Sunday, 7 July 2013

Nostalgia's not what it used to be/Then and Now.

Nostalgia is my guilty pleasure; it's what I wrap myself in when the world seems mean, something I escape to in times of trouble, an alternate reality of what has once been. I love looking at people, be it peers in lectures, colleagues at work, friends in my house, and thinking about how I came to know them; how we first met, how long it was that we crossed paths before that first interaction, how different things were then, and how strange to think it hasn't always been like now.


I once despised this one girl in my Drama class at uni. She drove me mad; she seemed perfectly sweet, perfect student, knew more about the world than I did, and the boy I liked took quite a shine to her, as did a few other friends of mine. I could do the most accurate impression of her, the distinctive accent and the mannerisms. I once wrote "WHORE" on her back in marker pen*.
And now? She's my housemate, and best friend. We've shared all sorts of stories and secrets with one another, she knows my best qualities and my worst, my happiest moments and my weaknesses (which are mostly ill-advised arseholes, and unhealthy eating). She takes me to one side and has words when she can see I'm not doing myself any favours. Her advice, from clothing to love to zombie face paint, is always appreciated more than she'll know. I now adore her so much, that if I could go back in time and stop myself drunkenly writing nasty words on her bare skin, I would (sorry, honey).

*this wasn't just randomly one day when I was sat behind her in a lecture; a group of us were scribbling on her in preparation for a crazy rave party at the SU. 

I crossed paths with my ex most days at school, long before we got together. I was told to "look after" a new girl in my tutor group, who became my closest friend (my tutor was patting herself on the back for years). I couldn't stand my know-it-all Head Girl, then upon starting college I realised what a down-to-earth, sweet and well-meaning person she was; if a little obsessed with Disney and being a princess. I fell instantly in love with a boy at college, we dated, we fell out, he dated other girls, we argued, we stopped speaking, and now we're living an hour away from each other but are still inseparable. The girl I made friends with recently when working on a play turned right around and stabbed me in the back. Since leaving school, I've hooked up with the most popular boy in our year. I've had encounters with the most popular girls, too, at clubs in town - and had them all come up to me in turn and say, astonished: "your hair looks lovely! Have you lost weight?!" or something to that effect. Two girls who once bullied me told me they read my blog.

See what I mean? I just love this stuff. One of my recent posts consisted of a series of photos from my past, and the stories behind them. I spent ages writing it, rediscovering things and loving the friendly familiar feelings that came over me. I was laughing, amazed, at the photos of that night out in Fresher Year; in such disbelief that once I didn't know, or didn't like, the people I consider best friends now. Seeing photos from primary school and thinking of how many classmates I still know now; how many I see on a daily basis, or when I pop home for a weekend, and whether or not we say "hi" to each other in the street.
Photos are underrated as a medium, I think. They are literally moments and memories captured forever. Now, before I get all wistful and wishy-washy, I did have another thing to add.
Looking through photos is one thing, but showing them to someone else is just as wonderful, if not more so. Pointing at the faces and saying "she's at Lincoln now, studying Drama," or "he moved to New Zealand, keeps in touch though", "that was the best night ever"... It allows you to feel the nicest part of nostalgia, sharing it with someone else.

"Can you spot me? I bet you can't. Hint: I'm naturally blonde. You'll never guess... Oh, that guy in the back, he got really hot in high school. And the girl two along from me, she bullied me through Years Five and Six. I fell madly in love with him - guess what he ended up doing with his life? Okay, guess which one here has full sleeves of tattoos now? She's at Birmingham Uni, I'm so jealous, it's amazing there... He danced with me at the Year Four disco, in between his dirty deals selling Freddos and Kit Kats to other kids. I have no idea what happened to her..."

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