Unfiltered Thoughts: Experiences

According to trusty Google an experience is ‘an event or occurrence which leaves an impression on someone’. In other words, it could be an observation, understanding or knowledge, worldliness, involvement or exposure.

When we talk about experience we’re talking about physical experiences – things you’ve lived through such as your first travel adventure in a ‘post’-pandemic world or your run in on the sporting field.

Have you been racking your brain on the perfect cover letter? Or unsure of your career trajectory? What’s your take on quiet quitting or the great resignation?

Would you head back to Splendour again next year or are music festivals not worth the hype?

WhyNot share your everyday unfiltered thoughts with us?

e.g travel / sport / work / festivals / food / education

Content Warning

This following unfiltered thoughts may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.


Where I find Joy

I find joy in a lot of things. Of being woken up, bleary eyed, by the cockatoos outside my window. Of my sister and I swimming in Enoggera Dam when our days off align. Of the sound my elderly cat makes when I touch her and she’s not expecting it. A soft crackle in the back of her throat. An echo of a once was meow.

I find joy in lit candles in a freshly cleaned home. Of rain on the roof or the hum of an air conditioner. Of reading a good book, normally written by a woman, about women, who feel a sort of emptiness. Jennifer Down, Victoria Hannan, Gabriel Ponce Padilla, Sally Rooney. I read them so I know I’m not alone.

I find joy in reading my own writing, and of having others read it too.

I find a bit too much joy in baked goods. Probably.

Kacy (she/her) 25 QLD


how to fuck directly in the age of ambiguity

I have no idea how people can bring up romance to a person they want to be with. How do you broach the subject? For me it can’t be in some beautiful, honest Before Sunrise way, where it’s already so obvious and euphoric before you’ve even mentioned it. Not with my luck. It just won’t, and to be honest it’s fine. I’d probably feel more comfortable if guidelines were put down before anything began anyway:

I like you
I am interested in sleeping with only you
I can offer x,y,z in exchange for a,b,c

But God! Anyone that agreed to that would be a psychopath and I have actual confirmation of that. I’d probably accept that type of relationship proposal if it was offered. But how do I do it?

Hello, we have many things in common, and feel comfortable around one another, coitus would most likely be surprisingly very enjoyable.

It’s all very cowardly and robotic. That definitely sums me up.
I am the Dalek Caan of dating.
Slowly losing my mind in the dark corner of the room, prophesying nonsense.

Amisha (she/her) 23 ACT


Bother, Bother

I don’t know man, how does everyone else do it?
I don’t think most people have this problem
I think they do
Well if they do they certainly don’t do anything about it
Well I’m probably going to do something eventually
Everyone else probably says that to themselves too
Yeah well I have a feeling things will come to an unignorable head at some point, at which point I will say something
Oh so you’ll say something then, that’s what you’ll do
Yeah I’ll probably say something pretty harsh but true and he’ll say something probably pretty fucked up and I’ll get upset and probably say something pretty fucked up but it’ll feel great, and then I’ll just stop talking to him
Well at least you have that to look forward to
Yeah but see that’s not the issue. Arguing I could do that any day. Screaming harsh words into a void is not difficult for me. It’s the repercussions.
The repercussions?
The repercussions. Namely in the form of our family. What’ll he say to them? What’ll they say to me?
What you don’t think they’ll understand?
Maybe they’ll understand the argument at the time, but they don’t hold a grudge the way I do
Yeah no one does, but cutting someone off is different no?
Feels the same for me.
Well you’ll probably end up cutting off the rest of them on that train
Maybe they’re cutting me off, maybe that’s why they act this way, they want me to go
I don’t think so
Yeah me neither, but I have to have a story don’t I

Amisha (she/her) 23 ACT


Do we make our own choices?

In the age-old debate of free will versus determinism, philosophers, scientists, and thinkers grapple with questions about human autonomy and the extent to which our choices are genuinely ours. Are we the authors of our destiny, or is every decision we make just the result of prior states of the universe and laws of nature?

Determinism posits that all events, including moral choices, are determined by previously existing causes. It’s like a cosmic domino effect, suggesting everything that happens is predetermined. Free will, on the other hand, champions the idea that individuals have the power to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded. This debate touches on fundamental aspects of human existence, ethics, and the justice system. It pushes us to consider if we’re truly responsible for our actions or merely actors following a script written by the universe.

Are our choices our own, or are we riding the waves of deterministic laws? What do you think about the dance between determinism and free will?

Fulin (he/him) 17 NSW


The driver’s licence club sucks, and I don’t even know if I want to join

I hate that getting a driver’s licence in Australia depends on two things: having a supportive family and/or a lot of money.

Why is it such an effort just to be able to drive in Australia? Here I am, despairing, because I failed my driving test after spending so much money on lessons and car hires.

I don’t have a car and I live alone. The system only allows me to drive if I’m accompanied by a fully licensed driver, so I can’t freely practice on my own. I can ask friends for help, except their car insurance often doesn’t cover drivers other than themselves.

It’s times like these that I envy other learners, often teens who can learn with their parents and using their family car in their own time – no need to drop $60 for each hour of lesson.

It really sucks that public transport is shabby, a lot of jobs require a driver’s licence, but you must fork out a fortune to even get on the road.

Anonymous, 28 NSW


Thinkin about life

I think the city makes me antsy. Thigh-jiggling, toe-tappingly edgy. The yelling cars booming; trains, trucks, buses, e-bikes and uniforms, humanity’s palette displayed a thousand different ways, the amalgamation of shapes and iterations, all screaming look at me, try my product, be jealous of my friends, don’t forget to subscribe, and never bite off more than you can chew. The billboards. Anything that makes people look up is revered by proxy, the fresh perspective came from the movement in your neck, or perhaps you like to be called, almost unconsciously as if pulled. What’s creepy about my billboard? The model frets, and honestly nothing is wrong with the picture it’s just, I’m the kind of person who holds a healthy distrust for institutions who weaponise their power, and the way people open their mouths in worship of a system that is in many ways responsible for upholding so much human suffering is disturbing to take in. I am praying that they are just talking shit, I know it’s not the same and I know these kids aren’t me (we are all different humans with unique ways of being), they say lightning never strikes the same place twice but the jury’s out on nature itself, she seems so free.

Anonymous, 25 NSW


What are your plans?! Son/daughter…

Teenage!! Quite interesting and curious period huhhh!! The period of transitions, the period of changes, the period of realisations. I am a mediocre teenage student who is confused about his future. How can I have success? Maybe it will be an issue for all my peers? Following every successful personality on social media, checking their daily content, participating in giveaways, clicking on random links and doing several other things.

Its only because of this society, right?! In my country the bride group is only asking for a groom who has a government job. Uncles and Aunties are eagerly trying to interview with each and every kid and implementing their rusting thoughts to them. The whole society is targeting these teenagers, telling them don’t do this, don’t do that, you’re a boy, you’re a girl, you shouldn’t go out, stay with your parents, etc etc.

Our society is not allowing youth to interact with the world. They are forced to be on social media. And when we come to the question, how can we guide them through right path?! As we know we have some skills and talents, but we are not ready to show off them. What others will think, will it be a shame to me, maybe we all have once thought about this stupid stuffs. It’s a hard time to think different. We are the future. We should establish our innovative ideas and share them with society. We shouldn’t listen and change our passion by the words from unknown persons. It’s our right to choose our future. Maybe it will consist of a less standard of living, but it will not be a regret.

Abron (he/him), 18 India 


Getting to know yourself

I’m doing an exercise from a book, listing out my preferences in colours, sports, music, weather and clothing. It feels silly, but also surprisingly fun. To be able to assert who I am, what I like and dislike, is refreshing and empowering.

Ever heard of the proverb “children should be seen and not heard”? When you grew up not being heard, when adults were more interested in getting you to do what they wanted, you stopped being curious about yourself as well and focused on fitting in. I trusted my instincts less and less, and I yearned for other people’s approval because I thought they would always know better.

But now that I trust myself more, I can hear myself better and know what’s right for me. I understand having different interests or boundaries isn’t a crime, and the right people will be respectful of my choices. And because I respect my preferences, I have more compassion for other people’s choices, too.

Joanita (she/her), 28 ACT 


Symphony of Despair

In the abyss, where shadows devour the last gleam,
Life’s feeble echo silenced, drowned in a hopeless dream.
Despair’s dance, a relentless, soul-shattering cry,
Raging against the dying, a futile attempt to defy.
Torment’s tapestry, woven with threads of endless gloom,
Loved ones mere specters, swallowed by impending doom.
Craft a life in the void, where passion withers away,
In the heart of despair, where dreams decay.
A symphony of hopelessness, a dirge of eternal night,
The echoes of the finale wail, a soul-crushing blight.
In the fading ember of passion, where darkness prevails,
A journey into the abyss, where all meaning fails.

Shashwat (he/him) 19 India


The Essence

You may reside hundreds of miles apart, but each and every second you live within me; for, you see, you held my body for nine months and my soul for eternity. Time fleets by, moments turn into memories, teachings turn into lessons but your persona remains unchanged. Life races with time every now and then, only to fall short of our bond in my veins. While having these five-star meals nostalgia gives a call; I can’t help cherishing erstwhile home cooked meal which had your grace. The office bags seems expensive in terms of materialistic gains perhaps the frugal school bag is something I relish carrying over and over again. In the rattle of this bustling city, there’s nothing next to the soothing melody which your voice would bring me. You see—in the end we all become stories, perhaps the way we are in someone’s story leads to subsequent other stories; one of many things you taught me.

Ali (he/him,), 25 India


Do we know everything at 16 or do we know nothing?

I thought it would be sooner but the first person to have a kid in our grade was last year, to their second cousin, they share the same last name.

I was spiritual life captain at school and I felt like an imposter, a sheep in wolf’s clothing preaching passages to the flock. Tutored by someone who didn’t believe in the right for women to choose if they wanted an abortion or not. Someone who was later fired for inappropriate conduct with kids. There was a group chat but that’s all we know. He had been on the watch list for years my friend said as their dad was police. The teacher asked if I was Lutheran, and I said no. He proceeded to then only let the homophobic spiritual life captain talk to kids about God, not even asking the other captain whose family was Greek Orthodox. Just because our Gods were a little different to his.

The homophobe spiro had an unidentical twin who was the star and could run literal laps around the other boys in cross country. But since alcohol had been at parties he’d lost popularity, an angry drunk now in the army. It must have been hard, always being judged against the other and I know his homophobia wasn’t completely his, it had been passed down a generation. He was the only hand raised against the rest of the class to say he didn’t believe that gay marriage should have been legalised. What was with that vote anyway? A letter sent in the paper to my parents – it didn’t affect them. It affected me and my friends, but the dye was cast to rest in my already-married parents’ and grandparents’ hands.

Josephine (she/her), 23

The fate of Humanitarian Organisations

I’ve always wondered with Humanitarian Organisations, specifically organisations that focus solving social problems such as poverty, hunger, social justice etc. I want to ask, is the plan they make for their organisation, once they have completed their mission, do they disband as an organisation? Now this doesn’t refer to their focus groups affected by factors that are uncontrolled e.g. natural disasters, disabilities. As an example, you may have heard of a famous YouTuber who built 100 wells in Africa to provide clean drinking water and he did this in a few months.

I praise the YouTuber’s actions but the Humanitarian Organisation(s) in the area say that the YouTuber has belittled the years of work they have done. To me at least, it seems like they wanted to prolong the work for as long as they could to keep their organisation(s) to be relevant and keep a steady job. I understand some things take time but also time is not a luxury, and it makes sense to provide these solutions as timely and effectively as possible, and Humanitarian Organisations do amazing and caring work, but if the mission is to end something, it would probably mean the organisation would end too.

Anonymous, 29 NSW


New Years Resolutions

I’ve always liked the idea of New Years Resolutions. But to be honest, by the time the year ends I never really remember what my resolution was, or whether I achieved it. I think I say the same resolutions every year; exercise more, eat healthier, read more, have more fun, fix your sleep schedule, stick to a skincare routine, get smarter, get stronger, get fitter, get happier.

I usually form some new habits, and they usually last a week, maybe a month if I’m lucky. I don’t quite understand why we decide change can only occur when a new year begins. Why must we wait until a new month, or a new week, or a new day? Can’t I change my life on a Wednesday at 3:43pm? Can I not alter my entire being on the 17th of September?

My resolution this year is to not be confined by unspoken rules, to seek change always, for it is through discomfort that we grow.

Luna (she/her), 18 NSW



As we grow up, teenagers are encouraged into extracurriculars. Most of us do, after all almost everyone has some sort of hobby. My friends are the ones who have too many, for the most part, as we bond over sleepless nights and no free time. We fill our arms with activities, putting all our energy into anything we enjoy. I wonder sometimes, do I even still enjoy them?

There’s this odd little community of us, overachieving teenagers. Every one of them are passionate, and driven, and doing far too much for a teenager. We run non-profits, play competitive sports, volunteer, debate, perform, code, organise, tutor. Somehow, in the mix of things, we spend time with family and friends. We balance so many things, one after another, and free time is a luxury. I think most of us are used to it, at this point, but at seventeen I, and I think most of us really, forget we are worth more than our achievements. Conversations remind us there is more to life than doing the most we can and keeping our arms from overflowing.

Ariel (they/them), 17 NSW 


Optimism is what you make it

Optimism’s an idea that’s plagued me for a while, another label I’m not sure how to use. There are times when I call myself a realist, and others when I’ve been deemed a pessimist, but the notion that I may be an optimist never held any weight. When it comes to love and destiny, I’m cynical. When the future’s up in the air, I fear the worst. Seemingly textbook pessimism. Yet still, I found myself annoyed when people would write me off as a pessimist, probably because negativity feels like a cop-out, but the lessons I’ve learnt that have formed my way of thinking were far from easy. It’s odd to me that so much shame was cast upon me for being a ‘negative nancy,’ but no one stopped to question WHY my child-brain festered such a bleak outlook.

I had stopped considering optimism entirely, until the other day when I was out for lunch with a friend, who in the years that I had known her, had been an absolute source of joy and kindness. And yet that day, she opened up about her life, and a lot of it was remarkably and rather unfortunately relatable to my own experiences. To paraphrase her, her life kinda sucked, but it sucked a little less this week than last, and she didn’t see the point in getting hung up on what life has been but rather what it could be in a less sucky future. I thought to myself, this is real optimism, and realised that a lot of the ‘optimism’ I’d bore witness to seemed more like empty delusion. And this optimism; this raw, unfiltered and honest introspection, actually felt achievable. And so optimism became less glass full glass empty, and a little bit more nuanced, as I discovered that optimism shouldn’t be bound by one definition or practice, but looked a little different in everyone’s own glass.

“If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?” – Candide by Voltaire

Caitlyn (she/her), 18 NSW


Happiness as a measure of success

I was reading through some old notes of mine and came across something I wrote 3 years ago – when I was 15:

“My biggest fear in life is wasted potential. Or to put it bluntly failure.

I have set unrealistically high standards for myself. I will do anything to become something that my younger self is proud of. Something that others expect of me. Everyone has this image. That I am destined for success. That they can’t see a reality in which I am not successful. And I make it seem like this image is imposed on me by others. Yet I know that it was me. I have this same image. I can’t see a world in which I have failed.”

After just completing year 12, I can genuinely say that I have succeeded. Perhaps not to the extent that my 15 year old self was hoping. But I think that my definition of success has changed over time. Because to me, success is happiness.

Last year taught me a lot about my priorities. Yes, I succeeded academically, but that’s not what I’m most proud of. I am proud of the connections I formed with others, the experiences I shared, and the joy I am now filled with.

Happiness is my new measure of success.

Luna (she/her), 18 NSW 


a plain Existence.

Today; the human species is abloom.
Tomorrow; the human spirit meets its doom.
Yesterday at work; life of authenticity traded for the coined survival of it.
Today, home from work; individual smiles for screens ignoring the individual’s plain existence. Smiles for the ignorance of the individual’s loss of living.
Tomorrow; the human species numbers merely bloom.
So that today; the human spirit meets its doom.

Sabrina (she/they), 17 VIC 


Grey Stardust

I think we all get a little too caught up trying to be good people. So concerned with making mistakes or being selfish because it will make us bad. I always thought everyone was good, and we just make mistakes. You can be a good person and have done a bad thing. But how many bad things until the good has seeped out of you? Until the dark spots are no longer spots, instead they are all-encompassing. A soul of charcoal. I think I realised that no one is good. But no one is bad either. We’re all just lost and trying to survive the best we can. Some of us might make more mistakes, more drastic ones. But at the end of the day, we’re all just grey. No soul is charcoal, they’re all just ash. We were forged from the ash of a black hole after all. We’re all just grey stardust, and I think that’s beautiful.

Luna (she/her), 18 NSW


I spent 27 minutes writing this

Last week I spent 540 minutes on public transportation. 1,200 minutes procrastinating, and 1,980 minutes staring off into space, watching the clock tick by, stuck behind the counter of a mindless part-time job.

It is all too easy to compartmentalise life based on time. My priorities become seemingly apparent when my life is stripped back and the distribution of my time is revealed. Except that the 720 minutes I spent with my friends meant more than the 1,980 working. The 50 minutes spent at the gym cleared my mind much more effectively than the 1,200 spent lost in thought. And the 40 minutes spent in the car with my family meant more than the 540 on public transport.

Time is precious, but we also have to recognise that often, mundane tasks account for the majority of our time, and that’s okay. It just means that we have to value every second we spend doing things we love and being with those we love.

Luna (she/her), 18 NSW

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