| Interview by Ronnie |
'From my memory box' is a heartfelt series, where we interview creatives whom we admire and find out about a personal keepsake of theirs that has special meaning for them and their families. Today we invite Leah Deighton, a mother of two seeking to live simply in northern New South Wales, Australia, to share something precious from her memory box.
Tell us a little about you and your family.
I live in a small town in Northern NSW with my partner, our 2 children (Tal is 16 and Suri is 9), and our 30 chickens (all of which are named). My son is a kind hearted teenager who will stand up for what he thinks is right. He likes to sleep in on weekends and hates doing chores. He is passionate about music, sensitive, caring, and excitable. He also falls in love deeply like me, which makes my heart sing and ache at the same time. My daughter is a tutu-wearing, tree-climbing, adventure-seeking, and animal-loving child. She loves to create, loves the circus, and loves spending time playing with our chickens. She is shy and kind and caring.
Together, we live in an off-grid bush home – our home is run on solar power, and our water comes from our spring. Living off-grid is sometimes challenging; simple chores can become involved, time-consuming, and exhausting, but I love it and would choose it all over again. Living simply and slowly helps me to notice the beauty in the everyday, in the difficult, and in the mess. It is a gentle reminder for me to be grateful for the little things.
What role does memory keeping play in your life?
I am an obsessed photo-taker. I love capturing a raw, unedited heart moment and being able to hold on to it for just a bit longer. I love how looking at an image can conjure up a sensation, emotion, or the smell of a moment. I love that I can be transported back there in an instant. At the end of last year, I purchased the Unravel Your Photos workshop-in-a-box in an attempt to try and structure my visual memory keeping. This feels both overwhelming and exciting, but my fingers are crossed.
I am sensitive and sentimental by nature, and I am an emotional hoarder – much to my partner’s frustration. I believe sentimentality can transform ordinary objects into priceless treasures. I have all my kids' teeth in a beautiful blue glass jar, hair from their first haircut, and several precious items of baby clothing. I like to think that I can become a minimalist, but you may need to check back in in a few years' time.
Tell us about your keepsake. Where do you keep it, and why is it precious to you?
These scuffed red shoes that my daughter wore when she was four hold a special place in my heart. They live on an old tray on my desk, and they remind me of when my kids were younger and of the time before my mama was sick. Red shoes were my mama's favourite; and these little Mary Janes make me think of her – I remember how deeply she loved her grandchildren, and how they loved her with their whole beings. This one little pair of red shoes reminds me of how strong I am. That my heart can be broken and then pieced back together with little moments of joy – never the same again, but still able to love wholly.
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You can read the other interviews in this series here.