“I remember the face but I can’t recall the name….now I wonder how whatsername has been”
The days are long and light past ten now. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I feel muted and distant until I emerge from my bed, and feel the sharp crisp sting of the air outside on my face. While the day heats up, I am working, working in an environment I dreamed of, working for my place in a life I have built for myself.
Working in a hospital is like an endless parade of all the oddities life has to offer, every type of person graces the halls like a curiosity. I smile a lot, and I walk up and down all day long until my feet feel like lead and I fall into my apartment exhausted when the sky is finally getting dark.
Every time I learn a new skill, every time I succeed in some new medical endeavour, I feel this elation that I haven’t ever truly experienced before. I feel like my whole life has been leading up to this. I’m on placement until late August, and juggling working, assignments and planning for my next trip abroad. Time just feels like it’s flying. It got me thinking about how the days blur into one and it can be hard to remember particular events. I ended up seeking out footage from the last few months, recycled from the phones of friends et cetera, leading me to the disturbing realisation that the electronic appliances of my friends know more about my life than I do to some extent….I compiled them into a trash dump at the bottom of this post if you want to witness the bric a brac of my recent days…
I recall a strange moment, when I was sitting, foggy eyed on the bus on the way back into work, when my iPod put on a song straight from my late high school years. Back then, we were all super excited to live in a time where green day were releasing a new album which meant we could put dookie away for five minutes and listen to billie joe drawl out something new. I sat on the bus, 26 years old and in the golden era of my life listening to this crumbling relic of a song from a time where I got sent back to France for a couple of terms because my behaviour in my English school had gotten out of hand.
As the ethnic shops funded by the EU -that Britain will be leaving soon- flew past the window, billie joe sang into my ear the last refrain that I knew so well, and yet had not heard for so long;
“The regrets are useless in my mind.
She’s in my head, I must confess”
I remember being the only one in school that spoke fluent English, and telling them that the words were “the mud rats are beginning to whine, Jesus likes bread I must confess” and the others were like “what does that mean in french?” And I told them something completely different. I got a real kick out of them singing “the mud rats are beginning to whine, Jesus likes bread I must confess” but thinking they were singing this profoundly meaningful line…
I remember listening to the song by myself, in bed at night and wondering what it would be like to feel the things described in the song. What would it be like to wonder about someone that you’ll never see again?
So strange that this lamenting little tune only sparks a slight nostalgia in me now, remembering a time when I was still developing as a person, still slightly unsure, still slightly lost. Listening to it now is a trip because I know exactly who I am, I know exactly what I like and what I do not like, and I know I’m on my way somewhere (just not necessarily specifically where).
Like billie joe sings in the song “it seems like forever ago…” that I felt unsure of who I was. There’s a comfort in knowing that I don’t have to wonder who I am anymore.
If having this experience with my spinal tumour has taught me anything, it is that I was right. When I cemented my motto of not letting any experience slip through my fingers, that was exactly the way I needed to live. I lost sight of that for a short while, but I think that sometimes losing something and sorely missing it is the best way of figuring out how to hold onto it for good.
It’s so easy to doubt yourself, and to think that you’re not doing good enough, or that you’re failing in some way because your vision is not in alignment with the vision that other people hold for their lives. But you’ve just got to decide what you want and go for it.
For me, all I want is to feel happiness and excitement on a regular basis, be healthy in my mind and healthy in my body and to make worthwhile connections with people (not necessarily long term ones!)
I’ve felt like an alien so many times in the past, disconnected and disjointed from people around me. I guess listening to music from my past makes me wish I could use the songs as a medium to talk to that teenage girl and tell her that it’s all just part of growing up, and that life gets better and better.
I’ve been looking at myself through the eyes of others a lot, especially in the recycled footage from friends phones over the last year, and I’ve been finding that what I see now is different to what I maybe thought was there. It’s a strange sensation to not recognise yourself really for a long time, and then suddenly to greet yourself head on like an old friend.
I love meeting new people, and listening to their ideas and participating in their projects. I love that right now, that’s what my life is centred around. I’m just doing things I love all the time. The people around me are chasing dreams of their own, and we have the chance to find one another’s dreams beautiful and moving.
I think that’s something to really cherish in times as troubling as these.
Who are you? Are you happy with what your life has become? Where does your mind go when you listen to the songs of your youth? Are you in love? Are you heartbroken? What makes you feel alive?
Watch my trash here: PHONES ARE THE NEW PLAGUE
-Here are some irrelevant pieces of phone footage. There are so many polished, pristine pieces of film on the crusty internet, my gift to you is grainy bullshit nuggets of my recent life. Phones are the new plague. Ciao.