Thursday, 27 December 2012

Materialism.

There shall be a point in the future where no doubt I will write a longer piece on this matter, but for now I give you my opinion in a rather condensed manner. Materialism is to me a particularly odd thing, to care that much about things must be desperately tiring. However, I often find myself in positions where in fact I am inclined to be materialist without really meaning it. For example, Christmas day comes along and I do love dearly the food and the music and the friends and family, but I also care about what I receive. And I am ever grateful for all my gifts this year and was not in the least disappointed, enjoying and thankful for each one. I did not receive presents that would cost my parents an arm and a leg nor would I ever ask to receive such things, I believe it to be greedy to want something so expensive that would not be shared or you would not input financially to get it. So does this mean that I am, if not intentionally, a materialist or that I am not? Does expecting to receive gifts on a festival that is somewhat related to the giving of presents and festival that society expects one to give make me a materialist? Or can I innocently label myself as enjoying giving gifts to loved ones as well as receiving them?

I suppose I must dive deeper into this subject some other day, but for now I leave you with questions to ponder. I'm not going to make myself feel guilty with this topic, but I urge you to also take a look at how you view these gifts and objects that you may receive.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Top 7 family Christmas traditions.

I love Christmas. I love the excitement, the food, the music, the presents, the decoration, the games and the happiness I feel when I celebrate at this time of year. I also love the fact that for every single family there are separate and equally wonderful traditions for Christmas day. I like how some are similar, and some are completely different and unique to that family. And how each one means so much to the individuals. I love how rarely one changes a Christmas tradition, and that many have been carried out the whole of their lives. I love how the magic of Christmas changes through age, but never disappears. These are my family traditions that make Christmas for me, and are part of the magic I get excited for.

7. My gran's mince pies.

Now these are the absolute bomb. Having tried one of these beauties you'll never want to turn back. Nothing is quite a excellent as the squidgy, moist but not too moist pastry that literally makes your mouth water. It really is a unique recipe that has been passed down to my mum so that we get the pleasure of making them, and it wouldn't be Christmas without having at least one homemade mince pie.

6. Elf. 


I don't think there's been a Christmas since the film was made that we haven't watched it. It's one of those movies that never gets boring no matter how many times it's been viewed. My dad's a huge sucker for it, claiming every year that it is definitely one of his favourite films. Elf is a favourite for having the whole family in front of the TV, with the fire on, and feeling very Christmassy. It's a tradition I hope never dies.

5. Calling relatives to sing down the phone. 

Every year we call, or we receive a call, with a verse and a chorus of 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' on Christmas day. Everyone in the house joins in and the family on the end of the line join in too, it's like our own private carol service. Except much shorter and we aren't quite as bored. And then we discuss what we got, thank each other for the presents we gave and tell the plans for the rest of the day. It's just a nice way of staying in contact with the relatives you couldn't spend the day with. And Christmas wouldn't be the same without mum telling me to say thank you to aunties for presents I have to search for frantically so I can remember what they actually gave me.

4. Charades. 

This is pronounced Charardes in my family because we are not Northern or American. Every Christmas evening there has to be at least several rounds of the game. With the family members most awful at it having the most goes because they're hilarious to watch, and we don't give them much choice. It's particularly brilliant when someone has to mime something impossible, and we all just laugh at them giving them no mercy. Because Christmas is a time for loving.

3. A tin of Roses or Quality Street.

Christmas is essentially a time for binge eating, an excuse to eat everything you absolutely love in enormous quantities. So after we've eaten the gigantic roast dinner, had second helpings of Christmas pudding and mince pies with brandy butter we convince ourselves that there is definitely plenty of room for chocolate. Every year the tin is bought and kept in the cupboard until Christmas day, or Christmas eve if we fail at waiting any longer, and is demolished in less than 24 hours. In my family, the concept of saving things for later rarely exists particularly with sweets and puddings. And so we often lie to ourselves at having 'just four' but in fact eating about ten and losing count because you're too absorbed in the process of eating them. By the time we come to the end of tin and only the unpopular chocolates are left we force ourselves to eat them, in favour of not wasting food. Obviously.

2. Doctor Who Christmas Special. 

Christmas hasn't ever been the same since Doctor Who was reintroduced onto our screens. The most important reason for the Christmas Radio Times is to know when the Doctor Who special is on. In fact, one of the first questions asked on Christmas morning is always "when's Doctor Who on?" because without it we feel Christmas really wouldn't be the same. Even though, as much as I love the show, the Christmas specials are always ridiculous it's a tradition that's popular in the family, and everything stops just for an hour so we can watch it. And any family members that don't watch it normally are forced into it by majority rule. Again, Christmas is a time for loving.

1. Present Piles. 

My sister and I feel that without the organisation of presents into piles for the people they're meant for would make the process of unwrapping them very messy. That and the fact that it's something to keep us entertained until the adults stop messing around and get down to business with the gifts. It also gives us the chance to see who has the biggest pile and whether the average size of the gifts are big or small. I'm honestly not the type of person who values Christmas simply for the presents, nor do I pull a tantrum if my sister's pile is bigger than mine, it's just been our tradition since we believed in Father Christmas. And I hope we still do it as adults, just for old times' sake.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

I'm a Barbie girl.

When I was a little girl, I loved to play with Barbies. I loved my Playmobil and baby dolls too, but my Barbies were quite high on the favourite toys list. I had the whole 'shebang' when it came to Barbies; I had the lounge, the bedroom, and I even had the pregnant one with the removable stomach and tiny baby. My only version of Ken was my dad's old Action Man from when he was a boy, so he was obviously very busy in my little Barbie world. But I didn't just brush their hair and put pretty pink dresses on these dolls, I was more interested making realistic scenarios for these girls. I loved making the dolls reenact how I thought adults behaved, and they didn't just go shopping or have sleepovers. They lived gripping story lines as young widows with my Shelly doll and the tiny baby as their young families, and they only had tiny one bedroomed flats to live in because that's all the furniture I had. And the majority of the time they had to earn their own income for this young family because I only had one Ken and sometimes I couldn't find him. But it was okay because a woman doesn't always need a husband in order to survive, she can do perfectly well by herself.

However, despite these heart wrenching stories I contrived with my Barbie dolls whom were all independent, confident women, obviously, I am being told that by now I should have terrible body image because of them. Because whilst I was playing out these lives the ridiculously unrealistic bodies the dolls have were greatly affecting me, and some day I would be upset I didn't have arms that didn't bend properly. Fortunately I am not looking into surgery that will make my hands cease movement and become spatulas at the end of my arms because of the dolls I played with as a child. When I was an 8 year old I did not see the old fashioned misogynist view of how a woman should look in my Barbies, I just saw tiny plastic figurines that would be fantastic to play with. I laughed at the fact that their boobs were like odd looking cones on their chests, and that their feet would in no way be able to stand them up. I was annoyed, in fact, that they could not stand for themselves because it was a great obstacle in the stories as you could guess.

I can understand why some are becoming concerned in this day and age with the image that Barbie dolls portray to young girls, or boys. But I completely dismiss the claim that the toys are the root cause for my bad body image. I hold that blame entirely to the media. Whilst Barbie has the skinny waist, beautiful smile, gorgeous legs and luscious, long blonde hair it is not these features that were the focus in my play with the dolls. As you can see, I was far too busy making soap opera like scenarios with them and the one lone Ken/Action Man doll. I believe that adults have forgotten what it's like to be little, to not have the concerns and damage that the world brings on them. That a little girl playing with her Barbies dolls in the bath is just innocence, and to her it is just a trip to the pool or beach and not the display of 'perfect' female bodies that she will long for at 8 years old.

I agree that the stereotyping nowadays of Barbie dolls has gone a little too far, and I wouldn't have cared less if the box she came in was blue or neon green and not pink. It was the endless stories and games that the doll had the potential for I was excited about. I refuse to be labelled as 'girly' for playing with the dolls, and that cutting their heads off with blunt scissors and flushing them down the loo would have been any more morally sound. At the time I can remember my favourite colour being red, and that if I was given a remote controlled car or something boys were 'supposed' to play with I would have been equally as happy. I don't regret playing with Barbies and it hasn't made me into a 'girly' girl who only functions for the existence of pink fluff and sparkles. The dolls have not made me buy makeup when I go shopping or hair products or nail polish, in fact I usually buy books.

Therefore, I loved to play with my Barbies and I am proud to say I have not been mentally damaged by them. I have grown up sane and with a grasp on reality, almost. And I do not blame my often awful view of my body on the toys I used to play with as a little girl.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Imagination.

Imagination is the most important, most wonderful thing the human species possesses. I find it so absolutely fascinating, that we can create and visualise literally anything. In our minds we can have/do/say/be/want/see/smell/hear anything we desire. The power that produces is immense, it means that sometimes our own mind is so strong we can sometimes use our own imagination against ourselves, almost force ourselves unwillingly to believe in something that is not real. Without imagination you would not have any of the items you possess today. If someone had not created in their minds an object or system or idea that would suit the problem at hand, then we would all be naked and unsheltered and hungry. And bored. So incredibly bored.

Whilst some of the most basic necessities to life are driven by instinct, like eating, I would not be wearing a scarf this moment if someone had not thought "I know how we can keep our necks warm, I've imagined wrapping a soft material around them." And someone else had also used their imagining power and replied "Yes, what a jolly good idea. We shall call them scarfs although I have no idea why, I only imagined the name, but I believe it suits perfectly." and there of course you have the accurate and heart warming tale of how the scarf was invented. However, without being silly it is true that without imagination there would be many things we as humans would never have, and life would be absurdly dull.

Although, without the practical side of imagination being key in our survival as human beings it is most ardently magnificent in the name of 'recreational' and creative purposes only. Had humans not had the beautiful idea of imagining tiny beings and worlds and creatures outside of the animal kingdom we know to be real, my room would not be full of fairies and fairytales. And I adore my fairies and fairytales. I think it is so wonderful that we create such magical and mysterious stories and myths to either explain and understand our own world and issues or simply to enjoy the thrill of the unknown. As a little girl I can picture so vividly the excitement and wonder I had when I truly and undoubtedly believed in fairies and pixies and elves and Father Christmas and other such things. It was such a happy and innocent and lovely feeling that I only wish I could feel it once more, that I could loyally believe in tiny winged creatures that wrote me letters from the bottom of the garden again. Now I can only smile at the beauty of the imagination of books like The Hobbit, and know that as a child I would have used it like an encyclopaedia for referring to the dwarves and goblins that would have existed in my mind. Although, I am still avid about the idea that Peter Pan could quite possibly be real and that soon he shall arrive at my window and take me to Neverland.

Of course I owe this truly wonderful type of happiness to the authors and creators of the stories. For without artists of any sort we would not have the worlds we can escape to, and the peace with which we find in them. I believe I would like someday to create a story for little girls and boys who are just like me and love to live in the endless world of their imaginations. But it will also be for, again like me, the people who have grown up physically but chosen to leave part of themselves as a child to feel the wonder of imagination forever.

It will always be children who are the true masters of imagination, for they have the real power to believe in something unreal but completely magical. Whilst adults can use imagination for practicality and development, artists and children shall use it to create nonexistent people and creatures and worlds. And forget reality, because their minds are far more interesting places.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Purpose.

I think it's very important to have a hobby, or to have something that will keep your mind occupied. If you're working hard at work or school, you've got something you're working towards or for. You're doing something purposeful. If you have a hobby that you're passionate about then you push yourself to do well in it, maybe even to be the best at it. Both of these things allow your mind to focus on something, or maybe take your mind off other things. Without a focus or a purposeful subject in your life, I find that it becomes difficult to concentrate. You feel as if you're just floating through life, getting nothing done, getting nothing out of life. I, personally, need to feel as if I'm doing something with a goal. If I'm working towards something and enjoying it, feeling satisfied by it, then I feel as if I'm making some of the best of my life. I don't feel as if I'm wasting my time away doing nothing.

Keep your mind occupied with things that you enjoy, or work so that you will get to those things that you enjoy. Just make sure that you are always enjoying it, because otherwise it loses its objective.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Clarice Bean.



"For a long time I used to go to bed early. But now I go to bed late. I am not sleeping at night and I wake up in the dark. And my mind is thinking and spinning." 
Under the age of about 10, I read very little. Only when my mum read to me, or when I found a really special book I truly enjoyed, did I read. These occasions were quite sparse over the years. The Secret Garden and Pollyanna were books read to me, and sometimes I would be sucked into the gruesome tales of the Goosebumps stories if I should come across them in the school library. I was always partial to the ones that had multiple twists and endings in a single story, this way you could read the book over and over and never have the same plot. However, the series of books that genuinely touched me, and stayed close to my heart were Clarice Bean by Lauren Child.

Unfortunately, there were times as a young child when I was quite lonely. Floating between friends who never seemed as if they honestly enjoyed your company was somewhat disheartening for an 8/9 year old. It wasn't as if I was a horrible child who bullied everyone else on the playground, or the kid that never washed and people generally avoided. I just knew there wasn't anyone who I was completely fond of, and could genuinely call my best friend. What I did know, and what was quite sad, was that if Clarice Bean had been a real person then for almost certain we would have been the best of friends. I was sure that Clarice was a girl after my own heart, and that we would have got on like a house on fire.

However, Clarice was a fictional character and only existed in my imagination and in the pages of books. They were fantastic novels too. Not only was the language hilariously witty that now having matured quite a bit I realise I missed a fair chunk of the observational humour, and the font and illustrations were so funky and chic, but the stories themselves were so relatable particularly as a young girl just like Clarice. There were only three of the novels, and a lot more of the short picture books, but with the novels Clarice grew older. Towards the last book the illustrations disappeared and the content was more mature, so you not only felt that you'd grown up with Clarice but that you'd reached the stages of a more sophisticated reading.

It was particularly in the last book when I really realised that I was actually quite lonely, and that Clarice Bean would be the perfect best friend. In this book 'Don't Look Now' Clarice's best friend Betty Moody leaves to go to America, and Clarice is completely distraught. She seems so lonely and upset that whilst reading it I noticed that I felt quite similar to her. Clarice also seeks solace in her favourite book character, Ruby Redfort, and fantasises about meeting her, so basically I mirrored exactly what she did. And not intentionally. I can remember crying in some parts of the book because I felt so desperately sad for her, and so wished that she could be real and we could stop each other from feeling lonely.

I thought Clarice was a hoot, I was in awe of her. She had an older brother and a cool name and she just seemed the type of girl I wanted to be. She would be the type of friend who would always make you laugh, and always know all the cool things that you didn't and she would just be wonderful. I adored Clarice Tuesday Bean, and I adored the books. And I shall read them to my daughters, and hope that they should already have their own Clarices but that they would be real.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Apprehension.

Almost everyday I feel apprehensive about something. Obviously, this is fairly normal but sometimes it can be quite restricting. Especially when this apprehension causes me to miss out on something, or lose an important opportunity. Too often do I take this apprehension seriously and take the easy option of just going home, taking the safe side and forgetting about the thing I was nervous about. This could be talking to people I don't really know, asking questions that could help me but being too afraid to ask, not going out and doing something fun because I feel the slightest bit under the weather and I don't want to risk being really ill. Stupid little things, that really aren't worth all the worry and that I should just push through the apprehension and grasp the opportunities by the horns.

I try to teach myself not to do this, to let myself go and forget my worries. And recently I think it's beginning to work. I've been able to minimise the nerves I get before doing things that sometimes are out of my comfort zone, and enjoying myself because of this. Having taught myself this I've now begun to realise that life's actually pretty wonderful when there's no worry.

I suggest that if you also find you're holding yourself back with apprehension then you should try and make the most of everything until eventually the worry disappears and you can only have fun.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

On being a teenage feminist.


I am a feminist. I don't burn bras, I don't hate men, I am simply a feminist. And what that means is that I strongly believe in equality. And that is all. I don't think that women are superior to men, I don't believe men should suffer for the many years of female oppression and I don't believe that the roles should be reversed and that women should be the dominant sex and men be the "weaker". What I do believe, and what I fight for along with many others is for both genders to be acknowledged and treated equally in every means and in every society.

Unfortunately this equality between every man and woman has not yet been achieved anywhere in the world. In some cases women still get paid smaller salaries than men, the objectification of women and overall portrayal of women in the media has become more and more degrading and the equality we had obtained in our image has gone backwards. The majority of rape and sexual assault victims still don't receive the appropriate justice in court and by society with seedy lines like "her clothes were too provocative" doing the rounds and many cases being dropped or ignored. Mainly because of the taboo we have created around the subject. Sexual harassment occurs in almost every woman's daily life without much thought or care of the actual seriousness of the issue.

In countries such as Afghanistan even more unjust cases of oppression are happening this moment with the absolute hatred of women from the Taliban causing them to almost cease to exist. Women are unable to go into the streets without wearing a full burqa with only a tiny slit of lace to see through or without a male accompanying them, they are unable to work or earn any money, an unmarried young woman cannot talk to an unmarried young male without being forced to marry them. More horrifyingly, a woman of any age cannot be examined by a male doctor, and with women unable to work the Taliban have essentially destroyed women's health care. Girls also cannot go to school or university.
I can't fully explain the evil that the Taliban have inflicted upon the female population of Afghanistan or other countries and areas occupied by them. Their treatment of everybody is obviously disgusting, but their complete disregard of half of their species is abominable.

I can think of many other cases similar to this awful oppression of women, all of them being the reason I still believe strongly that this equality is so worth fighting for. Although, in this century where many think that the equality has already been reached believe that by calling myself a feminist and making these points and statements about sexism and oppression that I'm just a righteous bitch moaning and whining about something that is age old and not worth talking about anymore. It's not age old and it certainly still is worth talking about. I don't care what some of my peers may think of me for being this passionate about the subject, or that some find it unattractive, or why the hell do I even care because I'm only 14 and most of these issues don't effect me anyway? Those people aren't worth thinking about, and some are even the reason I can still call myself a feminist. Because there's still a lot out there to fight against.

I don't want to make this piece angry and off-putting and place myself right in the middle of the stereotypical category of feminists, all raging and anti-men. That's not who I am, who I am is passionate about anti-inequality. On one hand, it's not a light subject and it is quite easy for someone like me to become overly ardent about expressing the issues. But on the other hand, if as a teenage girl I want to portray to people and make them understand that this is important then I have to do it in a way that won't discourage them and make them see me as just a moody cow who doesn't see the fun in life.

I want to be known as a feminist, I want to encourage others, boy or girl, to also be feminist and to want to fight for equality. I want to see as I grow up my belief in this right to be equal with everyone become closer to being true. I want let all the women before be like the suffragettes know that what they fought for so bravely will not be forgotten until it is fully and properly achieved. I'm not a righteous bitch, I'm just 14 years old and I want to make a difference in the world. Even if it's subtly and quietly, I want to know that I supported the belief in equality and hopefully, one day, see it happen.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Laugh. All the time.

We all want things. We all say we need things. We all have things. These things are scattered around the house, the new ones shining and boasting in full view, the old and less loved ones kept in boxes up in the loft. These things are placed thoughtfully in shop windows and in other people's possession. These things are thrown at us through the TV, magazines, the Internet, the radio with everyone screaming that if you do not have this thing you are worthless and behind the times and that you just absolutely need this... Thing.

We have become dependant on these things, believing that if we do not own a certain object our lives are not complete. Okay, so you really do need the vegetable peeler if you're going to peel that parsnip, but the new plasma screen TV is not a necessary item in your everyday life. It isn't necessary at all actually, it's a luxury and that is all. 

What people seem to forget is that actually, when it comes down to it and you don't count the vital actions such as eating, the only really important thing is the people you love. Everybody really needs to be surrounded by people who care about them, who know them well and, most fundamentally, make you laugh until you cry. I don't believe there is a greater feeling in the world than when you are laughing so uncontrollably with friends that your stomach muscles actually ache. I don't believe you are really human unless you have experienced this, and that you really must. Everyday, anywhere, for any reason. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Malala Yousufzai.

Malala Yousufzai at this moment in time must be one of the bravest blogger to have lived. A 14 year old Pakistani girl denied her right to an education making the gallant decision of risking her life so that she and many girls like her could just learn. You don't hear that everyday, actually, I don't think I've heard it ever. How many young teenage girls do you know that have done something so significantly brave in order to fight for the importance of equality and education that they've been nominated for an international peace prize? For me, none.

I have an infinite amount of respect for this girl, for her intelligence, her determination, her strong belief in what is right, and most importantly her bravery. Paid by the BBC Malala began to write a blog at 11 years old on the happenings and state of the area in which she lived, a place under the Taliban's control, and to fight for the right for girls to be allowed to go to school. Despite the fact that in her village people were being executed for not conforming to the Taliban's rules, she continued to write this blog anonymously in order to show the importance of a young girl's education. However, recently her friends had begun to discover who the unknown blogger was and warned her about the dangers she was facing, this didn't stop her though and she carried on writing until finally it seemed her bravery and hard work had paid off, girls were now allowed to attend school again.

The day that she was going to return to school, to obtain the education she had worked towards, the Taliban found the 14 year old girl and shot her in the head.

Grown men deliberately went out to find this child and personally kill her simply because she spoke out against them. She had not caused anyone pain or harm or offence, and yet somehow she was prosecuted for writing a blog. These men found her bus, waited for the right girl to get off and shot her in view of all the other young children arriving for their school day. The entire concept is so unfathomable, so disgraceful, so disgusting I find it very difficult to comprehend.

Having also found this event most sickening authorities flew this injured child out to Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, England in order to receive an operation she urgently needed. She is now being treated there and it has been reported that although she has a very long way to go she's also making good progress.

I think every child, particularly in Pakistan or in areas with similar situations, owes something to Malala now. Very, very few people would be as brave as she has been in these circumstances and it's so wonderful that she was. She proved to people how desperately important a child's education was and, just how powerful it could be. She became an inspirational icon, not because she was shot and that her situation is so unfortunate, but because knew that it would happen and yet she continued writing because she knew just how crucial her blog was. What she did is so brilliant, so magnificent even that every young girl should look at her and be inspired.

I don't know what I'd do in her place, I'd like to think I would write a blog like hers and have enough courage to risk my life but I guess I'll never know. I'm lucky that I will never have to know, and that this is just a theoretical idea and not a reality like it was for Malala. I feel spoilt with the excellent education I receive for free, and guilty that I should ever take it for granted. I know that now I have witnessed Malala's true courage I shall never again begrudgingly accept my education but use it to the best of my advantage understanding that it gives me a platform on which I can become incredibly powerful. I am so very lucky to have an education, thank you, Malala for showing me this.

I hope one day I meet this truly inspirational woman. And I hope that every girl will take her by example. I will never forget this beautiful girl, and she will always be in my heart as one of the bravest and most wonderful people this generation have seen.

So from one 14 year old girl to another, I wish you well Malala Yousufzai. I really do.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Anger.

I lose my temper far quicker than I should do. I have a tendency to snap or become irritated with people easily. It could be over the smallest thing, and I can just possibly show discreetly that the particular thing has angered me but I do it all the same. It happens too quickly and too easily, and I don't know if I fully understand why. I consider myself to be a very happy person almost all of the time, but for some reason I have been known to have a hot temper. I'm not the only one to react in this heated way, my family sometimes struggle to keep composure also. I think that maybe we are all quite strongly opinionated on subjects, some opposing each other's opinions within the family, or feel passionately about most of what we believe in, which causes us to become quite defensive or angry when agitated by certain people or issues. We are all also a family of very headstrong individuals meaning we live in an environment where we are constantly bouncing off each other either in passionate agreement or disagreement, and so when surrounded by others I feel I need to be listened to and voice my opinions when I believe something to be wrong. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but the way in which I react to certain situations can sometimes result in a worse place from where I was before.

If someone or something really angers me, I make sure that they or someone knows. I am not the sort of person to let something of the moment that I take offence to or feel effected by slide past. If I feel an individual has said something I strongly disagree with or something deliberately aimed at hurting or insulting me, I become quite passionate.

 I have in the past become so infuriated that I actually got the urge to act with some sort of violence. I never have, and I sincerely hope that I never will, but I have genuinely felt awfully close to hitting or causing someone pain just because I have got so heated. It's a truly horrid feeling, your whole body suddenly becomes literally very hot and you almost shiver with anger. You're practically blinded with this urgent need to get at this person, to cause them pain, to make them understand that they are wrong or they have hurt you and that this is how you feel and the need to know this. It's so important that they know this, you cannot just simply walk away having become so worked up it's like your whole body has been effected by the anger and you must let it out. And you do, but you say the most ridiculous things and nothing you actually wanted to say or do happens because your mind is so occupied with this passion that it's barely able to think. Then you come back down to reality and you look at yourself and the situation you're in and you feel so ashamed, so embarrassed, that you allowed yourself to become like that, to let go of your dignity and become an unrecognisable version of you. And then you run away and cry because it felt so horrible, and you feel exhausted from the intensity of the emotion and you just can't bare it anymore. You end up, eventually, far worse off than before you lost control and that huge amount of effort and emotion was just a very big and very embarrassing waste of time.

I allow myself to become the lesser person even if I know that I'm the right one, and I truly, truly hate it. It isn't often that I feel this way, in fact, I rarely ever become so angered but I still loath the fact that I ever have or do. I genuinely feel ashamed of the fact I let that happen to me, that I actually lost control of my senses. It really upsets me. But I understand that when people come to be this way it is rarely out of choice, or without impulsive and impetuous decision. I just wish that I had more restraint when I get angry or hurt, I certainly will try to be calmer and more sensible the next time I am involved in a dispute. I suppose I just need to take a deep breath the next time I am on the verge of losing myself to anger and think of the consequences I will cause for myself more than the other person, because I know it upsets and embarrasses me when I do let it happen.

I am not saying that it is wrong to feel passionately about things, or to act on your anger if you feel you have been wronged, but I am saying it's important to stay in control and composed because it will only be harder for you if you don't. I'm proud of the fact I don't let myself be bullied, or am brave enough to stay true to my opinions even when the majority disagree. My parents have taught me that, and I am extremely grateful that I have been brought up in a family full of people who make themselves be heard. I believe it to be an important skill to have. I just wish that sometimes I wasn't quite so passionate about things that really don't matter, and I would be better off just walking away from them.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Top 5 Songs you Love to Hate.

You know those songs that are gob-smackingly awful and yet, miraculously, either make it to the top of the charts or are very close to doing so? I hate those songs. And yet, there's a little part of my brain that has a soft spot for them and decides that remembering all of the lyrics and replaying them over and over again is a wonderful idea. You then get weird looks from people when you suddenly mutter in a low voice "I'm sexy and I know it" because you stopped concentrating for just a moment and let the horror of the song that won't leave your mind out of your mouth. It's just embarrassing. Although, we all do it. Either out of choice or pure accident. The following songs are in order of what I find the most terrible and yet have at some point in my life repeated itself numerous times causing me to be on the verge of going insane. Okay, maybe not that far but it feels pretty darn close.

5. Black and Yellow - Wiz Khalifa

I have this song in my head right now. It's torture. And yet for some reason millions seem to genuinely like it. Why? I have no idea. What I do know is that it's unbearably repetitive and makes very little sense. Okay, I get it's about his hometown but I definitely didn't learn anything more about Pittsburgh from listening to it.


4. Barbie Girl - Aqua





Man I love this song. Ahem, I mean hate it. It's a truly awful song. Right? But if I'm honest, in the best interests of my childhood, I really, really like it. Year 2 discos are brought to mind when I hear this song, wonderful memories of tacky pop songs booming out of the speakers whilst running around manically for no reason at all. It's horrific, but it's close to my heart. 

3. Gangnam Style - Psy


This is... New. I hadn't actually heard the song until very recently, and by god do I regret doing so. How on earth has this become viral? It's annoying, weird, no one apart from Korean speaking people know what it's actually about, vaguely sexist. You get the picture, it's one terrible song. And it managed to get to the top of the charts. I worry about our species sometimes, I really do. 

2. Baby - Justin Bieber


I'm not going to rant about Justin Bieber's music or hair or general self, because that's not the issue here. The issue is the song. I hate, I mean really hate, when artists warble their voice around because they think it sounds good. "oooaaaooohh" is not clever nor talented nor tasteful. And that's just the beginning. The lyrics are just completely generic and improbable. "I had my first love when I was 13" Oh, I'm sure you did. And the tune is borderline 2 year old's tiny keyboard type quality. This song is just one of the lowest of the low. It's just... No, just no. It's just awful. 

1. Axel F - Crazy Frog



I don't even have words. 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

What is love?

When I was 11 years old I read Anne Frank's diary. It had a very big impact on me, I was left with the echo of the book nestled into my memory for a very long time to come. At the time I was reading it Anne's age was not so far from my own and certainly, from the era in which she wrote it, her maturity was at the same level as mine. This allowed me to relate to her in a very powerful way, and she inspired me a great deal. She had written about going through things I was also experiencing at the time, growing up, leaving my little girl self behind and entering a new era of my own existence. What she said was very important to me, especially at that particular time in my life. I felt enormous respect for this girl who had so beautifully captured the essence and momentousness of leaving childhood behind and excepting this new mind and new body that is presented before you. And then anger and sadness that this wonderful, bright young girl had been so wrongly taken when such a future was ahead of her. Such abundance of brilliant life that this young woman had in her path that was cut short so cruelly, and so unjustly it is hard to comprehend.
One thing that was prominent to me in her diary was this wonderful description of what she interpreted love, romantic love, to be. At the time it wasn't particularly relevant to my life but I understood that this piece was so insightful and so beautiful and written by someone of such a young age, I felt compelled to write it down knowing I would want to some day go back to it. That day has not yet arrived, but I want to share with you the small paragraph I copied out from Anne's diary into my own with an element of intrigue as an 11 year old girl discovering who I was going to be.
"Love, what is love? I don't think you can really put it into words. Love is understanding someone, caring for him, sharing his joys and sorrows. This eventually includes physical love. You've shared something, given something away and received something in return. Whether or not you are married, whether or not you have a baby. Losing your virtue doesn't matter, as long as you know that as long as you live you'll have someone at your side who understands you, and who doesn't have to be shared with someone else."
I can't really explain why I felt the need to remember these words. I just know that I had an inkling these would and do mean something to me. And I understand them completely.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The 90s babies.

We, the babies of the 90s, have created a collection of adolescent tastes that one will find difficult to avoid, and if managed to avoid will then wonder why they ducked out of the fast flowing 21st century teenage generation. For, in actual fact, it's quite exciting. We are the children of a new age, born into a world where the internet has always existed and a technological revolution has begun. Although some of us will be lost to conformity and stray from our natural senses, I believe that the rest of us, hopefully the majority, will ride the waves of our time, our new time, with such brilliance we will create an explosion that will force the world into the pristine age of technological wonder. We will break from the dawn of this age by feeding off the past and the present, and grow up into the future carrying the troubles and virtues of now. We will not become a better generation or a better time, but we will create our own way aided by the already laid down path of our parents and grand-parents. Our youth, however, is sitting comfortably and ready for a world that is to come. We wait, in the Western world particularly, with quirky habits and fashions and crazes stealing from the decades before. Here are just some of them.


In this generation of teens we have two kinds of people; those who play video games and those who don't. Those who do despise those who don't, and those who don't look in puzzlement at those who do. Or, of course, you have me who cannot count and we have a third person who does not essentially play video games but can empathise with those who do and sympathise with those who don't.



We also have many different types of music lovers. The mainstream Top 40 and the "I only listen to real music" elite group. Now this causes a confusion for some people, for real music can also slip into the mainstream Top 40, so they then get stuck in this awful trap of Ed Sheeran or Birdy, who are not bad musicians themselves but can drag you into the money processing machine Simon Cowell has appeared to create. Another path you can take on this slippy slope of adolescent musical taste is to become so involved with bands that defy all categories that you lose all sense of any other musicians. If I were you, I would stay far away from a teenage collective opinion on music because either way you will become imprisoned in a sticky sort of genre/category.



Oh, and then we have the notorious hipsters. There is definitely only three types of people that relate to this subject. Those who are hipsters, those who try and be hipsters and those who hate hipsters. Now, you could say that "hipsters" are the equivalent to the New Romantics or punks or hippies even, but no, this new group haven't actually got a purpose. They have nothing to say other than they wish to be "indie" and that they despise anything remotely "mainstream". However, and rather ironically, they somehow accomplish to look identical to every one of their fellow hipsters and have allowed both words "indie" and "mainstream" to become in themselves mainstream. As you can tell, I am one of those who hate hipsters. I find that their lack of thought provoking and questioning of authorities is quite boring. Also, the fact that they all fail to see the absurdity of their fashion/taste/ideas is tedious and becoming very repetitive. They're so gob-smackingly twee that one more bow tie (however cool they may be) or another sprinkling of arrogance and I believe that they will all just spontaneously combust. Don't get me wrong, I'm not attacking individuals here, but as a group of people I think they are the members of our generation that will probably be lost to conformity and not be able to enjoy the wonders we're going to create because they will be too busy buying another pair of oversized glasses that they don't need to look "cool" and nerdy, a term most of them will have been using as a derogatory word before they were converted to hipsterism. Their holier-than-thou attitude will be gladly forgotten by me as we look back on our time as the youth generation.




So there you have it, our generation. We all either hate each other, love each other, or have no opinion of each other because it's far too mainstream. And yet, we're all probably going to change the world. Yeah, we're just that indie.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Completely ridiculous thoughts.

I tell people that I don't care what they think of me, that I can be who I am without any worry. Most of the time I'm lying. I try to believe that who I am concerns me and me only, and for some short bubbles of time I do. Until that bubble bursts when I hear someone say something about me or a second evaluation of what I have just done causes me doubt myself when I hear another's opinion. Obviously, after insisting quite the opposite, I do care. I care a lot. And it's always when I am being watched or assessed by someone whom I fear may judge me that I start to judge myself. It's as if I start to value someone else's opinion about my personal judgement and views above my own. For example, I suddenly cower and become incompetent when asked to perform in front of a group of classmates because I know that I will have to see them everyday and if I mess up or no one laughs at the funny parts I know, or I think, that they will only see that awkward image of me rather than the one before them. However, if I was asked to perform in front of a room full of 300 strangers then I'd probably be perfectly okay with that because I don't know them and we will probably never meet and so, and this is when I'm not lying, I do not care what they think of me.

You could say that I just worry about the people whose opinions mean something to me, like my friends or a crush, but they are usually some of the people who I can actually be myself around. It's the groups of people who I know already have a strong opinion of me and collectively do not like me, that I find myself feeling the most afraid of their judgement. Even though their view of me should be very low on my list of things to care about, I involuntarily do. I suppose that because it is a collection of peers that I find it the most intimidating, because it is not just one person it's a whole bunch of people that are judging me. It's a horrible feeling, and I wish I could just ignore them and carry on with being myself, it's what I tell other to do. But even when I try to ignore them I still know that they will continue to judge me. It's like having the feeling that someone is always watching you.

Now of course I know that in reality those particular people couldn't care less about me and that writing this was pointless because what I perceive isn't the same perception that they have. But I am 14 years old and so self conscious that I feel terrified going to particular places in case I mess up and they laugh or they think less of me. So I am lying, I do care what everyone thinks of me. I even think that they so much as care what I do. It's not vanity, it's pure teenage fear of being judged and until these cliques of people no longer exist in my life and my peers mature around me I don't think I'm going to be any less scared. It may be completely ridiculous, but completely ridiculous thoughts are all that my adolescent brain can manage right now.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

London is bloody great.

Imagine you've just got off the train at, let's say, Embankment station. You travel up the escalators, on the right side if you're walking on the left if you're happy just to stand and enjoy the ride. Adverts for the West End's best posted all the way along the wall, you look at every one as if the second Matilda poster will be any different from the last one you'd seen. Still you're enticed and say to your friend on the step below, "oh I really want to go and see that." though I doubt that you will. Finally the upwards journey ends and you arrive at the barriers. You've got your card your ready to go, pop it in or swipe it, always that moment of panic as you feel a crowd of people swelling up behind you and this machine decides that it doesn't like your card. It's fine, it went through, the gates have opened, you are now free to roam the streets of London. Look behind you, you're friend's right there, together you create a tiny number in the huge bustle that is the people. You can't stop, you'd hold people up, you just have to keep moving. Moving along with the crowd, the flow, whatever you want to call it. You arrive outside, even more noise, cars churning out fumes, people chatting, machines roaring, trains rattling. You turn to your left and start to walk up the stairs. You accidentally touch the railing in a day dream, "urgh!" you exclaim, "Millions of people touch that everyday. Think how many germs are on that!" "Oh stop whining." Your friend says as you continue to ascend. The last steps are here, it's not a long journey but you can hear it, you can smell it. It's here.

You have reached the top of the stairs. You look round and you can see everything. Glorious, beautiful London is right there before your eyes. The river is rushing beneath the bridge, tour boats full to the brim of people waving at you enthusiastically from below. To your right, the Gerkin, the OXO building, and the Festival Hall. To your left, if you ignore the train track then you can imagine the Houses of Parliament standing so majestically on the riverbank. You make your way through the long strand of people. Business people, tourists, families, couples. There's a Rastafarian playing the steel drum as you pass. A sweet melody drifting out into the heavy bass of a city. A train whooshes past on you left, the great rumble of the tracks ridding of all other sound for a few seconds. The wind whirls past, whipped up from the water. The sun is peaking through the mass of grey cloud that makes the city look like a painting. All manner of life is happening in every direction and "this is great" you think. "This is really great." You're coming to the end of the bridge now, and the crowd thins out. Another set of stairs to descend into another new world.

You are now in the artistic, buzzing South Bank. Some new exhibition is placed along the walkway, kids running in and out of huts playing music or an audio description of the meaning behind the work. The sun is fully out now and people sit sunning themselves on the astroturf outside of Foyle's or sit on the stairs eating sandwiches from Eat. You walk along to see the colours of the National Theatre, another crowd buzzing about watching some creative dance performance, a free expression of art for any passerby. You take a peek, it's good so you stay until the end, a quick stop at the theatre unplanned, but brilliant. Now that it has finished you want to visit somewhere else, so you walk back along where you came but instead of climbing the stairs you came down, you walk a bit further to the second lot of stairs, on the other side of the bridge. This time when you ascend you can see the Houses of Parliament and the clock tower that houses Big Ben. The London Eye is there too, spinning round and round full of people gazing at the wonderful sites. Along the bridge you go, another group of people you pass, more lives screaming loudly into the symphony of the city. You come off the bridge and walk up a street full of hotels you could never afford to stay in. "I bet you George Clooney's stayed in that one." Your friend points. "I bet you he has." You reply. Out from the rather quiet street you come into the loud rush that is Trafalgar square. Nelson sits proudly on his column staring at the boasting National Gallery, full of some of the world's wonders on canvas. People are everywhere, climbing on the lions, walking up or down the stairs, sitting on the stairs, taking photographs of friends, staring over the balcony onto the square, just passing by. It's a beautiful chaos. And you know that everywhere in London this chaos continues to happen, every day and every night. A huge and wonderful cacophony of life.

Imagine you're just getting on the train at, let's say, Marylebone station. People are filling up the seats as the train waits patiently for its time to leave. You've had a lovely day in London, you and your friend. Your feet now ache and you're ready for a nap. The warmth of the train is comforting and starts to send you to sleep. You remember what you saw today, and what you heard and smelt and touched and felt. All the people that you saw, all the buildings, all the sights. The music you heard, the chatter, the noise, the life. You remember the city that you visited, just moments before, and a smile spread across your face. "London it great." You think, "Just bloody great."




I wanted to give you a small snippet of what it's like to be in London, and this isn't even near to a quarter of what you see and do. I just adore the city, it makes me proud to be a part of the country, that I can call this city mine. I think it's a real tribute to the people of Britain, the workings of it. But I also think it's a wonderful welcoming to the people who visit. It's a wonderful place to be at any time. It has a magical feel to it, you can't explain what it is exactly but there's just something about it. There's just something wonderful about London.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Meeting people. Cool and interesting people in particular.

I think that meeting people from different countries is one of the most important things in life. It means you get to learn new cultures, compare cultures, compare languages, possibly even practise a language or listen to your language being spoken by someone as a second language. Yeah, language is kind of a big thing here. And it can unfortunately sometimes be a barrier between you and the other person. But let's say for this blog post that the new person you hypothetically meet shares a language with you.

What I love about meeting a new person is the story that I have yet to discover from them. They have these experiences and lives to share with you that may be so foreign to your own that hearing them opens up so many opportunities for great conversations. It's not like with your close friends-whilst still equally as interesting- where the conversations are easier to have given the intensity of the relationship, it becomes more of a challenge, the good kind. At first you have to establish the basics: 'where do you come from?' 'where is that near?' and then you start to get into the really interesting stuff: 'what's it like?' 'what job do you have/what do you study?' 'why?'. And then you find yourself involved in this discussion about all kinds of different things that are teaching you about a country you've possibly never been to before from an actual native and not just an article in a travel magazine or a lesson in a geography class. Okay it's not quite the same as actually being there but at least your hearing it from someone who lives there and experiences it everyday, not just a text book.

It's fascinating how much you learn from talking with someone who you may not usually converse with. In some ways you learn a lot about your own country from comparing it with that of a completely different culture. You may even spark healthy debates about things like politics or healthcare or maybe just the people themselves. Sometimes you find yourself or the other person feeling jealous of certain aspects of their or your country. Something like a certain type of government when the other's may be very strict and militaristic or in a time of crisis. It's kind of like watching the news except it's far closer to the truth and far more exciting than dumbfoundingly uninteresting pieces of overhyped lies like "if you use Facebook then you are sure to be raped and killed by a strange man!'. No, these types of conversation involve at least some level of intellectual discussion about interesting topics. So actually I lied, it's nothing like the news.

I really believe that you can gain so much from conversing, meeting and making friends with people outside of you own country. It's beneficial to you and to them because you learn a hell of a lot and probably gain some pretty cool experiences from it. Whether in the world of the Internet or in that weird place with fresh air and stuff we call reality get out there and off your backside to meet some cool and interesting people from all over the world. You'll thank yourself in the long term.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Music.

I don't know about you but when I listen to music I am having one of my happiest moments. In my head, when almost any music is playing, I have created this world where anything I want can happen. It's the most wonderful thing when your imagination goes crazy just because someone compiled notes together to make a melody. That a single tune has the ability to make me feel a million and one different things, is the most beautiful concept.

Music isn't like a language or a poem or a story, because it relates to every single human being. You don't have to be able to read it or play it or even understand it to be able to be hit by music's power. It effects every person on this planet because it is everywhere, it has been with us since the dawn of our time. I don't think that it is exclusive to humans, or that we own it in some sort of way, I believe it is an animalistic trait that a lot of the living things roaming the Earth have a part of. Music is just a sound, but a sound that I don't think we could live without. Take any example where music is used and then remove it, I'm pretty sure that the example becomes next to nothing. Imagine living in a world where music doesn't exist, that means that the feeling in your heart when music plays stops, you can no longer feel it. You never felt it in the first place. The power of music disappears. That's a world not worth living in.

For some people hearing music might not be possible, but it doesn't mean that it never effects you. Music is like a language for everybody, a universal means of communicating, a way of reaching the heart of someone you may not be able to contact another way.

Look, I'm having a hard time explaining this right but what I'm really trying to say is that music is the most wonderful language the world has ever known. And I love it.

Here's an example of what I love:


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Procrastination.


Procrastination. Man's most inappropriate and tiresome friend. You get to watch that film you've always wanted to, but the essay due in for tomorrow has not been finished. In other words, you really wish procrastination would just stop pestering you and go home yet he can be quite good fun and means you don't have to do your dreaded deeds. I procrastinated writing this post, not that writing my blog is a chore as such, just that forcing myself to stop watching the entire second series of Cold Feet was a lot more effort when I thought of what this post was going to be about. Thus, the theme of procrastination.

What our dear friend procrastination does not tell us is that the actual process of doing what you were supposed to may be actually very gratifying or just as interesting than watching Lost in Austen for the 20th time. The other bonus to shoving procrastination out the door is the feeling you get after completing the task at hand. That satisfaction of knowing that you are free to do whatever you want is glorious in its own right. You can now read endlessly with the knowledge that you are now free of the niggling feeling at the back of your head, the one that usually tells you to get yourself together and do some work, the feeling that is usually right.

You see now I can go downstairs and watch a film with my mum with full relief of having pushed myself to write another post. Not only did I enjoy writing it but I will enjoy the fact that I got past the procrastination and did something relatively productive. Trust me, although he tries desperately to be the nice guy, procrastination really isn't doing you any good.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Proud to be British.

You know what? Despite my somewhat cynical view of the olympics, partially influenced by those unimpressed by the whole concept of it, I was thoroughly in awe of London's opening ceremony. It made me feel immensely proud of my home country, I was glad to call myself British. Actually, I was never in doubt of my country's endeavour to perform to the world a quintessential view of ourselves and succeed fabulously, only our current political stature has my disapproval. The ceremony at hand involved all manner of beautifully British aspects combined into one spectacular show. Danny Boyle, I feel, is deserving of a ginormous amount of respect from the Great British public for representing us in such a way that we appeared as the true deferential yet striking country that we are known to be.

The wonderfully clever transformation of the green and pleasant land into the dark satanic mills imposed a great sense of British history that was both humbling, possibly even quite abasing, and majestic at the same time. It symbolised a great beginning of the world's future, creating an olympic spirit right from the start. Although portrayed as a dark point in our history, red lighting, heavy smoke, dark colours, contrasting significantly to the green, bright, lighthearted start, its brilliant grandness also conveyed the importance of the moment in time.

One thing that this part of the opening was really special for, was that it was not a history of kings and queens and the aristocratic aspect of our country, it was a history of the people. And the people, the workers, are what really allowed things such as the industrial revolution to happen. A Tori had made a comment the following morning on how he thought it was a bit left wing, well let me tell you something mate, it was fantastic that it wasn't right wing. If it had of been a right wing director then I'm sure that instead of representing true, hardworking people who deserved to be recognised it would have been portrayal of the rich, "distinguished" characters of our past whom may have had some intuition into the revolution but their work was significantly minimal in comparison. Boyle did well in relating to today, recognising hardworking citizens as very important tools in the machine of our country. The NHS workers for example, real doctors and nurses dancing to represent a vital health service that quite frankly we'd struggle without. They deserved to be in the opening ceremony because they are a part of Britain that literally keeps us alive, working admirably hard and with the constant criticism from the media and a threat of closure from the right wing government.

Another wonderful aspect of the ceremony was the uniting of James Bond and the Queen, which allowed me to have new respect for Her Majesty because of her ability to make fun of herself in a lighthearted way. It was enough to make me me say "we have such a cool Queen!" regardless of my skeptical opinions of the monarchy.

The opening moved on to represent our literary wonders for children, the magnificent Harry Potter both portrayed with the author herself reading from another wonderful author's work, Peter Pan, and a bloody great 40 foot tall Voldemort. Boyle presented these imaginary marvels in a weird, dreamlike manner that was almost quite scary. We had the Queen of Hearts, the monster under your bed, Voldemort of course, and many other characters plotted to enter children's nightmares. Adding to this quirky madness was Mary Poppins coming to save the day, that would have made Harry Potter a whole different story. And a rather wonderful one at that. The creative chaos was beautifully British in its own right, crazy, and quirky and perfect.

Moving on to our very own evolution of music, making me realise that we had a superior amount of fantastic music. Music destined to be great forever with wonderful amounts of icons and idols, all British and all known worldwide. We had Bowie, The Who, The Beatles, Sex Pistols, Prodigy and tonnes more that I cannot remember because there were so many great artists. So many great movements and revolutions of British youth culture, hippies, punks, new romantics, the raves in the 90s, all making me realise that we have a really, really boring generation of young people. Our popular music has gone downhill as well, it's no longer revolutionary lyrics and spine tingling guitar solos, but rapping senselessly about "passing out" because of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. No thank you, Tinie Tempah, I'd rather head bang to Anarchy In The Uk.

Apart from our rather uninspiring music and youth of today, our fireworks were also pretty awesome. No pyrotechnics needed to put on a great show, nor was a draining of resource from our defence budget. We ended our rather brilliant entrance into the Olympics for the third time, with a spectacular array of beautiful planned explosions leaving a good impression on the rest of the world.

Danny Boyle created a wonderful, quirky, mad, weird, quintessentially British opening ceremony that is sure to stay with us for a long time. Yes it cost a lot of money, about £27 million or so but there's  56 million Brits so that's 48p each, so stop complaining like a whining baby and be proud of your country.


Saturday, 14 July 2012

Performing

I really enjoy performing. You get such a kick out of acting or dancing or singing in front of a group of people. It's the thrill you obtain from appearing on stage that I adore. The excited nerves that build up beforehand as you hear the bustling of an audience arriving, the absolute concentration on the stage and you and your fellow performers as you stand vulnerable before the crowd, and finally, the relief and elation you feel once you have finished all contribute to the wonderful atmosphere created from a performance.

A smile is planted on your face for a good few minutes after a show, not because you are grateful it has ended, but because "YOU DID IT!" and it was amazing, and the crowd loved it. You feel as if you want to scream and shout and jump up and down with joy. Embracing everyone in your sight to express how wonderful it was to them, jumping frantically round in an awkward hug both participants squealing loudly is an experience I frequently come across. You feel so unbelievably happy, and I think that's fantastic. That from just doing one tiny thing in front of a group of people you become completely besides oneself with joy.

Of course, performing isn't for everyone and may inject absolute terror into some it is, however, a wonderful way of expressing oneself to a crowd of people through any means of art. You could be playing the recorder, or be at the back of the stage in a bit part for all I care, I believe that this fabulous feeling is felt by everyone and anyone who performs. And I love it.

Friday, 6 July 2012

William Shakespeare.



I think I might be in love with William Shakespeare.

Regardless of the fact I have yet to read or watch all of his work, I am infatuated by all that Shakespeare has to offer. His work is so beautiful, ingenious, gob-smackingly wonderful that it seems almost impossible not to, at some time in your life, fall deeply in love with the idea of this brilliant man whom no other writer could ever surpass. I, personally, do not find the language so obscenely difficult to understand although I do struggle at times, I sort of find that a rather magical part of his work. Not ever fully knowing the meaning behind his words is so romantic and mysterious and wonderful and carries a whole world of endless validity. This code that no one will ever really be able to unlock is what keeps William Shakespeare eternal and is why, for most of the population, he and his stories will never, ever die.

Although for some just the thought of Twelfth Night brings shivers down their backs as they remember the horrific essay they were forced to write in their first year of high school, for me I remember really being able to write an essay and enjoy it. For most of the time, unfortunately, writing controlled assessments in school makes me feel slightly queazy, however, when writing about a specimen of Shakespeare's work I look forward to writing with passion and in detail. With most essays my work is slightly altered through the general lack of interest in the subject, but with Shakespeare essays I feel as if I could write forever. This is not to say that I no longer enjoy any other piece of literature if written by another author, just that the thought of having to write about it fills me with uninspiring dread.

I think that possibly, the reason behind this, is the unfathomable compel of Shakespeare's words. Every sentence you feel as if you have to read with such care as to not misrepresent the almighty author. I feel privileged to have read and heard and even to have spoken what was once only thought of and known by him. It's almost as if every separate word was written with absolute intention and purpose, placed for ultimate pleasure and awe created by the English language. Every meaning behind every sentence has a special place on this planet that will never be removed or exceeded.

The man discovered and expressed the truth behind all humans. All hatred, anger, evil, pain, grief, sorrow, despair, madness, helplessness, vulnerability, mischief, joy, ecstasy, happiness, mystery, wonder, curiosity, love was defined by one man when they didn't even have toilets that flushed. And I shall forever be eternally grateful, as will the world.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Violence

If you are not under any threat of any kind and your life is at not risk and the only way you can defend yourself is by participating in some sort of violence, then I do not tolerate it. At all. Ever.

 Now I go to a relatively middle class grammar school where the only violence that usually occurs are playground scraps, but recently an incident happened where almost the entire year were left in shock and disgust. A group of young men in their late teens arrived behind the leisure centre which is situated behind my school intending to beat up a boy aged 14 as some sort of revenge for a female friend attending my school. The young boy was attacks by one of the men and hit a number of times causing a great deal of damage to the boy's face before running off back down the hill. A number of other students of the same age witnessed the account and were dumbfounded as the innocent children that they were, desperately trying to help their friend as he bled heavily from the nose.

 The boy was then taken to the school matron, cleaned up and reassured as no serious damage had been done. Over the last hour left of the school day a number of pupils were asked to write statements on the event as the rest of us, shaken by the violence, chatted continuously until the last period ended.

 I understand that this violence was fairly minimal to the amount that is committed on a daily basis in wars and gangs and abuse of every kind but it opened our sheltered eyes up to see what humans can do to their own species. As teens barely out of childhood we struggled to comprehend why anyone could even suggest doing such a thing as what had been done. The mental ability to physically use one's body to seriously hurt another was an alien concept for us. It was unlike a playful scrap in the schoolyard or a puppy like fight with a sibling it was real and forceful and completely intent on sincerely causing another person pain. It was no longer the baddie getting what he deserved in a film but a real life demonstration of what we as humans are entirely capable of and subject to in our lives.

 I believe I am about to contradict myself here when I say that I conjecture that violence is an important part of one's life and that nature is bound to take its course. However, my reasoning behind this is that where I completely oppose to hatred behind violence and pointless violence in media such as movies put in for entertainment purposes only I personally believe that primarily as a child exploring violence through play and experimenting how far hitting your sibling is stretching the rules can actually be justified. I think that investigating violence as an infant helps you to understand it in later life.

 In most circumstances I completely object to the existence of the death penalty as I believe that the state is becoming equally as evil as the criminal and being a hypocrite by ending someone's life in a deliberately cruel way. Whilst some might say it's an eye for an eye, a statement I sort of relate to, I am of the opinion that life imprisonment for murder or rape is a far better punishment than an easy path to death and a release from the inevitable guilt.

 Violence of the cruel kind is completely intolerable and having witnessed an example of this, I've realised that I am definitely behind this view. I wouldn't say that I was a pacifist as such but I would put myself in that category if asked, and I suggest, if you have any sense that you do too.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Crying isn't just for babies.

I don’t cry that often but when I do, I cry a lot. Sometimes I cry at TV programmes or books or films but mostly, some days, just at how everything is extremely difficult and I don’t want to carry on. I don’t mean suicide, obviously, I just mean giving up completely. I think, or at least hope, that everyone feels like this once in a while because in a funny sort of way I think it’s good for you. To just cry. It’s like having a bath or a shower really but just washing out your emotions rather than your body. It's much like a down pour, if you think about it, you spend so much time holding it in and building it up (like the clouds swelling with rain) that eventually the moment comes where you just have to release and tears come flooding. You empty out your soul to whoever is nearest or your childhood teddybear if a human is not available. Afterwards, once you realise all fate is not eternally doomed, the releasing feeling of your nose unblocking and your face reducing to its original size and losing the puffy redness induced by crying feels rather pleasant. As you sink back into a non-hysterical place where just thinking about that scene from '10 Things I Hate About You' where she reads a heart breaking poem to Heath Ledger doesn't reduce you to tears you are entering a new, fresh state. 

Indulge yourself, have a good old bawl about everything, cleanse your soul then return to your fabulously wonderful lives. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Climbing Metaphor

I climb. By the way. I go rock climbing every Tuesday evening at my local leisure centre and participate in a junior club where I learn the do's and don'ts of climbing. I love it. I love it because everyone there is particularly nice and non judgemental people, it pushes me to personal physical limits that I may not reach on other occasions, I am encouraged to try extra hard by people who genuinely care and I always come away feeling alive and buzzing. I'm not the best, I'm not even close to being the best, but that doesn't matter because it's all about your personal ambition and ability and no one has the right to interfere. Even when I've been close to quitting, I never have because the pure thrill I receive from going climbing beats almost anything.

The reason I am informing you of this seemingly irrelevant part of my free time, is because I believe it has very similar attributes to life. Climbing, therefore, is a very tiring metaphor.
These are the aspects that I am personally convinced should be used as a general template for varying occurrences of your time on Earth;

a) Be friendly with everyone, all the time. I don't know the entirety of the climbing population so this may be just my experience of the sport but it's still quite a nice objective anyway. Everyone I've met through the activity has been kind to me, involved me in conversation, called me pet names, cracked jokes with me, showed encouragement or support or just simply smiled politely. It doesn't matter how long I've known the individual, I've always been shown hospitality.
  Now, of course, this advice does not include certain members of the population who you possibly don't want to be friends with as their company could endanger your life or wellbeing, but these, fortunately are a very small percentage of us humans therefore being friendly with almost everyone is nearly entirely possible. Like, maybe it's a good idea to stay clear of the axe murderer who escaped from prison and has just knocked down your door with a blood lust look in his eyes, but it is a very good idea to stay friendly with your next door neighbour. Even if he gives you dirty looks for that time you broke his greenhouse with the football, taking no notice and smiling anyway will annoy him all the more, so it's basically a win win situation.

b) Always try your hardest, and stay committed. This one's pretty obvious and is already well known and widely used, but within climbing particularly it's quite hard not to do what you know your body is capable of. It's your brain that's the issue. Commitment is the most important factor of the climbing sport. There's no doubt that being 11 metres up a wall with just a rope between you and your death, or severe injury, and clinging on to a teeny hold that only your finger tips can fit on and being shouted at to just "stand up and reach" for another hold that is more than your arm's length away is a more than daunting prospect. What you need to do is just trust yourself and commit to the climb and you will find that, even if after more than one try, you will complete the climb and you will feel amazing.
Breaking that barrier in your mind down is a task that everyone has to face in an infinite array of everyday events. It is never anything or anyone else that is stopping you from reaching your goal, it is you and you alone. Always give it your best shot and even if that formidable block in your brain appears, stay committed and try over and over again until eventually it breaks down and you find you can do what ever you desire.

and finally,

c) Encourage yourself and others, to do what you love. The sheer amount of support I've received from my climbing centre is inspiring. I feel completely accepted, and although I don't always do things correctly (almost always actually) I've just been told that I've done well to try, to pick myself up, and to try all over again. I'm not perfect at climbing, although I adore it, but perfection is a nonexistent attribute to doing what you love, passion is really the only thing you need. I've been encouraged by my instructors and friends to continue this hobby of mine and they provide that little push that you need carry on no matter what issues arise.
If you have an ambition or desire, you'd expect others to support and encourage you to carry it out thus you must also reverse your role to when others need your help, to be there in the background with t-shirts and banners screaming 'YOU CAN DO IT!' as they struggle on through the numerous hurdles to the perfect paradise that is success.

Climbing isn't the only sport where you can discover rather wonderful advice for living, and it certainly isn't the only place where you can find these guidelines. Always, always do what you love with the people you love in the places you love. And search for hidden metaphors in daily aspects, for you may find that what you discover is the way in which you want to continue living and that, in itself, is pretty bloody powerful.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

If the bus is late, walk.



I'm fed up with waiting and being told "it will happen someday" because this way of thinking seems to me a little unproductive. If I sat around all day wondering when my time will come and not doing anything of the sort to actually ensure it will ever happen, then I'd be waiting a very long time. I don't want to spend my entire adolescence feeling sorry for myself because others have got off their backsides and done something impressive whilst I spent my days on twitter pretending that I have a life, which is sadly a lot of what I do now, I want to be the one inspiring people to stop moaning endlessly and start doing things that they love. Which is why I write this blog and enter creative writing competitions of ranging variety and email people I don't know asking if I could write for them and be in their fabulous writing crew.

You have to take opportunities when they come, and if they don't come then you bloody well make them do so. In my head, as soon as leave university I will instantly be entered into the glorious world of success and attend parties with all the right people in all the right places and wear clothes that I could never afford and live in places where only very important people live. This, unfortunately, is a rather glorified idea of what will probably be me, still living with my parents and pretending to like people I really, really don't. However, I could improve on this, I know I can, I can have exactly what I want and more. I just need to stop thinking it will happen with time, and do something to make sure that gradually I begin to live exactly how I expect my adult life to be.

Of course, my desires and opinions will change with time and I might end up living a completely different dream to the one I first set my eyes on but as long as I begin to pursue my ambitions now my life will neatly fall into place in front of me.

Life isn't easy, you don't get what you want with the blink of an eye you obtain a living dream with a lot of hard work and hell of a lot of motivation. Don't wait for opportunities to come, make them happen. If the bus is late, walk.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

All you need is love.



What do I think love is? To be perfectly honest I have no idea, being fourteen and having very little experience in the subject my knowledge is fully based on romantic novels and films. I am, myself, a romantic, not just in the hopeless sappy way but in the elaborate decorations I feel life needs to have. Such as beautiful dresses that float as you walk and the idea of cities like Paris and Rome and vintage cars that are more about the look than the actual function and fairies all over my room and old photographs of time captured and frozen as a masterpiece of life. I love everything that is both meaningless and valid at the same time. I love the idea that life is not just about reproduction and survival and matter but something deeper and unknown. In particular, I love the idea of love.

I love how it's painful, how it makes your chest ache with yearning. I love how it saves life, and kills it simultaneously. I love how it creates almost anything and everything with simple desire. I love how people are joined through it, and how they are separated. I love how it can make you smile so hard your jaw aches. I love how it is always good, and always bad. I love how hard it is, and how hard people work for it. I love how it is the core of everything animal, and it is everything as well as being nothing.

I don't think people do fully understand what love is, and I don't think they ever will. Yes, scientists will say that being in love with someone is just chemical reactions within one's brain, but love is more than just romance between two people. If you look at everything in life you will find love will be there, or that there is a lack of it. People become architects because they love designing buildings, people grow plants because they love gardening, or being able to aid a living thing in fulfilling its life, people go on roller coasters because they love the thrill. It works the other way too, it's so common that people who take drugs feel unloved or were unloved as a child or through adulthood. In extreme cases terrorists who love their God feel it's their duty to terrorise others. Love is everywhere, and it's good and bad.

What do I think love is? I think love is everything. It is so complicated that not even the world's most intelligent minds can comprehend it. It is romantic, caring, kindly, spiteful, hormonal, hateful, passionate, and frightening. Love is so powerful you rarely know it's there and when it is visible it's the most beautiful thing of all.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Who are you?

Who are we? No, seriously, do we actually have any control over who we are? Are our dislikes and interests distorted from reality?

If I'm honest, I think they are. Every time I put some clothes on- after much debating as to what my outfit will be - and go outside, I instantly regret the choice that I made. I look around at people wearing garments in such a fashion that they closely resemble the images targeted for that very purpose. I look down at myself and think, I don't look like them, what must they be thinking of me? I want to look as effortlessly cool as the women who walk around with messy hair and vintage shades and doc martens. I want to look different, like they do, I want to look the same.

And there we have it, the distorted view on what we must look like, what we must buy. If you want to be different, you have to be the same. This idea that the idols at the height of fashion whom everyone lusts after and longs to look alike are being so controversial and making such a statement that everyone and their mother is doing it too. But doesn't that defy the point? Aren't you supposed to look unique? Isn't your appearance supposed to look like who you are, not anyone else? There isn't any individuality or creativity in fashion anymore, it's all about what everybody else is doing. There is no choice.

Because I look at clothes and think I'm meant to be wearing that, I should buy it, but I just don't like it. Which is wrong. If I don't like something then it's not me, I should be wearing what makes me happy, what represents me. Nothing unique is ever appreciated anymore. Even the word indie has completely lost its meaning. You think you're being different, you really do, but what you're actually doing is exactly the same as everyone else. Fair enough if you genuinely enjoy what the rest of the world seems to as well, it's not your fault it happens to be popular. Even I am partial to the vintage fad that's taken over the western world. It's fine, because I'm completely obsessed with history and the past, so it only makes sense that I love periodic clothing.

Just make sure that what you want and what you like isn't just because you saw an over edited photo on tumblr that looks suspiciously similar to the rest of the images on the website. Be you, always, and never give a damn about what people might think. I make that mistake often, and it never ends well.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Exams





Exams; a traumatic ritual enforced onto unsuspecting young citizens by means of torture. There to 'test your intelligence' and squeeze barely functioning adolescent brains into weeks of revision and then pressure the poor souls to sit for an hour answering questions with no relevance to actual real life. Also situated, for pure satisfactory effect, at a time when the sun shines brightly and beats perfect sunbathing/going outside heat down onto the labouring individuals locked inside with books full of words they can't comprehend. Thousands of wasted trees scribbled on with symbols of silent torture, millions of wrists aching with the continuos action of writing, each of the foreboding persons suffering, hidden away from the carefree adults without a GCSE in sight.

Unless you are still unaware, after reading my melodramatic opening, that this post is about exams, then please leave now, you clearly can not relate. If you did feel the pang of an ever painful yet distant memory, or ached inside as you recalled that you too were also suffering then read on, I'm here-not to save the day- but to rant about how stupid, pointless, condemning and oppressing these worthless pieces of paper really are.

When these hellish examinations are finally over and you receive the much anticipated results that will supposedly dictate your future, your nerves almost exceed the height at which they had reached during the papers, which is largely ridiculous. Although the results are an enormous answer to how your adult life will begin, the rest of your life is not under their influence and nor are your choices. So this daunting stress and pressure we are presented with is mostly a load of, for lack of a better word, poop. You do not decide what you are taught or forced to have imprinted into your mind, you go to lessons, listen to what will never effect your life, leave and then have a test on what you can vaguely remember. You mostly get good results if you enjoy the lesson, which unfortunately relies on the way in which the subject is taught. This turn of fate is unfortunate because some old gits decided that being passionate about a subject is sinful thus enforced courses to rot your brains. You are incredibly blessed if you have the fortune to be situated with a good teacher because the subject that you are taught is more likely to stick. The lessons are no longer about what they contain, but about whether you can remember worthless facts and write them down.

I do understand, however, that there is a good reason behind this seemingly awful period of a teen's life. The large amount of work does have its advantages. It teaches you perseverance and self control. Making you realise that to get what you want, you have to work hard. This, as much as I'd like to deny it, is an important lesson to learn whilst growing up. It doesn't test your intelligence, it's far from it, instead it puts your work ethic to the test, just giving you a little bit of what life has to offer.

If you had the perfect balance of learning how to work and being passionate about the different subjects the world has to offer. There is so much out there that we could be educated on, learn to love the universe and its many surprises, but they're held back and we are left unknowing whether we enjoy the things we are taught. Life is not all about the work, it's about the things we work for, the things that come from work and that, more than anything else, a passion for education is a most valuable trait.