My First Crush

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First Crush.”
Who was your first childhood crush? What would you say to that person if you saw him/her again?

My first crush happened when I was eleven, on a boy a year and two foot taller than me.  We met on the first day of my-grade-five-his-grade-six year (we were in a composite class).  At first, he just came off as weird, and was one of those guys that everyone got on with, but not many would actually go so far as to call him a friend.

Over the next couple of months we got to know each other better.  He was so funny.  Like, he could turn any situation into something worth laughing about.  He had the class in stitches at least once a day.  He was good to talk to, and would actually listen.  That’s no small fete for a twelve year old.

Throughout the course of the year we kept getting closer, until I was choosing to hang out with him at lunch over my other friends.  People started commenting, saying we were dating – a big, strange concept at that age.  I didn’t really understand it, and I don’t think he did either, but I’m sure if this had of happened a few years later, we would have wound up together.  Instead, we just kept up this awkward I-like-you-you-like-me friendship.

Then suddenly, it was over.  School finished for the year, he went off to high school and we lost contact.  This was about two or three years before MSN and MySpace really took off, and back then none of us had mobile phones.  It was pretty much the end when you went to different schools, unless you called their home phone…and that wasn’t going to happen.

While I wasn’t in love with him, it was still my first taste of heartbreak.  I missed him terribly that summer.  Eventually, I got on with things, as we all do.  I finished primary school and headed off to high school…the same one he went to.  By then, over a year had passed since we’d seen each other, and that’s a long time when you’re young.

About a month or so into my first year at high school, as I was standing around waiting to go into class, he comes up to me out of the blue, a big goofy smile on his face.  “Remember me?” he asks.  I nod and say of course.  We didn’t really have anything to talk about as so much seemed to have changed, and we didn’t try to talk again after that.  Kind of sad how time changes everything, isn’t it?

If I spoke to him today, I’m not sure what I’d say.  I suppose I should ask him if he wanted to get a drink, catch up, see how things went…you know, see if the connection is still there somewhere.  Whether I would actually do that, though, I don’t know.  Some things are best left in the past.

I Want a PlayStation!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Out of Your Reach.”
Was there a toy or thing you always wanted as a child, during the holidays or on your birthday, but never received? Tell us about it.

While I’m sure there were a lot of toys I wanted when I was really little, I don’t remember them.  I had a lot of toys growing up, so I’m sure the ones I really wanted, I got.

What I do remember desperately wanting and constantly being told “absolutely not!” was a PlayStation.  All my friends had them and I wasn’t allowed.  My mum believed they were a waste of time and if I got one, I’d never get off it.  She was probably right, but it didn’t mean I didn’t feel hard done by.  Why could all my friends have one and not me?

I tried pleading with her, sucking up to her, doing extra chores.  Nothing worked.  I even decided to do a school project on the history of the PlayStation…I don’t even know why I thought this might sway her stone-cold resolve.  This went on for years.  It wasn’t that mum was totally opposed to video games, as we had several for the computer, all of which she’d bought for us at one point or another.  I guess she just thought we spent enough time on the computer as it was playing them, that we didn’t need another gadget to kill time on.

We didn’t get a PlayStation until I was working, and I had to pay for it myself.  After years of wanting it, I scrimped and saved as much as I could, and finally got one.  By that stage, though, all my friends who’d had them for years had started outgrowing them, and the machine didn’t get as much usage as you’d expect.

I guess I’m just more of a PC gamer.  I don’t know whether that’s because that’s what I grew up with, or because I find they are easier to use, but even now, after buying another console a couple of years ago, don’t get very much use out of them.  The only real time they get turned on is when friends are over, and even then it doesn’t happen much.

I guess it’s like the old saying goes – “you only want what you can’t have”.  I only wanted it because I didn’t have it, and once I finally had it, it lost it’s appeal.  Lesson learnt!

My Top 5 Movies of All Time

My Top 5 Movies are:

The Shawshank Redemption
This movie was introduced to me as part of my Year 12 Media curriculum.  I’d heard it mentioned in all the “Top 100 films” countdowns, but I didn’t understand how a prison movie could possibly make its way to the top of each countdown.  Then I watched it, and was blown away.  I love the storyline and how it keeps the audience guessing.  I love the characters and how different they all are.  I love how it’s not a romance movie, but you don’t even notice that it’s missing.  I love the actors, I think they do a phenomenal job.  Everything about the film is timeless and awesome and so well done.  I could watch this anywhere at any time and get just as much enjoyment out of it that I did the first time.

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Titanic
This movie has been my favourite since I was about ten.  Leo was my first celeb crush, I watched the movie so many times I knew it word for word (and probably still do).  The film inspired me to learn all about the sinking, and when I was about twelve I’d read about it for hours, scouring the library for books on it.  I was devastated when I accidentally taped over the movie…so much so both my parents and my uncle bought me properly copies of it that Christmas.  This was back in the days of VHS, so I’d constantly have to rewind the tapes every time I’d finish it so I could watch it again.  I had the soundtrack, I had posters and movie stills stuck up around my room and on my desk at school.  Obsessed was an understatement.  When we finally bought a DVD player, I bought the ultimate collections edition, which had 4 disks worth of extras.  While my obsession has since subsided, I still love watching this film.

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Interstallar
This is the newest addition to my list, and I was in two minds about whether to add it, but it wound up on here.  I saw this in the cinema and it completely caught me off guard.  It’s fantastic, in a crazy, far-fetched sort of way.  I love how it keeps you guessing, it gets you thinking about the future, about decisions somebody at some point in time will probably have to make.  It touches on space travel and science, both things I’ve watched many a documentary on.  I know the film is probably not accurate at all, but it’s still pretty cool and really interesting.  I love movies that can make you think about things in a different way.

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Shutter Island
Another Leo movie, although vastly different from Titanic.  This movie scared the shit out of me the first time I saw it.  It’s dark, morbid and creepy, but the twist at the end is mindblowing and fantastic.  It highlights how mental illness and the way it’s dealt with has changed over the years, and shows how it used to be handled.  The storyline is interesting, the characters fascinating and the setting mega-creepy.  You constantly have to question who to trust and what to believe and I love this.  I’ve watched it many times and I always find new things that I’ve missed previously.  Leo is fantastic in it, as always, as are all the other actors.  It really does feel like you’re stuck on the island with them.

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All 3 Rugrats Movies
This one seems to be a stark contrast to all the others on my list, I know, but I adore kids movies, and 9/10 times that will be what I put on if I want to watch something.  I can’t decide which one I like best, so I cheated and said all three of them.  I love Rugrats so much.  It reminds me of childhood and fun.  I grew up with Tommy and Chucky and all the others – I started watching when I was only a couple of years older than them!  While the storylines aren’t as complex as any of the other films I’ve listed, they’re a lot of fun and easy to watch.  I remember seeing the first film at the drive-ins with my parents.  All those memories make watching the films so enjoyable that I often pick these over any of my other favourites.

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What are your top 5 picks?

-JD

This prompt, and many more, can be found here

“What is Your Favourite Childhood Christmas Memory?”

Christmas was one of my favourite times of year as a kid (as most people will say).  The countdowns with advent calendars filled with terrible tasting chocolate, writing messy handwritten letters to santa asking for ridiculous things, all the school activities in December leading up to it.  It’s magical.

Every Christmas Eve we’d sit around the TV as a family and watched the Carols (for people outside Australia, it’s a three-hour show where celebrities – I’m using the term loosely – sing Carols and the Wiggles and Santa Claus would come on for the kids).  My sister and I would put cookies and milk out for Santa in front of the fireplace, and shaved carrots for the reindeer.  We’d hang our oversized stockings up and head to bed, with my parents strict instructions “No getting out of bed until 7, otherwise Santa won’t come!”.

I’d always sleep terribly, too excited for the presents waiting in the lounge room.  The second the clock hit 7am, I’d be tearing up the stairs, bowling into my parents’ room, begging them to let me open my presents.  My sister wouldn’t be far behind.  My parents were always way too slow for my liking, but eventually we’d run down the stairs and into the lounge room.  There were always piles of presents, some under the tree (the presents “from my parents”) and ones in front of the fire place (from “Santa”).  I remember one year “Santa” changed it up and left me and my sister bikes behind the couches instead.  Another year, he left us a trampoline in the backyard.  This was probably the most memorable Christmas as within 24 hours of getting that trampoline, my sister (who was about 4 at the time) broke her leg on it.  We were on it together and we must have bounced too close together or something, and the next second she’s howling in pain.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t anything to do with the exposed springs, which is usually how injuries on trampolines happen!

I remember my dad rushing her to the closest doctor’s office – one we’d never been to before – and him coming back, carrying my sister awkwardly, telling mum they’d said it was just sprained.  My sister was still screaming and crying, and I guess mother’s intuition kicked in as she told dad to go straight to our normal doctor’s office instead (I’m not sure why he didn’t go there initially…I guess they may not have been opened that early or something).  I remember the time dragged on and they were there a long time, and when dad came back, my sister had a big cast over her whole leg (right up to her hip) and she had something called a ‘Green Stick Fracture’.  I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded funny.  I now know it means she basically broke the bone clear through.  She was so little that my mum had to hunt around for crutches small enough.  For the next six weeks, she had to have baths with a garbage bags over her cast, she had to go into her old stroller that she was miles to big for, that her kindergarten had to make special arrangements for her.  There was also a new rule that was never broken (possibly the only one to not be!)  – “only one person jumping on the trampoline at once!”


This prompt was found here, along with a whole bunch of others.

“A Personal Story about Breast Cancer”

Thankfully, my direct family hasn’t been touched by this cancer…touch wood.  I do have a personal story from when I was young though, and it’s stuck with me (and always will).

I was about nine or ten when my best friend in primary school told me her mum had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was too young to fully comprehend what this meant.  I knew she’d get sick, of course, and I knew cancer was bad, but that was about it.  I’d often go over to their house, and I watched her get sicker, and her hair fell out.  I knew that was what happened with cancer.  She was always such a happy lady…other than no hair and looking tired, you’d never know she was sick.  She always had a smile on her face and was always happy to have me over.

Things got better.  I didn’t know the specifics because nobody wanted to tell kids that kind of stuff, and kids don’t talk about it with each other, but looking back I believe she must have gone into remission for a little while.  Her hair started growing back, she started getting her strength back, everything started going back to normal.

A year or two later (roughly, I’m not 100% sure), my best friend once again told me her mum had cancer.  Although a little older now, I was still fairly naive to what this could mean.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I knew cancer could kill people.  I just could never imagine the world without her.  She was too full of life, too happy.  No, she’d get past this too.  She had to.

I remember when my best friend told me her mum had to have her breast removed.  I’d never realized that was one of the treatment options.  I’d always heard people having chemotherapy, it just kind of went hand-in-hand…and I knew sometimes they cut the cancer out.  I just didn’t think they’d remove whole body parts because of it.  It kind of rocked my world a little bit.  Nevertheless, my best friend’s mum kept her chin up.  She’d gone through major surgery and she was still smiling.  It can’t be that bad, I wrongly assumed.  She started losing her hair again.  She started looking tired, weaker.  Then she went back into hospital.

“They’re saying she isn’t going to come back out.” My friend had told me.  What?  I thought.  No.  No, they must have it wrong.  How could that be right?  I remember wholeheartedly believing the doctors were wrong.  There’s no way she’s not going to make it.  She’s too friendly.  Too kind.  Too smiley.  Her personality is too big.  It’s not possible.  She stayed in hospital for some time.  Two weeks, three.  I’m not sure exactly.

I wanted to be there for my friend.  I wanted to go over to her house, keep her company, help her through it.  My mum told me “no, it’s best to leave her to have family time”.  I remember it clear as day.  Now, my mum is usually good with advice (as I’ve come to realize), but in this instance, she was wrong.  I should never have left my friend to have “family time”.  Not like I did.  We began drifting apart, and I’m sure I’m completely to blame.  She became closer with one of our other friends…a friend that was there for her when I wasn’t.  I still to this day wish I’d never listened to my mum.  I feel terrible I was so distant.  It wasn’t my intention, in fact, it was the opposite of my intention.  I’d never been through anything even remotely like what my friend was going through, so I didn’t know what was expected.  I didn’t know what she needed.  All I could do was listen to the (poor) advice I was given.  It still doesn’t make me feel any less guilty.  I’m so sorry.

Anyway, I got a call from my friend’s new best friend, saying that she’d passed on.  I remember it vividly.  I was crying before the phone call had ended.  I went and told mum and she broke down too.  How could this happen?  How could this be real?  How could she just be gone?

We went to the funeral.  I’d only been to one other funeral in my life, a few years before, but that was for my 97-year-old great-grandpa, who had been in a nursing home for a long time and was suffering terribly from dementia.  This was totally different, and a lot sadder.  Plus, I was a bit older, so I guess I knew what was going on more than the previous one.  I remember the drive home, and still being a bit shellshocked about it all.

Part of me still can’t believe she’s gone…and that she’s been gone for so long.  It was my first taste of what cancer can do.  It has no mercy.  It comes back when you think it’s gone.  It choses it’s victims at random.  It doesn’t matter how strong and bubbly and loved someone is, they can still be lost to it.

Rest Easy, Lynne.  We all still think of you and miss you.

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This prompt, and many more, can be found here.

“When Did You First Realise You Were a Writer?”

I don’t really remember when I first knew…I just always sort of have been.  I remember writing stories and drawing pictures for them when I was really little, and getting mum to print them out and I’d show my grandparents.  I remember one in particular was about two aliens.  I wish I had of kept it.

I guess writing just went hand-in-hand with my reading habits.  I was an extremely avid reader as a child.  I’d average between 2-3 books a week when I was about ten.  I’d borrow dozens of books from the library at a time.  When I wasn’t reading, I was writing, or imagining stories and drawing pictures.  I loved creating little worlds and characters and back stories.

As I entered high school, my reading habits died off a little bit, replaced with socialising and playing computer games.  With it also went my writing.  I enjoyed English classes and always excelled in them, but that was about the only writing I did, save for the occasional first chapter of a story I’d start then never go back to.  In year 10, I started writing poetry and songs as I tried to get back into it.  At the time I thought they were pretty good, but I’ve since looked back on them and they weren’t at all.

I’ve also dabbled in blogging on and off since I was about 16, first starting on MySpace, then Facebook, then on various other sites.  I never stuck with it all that long.  That’s my issue.  I get creative urges and then it goes away and I lose interest.  I think this blog is different because I am writing whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like, and I’m not linking it to my social media accounts, so I have an anonymity and a freedom that my previous blogs never did.  It makes things easier as I don’t feel like I need to sensor what I write or worry about what anyone is thinking.

I’d still love to write properly one day.  I think I’d be pretty good at it.  I just never know what to start, and I’m worried I’d start and lose interest like I always do.  For the moment, this blog will do.  I’m enjoying it a lot 🙂

This prompt, and many more, can be found here.

Harry Potter and the Muggle who Refused to Buy Into It (and Why She Regrets It)

So, Harry Potter has been famous for what feels like forever.  I remember vividly when I was first introduced to it, a few years prior to it becoming famous.  I was in primary school, maybe Grade 4.  We had one of those Book Fairs happening, and mum agreed to let me buy one book.  Do schools still do Book Fairs?  They should.  They were awesome.  Though I guess we didn’t have iPads back then, so maybe they aren’t cool any more.  Whatever, it was after school and I was in the library, looking at all the newly-erected temporary book stands filled with the latest children’s book titles.  One of the covers caught my eye, one with a blue flying car and two kids hanging out the window.  The librarian, Mrs Bourke, came over and said that she’d recommend the series, but that I was holding the second book and should probably start with the first.  In this case, I literally judged the book by it’s cover and decided against her suggestion, intrigued more by the flying car than the train.

I got home and started to read it.  Big surprise though, I couldn’t follow what was going on.  I tried multiple times over the next year to get into it, but would inevitably give up after the first few chapters.

The book sat on my shelf for two years.  Then – out of nowhere – everyone was talking about the series.  Literally overnight, it went from nobody talking about books to it being the latest thing.  I didn’t get it.  I couldn’t understand why everyone liked it.  I couldn’t get into it at all, and at that stage, I was an avid reader.  I’d demolish book after book.  It wasn’t like me to give up on them.  So I was really confused about the whole overnight phenomenon.

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but within the next couple of months, I managed to get my hands on the first book that I’d turned my nose up at years before.  I started to read it, and suddenly everything made sense.  I read the first and second book within a couple of weeks.  I really liked it, and was glad I could finally enjoy the book that I’d attempted so many times.

It took awhile for me to get my hands on the third book as there was a giant waiting list at the library for it (it’s hard to believe that was even a thing, much less that it seemed perfectly normal at the time!).  I think I was at least halfway through grade 6 before I read it, and again, really liked it.  I remember that, even at that young age, I was perplexed that the hype for the series was still going strong.  I assumed (incorrectly) that it would fizzle out like most things did.  Every kid who enjoyed reading (which was a lot back then) was hanging out for the next installment.

The next book came out and by then, my sister had also gotten into the series so mum decided it was okay to buy it instead of waiting a ridiculously long time for a copy to free up at the library.  Despite being the longest book of the series (and the longest book I’d ever read at the time) I chewed through it.

As this book was coming out, so too was the movie.  The hype for the series grew exponentially, which seemed unfathomable as it was already so high as it was.  I didn’t see the film in the cinema, but my sister bought the VHS when it came out and I watched it there.  I was disappointed – I wasn’t used to seeing films based off books and I felt it was missing a lot.  I was young and couldn’t comprehend the reasons why they’d leave stuff out.

As the second film was about to come out a year or so later, the hype became overwhelming.  You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing posters or merchandise or people talking excitedly about it.  People on the TV and radio would talk about it, kids at school couldn’t stop guessing what it would be like.

That’s when I decided I’d had enough.

This was my very first taste of going against the crowd.  I was sick of hearing about the boy wizard, sick of seeing Daniel Radcliffe’s face everywhere and mostly, sick of people expecting me to be obsessed with it.  Granted, I did enjoy the books that I’d read, and the movie wasn’t bad (if lacking), but I felt like I had to fight the world.  Part of me was a little sad, but I refused to acknowledge it.  I didn’t want to be like everybody else.

My sister didn’t share my views, and ate up all the HP goodness she could.  She’d buy the books as they came out, see the newest movies in the cinema, even write fanfiction in her free time.  We were polar opposites (which is hardly anything new).

I fought the fight for over a decade.  I didn’t read any more of the books, didn’t see any more of the movies, refused to partake in discussions about any of it.  I told people I didn’t like the series, when actually it was the hype I didn’t like.  The more films that came out, the bigger the hype.  When the last book came out, I still remember the news reports with kids who lined up for hours to get their copy.  When they got it they hugged it and bawled their eyes out.  They’d stay up all night reading it to try to be the first in the world to finish it.  I watched the report, rolling my eyes and scoffing.  What was wrong with these kids?  It’s just a book.

Last month, I decided after all these years, to listen to that sad little voice that had been within me this whole time, who kept saying “you’re allowed to like the series along with everyone else!  Please don’t stop reading!  You want to know what happens!”.  I read the books as avidly as I had the first time.  It had been so long since I’d read them that a lot of the stuff that happened was actually surprising, which was pretty cool.  It was like I got a second chance to read it for the first time.  I managed to read all 7 books within a month, and it was only then, as I finished the last one, that I wish I’d read it along with the rest of the world.  Suddenly, I understood the hysteria.  I was sad – really, really sad – that I’d come to the end of Harry’s story.  I completely understood why people wrote fanfiction, why others were obsessed with the Pottermore site, why people would hold Harry Potter themed parties.  The series was magical, in every sense of the world.  Reading it so late, though, meant I’d missed my chance to talk to others about it.  The hysteria finally subsided, and I wasn’t going to be the one to desperately try to bring it back.

All I could do to try to keep the series going was watch all the movies, and I enjoyed them (moreso than I had when I was 12) but it wasn’t the same.  I expected them to leave a lot out and change things, which they did, and I just couldn’t get the same feeling back I’d had while reading the books.  I had to accept it, I’d have to move on with my life.  It seriously felt like a weird kind of mourning.  Partly it was a mourning because I could never read the books again not knowing what was coming next…and partly because I’d missed out on going through the excitement when I was younger.  That ship had sailed and there was nothing I could do to bring either thing back.

I’d finally learnt a valuable lesson, a decade too late – always be yourself and don’t let anyone influence your decisions.  If I hadn’t let the hype get to me, and if I had of listened to that little voice, I’d have enjoyed the ride with everyone else.  Instead, I’m left to enjoy it alone…and that’s no fun!  Better late than never though, I suppose.

-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Four


Day Four – “A Person who Loves You”.

This is an interesting one because normally, you’d expect it to be “a person you love”, which is easy.  There are a few people I could go with, but I think the most suitable option is the person who got me into blogging, and who is probably my oldest friend.

CJ is someone I’ve known since…well, pretty much forever. Our families grew up together and we’d hang out together as kids. I remember way back in the day we went on a nature hike somewhere (back then it felt like it was hours away, though I have a sneaking suspicion it probably wasn’t) and another time, we all went bike riding then had a barbecue afterwards.
Despite all that, it wasn’t until about 2009 we actually started hanging out away from “family gatherings”.


Since then, we’ve worked on films together, roadtripped together, travelled together and – up until very recently – worked together.  She’s the closest thing to a big sister I’ve ever had and although we’re been through some rough patches (especially recently) we’ve always forgiven each other and not let it get us down.

I guess the point of today’s challenge isn’t walking down memory lane, though.  Given it’s “a person who loves you” and this whole challenge us about being positive, I think I’m supposed to explain how I know she loves me.

I guess it comes down to one thing – she’s always there for me.  She’s helped me through so many rough patches in these past six years, she’s there to celebrate wins and commiserate losses.  She’s my voice of reason when I’m gonna do something dumb.  Even in the moments I took her for granted or let my emotions get in the way of my common sense, she’s stuck by me.  She knows that even if I fuck up, that it wasn’t my intention, and she’s there to help me through it.  Just like any sisters, there are things we do that drive the other insane, but we see through it and gently remind them to knock it off.

I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without her, and it makes me sad that I won’t see her as much now we aren’t colleagues any more, but I know she’s always just a phone call away 😊

– JD

PS, check out her blog.