Have We Lost Our Ability to Talk to Strangers?

Yesterday, whilst waiting for my mum to pick me up from the train station, I took a seat on a 4 person bench where a guy was seated at the other side. He had his earphones plugged in and nervously looked at me once or twice. I was struggling with eating an icy-pole given that it was so hot outside, and trying to keep my cool as my frosty fruit dribbled down my arm. A few times I almost went to start a conversation, but I didn’t… I held back and focused all my attention to slurping at my icy pole, that thinking back on it, even if I did start a conversation, he would’ve thought I was strange and completely incompetent of eating an ice cream.

Which led me to thinking… have I lost my ability to talk to strangers? By the time his mate came and picked him up and Mr (pretty cute) bench guy was driving away, I felt like I had lost more by not starting a conversation, than if I had talked to him and made a fool of myself.

A group of people I met in a bar in Edinburgh, Scotland
A group of people I met in a bar in Edinburgh, Scotland

I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t. I’m not exactly a shy person, and when I was overseas travelling, I would talk to anyone and everyone. My conscience tells me it was because I was too focused on eating my ice cream, but I think deep down, it was because I was slipping into my ‘routine’ life where I stay neatly in my comfort zone and can sit at a bench with strangers in silence and be OK with that. I also think another part of me was nervous. I remember a thought crossing my mind ‘what if he thinks I’m strange/boring/weird/any adjective.’ He had his earphones in, and his head buried in his phone, where I then reached for my phone and started aimlessly scrolling through my newsfeed so that the silence wouldn’t be awkward. We automatically created a barrier (being on another planet with our phones) that we completely blocked the potential of engaging in simple conversation.

By the time my mum had picked me up, I had already began to beat my self up for not starting a conversation with him, or even just saying hello. Because at the end of the day, the odds are we were never going to see eachother again, he wouldn’t think I was crazy or a psycho, and who knows, we could’ve had a really lovely conversation… (and then added eachother on Facebook, see eachother at the same station a week later, exchanged numbers, had a dinner date, get married, have kids and live happily ever after….) Haha OK so that only happens in movies.

2 English girls I met in Versailles, France
2 English girls I met in Versailles, France

Regardless, striking up a conversation with a stranger was something that I really liked about myself when I was travelling the world. And I met the most incredible people because of it. But I feel like I’ve fallen back into that state of mind where ‘all strangers are serial killers, trying to rob you or rape you.’ And the truth is that there are some truly remarkable people in our every day lives that we just haven’t had the opportunity of meeting yet. And starting off with a simple ‘hello, how are you?’ is a way of doing that.

This random bench guy probably hasn’t given this whole slightly awkward encounter another thought, but my not talking regret has sparked something in me that I’m determined to change. I don’t want to miss any opportunity in life. Whether it be the chance to travel someplace new, go camping, learn an instrument or even talk to a guy on a bench, and I feel that starting with a small ‘hello’ can lead to bigger and better things.

Challenge – So for the next month, I’m going to break my cosy little comfort zone and meet someone new/new people. Why? Because even if they turn out to be a bit psycho… I’ll know that I’m not crazy for not starting a little conversation.

xxx

A

ABOUT-US-NICE-TO-MEET-YOU-PIC

 

The Hardest Things About Packing (and Moving on in Life)

As the year draws to a close, so does this chapter of my life; living at a university residence. Whilst I’ve met some incredible people, done some awesome things and drank and awful amount of goon, I’m glad to move onto the next and currently unknown chapter. As I lay on my bed, walls cast with the shadow of my travel photos that lined them, bags, clothes and mess everywhere… this is not the first time I’ve packed my life into bags. Yet the same questions, uncertainties and feelings overcome me. So here’s the hardest things I’m confronted with whilst packing up my life yet again.

Create the most beautiful life you can imagine! ~ photo from http://dearcrissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/quote-about-the-future.jpg
Create the most beautiful life you can imagine! ~
photo from http://dearcrissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/quote-about-the-future.jpg

What does the future hold?

Whilst not even tarot cards can accurately tell me this, it’s a bit unsettling having so many options and decisions to make for my immediate and distant future. Where will I live? Who with? Do I need to start looking for a house now? Or maybe just a room? What about my job? How am I going to afford Christmas presents? Can I go to this party? Or will I be working? What do I want to achieve? Countless questions flood my mind. The thing that gives me hope is that I’ve experienced this before (when I was leaving London) and I know that if you make the most of every opportunity, learn and grow from every experience and refuse to give up, then wonderful things will happen. You just need to first believe and then do it. The present and future is in our hands.

Is this the end?

The end of some things… yes. And thankfully, goodbye single bed, see ya later noise/alcohol bans, adios cookie thieves and au revoir to the thousands of lizards! The hardest thing, particularly leaving London, is imagining your life without certain people, places and the little things you’re used to, and the saddening fact that you don’t know when you’ll see them again. A big thing that I dealt with leaving London was the fear of losing the new London Adelaide. I was proud of everything I achieved and had become and was scared that it would disappear when I moved back to Australia. Sometimes I still feel like I’m dealing with an identity crises, however over time, you adjust. It’s almost like you get to recreate yourself again. The picture below shows how much I changed last year and even comparing myself to the photo from last year, I’ve changed a lot from that girl too. We have to create the life we want and inevitably we’ll change. Yet some things will never end, the unique and special friendships (especially those that cross borders), the memories, the lessons learnt and the feeling of creating a home.  With every ending, comes a new beginning, and they are always exciting (and your friends will want to hear all about it).

February 2013 & December 2013 (St. Andrews, Scotland) More than just my clothes changed
February 2013 & December 2013 (St. Andrews, Scotland)
More than just my clothes changed

How am I going to move all of this stuff?

I don’t know how, but I just accumulate so much stuff! It’s not until you start packing and thinking about transporting everything you own, you truly realise it. Luckily, my parents are helping me do this (thank god). When I moved back to Australia from London, I had to fit my life into 30kgs! (miraculously I did it). And with all the of the stuff you accumulated over your time somewhere, attached to each thing is a specific memory that you just have to hold on to!

My best friend trying to pack all of her stuff. Proved to be challenging yet possible.
My best friend trying to pack all of her stuff. Proved to be challenging yet possible.

Reflection, reflection, reflection 

Maybe it’s just me, but I take forever to pack because I look through things, I reminisce, I decide if I want to keep it or not, I organise things, toss thing and look at things a bit more. While I pack, I can’t help but reflect on the year that has been, how I’ve changed, grown and learned. I then listen to sad and soppy music and look at photos, thinking back to all the good times. And once I’m done reflecting (and sobbing), I think forward to next year and how I want to change, what I want to achieve, fix, excel at, get involved in. Once I do this, I get a buzz of excitement and just want to get it all started!

What gets me through?

Even though packing up your life and moving on can be difficult (and you will no doubt need an adjustment period), the thing that gets me through is hop for the future, that I can make each year, month, day, bigger and better than the last. Knowing that my friends and family love and support me (and will even help me move all of my stuff). Knowing that I have goals and dreams to aspire to, and that the actions I take now are a step towards those dreams. Knowing that each night the sun will set and each morning the sun will rise, shining new light on a new day. I know it’s incredibly clichéd, but it’s true.

xxx

A

After each sunset, there will be a sunrise
After each sunset, there will be a sunrise

Looking Back to Move Forward

“The Media”

These two simplistic yet extravagant words, evoke diverse emotions and reactions within individuals across the world. The denotations of the media are relatively basic –the means of communication, such as radio and television, newspapers, andmagazines, that reach or influence people widely.” However the connotations of the media are exponential. From political corruption, sexualisation of children, a mediated public sphere, mass communication, controversy, exploitation, heroes, the list goes on. 

MEDIA - generated on Wordle by Adelaide Haynes
MEDIA – generated on Wordle by Adelaide Haynes
Social Media Logotype Background
Sourced from http://www.australianchurchrecord.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/social_media_0.jpg

I always thought that my knowledge on the media was current and knowledgable. That is until the #BCM110 took over my spare time and I was exposed to the big wide work of the media. Extending far beyond celebrity hot gossip, sport highlights and natural disasters… it is the unheard stories on unheard mediums, addressing unheard concepts which captured my attention and heart.

Some of these new concepts were difficult to initially understand, helping me criticise, debate, comment and re-evaluate certain aspects of my knowledge. The concept of “Media Ownership” challenged the way I viewed everyday ‘news.’ Was I hearing biased, personal, edited stories from the likes of Rupert Murdoch or Gina Rineheart?  By figuring out the small network of people who own various aspects of the media, it allows myself and others to critically assess the validity and integrity of specific media platforms.

Sourced from http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/images/eroticization-girls.jpg
Sourced from http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/images/eroticization-girls.jpg

The discussion of ‘corporate paedophilia’ regarding the sexualization of children in the media and moral panic, is a very controversial topic, one in which I am interested in investigating further. “Children’s general sexual and emotional development is affected by exposure to advertising and marketing that is saturated with sexualised images and themes,” (Rush and La Nauze, 2006) highlights the impending issues regarding such a sensitive topic and its importance to address it. We all treasure our childhood and children should be innocent and carefree as long as they can, before the pressures of growing up/adolescence/adulthood kick in. I don’t believe it’s a cause of ‘moral panic’ due to the long term effects it has on each individuals sexual and emotional development.

Sourced from http://oreowriter.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dove-campaign-real-beauty-women.jpg
Sourced from http://oreowriter.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dove-campaign-real-beauty-women.jpg

Being a woman in today’s society, I am very passionate about equal opportunity for everyone on this earth and unfortunately, the media is blamed for its misrepresentation of women, which can limit these opportunities. It is a renowned fact that ‘sex sells’ and from a young age, we are told that beauty is a primary concern, other than intellect or personality. The media is both the solution and the problem and a path I would like to further develop is working towards positive representation of women in the media.

Throughout this journey of awareness, understanding and evaluating the media on a local and global context, I have learnt many things about the world and myself. It has reinforced my passion for exploring and learning about places, events, people and concepts which ultimately shape who we are.

References

Emma Rush and Andrea La Nauze, Corporate Paedophilia, The Sexualisation of Children in Australia, http://www.tai.org.au/documents/dp_fulltext/DP90.pdf, October 2006, accessed 9/04/14

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Miss Representation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZkC_fNxmQk, 2011, accessed 9/04/14