Wednesday, 27 June 2012


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.