By Laura Neilson
One of the oldest memories I have, is crying at a farm my family was visiting. This was because my dad, who was milking a cow, told me that from one udder came chocolate milk and from another strawberry. But, the strawberry and chocolate milk were going into the same bucket and mixing. For me, a three-year-old strawberry milk lover, this was a catastrophic incident. Nothing in history could have been worse than this moment. For my dad however, this was just another joke.
I think perspective is the only truth to the past. In the depths of my memory I feel the fence, the rough wood I clung to, the blunt smell of hay. My attention so focused that the peripheral fell silent. It is my soul memory of the day.
And I had conviction in its truth, until I later a saw a photo and realised the wooden fence was metal and in fact my father wasn’t milking the cow but holding me, as I stood on the fence.
I can play the moment again and again in my head. It is like a play I once starred in, yet I am now relegated to the audience of time, only to observe. Is it true that all the world’s a stage? If so, what verse may I contribute to the powerful play, and how will it be received?
I told my father this story as I was writing it and he laughed and said “really?”
“I don’t remember”.
His words still resonate in my mind, even if they’re forgotten long ago in his.
Recently, my favourite TikTok trend has been Julia Gillard’s infamous misogyny speech. It happened when I was only 1 and it is still a favourite video of mine to rewatch.
The raw power and empowerment which Gillard speaks with, makes it a key moment in Australian history (at least for me). Yet in a recent interview promoting her new book ‘Women and Leadership’ Julia Gillard voiced that it was not in fact the moment she wanted to be remembered for.
We have no control over our impact on others. The way we are perceived or remembered. I guess the worlds a stage, if our community is our audience. Anyway, I don’t think the memory of the pink and chocolate milk mixing will ever leave, and I don’t think my dad will remember the impact he made.