Saturday, 21 November 2015

Empty morning mind.

Is it okay to not write a blog post some weeks? When my mind feels a little empty of ideas and conjuring something up feels exhausting, is that okay?

Shouldn't I always be trying to share something to try to stretch my mind? When I write it's like I've pressed the 'Start' button on my thoughts process and the cogs start to creak into action. That is a healthy, invigorating activity - why would I want to miss out on that? 

Or by forcing myself to write something am I just vomiting up more drivel into a place bursting at the seams with such stuff? Nobody needs to read more rubbish. But then I am not holding a gun at any one's head to read this, so I suppose it can do no harm. 

I have written this post just after deciding to myself that I wouldn't write one this week. I had looked at my list of ideas and felt too uninspired to bother. And then of course I gave myself this accidental idea. The minute I thought of it the words started to collect together to make the first sentence. Okay, I thought, that sounds good enough. 

I have enjoyed writing this post. It has woken my mind up. I feel I have begun to exercise my thoughts. I don't know whether you will enjoy it. Perhaps it doesn't matter, I have answered my own question. My mind isn't empty anymore. 

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Oh, Paris.

Oh, Paris.

What a terrible, terrible night. Perhaps my contribution to the display of 'unity' will not be helpful in any way but my heart was breaking all evening as each horrible bit of news was spread to all of us sat a little stunned at the events unfolding. This must be a smaller version of what it has been like for cities not in the west to have everything pulled down around them in wars that nobody asked for. We do not face a war here but how hard it is to see a neighbouring landmark rich with history and life and culture be battered with an element of sickly terror. We receive news of guns and bombs in far off lands we might never know in more detail than in pictures, we haven't known these other cities before they became pocked with bullets and bombs. We know Paris. We have breathed it in. How awful it is to watch a home of ours become so shaken up. Perhaps our understanding of the effect of such ghastly events all over the world should grow when it hits our own bubble. Perhaps it shouldn't.

I wonder what my children will learn as a result of this in their history lessons. The same way I have been taught about the Cold War that my parents and grandparents lived through. I wonder what this event will have eventually surmounted to. I hope nothing too gruesome, too cruel, too lacking in humanity; my hope is riddled with doubt.

I am not sure that any of us know what to do with ourselves. What do we say? What stance do we take? What will be our response? Some of us are praying, which is nice if that works for you, but I think most of us just want to show we care. Our unity is touching and isn't the Internet magnificent in times like these? But what we will do afterwards it what concerns me the most...

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Twitter Mob.

There are some occasions where 'mob rule' might work perfectly; overthrowing a government, for example, or challenging authority. Often people worry about the tendency for 'mob rule' online; there's a much higher chance of influencing the masses on here although normally this 'mob rule' is a mistaken identity. The Internet is the prime tool for influential movements that have migrated from less well educated 'mob' to a much better informed group of individuals. One can do great and powerful things on this here virtual world and if this involves influencing the masses in a way where they have access to a thousand other sources and facts then it can be no such thing. That's not 'mob rule' that is just 'working things out'. Alas there are some occasions where the whole business of people working things out together gets lost in what is, essentially,  a 'mob rule'.

I follow a lot of activists online. I'm not sure how I ended up doing that but it is what fills up my twitter feed. Sometimes it looks like the brain vomit of a pretentious university student; all entitlement and opinions and unwavering self-belief. It is, for the most part, great. It is informative, interesting, and entertaining. Some people out there have very valid things to say about the world and I am here listening to them. And yet, sometimes I find myself annoyed by it all. Often I watch an argument unfold on my twitter feed and often it can get very aggressive. Sometimes I find myself feeling a little defensive of the losing side even if I don't completely agree with them. Sometimes it stops becoming an argument and simply becomes a 'slay'. A 'slay' is when a twitter activist cuts down completely what their opponent is saying and 'educates' them on what they were very wrong about. Lots of people join in. 'Slay' is a completely appropriate word choice. The poor bugger won't have a chance to fight back. I am not convinced that they have been 'educated' and I would say that this 'slaying' is a form of 'mob rule'. There is no debate, there is just an aggressive string of information that leaves no leeway. So sometimes this 'slaying' involves telling outright racists or misogynists to go shove their head in the ground, but sometimes a rather mild statement gets ripped apart before anyone actually gives it any thought.

The other day a Twitter activist I follow asked the question "is it okay for a black man to say he is not attracted to black women?". A white woman innocently replied with something along the lines of "don't people date who they are attracted to?". A completely valid response because, yes, people do date whomever they are attracted to. But instead of her remark being taken into consideration in the discussion the original question was supposed to invoke, or even being ignored, two men got back to her with lines like "no one asked you, white girl". I understand the implications of white entitlement, and white privilege which can overpower or even silence black voice but I don't see this as being an example of that. I see people not listening to her and shutting her down before coming to a well thought out conclusion in what is an interesting discussion topic. It was a completely unnecessary 'slay'.

Maybe 'mob rule' is too strong a phrase for little moments like this. But I do see it happen quite a lot. There is a lack of debate, of discussion, of respecting each other in the process of both those things. I think I see a lot of people getting overwhelmed by a feeling or a belief and finding a group of people who feel or believe the same and moving in that group of people without letting a new idea in. They get the idea that they have to all bring down their opponents, they have to 'slay' them. This, to me, looks a little bit like mob mentality. It doesn't look healthy and I really don't think it is educating anyone but those who are already on the 'right' side of the argument. I would much rather see an intense discussion unfold on something that could create an interesting topic rather than a huge group of Twitter users abusing a single voice for not thinking the way that they think. Surely that really isn't any fun?

Friday, 30 October 2015

I must always have my writing.

I use this blog to express ideas that come into my head each week so that I can share them with whoever cares to take notice. Every post that I have written is about something I genuinely feel concerned or passionate about. This is all real. But I have a problem. Sometimes, more recently in fact, I feel as if my posts do not adequately express what I wished to convey. They lack something. They do not fully articulate what I feel. And sometimes I know this before I press 'Publish' and still it does not deter me. I 'Publish' half finished work. I half say what I had to say.

Even if when I conceive an idea, and I write it down, I feel very positive and energised by what I have to say yet by the time it comes to actually writing out the post I feel deflated and the content becomes haphazard.

At the moment I am in my last year of school and in the midst of heavy workload and impending, life changing exams. I am waiting for universities to accept my application, and preparing for interviews, and I have landed myself an important role in the school play which I have offered my full commitment to. I am angsty and nervous and exhausted and stressed all the time but I cannot let this go, this blog, because to me that would be doing myself a great form of injustice. I must always have my writing.

However, my 'writing' becomes a little skewed in amongst these great distractions and I force out ideas I care about but am too tired to bring full attention to. There is not a question of pausing, but I worry that I cannot express myself fully at this moment in time. I have a very busy mind and inside of it I shout about all manner of interesting things and often this does not make it to the page. I cannot always summon it. I do not finish what I have to say.

So what does one do when their most important means of expression starts to deteriorate? Or, the expression is not quite fully complete?

I think that answer is far away from my understanding but I do know this: if I keep writing and sharing and generating my views and ideas they will not fall dormant in the wake of other distractions. Even if I cannot always fully express what it is that I wish to come across I know that a little seedling of my thinking has been released out into the world and I am not going to sleep. School work does not inspire me, but contemplating the outside world and figuring it out on here is what keeps me going. And so, I will keep going. I will keep writing, writing, writing and eventually I will feel at peace with what I continue to share. I will have expressed myself; fully and completely.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Naked face.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and go to my mirror only to find that it looks as if I have been run over by a lorry and dragged through a bush backwards. Twice. When this happens it feels as if the person looking out from behind the skull should not be inside this suit of skin but somewhere else. Or, at least, it regrets its own image. Sometimes when somebody takes a picture of me I can't bear to look because I know that I will detest the outcome. I have never knowingly taken a magnificent photograph of myself. Only in crap quality and a heavy filter will it be okay. For some reason that makes a ginormous difference. 

And so to fix the problem of my own physical loathing I reach beside my mirror into a small pouch filled with liquids and creams to disguise my original bodily mask. For a few years now my signature style with these coloured, cosmetic fluids has been to paint on dramatic, over done winged eyeliner so that the shape of my eye is changed and I always look like I'm about to go to a party. I've done it for so long now that when people say that they love how I've done it I wonder why; it's just a part of my face. 

When this ridiculous eyeliner is wiped off at bedtime my face does change. It becomes plainer; boring. I don't like how small my eyes seem when they're not enclosed by big sweeping doses of black liquid. I don't like the way I really look. 

It was about two years ago that I felt that this mask I put on my face each morning was a lie. Why was I pretending? Surely this is dishonest? I am not actually a girl who finds it enormously difficult to go out without any makeup on. I do not cement my face with foundation and powder, the eyeliner is mostly my sole cosmetic friend, but I feel much more confident when I appeal to this social construct and paint it on my skin. 

But it was a lie, it is a lie, and not liking your face is pretty big deal - teen angst or not. So, in a weird act of self-exposure, when I feel that my face is not my own, or that I don't want to wear it, I buck it up and bear my naked visage to the world all day. 

Sometimes the experiment doesn't work. I go into the toilets at school and realise what a terrible mistake I've made when the lighting highlights the bags under my eyes and my skin looks a little pasty. But the lighting's a lie, or I just need to accept reality and move on to something more pressing, because I must not hate my face. 

Sometimes I go one step further and take a picture of my naked face to share with literally the whole world (if they wanted to look) just to prove to myself that I don't have to rely on the slightly corrupt idea of the cosmetic industry to make myself feel good. This actually works; I feel much more confident once I know that everyone else is accepting the way that I look so I must be doing the same. 

Going a day, or a week, or a month without makeup is an extremely healthy thing to do. You are not lying to yourself, or covering up what is completely natural and lovely for the sake of a culture that can't bear to look at women's naked faces. And it means that when I do choose to put on makeup it is a fashion statement and not a signifier of my own low self esteem. 

I will continue to teach myself to enjoy my own face because, for crying out loud, who taught me to hate the very skin I was born in? 

Saturday, 17 October 2015


Usually I have a very strong sense of what I believe. When I was younger I used to attach myself to a wave of feeling about a particular belief or argument and hold onto to it with all my strength of passion. I didn't consider that anything would change the way I thought, I was adamant. I was so sure of my sense of injustice, I was so sure I would be joining a crusade to fight all the baddies. I was so naive. 

I have been feeling a little different recently. A little less definite. A little less - naive? Perhaps it's because I've read more and I am even more aware of the world around me so I have been given a much wider sense of what is wrong. And what is right. And sometimes when it isn't clear whether something is right or wrong. And that's where it gets a little blurry. 

Actually, recently I have completely changed some of the beliefs I held before when I was a naive little social justice warrior because I just haven't been sure about what to think. There are some issues that I contemplate daily but I can't come to a conclusion about them. Sometimes I have been unable to decide who I could discuss the issues with, some are not always suitable to discuss out in the open over this easily misconstrued medium, so I harbour them inside and get anxious instead. That wasn't supposed to happen either. 

Sometimes, even within my feminist beliefs, I get a bit shy about sharing them. Or, sadly, I can't be bothered to be confronted about them anymore. I consider the significance of arguing with someone else so set in their beliefs they will never listen to me. I just laugh and move on. I might not be right anyway, I don't know what I'm talking about. 

I think this is a reaction to having watched some of my most firmly held beliefs disintegrate to nothing and having a new one erected in its place. But the new one is not built on what I thought was a solid substance, it's built on sand now. 

There is nothing wrong with changing what you believe. In fact, it's exciting. It means I get to learn and understand things in a new way and it will always be happening. They don't always change drastically but they do emphasise the fact that as a person I am not constant. I just need to come to terms with the fact that my beliefs are not permanent.  And that is scary, but also really good. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Don't blink.

This life - Blink and you are here. It is like a very fast ride: you're only barely aware of it happening and only when it's over can you reconstruct the events to look back through like a photo album in your head.
I know at 17 I have barely touched on the meaning of 'where did it all go?' But I passed my driving test on Thursday and I think the last thing I remember before that is starting as a pupil at secondary school. I blinked and now am here. I will blink again and then I'll be there. At the moment of everything happening it feels as if there cannot be anything else. This life now is all there can ever be. And  time passes over and that life then is a faint memory you can only just conjure up to the forefront of your mind.
I think I mention this now because this is the age where I am coming to terms with this time hopping head of mine. I live today and nothing else exists. Does anyone ever get used to that?