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September 3, 2019 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Shining through Shards

I have a slight preoccupation with permanency, with a side of  ‘tendency to overthink’. Much like Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian, these two qualities don’t couple very well together at all. 


Something I’ve contemplated over the years is the question: What do we know to be true? The answer will definitely vary from person to person, and yes, it could be the simplest thing in the world. But what if your perception of truth, your perception of reality changes? Like finding out that Santa Claus isn’t real. Or realising the person you thought was hot is just tall, and/or is just really good with words. 


We’ve all had moments when we realise that what we know to be true isn’t as secure as we thought. We then note things as different from that moment on. We’re changed either for the better or for the worse. 


For a significant portion of my life, that moment occurred every few years. Murmurs, hushed conversations, and vague remarks all culminated into the inevitable: My parents sat me and  my brother down and explained that my dad had been offered a job overseas and that we would be moving. I don’t remember much from the first three moves—mainly just cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and empty houses—but as I grew up, the process became so familiar to me that I learned to expect it. Telling my friends and teachers was always the worst part. The reality I had perceived was unravelling right in front of me, and it was fucking terrifying. Everything I had known to be true was packed away for later, neatly wrapped with promises of, “We’ll keep in touch for sure!” The things that I had held dear were compartmentalised and sent off to wherever we were moving next. Seeing all of our possessions loaded into boxes, looking so small in the space of a moving van, has always blown my mind. 


On the other hand, what we know to be true doesn’t have to deal with the facts at all. The opinions we perceive as the truth could be different to the truths held by the person next to you.  Not only do we question everything we know, we also question who we are;  how we act in accordance to this also changes who we become. 


In 2016, I moved overseas twice. From Auckland to Abu Dhabi and back again.

I’ve been The New Girl, time and time again, and you know what? It’s fun being The New Girl. I’m not gonna lie—you have the ability to transform yourself into someone who you never were before. As The New Girl, you become somewhat of a novelty item. People ask all sorts of stuff about you. They’re interested in your hobbies and what food you like, because they know a place that does good pasta. They ask if you think Sam Claflin is cute because they’re all going to watch a movie, and do you want to come along? The one thing they  never really genuinely ask you about is the life you left behind. My friends would ask about life in New Zealand, but they’d never ask about the move itself and I never told them either. Our move back to Auckland was so last-minute that I had to tell them over an Instagram group chat, and my teachers over an email. They never really asked me about moving back then too.

Through all of this, my perception of reality changed who I became. Moving once was hard to deal with, but with moving twice, I became so consumed in the friendships, experiences, and opportunities I had lost. It’s safe to say that my mood erratically fluctuated between angry, sad, hopeful, optimistic, and resentful—to name a few. To put it bluntly, I became a total bitch. My reality had been shattered and I lost perception of myself. I certainly didn’t perceive myself as becoming the worst version of me, but I had. I became cold, rude, and ungrateful. It took my mild-mannered and kind-hearted father to lose his composure for me to realise who I’d become. 


These moments in life can either make you better or worse.

What if you have no idea who you are though? 


I’d like to believe I’ve changed since then. I’m less cynical and more trusting. A part of me still hesitates though, and I low-key always believe things are way too good to be true. I may never understand why some things change and some don’t, why people leave or stay, but over my 19 years of living what I know to be true is this: It took nineteen years, four countries, nine houses, and seven moves to get me where I am now. And you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. It can be really fucking easy to play the “what if” game, but believe me, I’ve lost against myself time and time again. 


When our realities change, it’s incredibly tough to confront what’s left behind. It’s even worse to see yourself reflected in it all and to realise you’re not the person you wanted to be. Picking up the pieces is never easy. 


But that’s what glass and reality have in common. They can both shatter in a second but they can shine so brightly too.



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