Saturday, 25 November 2017

Turning 20.

I am 20 today. I remember thinking that entering double digits was a big and exciting thing aged 10. I had no concept of how big and exciting balancing on the edge of the rest of my life would be. I feel as if I am looking down into some very large pit where only the very top is visible and the rest is dark and unknown, terrifying and brilliant.

I have done my teens, I have done childhood. I have formed and reformed myself again and again. I have changed entirely and not at all. I have collected a whole kit of memories and skills and emotions to bring with me into the next stage of my life. I feel as if I am stepping over the threshold into my adulthood and as I do so I am looking backwards and forwards simultaneously filled with pride and fear and anticipation.

My family came to visit the other day and I realised they have filled me with the most enormous capacity for love. And sometimes it's exhausting because I could keep loving and feeling without limit. But how wonderful, how marvellous, to live without limits. What a brilliant gift, to walk towards adulthood with the greatest desire to love and feel endlessly.

Every year on my birthday I tend to give myself little resolutions like my own personal New Year. As I turn 20 I have told myself a few things. I have told myself to love and forgive myself more, to show affection, to express my passions, to work hard, to absolutely go for it with every fibre of my being and to spread my capacity for love as far as I possibly can.

I am just going to love and live with my entire self. And I am so excited.

Friday, 17 November 2017

To friends who are hurting,

It's funny how you can go through a lot of your life on your own with a happy attachment to the things that you like such as music and books and poetry. You don't think much about the things you enjoy because they are a part of you. They're just there.

And then someone else can come along, even for the briefest of moments, and with one enormous paintbrush they taint your songs, and your books, and your films, and your places with a deep sense of aching loss. That is, when they disappear. For the brief moment that they are there you start to absorb them into all the parts of you, because you share all the parts of you, and it's wonderful! And then, suddenly, it's not.

I've spent entire years unable to listen to a certain song because of that sense of loss. I've hidden things away from sight so that they don't bring about a twinge of sadness every time I look at them. It's funny, isn't it? How a book of poetry is just something that you really enjoy and then it becomes an object, and a collection of words, that you can't even bear to think about.

But eventually time just wipes away this feeling of pain attached to your books and your songs and your poems and you forget that it was there at all. Well, not quite. There is always a little bit left of that feeling, a little distance away in your mind, because that person, whoever they were, became a part of you too. In the moment that you share yourself, in the moment you absorb another person into yourself, they become a part of your history. And that's okay.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Feminist revamp.

I am in the process of revising my feminism. Or revamping it, regenerating it, growing it. However you want to put it. I've noticed that this happens in a big way every few years. Of course it grows continually as I read more and learn more. But every few years I find myself re-evaluating what it means to me.

I'm calling my feminism "it" as if it were some inanimate object I possess, something I hold quite dear. I'm calling it "my feminism" because it is absolutely part of who I am and incorporates pretty much everything I believe in.

But, of course, what you believe in changes and develops as you get older and so my feminism changes and develops as I experience life, as I absorb life.

I remember very clearly being told what my mother believed to be feminism when I was around 10 or 11 years old. My life changed then when she opened my eyes to the prejudices and injustices I would have to face as a woman. I remember feeling angry and passionate. I haven't stopped feeling angry and passionate ever since.

What I understood feminism to mean then is almost a whole world different to how I understand it now. Aged 10 the basics were that women in the past had been seen and treated as lesser than men and things were better now but there was still work to do. Aged 19.9 there are no basics. Well, everything should be basic and simple and easy but it isn't. It is complicated and enormous and I think about it every single day.

My current feminist revival is exhilarating. It's about self love and confidence and being proud of my existence and my achievements. It's about not being talked down to and not being quiet and not regretting not speaking up when I should have done. It's about exploring all the intersections of feminism and learning how I can use my own privilege to give a voice to the women who aren't white, straight, cisgender and socio-economically privileged like I am. It's about reaching out to other women and gaining strength from them. It's about allowing my anger, my passion, my emotion to show as clearly as it needs to and not feeling guilty or sorry about it afterwards. Unless I was wrong. It's about love and loneliness and desire.

It's about collating everything I have learnt over the years and sorting it out in my head and relearning who I am and what I believe.

It is about my existence as a woman on this planet and making sure that my tiny life can make some tiny difference.