Good evening, fellow souls.
I realized that today is my first anniversary with WordPress! I finished my final exam of first year university today (well, not quite…it was a 26 page written exam of which I left 3 pages entirely untouched), then headed home to relax before going out with a friend.
This year has been really tough for me…in some ways I’ve felt completely stagnant all year, and in others I recognize that I’ve grown drastically as a person. I’ve had quite a love-hate relationship with school this first year since none of my classes have met my expectations or really sparked my interest in a certain field of study. However, when I take a step back, I realize that there have been several courses I’ve taken over these two semesters which have drastically changed who I am as a person.
I became completely immersed in the introductory Women & Gender Studies class I took in my first semester. I did every reading, explored the suggested readings noted at the end of each chapter, and spoke to my family all the time about the material. It opened my eyes to an entirely different way of seeing the world, and gave me the vocabulary and the confidence to describe my own opinions on gender, sexuality, being a woman, and being a person in this world.
This term, it was my sociological theory course, taught by a brilliant and enthusiastic philosophy professor. So it’s not that I don’t enjoy the world of academics, it’s just the concept of school itself about which I’m conflicted.
So I came home after my last exam, the 26 pages of English syntax, and binge-watched 4 or 5 episodes of ‘Jane the Virgin’ on Netflix. Then I walked over to a new cafe in the neighbouring neighbourhood, which was hosting a Storytelling Night.
I’ve recently been listening to The Glass Animals’ song “Season 2 Episode 3,” which has sort of been my short-hair-don’t-care rolling-in-and-out-of-finals anthem. On the way to the cafe, however, I finally felt exhausted of music and walked in silence.
I met my friend inside the cafe, and it was even more quaint than I’d expected. Very hipster and chic but also cozy, such that the upholstered couches don’t remain uncomfortably rigid as you sit down and attempt to balance your steamed soy dirty chai on one knee. She ordered a chocolate banana pie and iced tea and I ordered hand-pressed orange juice and a plate of tortilla chips with salsa.
She moved over to the corner where the mic was set up to find us seats, and I watched as the barista took about 15mins to cut, peel, and press about eight oranges for my drink.
The theme for their Storytelling Night was “Inheritance.” It was hosted by a queer theatre group in town, who arranged this monthly gathering with the cafe. Two guest speakers and the host had stories prepared, and the other stories were told by assorted customers.
One young woman with an ecstatic energy and a pink cardigan came into the cafe a couple stories in, then ran hurried back out onto the street. About a half hour later she returned, and then shared three quick stories with us about her family heirlooms. It was her first open mic event, I think.
The event was very warm and inclusive. At first, the room did feel a bit stiff as I balanced my plate of nachos on my lap in the one remaining armchair, which happened to be at the very front of the room, about 1m from the little podium. Then I finished off my chips and the audience was warmed up, starting to laugh at people’s jokes, and every person’s story, no matter how trivial or “everyday,” was enthralling.
The night got me thinking about storytelling, and the role it’s played in my life. My mum was a huge storyteller; we read together for at least two hours every night until my sister and I were about ten years old. My dad is also a storyteller– he kept multiple blogs about computers and politics while we were living in Fiji. He listens to at least 5 podcasts a week, and always has a story that he’s put aside to tell us when he returns from a long day out.
I’d like to think I’m also a storyteller. My mum tells me I am, and she’s seldom wrong. When I listen to artists such as Simon & Garfunkel and Sufjan Stevens, or Sheryl, or The Talking Heads, I am utterly in awe of the stories they tell. The way they write songs not only about themselves and their feelings, but about the world and nature and the long road and their place within the whole system of things. And I realize, I am a storyteller. At least, that’s how I see the world too, and I’d like to keep learning to explore and describe what I see.
It’s funny– I’ve always wondered how creative and talented people become the way they are. How do they have the courage to write such masterpieces, or to put themselves out there in the way they do? I’ve always felt I have a creative capacity in writing or speech or something expressive, but I’ve never been sure I’d act on it. Now I see that maybe it’s not really a choice. Finding your voice is part of growing up, it’s the only way to move forward and to chase satisfaction.
So today I am done my first year of university, I have tested my voice here on WordPress for one year, and I’ve started to write about things other than myself. (see The Modern Hercules or If you want a trip) And I can’t wait to hear and tell more stories in the future.
Thanks for staying with me, guys!