By Megan Egan
Who am I?
‘You can’t know who you are until you know where you’ve come from’ – wise words said by the great Alex Taylor in the first few weeks of our year at SCA. When she said this, I started thinking about my past and how it might affect my future. What Alex was actually referring to was knowing Art Director and, in particular, knowing who Helmut Krone was.
But, to me at least, what she said meant something more. There’s a reason why we recount history. If we don’t know what we did wrong, we’ll make the same mistakes. And if we don’t know what we did right, we might never progress.
In advance of ‘Sounds Like Teen Spirit: A Night of Nostalgia’ tomorrow night – an event run by Augustine (from last year’s intake) – a few of us were sharing childhood stories, songs, and diary entries this evening. I’ve had mine in a folder in my car since I moved for the second time last summer. It’s cringe-galore. Let me tell you, the love stories written by an under-ten-year-old are anything but profound. Still, the things I wrote interest me. They remind me how little me felt about love, friendship, and life before I knew anything about any of them. The things I wrote reflect what I’d learned by that point, from school and friends, family and films. Feelings I’ve long forgotten or replaced with new, cynical adult-ish ones. It’s so easy to forget what you used to be, when you are what you are.
Something which I was, am and probably always will be is a serial hoarder (an affliction passed down on my mum’s side of the family). So I’ve kept a lot of stuff that reminds me who I used to be. But, as I don’t live in my family home, or for that matter have a family home anymore, most of it is stuck in storage. But I do keep a red vintage case with me with a few things which I’ve filled with ‘special’ things over the years that, apparently, should be kept nearby at all times. In case I should need to take a walk down memory lane, I suppose? Tonight’s sharing inspired me to open it and take a ‘walk.’
Seemingly, these things sum up who I’ve been over the years:
Petit Guerlain Eau de Toilette (my first fragrance – it’s gross, but I thought it sounded posh, and it was the baby version of my Grandma’s perfume which my Great Aunt bought for me)
My Grandma’s perfume, Guerlain Samsara (still perhaps the most comforting smell I’ve ever smelt – this might live outside the box from now on)
Various key-rings of me with a Croydon facelift (Google if you don’t know what this is) at Thorpe Park and Chessington (what a rip off those places are)
A love letter from my first ‘serious’ boyfriend – perfect material for this event tomorrow
A dinosaur tooth (I always think I’ve lost this and find it again every few years. I still wonder if my Dad lied and this isn’t actually a dinosaur tooth.)
A piece of the Berlin wall which I brought back from my second trip to Berlin
Photos from three generations of my family (I picked my favourite ones from the gazillion family albums we have, in case anything happened to them in storage)
An orange, badly folder Origami crane, and a white butterfly
A dreamcatcher which definitely didn’t keep my nightmares away
My six form school badge and our yearbook
A pointy paper hat with a straw poking out of the top and ‘get well soon’ messages all over it, made by my friends when I had a hernia in year 7
A classic huge ‘21’ badge, never guess when that was from
My first every money box (Peter Rabbit) with no bottom left on it (my money handling skills were set in stone from day dot, it seems)
Various deflated balloons from parties and celebrations (I don’t know why I kept these)
A horrendously rushed Christmas decoration my Dad would absolutely never allow on our tree (we had a strict white and silver, with NO TINSEL, policy in our household – Scrooge!)
School photos, family photos, gig tickets, theatre tickets, prom and wedding invites, birthday cards, exam cards, work ID cards, festivals wristbands
More stories and sorry notes, and thank notes, and love notes
A strict schedule for the girls only club (which I ran with military precision)
Finally, I’ll live you with a short story which I dictated to one of my many scribes. In this case, my mum:
The little Smu (and other adventures)
There once was a Smu
That lived in an igloo
Who always wanted to play.
Now this little Smu
Had a doll that was new
And lots of words she could say.
One day the Smu and the doll that was new
Waved goodbye to their mummy so dear
And went to the park
Saw a dog that could bark
And played on the swings all day.
At quarter past three
It was time for their tea
Fish fingers and chips and the like
On the long walk home
Her mummy did she phone
Saying come and pick us up on your bike!
(In case you’re wondering, I am Smu)
On these occasions, I deigned to be my own scribe:
The cat and the house
The cat said ‘you’re fat’ to the house.
The house said ‘you’re thin’ to the cat.
The at word poem
The cat sat.
The bat flapped.
The cat did a trick for the rat.
The rat did a trap on the mat.
The cat said you trat.
I’ve lost my book.
My knickers fell on the floor.
A bully pushed me.
Somebody broke our window.
Kavith did scribbling.
Things I’ve learned/remembered:
Clearly, I’ve always had a way with words… (she says wide-eyed).
My nan did a great job of replacing the word ‘shit’ with ‘sugar’ when she was annoyed. So much so that it inspired me to write about it.
I can’t run away from being a crazy cat lady (I think it’s in my blood).
My dad is probably cooler than me.
The Spice Girls rule.
I may have invented resting bitch face.
Clothes are optional (I was much more of an exhibitionist as a child).
I hold on to a lot of crap, in many ways (may need to do some serious clearing out).
It’s hard to close a box once you’ve opened it.
My Grandma was wonderful.
I have a lot of living up to, to do.