six noticings:

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

1. Leaving things to the last minute – things like walking down to the bus stop, actually writing (and not just planning and researching) assignments, telling people things, getting out of bed, taking dinner out of the oven et cetera – makes life a bit more stressful than it needs to be.
2. Sometimes, no matter how many times you notice things, you just can’t get them to sink in. The ‘leaving things to the last minute is a bad idea’ thing is an example of this. It is easier to talk about things than to actually do them. This year I will learn. I will.  
(I won’t.)


3. Orange juice is the best cure for thirstiness.
 
4. The reason studying English Literature is so wonderful is because it is actually a little bit of everything: history, theology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, what it means to be a human (not sure what ‘ology’ that falls under...all of them probably). After carrying about my Renaissance Literature anthology for the past four months it feels strange to stick it in my bookcase. So long Spenser, Sidney and friends. Hello Defoe, Fielding and Austen.

5. This sentence:

‘There is as much difference between us and ourselves as there is between ourselves and others’ 
~ Michel de Montaigne, 1634.
I came across it in an essay on the Renaissance notion of identity and ‘the self’. (‘The self’ has been one of the most interesting concepts to look at last semester.) And I agree. If I find it so difficult to understand and know myself – that curious and infuriating person that is both too quiet and too opinionated, both thoughtful and rash, can feel about fourteen things at the same time without knowing which one to listen to – then how is it possible to ever actually know anyone else? I suppose it isn’t. I suppose that is why love, be it romantic or not, is so frightening: it is about relinquishing control and just trusting. It is about being brave.
6. This song (‘Please Speak Well of Me’ by the Weepies).

(Pictures by Eveline Tarunadjaja).

hopes.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

By the end of this year I would like to be well on my way to becoming a healthy, happy, peaceful, prayerful, interesting, wise, witty, articulate, kind, decisive, purpose-driven, organised, fun, loving, funny, fabulous, all-round better sort of person.
A bit too ambitious? (Probably.)
I would also like to stop procrastinating (which I am, of course, doing right now. I’ll get back to studying.)

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

I spent the first few hours of 2011 at work, serving drinks, cleaning wine glasses, sweeping up confetti. Just before the stroke of midnight though, everyone who was working was given a small glass of champagne. All the customers gathered by the stage in bow ties and sparkly purple dresses, and all the workers huddled together a little way off.

'Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Happy New Year!!'

And for a few minutes we were allowed to drop our roles – waitress, bar staff, chef, dish washer – and just be people, toasting in the New Year. A few moments of excitement, hugging people you wouldn't normally, asking about ambitions...and then back to work.

...that is the thing about being a waitress, it is a role. Once I put the uniform on, once I button up the shirt and tie a bow at the back of the apron, I become: The Waitress. Which is fine, but sometimes (during the summer especially, when I’m working for months at a time) it feel quite anonymous, like my 'self' gets lost inside crumpled napkins and dirty dishes... 
There was one day, two summers ago, when the cafe was mobbed – clinking tea cups, piano music, talking, talking, a small child whining, laughing, cutlery rattling – and I had been running about all day bringing ice-cream sundaes and coffees to customers, when I came to a table I’d served earlier. Table 39: a lady, and a man with blue eyes, and their little boy, and his granny who was wearing a bright pink t-shirt. And the man said,
‘I hope they pay you well, because you work very hard.’
And then the granny asked,
What’s your name, love?’
‘Melissa.’
And soon I was back to whizzing about with more trays of drinks, but that was lovely. Kindness is beautiful, even if it comes in the form of a few words and a naming.
‘Melissa. My name is Melissa.’

Yes! I am not a uniform. I am a literature student. I had tuggy hair when I was a little girl. I am in love with the idea of love, but frightened of the reality of it. I am an aspiring ‘doer of good’. I am a person.

I try hard to see the customers as people, and not just table numbers. They are living stories, characters with quirks and ambitions. I like it when they remember, and remind me, that I am story too. Just now is only a chapter.
(pictures from Matte Stephens. The last one isn't related, I just thought it was funny...)
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