Like the Moon, and the Stars, and the Sun

When I was a baby, my father didn’t know any lullabies so he would croon “Hey Jude” to me at night in a (usually fruitless) effort to get me to sleep. By the time I was two years old, my favourite part was the “Ju-judy, Judy, Judy, Judy, Judy -OW!” My bathtub songs cassette tape had “Octopus’s Garden” and “Yellow Submarine” on it. When my sister and I were two and five respectively, my father would put on “Lady Madonna” for us, which my sister thought was “Lady Banana.” At the line “See how they run!” he would shout “RUN!” as we would tear through the downstairs of our house, shrieking as he chased us.

So it just makes sense that, as a member of a generation who prides themselves on loving the old more than the new, I grew up to be a Beatles fan. A huge Beatles fan. My brain is full of random Beatles trivia (Bob Dylan introduced the group to marijuana after thinking the lyric “I can’t hide” was “I get high”; John Lennon was the first Beatle to be married with a child but had to keep it a secret so that they wouldn’t upset fans). Every year for Christmas, I receive the special edition Beatles cover of Rolling Stone magazine – usually if it’s John Lennon. When I saw Across the Universe at sixteen, I was amazed – I hadn’t listened to the Beatles for years, but somehow these words were flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.

And of course, I had a favourite member of the band. John Lennon’s crusade for peace spoke to my inner hippie. His sweet, albeit nasal in a fantastic way, Liverpudlian croon was the first voice I could identify on a record. The songs he wrote became my favourites; his whimsical sketching charmed me and the flavour of Ben & Jerry’s inspired by him, “Imagine Whirled Peace” was instantly the best ice cream flavour in the world. It had chocolate chunks shaped like peace signs. How great is that?

So today, I’m keeping this short and sweet – it would have been this revolutionary thinker’s 75th birthday. 75 years old. And we are living the exact opposite life that he called us to dream of in his hit song post-breakup, Imagine. I spend more time imagining a world where tea came out of the tap than I do imagining no possessions. As I am about to embark on a 3 hour drive, I’m going to take this time to play his greatest hits and think about exactly what I can to do make a piece of my world the world that John Lennon Imagined.

Because at the end of the day, we all shine on – like the moon, and the stars, and the sun. I think John would be proud to see how much of his legacy has actually lasted.

I Have Always Seen the World as Black and White…and Red

I have gingervitis. Not the nasty gum disease that 4/5 dentists recommend Crest to prevent.

I have a thing for redheaded boys.

At first, I assumed that this was a fluke – that one boy out of the many I’ve liked since I started liking boys happened to twin with Ron Weasley. But yesterday, as I started cleaning out the boxes of keepsakes under my bed (I’m getting rid of most clutter since future generations have no use for a picture of a caterpillar that I made in preschool), I realised that this has always been a thing. I have always liked a redheaded boy.

I guess we should start when I was 9 years old. I wasn’t interested in boys then, but when I went to see Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the cinema, I came to life. Not because my favourite series was alive in front of my face, but because Harry Potter’s best friend was so stinking cute. And this continued with every film that came out – as the cast aged, so did I and so did my massive crush on Ron Weasley.

In 7th grade, I was in a class of 6 people – not 16, not 60, but 6. I went to a tiny private school that housed kids from infancy in their daycare to 8th grade. Most classes reduced significantly after 6th grade because a lot of the kids who had been in private school for their entire lives chose to go public for middle. Anyways. One of the main things that attracts me to a guy is a sense of humour. If you make me laugh, I’m probably a little in love with you. And I had a major crush on this redheaded boy in my class – remember, tiny pond so don’t even bother fishing. But luckily, I never dated this guy (a goth girl in the grade below did, for about two years I think) because he turned out to be gay and draws bad fan art of Louis Tomlinson.

In 9th grade, I had a crush on a guy 3 years older than me who was in theatre and played bass in a heavy metal band. And he looked like a leprechaun in the best possible way. He was a couple of inches taller than I was and when he came back from college for a visit the following autumn, he had the most excellent ginger beard (which, in my professional opinion, are the best beards). This crush died by the second semester of my sophomore year in high school when I realised that the college guys who date high school girls are creepy and that his life had moved on from the walls of our private high school. Also? I don’t like heavy metal that much. That was the first time I tried to like it and it did not last long (I am a sultry indie, lo-fi girl at heart. Give me Best Coast and Belle and Sebastian any day).

I stuck to dark haired boys for awhile after this and described my ideal type as dark hair, light eyes, tall and musical/creative.

But my junior year of college, I became involved with a boy whose hair I would insist was strawberry blonde. My senior year roommate would later insist it was orange. Every person who would see his picture would say, “Oh, he’s a redhead!” And I would adamantly protest. I can admit it now – he was a redhead. A milder form, but he was absolutely a redhead. The spring of my senior year, at our school’s annual Barn Party, I managed to kiss a cute boy in a field of nettles. All I remember about him is that his name was Steve and he had freckles…and reddish hair.

And as everyone probably knows, Current Boy is a Ron Weasley doppelgänger whom I love to torment. I tell him I’ll pray for his soul – oh wait. I told him last week that I still think he’s cute despite the red hair and he told me he admires me for that. Truth is, he sets my heart a-blazin’ just as fiery hot as his hair.

I thought Current Boy was an exception to the rule. That his case was a rarity. But truth be told, I guess I’ve always maintained that the world looks better in black and white…and red.

Like Crazy – My Heart Operates Like USCIS Only Worse

My heart is an overcrowded island superpower country. If you are lucky enough to qualify for a visa, you will be able to establish your presence there for a very long time, sometimes too long, and my hands will burn from trying to hold onto your rope. Sometimes, entry clearance is granted almost immediately, no questions asked – my flatmate Edd did not have to try very hard to win me over almost three years ago. And when I became friends with one of my best friends in college, Dana, it was platonic best friend love at first sight. Their visas were signed, sealed and delivered before I even had a chance to process them.

Sometimes people who have qualified for their visa overstay and then are removed in the most painful way possible. Sometimes people don’t even make it through Border Control – they are instead detained for what seems like eons, before being denied entry clearance and sent away. Then they receive an automatic ban and their case is never revisited.

But sometimes, people start off with an automatic refusal and have to continuously apply to gain entry. Well, not people. One person. One person applied and applied and applied. He was granted his visitor’s visa, which he rescinded without any difficulty. But that was it  – the border became closed to him and try as he might, his application for permanent status was continually denied. Rather than attempt to invade, he pulled back, stopped applying and let the government try desperately to bring back an individual who evacuated by choice. Tentatively, he began to reapply and finally, after about 9 months after his initial application, he was finally successful. Letting him in was hard, trying to let him go was even harder, and now with extenuating circumstances standing in the way, we’re faced with the hardest obstacles of all – an ocean, a time difference and a government.

I recently watched the 2011 Like Crazy, a film that I probably wouldn’t have even found relevant until this year. British Anna studies in LA where she meets American Jacob. They fall in love, she overstays her student visa and when she tries to return to the country, she is denied entry and sent back to London. The film centres on how this affects them as a couple and what they do to make it work as well as how awful the entire Immigration system truly is.

There are laws now in place to prevent sham marriages from happening, to prevent people from getting married in order to allow someone to move to another country and gain citizenship. With the increase of terrorism, it is important to screen people who try to enter and exit a country. But what about people who really do love one another? What about people who simply just want to attend school, who have the funds to relocate and intend to contribute without abusing the systems set in place by each government? What about them? Why are they being penalised? What about people who sit alone in their respective flats, separated by an ocean, a time difference and a government, missing one another like crazy?

But what about the girl who thoroughly screens those who apply for entry clearance to her heart? What about her ability to finally let that boy in after so long and if she doesn’t see him soon she may very well lose him? And him? He’s just as guarded as she is. She doesn’t want to hurt him anymore than he wants to hurt her.

Let them exist in the same country, with their visas in hand, loving each other like crazy.