The objects in our lives hold meaning, or at least some of them do. They encapsulate what is important and meaningful to us. They are the physical representations of our happiness, sorrow, frustration and apathy. Given enough time even the most mundane of objects hold immense value. Historians spend countless hours pouring over the mundane because that is where you can glimpse the realities of everyday life. The story of a society is not told through its big events or accomplishments, but through the everyday objects, hopes, dreams and thoughts of its people. To sum up a rather momentous academic year, we at The Meliorist have contemplated the meaning that objects hold and the relationship they have to our experiences. We would love to hear about the objects that are important to you in the comments on our website!
Sorcha Deheer – Editor in Chief
I tried being a minimalist for a long time. It was marketed as a catch-all way to invite happiness and contentment into your life. I also liked the anti-capitalist undertones that it carried. This last year or so I have realized that I am not built for this kind of lifestyle or aesthetic and that is okay. I can be anti-consumerist by buying with intention, buying second hand and supporting small, local, queer, and/or anti-capitalist artists. My walls are now covered with albums, hats, artwork, photos, postcards and other ephemera. Books pile up and plants litter the remaining space. I also allowed myself to own the outrageous and fun clothes that I wanted to wear. Embracing the clothes or the “maximalist” aesthetic continues to be a challenge. I know this sounds like a first-world problem and it probably is, but I’ll explain.
I grew up poor and we moved around a lot. We lived in unstable, sometimes dangerous situations. We lived in shelters. Consequently, we often lost a good portion of our belongings, if not all of them. We lost photos, keepsakes, family heirlooms and treasured items. We lived with hoarders who filled our houses with so much stuff that it became impossible to clean. It became ingrained that we could lose everything at any time. This mindset is hard to get out of and has resulted in panic attacks and mass purging of belongings out of fear and shame.
Like many early 2000s kids, I embraced alternative styles. I wore a mix of goth, emo, grunge and punk clothes, dyed my hair and adorned far too much eyeshadow. I was never one to stick to a particular style and I always loved expressing myself through clothes. Being alternative and poor made for an easy target at school. In high school, after losing most of my belongings and going through a rough time, I began to mute myself. This continued for many years after high school as I tried to fit in with the people around me. There was and remains a pervasive culture where women and girls were only seen as equal if they shunned typically feminine things. The “not like other girls” trope. I took out most of my piercings and stopped doing crazy things with my hair. I stopped wearing makeup, doing my nails, etc. Only in the last year or so have I been able to express myself in an authentic and creative way.
So what is my object you ask? If I had to pick one I think it would be my vintage (thrifted) fur coat. A fur coat is loud, it’s feminine and it’s unnecessary. It tells the world that you don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. It’s the kind of thing I haven’t had the courage to wear for a long time.
Liam Devitt – News Editor
Over the past year or so, I’ve written a lot of songs. Most are really terrible, but that’s just art. Also, when you’re faced with an apocalyptic event, trying to write nice songs that aren’t total downers is really impossible. But writing them out and getting them down is important. So, the item which I am now showing and telling is my guitar. Well, one of my guitars–this Martin is the one that I write almost every song on at first. It sounds nice, it plays well, the tone isn’t too bright. Will you ever hear the album’s worth of material I wrote and recorded over the past year? Oh god, probably not.
Edward Hsiang – Sciences Editor
So the item in my apartment with the most backstory is probably a can opener. Back in my undergrad, I did an internship in Connecticut where the company offered free accommodations in the form of company-owned condos. This included a hodgepodge of old and used kitchenware, most of which was ignored by new tenants who obviously preferred to buy and use their own. Fast forward a couple of months in, to a night of drunken foolishness, and you’d find me swinging this can opener around, claiming it was “the world’s deadliest weapon”. This obviously haunted me for the rest of my stay there, but nonetheless, I took it back to Canada with me as a keepsake of my time there. Since then, the can opener has been with me through several moves across several cities. True to its prophesied name, however, this can opener has accidentally cut a guest in my house on three separate occasions, one of whom insisted they needed a tetanus shot at 3 in the morning because they couldn’t trust this can opener with a questionable history.
Jax Stienstra – Designer
My show and tell is the September/October magazine! I started this job without any clue about designing a magazine, I have improved so much since then. This year has been rough for a lot of people myself included. Humans don’t grow while having a good time, we grow the most when it’s hard. I find it astounding that the work in the first edition took me so long to do, now I can do that amount of work in a few hours! This edition will be the best-designed edition for this year because I have grown and learned a lot.
Mikey Lewis – Business Manager
My show & tell item for this year is this extremely nerdy little Funko Pop figurine of Adrian Tepes/Alucard, as depicted in the Castlevania animated series on Netflix (I’ve never played the games, don’t come for me). This silly version of my #1 favourite bisexual emo vampire represents a lot for me and this past season of my life. Quarantine forced me to get in touch with a lot of things that I’d let go by the wayside, particularly when it came to my creative passions, interests, gender, and family. The figurine was given to me by my dad, with whom I reconnected in a really deep way over the summer; the character’s gender presentation validates my own in a huge way; reconnecting with my love of anime brought a lot of joy and celebration of my inner child, and all of this reminded me of my passion for my own stories and art, and my desire to refocus on bringing them into the world. Every time I look at this clueless, sweet boy, I’m reminded of all the ways I’ve treasured myself this year, and all the things I can’t wait to do in the future. Hopefully without being left out of one of the best polyamorous throuples in history. If the next season doesn’t involve an exquisitely gay redemption arc, I’m rejecting it as canon.
Alexis Kelly – Website & Marketing Coordinator
2020 marked the year that university residences closed and after bouncing back and forth between family homes, I moved into my own place. I received a French Press as a housewarming gift along with a coffee grinder – this, however, is not that French press. I tragically broke the one I received and decided to purchase a new one. The first few times I made French press coffee; the coffee was not good. I had the measurements all wrong, I wasn’t putting in enough coffee grinds for the amount of water and it quite literally tasted like “bean water” instead of like the rich, delicious, caffeine-fueled morning I was looking for. This French Press has carried me through many morning classes and long meetings and during a pandemic, it has provided a routine. Before, I would just hit a button on a Keurig or Nespresso. But the routine of boiling the water, grinding the coffee beans, and the satisfying push of the coffee grinds down to the bottom of this coffee contraption feels more intentional. With the “robotic” or same day over and over again feeling a lot of us get from the pandemic work-from-home lifestyle, the intentional nature of this way of making coffee gives me a moment of metaphorical fresh air in the morning before diving into the computer. (Also, when it’s nice, I recommend enjoying your coffee in the literal fresh air).
Oseremen Irete – Arts Editor
My show and tell item is my couch. When I moved into my current apartment in September I was intent on making it an interesting space knowing I would be spending a lot of time there while outside was closed. I searched thrift stores and the virtual garage sale that is Facebook Marketplace until I found some furniture that would turn my house into a home. When I saw this couch, I just knew.
This is no ordinary couch. It’s a 7 feet long, velvety, baby pink beauty and I’m pretty sure it belonged to someone’s grandmother before me. I live alone and spend a lot of time by myself and this couch has become a home within my home. After a long day of work I look forward to nothing more than to stretch out across my long ass pink couch listening to silence and traffic. The couch has seen parts of me that those closest to me never have and probably never will. I have cried, laughed, eaten, slept, sang, mourned and more on this couch. In a time where companionship is rare, it’s nice to have something that makes loneliness a little more comfortable.