I love writing, but I didn’t always realise I did. It must have begun when my uncle would return from Sydney every Christmas and pull beautifully wrapped storybooks out of his denim satchel for me like Mary Poppins. I soon fell in love with the touch of textured paper under my fingers as I diligently sounded out the ‘big words’. When I was 12, my mum sent me to an English tutor who left me in tears after every lesson because my stories were simply not interesting enough. In hindsight, I have both of them to thank because my stories were, in fact, not interesting at all. This tutor had made me realise it wasn’t that I lacked great ideas, but that writing was a skill I had to patiently practise in order to captivatingly convey what I wanted to say. When I reached uni, I began watching Gilmore Girls and started living vicariously through the protagonist, Rory Gilmore, who inspired me to study journalism. All these people (real and fictional) made me realise the value of words. Through words, I get to read the most interesting stories, pen thoughts to paper when I am anxious, and shamelessly share carefully crafted puns with my friends. For me, words are a vehicle for self-expression which have become a significant part of who I am.
Being in your twenties is a confusing time. Graduating from Year 12 feels like it could have been mere years ago and the idea of people you know getting engaged or owning property seems absurd — surely we’re too young for that! Yet as I think about it, my valedictory was six years ago, some of my friends are in long-term relationships and a lot of young people are already saving for house deposits. Um, when did everyone turn into grown-ups?
When I opened my eyes for the first time, it was the small shadows dancing above that intrigued me. They filtered light into the meadow where I lay, playfully casting me in the warm sun before quickly forcing me into cold shadow. Then, I felt the breeze. I smiled as wisps of hair fell onto my face and blades of grass tickled my cheek, but that was when I heard a rustling to my right.
We were both young when I first met Karen. People tend to think I’m being sarcastic when I tell them my favourite co-worker was named Karen. Like this is some poorly constructed joke about the people who scream at 19-year-olds at the register when they tell them that a discount on one shelf does not in fact apply to the entire store. No, Kaz (as it was sometimes quicker to call her in the Christmas retail rush) was a delight to work with.
As I began writing this piece, I found myself instinctively addressing an unborn earthling. A twinkle in a mother’s eye, a tiny heartbeat, a bun in the oven. We all wish there was some manual, instruction booklet or dictionary warning us of the T&Cs that come with humanity. So, it seems fitting to dedicate this to you, Little One, whoever you are. Here’s what it means to be human:
It’s undeniably human to have crushes. I mean, what’s the point of going to your weekly uni tutorial if not for the guy in the green sweatshirt who sits in the back left corner? Crushes enliven an excitement, giddiness and youthful feeling in us all. A crush takes me back to the start of Year 7, when 13-year-old me thought all the boys would just die over my side pony and rolled up skirt (spoiler: they didn’t). Whilst I’d like to think I’m past that particular trend, the sentiment remains — there’s nothing quite like a crush.
I spent a lot of my high school years feeling a little disconnected from the people I surrounded myself with. I had friends — people I adored and spent all my spare time with, but I often found myself questioning whether they were really ‘my people’.
We all want our BFFs to be happy in love, on one condition: that I’m happy, too. It’s an age-old dilemma, you don’t like your friend’s partner. So, what do you do?
You probably want to yell ‘you can do so much better!’, maybe even grab their arms and shake some sense into them. You think back to all the wine-induced hours spent mapping out their ideal partner, based on everything from personality to how they will look in the wedding photos. For fuck’s sake, there were probably even Pinterest boards made. Why didn’t they listen to the Pinterest boards?! You love your friend and vow to always be there for them — yet any time they mention their significant other, you cringe with every fibre of your being. But what are you going to do? Tell them that their partner is a jerk? Is it truly your place? Should you shut the fuck up, keep your head down and secretly loathe their spouse? None of these seem to be viable possibilities.