Pin Your Wings (Melbourne, I love you)

Childhood fantasies to run away to a new city, a new place, a new country or another language- do you remember that?

Where is the place that you’ve lived in since you have had teeth…? (Are you still there?)

It’s such a comforting thought to stay where you are, with the ones you love and the life that you have spent so much time working on building, and making right. While you are young, you might break a few hearts and gather a few ghosts. While we’re young though, let’s start out in a new town, meeting new people and live in a new place. We can settle down when we are old and frail and walking is no longer a pleasant experience. But for now, can you please be with me thinking not about how impossible it is to be so young, and moving into another city. Be with me in saying ‘hey at least it’s still in the country’ or ‘I’m ready for this- are you?’

I am scared about going away, I really am. Fear is a natural defense into the unknown. You have to ask yourself: “Where is home for me?” Because wherever home is, the heart is also, and where your heart is, that’s where you will feel most comfortable. Despite the word, home doesn’t have to be a house, or a place. You could be in a foreign country and feel at home, even though the native spoken language isn’t your own and you only know how to stutter a ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’. A foreign place may start to feel like home. The weather may be a comfort or the smiling strangers and inspiration you find in the ruins of an old building or a discovery of a word in a language that doesn’t exist in English but describes more than a simple ‘love’ ever could.

Home for me would have to be hearing my dads voice on the phone, and my brother telling me about his score on his latest spelling test, and my mother listening to songs that I’ve heard since, before and after I grew teeth, and my sisters jade green eyes. Home can be found my stepdad’s smile as wide as a child’s and listening to Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A. Home often feels like that favourite pair of jeans or t-shirt that you love slipping into, they are often not expensive or new, rather old and familiar. They probably don’t come with neon lights or exclusive promises, rather the bare minimum.

Monique Brown | Lifestyle Writer


The Great Optimist

“Maybe you know the sort of days where you leave the house, and the weather is perfect- it seems to be a fantastic day. Of course the next thing you wonder aloud is going to be: “surely this day can’t be that bad- what’s the worst that can happen after all?” But then you realize that you don’t have any wood around you to touch to ensure that you didn’t bring some serious bad energy or whatever you want to call it.

For the rest of your day, with one eye you look out for any occurrence that may be out of the ordinary, because this blue skied-perfect white-clouded day is cursed.

It may be a paper cut, a missed bus or a fall out with a close friend. This day is not yours, surely you’re not this cursed?
Then again some would say that these small things that are bad, but not enough to call a cursed day. Sometimes, things just don’t seem to work. One of my headphones doesn’t work, my portfolio bag is much too heavy. A close friend is now plainly someone I used to know, my knitting isn’t going so well and I don’t write as much as I used to.

All these possible scenarios are tiny, insignificant problems compared to other countries, what seems to be worlds away where genocide and war is rampant. I can’t stress this enough in saying that we are so lucky in the Western world to experience the wealth and fortune that we have- considering 50% of the world has never made a phone call and in some countries, wealth isn’t a nice car, home and comfortable lifestyle. Wealth to most is having a choice of clothing to put on.

“Be kind, as everyone is fighting a hard battle.” Plato really summed up what it is to be human and to deal with others in this quote.

Optimism isn’t just drinking down a half-full glass of water, it’s a choice that you have to make where you choose to love others and be kind to others even when your world may be off-kilter and everyone around you is clearly insane.

Great can be defined as a large amount of something. A great amount of pasta, or a great amount of paper work. Optimism can be defined as a state of mind. Optimism, idealism- similar concepts. Pessimism, realism. Maybe you notice the suffixes of ‘-ism’s too?

My point being, these are all just words until you either choose to smile at the cranky cashier at the supermarket, or respond with equal unresponsive grumpy-ism.
“-ism’s” are just words until you put something in place.”

Monique Brown || Lifestyle Writer

First Love

Do you remember the first person you ever ‘loved’ or had a thing for (that you probably always will have a thing for)?
Whether it is your first boyfriend/girlfriend in grade school, to your first boyfriend/girlfriend/lover from university and onwards. That one person whom when you think back to when feeling nostalgic, accompanied with a smile or sinking feeling in your stomach. These kinds of feelings are Springsteen lyric-worthy, and like all good Springsteen songs, the overall theme you gain from his lyrics is that point in your life where you are able to look back and reminisce back to that one person (or five) that made or broke you. Those people who truly meant something to you*.
Throughout history, there have been two stark contrasts in the ways of which romance have influenced great works of art and literary pieces. These are the beginning and end of love. As the Danish would say, ‘Forelsket’, which is the feeling of first falling in love. On the other hand, you have the end of love. It has been said that many great works of art have been shaped and refined about this topic alone. It seems that universally the theme of losing love is prominent. The work by many great artists and philosophers has been known to thrive under painful circumstances.
The end of a relationship is essentially a loss. Thus meaning that usually there are stages of grief associated with returning to a singular status. Overall there are five stages to grief which provide a loose outline to the feelings that often follow a loss of any kind. These stages are – listed in no particular order: shock, denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. What I find most interesting about these stages is the idealisms of acceptance.
There could be a common belief that acceptance is only reached as the final stage of the grieving process and is a marker to recovery. That is a valid point, but there could also be truth in saying that there are certain aspects of acceptance that are seen through the early recognition and acknowledgement that from the beginning of a romance, there are chances that it will not work out.
But the mere presence of acceptance in itself is a brilliant concept, it brings peace where it wouldn’t usually be. And essentially, those Springsteen songs which reminisce about past relationships with clarity are examples of acceptance. Sure there may involve lyrics which question the possibility of the “what if” scenario, but to have reached acceptance on any level is a huge achievement.
With acceptance, you are able to look back with a new perspective and (hopefully) see what your ex-significant other has taught you. Now I can see that my first love/r has taught me to take a new outlook on things and even people, and that everything may not be as it is from the outside looking in. She had faith in me as a writer, which I will stay with me for quite some time and I will thank her endlessly for.
For now though, my plants will gain my undivided love and attention. But, maybe someday…
*Generally without wanting to kick yourself over past wrong decisions.