Monday, 26 January 2015

It takes guts to be gentle and kind


I seem to be watching a lot of group panels of women in the Film and TV industry. Obviously, I watched the Hollywood Reporter roundtables with Reese Witherspoon - whom I now have a new found respect for - and Julianna Moore - who I've always had respect for. But I also watched the likes of Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham talking about writing TV shows and films and when they were talking I just felt completely and utterly jealous. I realised that's what I want to do. These women are so influential to me and so many other young women worldwide and I just can't help but feel that it would be the greatest feeling. 


Mindy and Lena make they're shows real life (Lena in particular) by showing on-screen what no one usually talks about. This resonates with me so much because it makes me realise that what I thought was 'weird' is actually completely normal - it's society who is weird. They, and many other female writers, come under so much scrutiny because of this though, because apparently it's 'too much information'. But since when was information too much? Surely what we all want is to learn. To learn about different experiences, different cultures different ideas. Girls and The Mindy Project teach us these things, and as a young female, I need to hear it to know I'm not the only one.


That's what is so amazing about art in general - it makes you feel apart of something. You realise you're not the only one feeling a specific way. All I want in life is for more people to appreciate humanities and the arts. Being an English student can be hard. The question 'what do you study?' Sometimes haunts me, because you can't tell how they're going to react. A lot of this generation is obsessed with getting a job and this makes me incredibly sad. Why can't people do things because they love it? I'm sick of people asking me what I'm going to do with my degree after I've finished University because right now, I'm grateful that I'm even here in the first place.


So many people don't have an education in this world, and I feel many people take their's for granted. An education is the most important thing that we go through. It is a chance to discover worlds outside of your own and find your likes and dislikes. I feel most people now have a one-track mind and are not appreciating what is around them. Sometimes I do have doubts about everything though. What am I going to do? Am I just wasting my time while everyone else is working for the future? But I love English. Don't let those bullies get into your brain!


See, you don't have to be famous to be ridiculed and judged. We're all human. Read a book, it'll help you realise that and you'll gain so much empathy for people. In my view, that's the ticket to being a nice person - fully understanding how other's are feeling and adjusting yourself to fit with them. 









Sunday, 11 January 2015

Dear Taylor Swift

tayswiftdotcom:

Lucky Magazine HQ (x)


Dear Taylor,

I wasn't sure if I should do this seeing as a letter is quite personal, but I liked the idea that because there would be no chance of you actually reading this, then others can. 
I have been a fan of yours for a very long time now. While I have enjoyed other artists in the past, I always manage to come back to your music and I still get the same feelings now, when I'm eighteen as I did when I was thirteen. I like how I feel that I have grown up with you, from the fairytales to the more mature, pop sound. However, I've noticed there are so many things that I haven't experienced in your songs that, at this present moment in my life, I wish I had because it just makes me feel like I'm stuck as that thirteen year-old hopeless romantic. 
In September I started University without ever having a boyfriend, and only having kissed two people when I was stupidly drunk on a holiday with my friends (I still have a feeling of dread whenever I think about it). What I'm trying to say is, I've not even been close to having boyfriend. When I come back from University, I dread the question, 'so...any boys?' because the answer is always the same blunt no. I've learnt how to quickly change the subject whenever it comes around but obviously what I really want to do is talk endlessly with my friends about boys and advice, but I've never had the chance. Instead, I listen to all my friends discuss it while I get smaller and smaller until I'm practically invisible. 
Now, I don't want this worry to take over my life, it just makes the same question whirl around my brain - 'What's wrong with me?'. I know so many people go through this and I don't know whether it's because all my friends are now talking about relationships, or if your music has made me realise how little I actually relate to it, or perhaps it's the fact my brother has been with his girlfriend for 6 years when they met when they were 16. All I know is that I can't stop thinking about it and feeling sick when discussions come around. If there is one thing I can relate to in your song 'Blank Space', it's the lyric 'I get drunk on jealousy'. There doesn't seem to be anything that I can properly relate to. No TV series, no music, no book. 
I love your message of being single and having your friends, because I've always felt that. I have the greatest friends ever and they remind me a lot of your group, but I can't help but think the difference is, you've been in love, you've had that feeling - I haven't and I, rather stupidly, want it. I'm that kind of girl who's fine with being on her own, because she doesn't know any different - I want to have that difference. 
I hate that I'm writing a letter to you about this because it's not until now, when I've moved away, that I've started to realise how unlucky in love I am. I have made great friends at University, so it's not that I'm lonely. I think it's because I'm nearly 19 and have never been in a relationship, while everyone else around me has. I know you're great at your advice about this kind of thing, so I felt you were the best to write to. 

From,
Your best friend you never knew about.

PS - I always knew you were a feminist, I have written so many things arguing that you are. Thanks for finally voicing it.

A slightly different blog post today. I have had this idea for a while now and I think I might do more but with different people in the public eye where I ask for their advice. Seeing as Taylor Swift has always been my number one, I felt she should be first. I think my next letter will be to Lorelai Gilmore, so yes, fictional characters are included. I hope you like this letter thing, and obviously, if you have any advice for me, give me a shout. 










Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Random Chat


I write this while listening to 'Blood on the Tracks' on my record player, in my grimy student kitchen having only eaten four digestives all day. I have no idea what this is going to turn into but sometimes they can be the best blog posts. Obviously I haven't been writing much recently, and the last thing I did write wasn't seen by many people which made me realise that I'm distancing myself a bit from my blog - which I don't want to happen. I love writing. I love reading other blog posts. I love looking back at my own blog posts and laughing at my, slightly depressing, and melodramatic teenage self'; but we all go through it. I remember when I got messages from you guys saying that you understood what I was going through and I felt like I was a martyr for my generation, despite only getting these messages from a handful of girls. That was enough though. I thought I had realised my calling, then I realised I couldn't get any real money out of this; I'm never going to be the next 'Zoella' (first of all, my hair tutorials would be me brushing my hair). Now I'm at University watching everyone else look like they know what they want to do, getting the right experience, and I spend most of my time in my bedroom putting off getting a job just in case it might get in the way of essay writing(!)


So, it seems that I've finished my first term at University and it still feels very strange. It also turns out that my worries are still exactly the same; I have no idea what I want to do with my life and it looks like everyone around me does. I like to hope that they're the same as me but University is full of people who have their head on straight and are aiming towards a goal they (or their parents) have wanted them to do since they were eight years old. While they charge towards that goal, I stay in doors and watch two or three episodes of Gilmore Girls in one night.


I guess I must think that everything will just work out, but deep down I know it won't. Just getting your degree works for no one, unless your dad happens to be Clint Eastwood or your mum's Meryl Streep. Sadly, neither are my parents. What I'm trying to say is it's not what you know, but I'm really trying to fight that. I want to know, I want to be educated, I want to be cultured. What's wrong with that? I have grown up in a family that emphasises the importance of education (both my parents are English teachers), but not only schooling education, life education. Life education, in the sense that it's important to be cultured and artistic. As my ultimate gal, Taylor Swift says, 'Life is just a classroom.' Obviously a huge way to learn about life is to get a job. I have worked in Oxfam before, that's about it. (The job in the future prospects are looking good aren't they..). But again, I'd like to emphasise the point that I didn't have a job at A Level because my mum wanted me to focus on my studies. If I had I don't think I would have got into Bristol, but who knows?



I just wish I had the confidence to write for the newspaper here. I used to blame it on the fact that I had no ideas, but after three months I know that was just a lie. If you ever think of anything I could write about, send me an email, it would be much appreciated. So I guess this blog post was a way to reflect on the past three months. University can be great. It can also be extremely lonely, you just have to get used to those juxtapositions. I also thought (like I did with college), that I would at least have some romantic adventures, but just as normal, that hasn't happened. I don't know what's wrong. I don't know what is so repulsive about me but I'm still as single as ever while I watch all my other friends do what 'normal' teenagers do. I'm not too fussed about it though. I'm actually quite happy in my own skin, of course I have faults, we all do, just the romantic change would be nice. I also hate the pitying look and the awful way people say 'I'll try and find you someone' as if I'm useless and can't do it myself....(I have no idea where to start though..).


What I'm trying to say is, if you also haven't had any romantic engagements, join the club! There's a bunch of us! Mindy Kaling lost her virginity when she was 22 and Lena Dunham was also well into her twenties. There's never any rush, we just have to keep positive that it will happen one day...Right now, I prefer to focus on more important things, like records, reading and Gilmore Girls (I desperately tried to think of another 'R' but there was nothing! I couldn't write 'Rory' because she's my least favourite character). I'm not sure I really like how this blog post finished. I don't want people to think I'm so lonely person desperate for love, that's not the case! Just recently I have been thinking about it and observing other people (not in a creepy, stalkerish way). I just observe other situations and realise I don't want that.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Awakening


Well, it's been a long time hasn't it? I don't know how it came to be such a long time since I wrote my last blog post. Each day comes and goes as quickly as the last and from reading to writing essays, it's been hard to keep up! As you probably all know, I'm currently studying English at the University of Bristol, and despite my rather ambiguous last post (hey, I'm and English student, I live for ambiguity!) I am actually having a good time. I've met some great people who are very similar to me and Bristol is an amazingly vibrant and bright city. Weekends can be quite slow, however, as my main friend and flatmate is usually working through the day until midnight and other people are stuck with work: after Fresher's week, life continues!


As I've already said, we've had a lot of stressful essays to do already and before I break up I have two more: one 2500 word essay and one 4000 word essay. They really are sticking us in the deep end! We've been doing a poetry module which I'm loving. I've found a new found love for Keats and have decided that if more people were like him, the world would be a much better place. I also have written my first ever poem today as it was a task set by my tutor. I'll write it up at the bottom of the blog post. It's based on the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin which I am meant to have read for my Critical Issues seminar. For all you feminists out there, I strongly recommend this short story. It's about a woman in the Victorian times who doesn't seem to fit into that whole 'ideal woman' category they had going on back then. I get the impression a lot of you would enjoy reading it.



That's the best thing about doing English at University, I've come to find so many books and poems that I never thought I would be interested in. The worst thing, however, is if you're like me and not very good at voicing your opinions then that needs practice. In my seminars I am usually quiet until I know exactly what I want to say in my head. I have been known to have a mini panic attack when I don't say anything. I'll sit there and all of a sudden my heart will beat faster, my breath will shorten and my head will go dizzy. Luckily I've managed to learn how to stop it: just keep breathing. Don't expect too much of yourself. Everyone is in the same boat.


I still seem to constantly compare myself with others. I haven't found the best society for me just yet. I've been going to a film society but it doesn't feel very 'social'. All my other friends have found a society that they do a lot with and are getting great experience from. I hate that I'm already worrying about the future, but it's even harder when it seems that everyone else knows exactly what they're doing. I'm sure that's not the case, but I'll sit in constant worry about how I'm wasting my time here, not getting the most out of it. It's hard when you don't know what to do with that. I've tried to pluck up the courage to write for the newspaper but am unable to figure out what to write about. Any suggestions would be very helpful. One of my friends is really into drama and I would go along if I wasn't so worried about the auditions as I have no idea what to expect.



One thing I have realised is Bristol University is filled with a lot of poshos. Luckily, I haven't had to endure much conversation with them as, for some reason, as soon as I say I'm from Birmingham they fuck off. I hate witnessing privileged people talk about their 'gap yahs' and be happy because 'daddy payed off their student loan in one go'. Sadly, that's what English is filled with: which was inevitable. All I can say is, whoever came up with 'It's not what you know, it's who you know' should be the ambassador of the working classes. After this degree I can already picture myself on the dole, living at home while I watch all my friends succeed. Call me a pessimist, but I call myself a realist.



Sorry for being away so long, I'll try and remember to do more. I decided to write again because I checked my blog and Rosie had written a comment about missing my posts. Thanks for that Rosie, I really appreciate it as I had lost heart with this blog recently.
Here's a present for you, my poem:

The Awakening

Are you the saint you were meant to be?
With secrets in the attic and doubts in
Your mind, which whirl and wave like the sea
Of faith, such beauty filled with sin.
What is your role, what is your claim?
The silent grief that marks your woe
Makes side remarks, who is to blame?
Yourself or the heart of your beau?
But why does it matter, it's not your part.
A cast of angels and innocents are
Obtuse and opaque compared to your art,
If only others say the life from that far.
Your choice, your gain, forget your foolish spouse,
Say goodbye to the angel in the house.












Saturday, 27 September 2014

A Room Without A View


I have officially been at the University of Bristol for a week and it's been rather crazy. After having a relatively quiet and sad first day, as I only had two other people in my flat (one never leaving his room and the other being completely wet) the week has become marginally better. One more person arrived, a girl this time, who I actually have a lot in common with and who actually wants to go out and be social. However, I constantly have this paranoia that everyone I tag along with is annoyed with me. My flat is quiet. We don't usually pre-drink together because half the people don't even want to go out so we find another flat. That's where I feel unwanted.


I live in the city centre with a lot of noise and a car park to look out on too, but I'm used to it being from the big city Birmingham. I look around and I feel like everyone has made best friends already and I'm sat in my room going insane and still watching Friends reruns. I'm really trying my best though. I have met some great people but you know when someone gives you a look or says something weird and you become incredibly uncomfortable? Yeah, that happens to me a lot. I think I must blow it straight out of proportion. Everyone's nervous, everyone's uncomfortable, everyone's new. So, I have kept trying and I've had some great nights.


The other day I felt a bit low. I've already got 'fresher's flu' and I was feeling lonely. But it is getting easier. I feel way more comfortable in my flat now - I was just watching Friends in the kitchen in a rather unflattering position and didn't give two shits what anyone thought! I just wish I had a more of a 'family flat' which everyone else seems to have. There I go again, comparing myself to everyone else. But I do feel like I'm getting better. Rather than letting that paranoia and jealousy eat me away, I've fought it. I still constantly text people to ask what they're doing. I still invite people out. I still tag along. And because I do that, I've had some great nights. I just really don't want another dreadful three years after my years at college.


Bristol is beautiful. I've already fallen in love with all the buildings and rivers and boats and cafes and bars and pubs and amazing things. There's always something to do here...However, there is a massive hill up to the university that will be the death of me. I wonder if Kate Bush was thinking about this hill when writing 'Running up that Hill' because my god, it is huge. Luckily, doing English means I'm only in 7 hours a week (I know and I'm paying £9000 a year) so less time for me to walk up that hill. I've come to every lecture so far drenched in sweat. Not a good first impression. (It's really not, people actively don't talk to me because of it but they're bitches). One bit of advice, don't bother with bitches. Work out who are the twats early on and don't spend time with them. You're amazing and they're not worth it.


Well, this blog post was a bit all over the place, which is just like my brain right now. I'm still settling in but I felt that I should write something to let you guys know how it's going. I'm sorry about this being so dreadful. Better post next time! I promise!











Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Music makes everything a bit better


I'll be leaving for the University of Bristol in less than a month. Everything is seriously changing and I'm so scared. I have no idea what to expect. I constantly think that no one's going to like me or I'm not going to like them. I worry that I'm going to have a terrible time. The only thing keeping me going is the thought that I'm not alone. Everyone else in my boat is scared and to know that is very reassuring.

I'm going to be doing English which strives on the thoughts and feelings of all different people and cultures, so when you discover a book/song/film that talks about everything you're going through, it feels good. I like that I'll be doing a subject that requires empathy rather than, how can I say, 'selfishness'? I just feel that society claims to encourage people to do what they want, but people fall at the first hurdle and do things that are easy to get a job. People miss out on what they truly love and are interested in, and in turn, they make fun of those people that are doing something they love.

Don't get me wrong, I still freak about the future and worry about getting a job. (After having two parents as teachers I really don't want to be one). But we've also got into a trap that says science is the only way to get good jobs...sometimes I think it's true. Only because, it's not what you know, it's who you know. It's all about connections, especially in the arts. I have no connections, but the ever changing world of technology has technically helped me in some way. If this was 100 years ago, I'm sure I wouldn't be going to University, let alone writing my own blog that people actually read! I hope this will help in some way for my future, 'til now, I've got to focus on what's happening now rather than worrying about the future.

Here are a few songs that I listen to when I'm in need of some encouragement. I hope you enjoy them but also, send me some of your favourite songs that really help when you're feeling down.

Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

I Don't Blame You - Cat Power

Laura - Bat For Lashes

Unfucktheworld - Angel Olsen

 God Only Knows - The Beach Boys

Here, There and Everywhere - The Beatles

The Blues are Still Blue - Belle and Sebastian

Don't Think Twice, It's Alright - Bob Dylan

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - The Smiths

Where do the children play? - Cat Stevens

Dreams - Fleetwood Mac

Moments of Pleasure - Kate Bush

Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole - Martha Wainwright
(Must end on the ultimate 'fuck you' song)

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Uncertainty


When I was in nursery, my parents were told that I had the capacity to enjoy myself in any situation. My mum likes to repeat that statement because it's usually true. In the past I have even won prizes because of this - in year 3 we went on a trip to a car museum (the most dull place on earth) but for some reason I had a really great day (I even took a picture of a road because I found it so exciting) and because of this I won 'pupil of the day' and a t-shirt. Then again in year 5 I won 'star of the year' at school (all while experiencing my world falling apart at home). But now I fear that part of me is fading and I'm desperately trying to hold on.


I have just been on holiday with my friends in Portugal. While I was happy with my company, it wasn't the most enjoyable experience for me. After experiencing a panic attack on the first day, I was wary about the whole situation. So while I suffered in silence, my friends shouted "I LOVE LIFE" to strangers and had the best week of their lives. It's nice to observe but there comes a time when you've had enough and want someone to understand how you're feeling...even while not really knowing yourself how you feel and why you feel this way.


At first I thought it was jealousy. I have spoken a lot on this blog about my feelings on jealousy, so you should all know it's the worst feeling. After living with my family for eighteen years, there was no way I could escape thinking life is "beautiful" - instead I see it as all meaningless, just like Woody Allen said, "the future is just the same as the past but longer." So could you blame me for being jealous of my friends' optimistic views on life? Or maybe I'm right and it's stupid to be optimistic and I'll end up having the last laugh? Either way, they're happy now and I'm not so sure what I am.


My mum has always said that once you understand everything is meaningless, everything gets easier. She's told people at her work this theory who have actively come back to her and thanked her for this revelation. While I completely understand where she's coming from, what if I don't want to think everything is meaningless? I mean, I'm an 18 year old woman. Am I not meant to have the whole world ahead of me? Or is that just a stupid thing to say? My head is stuck in an endless cycle of questions that I don't (and probably will never) know the answer to.


I have it in my mind that only positive people get ahead. I have this picture of me in twenty years time, meeting my friends and they have a great job, a big family, and are happy and successful, and I'm exactly the same. Drowning in my thoughts, not getting on. Perhaps I'm being brain-washed by the media who want us to feel being positive is the only way to get ahead just to help out the big guys - that's always my go to answer because it's usually true. Or perhaps everyone worries about this. The future is so uncertain to everyone so if it is all meaningless, this worrying is all for nothing and I'll never get this 30 minutes back.


Sorry for the stress induced from this post. I have my A Level results coming out on Thursday and, to put it mildly, I am shitting myself. I also haven't been writing because my laptop has been broken but now it's fixed! So more posts will be coming from me soon.