picked up the word “Birmingham” over the frustratingly quiet intercom I –of course!- hurried out of the train. Seeing no trains bound to Cardiff, I started worrying but figured two ticket-related mistakes in one day are too much even for me. So I did what every mature person would do in my situation and popped to the closest information desk to ask directions. Turns out I was one stop early and that Birmingham has what appears to be an “international train station” in addition to the one where I was supposed to be at. It’s been a while since I wanted to punch something so much…. Nearly out of options, there is only one thing left to do: hitch a ride to the proper station. I will take it as a sign of mercy that the next train arriving on the platform was going the right way and was full enough for no conductor (no matter how dedicated) to attempt to check for tickets. It took fifteen minutes of doing a sardine impression and nearly twisting my ankle when the driver hit the brakes and I had nothing to hold on to, but I made it. Finally, finally the right station, the right train, the right time and minimal running involved! It’s nearly over! I am almost there! Dare I say it? What could possibly go wrong now?

 

11:05

Mental awareness: 35% (secondary system rebooting)

I…I think I might be lost. There should be a staircase leading to the platform right about here. Instead there is a solid wall. Harry Potter reference? Or did I just breeze by the stairs without seeing them? Whilst looking for them?

 

12:00

Mental awareness: 90% (secondary system reboot successful), mood: pleasantly surprised

What are the chances of sitting next to a friendly guy just because you launched yourself to the first free seat you found? Yes, there are still gleams of sun (figuratively) shining down on me. Fully intended on spending the rest of the journey reading and/or listening to music. Does not seem to be the case now. Guy sitting next to me not only talkative but actually interesting.

 

1:00

Mental awareness: 95% (really good), mood: best so far

Talked through the entire trip to Cardiff with cute guy next to me. Good mood appears to equal good luck since we appeared to be invisible to any and all conductors that passed by us, and I might have my ticket but he apparently lost his somewhere along the way. Topics ranged from travelling to babysitting (the inevitable subject between two people with too many younger cousins, nieces and nephews). Only half an hour left before this journey from hell is over and I must say it looks like it will end on a high note. Now, if only P. would pick up his phone…

 

1:45

Mental awareness: 100% (navigation system at full capacity), mood: stormy

Don’t worry, he said. I’ll pick you up from the station he said. Moral of the story? Never trust your little brother. Having toured the entire station and found P. waiting… nowhere, I finally managed to get him to answer the phone. It appears that it was LoL night, last night and every night, and he had only just woken up. Due to his phone ringing. Never mind. I am a grown woman, fully capable of navigating this city. To which I have never been before. Saddled with bags. With no map. In the pouring rain. I better get same damn good brownie points from the universe out of all this.

 

2:20

Mental awareness 80% (energy levels falling), mood: confused

Men come from the same planet as women, right? And dust is dust no matter how busy you are, right? Right? Took me nearly half an hour to found P.’s accommodation building, no thanks to this country’s inability to signpost the roads properly…. Had to face my immortal enemy: electronically locked doors. Tried to call brother and was promptly informed that I did not “have enough credit to make this call.” Tried following the instructions by the door and put the room’s code (which should have opened the door). Failed spectacularly. Tried again. And again. At this point a security guard came to see what’s the fuss. Explained the situation and was escorted to the reception, while (very understanding) guard went to knock on P.’s door to inform him of my arrival (and most likely wake him up). Popped in thirty seconds later to tell me that there was someone coming. Was that my brother? Lo and behold here was his Royal Lateness in his pajamas and flip-flops, coming to pick me up. Yes, he had only just rolled out of bed.

 

Walked up the stairs, through a maze of corridors, to his room. Paused nervously at the door.

“You weren’t joking about giving me a hand with cleaning, were you?” he asks. Would have cheerfully slapped him if it weren’t for the fact that I was so tired. As it were I limited myself to a frustrated “Just open the damn door!”

 

At this point I think a description of what I’m surrounded with is necessary. I will start with the premise that the expression “bombed” is no longer a cliché but very much a feasible reality. The drawers under the bed are hanging half-open and half-empty. The bed itself unmade (of course) and half-covered in posters. The desk practically invisible under the module handouts, empty bags of crisps, laptop gadgets and the occasional bundle of pennies. The kitchenette a qualified hazard zone. Nearly all the clothes stuffed in the laundry bag. Three bags of garbage by the door. Clusters of dust and fluff at the corners. I’m afraid to leave my perch on the bed to check on the bathroom.

 

Moral of the story? Never, under any circumstances, visit a first-year in university accommodation. The trauma is not worth it.

In which I consider portraits

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I’ve been told by several people that I am a relatively calm, organised person and to a certain extent they are right. I try to remain calm and I certainly try to make my life easier by being organised. Unfortunately this means to any time I allow my inner panic to show, it’s not taken seriously. Truth is… I am not a calm person. I just internalise a lot, partly because I don’t like people asking me too many questions, partly because I feel the people around me have enough problems on their own, without me adding to them. Frankly, if people could hear my internal monologue (dialogue/full scale argument) at times, they’d be sure to back away…real fast. I like to blame the fact that I was born slap-bang in the heart of summer for my temper. Everything comes to boil faster when it’s hot.

It used not to bother me that people would assume I’m the accommodating one, the “mother” of any group I find myself in. I mean, I don’t mind taking care of people and I certainly enjoy the adrenalin rush of trying to coordinate multiple things at the same time. (Pre-performance and backstage work were the parts I enjoyed most when I was on my school’s theatre group.) Lately, however, I find my goodwill rapidly diminishing and what little patience I had is following swiftly. I’m so tired all the time. It’s not physical tiredness, it’s more of that soul-crashing sensation of knowing you can’t expect more from someone and yet hoping to be pleasantly surprised. And the worst part is that I know it’s all in my head.

I’ve always had trouble reading people in real life (not in stories, which is why I tend to prefer the company of a book). I make assumptions about motives and opinions and I struggle to combine my perception of a person (and the inevitable expectations that come along) with who they actually are, or at least who they perceive themselves to be. For a very long time I simply did not make the effort, after all what’s the point of getting to know people when you know for a fact that after a few years you will not see them again. (Schoolyard friendships, my left foot…) Sadly as I grew older I discovered that people can be as intriguing as books (and that came as quite the shock, let me tell you). I tried and still try to figure them out. The results are mixed at best. I’m stubborn though, so I hope eventually I’ll manage it.

So what do I do in the meantime? Especially on the days when the effort is just too much? I’ve tried different things, from long (loooooong) solitary walks to forcing myself to stay around people in a social setting and I think I may have managed to find a middle ground: I take whichever book I’m reading at the time, walk to town and sit in a cafe. That way I can be around people and get the human contact I need and at the same time I don’t actually have to pretend anything. I’ll just get a tea or a mocha or whatever tickles my fancy (which requires a mercifully small amount of words being spoken), sit back and read/people watch for a few hours. You should try it. It’s amazing how much it clears the head to take a step back and look at any given situation from the outside.

D is for Drama

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Ah…drama. The inevitable result of combination of family reunions, overeating and disappointing presents. What do I speak of? Boxing Day! You know, when the high from the partying and Christmas cheer are over and you are left to clean the house, store away the atrocious sweater that great-aunt you’ve never seen before gave you and nit-pick everything that you heard in the past two days, all the while nursing a hangover. Charming.

 

Personally, I’ve always imagined family reunions as miniatures of a United Nations conference. Add the word dinner and it’s practically a convention (complete with souvenirs)! You have the people you are glad to see again, those that are just meh, the new-arrivals (new babies or cousins visiting from out of town) and of course the once you dread to face. And face them you will. Armed with only a plate of nibbles and a glass of wine, you’ll have to fix a smile and answer politely to their comments, all the while trying not to look like you’re looking for the nearest exit.  It’s not even that they mean to annoy you. No, that’s what makes it worse! They are genially interested, but when it is the nth time you have to explain what you’re studying, what sort of job can you even find with your degree or –my personal favourite- is there someone special in your life and when exactly are you planning on settling down… -rage quit-

 

Let us all be thankful that the alcohol is monitored in this sort of gathering (what with kids zapping around everywhere) or the responses to those questions would no doubt be far less diplomatic and far, far more honest. No, I’m not a Grinch. No, I don’t despise family functions (although if anyone asks me again what high-paying job I can get with a Lit degree I will not be held responsible for my actions). Heck, I don’t even complain for getting socks as a Christmas gift! Good socks are more expensive than you’d assume. So what’s with the title?

 

Well, think about it: a special time/place setting, a specific cast of characters whom we like to various degrees, the exchange of rehearsed lines and actions. As good ol’Will said: “All the worlds a stage.”

 

Give me an audience and I will deliver.

In which there is something in the air

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And it’s neither the scent of my favourite candle nor a flesh-consuming virus. Actually I’m not quite sure WHAT it is. So, like the good scholar I pretend to be upon occasion, I will try to write myself to a conclusion.

Therefore, first things first! What are the symptoms? So far they include an even shorter temper that usual, exhaustion, tension in my back, all-around bad mood and insane chocolate cravings. And before you ask it, no, I am not pregnant. I am however very tired of feeling like I’ve boarded the proverbial roller coaster and forgot to get off. And besides…. hold on… Oh, damn! Yup, I know what the issues is here. Ladies and gentlemen I have managed to make exactly the same, soul-sucking mistake for the second time exactly ten years after my first monumental stupidity. I have forced myself to be social. No, I am neither a hermit nor an absolute misanthrope. I have simply always found the company of the written word much less stressful and infinitely more attractive. What happened ten years ago was that I changed schools just as I was beginning to go through puberty. Yeah, you know what they say: Never make life-altering decisions whilst under the influence of mind-altering substances. Never mind if these are secreted by your own brain. So in her unquestionable  wisdom 12-year-old me decided that a new school (tabula rasa and all) called for a new attitude towards humanity in general. (And it is at this point that every single little voice that ever rented space in my head felt the need for a collective facepalm.) But I tried. Like, earnestly tried to be more social, to navigate that horrifying setting that is middle school. The end result can be summed up in a few poignant words: I don’t want to remember 95% of those four years. I’m not exaggerating or being over-dramatic. That couple of years when I was eleven and twelve especially I would happily ignore in any flashback-inducing activity. Mercifully I realised what I was doing to myself and went back to my semi-lone wolf ways. And gods, I loved it!

And then uni came. And with it came tabula rasa round two. (On a side note, wouldn’t that be a wicked title for a crime film?) Only this time around I thought I knew better. For nearly three years I was fairly convinced (some might say deluded) that in terms of social obligations I did not exceed my -admittedly- limited skills. Yeah, this pretty much sums it up. The truly obnoxious thing about bad habits is that they sneak up on you just when you thought you’d escaped them. And this is how I find myself now, saddled with way too many social obligations which I am unable to drop because…well… I hate it when people say that’ll do something and then drop out the last second. Honestly, a large part of this unloading has had to do with background stressing over other things (about which I will be probably ranting at some point in the near future…) but it has also got me thinking. It’s not like I’ve been forced into any of the situations I find myself in. I was aware of what I was doing when I signed up for all these different groups and societies and what have you. I don’t even have the puberty excuse anymore or that of inexperience either.

So what is it? I am self-aware enough to know that being around people for more than a few hours (or days, depending how comfortable with/close to them I am) is just not good. I try to be optimistic about life in general but I know what will happen if I exceed my social interaction limits. It’s not pretty and it might even been damaging in the long term. I’d rather avoid becoming the neurotic one at any given setting. There’s more than enough drama queens to go around without me adding to the GSA (Global Stupidity Average). Maybe part of me is still that hopeful 12-year-old that wants to believe things will be different next time. And who knows, maybe they will be. Unfortunately this is here and now and things are not different yet. So, I suppose, until little-me’s wish comes true, I’ll just have to do what I do best: grit my teeth and bear it with what little social grace and understanding I have.

Summer Rain

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The thunder booms in the distance

The sky is bullet grey

There is anticipation in the silence

As birds and beasts hurry for shelter

The dryads hurriedly close up their blossoms

And the air is scented with dreams

A moment of silence

And then… the skies open

Tittering

Tattering

Droplets

Glittering

Like liquid diamonds

Envelope the world in a thin film

Of possible fantasies made real

In the half-realised second of lightning

In the meadow left of the house

Shrieking laughter resounds on the trees

Of two girls dancing wildly

In half-forgotten madness

And then run to hide away

When the rainbow crosses the sky

Meditation

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Astral Projection

Flickering and fluttering

Out of the corner of your eye

I fly ethereal

White

And silver and

Full of half-formed ideas

A sudden noise and…

Awakened

A sudden startled gasp.

I wrench myself from

Half-remembered dreams

Of flight. Pain

On my chest as if

I slammed back to

My body. How I fear

Those

Half-forgotten

Dreams

 Of

Flight.

In which there is coffee….

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For the longest time I refused to drink coffee. Even the smell of it made my skin (figuratively) crawl. Like many things in our lives I can blame this on my mother. You see, she loves coffee (as in OTP) and one of my earliest memories involves scarfing down my breakfast in order to catch the school bus while the entire kitchen smelled like Starbucks during rush hour. Pleasant smell yes; but really bad associations. Earlier this year I caved to my inner masochist and bought a mocha in an effort to stay awake during my (boring-to-tears) Journalism seminar. I can’t say it was love at first sip but it did the job. Mocha became my substitute when I didn’t feel like hot chocolate. -Ironically I managed some really nasty burns with how chocolate, which has always been my favourite, but never with anything remotely coffee related-

And then summer came, and I came back to Greece and eventually in the small island of Paros which I love to bits but which does not serve mocha. Anywhere. And believe me, I’ve checked. But a girl needs to force herself awake somehow, especially when there are day-trips involved, and in a second masochistic impulse I tried a… freddo cappuccino. Now, I’m sure most of you have watched Looney Tunes at some point. You how Speedy Gonzales speaks when he’s on his rapid-fire mode? Well, I was like that. Gods know what I was babbling about, I can’t remember. I do remember that at some point there was a sing-along involved (one that lasted at least 30 minutes…). Point being: my father’s reaction when I made it home giggling like a madwoman: “Are you drunk?” No, daddy dearest, I’m not…

Am I going to drink coffee again? Should I? I think the answers are occasionally and no. I must admit it was funny having the world about me look like an episode of Looney Tunes (even if Taz didn’t feature, pity!) but I can achieve the same results with two strawberry daiquiris and frankly the context in which I end up with a coctail on each hand sounds more promising in terms of F.U.N.

Final Farewell

Standard

The old schoolyard is empty. So late in the afternoon the students have long gone home. But you’re not one of them and you haven’t been for quite a few years. The truth is that you’re not even sure why you came back. When you left, you forced yourself to turn a leaf and bury who you had been deep inside. Perhaps being here proves how miserably you failed.

 

You ignore the “yard of the old kids” and walk at the back. Nearly ten years later you can still recall every nook and cranny here as if it was only yesterday that you left, never to come back. You ignore the various games; it’s amazing how they still look the same, and approach one of the most important reasons for your return. It has hardly changed. Perhaps a bit taller, but still thin and the soil around it the same ochre-brown color. Now you know that it’s not a fir, though its name was never of any importance. In your mind it was and still is “grandpa”, one of your first real friends.

 

When the other children played with one another, you sat on its feet and listened to the stories it whispered. That was when you first the discovered the power of the Word, when all the other children were speaking their own tongue, a tongue you couldn’t understand but  – much to the disturbance of the occasional teacher – you cared not to learn either. You were alone and you were happy.

 

Before you knew it you were one of the “old kids” but inside still the same. For your peers you are the strange one, the outcast, existing only to amuse with your difference. No one outrights says it but you hear their laugh and see their scorn in their eyes whenever you bother to look at them. You don’t care. You have new friends. Where they see plants, your eyes see houses and caves. A broken fountain is your cauldron and the leaves and seeds you gather like the birds do are the ingredients of your broth. You make plates out of leaves, keep your “home” orderly and sometimes you even find hidden treasures.

 

As you grow so does your thirst for stories. You read frenziedly, every minute you can spare is filled with the books you read or the stories you make. Everyone thinks that you are alone and cut-off from those that could be your friends, but in reality you have more true friends and guardians at your side than they would ever suspect.

 

The years flow and you remain happy, away from everyone. You see no reason to change and make the mistake to believe that the world around you is the same with your world. Arrogance it may be, but you were proud. While they grew up worrying over pointless things, you gathered stories and kept in your heart their teachings, like the gems you would later love.

 

But you forgot to pick up one of the most important; that of time. All of a sudden you are forced to change environment a year earlier than what you expected. Believing it to be the right thing you agree and found yourself in a new schoolyard. For the first time you could turn a new leaf, to write a new chapter in your book. Curiosity has always been your flaw and it would be a lie to claim that you never wonder about the other riverbank. So you tried to cross, disregarding everything that your friends had taught you.

 

It was naïve of you to think that years without any contact with those around you could simply be erased. You were trying to find a balance between two worlds, believing that the things you wanted and dreamed were around you, when you had never lost them. Reality hit you violently. You did not belong to the same world with the other kids – what did age matter?- They were mere kids to your eyes, they still are. You tried to go back. It was terrifying to realize that you did not belong there anymore. The balance was lost. For the first time you were truly alone and for the first time you were accepted.

 

A bird flies by and you come back to reality. You laugh at yourself. You always thought yourself more mature from those around you, more independent, but in reality you never changed. So afraid to grow up that you imprisoned yourself inside your own mind and now is the time to deal with the consequences. Now it’s the time to finally mature.

 

Even if you didn’t want to, you grew. Perhaps that mistake of yours was not so fatal after all. It may have taken time but balance has been restored. You belong to neither one world. You tied them together to something greater and that is the reason you came back today. To offer your gratitude to your fist true friend, the one that showed you the path you walk today, a path between true and untrue, reality and dream, amongst words and amongst worlds.