Thursday, 22 November 2012


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


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.