Writing challenge: Starting over

There comes a time when the next step of growth is separation. A time when ties must be severed so that new bonds can be made, and distance is an act of coming home, rather than one of moving away.

In the past I have associated ‘starting over’ with a sense of failure. As if what has gone before did not work, and as such I had to scrap what I was doing to try again. I have used words like ‘uprooted’ and felt literally like a plant torn from the soils that nourished it, adrift, out of my element and with nothing to hold onto or sustain me.

This time around, though, it doesn’t feel like that at all. This time ‘starting over’ bears with it a sense of completion. Of being done with one phase and moving on to the next, like a caterpillar. Or like a flower at its peak, sending out a fragment of itself, containing all the hopes and dreams for continuance, so that life may find a way beyond death.

It is a process imbue with belief. Transition. One promise fulfilled and another one born. A chance to do more. Be more. Extend beyond the initial reach. The best carries over. The sum of all that has been gathered and achieved lives on in new form.

‘Starting over’ then isn’t failure. It is simply the next logical step.

Writing challenge: Starting over


Flowers in the sunset
Fond Memories

Time warps our perception of the world. Like old black and white photos slowly taking a sepia tint as exposure and wear leave their marks our memories shift and distort as they fade and remerge continuously from our minds.

Tonight would have been my brother’s birthday – if he’d still been alive. It’s been almost six years now and I have learned to live with not having answers. I have stopped trying to guess at or make sense of the events that led to his death – or the feelings that caused him to seek to end it at his own hand. When I think of him now it is mostly just because he is absent. Missing from the picture I still catch myself thinking he ought to be part of. It is a fleeting memory now. One I do not dwell with or try to hold onto anymore. At least not for very long. There is no sense in arguing with the past.

The present moment on the other hand has no patience for editing or proof-reading. There is no diplomacy in its ruthless honesty or raw vulnerability… and frankly, it doesn’t always leave the best impressions. So, we push it to the back of our minds for a while. Wait for the images to dull and gather a bit of dust to shroud our sensitivity. Who needs all the facts, anyway, right? Later, we bring them back out and look at them again, and if enough time has passed we may start to see something new. Something different and more pleasant – and perhaps most importantly, something less threatening.

Time gives us the ability to refocus, I think, and over time the details lost will be the ones that we don’t want or need to remember. The real question then will be whether we’ve choosen to hold onto the good or the bad, to happy memories or bitterness and regret. Time will feed or free either at our behest. Whatever the case, reality will be lost in favour of an idealised – or demonised – image of the world as we want to remember it. And tonight more than any other night, I am so deeply grateful that despite the tears and the heartache… it is his smile I see and the sound of his voice, chiming in with mine as we sing together that time has helped me to retain.

For all the anger, resentment and devastation I have felt… in my eyes, he IS perfect. Our time together was perfect, and even though it hurts to have lost it… I cherish the images left within me.

Fond memories are flawless.

I can only hope that in the minds of those I cause harm or disappointment time will be as kind to me.


… because we always do…

“… and the uncovering of the dead becomes a show, with a lack of anything else to do and a lack of water and food. This is a story where the pictures are going to look the same over the days ahead and we’re all going to get bored with it – because we always do. And then they will be truly alone …”

This is a quote from an impromptu narrative when a news anchor has to cover when the reporter in the field chokes up. Instead of yet another report on death tolls, looting and hopeless devastation viewers got treated to something rare. A journalist who actually tells it like it is.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to find stories and tell them to people so that they would be inspired to do something, do the right thing,… help in whatever way possible. I couldn’t imagine anything more amazing than being able to show people that there’s always more than one side to things, and that what they did and thought and said made a difference. And that they should choose what that difference should be, rather than just ignore the choice and complain about the consequences afterwards. To me that seemed like the greatest job in the world and I loved watching the news. It seemed so important… so involved, in a sense.

Of course, as I got older I began to realise things that slowly shifted my view. I began to see how words got twisted, and stories turned lob sided lobbying for public outrage or sympathy. And most of all I began to realise that journalists were actively hunting those angles. Even to the point of sacrificing the real story in favour of the scandal that might boost their ratings. There’s always a victim and a villain to be found and ousted on prime time TV in exchange for good exposure. Never mind the facts. Never mind the consequences. As long as it sells.

At this point I have grown so jaded with the news that I barely can be bothered to watch them anymore. I don’t want news telling me how hopeless everything is. I want news that makes me remember that I am part of it too – even if it happens on the other side of the planet. News that makes me remember to feel, engage and act with and for others, not just shut them out because their strife is too big and too unpleasant to be aware of.

The developing trend of reporting that there is “nothing to report at this time” is to me more than anything an indication that the trade of journalism has forgotten its point and purpose. And in doing so it is literally strangling itself. Desensitising its audience with repetitive broad casts, breeds the need for even bigger stories to break – or we simply won’t care enough to keep interested. In the hunt for scandal and sensation reporters seem to have forgotten that people can be shocked into indifference.

What point is there is news like that? What point is there in choosing to convey anything in such a way that it will make the recipient shut off to it?

Watch the clip on YouTube – The quote appears about 4 minutes into it.
… because we always do…