My favourite TED talks (Shoutout Saturday)

I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks of late. I grew up on a steady diet of BBC documentaries, TED talks, Ideas, and Tapestry–my parents’ two favourite shows on CBC radio. (If you’re Canadian, you know what I’m talking about.) I remember, how when I was little, I always got dragged up to do these skiing lessons–which, let’s be honest, I was objectively terrible at. (One time, I just lay on my back in the snow, and cried for like fifteen minutes because I didn’t know how to get up, and I thought I was going to have to break my skis to rescue myself.)

But on the long ride home, I’d always lean against the window, and draw little shapes in the fog my breath made, tired and relieved, and listen to the hour-long programs on Tapestry, captivated. I always fantasized, that one day, I would be one of the people on the shows. That I’d tell people something true, and important–even if I didn’t know quite what that was at the time. To be honest, something I’ve been learning about myself of late is that… I really like learning. Not in the way we do at school–memorizing facts and dates, and constantly worrying about tests and grades. I like listening to people; seeing through their eyes, learning their stories.

As a result, I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks! And it’s been making me happy, and they’re all weirdly calming? These are some of my favourites so far!

Ok, I’ll be honest: I’ve been listening to Dylan Marron’s podcast, Conversations With People Who Hate Me for a while! It’s one of my favourite comfort shows–although sometimes, it does take a bit of processing after I listen. His voice is really calming to listen to, and he’s always so kind, empathetic, and overall just seems like a really lovely person. I’ve been meaning to watch his TED talk for a really long time, and I finally got around to it a few nights ago.

For those of you who don’t know, Dylan Marron makes a lot of content online–discussing racism, transphobia, etc. Long story short, he got a lot of positive feedback on it… and also a lot of hate. Conversations With People Who Hate Me was created as a coping mechanism for him to deal with these online trolls. In each episode, he interviews people who have left him online hate–and as the show goes on, he takes on mediating other people’s online discourse as well.

What I love about the show is that it gives the listener a safe place to feel their feelings, in a productive way. His whole mantra is “empathy, not endorsement”–you can recognize that person’s views are unacceptable, and that you disagree with them and will continue to fight against them, and also recognize that they are a human being.

With everything going on right now, it feels like such a dangerous thing to empathize with other people, at least for me–because there’s so much suffering in the world, it gets overwhelming. This show is just a little safe place for me, where the world doesn’t quite feel so overwhelming.

Anyhow, this is a really interesting talk, you should watch it! And listen to the podcast!

This is really interesting, and definitely very relevant to me right now. (Honestly, it kinda made me get a little misty-eyed, because… yeah, wow.)

This whole talk basically just debunks the myth that by pushing past, denying, ignoring, or bottling up your feelings, you become a stronger person. As well, unlike a lot of talks on this stuff, it discusses tangible steps to unlearn bad habits, and accept and work with your feelings. I found it really helpful, and interesting, so, yeah, give it a watch!

So, for some reason, I couldn’t get this talk to embed via the ted.com URL–but here’s the YouTube video, I assure you it’s the exact same talk, and it’s still as good as it is on the original website, the platform is just less aesthetically pleasing.

This talk is, honestly, kind of my entire life explained in 14 minutes and 20 seconds. It’s funny, and honest, and real. I don’t see a lot of discussion around, well, the fact that anxiety doesn’t always present the way people commonly perceive, and that often mental illness truly is invisible to the outside observer. And that you can be incredibly successful, and a productive member of society, and still be suffering. (Or maybe there is a lot of discussion around it, and I’m just not looking in the right places.) Anyhow, I really liked this talk, check it out if you want. 🙂

This whole talk really just came into my house, called me out, and left. If you’re a girl, I can’t imagine how this talk wouldn’t resonate with you, at least in some small way. Bottling up emotions is something I’ve really been struggling with of late, so even though it’s not a solution, this talk was definitely therapeutic to watch–it just felt like letting out a breath I’d been holding for a really long time.

And if you’re a guy reading this, and hopefully wanting to be an ally to women, this is a great talk to watch. Obviously, not the end-all-be-all, but it’s one more aspect of the way our society works right now that isn’t talked about enough, and isn’t really benefiting anyone involved in the long run.

Okay! I think that’s it! It’s getting pretty late, and I’m very tired, so I’m going to go to bed now, but I hope you enjoyed this post? And you check out some of these? I don’t know, do whatever you see fit with this post–and make sure to tune in next Saturday for more of me geeking out about… something. (Still working out my topic–I think it’s gonna be movies?)

Lots of love,

Lorna

scotch tape and superglue

i remember. goosebumps down my skin. neon colours, and itchy wool sweaters. all that wonderful seventh grade fashion. and i was only twelve years old, but i remember just being really fucking sad.

so i’d read the obituaries. every tuesday, and thursday. memorize these strangers’ names, and cut out their life stories. i think i still have them in lying around today.

i remember the smell of kindling. remember pressing my hands right up to the flame, but the rest of my body still couldn’t stop shivering…

and i’d trace their legacies. out of sheer pity. i’d do my best; i’d complete their dying wishes, because i was twelve. and naive. and i wanted to save everybody.

it’s been almost three years now, since i’ve wondered if anyone would read my obituary. if my mom would ever find the will i wrote on my shitty old computer. because i think it’s still out there, held together with scotch tape and superglue.

but i don’t want to go looking for old demons. i don’t want to remember; living life in third person. paperthin dissociation, and a messy bedroom.

i don’t want to go to your funeral. don’t want to grieve a stranger. because it’s dusty, and cold. because i have a whole life ahead of me. i have places to be, i have things to do.

because it’s not my job to save you.

bonfire girl

i hope you gather my cinderblock bones. strike the match, and set them all alight.

and it’s fine. it’s all right. i was going to burn eventually; my kindling lips sending sparks up into night. but i hope that you blaze with me. i hope you wonder why.

i hope you know, how you’ve hurt me. how you’ve sucked me dry. i hope you know, that i still see you in the corner of my vision; sometimes.

i hope the dreary neighbourhood grinds your soul to dust. i hope you spend years relearning what it means to trust. i hope you know that you broke me.

and i hope you give a damn. hope you learn someday, that love is not a battering ram. i hope you’re angry. because i sure am.

and i hope you lie awake at night. as the autumn leaves slowly bury you alive. and maybe then, you’ll understand what it feels like to be paralyzed. i hope you miss your shot. i hope the basement floods this winter.

i hope you rot.

i make a home between the warning signs

the apple tree leaves sway in the breeze. and i want to cry, because it’s been a week since i’ve actually fucking let myself sleep. because i forgot what happy people are supposed to do.

so yeah. maybe i let them get under my skin. let them grovel, and pray. let them barter, and pursue. maybe i did it for the money, but… wouldn’t you?

maybe i let them pull the wool over my eyes; turned over a thousand leaves in my mind. wondering why none of them felt new.

maybe i find myself between the lines. chart it all out in rhythm, and rhyme. i make a home between the warning signs. because… i have to.

close my eyes, and crash into the hillside; a mess of battle wounds. and i beg the sun, in all its might, to make me anew.


I’m sure this poem could be better, but this is all the editing I have time for right now. It’s been a long day–it’s been a long month, honestly. With work, and school, and writing, and basic hygiene/cooking/cleaning, and maintaining a very minimalist social life, there just isn’t much time left over. Some days, I like that–because I thrive off of work. Without something to focus on, my mind just kind of short-circuits.

But at the same time, I get tired, after a while.

And at first, that’s all it is. Tired. It’s lethargy; lying around in bed for half an hour longer than I needed to. It’s sleeping through twelve alarms. It’s crying when I burn onions, or lose the keys or what have you. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, that mild state of depression is all it is ever amounts to. But more often than not, I find myself just feeling… empty. And hopeless. I cry when I read the news, and I think about death all the time. I try to keep up, with the neverending list of things to do, but I just can’t. And without something to focus on, I spiral further and further, until at some point, I panic; because I’ve just spent the past seven hours watching TV, Youtube, or generally frittering my time away, it’s 9pm, and I have a whole day’s worth of work to get through. Which undoubtedly leads into the frenetic typing, the constant working from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed; always biting off more than I can chew, and freaking out every time something goes the slightest bit wrong. In this state, I constantly feel guilty; take responsibility for things I didn’t even do. And eventually, I burn out; repeating the cycle all over again.

Every two days, to two weeks, I get maybe at least an hour an at most a day of buffer time. Time, when I’m just okay; when the chemicals in my brain aren’t making everything a struggle. And it’s nice. But it’s not enough.

Sometimes, I see what other people are up to. And, not gonna lie, I get jealous. Because how is it fair, that they can just do these amazing things, that I want so desperately, without this level of fallout as a result? If I didn’t have to spend so much of my life panicking because of a slightly awkward conversation, or crying because it feels like my life is hopeless, what would I be doing right now?

But it’s just hypothetical. Just a fantasy in my head. The reality is–at least for now–this is my life.

I have made a home between the warning signs. Not because I want to–but because right now, I don’t have any other options.

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

grey

another day. just like the one before. and i want to feel something, okay? i want to find somewhere deep inside myself to actually give a shit. but i don’t, do i? not… when it comes down to it.

i’m just a flat grey. just eyes closed, teeth clenched, as i tell myself tomorrow will be better. but i don’t believe a single word i say.

and if i have a talent for anything, it’s repeating history. again, and again. so flip the page. because it’s my life to destroy, and what do i mean to you anyway?

am i your loving daughter? your dutiful friend? do i spend every sunday at my desk; all work and no play? do i buy expensive gifts, and spend tuesday at the ballet?

am i a withering autumn leaf? am i dark circles? am i the gap between your teeth?

you can say it, now. because i know what you want, from my body’s slow decay. so go on: take it. plant a kiss on my forehead. and be on your way.


I wrote this poem quite a while ago! Or, the first draft of it, anyway. It was an early-quarantine poem, penned around March. I scheduled it, looked over it again, and scrapped it in my drafts folder, because I didn’t really know how I wanted to polish it into something more enjoyable than the word-vomit it began as.

When I was young, although I never officially received the “gifted” classification, mostly just due to attending an underfunded, small, rural elementary school, where almost every kid in my class had some kind of trauma or mental health issue. Getting good grades, and being ahead of my peers was the least of the school system’s problems. But anyhow–despite this, I was widely considered throughout my early childhood, by my parents, peers and teachers as talented, brilliant, or otherwise superior to the other seven-year-olds. Essentially, as some flavour of “genius” or “gifted.”

I was destined for great things, everyone told me. And, I mean, I was seven years old, with cripplingly low self-esteem–of course I ate it up. The thing is, though, growing up believing that your entire identity is built around outpreforming others doesn’t work in the long run. You burn out–at some point, you just can’t keep up with that standard.

Years after coming to that conclusion, I struggle with that–still find old habits, creeping up on me when I least expect them. I’m learning, though–learning far more, ironically, than I ever did during that period of my life, when I was so fixated on being a genius.

I’m curious–were any of you classified as gifted kids? Did you know anyone who was? In general, what is/was your experience with the school system? I know mine’s been overall very negative, but obviously I have a very unique perspective on these things.

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings