Saturday, 16 April 2016

To my mother, who loves me.

I am incredibly close to my mum because she is an excellent mother. She swears and screams at me when I misbehave, and I swear and scream and cry at her when she is annoying as hell. I remember the first time I eloquently shouted "fuck off" at her in a fit of passion when we were driving in the car and she was probably discussing school work and I decided to untie years of etiquette that I shouldn't swear in her presence because it was the best way to let out how I felt. I think rather than being a moment of extreme disrespect for my parent it became another level of communication between us. Somehow it was a move into our more adult relationship. If being adult means speaking crudely in extreme situations. Or any situation. But it was certainly a move to being closer to my mother, which I feel happens each day, no matter how much we loath what the other may have done. Mum says that she feels safe in the knowledge that whatever awful thing we spit out at each other means absolutely nothing and that love still flows between us no matter what. I think she's correct. 

Why does my mum always know what to say? And yet, sometimes, when she asks for my help I am lost for words. Does she know me through some divine connection for having created me? Can she read my mind? 

My mum is the one person in this world who knows just as much about myself as I do. I tell her everything. I am not one to keep my secrets to myself, so to have another person who can absorb them for me is the best thing I've ever been given. I am never judged, never shouted at, never ignored when I go to my mother with my horrible, hurtful thoughts. I think she could be the only reason I haven't gone completely mad yet. 

I have the absolute comfort in knowing that wherever I am in the world even her voice over the phone can soothe my worried heart, my whirring mind, my fidgeting hands. She can cure my sickness if I lie next to her in her bed. She can take my biggest heartfelt concerns and store them away from my overthinking head when I tell them to her on sleepless, crying nights. 

There was probably a time when I distanced myself from my mother experimentally. Failing to recognise her importance, her vitality to my being. I don't think that everybody has the choice to come back to their mother in some intense and lovely attachment after those lonely teenage years spent rejecting her existence. I did have that choice, and now I sit with the pleasant acknowledgement that in my heart is some powerful, invisible line across two bodies that attaches me to her every hour of every day. It may be a little strange to suggest that perhaps my mother and I are soulmates, but I'm beginning to believe that the notion of such intrinsic connection to another person has little to do with romance and much more to do with the random and perfect compatibility of two people. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Boring boring boring.

Right now my life consists of absolute monotony. I get up, I have breakfast, I get dressed and at 10 O'clock I begin revision.

It is as boring as boring can be.

I begin to think of the 15 million things I would rather be doing than making a spider diagram of Elizabeth I's foreign policy in the years 1571 to 1588. I ignore all of those things, and force myself to focus on the blurring, green, ugly writing on the page. It's so boring it hurts. I fantasise about everything I can do in the evening when I'm finally free from that day's work. But, when I actually get to the evening I seem to do nothing. Too brain dead to conjure up any enthusiasm for something fun. I let my mind turn to mush, probably letting it turn over the things that I put in it earlier that day. My Easter break started over 10 days ago but I can't remember much of what's happened, it's all been the same. I went to Paris, so that memory is stark against the sea of unexciting notes and past papers, but everything else has been one long revision session. I feel like it's Groundhog Day.

I have over a month to go until exams, and a further month after that whilst exams go on. It's going to be like this. All the time. I don't have much brain space for that time. I'll write whatever dull thing comes into my mind to keep me sane. I'm so not excited.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Religion on Easter Sunday.

I feel the need to pray sometimes, or go to church. I'm not religious and I haven't been since I was around 6 years old. I don't believe in a god and yet often I am tempted to go to church and pray; a forced silence and a type of meditation. I really need to meditate.

I don't really like religion itself, not organised religion, and I haven't gauged quite yet why people completely follow it. At this time of year I'm not really into the whole "He is risen" thing, and at Christmas I don't celebrate Christ's birthday. But, as I begin to face troubling thoughts and worries with an adult mind I can see more and more why God is so appealing, why the church is a sort of safe haven, and why churchgoers become a very close-knit community. This is what I have understood from my local church, anyway.

I am lucky; my local church is friendly and open and inclusive. It is a community in itself, and a part of the community outside. It's a beautiful, old, spacious building. The graveyard has a beautiful view over our village and the trees and the hills. It's a good place to think. It's comforting, when you need that.

It is probably specifically from this church that I have begun to see why religion can be extraordinarily helpful to some people. I don't understand obedience to a god, or a bible, when it limits your freedom of choice, or suppresses your desires. I don't get the God part, but I can see why the concept might provide pacifying answers to questions that are bigger than yourself. What I have certainly come to understand is the calm, quiet, contemplative headspace that the church can provide when you're in desperate need of time to reflect. I really do get that now.

Of course, meditation can happen in any place of worship. Or in any quiet room, or on a walk, or by closing your eyes. But the church, or a place for a community, is a comforting thing and I see much more now why it becomes a daily, weekly, yearly routine for those who need the time to think. When I drive past the pretty little churches in the pretty little places I live near to I feel the solidity and the tranquility of its oldness, perhaps my interest stems from the history of these types of churches too. Perhaps others may feel rejected and unwanted by these religious houses, which for many must be true, but in sitting down at the pew and holding your hands together and closing your eyes and thinking deeply about something there must be some calm in it.

Maybe one day I'll walk into one of these places and do just that. Try to find the calm. And maybe I'll walk right out. It's very possible it's just not for me. But, on this Easter Sunday I think I am beginning to see why and that, in itself, is a fascinating thing.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Giving up.

Giving up is one of the worst things you can do. I think. Perhaps not for every situation, but in my life giving up on things would prove disastrous. I have a few things to give up on. My school work, my writing, my friendships, my part-time job, anything that I love. Like most people, I suppose. I could give up on the things I have to do today. I could give up on writing this post. I won’t, because I can get on with things and tick off lists and achieve small but useful goals, but I definitely could.

The feeling of giving up is awful; total disappointment in yourself. The taste is vile. It’s just energy wasted. You don’t get anywhere by giving up, obviously, but it just seems such a sad and silly thing to do. It’s like driving somewhere but halfway through the journey you stop the car and get out and abandon the car and walk away. It’s a bit weird. You’d always ask yourself why you did that.

I probably wanted to share a miniature thought about giving up to remind myself not to do it. It’s so easy to do it, it’s so tiring keeping going. But I must and I always will. And through my life as I achieve cool things because I didn’t give up I’ll always, always be glad that I didn’t.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Not judging other women.

It is hard not to judge other people. I think it is particularly valuable for women to make an effort to not judge other women. I think that women openly judging other women is harmful and unhelpful. No one benefits from internalised misogyny.

Throughout my life at secondary school I have judged other girls for their promiscuity. I have judged other girls for the clothes they wear. I have judged the rumours about their sex lives. I have thought that they were doing something wrong for not thinking like me.

I am getting over that stage of my life now, I try not to judge women in that way anymore. They don't need me to make their lives harder. Something darker has already made them uncomfortable in their own skin, they don't need me to tell them to change something else.

I know that being judged by other women is awful and unhealthy. I know that women do it because they can't work out what is good about themselves so they desperately seek out the bad in others. They look for flaws in faces, bodies, and lifestyles to make up for the problems in their own. I know because I do it sometimes. It doesn't make me feel very wonderful.

Women need other women to support them much more than they need to build walls around themselves to protect them from each other. How extremely lovely it is to give a woman the freedom to live and look how she would like right from the beginning.

It is hard not to judge other people, but we really should try harder.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Internet nasties.

There is a plethora of 'evil' that one can encounter on the internet. Classic examples include vigilante groups, websites vindictively trying to disable feminism and your standard troll. All nasty, all upsetting, all big wastes of time. Sometimes we feel that it's worth it to react against these unfortunate little pockets of hate, but when is it sensible to ignore everything or "fight back"?

JK Rowling is a good example of someone using their online status to trample on vermin. She picks them up and says "ugh look! Gross!", and we look and it's gross and the vermin loses its small influence. Sure, it may not always be worth it but if anyone was going to stand up to online nasties I'd take a leaf from her book.

What Rowling is able to do, which many of us aren't, is seem like the bigger person even when she's not responded completely indifferently because she has real influence. But it doesn't mean occasionally we can't do the same. One comment that pokes fun at someone's mean comment can be enough to weaken its effect. And there should only be one comment. More than that and it's an argument, and you won't be able to win anything against the mindlessness of trolling.

It's hard to know when to look away from something when it angers you. I stumbled across a website the other day that was so full of offensive slurs I couldn't tell if it was trying to be satire or just tripe, either way it wasn't clever enough or stupid enough to be funny. It made me quite upset. And annoyed. And frustrated. I wanted to do something about it, I couldn't find any information to tell me it was just a bad joke, but there was nothing that would work. I was just going to have to be sorry that I'd seen it and put it away from my mind. One thing that did soothe me was that there were no comments under the articles, which I'm hoping meant it was extremely unpopular. I don't know if it was or not, I'm not going to give it publicity here.

This is a great example of the internet bilge you shouldn't react to. It doesn't deserve any traffic, good or bad, so don't say anything and try not to click on a link for it again. It really, really isn't worth it. The best case scenario is that no one ever looks at it and the site is given up on, but ignoring it is good enough.

You can bump into horrors on the internet in the same way you can bump into weirdos in the street, but with the internet you actually have a greater opportunity to filter it all out. You can just ignore what goes on on here, you can choose what you do and don't see. You can work out who's sharing nasty stuff onto your timeline and clean it up and move on.

It hurts to see bad things online. I get angry about stuff a lot. But I have to get better at switching it off when I need to, because it is rarely worth any of our time.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Time.

I simply cannot decide how to spend my hours. 

I want to fill them with something good. I seem to want to add things to each hour like proportions in a recipe to make a good day, only, I don't know what makes a good day. Each hour seems a little wasted. And they either slog on or slip by and I haven't digested it properly. I want time to speed up and slow down. I want time to be used properly. I don't know how to properly use time. I think of it like currency, and I'm trying to save up for a rich life, but I'm just spending it willynilly. Why don't I know how to spend my time? 

I want to always be "productive". Whatever that means. Productive for my mind, my body, my overall experience. Just sitting and thinking isn't productive. I have to be doing something. And not just watching TV. 

I worry that I spend my time busily in order to have days that I allow myself to do nothing. I want to deserve not doing anything. I worry that this makes me not take in the doing something properly, that I rush over it to get to the relaxing part. I comfort myself by thinking I can be at home soon, get into bed and watch a film. That's not time well spent, is it? 

Really I think I need myself to shut up when it comes to time. Just stop thinking about it. Let it pass, don't watch it happen. I worry about time all the time. This must make the days go faster. I hate how time just goes. But I should just close my eyes. I should just read my books, and do my writing, and watch my films and carry on. And time will move around me. And I won't care about time.