Virtual Reality

Have you ever experienced the sudden almost imperceptible shift of story? How everything seemed to be going smoothly and life seemed straightforward – enjoyable even – and then seemingly out of nowhere the very same place becomes stifling, depressing, seething with hidden traps? Place is such a strange concept, we lend it so much meaning just by the hidden narratives that bloom within our minds.

This morning I returned from a unusually stress-free fortnightly grocery shop feeling organised, energised and excited for the week ahead… fast forward to two hours later and I’m exhausted, demotivated and resentful. Sure there were a number of kid-related frustrations that eventually tipped me over the edge (I’m looking at you, Ivy and the deliberate pumpkin soup splatters all over the floor), but if I’m honest, at the heart of it was the story I began to tell myself… ‘He had an easy morning playing on his phone, not doing anything around the house while I have been working and doing things for everyone else ever since I opened my eyes this morning.’ The sun-filled house suddenly felt gloomy, overflowing with mess and a testament to all the things that I have to maintain and manage all by myself. The story I told myself transformed the space I was living in and shifted reality before my eyes.

I’ve been lecturing the kids a lot about how boredom is a state of mind, making up stories about Bill and Bob at the playground. ‘Once upon a time’, I say, ‘there were two boys named Bill and Bob. Bill bounds up to the playground, he takes ones look and immediately begins to use his imagination. He pretends that the structure is a weathered pirate ship and takes control of the helm, seizing adventure and travelling to hidden parts of the globe. He searches for buried treasure and defends it from the evil invaders who try and take it from him. Suddenly he hears his mother calling ‘Bill, it’s time to go home now!’ and he feels as if no time at all has passed. Then there is Bob. He trudges over to the playground, takes one look at the slide and monkey bars and announces ‘This is boring, Mum can we go home yet?’. His mother tells him that they will be staying a little while and pleads with him to try and have some fun. He kicks at the dirt a little, goes down the slide once or twice but it feels like forever before she finally agrees that they can leave. ‘What was different?’ I ask. ‘The playground or the boys’ state of mind?’ 

As usual, it seems that my lectures end up being more for myself than them…


between stories

Gratitude and 

resentment shift the


from peace to 


‘he said, he didn’t’

‘I felt, I want to’



between worlds

of magic and 

aching boredom

The walls shift


as I lend them


‘we are, we should be’

‘they did, they get to’

…a dream. 


holding narrative

between trembling


Turning truth over

to see how it 


‘I know, I choose to’

‘we are, we create’

this reality.//

This post is inspired by the Five Minute Friday writing challenge. Each week I join with this talented group of writers, free writing for five minutes in accordance with a prompt. Today’s prompt is ‘place’. 

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  1. Oh, I love your poetry! I definitely find myself caught in narratives sometimes that quickly become reality. Thanks for sharing so honestly, have a great weekend with lots of GOOD things to discover!

    1. Thanks Katha, glad to hear it isn’t just me! It sucks that even when you know you are doing it, the emotional pull to want to believe the negative story can be so strong 🙁 Hope you have a great weekend too!

  2. I loved reading your thoughts here. That’s so true that the stories we tell ourselves can have a big impact on our attitude and how we respond to a situation.

  3. Your poetry moves me every single time. I really enjoyed this post. I am grateful for the shift in perspectives. I’m going to carry this in my mind.

    Have a lovely week!

    Visiting from FMF

    1. Hey Kelly! So good to hear from you 😀 and nice to know that my missteps can help others too… makes it feel as if nothing is really wasted, even if we do respond in ways that we regret at the time! Hope you have a lovely week too xx

  4. Gah…God definitely directed me to read this one! 🙂 My frame of mind has been absolutely Bobish lately! I hope that tomorrow I can wake up and be more Billish! 🙂 Your internal dialogue sounds very familiar and I never thought of how it shifts my attitude towards EVERYTHING around me in such a negative way. Thanks for the insight into me! Hope you have a great week!

    1. Oh I hear you, I can be very Bobish a lot of the time! So glad that it helped you realign your perspective, hope you have an incredible week xx

  5. Such beautiful poetry! I need to remember this too especially when I think I’m bored! I’m in the 62 spot this week!

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