Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Man on the Bus

Source

I can't help but stare. As I wait in line for my bus, he shuffled past and asks the lady first in line if she minds if he cuts in. She nods ok, and he gratefully positions himself in front, his vivid blue hair peeping out from under his greasy cap. Like ancient leather, his face tells the tale of a harsh life tainted by constant drug use, while self-neglect and anger are written in the hollows of his cheeks and a scraggly beard tufting out from his chin is a sharp contrast to the Bahamas blue on his head. He looks like the kind of man who wanders the streets, muttering to himself while greedily burning tax payer's wages into cigarette smoke. I quickly turn my eyes away, as feelings of pity and slight horror rush over me, but mostly because I remember that day when I was a tender child on the way home from church. Out of my car window, I watched two policemen struggle to pull a man across the hot tarmac towards the station, his wiry arms shackled behind his back. A child never forgets their first brush with the cruelness of the real world, and the drug-torn figure in front of me is an uncomfortable reminder of a memory I thought long crushed into silence.

We board the bus, and I resolve to try and hide myself in a deep corner of carpeted chair, safe in my biases and ink free skin - but fate has other ideas and he is sitting diagonally in front of me. Perfectly in my line of sight. Now, with nothing left but music to play and quiet contemplation, I find my eyes wandering over his strange, dark clothing choices. He really is the epitome of the man that our parents would tell us never to talk to. His skin is tattooed in random places, with the blurred pen of the inexperienced, and his right lower arm is completely encased in a studded leather cuff, while grease and grime seem to be slowly glossing over his pores. If cruelty could be expressed in clothing choices, it would be screaming it's heart out through the leather clad rags he is dressed in and the dark glasses covering his eyes.

The bus pulls off and rumbles down the highway. And every now and then I get a mutter of the complaining rumble of his voice cracking over the volume of my light pop ballades that sing of a world so very different to the earthy reality around me. He's half talking to the bus driver and half talking to himself. At one point, his phone is called by an insurance company trying to market a policy to him, and he spends the next five minutes abusing them to the indiferent  bus driver.

We reach the next town and pull into the stop. Standing at the front of the line is Lucy*, who I see riding the buses all the time. She's obviously stuck with the boundaries of her assumed social class, but always has a smile on her face. Her teeth are narrow yet wide and point slightly out above her lower lip, while her dark blonde blonde hair is unimaginatively styled in its' regular long wispy cut. She drags her comfortable body up the coach stairs and greets the driver cheerfully, before easing her flannel shirted frame into the seat in front of me, right across from the ocean-haired man.

They obviously know one another. He greets her by name and she returns likewise, and I am strangely sorry that I missed his name. Conversation springs up easily between them all, flowing, comfortable. They know how to talk and be friends and care. I switch off my music but keep the headphones in as I absorb every word.

He shows her his new electric guitar which he has been clasping to himself ever since he boarded the bus. It's a surprising shade of red, and they both exclaim over the price, even though he proudly states he was able to find it second hand. He's clearly excited to take it home and place it with his other instruments, and spends a long time elaborating on how it feels to play it, while Lucy listens and admires patiently.

 They ask after one another's health. Like they mean it, but like it is an important everyday factor, making up the small pieces of their lives. There is no point in asking about work, family or holidays, no point in asking about things that they don't have. There's an invisible social compass, constraint, that keeps their questions simply and general. Lucy knows it well. But the ocean haired man begins to stray.

"You never married, did you?" he asks. It's an innocent enough comment, something that has simply arisen in their conversation, a piece of thought debris caught in this section of his mind's river. They were talking about his child and this was the next logical step. But she uncomfortably shakes her head 'no' and does not venture any comment. "Never interested, eh?" he follows up, jumping to conclusions that I as another woman, can immediately tell are wrong by simply looking at the back of her head. Lucy mutters something in agreement, but still doesn't make any effort to start a conversation about this topic. There's a sense of bitterness, longing for something that never happened that is evident through her demeanour, yet he still continues.

"I'm afraid of men."

This jerks me out of my seat and has me on the edge, listening intensely to what he has to add. A man like this? Stained and tattooed and dark and studded and worn? Afraid of other men?

"I've told you what they did to me, didn't I?" he asks Lucy. If she was uncomfortable before, it's nothing compared to now. She almost squirms and looks away.

He clarifies, "...when I was young."

"That's why I dress like this. I dress and act all big and tough so that they leave me alone, but I'm not really like that. I'm like a big, squishy marshmallow inside."

And my heart breaks. A window's opened onto something that I'll never be able to see and understand. His tone is so even, measured, calm. It could have been the most mundane of everyday comments by his tone, and yet those words hold a lifetime of fear, a lost childhood. And my heart breaks that I could judge him.

How could I shrink from him in distain? How could I ever begin to understand what this man has been through, what has brought him to this place. My Saviour ate and talked and laughed with the whores and the tax collectors and the poor. But I could not see past one man's appearance to see beyond, into the soul behind, scarred and broken and harshened by the years.

H and Lucy are talking again. They are on safer ground now, safe within the comfortable, constraining dimensions of what they've always talked about. But when the bus pulls over for me to descend the stairs and open my gate, I resolve never to forget. Never to forget that I learnt about myself and most of humanity that day. Never forget by writing it out, even if it would trickle out as distant memories over the course of several weeks while I juggled life and study. Never forget that I will fail, and fail again. But most of all, never forget what an un-knowing man on a bus taught me that day.

*Names have been changed to protect identity 

Friday, 7 August 2015

July Favourites

Source: Google Images


Gosh, has it really been this long since I posted? It's crazy how life leaves you empty-spinning, locked into the everyday chores and duties. It's not like I'm planning a wedding or anything though. ;)

Anyway, what do I have to share with you this month?


How about starting off with some logical, ethical article which is branded as 'controversial' right now? This article, written by Matt Walsh (who I think is awesome - he always takes the bull by the horns, and is not afraid to employ a good dose of sarcasm), discusses the attitudes of people regarding the death of poor Cecil the lion and the murder and selling of thousands of innocent children.


This is an interesting short article on the Christian concept of 'The One', and how that's not biblical.  I had to take it with a pinch of salt though. You see, I spent my teen-aged years completely disbelieving in 'The One', and then I met a man who could only be described as my soulmate. Whoops. You win, God.


How about lowering the intellectual standards greatly with this Buzzfeed article, 21 insanely simple and delicious snacks that even lazy people can make? I wouldn't recommend Buzzfeed as a daily source of edifying information, but they occasionally have a worthwhile article.


This (16 Minion DIY Projects You Won't Believe Exist) one's for Kitkat Kababs. (My sister and friend) They started their dual youtube channel not that long ago, so head round and say g'day.


My Pale Skin is a blog that I've come across only recently, but I've seen her youtube channel and absolutely love her work. She's a true artist when it come to re-creating her face, and as she has problem skin too, it's really inspiring to see her courage in creating these videos for thousands of people. Plus, she has an awesome British accent. ;)


More Buzzfeed... I do feel like I'm letting myself down right now. But this article on 53 Books You Won't be Able to Put Down sounds good, and I REALLY like this info piece about an 'Insanely Effective Leg Workout'.


Now, back to serious. Interested in how conformity is used to normalise 'same-sex marriage', and the guilt trapping attitude employed? Have a read of this. Very thought provoking.

Another VERY thought provoking article. (Perhaps Feminism is not the Enemy) Now, let me get this clear - I am not a feminist, and I am very well aware as to how my peers who are seem to claim dominance of the the male sex, and the extremely negative aspects that has on our culture. But I'd never thought about it this way. And I think the passive, often dismissive attitude of the church need to be challenged. Check it out


Now perhaps for my FAVOURITE article in the last few months! I shared this on Facebook and got a whole stream of people telling me how 'I should do what makes me happy and it's nobody else's business', but that's not the point. The point of this article (and the reason I shared it) is that you don't have to wait until you are a bitter old 28 year old, had all your adventures, got a steady job, and already seen the world before you get married. Commit to love, honour and cherish through whatever you might experience. Grow and experience life together, as a team!!!! Anyway, have a read.

That's all for now.
Toodle pip and all that jazz!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Passenger - a poem


Passenger

Rhythmic clicks of wheels on tracks
Beat against a heart of painted black
Un-aware of what it lacks,
Numb in silence, unable to turn back.

Days and worlds flash by them,
A passenger alone in an empty car
No meaning left to condemn,
Their identity lost in a journey far.

A dirty window displays the world,
Locked above in a realm of blazing stars,
Bound away like a sail furled
Far from this hell scented of old cigars.

The journey holds no joy
When the destination is but a nowhere
Now devoid of youthful ploy,
The harsh and bitter end to a brief affair.

So they sit in acceptance,
Silent and sure in their hidden pain,
A passenger in penance,
For there is nothing to lose, nothing to gain.


Written by me very quickly on 16/6/15, as the result of too much Coldplay and half an hour of free time.
Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com

Monday, 15 June 2015

Because there is no such thing as too many books...


So head over here if you feel that your bookshelves could do with a little re-stocking. This lovely blog has 20 books available to be won, from poetry (there is classic Keat's that I'm eyeing up), to westerns, to classics, and to even blank journals. It's open internationally, and you are able to enter without needing to have a blog - it just helps if do, if you want further entries. :)
Pop over and indulge!


Friday, 12 June 2015

What I Wore - 1920's vintage attempt

Source: http://indulgy.com

Finally I am getting to the fashion inspiration that I mentioned several months ago! I LOVE to put outfits together and style them with complimenting hair and make-up, with a particular bent towards vintage-inspired fashion. I think that when you can see someone perfectly styled in vintage fashion, people can lose sight of how easy and affordable it is for anyone to source and style vintage pieces! As a predominately op-shop buyer, I find numerous pieces of clothing and accessories for relatively cheap prices, without needing to source expensive specialty stores.

The outfit below was put together a few weeks ago for a day in the town with the girls, shopping for stationary and good coffee. I'll have to apologise for the phone photos but I was rather pleased with easily it came together and how comfortable it was to spend the whole day in.






Outfit Details:

Skirt: Millar's, gift
Blue Cardigan (under coat): River's, Op-shopped (OPS)
Coat: CKM?, OPS
Scarf: unknown brand, hand-me-down 
Shoes: River's, OPS
Handbag: Capezio, OPS
Hat: unknown brand, OPS (I brought it for a short film we were filming, then gifted it to my younger sister. But she was happy for me to pinch it occasionally :p )



Hair and Make-up: 
'scuse the phone selfie frantically taken before rushing to catch the bus :)

I have super long hair, down to my hips, so I have to be extra creative to achieve that 'vintage' look. The brim for this hat sits very low, so there was no way that I could fit my massive roll of hair underneath it without having the brim over my eyes like some second-grade gangster. So, I curled a few pieces around my face so that they fell sort-of like a short bob, and then bobby pinned them in place (the pins were hidden by the hat). Then, I took all of my hair and wound it, as flat as possible, on top of my head, pinning it as small and flat as I could. Topped it off with the hat, with all my hair now inside the crown of the hair, and voila!

For make-up, I barely strayed from my everyday look. It's the usual mix of foundation, powder, blush and then some light lashings of mascara on my top lashes. The only difference is that I used a lip balm mixed with a tiny amount of red lipstick to give a moisturising lip tint, and more powder to cover my good aussie tan. Simple!




Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Dear one-week Sarah

Source: http://www.hdwallpapersinn.com 

  Congratulations! You made it. Yes, this is university, that paragon of excellence which society has always told you to strive for, and that you thought you would never achieve due to your different education. But that doesn’t matter any more. You are here! And you’re going to be awesome. At least, you think so.

  Truth is, I am a little sorry for you right now. You really don’t know what is coming up in the next three months and it’s going to be a completely different experience for you. Learning in a University environment is going to be almost as far removed from your previous educational experience as it could be, but after a week or so you are going to find it strangely comfortable. It really won’t take you long to feel at home and safe amongst the like-minded individuals surrounding you. But of course that first week will be slightly terrifying, as you navigate a completely new world that includes a large campus, numerous bus trips, and that bewildering sense of simply have no idea of where to go.

  You will learn so much in your quest for knowledge and shared wisdom, but at the same time you will learn plenty that you never needed to know in the first place. You’ll learn that just because someone has a few degrees up their sleeve doesn’t mean that they know how to successfully teach, and that those whom society might pass over for lack of education are actually extremely intelligent and caring. The average level of humanity’s intelligence will unpleasantly surprise you, and you’ll feel slightly betrayed by the amount of those who simply give up after the first couple of weeks. Most painfully, unlike your world of vibrant ideas that still has solid absolutes, you will learn that the masses of humanity around you, for the most part, float in a sea of fluid reality.

  But there’s going to be so much that you will learn practically! Your writing will undergo a major over-hall. You’re going to find out that the colourful, descriptive style you have favoured all your life is not academically suitable, and that will initially make you feel robbed, before you learn to rejoice in the sharing of researched opinions. You’ve always been a highly organized person, but that will have to rise to a whole new level as you enter university life and consequently juggle the demands of family, work and social life. Your understanding of time management will become invaluable as you learn to fit in university study by all kinds of creative means, such as studying in the slow periods at your work, or reviewing literature on the bus. Uni will give you a variety of useful skills that transpose into your everyday life, for example the use of critical thinking. You have always been a judgemental person who likes to weigh every option, but a certain lecture will open your eyes to the underlying currents around you. You’ll learn how to pick apart arguments and chose academic sources to give an informed opinion. I promise you, you will be in your element.

  You’ll never forget the feeling you had when you received your first assignment back. That poor, precious assignment of yours that you stayed up late the night before submission desperately adding finishing touches to, terrified that it wouldn’t be good enough and that you’d be branded a failure. You will never forget the smile in your tutor’s eyes as it passed between you. And when your shaking hands will have calmed enough to text your family the good news of how you have passed – indeed, done far better then simply passing – you will know, for the first time, a deep security and faith in your own ability.

  If I could say one thing to you, it would be to remember that feeling. Realize that yes, you can do it! University is going to feel so right for you. Your initial worries will soon be eased, and the depth of information you will have access to will make every experience worth it. This is a crazy carnival ride of words, opinions and literature, but hang in there. You will enjoy the ride.


 A summary/personal letter I was required to write in the final weeks of the semester. By the way, I made it. :) Ready for the next semester - after I have some time off.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Study

  
Source: http://badassbookreviews.com

  I'm sitting tucked away in the University library. If you were to walk around the three rows of morbid philosophy that separate me from the the rest of the world, then you could probably find me on my laptop, guiltily eating a packet of peanuts. It's a sunny warm nook and perhaps the only armchair on this floor, so I'm guarding it fiercely. My claim has been well staked.

  If I look out in front of me, I can gaze over the city and the river flowing through like a ribbon round a cake, the tiny boats adding subdued character to an otherwise silver gleam. Autumn is painting the trees around us all shades of the sunset, while on the horizon a church tower juts out majestically from the low-dwelling appearance of mere humanity that surrounds it. If I could only move the hideous pipe towers and 1960's brick of the faculty on front that interfere with my contemplation of the scenery, then I would be guaranteed to complete no study. But then I'm sure they serve their purpose, somehow. It's just that man's infrastructure, even be it to instruct in nature, is always an eyesore compared to God's handiwork.

  The shelves around me form a comforting barrier of aged words. To my right lie books of advice to young men and women, essays on the polite world, and appropriate etiquette over the years. By contrast, on my left are row upon row of dismal philosophy as everyday human try their best to navigate this roaring sea of a world without even bothering to work a basic moral compass. The titles themselves are grey enough. Interested, I pick up and flip through a 1954 work that attracts my eye simply due to it's relatively diminutive size and apparent age. It's called "Morals without Religion", and it makes me giggle laugh silently, for I know that there is no such thing. Nobody is born good. Then the sadness creeps over, that someone could feel so little of the magic that I see around me every day, know so little of the wonder that makes a young soul wise through no deed of it's own. Some of my peers are paying thousands in dollars and precious years in their lives to be told this is all they are, a blob of senseless matter in a Humanistic world, that they must fight against the basic principles of Christianity, such as the divinity of Christ. It's more than painful, it's heartbreaking.

  As the light streams in and floods my chilled winter-weary bones with warmth, the ring on my left hand shines like a brilliant beacon. The new year came in like a flood, filled with promise and tantalising adventures. December brought the man in the white ute knocking on my door, and April brought him to his knees in front of a glowing sunset and my eager heart. Now we plan our life together and delight in our shared wanderlust that will carry us all over the world, yet always return us to the paradise we will call home.

  Life is good. People are flawed, home is not always a peaceful place, and true knowledge is ignored, but as I sit here trying to study, I know my role in the story of this life is something I would never trade. I'm all up for the plot twists that God will bring.