April 3, 2021

Are These The Best Days?

Kirsty Lawie

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Non-Fiction ReflectiveOnions, 2020

Onions are the outsiders; the dry layers that flake and peel away. This piece is taken from my private memories of being an onion at secondary school, on the periphery, occasionally injecting myself into other people’s lives. I say this is non-fiction: it is all true, to me. These are the parts I remember, but I’m sure there were greater highs and further lows that I have dropped along the way. Sometimes other people remember it differently, but that is the nature of perspective. School is so formative in our personal anxieties, confidences, and sensibilities: for some people these are the best days of their lives, for others the worst. I wrote this piece because school is circular, it will almost certainly come back to you through the smells, people, feelings. Locking myself in a toilet cubicle brings me right back to those blood rush anxiety attacks; giggling in the street with my friends makes me feel 15 again. The school may look small now, but the visceral feeling remains the same. This bubble of memories, distorted and collated to form meaning, will be familiar to anyone who went to secondary school: the isolation, the community, the evolution of self.