I write because…

I write because it is a way of sharing my experiences, of preserving them in some way so that they are never lost?

I write because it is a way of expressing myself, particularly those feelings that completely overcome me, that make me feel alive or are completely new. Those feelings that I can’t and don’t want to forget or maybe that I wish I could but yet I just can’t seem to let them go.

At times I have worried that by writing about and sharing these experiences I am somehow ‘exorcising’ them and that this means they may be lost forever – the feelings I experienced gone and banished from my emotional memory. While this may be a healthy process for moving on from negative experiences, there are some times that I enjoy remembering and as the feelings rush back, it makes me feel alive again and it’s almost as if I am there.

I write because it helps me to make sense of my experiences but in this process are my memories lost to the page? There are some experiences that I had such a strong urge to share and I carried them with me until I found the motivation to set up my blog. Once I had poured my encounters into my words, I found that I struggled to recollect them in the same way. I could no longer be transported back to the streets of Paris, I had forfeited my emotional memory in my bid to share my experiences.

I write because it helps me to make sense of my experiences but are some feelings better left a mystery? By writing I am choosing to clarify the situation, I must decide on the words to express my meaning but by doing this I run the risk of choosing the wrong word. Could this skew my memory and manipulate my experience into something that it was not? Are some experiences better left free to survive with their blurry edges, without being pinned down by words and redefined by the clarity of our current perception of our memory? Do we risk turning our experience into something different by attaching words that don’t belong? How much is the way we present our experiences influenced by what we believe will sound better to our audience?

I want to share my experiences but I don’t want to lose the feelings that these experiences gave me. I seek clarity and definition yet I don’t want to sacrifice the raw emotion or initial experience. This has made me slightly wary and has made me question what to share and what to nurture. Yet I had the desire to share and I do not doubt that I will feel this again. I really hope that my emotional memories survive regardless of this. I also hope that the two can exist synonymously.


 

This morning I went back and read my piece about Paris. I found myself reminded of so many aspects of the trip that I had ‘forgotten’ and now with a little effort, my emotional memory can also manage to muster up the feelings evoked while I was there.

Reading my first attempt at explaining why I write makes me realise that I have focussed quite heavily on the negative. I write because I want to share my experiences and thoughts – I do not see this as a bad thing – quite the opposite.

There is still a slight fear of ‘losing’ something to the page but when I think about it, I know that as time moves on and our lives continue, we can often lose sight of ideas that were once so clear. Memories can be misplaced, regardless of whether we have recorded them or not and in this sense, the writing can be a reminder.

I carried those memories so close to me, partly because I needed to and partly because I was waiting to share them. I have described them with as much loyalty to my perception as I could and looking back, I think this acts as a happy reminder.

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Life in Brisbane

West End
A hostel with no reception
The vegan cafe round the corner
Some Rooms, community
Jacaranda right across from the front door, so much purple
Balcony doors, washing on the line, possums on the balcony
Hot days, Balmy nights
Possums in the room… eating bananas!
Storms, walking home in the rain
Balcony doors open, thunder and lightning
Heat, but so much rain, balcony doors closed.
So much sunshine! Blue skies, Beautiful sunsets
Two minute walk to the supermarket
People on the street corner
Shock at cold nights and short days in the Winter
Free live music every weekend
The Motor Room
Live jazz on a Monday!
Boundary Street Markets
All night buses
So much food, so many restaurants, so much choice
$5 Dominos
Room sharing, so many faces, new friends, different languages
The River…
South Bank: flowers, walkways, buskers, performers, live music, water, lights, markets, walking
Job hunting – and ‘failing’, almost giving up
Sitting on the bed, snacking, laptop, sleep
Volunteering then temping, saving money
Nights out, crazy dancing, visiting friends, forming bonds, finding support
Roots beginning to grow?
Salsa, Yoga, Italian ice-cream, more walking
Decisions.
Hasty goodbyes, the only way to leave

 

There are so many images and sensations from my time spent in Brisbane, so many experiences sandwiched into a short space of time. So many relationships, however fleeting, that I struggle to place my feelings into words. Maybe it is not right to place the feelings into words, or maybe I am not ready. Maybe I am still continuing this journey, still deciding. Still experiencing and still holding something tangible that lives on to me.


 

I’m not sure if it comes across in my enthusiasm for all the memories, but the first thing that attracted me to Brisbane and West End was the chilled out and friendly vibe. West End has a liveliness and buzz, whilst being relaxed and laid back.

Reminder to myself

I just saw a blog that reminded me what I had envisaged for my own blog when I first imagined it: a place for my thoughts and to record things that I came across that inspired me. Yes a place to share things about my trip but somehow, when I did write, I got caught up in sharing every little detail and editing to the max, as though I was back at Uni writing another essay… Maybe this is partly habit, but I also think it’s partly the pressure of a blog being a public space. It definitely ended up putting me off posting frequently and actually ended up steering me away from my initial aim.

Does this mean that I should make the blog private? Possibly. When you don’t have many viewers or followers, you might wonder if it really matters, but it’s also just the idea that someone could stumble across something you’ve posted at any time – just by chance – and pass judgement. I think this was also a personal experiment in dealing with this fact.

If no one is looking – is there a point? Part of me wants people to see what I write and post, since a big part of the writing and posting experience is about sharing and feedback. However, it’s easy to get so caught up in this idea that the other reasons for writing become forgotten. The key reason for me, was simply to write. To record things I found inspiring and my thoughts on them, whilst practicing something that I have always found therapeutic and engaging.

This was an experiment though and a learning experience and although I have clearly struggled recently to focus my writing on something long enough to be able to post about it, I am now reminded of the possible scope for my posts. I’d like to re-introduce my initial idea. So maybe not all posts will be edited to perfection, or lengthy and descriptive, or even glaringly relevant, but I’d like to get into the habit of sharing small and passing concepts and if I do want to explore something in more depth, I know I can.

Part of me feels that writing for other eyes should be succinct, complete and polished: only to be shared once the writer’s aim is thoroughly realised. However, this concept seems to have deterred me from writing and from sharing; wasn’t this the initial aim of the blog?

Ultimately, I think I need a place for me to record things, creating a place for me to reflect and to explore. So if no one’s looking, it doesn’t matter. It’s all part of the journey.

Deciphering Home

Over the past few days, I went to visit a friend from back home, who is currently living here in Australia. I have known this person for many years and we share a lot of the same friends and memories. Apart from the now unusual experience of staying in a house and sleeping in an individual bedroom, with my own double bed, I was also struck by the familiar feeling of spending time with an old acquaintance.

As my friend drove us along, as she had so many times in the UK, I thought how strange it was to feel almost as though nothing had changed. The feeling of familiarity could almost trick me into believing I was at home again, but one look out of the window, even one look inside at the car, clearly showed that everything was different. The only thing that was familiar was the two of us.

At another time, during my stay in Sydney, I felt most at home after meeting a new friend. The hostel we were staying at actually had an oven and a freezer, along with a large cosy TV room and set of DVD’s. Baking banana bread, watching films and drinking a large amount of tea definitely helped to add to this feeling, but mostly it was the cosy and comfortable familiarity of having a friend I naturally clicked with that made me feel so settled and at home again. Yet there were still times that I missed the UK and this feeling of familiarity also reminded me of my own family that I was missing. Similarly, talking to my friend from the UK about people from back home made me wish that I could see them again.

This has made me wonder, how much feeling ‘at home’ relies on our surroundings and how much is transferable through the people we know and the feelings that they evoke? If we travelled half way across the world with all of our friends and family in tow, how homesick would we be?

Yet many people relocate, sometimes with friends and partners or starting a new family of their own, but sometimes people make this move completely alone. What makes us so drawn to a place that we feel this urge to completely relocate our lives? Undoubtedly people change and develop over time, often feeling that they have ‘outgrown’ a place and feeling the need for new challenges and change, but how do we deal with missing the people that we leave behind?

When I left the UK last November, I was well overdue a change and I had long been craving the excitement and challenges of living in a new place. In no way do I regret my decision and I have no doubt that I did the right thing by making this move, but I frequently miss home and the familiarity of the UK and more than anything, I miss the people I am so used to seeing on a regular basis.

I do not doubt that the places we live in can play a strong part in making us feel at home; the feelings and memories evoked by returning to a specific place can be immense! However, it is the people we associate with that bring these places to life. Is it possible that by sharing our experiences in these places, we attach emotions to them, making us feel bonded not only to the person but also to the place? Or can our love for a place stand alone despite our relationships? How do you decide when to call a new place home?