Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas.

It's Christmas Eve this morning. It hasn't snowed. It's 12 degrees outside. And raining. I feel... Excited. Not how I did when I was younger. That was magical. How does one describe it? Is Christmas an emotion? I can remember when I was little being afraid at 10 o'clock at night one Christmas Eve that we'd be too late for Father Christmas to come. It was all so real. The presents, the food, playing with my new toys, Doctor Who in the evening. It's changed a little but I love it still. It just keeps coming round too quickly. All these traditions are lovely but I feel I'm on repeat. I didn't do this a year ago, did I? 

Christmas is weird. It's like some sort of nostalgia fest for adults over their childhood. I'm only 18 and that's what it feels like for me. All the joys I had as a little girl are now but funny memories and far off sensations of "Christmas".

Now it's different of course. The main focus of the whole ordeal is my family. I can't wait to be with them all day. To eat and drink and laugh with them. We do that most days, but this is more intense. It is like we've selected a day to not part each other once and give gifts and eat a gigantic meal and tell each other we love each other without actually needing to say it. 

Perhaps the magic of that Christmas feeling will come back to me again one day. It's probably just my age. Or the weather. For now it shall have to become simply the best family day of the year which, actually, is quite alright by me. 


Saturday, 12 December 2015

Jamie the Tramp.

I met a tramp the other day, on the train. He called himself that. He sat down next to me and said "I'm a tramp." He smelt and looked like one, he was carrying a plastic bag full of belongings. I believed him.

He had glazed over eyes, bright blue, and one of them had a red cut through the middle. He had a fresh cut on the side of his face too. And scars underneath that. When he spoke it was thick with a Glaswegian accent and the slurring effects of alcohol so the odds were against us to understand everything he was saying. 

He immediately began telling me about his terrible life. His fiancée had died, he had been in the army, his parents had died. I think I managed to pick up a vaguely racist story about some "black boys" who had stamped on his stereo on the bus. It took a while to try and decipher that one, I'm still not sure I understand. 

On some occasions he'd actually cry. On others he'd pretend to punch an invisible man in front of him. On another occasion he actually rapped. 

He asked me for £20. My heart dropped. I only had £20 to go up to Leeds for the day with, to get food and bus tickets and such like. At first the £20 would be going towards funds to get a train to Glasgow. In the midst of explaining that to me he pointed to a ditch in a field and said "that's where I should be." I timidly said "no."

A few minutes later the £20 was going to go towards a cheap stereo from Sainsbury's. He then handed me a CD that he apparently made with "his boys" and he was DJing. At this point I was confused, and I still hadn't said I would give him the money. I had told him I didn't have any cash on me. He had simply replied that we could go to a cash machine when we got off the train. I had somewhere to be when we got off the train. 

I didn't give him the money in the end. I didn't get the chance to. He moved away eventually, saying good bye to me across the other passengers. At Doncaster we were delayed for a few minutes. As we left the station the driver explained that someone had been removed by the police. Other passengers in the carriage laughed as they realised who it had been. I noticed he had left his hat on the seat next to me. He wouldn't have it wherever he went that night. 

The whole time I spoke to Jamie I felt on edge. My body language probably told him that: he was on the outside seat and I was facing quite deliberately towards the window when I could. When he took my hand I probably shook it feebly. I didn't want to be pathetic and tell him to go away. Part of him was only making conversation. But I didn't enjoy the decision making over whether I would give him money. 

I don't know whether I would have paid him the £20 in the end. Or whether I should have. My values should dictate that he needed it more than I did. But he made me feel uncomfortable, and I was nervous about going up to Leeds alone for the first time, and I wasn't even sure he was always telling the truth. My response to him has probably been terribly middle class and overthought. It might mean I'm a bad person. I'm not sure. I just keep worrying that he might be cold without his hat. 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Carry out the guns.

I don't want to talk about bombing Syria. I don't want to talk about innocent deaths in the name of a violent gesture against a violent gesture that can only produce more violent gestures. I don't want to talk about the mothers, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters. I don't want to even think about the images of young Syrians looking around in despair at the rotten carcass of their homes, their heritage, their world. An open wound.

And what about the martyrdom? The ideology that cannot die, not when successors watch their predecessors perish at the hands of their already enemy. Let us look to the birth of Daesh, the Taliban, Al Qaeda. And then look away, blinded, and carry out the guns. Our brilliant solution. Our. This is not ours. This is not mine. I do not sign my name anywhere near this idea.

"We need to think of our service men and women and their families at this time" Yes. And the people of Syria who didn't have time to escape to our unwelcoming island. Think of them also. 

I bet you all four of my limbs that these airstrikes will not be successful in eliminating the "enemy". I am not very well politically educated on the topic of war, but I have never seen anyone truly benefit from mass death, mass sorrow, mass destruction. Not in my short life, in which war in the Middle East has never really ceased. This is a twisted, sadistic response and exactly what our enemy was asking for. Here you go, Isil, have our anguish on a plate. 

I don't want to think about bombing Syria. But, oh look, I just have.  

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Coming of age: it really is all happening.


So I am 18 now which I guess, to me, that means something new. In the eyes of the law I am an adult. But I can't rent a car.

I suppose it brings home this idea of this stage of my life being a time of moving on, of discovering, exploring - myself and the world - and of setting my two feet on the ground and officially saying "I am here, World, look at me!"

I like birthdays. They make you feel different: you have moved up a level in age and a whole new range of things becomes open to you. 15 was different to 16, 16 was different to 17 and 17 will be different to 18, so on and so on.  It is not just because of the new list of legal activities I can partake in, which is fun by the way, but because of my changing each year into the person I am now. On the night before my birthday this week I read the diary entry I wrote from exactly a year before. I had hoped for a wonderful year to follow. "To top the last". I am not sure if it ever actually did top the one before but events and sensations and experiences occurred that have shaped me to be ever so slightly dissimilar to the Mollie on the night before her 17th birthday. That's what is so exciting about birthdays; a year of things you won't ever be able to pre-imagine.

The most exciting feeling about being 18 is the wider sense of looking towards the rest of my life. I have technically left my official childhood behind and entered my adult life, I have 'come of age'. And things happen there, I've been told, lots of things. In my diary entry this Tuesday night (right before my birthday) I wrote a slightly different message to myself. Instead of thinking about the year ahead of me, which should be stressful and wonderful and exciting, I wrote what I hoped to encounter in the rest of my life. I wrote about the love I will feel, the people I will meet, the places I will go. But I also wrote about the pain I will experience, the losses, the low points. Because it is all coming to me. Each moment I do not know yet, they are all there lined up on a shelf for me to come along and pick one by one in no particular order each one to live through. Or is that the wrong analogy? Perhaps more accurately they may be thrown at me from a great height when least expected. Sometimes painful, sometimes pleasant. I look forward to both kinds.

I don't know if I will spend the rest of my life writing, who I will work for, if I will be creating something. I don't know who I will spend the rest of my life with, if I will ever meet someone like that, if I even want to. I don't even really know what university I will end up next year. Or what grades I will get, or where I will be in the summer. What will I read? Learn? Who am I going to meet? I just don't know anything at all, but it is all happening.

Oh I really love being 18, it really is all happening.

I can't wait for it all. The laughter, the friends, the tears, the kisses, the shouting, the anger, the everything. I am ready and waiting, it is all happening now! I want to live it all.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Empty morning mind.

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Oh, Paris.



Oh, Paris.

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

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

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

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Twitter Mob.

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

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

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

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

Friday, 30 October 2015

I must always have my writing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Naked face.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Ch-ch-changes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Don't blink.

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

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Spoon Fed Entertainment.


(A subtle and ironic recommendation of probably the best TV series ever. Ever x)

I read an article recently about how the BBC was being encouraged to conform to the 'box set' generation and produce a series a little more adherent to that nature. The words 'epic' were used and even a little paragraph about chancellor George Osborne's two cents on the matter was included, perhaps his advice on how the BBC can keep its licence. The BBC has conformed to this trope and has in fact made an 'epic' to be aired soon. It is all very well and good for our Conservative chancellor to counsel the corporation about making the new Game of Thrones but I am doubtful as to whether such interference produces good television. As much as forced content made to appeal to the masses works with marketing when producing a form of art, the kind we expect from a visit to the theatre or the cinema, the content falls dead.

When I think of good television the shows that come to mind are somewhat masterpieces. The programmes that everyone obsesses over have a beating heart at their centre. Real thought and care went into the script, into the directing, into the acting. A good television show rarely ever begins with a following that is sure to indulge in its 'box set' nature, but usually ends up growing a strong fan base to merit its own worthiness. If a population is spoon fed its entertainment and told that it is all good and yummy it will most likely spit it out and go in search of a better source. Good television does not come from trying to be the next Game of Thrones, it comes from standing out on its own and genuinely entertaining those who stick around to watch it. In fact, the 'box set' culture only happened because the 'mass' was able to take control of the content it consumed. The traditional form of sitting down each week to unveil a new episode of some brilliant series only really happens if the viewer is gripped from the beginning and makes his own decision to carry it on.

It is actually difficult to describe the feeling of becoming addicted to a television series but I can relate it as extremely enjoyable. I try not to spend entire days watching Netflix but if I find something I am truly keen on it is hard not to press 'Play Next Episode'. The BBC's new 'epic' about the Trojan wars set to rival Game of Thrones has had approximately £2 million spent on each episode, I really hope it was worth it. One can spend a couple million on a production to make it look pretty spectacular, but that money won't buy a story worth sticking around for. That has to happen almost by accident, it has to happen with the audience's consent.

Most people, contrary to popular belief, aren't always the stupid consumers we like to think they are. Where the masses may like to swallow whole the marketing crap they're continuously fed, they aren't always so keen to passively accept their forms of entertainment. Good content does not happen on demand, and 'box set' series do not just occur when the Chancellor of the Exchequer says so. The BBC is known for its excellent content, it has often shaped and created that British trademark, especially for good drama series. I just hope that it comes to remember this if the next of its multimillion pound 'epics' comes to epically fail.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Age of the Selfie.



'Tis the Age of the Selfie. According to some. To many it is an age of extreme narcissism, to me a new experience of self expression and connection. A discussion thread on my dad's Facebook introduced me to the idea that this modern self portrait was another means of reaching out to everyone else. Sometimes this reaching out can mean a search for approval, a need for someone else to confirm their good looks when they face an element of low self esteem. But this search for approval is still a strong desire to connect. Sometimes it means to say something much more distinct: it means to say "I am here."

Admittedly it is easy to understand why many link the selfie to an act of narcissism. It is often an act of self love, and a bold way of admitting that you think you are beautiful in some way but this is not narcissism. Narcissism is an excessive, or even erotic, interest in oneself without the awareness of external objects. If selfies were narcissistic we would not share them with the world but would keep them to ourselves for some weird form of enjoyment. Those selfies would be very odd. But most of us do not keep our selfies to ourselves, and instead we use them to connect with our friends and even strangers. We use them to express emotion, to be artistic, to be funny, and, if you are brave enough, to state that you are beautiful.

There is a trend on Twitter of young women, and sometimes men, posting a series of particularly beautiful selfies in one go. There is no purpose for these photos but to declare outright their own self love. These women say "I am beautiful" without being asked, and without an uncertainty that asks nervously for the onlookers to agree. They just wanted to say that they felt good today. Many of them are not 'conventional' looking. I find it powerful. I do not find these selfies irritating, or rubbed in my face, but I do find them inspiring and lovely to look at. They are lovely because such a force of self confidence is infectious. When someone does not owe anyone but themselves their own beauty, the sensation of that self belief trickles into the minds of others.

And so if a selfie be an act of self love then so be it. There is quite enough of self hate to go around for it not to matter. This newfound desire to connect with the world is much healthier anyway.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Lady nipples and other oddities.

 Via

Let's talk about nipples. Lady nipples. Because I think there's a little bit of an issue surrounding the *sensitive* area. More than one issue, actually, the whole thing is just a bit of a shambles.

Firstly, perhaps, we should discuss the issue within the issue that, when considering all the other debacles going on in the world, freeing the nipple is possibly not the highest priority for all women. It isn't my highest priority, but it does fit onto my list somewhere. It fits onto my list because when I consider all the wonderful ways in which men and women are unequal the sexualisation of body parts has for a long time been a little unbalanced. I say a little, I mean a lot. My sister recently saw a Twitter user with their feathers ruffled over the Free the Nipple campaign and they exasperated over the fact that when men look at boobs it's all come the revolution and when women look at crotches no one says a word. The silence on this issue could possibly be because no woman ever has stared hungrily at a stranger's crotch during conversation but then again I could be wrong. Either way, the sexualisation of the female body has been overhyped to the point where the two lumpy things on a woman's chest become the centre of her attraction to all other humans and often the bane of her life. In fact, they have almost become an object of power: squidge them together in a tight top for a job interview and you could be well on your way to a prosperous career. But it isn't the actual boob we have a strange complexity about, it's namely the nipple.

A woman can walk around with the majority of her lady lumps very much on show to the world and, without too much fuss, can spend the day very happily. She will get leers and stares and beeps from white vans and a cat call or two but it is allowed and she is free to do as she wishes. Until, of course, a woman might decide that the day is too hot and she wants to liberate her breasts to avoid tan lines or just to feel the fresh air or perhaps because that's just the way she likes it. This is not allowed unless you are on a swanky beach in the South of France. The woman must keep her tiny, round nipples concealed from all eyes because God forbid. I have still not worked out exactly why this may be the case. A man is as free as a bird to show off his nipples, and plenty a man nipple I now have seen, but it is simply too much for the whole of society to see an entire boob. The children would cry, the men would just collapse. All of man kind would feel deeply offended and we would spend the rest of the day in shock.

No.

Thinking that boobs are especially hot is not a natural occurence. It is a fetish. Some men from other cultures actually think that our men are weird for liking boobs as much as they do. They compare our men to babies because they are so attached to the thing that first feeds us as infants. We have perpetuated this specific sexualisation and we have made up the rules to say that exposing a woman's nipple is wrong.

I support the Free the Nipple campaign not only because it's a strange, outdated inequality that says more about our prudishness than anything else, but also because of how it limits women sexually. Girls and boys are told at a young age that boobs, once past the age of breastfeeding, are entirely sexual. This means that when a girl grows boobs she immediately becomes an object of sex for the boys disregarding any other area in her development. She is told that these are her most sexually powerful asset and that if she flaunts them about too much she will overuse this power. She is told that men enjoy this part of her, but, unless she's lucky, she's never told what part of her she might enjoy herself.  I totally understand the fascination, they're a pretty funky body part, but I really don't think they're that special.

In the 1930s men in New York campaigned to free their own nipples after four men were arrested for going topless to Coney Island. It worked and now it is considered the norm in most of western civilisation. Man nipples fine - woman nipples not fine.

I have never had a truly great desire to go topless on a hot day even if it was uncomfortably warm and I never really gave it much thought. But, having given it more thought, that resistance probably comes from the conditioning I have received about the meaning of breasts in my society. They are a sexual object and therefore must not be shown in public. I believed that for a while, and now I'm inclined to break those rules in order to undo what we've all been taught. I believe that the Free the Nipple campaign has a well intentioned purpose in terms of women's sexual liberation and their regard for their own bodies. When I build up enough courage, I think I may start to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. And I hope there are many other women who think it well to join me.

If by some miracle the campaign is successful and it becomes legal and more normalised to show lady nipple in public it won't mean that all women will be obliged to do the same. I don't think I would feel a constant need to be topless, but men don't get that urge either. It is just another step towards liberation, and more liberation means more equality and more equality (between every man and woman with all their colours, shapes, sizes and minds) is good.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Expectation vs Reality.


More often than not I face a sense of wild disappointment in my 'reality' when I've lead up to it with a very much romanticised 'expectation'. Having a vivid imagination can tint any actualities in a less than magical way. I let my mind run away from me as I conjure up the reality I would like, and then I have to reassure myself that, yes, everything is as good as I wanted it to be it's just a matter of being in the moment, when the moment actually arrives. Whether 'expectation' and 'reality' are all that separate - depending on where you categorise 'reality' and its realness - they never seem to match up. The most obvious explanation to me is that my ability to be in the moment comes much more readily when I lose myself to my imagination and I forget to focus on my surroundings than when I am desperately trying to observe myself in a real situation. The key is the conscious production of thoughts and ideas versus the subconscious. Over thinking has never been a good thing.

I can compare my acknowledgement of my expectations and realities today to those I experienced as a child to notice the effect awareness can have on my concept of time and the events in between. Until I was about 12 Christmas would always be the most enrapturing, fantastic day of the year. The sensation of utter joy was unrivalled. I would go to bed the night before with butterflies in my stomach and sleep restlessly, dreaming of possible realities for the next day until I would wake up and each one of those expectant dreams were actually surpassed. The day would always seem to carry on forever as if there was no limit for the excitement surrounding the celebrations. I was so completely in the moment that time spread out and slowed down as I forgot to notice its passing. I was not time's prisoner, I was just walking along beside it.

Now I think that Christmas day gets shorter and shorter, despite the fact I no longer go to bed at 8:30 pm. In my desperate attempts to 'make the most of' the reality I feel as if time is running away as I force myself to enjoy each moment. Enjoy this, I will think to myself as the moment passes and I barely brush its surface because I've incased myself in my thoughts. Time seems to be speeding along, as it does, I am told, always appear to do for the older folks and I can't seem to stop telling myself to enjoy it and just be in it. My expectations and realities go hand in hand with time because when I daydream I have no care for it and when I am living in a moment I constantly worry about the time running out from under my feet. When I daydream long periods of time pass without my noticing and I have lived in a little peace, but I shatter these dreams each time I try to replicate them in a reality that should be allowed to play out by itself.

If I thought a little less perhaps my realities would become greater than my expectations, but teaching a mind growing in awareness and unwanted cynicism to be calm and let itself become encircled by whatever event unfolds itself is proving a little more difficult than I ever expect.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Keeping up with Myself.



I have technically kept a diary since I was 9 years old when my cousin gave me a large notebook with a picture of a kitten on the front. That was like most other people's experience of a diary; I only ever wrote in it with intervals of at least 6 months. The early entries are quite amusing. "Mum was Really angry cos I didn't lay the table when she asked me and we were just doing something and then we were walking towards the door and she got histerical and I said shutup and now i'm up here! NOT EATING! I made up with mum and had a delicious tea."

But now in this past year I have begun to really and truly 'keep a diary'. This diary is no longer the sporadic and always impassioned work that it used to be, nor is it the public sort of diary that I keep up here. This new diary is perhaps much more private, and much more dear to me. The entries are a little more thought out, or at least better written. And better spelt. Instead of being a method of release when I'm angry or upset and being filled with lines like "MUM IS BEING HORRIBLE TODAY" the diary is more a means of catching the thoughts I have whenever I feel it necessary for them to be caught.

It's an extremely therapeutic process. I splurge real life, real time, unfiltered thoughts and feelings onto the page and then I get to look back at bite sized moments of my life whenever I please. I record the memories that I want to keep shiny and new and I figure stuff out by letting confusing or interesting thoughts and ideas flow. Sometimes it is just a snippet of my teenage dirtbag moods and experiences, other times I make an effort to record something vaguely poetic. I want to always keep a diary. It helps you to not forget those moments that get lost forever if not quickly noted down soon after. I hate forgetting those moments, and this way I never can.

I do not write in it every night religiously,  I don't always have something to say. I am just creating a physical place to store a few favourite or interesting memories. Perhaps it is to romanticise my own life a little by decorating a particular moment with frilly words and expressions, perhaps it is to anchor my existence to a flimsy little notebook. But I do know that I look forward to the years to come to sit down and enjoy the person I once was at 17, 18, 19 and all the other moments I am waiting for.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Exams do not mean shit (and other excuses for any existing student)

In Britain today every 17/18 year old will be receiving their results for their A Levels. For many it is a relatively crap day. You wake up with nerves jangling - if you were even lucky enough to get a good night's sleep - and you anticipate the worst no matter who you are. You have waited around three months for this day, and now it is here and you must face a sort of future. University, retakes, choices and even going back to school at all are all the stakes in line here.

However, if you have worked hard you will most likely do well. Whether this means a stellar results sheet or whatever is required to get you into the university of choice the effort you put in is almost always reflected in what you get. 
Unless, of course, we take into account the fact that the exam paper may have been especially hard, or completely unexpected, or you felt really quite ill on the day. In those cases no matter how clever or hard working or passionate you are something will go wrong for you. An entire future can be based upon a tiny letter written on a piece of paper and if that hour and a half in the exam room was not your finest then needless to say you will face disappointment. I also say entire future because I would like one adult to honestly tell me the other valid and successful options to begin my grown up life other than going to a good university. Society and government are obsessed with attending higher education like never before and so undeveloped, hormone ridden teenagers must push themselves under a mountain of undesired pressure to reach the holy grail of education so that their step by step life can begin and we can all hope to contribute taxes in the next few years. Hurrah. 

It is almost universally assumed at my grammar school that not going to university can cause some deep and regrettable dissatisfaction with life because anything else must be totally awful. We were literally told by a guest speaker one afternoon that "People who attend university have greater satisfaction with life". I would like to know who vomited that out as a 'fact'. I can hardly believe it to be at all true. 

This morning when I went to collect my own results I was being rather harsh on myself for not doing as well as I'd hoped in one subject. I was actually crying. It probably looked pathetic. I can still go to a fantastic university with this result. I am not entirely sure what my problem is. I suppose the inescapable self comparison with my fellow classmates is part of the issue. And then the fact that I am a self diagnosed perfectionist who secretly hopes for good fortune to be handed to her on a plate doesn't aid the situation at all. Perhaps it is because now I cannot apply to a university I had hoped to go to since I was very young. As a disclosure I should say that I didn't actually like it too well when i visited. But I guess it's the not being able to say "I told you so" to all those who said "Ooh that's ambitious" when I told them where I wanted to be. Either way I was upset. I was under the impression for a short while that this result was important. I kept forgetting it didn't actually degrade my quality of life in any sort of way. 

And then on the way home whilst I quietly sobbed to myself about the slightly disappointing outcome of a single exam I noticed the bin lorry on its round of the local houses. Inside the lorry one of the bin men was dancing. He had a smile on his face. He looked happy. And then I came back to reality.
I didn't know whether any of these men had been to university or what they'd done at school or how well they'd done but I did know that they weren't slitting their wrists at the side of the road because they hadn't gone through an uninspired system just to get into an essentially worthless office job. They were doing something useful and beneficial to everyone in the surrounding area. That seems extremely satisfying. I have always heard people joke that if their exam results didn't go well they'd just become a bin man. "It's okay it's always been my preferred profession anyway." they'd say sarcastically, inside they were hoping that it would never become an ironic reality. But really I don't see how they would be any less content with a job as a bin man than with any other career. They would still be loved, still be capable of loving others, still be able to read, still be able to discuss and debate, still be able to dance and drink and eat. 

I think that it is rather difficult to remember that one's life and quality of life does not hang by a thin thread off the edge of whatever results one receives from doing A Levels. I even think that people often forget there is always a solution. Even if you've done very well it is easy to feel a pang of disappointment if it still wasn't what you expected. It is easy to forget that in the grand scheme of things, in the great bowl of happiness and joy that should be your life, exams really don't mean shit. They will not bring you unyielding pleasure, they will not bring you your family, or your friends, they will not bring you the ability to enjoy living. 

Even if you are the world's biggest perfectionist and your marks are not in fact perfection please refrain from berating yourself. Exam results do not accurately measure your intelligence, or even your commitment to hard work, nor do they measure how much you enjoy the subjects you take. Exam results will never be able to affect the brilliance of your life effectively. Life is good still. Life is always good. Exams do not mean shit. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Supporting Black Rights as a Clueless White Girl.


I am a white, middle class, privileged and educated young woman whose surrounding area has a black population of approximately 0.1%.

My only troubles are those of past anxiety disorders and an overbearing sense of the black hole of the rest of my existence. I face discrimination as a woman, technically, but my own experience as a feminist comes from wanting to ensure the life of equality I lead within my family and amongst friends for other women who suffer far more than I ever will.

In short, I live a relatively care free and happy existence with opportunities (hopefully) laid out in abundance before me if I choose to get my act together and pursue a path with passion and enthusiasm. That is all I need to do for myself. I have unbending support from my family and friends and teachers and, even, society. Mostly I fit into what society would like as an ideal: White, Middle Class, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Eloquent, Polite. I could go to anywhere in North America and most likely be welcomed - before I opened my mouth and said something liberal, socialist or radical in some areas - and I would certainly not face any trouble with the police unless it was warranted.

I would not be singled out, ridiculed, or even hated by an upsettingly large group of people for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I would not be shot in the back for my skin colour without even holding a weapon myself. No one could come up with a name laden with a history of a dark, dark oppression and brutal slavery to lower and undermine my being. I would not have to fear the authorities whose sole purpose is to 'protect me'. I would not be sectioned by history and society to live in one area with my people because I would be received with hospitality anywhere I went. I would not still be facing a looming and obvious discrimination in the place of my birth for the way that I looked.

I would be allowed to exist as a human with a right to liberty in the constrained and often misconstrued sense of the word. I would be absolutely fine and dandy because I am white. Setting aside issues I may otherwise face as a woman I would be safe and looked after. I would not be essentially dehumanised by a system of oppression against what I am and where I come from.

Frankly what I am trying to say, in a rather long winded manner, is that I can never truly understand the suffering and the fear and the injustice that black people face in America - and sometimes here too - in a first hand way. I have no right to question those in the middle of the movement against racism because I cannot know how awful, how agonising, how frustrating it is. I cannot say to black women that I am in the same boat because how dare I even begin to think that our situations are similar. As women we will face discrimination for our gender, as black women they will face an agenda against their existence.

Therefore my only issue is this: I struggle to know how to truly support anti-racism movements. I do not want to offend, belittle, or patronise a people who know discrimination in a 'free land' like no other. But I support and believe in their battle and rights with my whole heart. I will stand with them, or just on the outside in encouragement if it is not my place to shout out. I am wholly revolted by the bitter and poisonous racism that exists in frightening quantities in today's 'liberated' west.

I will express my utter distaste for any form of racism openly for really it is all I have the ability to do and I will fully support those who are still afflicted with a deadly prejudice. I will just stand in solidarity with those who still suffer for it is -  in the way of black and white, good and bad - the right thing to do.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The creeps we shall encounter.




We have been staying in Paris for a week - my friend Anneli and I - and a day ago we had been walking along the Seine after having had lunch underneath the Eiffel Tower. It was a fantastic day. The type of day where everything is exciting and new and beautiful. And it continued to be such a day, for the most part, without counting this unfortunate encounter. The bank of the Seine on which we were walking has been painted with geometric shapes and board games and small, box type rooms act as libraries and cafés and toilets along the way. Anneli had gone to use one of the toilets and I had gone to wait at a table where the top was decorated with the board of a game of Ludo. It was warm and I was calm and sleepy and happy.

When Anneli returned a man came to ask in French if we could take his picture for him. Of course I obliged, he was just a tourist like us. I followed him over to the edge of the water and he told me where to stand to take the photo. I then had to try my very best not to burst out laughing and look knowingly at Anneli whilst he posed like an amateur model and walked towards me as if on a catwalk. He looked ridiculous. "C'est bien?" I asked holding out the crappy camera knowing that really the photos could never be very good. He told me they were great and I was ready to walk away, the deed of being a kind stranger nearly over. But then he strangely asked me to be in the photo with him which, obviously, is not a thing a stranger would agree to. However, being slightly out of my depth for a moment and a little confused I stupidly agreed. The camera was so awful you wouldn't be able to tell it was me anyway. And then we stood to pose, awkwardly, and I felt a hand slide with an unwelcome familiarity around my waist. I think if you looked at the photo a short moment of distress would be painted on my face. I wanted to get away. But I didn't feel ready to make a fuss. I still don't know why. Anneli and I were now sharing frequent glances of worry and began to give his camera back and move away. He asked another question I couldn't quite understand but the gist I got was that he wanted to look into my eyes. I got that gist because he had tried to turn my face towards his. Please no. I remained polite, "non merci", and began to edge away. Any decent person would have noticed my friend and I were uncomfortable, and yet he still stood a little too close to us. I think now is a good time to point out that this man looked as if he could have been about 15 years older than me. Anneli and I more forcefully moved away still politely declining his perverted advances. He still persisted. He kissed me on my cheek before we made a more urgent move. I continued to say No, Thank You.

No, thank you? How about "Back off you perverted creep get away from me!"? Unfortunately, however,  I didn't say anything remotely close to that. I would have liked to have made it much cruder.

We walked a little while away before I began to feel a little bit disgusting. I didn't want to have been in that situation, and I am ashamed at the weakness I expressed in my inability to tell him to back off. I felt  a bit sick. I literally washed my face with hand sanitizer. I wanted to forget the entire debacle. Why did I let him do that to me? I feel such an awful idiot. For all my feminist rants and beliefs the moment I faced a violation of my personal space as a woman confronted by a man I stood in waiting without moving to defend myself. I let him get away with it. I didn't even shout at him afterwards. Why?

I kept asking Anneli if she'd seen him take something from my bag, perhaps that was his game. No, just a perverted photo for who knows what purpose that I let myself be in.

Had I been caught off guard? I guess so. Was I scared? A little, but I think I was too confused to really comprehend or analyse the situation first hand. I think I was naive. I had been having a nice day with a nice friend and with nice French people telling us where to go when we got a little lost. We hadn't planned to meet a creep in broad daylight by the river Seine. I suppose I remained polite as a defence mechanism. Really all I wanted was to get away. In such a bizarre experience I felt I had no opportunity to unleash an anger I know is normally within me for these exact situations. Because of course, despite their unexpected timings, these situations are to be anticipated for pretty much every single woman and girl in their life times. I don't exaggerate. I really didn't believe that I would go through my life without meeting a man who wanted to exploit me or violate me in some way. I would have to meet one or two at some point. One of them happened to be met the other day.

After it had happened Anneli and I discussed how much safer we'd feel if we had one of our male friends with us. We wished to be protected. We felt vulnerable. Suddenly thrown from a nice, sunny day in Paris to an existence in which we must be perpetually on edge looking for men who may wish to do things to us we do not desire to happen to ourselves.

We are young, strong minded, confident women in Paris and we feel a little wary, a little unsafe, of what next we may encounter.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

What even is this?

Most of the time - in fact - every time I tell somebody that I write a blog they ask me what it's about. Oh, I say suddenly racking my brain for an explanation of the half decent ramblings I like to splurge out now and again, it's sort of... social commentary? But is it? I think I stole that from somebody who categorised it in that way when I tried to explain what I liked to write about but really I'm not sure if it always fits into that.

For almost every single blog post I write I have very little idea of what I am talking about. I suppose you could say my blog is observational, I take an idea or something I am interested in and then I write directly what thoughts I have about it in that moment. And then I post, and that is that. I do not have a fashion blog, a life style blog, or even a social commentary blog. I just have a blog for my thoughts and ideas. Which, perhaps, is the original concept for a blog.

Often I wonder if one day I will look back at previous posts and feel deeply embarrassed that I could ever think such a thing or write in such a way. In total honesty I have done that quite frequently before, but I never dare take it down, for it would damage the nature of The Fully Intended. Where my posts have few consistent themes or can contradict their own ideas they do all consistently reflect my thought processes. The workings of my inner mind, or just outside the innermost part, are concentrated here for all to see. I am figuring things out this way, perhaps, for all of you to witness. It is possible I have just been writing a very public, very embarrassing diary for the last 3 years in which anyone can read how I have been growing and learning and developing my ideas and identity since the age of 14. Although truthfully I enjoy that idea.

I do hope that as I get older and my outlook changes my posts become richer and better written. But I also appreciate the record of how my outlook alters with time and the insight it can give you for being aware of your own mental development. Perhaps the next time I talk to somebody about my blog and they ask what it's about I should just tell them it's an enriching experience for myself and a public diary for mostly everyone else. As time moves on I will still have no idea of what I am talking about, but I hope this small, insignificant journey is as bizarre and enjoyable for just a few other people as it is for myself.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Fiery Women.


                                                                     Source: via

I am about to carry out a personal investigation into the feminist ideals of female protagonists in As You Like It and Top Girls as a part of my Pre-U English literature qualification. When I described my idea to my teacher she pointed out that in both, despite being written in completely different eras, the feminist ideals I was looking for were constructed by feisty, defiant women. I hadn't quite thought about it before (I had only just made up the question for the essay) but I realised had deliberately gone searching for characters who in some way fought against the status quo, defied at least some small aspect of stereotyped femininity for any period and were gutsy whether it made them likeable or not. I had looked for fiery women because, for me, that became synonymous with feminism. Women who had been oppressed and spoke out in some manner against their oppression, or questioned their state of being, with an air of defiance were exactly what I was looking for. 

I did not care for female characters who were still slaves to a male writer's idea of femininity and who, despite expressing some form of oppression, were quiet and well behaved and downtrodden. I cared for women who were actively speaking out (even if in Shakespeare's case this could have been unwitting) against standards of delicacy, obedience, and pleasantness for the female form. 

But does this then mean that only fiery women, both fiction and non-fiction, can become feminist idols? Or is it due to my own personality that I find myself attracted to such a quality in who I admire? Even celebrities like Zooey Deschanel who on the outside look kooky and sweet and harmless I consider to be defiant in the unapologetic manner with which they simultaneously carry their darling appearance and continue to express feminist thinking. 

The thing is in order to be agreeing with feminism and having it mean the belief in equality one must automatically be unapologetic, defiant and angry in some way. Even with a sweet demeanour there must be some fire within you to be questioning the justice in the treatment of men and women throughout every aspect of society. Therefore, does a woman who is simply nice and compliant and who does not speak against any whisper of oppression qualify at all to be a feminist idol even if placed in a situation in which they passively question the ideals of their own gender? Would that even provide anything to greatly admire?

I know girls who are quiet and shy and very, very nice but who also call themselves feminist and get angry about injustice and so in my mind that still makes them defiant.  The fire and the anger is still there and the patience for sexism lacks somewhat so they are still gutsy. 

I should conclude therefore by answering my own question by saying that, yes, only fiery women and characters can become feminist idols because there must be some defiance within one's person to fight against any form of oppression. It does not necessarily mean that they are overtly obstinate but simply their level of patience for bullshit is relatively low. Women who are in some way ardent about their beliefs in the face of disapproval or oppression represent feminist ideals: they are not willing to sit submissively in the face of discrimination.  So I will continue to look for these ideals, high and low, for research purposes and for my own satisfaction in even the shyest of women because, for me, that's what it takes to apprehend feminism into some section of your being. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Writer's Dream.



At some point in my life I would like to bust out a novel. Perhaps when I am at university, desperately looking for a job to pay my bills or settled down in a new family I will finally feel the urge to splurge some words into the form of a novel. I know I have a book somewhere in the deep recesses of my cluttered mind, I have even tried to get it out before, but I've never quite felt the desperation to explain myself through my very own fictional characters in these formative years of my life. I am simply not ready yet to write a book. Some writers claim that you will never feel ready and whilst that may be an accurate statement I feel perhaps that during this period of my life I do not actually want to write a book.

There is, however, the rather important question as to what type of novel I wish my novel to be. Do I wish for it to be a clever novel? With several different meanings and metaphors mashed into a vaguely interesting story. I could write political fiction and turn the woes of today's world into symbolic characters who clash and rule and destroy and who years later an English literature class will research the great context behind. Or would I prefer to write something that touches people's hearts? Not to pull at heart strings per say but to suck readers into a world they never want to leave and have my characters sit with them for the rest of their lives. You can write something that touches hearts and seems somewhat intelligent simultaneously, one may only need to look to Harper Lee or J D Salinger to understand such a concept but am I looking to just tell a story or to invite discussion as well?

I spent most of my early teens with my nose in almost the entire Young Adult genre. I adored those books. I loved the exploration of the supernatural and the tantalising danger it brought to the utterly unrealistic teen romances. I loved the dystopian novels with young women making futuristic histories by rebelling against totalitarian societies stolen a little from 1984. I have powerful memories of being so submerged in these novels that I would walk around with the characters carrying on with their lives in my head. I would get this delicious feeling in my heart for when I would return to a book and begin again the adventures the author had created for me. The sad thing is, I haven't really recreated such an experience in a long time. Instead, I am working my way through classics now.

Although, I am still completely in love with these new novels I have been exploring. I am in awe of  writers and the messages they have woven into words and stories and characters. I have transported myself to other periods in history and other mind's of other women who saw a world completely different to my own. But I have not quite felt the glorious sensation of sinking back in to a slightly trashy but totally lovely Young Adult novel in a long, long time. And this is where I am stuck.

I would be overjoyed if I were to write a novel for anyone who cares and discover that I had not only entered the hearts of millions of readers but incited intellectual debate and created a depth to my story with many little layers. This of course is every writer's dream, I cannot claim it for my own, but I wonder if it is always possible. I am afraid of going back to the books that swept me away in case I discover that the writing is shoddy or the plot line has holes or the characters are weak. I want to have people pine to get back to my book in the same way I would sit and daydream about some novels in the moments they weren't glued to my face. I want to recreate that sensation for other young girls stuck in their rooms with their hearts beating fast for fictional worlds and people that I would have given them. But I also want to recreate the sensation of understanding the author's mind as stories unfurl to give greater meaning and I am not entirely sure how to mix this all together.

One day then, if you happen to stumble across a book with my name planted somewhere on it, please give it a read to discover if you lost both your heart and mind to its content. Perhaps I can make someone fall in love with the words, the story, the world I made up. I hope I can do that, I hope it is sitting waiting in my head and I hope it is magnificent. And, I think, that is all.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Identity.

You don't know who I am. I don't know who you are. We are the only people in the world who can fully understand ourselves and it leaves us standing rather alone. Unless somebody has acquired an ability to mind read we really are just 7 billion islands floating separately as in our minds we grow and nurture a sense of being.

There is no way of fully knowing another human being. We may understand their behaviour, study their habits and learn to predict how they think but we can never know exactly what they are thinking within the many layers of consciousness the brain is supporting.

This ambiguity between each and every one of us strongly upholds the necessity we have for identity. Identity is the way we build bridges between each island as we project an idea of who we believe ourselves to be onto our exterior image. We wear different types of clothes to distinguish the certain community, religion or sub culture we are a part of - an indicator of a thought process: conformist or non conformist? We share music tastes, create fan clubs and idolise celebrities collectively to demonstrate what and who we identify with culturally. We keep mementos in our bedrooms with pictures and souvenirs and old toys to document our past identity and how it has accumulated to our current one. We label our personalities with "neurotic" "happy-go-lucky" "laid back" "highly strung" to indicate to others how we respond to emotion and how that affects our being.

I express my thoughts and ideas with anyone who will listen, preferably through the medium of writing, in order to imprint my own identity somewhere in this highly cluttered world. My physical identity demonstrates my desperate attempt to distinguish it from everyone else's. I exhaust myself trying to stick out like a sore thumb in a world full of people trying to do the exact same thing.

But it is how we connect, with our identities, and the greater effort made to discover and accept the fluidity of who we are the greater the relationships we will have. At the same time as establishing our own identity we search for those who can help us understand it. We search for those who share little bits of our sense of being so that eventually we do not end up as solitary islands in our own sea of thoughts but as a connected body with an answer for all our quirks somewhere in the world.

Identity is vital and if you are lucky enough to have settled and established an identity that provides a sense of security and togetherness then bask in the ability to feel at once unique and wholly supported in a world full of tiny islands reaching out to you as you happen to pass.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Scantily clad and totally rad.

                                                                   Source via

Slut shaming is wrong in whichever context you put it. Whether it be to class a woman as undignified based on sexual history, desires and choices or on the clothing she wears it is an unfair judgement on her way of being that really isn't reversed for the other gender. The sexual revolution has perhaps not come to its conclusion in that rather than being liberated women are merely encouraged to behave and dress provocatively but are then ridiculed and debased for doing so in some bizarre and unjust game of double standards. The media says to wear a mini skirt, and society (whilst perpetuating the content of the media) passes judgement for any woman or girl who decides that they really do like the scantily dressed fashion item. The amount of people a woman sleeps with is becoming less of a cause for discrimination because, like, get over it, but the sexualised fashion making its way down to girls as young as 12 is a little more concerning.

There is a more psychological issue running right along side our slut shaming scandal which brings to light the reasons behind the fashion choices women and girls make. A young girl is the only person making the conscious choice to wear a revealing crop top and hot pants which is totally rad if that makes her comfortable but, when looking at it a different way, a horrible example of the mass insecurity supplied by media and society both to sexualise girls in particular.

For some reason, most boys do not feel it necessary to wear as little as possible to parties where they will find a majority of the girls with skirts riding just below their buttocks. Sexuality for boys, whilst full of its own concerns, is not quite as dramatically enforced as sexuality for girls is shoved into the faces of TV watchers, newspaper readers and internet users every single day. The power of female sexuality may have something to do with femininity and the mystic hold it seems to have over both the possessor and the onlooker and when one is comfortable with said sexuality a short skirt and an attractive demeanour can be totally killer. But the horrible feeling I have when I see a young girl clad in nothing but a bralet and short skirt is that this girl is not really meaning for the whole world to be watching as the skirt rides up, or her cleavage squeezes as the bralet bunches together. Sometimes I worry that this girl has seen one too many popular music videos and suffers from low self esteem because glossy magazines scream at her to lose weight and get a tan and get toned and wax everywhere possible. So this girl wears near to nothing to feel the gaze of men (and women) on her, to know that some men will look at her hungrily and to feel appreciated for the perfectly formed body which each day is devalued and criticised for not looking inhuman, all to fill a hole in her confidence. This girl is probably only 14.

This is not to say that wearing provocative clothing is always a sad thing. Sometimes it's thrilling to wear short shorts, sometimes it feels empowering and pleasant to know that you are attractive to people in the immediate vicinity and sometimes being scantily clad is a choice of a self confident woman who enjoys the attention just for the rush it gives her.

What is desperately important to stress is that in both circumstances a woman cannot be called a slut for wearing revealing clothing. It means nothing in the way of describing who they are, but it is detrimental all the same. There is no need for a public ban on hot pants (I for one would heartily oppose such a thing) but there is definitely a need for a review on how women are portrayed. Sexualisation by itself is not wrong but sexualisation forced onto all members of society, including young children, in a visually violent and often distasteful manner through a vast section of media causing a whole wave of self hate and misplaced respect is almost disgusting.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Flow like water. Dance, dance, dance.


(source: bohemianswift via: humorking)

Life can be exhilarating. Surprisingly, the short bursts of exhilaration in betwixt monotonous and droning existence do not always come from adrenaline inducing activities or momentous occasions but from the buzzing of a brain that has long sat waiting in a kind of stupor as life was passing by.

Like electricity shooting through your veins life can sometimes randomly give you a natural high, a short lived but wonderful whirring experience of cluttered fast thinking and a sharp sting to a heart that has been living untouched and simply beating in hibernation. The sharp sting is not one of pain, but one of exhilarating enthusiasm pulsing energy into limbs and thoughts and senses. Suddenly, from what was seeming a dull reality comes from nowhere a speeding rush of feeling. The art and love around you you were trying desperately to cling to and make something of is now inspiring and fires ideas and passions into your heart and head in a flurry of activity. You want to do, you want to be. You have to use up the energy you can feel humming in your hands, sticky and heavy like clay you have a weighted desire to be busy with life.

But nothing makes sense. No words are actually going to come to your brain yet, it's too excited by this rush, this force. The awful thing about this is that you mustn't grab onto the feeling, for the exhilaration will slip through your fingers like sand and leave you feeling hollow with the effort of making it mean something. And so you have to close your eyes and dance or walk and play your music so loud you'll probably suffer from Tinnitus in years to come because this energy does mean something but you're going to have to let it flow. Let it flow and when it subsides into a glowing, faint smile left on your face then sit down and write or do whatever it was your brain was desperately needing to do. Write about how it felt, write down the ideas that came to you, and start to express what is so vital to your being.

You can lose what it is that beats in your heart every day in a small moment, but if you wait long enough it will come to you like some bizarre dream that imprints faintly onto your memory for the rest of the day. Life is exhilarating, so flow like water and dance your way through it towards the something brilliant that has been pulling you along the path.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

You Can't Sit With Us: Art is exclusive.

                                                    Image via

I could write you a very long list of recently made films about young, privileged but artistically challenged women finding their feet in the Big City and in Life as well as dipping into a romantic escapade or two along the way. Truthfully, I adore these films. They are beautiful depictions of what it feels like to be young and female in our new world and like a cup of tea for the soul they console me when the path ahead is foggy (which is more often than not). Films like Frances Ha and Obvious Child are non-pretentious explorations of the current trials and tribulations young women face; timeless in sentiment yet with an urgency to their topics. Funny, profound and artistic these films inspire my own creativity. I feel deeply connected to their characters and any existential concerns they happen to come across. But, whilst I feel this generation of women is well represented and documented both in the indie film scene and by female comedians in sitcoms, stand up routines, autobiographies and twitter accounts I feel, perhaps, that somebody has been left out.

The one thing all these women, fiction and non fiction,  have in common is their social class. They either sit comfortably in the educated middle, or teeter at the top amongst the rich and almost famous. Correct me if I may be wrong, but wherever this subculture of female coming of age and glorious depiction of womanhood there seems to be a very great lack of women who do not fall into the middle of the social construct but below it completely.

I can see little art, little film, little literature on what it means to be a woman living on a council estate or having to live mainly off benefits. Because whilst womanhood is essentially universal, it will vary widely depending on where you have come from and where you are now. And so an entire class of women have been underrepresented in culture as it is once again dominated by the middle class to the satisfaction of the pretentious and the smug, even if the content is not itself pretentious or smug. As someone who finds great comfort in films, books and art I find it impossible that not one working class woman feels lost or uncertain in a world where all other women depicted lead totally different lives to the one they actually experience.

Caitlin Moran has written a novel in a memoir like fashion of her childhood in a working class and has made a TV show along similar themes. But, so far, that's all I can find in terms of allowing girls who didn't go to grammar school, or have ambition and confidence spoon fed to them by society as a child to feel heard and understood by film and literature.

Of course it is easy for everyone to relate to teen movies like Mean Girls because they give the general gist of what it is like to be in school, and 99% of us go/went to school, but there lacks specificity to each walk of life and the only specifics given are for those living somewhat privileged lifestyles.

Music may be the only place not utterly dominated by pretentious ideals of perfect living for those who can afford it, but music is simply not enough.

I may be naive, in fact, I am extremely naive because I subconsciously surround myself with a culture that relates to my life and everything in it and so cannot find the representation of working class women and girls as I get as a middle class girl but if I am right I feel deeply concerned. The comfort and joy I get from watching good films and reading good books that reflect entirely the happenings of my life is something I would not wish to deprive of anyone. For me this culture of modern femininity and womanhood is essential to my growing up, and so for those lost without an anchor of likeminded content to relieve teen angst I hope you have something, something unique and relevant to your daily existence. For otherwise I feel there has been a great injustice and, if this clumsy post has not fully expressed what I mean, I'll endeavour to change whatever might be stopping anyone from being truly represented in art in my own tiny way.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Where is the anarchy in the UK?


Source via

There is something stunningly passive about this generation. For me, at least, in a home county in the UK I can feel a certain lack of something. A lack of passion, perhaps. An unfair statement for me to make on behalf of a few hundred thousand people but bring forth the evidence and I will swiftly dispute my own belief.

In the last decade or so there have been violent attacks on innocent, western civilians in the blasphemous name of religion that have now been seen to be an affront on freedom of speech. We were all Charlie Hebdo, but two months on some of us have forgotten the need to care. We have fought a war in two countries we were scarcely drip fed information about so that, even now, why or how or what are still hazy questions to ask. Groups like Stop the War Coalition tried to tell us what was about to happen at the time, but the rise of a hippie movement and the propagation of love failed to repeat after its boom in the 70s. The banking crisis 2008 happened because politicians allowed the banks to assume an enormous amount of power and no one has officially called them out on this or forced them to pay back and fix what they broke. Occupy tried. Occupy failed. We're still in a recession. We are all asleep.

There is, of course, an infinite number of problems humanity faces and will face. The Man will always exist. But the monopoly of banks and corporations is mindlessly growing and rising prices without looking back into history to think, go figure, something has got to collapse. We are literally allowing the planet to dissolve and burn and die at our feet and we call those who care time wasters who should be focusing on "bigger" things. The Man is getting stronger.

We are facing the same stories of discrimination, violence, financial crisis, and war. The platform on which we stand as a society is even shakier than it was before, technology and the internet have shifted us and we are struggling to find our feet. We could fall if we're not careful. And yet, where are the Punks? Where are the Hippies? Where is the passion? Where is the solidarity? Where is the activity?   In reference to our recent news in Baltimore: at least someone is doing something.

I know people who care. I know people who are angry. But... Now what?

So to end my cliché teen angst with another cliché: If not us, then who? If not now, then when?






Thursday, 23 April 2015

Relativity



What right have I to complain, cry or moan about anything in my life? I live in a beautiful, safe home where there are flowers growing in the back garden and farms and fields fully surrounding me. I have both my parents' full and loving support at the drop of a hat. I have grown up in an area of outstanding natural beauty. I have been to excellent schools for free all my life. I have a large number of people in my world who love me, understand me, and encourage me. Each year my parents have managed to pay for my sister and I to have glorious summer holidays in wonderful countries around the world, and each Christmas we receive gifts, food and warmth.

I do not live in a country plagued with war. I have not watched my family die of a preventable disease, nor seen my village wiped out by an epidemic. I have never had to fight for my education, nor been utterly stripped of any other fundamental human rights. My parents don't have to pay for my health care. I can speak my mind against bodies of power and authority without being beaten senseless in front of a crowd of onlookers or imprisoned or tortured. I can vote in elections. I can wear what I wish, and marry whomever I please. My rights and thoughts and way of life can be oppressed and discriminated against but by society and not by a government with the aim of "keeping me safe". I live in the West, where the general attitude is to uphold democracy and protect all rights wherever possible, and so in most cases I will be protected or supported simply by a general consensus. 

I still complain about the electoral system in the UK, moan about the inaccuracy and unfairness of the education system and cry about most of my personal hurdles and dissatisfaction with life. They say everything is relative but where, exactly, is the truth in this?