happy sunset silhouette in sand dunes australia

Take That, Anxiety: An Open Letter from the First Term of University

Dear Alys,

Hey, you made it through the first term of university! Can we have a pause for applause, please?

Yes, you’ve cried. Yes, you’ve had days when leaving your room took more than a couple of thoughts and deep breaths to achieve. Yes, anxiety hasn’t decided to fully retire to The Bahamas, never to be seen by you again (yet). But you have persisted through these feelings and honestly, they’ve been rather fleeting for the most part. More like occasional-dandruff-to-brush-off-the-shoulders level, a minor inconvenience, rather than taking-a-few-days-out-because-of-flu level.

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orange leuchtturm 1917 bullet journal

A (kind of) Love Letter

Hey there,

I know you’re feeling hurt at the moment, I sense it in the silence and distance between us. Whenever I try to start a conversation with you, you leave me with unfinished sentences: frustrating lines that hit connectives, hanging as uncomfortably at the end of a line as an introvert at a frat party. Connectives are made to mingle amongst the dancing letters of a sentence, not act like roadblocks for a train of thought.

You can tell I’m frustrated when I start mixing modes of transport in one simile. Yes, I’m a little frustrated. Not at all with you though, you’ve been wonderful this last year, but with myself for neglecting you these past months. And for allowing that to create both this space between us and my difficulty in coming back to you. You’ve always been there for me when I needed to let my thoughts out in chaotic streams of consciousness, no matter how much time and attention I had, or didn’t have, for you. And so I can understand you’re hurt.

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2018/9 academic year bullet journal title page

Dear First-Year-University-Student Me: An Open Letter

Dear Alys,

Last weekend quite a few people you know headed off to university: it’s that time of year that brings about fresh starts and big changes with the colouring, and falling, of the leaves. In a sense, this feels like more of a ‘new year’ than the actual New Year. And this weekend, you’ll also be driving up north to become a university student, in a tiny car bloated with the objects that make up your life.

In one way, it’s been a long time coming. You’ve had two years out of the traditional school system and have already left your teen years behind. You tried a distance learning degree, and even completed the first year, but you knew that wasn’t what you wanted to continue doing. So I think now is the right time. I don’t think many people ever feel completely ready to go to university, everyone has their own kinds of struggles, but I think at this point in time you’re as ready as you’ll ever be.

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Trying to Grow a Sunflower: An Open Letter to Myself About Uncertainty

Dear Alys,

For the last few weeks you’ve been trying to grow a sunflower. It started as a tiny seed, a third of the size of your smallest fingernail, yet so packed full of just the right combination of things to reach your height. That’s incredible, isn’t it? I guess we all start off small. Some of us soak up the sunlight as we age, others shrink into the hedgerow.

Sometimes I feel like it might be time for you to poke a petal out into the light, have a look at what the world looks like in the brightness, rather than observing from the shadows. I guess you’ve managed that at times. All sorts of moments require that bravery: little things like picking out a t-shirt you’re not sure others will like but wearing it anyway because you like it. Or big things like upping roots and trying to ground yourself in Australia for a while. Yes, you’ve definitely done some things.

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You Don’t Have To Eat Oysters: An Open Letter to Myself About Making Decisions

Dear 2018 Alys,

Sometimes you wonder if you’re doing the right thing with your life. In this fast-paced world of constructed online identities and overwhelming arrays of things and places and people and opportunities, you often feel lost. I see that look in the hazel of your eyes, your decisions are as uncertain as the shade staring back at you – some people see brown, others green.

But the question that consistently plagues you on some kind of level, whether that’s a buzz at the back of your brain or a drill in your temple, isn’t brown or green. It’s study or work. Distance learning or physical university. Travelling the world or the ease of home life. Healthcare or writing or the media industry. Internships or volunteering. Europe or America or Australia. It’s have you made the right choices so far or should you have done something different? And what’s the next step?

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Dear 2017 Me: An Open Letter – Blogmas Day 17

Dear Alys from 2017,

There are aspects, both big and small, that define our lives during any one moment; years down the line, these characteristics that shaped us can be forgotten even if they had the power to significantly change us in ways that resonate fifty years beyond the initial impact. This open letter is a collection of musings from and about you, at 19 years old, written on a cold winter night a couple of weeks away from tipping into the unknown of 2018.

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