Sunday, 21 December 2014

Growing Up is not my friend.


For most, and in many circumstances, Growing Up is not one's best friend. Growing Up is in fact the enemy of practically anybody with a poor, fragile heart. It always comes in the least expected moments, in quiet bubbles of ignorant bliss it blasts your peaceful mind with Grown Upness which usually means realisation of some horrid thing or another.

It grows in frequency and weakens the amount of pain it causes for eventually Growing Up is fully done and the inevitability has had time to sink in. It happens when you realise that Father Christmas isn't real and for the next few years that once very special day dips in magic and excitement until you can come to settle with the other festive joys. It happens when your body starts to change itself despite your desperate cries for it to stop and stay the same for ever and ever in clean and new perfection. It happens when instead of games running off pure imagination your attention turns less intensely to other distractions that need more material than just the wonders inside of your head. Suddenly boredom is so much more prominent and hours go by with not one ounce of inspiration for a game or even for a cushion fort to make. Younger children seem silly now and with your sudden superiority you try to ride this wave of hormones and understanding with as much dignity as any young person is capable of. Unfortunately however you just keep falling down and yearn for your mum to hold you in her arms so that distant memory of being held as a baby can sooth you from the imminent Growing Up you will have to do.

As you reach the end of the official stage of Growing Up it's possibly the most painful. The absolute realisation of a childhood utterly lost to broken memory and a box of toys and DVDs that now collects dust in the loft hits hard at random points in the day. It is like you are stuck between struggling through this last treacle like stage to get out of it, or desperately clinging to whatever you can hold onto so as not to leave any of it behind. It is like you are both being rushed along by a strong current, and suspended in a stillness that you cannot wilfully remove yourself from.

Growing Up is, as we all sorely remember and experience, really, really, really hard. So far I'm not sure if I'm near to the good bit yet. I can still feel pangs of sad nostalgia that open new, sore wounds of memory. I'm fully aware of a slight feeling of loss, and yet anticipation all at the same time. It really is a wonder anyone gets out of this part alive.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Death to uniform.

I have been wearing uniform all my life. From the age of 4 I've gone to school in red, then blue and then finally black. As a primary school child I paid little attention to my uniform. Clothes didn't exactly bother me, I was pretty preoccupied with other important stuff such as who will play mum in today's mums and dads game. Or if you were a child with a slightly overactive imagination like me, who will play the pregnant teenage daughter of the negligent mother in our more modern, more dysfunctional mums and dads game. But more of that later.

The point is, when one's individuality is only just beginning to form it's just simply more practical for the parents to have the same outfit ready everyday. The same goes for the lower years of secondary school, younger minds needn't be bothered with social conformity so conforming in minor ways such as wearing school uniform isn't at all a problem. The problem arises when the scepticism starts to kick in. When the individuality has finally arrived and it suddenly matters a great deal to the hormonal, bad tempered teenager. Suddenly you're being told to do something you most likely despise. To wear an ill fitting, uncomfortable skirt or blazer at the age of fifteen, an age riddled with crippling insecurity, is a little bit like death. One comes to the realisation soon after this age that, perhaps unintentionally or even wholly deliberately, you and all your peers have been trained into a uniform way of living and looking that is apparently the foundations on which the entire business world stands upon. Because then, of course, sixth form comes around and uniforms are abolished. Almost.

This is, for most schools, the pinnacle moment of uniformity. The boys will wear suits and the girls will look smart also. You will all look like lawyers and bankers or you will go home. The rules perhaps are more malleable for the girls, but totally unavoidable for the boys. This is the proper way to look. People will take you seriously like this, even if you have no say in the matter. Even if you'd actually prefer to look like an artist, or a punk, or a goth or any other fashion you can identify with. This is the adult world now, and we must all go forth together banded with ties and cufflinks galore.

Don't dye your hair, don't pierce your body, please wear a tie, do up your top button, wear a black suit, wear a matching skirt and blazer, don't show your shoulders, don't wear ankle boots, make sure your skirt isn't too short or too tight, and please, for the love of god, look the same as everybody else.

Looking your best is important, for most people it is even pleasurable. But everyone's 'best' is not the same, so please stop trying to tell me your made up rules.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

To the end of all things.

To the end of all things. Of all things good, happy and bizarre. I would like to say a thank you, despite each very sad good bye. Despite the moments after where everything returns to the mundane, the ordinary, the calm and the slow. It is in these moments where the end becomes real and the newly formed memories grow more distant and more surreal the more they're remembered. 

Oh happy dreams are only truly allowed to exist in our head whilst the outside world churns out its daily life with less sentimentality than we'd dare like to believe. But to these memories that happened only yesterday I do say thank you, because it is with them I can make up this strange and lovely fabric of my life and story. I hope it only grows in detail and vivacity as I grow older with it. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Case of Michael Brown.

It is not really relevant whether the witness statements or Darren Wilson's claims are correct in the case of Michael Brown. It's not really relevant how innocent each side of the party is. What matters is that this one moment has angered thousands of people, black and white, across America and overseas. 
If it was just another example of the questionable use of guns in the USA I don't think we'd really feel the same. The general consensus has been made clear on that one, it's not something to be changing any time soon.
But we are shaking our heads and banging our fists now because there is just one more story in the headlines to add to our huge, historical collection of racial discrimination that tips yet another build up of prejudice over the edge and into the ridiculous. 

It is 2014. We are pushing ourselves to the height of technological progress and creating things our ancestors would not have been able to conceive. And yet, we still have to fight against a very large and very unhappy group people who still fail to understand the concept and the goodness of equality. Who, for some reason, have not allowed history to bury its head in the sand to forget all of the awful things it had done but perpetuate it instead. They perpetuate this fear of the 'other', the 'unknown', the 'different'. 

Over the past 100 years or so the ball has been rolling, we've gained so much more than those at the beginning could have imagined and yet we are still so far from what we could achieve. Because young, black men are being shot mainly for the colour of their skin. Because these young, black men are often forced into following a life of crime because the ghetto concept still exists. There is still a separation between black and white. There is still white privelage. And I am truly, truly sick of it.  

The sides of the story in the Ferguson case are not relevant because the fact that Michael Brown was black should not be a factor that decides how trustworthy his side is. We should not be having to seriously challenge the American authorities like it's the 1960s all over again. I know that every protestor out there has enough energy to carry on screaming until somebody listens so I do not need to tell them to carry on, because I know that they will. Instead I will say that my thoughts are with Brown's family and everyone who is supporting them, because for some sad reason they need all the support they can get.

 Come on, America, for one of the most powerful countries in the world this all seems really  rather backwards. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

It's a Large World After All.

I've probably said it before and I'll probably say it again, the world is enormous and life is just one exciting/traumatic circumstance after the other. The planet is full of dangers lurking in certain whereabouts and magnificent wonders both compacted together on one rock. Our lives are so complex that the fantastical phenomenons of our bodies and mental capacities have us stunned at our own capabilities. There may be a reason for our existence, or there may not. Life could be just one big, brilliant scientific coincidence. Think how marvellous that would be.

However despite how already intricate our lives may be we still let ourselves be pummelled down by the tiniest, most unimportant issues life can throw at us. Whether these be a lull in our day to day lives with too much repetition so that we feel we're in an updated version of Groundhog Day, or an insignificant failure at school or work that can easily be improved upon, or the dissatisfaction with life that will come over in waves throughout our existence no matter how optimistic you claim to be. These are all natural problems we come to face, but to make a real deal out of such events seems so ridiculous. To want to call them crises is hyperbolic. They are not crises, they are just little hiccups in the grand scheme of things.

You are a working, vital part of this huge machine called Earth. You are small, but that's okay, because it means that those minor issues are even smaller. Life is still astonishing no matter how bored, or agitated or uninterested you are. Don't let the small things get to the heart, they're really nothing in the bigger picture.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Cheers, Love.

Call me a Bad Feminist but I don't find being called babe/love/sweetheart/darling by a man I might not know offensive or intrusive. In fact, I find it comforting. If a man serving me in a shop, or someone I serve at work calls me 'love' during a conversation in a friendly manner it actually brightens my day a little. It's the same feeling I'd get from a woman using the same endearing phrases. It is pleasant and shows an acknowledgement of your presence. It's often intended to put you at ease, and it does, for me anyway. 

I know that some women find this behaviour insulting. That they are annoyed by it if some creepy older man starts calling them 'sweetheart' but you have to look at it in context to justify calling such a phrase a form of harassment. Had said man followed said woman out of a bar and then called her 'darling' that would be creepy and definitely be harassment. Had he tried to chat said woman up inside the bar the same interpretation would apply. However, what if this man was just the bar man and said it to all of his customers just as a small part of his friendly disposition? Of course the woman has every right to find this irritating, we're all different, but there's no way it can be labelled as harrassment. And sometimes it is. Or at least complained about in a manner that would suggest it was some awful sexist faux pas. 

It's terribly precarious territory to start accusing women of making a fuss over nothing and I am by no means trying to make such a point. That's why we have such shocking stories of rape being unabashadely ignored. But if you start throwing accusations around of every day politeness being yet another form of sexism then we get ourselves into another mess. 

If as a woman, or even as a man, you are offended by being called certain names such as 'darling' then make sure that if you show coldness to whoever said it because of this that they weren't just being friendly. We need more friends in this world as it is. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

In defence of a fandom...

Ever since I was 8 years old there has always been something within in me that desperately hopes to hear a wheezing, whirring sound of a blue box turning up out of nowhere so that I could go away and visit the stars for the day. I am almost 17 and that wish only gets stronger.

You could say that being so involved in a television programme is juvenile and a waste of time and there are so many other things I could be admiring. I do admire lots of things, I find the world an extremely delightful place and I do a lot of things in it, but there is such a strong sense of escapism with Doctor Who that I cannot help but feel it is something rather special to me.

It is ridiculous, absurd and often very silly but I have been in love with the idea of the Doctor for a long time and its impact has a wonderful effect. We all whine and moan about Stephen Moffat's new plots that slightly go off on a tangent and end up contradicting everything that's been said before on the show but if you look past the sometimes precarious writing and focus on the conception it never really loses its magic.

Imagine that one day this old fashioned police box appears suddenly and out steps a forthright man in eccentric clothing. Somehow you get caught up in some save-the-day scenario that's both terrifying and exciting and afterwards he invites you to travel with him. But he doesn't mean just travel the world, he means the stars and all of time. You step inside the blue box to find it's infinitely bigger on the inside and can do all manner of peculiar but wonderful things. You meet historical idols, and fight unimaginable alien beings in far off lands that no other human has heard of. And eventually you come to realise that the man you've been travelling with is a mad genius who is kind and wise and dark and fun and represents every person you could be or have been. You know that in any situation you could possibly be in he will always, always save you and take you away. You understand, after a while, that no one is better than he is and that's just the most fantastic thing about him. Even when he changes his face, you can never really be scared with him around, you are always safe from every evil.

I think that the last bit, about having an eternal friend who can save you from everything, is the idea that most people connect with. Because for 45 minutes on a Saturday night you can escape from everything frightening and be in a world of possibilities. Sometimes, although it's a little bit sad, it feels like coming home when I watch Doctor Who.

And that's what I love about it. It's terribly British and quirky and nonsensical. And it gives you this brilliant imaginary friend that I think all of us want and need.

So there is something slightly ludicrous about adoring a silly TV show so ardently and I do seem like a bit of a loser, but I think that the Doctor is really, really cool. And that's a nice thing to have.