Showing posts with label Nostalgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nostalgia. Show all posts

Monday, 16 October 2017

Letter To My 20 Year Old Self


Dear 20 year old Ness,

Hello, dear girl! Well, actually you're a young woman now. A proper grown up. I know! You certainly don't feel like one. I suspect you never will.

And you know what? It's okay. Most people are faking it, anyway. Besides, being a grown up is totally overrated, as you are discovering.



Image credit:https://www.facebook.com/purpleclvr/photos/a.375609882543951.1073741828.369508529820753/1953758248062432/?type=3&theater


Oh yes, it's me by the way, your 46 year old self. Yes, you do make it to such a frightfully ancient number. There's a lot ahead of you. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Just like everyone else.

I expect you already got the letter I wrote to our sixteen year old self and was somewhat puzzled and intrigued. But what I said then still stands.

The thing is, I was going to provide you with a long list of do's and don't s:

DO ditch that boyfriend.

DON'T  perm your hair anymore.

DO keep working in libraries.

DON'T put up with toxic 'friends'.

But recently I had something of an epiphany around the concept of regrets.

You're inclined to a lot of introspection - you can't help it, you're a massive introvert among other things - but you have to be mindful of not spiralling into too much rumination and over thinking. Besides, you don't spend too much more time with the boyfriend or toxic friends anyway. 

So the only thing I really need to say is, you're actually okay. Just be kind to yourself.

This will be the last little self indulgent letter to myself, I'm fairly certain. After all, you now have a blog all about yourself. Coughs...

There are so many things you can write. Give them ago.

No wait. I lied.There IS another letter from your future self coming at 35. What I said there stands as well.  Some hair curling shit will happen, but you'll be okay. Seriously. 

At 46 you've realised that you're an odd contradiction of sweet, childlike and naive and an old nanna soul. And it's all good.

You will never be hip and cool and groovy. I mean, you just used the word groovy. Enough said.  


So, what other interesting things can I report about the future?

2017 is...

Interesting and challenging. 

We certainly don't live like those Jetsons cartoons, and alas, as I mentioned before, there are no hover boards. Hanna-barbera and Steven Spielberg are great big fat LIARS. Of course, you didn't fair too well with roller skates, so I'm sure you won't be too disappointed to discover this. 

Sadly I am unable to divulge any future lotto numbers. This is truly tragic. I dunno, it's like the whole 'letters to past selves thing' don't work or something? 

If I didn't know any better I'd swear The Magic Faraway Tree wasn't real and Samantha from Bewitched wasn't an actual witch...

Okay, maybe they weren't, but it doesn't hurt to believe in magic sometimes in this bat shit crazy, frightening, bewildering world. Yes, you're still a dreamer. So what? 

So yeah, the only things I need to say are, be kind to yourself and don't take it all so seriously. No one gets out of this thing alive anyway. You may as well laugh at the absurdity and sheer ridiculousness of it all. 

Which is why the perms weren't such a bad thing after all. They're freaking hilarious in retrospect. 



Me at age 20 in 1991 ready
for my TAFE graduation.




At my 21st birthday. 


See what I mean? 


Sincerely,

46 year old Ness

What would you tell your 20 year old self?

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Waiting For Rain

There it was. That sound. I knew what it meant. That ominous wail slicing through the stillness. It always filled me with dread. It meant that bad things had happened and the villains responsible were out there lurking.

I would edge my way through the shadows and end up at the side of my mum's bed. She always let me snuggle in next to her. The siren in the distance was still a sinister reminder. It signified that the world wasn't safe outside my cocoon. My home. My dog. My parents. Books and Barbie dolls. 

Sirens were not the only thing I was scared of. There was a list, including elevators, escalators, talking in public, cockroaches and blood. I never liked watching horror movies. 

I sit by the window tapping and remembering. It's a grey, dreary day and I feel nostalgic. I wish it would rain. 

 





I remember scrunching my toes up in tan sandals. The teacher called me cutie pie Vanessa. She had gigantic glasses and her hair in a bun. I had a red suitcase. 

I remember being forced to play volley ball. I hated volley ball. And all sport. 

I remember being thrown in the pool when I was five. My screams were long and loud. I still can't swim.

In kindergarten another girl also named Vanessa was mean to me. A boy had his dangly bits out under the desk. I went and told the teacher. 

I remember skipping around the edges of the playground. I think I had an imaginary friend, but I don't remember her name. 

In year five I went away for a school camp. All the other girls hated me on sight, mistaking my shyness for being stuck-up. 

I remember going overseas in 1981. I was ten. I had long red hair. Weirdly I don't remember being scared when the plane took off. I was terrified of everything else. I remember the vivid colours of the tulips. Playing records and eating gigantic bowls of custard. It was awesome. I remember my brother and I staring at the punks with their jagged Mohawks on the train. We rode bikes everywhere. 

I remember our next door neighbour teaching me to ride a bike in our cul-de-sac. 

I remember games of 'redlight' and sausage dogs. 

I remember barbecues and cracker night. The elated feeling of leaving school on the last day of term when the long summer holidays stretched before you. Before long the elation evaporated into boredom.

"I'm borrrred," I would wail.

"Hello, bored. I'm Mum," my mother would reply. 

But I always had books and music. And sleepovers with friends and cousins.
 
I remember when my Dad used to wear bright orange flairs and it seemed completely acceptable. 

I remember when my brother had a birthday party and no one turned up. Mum had gone to so much effort making cakes and chocolate crackles and various treats. There were no more parties after that. I didn't care. My birthday was in January. Everybody went away to the beach in January.

"They can have that," my parents declared and put the air-conditioning on. Summer was something to be endured in our family. 

I remember sitting in the sun all day at a school sport carnival. I went home bright red with severe sunburn. My mother was furious. I had asked to be allowed to sit in the shade and the teachers said no. 

I remember my auntie Evelyne taking me and my cousin to Luna Park. It was 1983 or 84. Again I suffered atrocious sunburn. Back at my aunt's flat she rubbed tomatoes all over my singed and painful skin.

I remember being called a red-headed match, and - my personal favourite - a red headed rat rooter. Nice.

I remember other kids saying things to me like: "Gee, your hair's nice. Pity it's not blonde." 

I remember old dears stopping my brother and I on the street or at the shops to ooh and ah over our red tresses and slip us each a twenty cent coin. A veritable fortune back then. You could get a whole bag of mixed lollies from the milk bar! Yes, I am showing my age. Sigh. 

I remember catching the old red rattlers to Central station and attending Ultimo TAFE.

I remember  walking through the dusty dungeons in the bowels of the State Library when I worked there. I remember feeling like a fraud. I was supposed to be a grown-up now. But I still couldn't look anyone in the eye or speak above a whisper.

I remember humiliating job interviews when I burst into tears.

I remember beautiful dresses my mother made. I loved dressing up.

I remember getting married on a warm November day in 1995. I was completely calm and contented in my lovely lace gown with a long train. I carried roses and raised my voice for the vows. 

I remember being told I would never have babies without IVF. 

I remember having an ultra-sound and being told I was already 26 weeks pregnant! It felt like being told I could fly. I had magical powers. Maybe I could twitch my nose like Samantha and magic up anything. 

I remember giving birth to my sons. 

Son number one:  "Here's your baby!" Mick held him and he streeeetched his little arms.  

Son number two:  "He has such expressive eyes," the  midwife commented. Mick passed out! 

Son number three:  The 19 week scan. "There is no heartbeat." Goodbye, little man. 

Son number four:  I was sliced open. He was so TINY. Perfect and tiny. Our family was complete. 

I remember the day Mick had surgery for bowel cancer. I sat with him while he had chemo-therapy. 

I remember going to Sea World with my family. I accidentally dropped my mobile phone in the shark tank. 

I remember giggling about all the silly things with my boys. 

I remember watching diggers and excavators with my then obsessed toddler son.

I remember my second son's collection of soft toys. His favourite was a dog, imaginatively named "Doggy". If we went anywhere without Doggy, we were in serious trouble! 

Being told I that I'm autistic at age 40 is something I'll never forget. I finally understood a few things about myself. 

There was the glorious cake my mother made me for my 40th birthday. Who could forget that?! 




Memories of all the amazing meals around the kitchen table in my parents house. My mother's cooking is THE BEST. 

I remember Mick shaving my head when I had chemo for breast cancer. I remember the beautiful hats my aunt made for me. 

I remember that I need to stop remembering and live in the present. Mostly I do. Except when it rains. 

I remember the wistful, wonderful, comforting feel of a rainy day. I've always been a pluviophile. That's what I've discovered. 






Rainy days still evoke a sense of nostalgia. When a siren sounds in the rain I am reminded of all the feelings. Feeling unsettled, then safe. Uncertain, then comforted. 

Sirens signify danger. Rain is healing. Soothing. 

When the rains falls, the sirens fade. 

I remember it will rain again. Soon.  


Do you feel nostalgic when it rains?

What do you remember? 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Conversation with a wedding dress


If I could talk to my wedding dress I'd sigh and say: "Why don't you fit me anymore?" To which it would reply: "One word: CAKE."

And then I would get quite grumpy and sulky because I don't like to be reminded that it's my own fault I'm a chubster. I prefer to think there was some sort of weird invasion of the body snatchers thing going on. In other words, I'm delusional. 

Of course you have to pretend dresses can talk for this scenario. Perhaps it would be helpful for me if all my clothes COULD talk. They would give me a stern lecture about my love of cakies. Then again, they already do this without the need for words. Every time I try to ease my pants or top over my expanding belly, the warning is whispered. And I ignore it. Because CAKE. Sigh. 

But getting back to my wedding dress. I LOVE my wedding dress. It was a very traditional, prim dress with a high neckline, long sleeves and a train. There were pearl buttons on the sleeves and back. It was ivory, even though it appears to look white in photos. This dress was made for me by my mum from a Vogue pattern. For this reason it's very special to me. Years later, my aunt made a christening gown for my son with remnants from my wedding gown. 

I look back at the woman in the photos and think about how young and naive she was. Fast forward almost 21 years and this dress would look quite ridiculous on me. Especially since I could only wear it on one leg. It's actually a good thing that we can't see into the future. If I had known I what was before me perhaps I would have ran shrieking from the church a la Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride.







No, there's nothing wrong with my marriage. But to say that Mickey Blue Eyes and I have certainly been through the whole 'for better or worse' and 'in sickness and in health' thing would be putting it mildly. I'm still waiting for the richer part of 'for richer or poorer'. Waiting, waiting, waiting...






Anyway, I was going to say that I'm not really sure why I had such traditional ideas about my wedding dress. I think what I wanted was some sort of Anne Of Green Gables theme, like THIS. However, Mickey Blue Eyes might have thought I was nuts and not married me. I waited until after our vows to bring out the crazy. OOPS. Too late! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! 




Here is the exact Vogue pattern that my Mum used. I'm pretty certain it's that one, anyway.





We were married in a church. I'm not sure why I wanted to get married in a church, considering that I never attend church whatsoever.  I didn't even go to church as a child. In fact, I don't even believe in God. Weird.

This was a dress I have only worn once. It would look a bit odd if I wore it to go shopping. Although if it actually fit me, I'd would just BECAUSE I COULD. Not possible.

As well as feeling beautiful in the gown, I felt calm and serene. There were no wedding jitters for me on this day in 1995. Or the 'olden days' as our boys refer to it.

For this post I believe I should let the photos speak for themselves. These two are my favourites because they are just candid and not posed. 





I feel wistful and weird thinking about this dress. Life has been a bit of a struggle in the past year and I suppose I look back at those innocent times with more than a bit of nostalgia. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I want to say.



My wedding dress is still hanging in a wardrobe at my parents house. I haven't looked at it in a long time. Our 21st wedding anniversary is coming up on November 11th. It was such a long time ago. One of my most vivid memories is the priest who married us saying: "You'll look back at photos and think 'we looked pretty good in those days!'" Yep. Even more so, because since I had cancer, my hair grew back strange and curly. I don't look like myself anymore. Sigh. 

It's certainly true that when you're planning a wedding you put a lot of thought and energy into things such as a dress that you will only wear for one day. Poof! The day's over and it's almost 21 years later. 

In the space of that 21 years we've faced infertility (bizarrely), then babies (luckily), the loss of a baby, cancer (both of us have had cancer), the loss of loved ones, and a million other boring and brilliant things. 

I don't have a daughter to give my dress to, and I suppose it's a bit dated now anyway. It was kind of dated even in 1995. 


But I still can't bear to part with it. I'll always love that dress. 

And I simply can't believe that we were not included on this cover:





RUDE! Of course, we're not celebrities. But we look exactly like Brangelina, so same thing really. 

I did mention I was delusional. 

What do you think about wedding dresses? Beautiful or baloney? 



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