Tuesday, 27 June 2017

One Year Later...

Almost a year since my last post and I've been bugged by plenty of people to get back to writing on here. The past year I've remembered this page exists but had absolutely nooooo clue what to say. BUT NOW I'M BACK! (Still very unsure of where I'm going with this but I'm not exactly a forward thinker).

My life has reached a point where everything's calming down for a bit (at least for the summer). I've moved into a new flat with my lovely boyfriend and year two of university has finished with pretty good grades. Old job left behind and a new job started, new company and better hours - feeling much better. For me, this point of the year has been very much waited for. The chance to relax? Yes, please. It's been a long year but at the same time it feels like it's flown by... No clue how that actually makes sense but I KNOW WHAT I MEAN, OKAY? Okay.

Several things have caught my attention in the last 12 months and I guess that's probably what this post will end up being about. Haha, I feel like some weird comment about it being about 'growing up' would probably be the most 'blogger-y' thing to do but in all honesty, I don't feel that much more 'grown up' than I did a year ago.

Family is so important. And you are too. 

It's something that seems obvious - something you're taught from a young age to treasure and not take for granted. Most people that know me will remember that my family is not exactly the most straight forward (is anyone's really though?) and sometimes that makes life a bit difficult. You don't know where to put yourself, who to have loyalty to and what relationships you're supposed to have with certain people. This is something I really struggled with this year and at points it wasn't university that was stressing me out - it's what I had left behind at home. The stress could have been avoided if I had remembered one important thing - I am part of the family. Which means I'm important too. Yes, it's important to love your family and be loyal to them, but you also need to look after yourself. Compromising your own well-being in order to please what a family is 'supposed to be like' is not good for you and ultimately it's no good for those you care about. At least in the long term. If you're justifiably unhappy with something, telling the people it concerns will, 8 times out of 10, actually help. At one point this year I found going home from university really suffocating (something a lot of uni students feel after living away from home) and when I spoke to my parents about it, they recognised that I felt that way and I haven't felt that suffocation since. All it took was one conversation and it was sorted. If only I'd known sooner...
Admittedly it's not that easy for every person and certainly not for every situation. Sometimes you have to accept that people are the way they are and approach it differently. But the most important thing is that you are able to recognise it and consider your own feelings. Otherwise wires get crossed and things get angry and nobody wants that. 

Something about family that has really been shown to me over the last year is how it stretches beyond the barriers of blood. When I've needed someone to talk to I've been able to call at least 4 people outside of my family who care about me as if we were related. That support has been crazy important to me. And it works the other way round too - being able to call those people to ask how they are and to be able to support them has been equally (if not more) important. The people who care for you are super significant. 

Remember I said you were important? SO IS YOUR BRAIN.

Turns out that sometimes (just sometimes) your lovely brain decides it doesn't want to co-operate. So many things could cause it but it's often really difficult to get it to get back to normal. There is certainly no quick fix, but there are things to help. And a lot of people ignore the help that's out there (like me), thinking they can totally just carry on and pfffffft, be fiiiiine. Yes, maybe you will be fine. But actually getting that help might make you feel 'fine' sooner or more often. And how good is 'fine' anyway? You want to feel goooooood, not 'fine'. Fine is meh. 

Counselling is something I've avoided for years. I thought it was for messed up people with some sort of trauma in their lives and that going there would prove that I am 'messed up'. It's funny how we get these weird ideas into our heads, isn't it? Turns out counselling is for anyone. You don't need anything dramatic to have happened for it to help. I mean, I spent most of my time talking about trivial things that didn't seem to matter. My experience wasn't one filled with someone giving me advice, but more so with me just talking. Though the amount I talk, it's possible she didn't have a chance to talk herself... ANYWAY, outletting the things in my head, no matter how insignificant they seemed to be was a marvellous way of clearing it all up a bit. Sometimes counselling helps the organisation of your headspace rather than its utter ruin being scraped up by a human dust-pan and brush. I guess what I'm trying to say is that having an hour that's yours every week to talk about whatever is on your mind to a completely neutral person is helpful. You can get out of it whatever you want or need, or if you're like me and go into it without really knowing what you're doing there, you'll find some way it helps. It's probably been one of the best decisions I've made this year. 

Moving on from professional support though, looking after your brain in everyday life is important too. I guess that one hour a week isn't reaaaaally enough for some reason. Sleep? Going to bed at 5am and getting up for a 9am lecture ain't gonna make you feel great. A whole week of takeaways might seem a great idea (I've done this too many times this year) but ultimately home cooked food is gonna feel so much better. Plus you save so much money! So. Much. *cries over low bank balance* 

Since November 2015 I've kept a journal. It's a very pretty book which toooootally helps on the therapeutic side of things (or maybe its £20 price tag made me feel like I should actually use it...). It's not the cheesy, American:

"Dear Diary, Today I woke up and ate toast for breakfast. 
Then Matilda called and told me about Mark and 

No. Ew. If that's your thing? Please, continue. But not for meeee. I use my journal when I need to talk but don't know what to say OR don't want to say it to anyone. Although I am super good at not shutting up, I still find talking about important things really tricky. Finding the right words to describe what you're feeling or thinking is impossible on the spot and people get the wrong impression or you sound stupid. Having this journal has allowed me to get upset or angry or excited about something and write it down. It's like you're telling someone but you don't actually have to tell someone. Which is great! I can get pissed off about something small and write about it and nobody can tell me I'm being over-dramatic. If something has been upsetting me over and over again, I can write about it a million times over instead of boring my friends with the same stuff every time we get a coffee. Admittedly it doesn't stop honest conversations with people and I don't think it should! It's still important to be able to talk to people about what's going on in your life! But this book has enabled me to work out what to say before I'm sitting in Costa, telling my mate about my week. I don't always write in it either. It's certainly not daily and sometimes I can go a month without writing a thing. It's a tool more than anything. It's there when you need it. You don't have to read over past entries if you don't want to but I actually find it really interesting. And if you've had something wonderful happen it's so nice to read that back. I've finished my first journal so I've bought a lovely new (equally expensive) journal so I can carry on. I have a feeling it's something I'll take with me through life. 

In the few weeks since uni has been finished I've been a bit lost for what to do (I think that's pretty obvious since I actually thought to write on this blog...). Sarah sitting in watching TV all day is totally a plausible thing but IT DRIVES ME MAD. I literally get that bored stir-crazy thing the Sims get when you lock them in their house for days on end. Going for a coffee is the best way for me to get that out-of-the-house space I need to feel sane. And luckily one of my best friends is quite happy to accompany me to the late night cafe at last minute. 
Even though I have a load of projects coming up at the end of the summer, there's not too much I can prep now so I'm still like "What do I do at home?!". With my boyfriend working shifts there's a lot of sitting around without company which is super useful when I'm at uni but noooooooo summer has thwarted all productiveness so now I have to find my own projects and things to do which is like, sort of long. And then when you decide on something you don't feel like doing it because productive = work = boringggg. Literally cannot win. What was I saying? Oh yeah - keep busy so your brain doesn't fry in front of the TV. But allow yourself some time to binge-watch a series on Netflix and play on the xbox too, because that's just nice. And nice is good in moderation. Just like doing stuff. Yeah? Glad you're still following.

Opportunities are GOLD.

Something I've intended to write about on here since last summer but it's me soooo I haven't. I think I have more to say now though so YAY. LET'S BE HAPPY AT THE RAMBLINGS.

In the second semester of year one I decided it was time to stop doubting myself all the damn time. I had spend most of uni so far second guessing myself, stepping back when I thought people were better than me. Going into 2016 I knew I had to bump up my confidence. In my own time I started going to the gym (though that only lasted 5 or so months). In classes at uni I started answering questions, volunteering to go first and really pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone.

One part of this led me to ask a guest lecturer at my university if he had any idea what I could do over summer to get some experience in theatre. I knew I had a summer coming up with no real need to get a job and that I still had no clue what I wanted to do once uni was over in two years time. He said he might be able to get me into a rehearsal room for a project he had going on. "YES!" I thought - Whether I was making tea for people or just watching from the sidelines at least I'd get to see a rehearsal in the real theatre world! A couple of weeks later this developed into me operating lights for said show. Then I was included in an email claiming I was to Assistant Direct the production. WHAAAAAT!? I asked one question and it blossomed like a tree that's...blossoming... yeah. I worked on that show which premiered in June. Through working on said show I met a wonderful designer with whom I worked on another two jobs, made lifelong contacts and started making a good reputation for myself. I also got a shed load of experience ADing, and operating lights, sound and projection. The production was put on at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in London WHO ASKED ME BACK. I worked for a month or so as their Trainee Venue Manager, showing companies into the space and helping them set up their tech and set whilst also working on box office bookings. EXPERIENCE. Boom. THEN the show we did in June had nabbed a spot at a festival in Barcelona so off I went to Barcelona in November! Over the university year I got involved with the technical side of things, helping out third years with their assessments and operating the lights for the second year shows. Again, helping my rep which has led to more people name dropping me and more work popping up. I'm now a regular lighting designer and operator for a fantastic community theatre company! 

SO. Rather than this being me bragging about how my year was, I'm trying to make the point that by asking a question you can get SO MUCH. If I had never asked that first question last March, I would never have had the opportunities of last summer. I would have missed out on some brilliant projects and my CV would be rather bland. Having this much experience has enabled me to make a name for myself and it's so important to have the opportunities. Not to mention meeting some brilliant people along the way. So whatever you want to do in life, go get it now rather than waiting until you have a degree or all the jobs you want 'require experience'. If you ask, the worst thing thing they can say is 'no'. And how bad is that, really??

Learning new stuff makes life less boring.

Okay, so you switched off as soon as I said 'learning?'. I'm not talking about going to school because most of the time school sucks, and who has time for that anyway? I'm talking about being interested in the world and doing some exploring. Science books are mah thaaang. For someone doing a performing arts degree, reading books on genetic biology and physics seems a bit nerdy but I'm happy to embrace that. I think it's well important to learn about things completely unrelated to your career or school topics - keeps your brain stimulated without making it feel like work. It's not necessary, it's just interesting. 

It goes beyond books too. A couple of months ago I said I want to understand/learn to play football. Now don't get me wrong, I am in no way expecting myself to be GOOD at football, but understanding it and being able to play footy with my mates without constantly kicking the ball in the wrong direction would be nice. For the last couple of months my boyfriend and I have been popping to the park (very occasionally) to play football. I can confirm that I can now kick a ball in a straight line, 8 times out of 10 do some sort of drop kick and I can get the ball off the floor. These sound simple but for someone who has never played football before I am well proud of myself! I just have to practice a lot more. Like...a LOT more. But that's fine with me. The fact I can see some sort of improvement helps. 

Something else I've learned? DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. It is something a majority of people greet with 'oh, THAT nerd game' without understanding what it actually is. What it is, right, is a game where you have to actually think and make decisions and something you can very much make what you want. Forget boring nerd stuff. It's fun. You can also play it in the pub which I think is a BIG bonus. I feel bad for judging it in the past now. It's proper good. 

If you don't like something you don't have to do it.

Easier said than done sometimes but it makes you a hell of a lot happier when you stop doing the stuff that makes you feel crap. And it relates to everything - jobs, relationships, diet etc. etc. And I guess it intertwines with what I've been saying so far... Finding things you enjoy and looking after yourself really link with this. Because what's the point in doing the good things if something you dislike is just gonna drag it all down? 

I loved my previous job until little parts of it kept bugging me. The late nights weren't helping me feel particularly alert for my 9am lectures and working with such an array of customers, sometimes you'd just come home in a foul mood. In the end I realised how much my job was bugging me so I decided to look for a knew one. Now I have a job that sends me home at a decent time and is generally a bit more chilled. It's just something that's happened at the right time and a decision that's made me much happier. 

As I said, it doesn't only relate to jobs. I've had a few altercations with people this year and the decision to leave them to it rather than biting back has made life so much easier. Don't like arguing and people putting you down? Then don't do it. Chilled attitudes win. Yus. Don't like not eating doughnuts? EAT THE DAMN DOUGHNUTS (unless otherwise directed by a medical professional...). Sort of relates to money too in a way... I didn't like not having money so I stopped spending it and started saving it and felt a bit more flexible once I'd built a bit of spare cash up. Basically, do what you want. Maybe not quitting your job full stop without a back up (though I understand how tempting that can be) or buying that 4K £1200 TV you want - understanding consequences is still a thing. But still. Don't bog yourself down with something that upsets you. Confront it. Change it. Deal with it. 

That's it. 

My metaphorical bucket of rambling has been poured everywhere. The past 12 months has been pretty alright - mostly because of the company I've kept. My family and friends have MADE it good. See? Shows they're all important. Your year might suck without them. 

I have no clue when I'll write on here again. I'll do my best to find some inspiration. Although I write on here so irregularly, I do actually enjoy doing it. I just need something to talk about. Nyah. WE SHALL SEEEEE. Thank you so much for reading - even after all this time. Any comments are welcome. Share-y like-y like-y things are also welcome. 


And love each other. And make the most of the little things. 

Much Love,Sarah x

Saturday, 2 July 2016


I was going to write a new blog post the day after my last, but then the Orlando shootings happened. The shooting shook me up and I really wanted to write about it but had no idea what to say, so I left it a while. But here we are...

No person, no matter what their sexuality, gender or status, should be subject to what happened at Pulse on 12th June. Those killed in the massacre had done nothing worthy of death or, indeed, any form of punishment. Some people view the LGBT community as a dud movement which is hyped up far more than it needs to be but there is a reason it exists. We all know that homosexuality is not something comfortably accepted by everyone in society. A majority of people who identify as anything other than heterosexual have gone through a really hard time to accept who are are and who they love. Even once they've accepted it, many in society haven't. 

Pulse was a gay bar and it was a place where people could express their individuality and be themselves without having to worry about how society would react. They could hold hands and dance with whoever they wanted and it was totally fine. They could wear whatever they were comfortable in and not have to give a damn about it.  It was a place where many people felt free and happy and safe until one person took it upon themselves to act on the homophobic beliefs they had and make it unsafe. 

When I was younger I never used to have anything against homosexual people. Not consciously. I never had anything against other people who were gay, but I always said "I'd never be gay". I understood that people were not able to choose, but I said that I wouldn't choose to...which doesn't really make any sense at all. It was not until I was in a situation where all my energy was being pumped into not liking a girl that I realised the reality of it all. When you are not heterosexual, you're going against the flow. People assume you're rebelling or going through a phase or that you were damaged somehow in your childhood. Yes, some people accept it and they are an absolute God-send but there are so many arseholes. 

When I was 15 years old I fell for a girl. Most people in my religion told me that it wasn't okay for girls to like girls which made it extremely difficult. I went to church three times a week and had lots of roles in the youth group but now I had this feeling I couldn't help. This "sin". I fought against it for months and went through a majorly low period. I hated myself so much and became quiet, withdrawn and often contemplated suicide. Eventually, after reading a book outlining the biblical teachings on homosexuality I decided I'd accept who I was - whoever I was. That sounds so strange but the bible mentions homosexuality seven times (or less depending on how you interpret the scripture) which for most people is enough to form such strong views. Divorce is mentioned in the bible twelve times and greed of money is mentioned in 2350 verses but nobody seems to pay any attention to those. Divorce is horrible but it's something that can be left in the past - homosexuality is a constant. People can't escape it which is often why so many condemn it. But for me? I read and understood those passages about homosexuality and accepted that if that's what they say, then okay. I can deal with that because being unhappy sucked. 

It's easy to condemn something that you don't understand. It's easy for someone who is comfortable with who they are to turn around to someone going through hell and telling them they've just got to choose to change. It's not that easy. Denying my sexuality was extremely painful, soul-destroying and it was hurting the girl I liked too. Finally, when I accepted who I was, I was happy again. It wasn't all easy: I've lost so many friends, received many strongly-worded messages and my relationships with some people will never be the same. It was hard to begin with but I was happier this way. I am certain that if I had continued to deny who I was, I would not be here now. 

So many people at Pulse would have gone through a similar journey. Whether religious or not, each of us will know some people with very strong views. Religion is not what makes people close-minded - people are what make people close-minded. I know many Christians and Muslims which are fully accepting of who people are. That's why I don't personally agree with claims that the Orlando shootings were primarily a movement of Islam. This guy had some sort of insecurity about who is allowed to love who and decided to take it out on completely innocent people. I am grateful that I live in a country with sensible gun laws where events like this are likely to never occur. I am in mourning for those who live in a country where going on a night out with your friends can end in death. 

So what can we learn from this? For those of us that accept and love people for who they are regardless of who they love, we just need to stay strong. There is nothing more important in life than loving people and celebrating who they are. Jimmy Fallon put it well: "We need to support each others differences and worry less about our own opinions" because since when is everyone else's life so greatly affected by another persons ability to love? Since when has it been okay for one guy to choose the fate of forty-nine people? It hasn't been okay, it isn't okay and it will never be okay. 

Perhaps people need to be educated about what life is like when you're not understood. And this goes beyond the parallels of gay and straight - even within the LGBT community there are some strong opinions. Bisexuality is often frowned upon and those who are bi are often called greedy, confused or are classed as sluts. Those opinions and prejudices are one of the reasons why I've never really labelled my sexuality. My sexuality concerns me - not everyone else. I believe it's not necessary to label it - you love who you love. Whether that's a guy or a girl or a trans-guy/girl or whatever. When you love somebody, you love their personality. 

So, um, yeah. I've wanted to write something like this for a long time but haven't had the balls to share it. Even though I'm totally confident and happy with my views, I know that a lot people will disagree with me. I'm just gonna finish with a video of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Sonnet from the Tony's this year, which he wrote with the Orlando shootings in mind. Have a nice week. :)

My wife’s the reason anything gets done
She nudges me towards promise by degrees
She is a perfect symphony of one,
Our son is her most beautiful reprise
We chase the melodies that seem to find us
Until they’re finished songs and start to play
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day
This show is proof that history remembers
We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger
We rise and fall and light from dying embers
Remembrances that hope and love lasts long
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
Cannot be killed or swept aside,

I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story
Now fill the world with music love and pride

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Making the most of the little things

Hi! Long time, no blog! 
The last time I posted was October which seems like a lifetime ago. Since then I have written a total of four draft blog posts but have never actually got round to posting them. Time to change that... I'm posting this today, but there will be another post tomorrow so check back tomorrow night!

I think the last six months have been life-changing. Though this may be the sort of dramatic sentence you expect to hear from a Performing Arts student, it's not necessarily as dramatic as you might think. I've basically come to know myself better and have really started to trust in my abilities. But it's made all the difference. I entered into this university course with the view that I could 'probably do okay' and 'we'll see what happens'. And this was my view for the whole of the first semester. It took a long time to warm up to university and I now understand why people say the transition to university is difficult. I really struggled at the end of my first semester - not academically but mentally. I was tired and adapting to a world that was very new to me: being an adult. Haha, at least to a degree. 

Because I got quite down over December, I decided to take January to focus on me. To focus on eating right, on exercising, on music, art - basically re-discovering those things that make me happiest. It took the whole of January, but it worked. I finally felt that little bit more comfortable with myself again. This was probably helped by the fact that I got a job and started working with some lovely people who never failed to cheer me up in some way or another. 

By the time semester two of uni started I felt a lot better. Healthy body, healthy mind is not just a saying - it's true. And it's very important. Going into this semester I decided I would push myself to change those little insecurities that may be holding me back in...well...life. Although I'm not exactly an introvert (at all), I still get nervous about things and what people think of me - as anyone and everyone does. But it was time to triumph that. To not let it hold me back. 

As small and insignificant as it seems, when we had the vocal auditions for the show we were doing I volunteered to go second. Usually it's the sort of situation where everyone sits there in silence, nobody volunteering, nobody wanting to go next and the lecturer has to pick someone at random when the awkward silence goes on for too long. But not this time! My volunteering was slightly scary, but made me feel really brave and proved to me that I could. It actually made me wonder why on earth people are so worried about volunteering! I mean, we're going to have to do it anyway - you may as well do it with some enthusiasm, right?

After that tiny moment where I volunteered, I knew I could. And pretty much each time there was an opportunity for me to put myself forward, I took it. Over the semester it's actually given me more opportunity to learn about the roles in theatre and what I'm capable of doing. Yeah, there were definitely more opportunities I probably could have snatched up, but it's a process and it takes time to build confidence. Personally I'm proud that I pushed myself in the moments I did and I am glad that I'm able to recognize the moments I didn't.

So what now? I guess we keep pushing. Pushing ourselves to cross the lines we've been treading. Getting out of our comfort zones and sometimes even putting ourselves in slightly terrifying situations. Obviously safe ones though - lets not jump in a barrel and go over the Niagara Falls because that's just silly. But you get my gist. There's a lot of opportunity out there and more importantly within yourself. To find it, you've got to try. But you will. Even if you're not expecting much.

- Sarah

Saturday, 10 October 2015

growing up

Hello! Because it's been...I think it's 7 months since my last post(?) I figured I'd better make sure everyone knows I'm still alive and kicking. In all honesty, it's just been a super busy time and I've also had very little inspiration regarding what to write. But I figured it's time for me to show my face and waffle on about something else - because surely you've missed me? ;)

Still uninspired as to what to write, I started to consider what nonsense I could spurt out to you via the internet. What experiences have I had in my life that would be entertaining or of value to anyone? Then I remembered that I've just moved to uni. And that is a pretty damn big thing. So we'll talk about that! Or I'll talk at you... Or whatever...

Before I got here, everyone was so excited about leaving home and starting their new adventures at their universities. I pretended to be excited, but inside I was actually crapping myself. This was so bloody confusing for me because I have always assumed that I'd absolutely love moving away and living my own life/ I had always been the strong one who never got homesick. Yet I felt homesick before I got here. And I've felt homesick whilst I've been here. 

Now, when I say homesick I don't mean I've been sitting in my room all night, every night crying into my pillow (though I'm sure a fair few people have been). Rather than feeling sad I just felt a bit lost - like I didn't know what to do with myself. That was probably because I was in a new environment and knew nobody. That's changing though, and after three weeks I'm finally settling in, I know that doesn't sound like a long time, but it is when you're away from home.

Moving away from the homesickness though, there's a load of other stuff I learned recently about the whole growing up business. Mainly due to the transition from secondary school to university. Going to uni - a new space with new people - gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself. I didn't want to reinvent myself - I wanted to be myself. It wasn't so easy to be myself in sixth form because everyone had known me for the past 7 years - I was known to act a particular way and I knew how I had to act around others to feel accepted. Bare in mind that I'm not in any way claiming that I was fake or put anything on in secondary school - just that (like everyone else) I acted in the way that was expected of me. And that in moving to university, I have discovered how different I am to my own expectations. 

I finally told myself to let myself be me. And in doing so I've found that I'm quite a lot more chilled that I thought. I don't like the arguments and the drama that surrounded me at my all-girls secondary school. I don't want to wear dresses and skirts and crop tops and I love wearing comfy cheap clothes and not giving a shit about whether I'm in with the lastest fashion. I went with my gut. I did whatever made me comfortable. And I liked it. It felt good to be comfortable with myself and to not have to try,

So when I came to Cambridge, I carried it on and I cannot express enough how glad I am that I did. Why the hell would anyone want to go into a situation and change themselves to fit in when there are 6000 other people around them - one or two people would most certainly like you for who you are. Be who you are. One or two was an understatement too - I mean, honestly, people are generally more open than you think. And being honest with them and being yourself will give you the best, most loyal friends. Because you don't have to try. I know that may cause some people to leap up in their seats and yell at me saying that people can't help it, I know how it feels and that is the reason why I feel I am able to openly talk about it. But in reality, people shouldn't need to be in that position. People should feel able to be who they are comfortable with, without judgement being passed on them. It's all just a fault of our society, I suppose?

Sorry - I'm waffling again. And weirdly enough, this post has been one of the most personal I've written, But I felt like it was necessary. I just want people to be happy - life is supposed to be happy. And I know from experience that being happy doesn't work so well when you have to try and be something you're not. Wear what you want to wear, do what you want to do and sing until your lungs give out. Challenge yourself. Better yourself. Be yourself. 

It's the only thing that makes sense. 

I'll be back soon. I actually will this time... Life is just starting to get interesting :P

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Why is revision so much better?

I can remember year 9 when I used to hate revising. I never did it because I didn't see the point. I was boring and I used to HATE mindmaps. Four years later and I love revision, mindmaps, cue cards and felt tip pens. I honestly never thought it would happen... but it has. 

Now, I'm not just writing this because I'm a nerd and love school work from here to the moon and back (and may I add...I don't). I am writing this because I honestly just don't get it. Why is it that when sitting down to do homework - whether it be an essay, grid, timeline or questions - I just stop thinking. My ability to concentrate literally flies out the window and joins Peter Pan in Neverland. Yet sitting down to do work when I don't have anything due for a while is incredibly easy and extremely productive. Maybe it's the use of colour or pictures or something. Or not.

Let's ask Google:

Well... it didn't suggest the question which means this probably isn't a problem for that many people... And it turns out there's not actually anything helpful on there. Thanks, Google.

Maybe Yahoo Answers will do a better job:

Ha. nope. I, therefore, give up. There's no use in looking on bing because they just copy Google anyway. *Sigh*

I shall therefore try answering this one myself... (note the word: try). I think that the flexible nature of revision makes it a lot easier - you can revise what you want in the way you want and when you want. You can use a whiteboard or paper or a conversation. However with homework you have to write an essay. Because that's what you have to do in the exam, and if you don't practice, you'll fail. Simple as (well...not for some people but I will anyway). I think it's the preparation for going wrong, the dreading having to redo it or the simple fact that teachers never seem to mark or look at your homework anymore. 

I dunno. And I have no idea how much sense this made because I am procrastinating - as I have been all bloody day. I wish I could join Peter Pan in Neverland... I've always wanted a flying clipper ship. So what have we learnt? Google isn't helpful. Yahoo isn't helpful. Bing just copies Google. Blogger is yet another distraction.

Have a nice week :)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


Hello fellow Human Beings (and all other manners of creatures who may one day read this blog - cats are very clever, y'know)! My post today is apparently a deep one so go grab a hot chocolate and prepare for some major brain food. 

Welcome to my little look at labels. "What's that?" you may ask! Well, I was having a chat with a friend the other day about labeling ourselves - she saw them in a positive light and I saw them in a negative way so I figured it was due some further exploration. To do this I have asked some of my lovely family and friends to give me their views on the matter so that I, as well as you, could see the many sides of the argument. When looking into this it's also important to remember that there are different sorts of labels - people label looks, medical conditions, behaviours and sexuality (to name only a few). Right. On with our first view....

"I think that most people will try and convince themselves/others that they believe labeling people is wrong and that we should be completely free to make our own decisions and be our own person because that's what everyone seems to always be banging on about these days. In reality, I think that labels are kind of necessary to an extent because they make people easier to identify, so I can describe someone using a label and most people will know what I'm talking about. I do think it's important to be labeled in terms of other people being able to understand you, but equally I think it's wrong to use labels to define someone in their entirety."
This really made me think about labels in the way they are used. For example, instead of somebody saying "I believe in God who wrote the 10 commandments thousands of years ago, led many people to the promised land and later sent his son, Jesus, down to Earth as a baby, born of a virgin called Mary. When Jesus was 33 he got crucified and was put in a tomb and rose 3 days later. I celebrate Easter and Christmas and partake in practices such as prayer and Bible reading." it's a lot easier to just go "I'm a Christian" and have done with it. Due to common knowledge using that label (and yes, it is a label) immediately lets people know what your views are based on and cuts out the waffle.

"I think the most important thing on that one is behaving in the way that brings you most joy; the label should be irrelevant if you're truly happy with who you are and being true to yourself. Especially in childhood, a 'tomboyish' sense of adventure is such a valuable thing, but doesn't negate the enjoyment that can be found from more stereotypically 'girly' activities like experimenting with makeup- I certainly did both!"
I have often thought about the labels of young children - girls are often thought to be girly or tomboyish and I spent much of my primary school life trying to work out which one I was. I used to climb trees on a weekly basis, go down to river and attempt to catch fish with my hands (this was regularly very unsuccessful) and hanging around with the guys of my class. I also used to love dancing and singing, skipping around the playground, chatting about Girls Aloud and putting on my own fashion shows. You may, as I do, see all of these activities as if they do not fit into a category - that boys and girls can do any of these things. However, it cannot be denied that those activities do fit into those stereotypes which have undoubtedly established themselves in society.
Going back to this quote more directly, I agree that as long as you are happy, the label should not be relevant - but does that mean that if you are unhappy, you should try and fit into a category in an attempt to find a comfortable place? I don't expect you to answer that - it was rhetorical :P

Another thing to think about is whether or not labels stop you from being who you truly are. I personally think this depends on the person - ones personality may perfectly fit into, for instance, the "flamboyant homosexual" category that society had provided us. In this case the label is not stopping the person from being who they are, but instead describing it. On the other hand, a homosexual woman may feel pressured to either be a "butch" or "lipstick lesbian", changing their looks and personality traits to fit these labels. In this case, due to the woman feeling as though she has to fit into a category, is that stopping her from just accepting her true self, or is it her just finding out who she really is?

Labels are developing everywhere - not only in social situations, but also in technology, medicine, psychology and sociology. My next opinion links labels with the medical profession:
"Labels within the medical profession are arguably the only means by which people can get the treatment they need; without defined diagnostic criteria, the logistics of treatment for the vast majority of conditions would be impossible to manage." Correct. Although we may not always think about it in this way, labels are used every single day in the medical profession to diagnose illnesses. Anyway, let us continue... "However, the problems arise when people begin to find their identities as a characteristic that describes their 'weakness' (even if this is often only self-perceived) or suffering. Particularly when conditions such as Autism or ASD are concerned, a system without labels would perhaps be more conducive to a society in which individuals are defined by their strengths, and thus held in far greater esteem, both by their peers and themselves." I really appreciate this view, as it is not something I've ever really been about to put into words and here it is put so simply. It is not the label itself that is the problem, but rather the way that it is perceived. If a label has negative connotations, people will feel negative about those who have that label applied to them. I'm going to use dyslexia to expand on this: I have a couple of dyslexic friends - one of them hates the fact that people know them as having dyslexia. They feel that it suggests that they are slow, dumb and awkward to deal with. My other friend, however, has said to me that using the word 'dyslexia' to be able to describe themselves makes their life easier, it helps people to understand the difficulties they face and that they understand that everyone has something that sets them apart from everyone else. Maybe labels are okay - we just need to stop using them as tools to judge people with.

This brings me on to labels being used to judge. It is true, is it not, that we have all used a label to describe somebody after meeting them for the first time? Everyone has, because we are human, analysing people when we first meet them to try and understand their qualities and quirks. Here is a view about labels being used to judge:
"I don't like labels. I think that often you are labelled by others before they have actually had a chance to get to know you. Labels often come about pretty instantly on first meeting. A lot of people will then never get past that." This is so true. There's some saying that the first impression is really important - just think about interviews. People who attend an interview for a place on a course or for a job think about what they are going to wear, and how they answer questions. When filling out forms or surveys people often do not put down their religion or sexuality because they feel they could get judged on it - which they could be. Open minds, people. Open minds...

And finally, what about labeling ourselves? This is what I was initially thinking about in my discussion with my friend the other day - I personally make the conscious decision to avoid labeling myself. I hate the thought that if I label myself as something, people are going to see me as only that - what if I change as life continues? Surely people will then think I'm something I'm not... Plus, everyone interprets labels in different ways so where is there a universal understanding anyway?
Before I waffle too much, here is someone else's view on this...
"With regard to labeling myself, I try not to. Because I think it can hold you back from being what you want to be. Does this make sense? So I guess I could label myself as [something that] I don't want to be. But if I believe my label, I might never strive to be what I want to be. I guess equally throughout life what you are and the way you are changes so much. If your labelled as 'x' you might never feel you can change to 'y' because that's not who you are. But who says you can't change?"
Do you agree? If you were to label yourself as something, would that prevent you from seeing the possibility of change? As the closing question of that says, there is no reason why people cannot change their labels, but I suppose it depends on the person - some people would feel more confident to go against their labels and others would feel uncomfortable if they did that. Are there any labels you have which you don't like? What says you can't change them?

To finish up, I'd like to conclude with this view which I think sums everything up in a pretty good way - it works for some and not for others so do whatever makes you happiest:
"I would have to sit on the fence on this one, to some people the label gives them a sense of belonging and understanding who they are, it makes them feel comfortable in knowing there are others like them. To others the label is something that others put on them and they don't like it. So overall I would say if you label yourself you are probably happy with it, if others label you then you probably won't like it."

Thank you so much for bearing with me on this one. I know it was long, and if you have managed to stay with me all the way down to here, I really appreciate it. Writing a blog post on such a vast topic is actually a lot more difficult that it first appeared! I'd like to thank those of you who contributed and I'd also like to encourage people who feel like they have something else to say or people who agree with a certain point to comment below - I'm so interested to hear all of your views. There's also a poll to your left where you can feedback too :)
I hope this post has made you think a little and made you consider your own views on labels alongside those which I have included in this article. If you have a label you're not comfortable with and can do something about it - do. You have that ability.

Have a lovely week, and thank you again for keeping up with my blog!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

"Targets for Improvement"

We received our school reports last Friday. Mine wasn't too bad, thank God. But I was having one of my "deep" moments and thought about how I can somehow relate the whole "Targets for Improvement" section to...life. So here are some random targets for improvement for myself and the wider population...

This is, I believe, a key life skill. Tolerance is showing the willingness to allow/put up with the existence of opinions or behaviour that one does not necessarily agree with (that was a mixture of a dictionary definition and my own). I have found that this is most necessary in two very common situations: in religious situations and in dealing with personalities and lifestyles. 
The first seems obvious yet seems to be a huge difficulty for many. Why on earth can people not accept that others have a different belief to them, when it really doesn't affect them very much? I see no need to shove a religion down somebodies throat and then condemn others when they do it to you. Just agree to disagree and let them get on with it.
In the latter situation, I'm partially referring to annoying people. Many people are horrible to somebody who is perhaps a bit loud, or quirky without really thinking to just leave it alone. I've personally found that making comments in situations like this creates drama and upset and is just plain unnecessary. Tolerate it. Yes, they're annoying. Yes, they're frustrating. Yep, they are invading your personal space. You have the ability to move away from the situation or to just front it out and stay as calm as the sea when there aren't any waves. I'm also referring to lifestyles or particular parts of personalities such as being slim, well-built, homosexual, focused on studying, ambitious BLAH BLAH BLAH. If it doesn't effect you, who gives a flying donkey? If you do it's probably time to evaluate why... If the answer to that is "because I don't like it" I recommend you learn the skill of tolerance. I believe it makes you a very sound and well-balanced person.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find out what it means to me!
Well, okay. I will. The dictionary definition of respect is the 'due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others'. This basically means you take into consideration what you're about to say before you say it, bearing in mind who you're saying it to, your relationship to them and what you intend to say. I generally try to ensure I am showing people respect because I don't want to be treated with disrespect. I kinda run on a "You respect me, I respect you" basis. It's only when people disrespect me (and intend on doing so) that I can get a little sassy with them. One of the traditional values of society is to respect your elders - I have heard so many people wonder why there is no value for younger people to be respected, like...why it's so ageist. I think that the value is mostly down to the fact that most teenagers are moody and always assume the parent knows nothing and teens know best. But I don't think that saying/value should restrict us. If an old man asked me politely to move on a bus so he could sit down, I would do so immediately. However, if the old man came up to me yelling the odds about how disrespectful I was that I hadn't moved yet, I'm not sure I'd be too inspired to move, to be honest. He has shown me disrespect and so does he deserve it back? Well, I suppose that's something you evaluate in that situation and you generally have wonder about in life anyway. But if everyone just had that little bit more respect for one another, there'd probably be hell'a lot less commotion. 


What's the point in everything going wrong all the time and doing nothing but moaning about it? There's no point to giving up when you've tried so hard. There's no point in being miserable about something because you haven't had it for long enough, or you didn't get enough out of it. For me, being positive - oh, sorry - optimistic, is an incredibly important thing to be. Putting on a brave face and looking for the good stuff in the bad has always helped me through things...an example is when I was 12 and my parents broke up. I was upset, and all cry-y and such like, but not long after they broke the news to me I was sitting in the garden and thought to myself "I can either take this really badly and be all rebellious and make life hell for them... or I can try and pull myself together and try and see the good in it." The next thing I did was turn around to my Mum and ask her how big my room was going to be and what colour the walls were. I know it seems a bit weird - almost like I was excited - but I needed something to look forward to in the midst of all the crazy. 
You didn't get that grade after you revised so hard for it - so take it as a learning opportunity, see where you went wrong and work on it. You'll be a whole lot smarter when you're done.
You auditioned for the school show and got "Door Man 2" and only have one line - at least you got a line, unlike the other 70 who auditioned and are unnamed characters. Plus, you still get the experience of being in performance and don't even have to stress about memorising half a script! And don't give up because those rehearsals could have displayed how hard working you are and you may have improved through doing it too.
You've borrowed your friends XBOX ONE but they want it back because they've got a new game for it..and well, it's theirs. So, you didn't get to finish your game and you have lost your daily evening entertainment... but your friend did lend you their XBOX as well as the game you were playing and you enjoyed it when it was there. When something isn't there anymore, you can miss it but I see more point in remembering how great it was when it was there than thinking of where it is now and being all down about it.
If you got to choose between being happy or sad, which one would it be? Happy, I presume? Optimism and staying positive is key to that. It takes away the negativity and heartache of life, and gives you goal and some motivation to keep going. If you find it hard to be optimistic, running helps. Or taking up any enjoyable hobby, as a matter a fact... exercise is scientifically proven to help improve your mood too, and in turn help your view of life events. Because I'm happyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Obviously it's impossible to be tolerant, show respect and be optimistic all the time, but it's worth putting the effort in because it does positively impact you in the long run, as well as everyone else. If you get stuck, talk to someone about it or just try again tomorrow. Take out frustration in exercise or baking cakes, and clear your head with a walk or yoga or something once in a while. 

That's me done. My eyes are going funny because it's late and really I shouldn't be doing this right now... Don't forget to comment with any of your own stories, anything you agree with or something you want to challenge! And share this to friends and family if you so desire - if you'd like to become a member of my page, look to the right-hand side panel. Hope you're all well!

Be back soon,