Sunday, 29 September 2013

You're running through my veins.

Okay. Since the misery that was this morning, I've had a better-late-than-never change of heart. I realised that my downturned face was just spreading negativity and it was all so bloody unnecessary. So, I started rebuilding my bridges. I felt so down that I hadn't spent much time with anyone lately, and stupidly felt like I was losing those that are most important to me. Stupidly so, looking back a mere ten hours, I realise I was having a mental block and it was all so unnecessary. So, I slapped a big grin on my face and began texting all of the mad, crazy, wonderful people in my life, updating them on my newly positive state, apologising for being such a moody bitch lately, and making plans for the near future. 

After doing so, I realised something. As the replies came flooding in, I was doing something I hadn't for a while. I was grinning. And by that I mean full-on, genuine smiley grinning. Natural happiness showed across my face and a sense of relief settled on my shoulders. My support system, my loved ones, the greatest people you will ever meet, well, they were there for me all along and I somehow, in my bad week, my sleepless nights and my illness, lost sight of that. Silly enough as it is. And through that, I realised something else. While I need basic things, food and water and warmth and shelter for survival, in reality, I need more than that. You lot, you special, wonderful people in my life, you make me tick. You're the reason I get up on a morning, the reason I smile or laugh, the reason my heart beats and my lungs breathe. You're the blood running through my veins. What I'm saying is, not only do I not want to live without you, I physically can't. 


I turn the big, ugly 2-0 on Tuesday and I've never been more unhappy about it. It's not the fact I'm no longer going to be a teenager, (although I'm not thrilled about it) it's what it represents that makes me sad. It's the fact that I'm turning a corner, a new decade is about to start, 
twenty years worth of life, and I don't think I've got much to be happy about. What have I even got to celebrate? I'm an unemployed almost-twenty year old with no real achievements. I've never felt so boring, and I hate that. It just seems to be adding up to multiple bad days, not just one. Not only am I at uni 9-5 on my birthday, so that means I'm up from six and won't get home til at least six at night, tired and ready to scream probably. I feel in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, and I've began to question everything. From my degree choice to my aspiring career path to everyone in my life and their capabilities. I'm twenty and the only constant in my life is my family, and I won't even be able to spend my day with  them. My close group of friends seems to be dispersing gradually and I feel like I'm losing another friend every day. A day to be remembered? Not likely. I don't want to be twenty. I'm not ready. I wanted to achieve a lot more before I got to this milestone, so I'm feeling like a failure slightly. I don't think I have the support system i first thought, which is awful. To say I'm unhappy at the minute would be an understatement. Although I will say this, I'm going to try my hardest to keep hold of the important people in my life right now, and hopefully, when my next decade comes, they'll be the ones holding my hair back when I've drank too much. If not, I'll hold the door open for you myself, because I'd rather watch you walk away than make the effort with someone who doesn't care about me.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Attention, please.

"Have you ever walked into a room and realised everyone was talking about you? Have you ever had it happen twenty times in a row..? I have." Cady Heron, Mean Girls. 

There are good and bad kinds of attention, we all know that. It's funny, we seem to be able to understand the difference silently in our heads, even from just a glance. I recently walked into a pub and a group of lads all turned and looked at me, while someone muttered something under their breath. Sounds good, right? Wrong. On the surface this may seem okay, mediocre, normal even. But it isn't. I'm not referring to the attention part, I'm referring to the act of doing so. The hidden meaning behind it. Knowing what someone else is thinking when they look at you. For me, that's kind of an awful feeling, or was then. An educated guess allowed me to realise that ten sets of eyes on me as I walked, drink in tow, shoulders back, head high, past this group, wasn't a good thing. I knew why they were looking. And note, not speaking. Some of sharing perhaps similar yet silent views. The others only partly aware of what is being thought, or acknowledged as I sat down in the smoking area, swigging my double vodka, very unladylike. I shrug my shoulders and force a smile and pretend to hide the very obvious feeling of self consciousness I am possessing at such a moment. Attention is a funny little thing. Sometimes you want it, other times you'd rather suffocate yourself with your duvet than have anyone even acknowledgeu your existence. It depends how you're feeling and ultimately, who it is you're receiving the attention from. A good-looking stranger, a vague acquaintance or a really creepy man who has been hovering behind you at the bus stop for the last twenty minutes. They're all...different. The underlying meaning is different. Admittedly, there are times when I thrive in situations where I'm being 'seen' and noticed, I like the attention, but who doesn't? I've never really wanted to blend into the background, but sometimes, there is such a thing as too much attention. Then again, maybe I just have a funny feeling about that scenario, and I know why. I guess you can't expect to be noticed one minute, and ignored the next. Although, evidently, some people find that easier than others.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Little things.

Ignore the fact that this blog post coincidentally has the same name as a song by One Direction. I have to admit straight away, to avoid any confusion or ambiguity that this was absolutely not my intention, it's just that it's kind of important that this post has that name. As anyone that knows me well will be able to confirm, I really love the little things in life, a kind gesture like holding the door open for someone, or a smile from a stranger or even just a simple matter of helping someone out when they need it. These things are the kind of things that not only make my day, but reaffirm my faith in humanity, especially when there's so much hate and carnage in the world. My latest happy moment came from a news story I first came across on Twitter, and it is truly phenomenal, so I thought I'd share it.

A few days ago, in Boston, America, a 54-year-old homeless man named Glen James found a backpack in a local shopping mall, containing travelers cheques and lots of foreign currency totalling at a value of $40,000 (£25,000) While this man had very sparse possessions and no money or shelter, he proceeded to do the honest thing and handed the backpack, containing the full amount of money, to the police, with no regard for his own well-being. Meanwhile, the traveler whose backpack it was had reported the bag missing to the police, who then traced it and reunited the man with his belongings. Mr James then received quite a lot of media attention due to his selfless act of honesty with sparked someone else to follow in his footsteps, and do a good deed. 

When citizen Ethan Whittington read about Mr James' selfless honesty in the paper, he applauded him for his actions, and felt so strongly about what this man had done that he started a fund for him, as a reward. As of today, Ethan Whittington, with the help of others in the community, have helped raise a huge $100,000 to help Mr James and those like him who have fell on hard times and been left on the streets. When asked in an interview, Mr James said he could never even consider taking the money, as no matter how little he had, it was not his to take. 

This brought a tear to my eye, (I mean everyone knows I'm a sucker for a happy ending!) because even when this man could've just walked away, carrying £25,000 to give himself a better life, despite the fact the money wasn't rightfully his, his compassion and his honesty prevailed, and he deserves an indescribable amount of credit for that. It just shows you what lengths some people are willing to go for for others. A story that left me grinning from ear to ear. Proof that, even now, in 2013, with new conflicts breaking out around the world and financial struggles both sides of the Atlantic, if you dig deep enough, basic human kindness is what everyone has the chance to offer. Glen James is a hero in my mind, and I have massive amounts of respect for a man who listened to his conscience, rather than gut-instinct, and did the right thing. It really is the little things that count. 

Basic instincts.

I can say, hand-on-heart, sometimes, you can trust someone blindly, for no reason or fault of your own. It's just that they, to you, appear/seem trustworthy. If you're anything like me, you tend to trust most people, (I'm kind of gullible but shh!) So, I don't always pride myself in being the best judge of character, however, I like to think I'm reasonably okay at reading people and judging them on what I observe. Yet I'm quite stumped recently. There's someone in my life I can't seem to fathom, and it irritates me. One minute, I'm convinced I've figured him out, and then there's a hiccup, a bump in the road, an obstacle of some sort, and I'm right back to miserable, confusing square one. As I lie in bed mulling over two sides of a dreamed up argument, I feel silly. Scratch that, I feel really, really, stupid.

I mean, here I am, already making peace with the fact I will get little or no sleep tonight, due to a prolonged recovery from what shouldn't have even been known as an 'illness' and the annoying fact that whatever I do and no matter how hard j try, you are the one person I just can't seem to understand. I can't predict what you're going to say, I can't presume how you'll react, because even if I find myself doing just that, you become totally different and it blows me off course. Maybe I don't know you very well, or maybe, just maybe, deep-down I know I can, despite what people say, trust my instincts, especially in this instance. I suppose, only time, and you, will tell. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

I'll show you the door.


I tend to be a creature of habit, for my sins. I have a dangerously-obvious caffeine dependency and can't function without it. I'm a total stress-head and it tends to get to me. I've spent the last week feeling really ill and suffering with it, right on cue, just before I'm due back at uni. Today was my first day back and I'm exhausted already. In need of a coffee, or a vodka. Whichever someone hands me first. Second year is going to be harder than I thought. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

A step in the right direction.

Just a little note to emphasise my excitement. After a few emails, I've somehow bagged myself some freelance writing work. Unpaid, albeit, but who cares. It makes me smile, and also makes me sure that I can do anything I put my mind to, as long as I believe in myself. Big smiles guys. This really is a step in the right direction. 


Book #6: Reckless.

Its taken me months to finish this book, despite it only being 100-ish pages, so technically it's a novella. Hint: that's not a good sign. It's not like i've been stupidly busy or just concentrating on my never-ending list of course books, although I have. It was one of the first books I put on my kindle, and yet not one I was eager to finish. 

I have to admit, I'm not about to applaud Allison Brennan's efforts. Reckless, in my opinion, doesn't live up to its name. I finally read it's closing pages today and sighed with relief, rather than sadness. I can't put into words how much I didn't click with this book. A crime novel, i suppose, and yet I didn't find myself excited throughout it at all. The third person narrating style made the plot appear childish and impersonal, and the short, sharp sentences that were for tension building failed miserably. I found he basic plot like hugely exaggerated and the characters themselves seemed to lack any real personality, instead the story focused on the deemed "exciting" action. A book that received some rave reviews, yet I won't be gushing about it any time in the near (or far) future. A New York Times bestseller, by a supposedly well-recognised author, who I have to admit was a stranger to me. I haven't read that many crime novels, yet this may be my least favourite. Or perhaps I'm used to reading really shocking literature so this fell short of my sky-high expectations. 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't incredibly bored throughout this book, as it lacked the structure I longed for. With every new page or chapter, I got myself hoping for a plot twist or some sort of extenuating circumstance that would surprise readers, but no. This book didn't affect me at all, in fact, I probably wouldn't have even bothered finishing it if it wasn't for the fact is already made this list and sworn I'd complete it no matter what. Short but definitely not sweet. Sorry, Allison Brennan, but I just didn't get it. I wasn't thrilled, intrigued or hooked from the moment I started the book, nor was I drawn in gradually. A novel, I'm sorry to say, I feel like I wasted so many unnecessary hours slaving over. I'm not gonna be by the sidelines cheering this one on any time soon. Do yourselves a favour and read something else.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Book #5: Why We Broke Up.


Well well well, it's 23:23 and I have literally just finished this book. As you can probably tell, I couldn't wait to write about it. Even with every muscle in my body aching heavily and a throat that feels like it may close up at any moment, this book is all I can think about. Daniel Handler is certainly on to a winner here. 

But, I'm not smiling. I'm mulling it over, I suppose. I liked it. I didn't love it, because it's not one of those kinds of hooks, I guess. It isn't full of happiness and smiles and cheekiness and everything you may expect. Read the summary, the blurb or whatever people are calling the teaser on the back of novels these days. That will really provide you with a good insight into what this book is really like. It's deeply cynical, laugh-out-loud hilarious and very, vey uplifting. 

Minerva, or Min as we come to know our protagonist as, is just wonderful. Her dialogue never fails to shock or make me laugh, and there are certain traits of her I see in myself, as well as a few people I'm close to. Al, well he's like the partner in crime, the best friend we all want, the funny, happy, playful one we want to call at 3am and go and have coffee with and talk about old films until we can barely keep our eyes open, or at least that's what I think. Ed, hmm. This is tricky. I don't want to spoil it, but let's be honest, the title gives it away, but that isn't really the spoiler, the climax, the crescendo. That is very well hidden, so don't bother trying to guess, just read on, blinded and enjoy what you learn. Ed's character is pretty, as my old media teacher, and come to think of it, my Story module tutor would describe as a "2D character." Yes, he doesn't change as much as it appears from the outset. He has some brilliant lines but the best ones are preserved for our very own Min. 

The novel even is combined with some very handy illustrations that actually couldn't be done without, they're necessary for the story to proceed, but you'll realise it fully if you read it. I cried at this book, laughed at it, and at times, even cringed at it. One of the funniest break-up novels I've ever read, and it's even more interesting when you realise it's a young girl's perspective and it's actually written by a man. Daniel Handler's writing is undoubtedly funny, very moving and never fails to keep you hooked. Even as my eyes glossed over the last pages, I felt like I was disappearing further and further into the novel. Plus, I feel like the fourth person at the table at the end, with Al, Lauren and Min. I know her so well, from just a few hundred pages, and that, well, that takes skill. A very big applause for Daniel Handler, a wonderful book I will be suggesting all Autumn-long. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Allie: reloaded.

Allie is smiling genuinely for the first time in ages. She's surrounding herself with people who truly deserve her company and loving every minute of it. She's getting more confident every day and realising that if she doesn't start and take risks, she'll never know what the world has in store for her. She's closer to her family now, and is a suitable distance away from her friends. She has realised that sometimes, even the people who are supposed to love you the most are the ones who wield the most bitter slurs, but that's okay. In time, anyway. Allie respects herself and knows what she is worth and what she truly deserves from people, as well as from life. Her passion is stronger than ever and her determination is back in full-force. Her dreams are just on the horizon and she's going to try her best to achieve them. And finally, Allie has learned not to fight for people who are ready to walk out of her life, instead she will happily hold the door open for them as they leave. 

Let's be dramatic.

I've come to the conclusion that my writing is sparked by drama. Not the methodical act of drama, or drama in a worrying, chaotic kind of sense, but as in something dramatic. I write when I'm feeling, well, passionate. Yes, that's it. My blog is full of posts full of happy thoughts and gushing enthusiasm, as well as those on the other end of the spectrum. Those sad, tear-soaked posts. The pieces I write at 3am when I'm feeling upset or angry or distraught or just totally numb. Passion helps me write. None of these neither-here-nor-there feelings; the days that I'm "just okay" that are of no consequence, and just a week later will blur into the background and become a forgotten memory. My writing seems to, I've noticed, flares during emotional times. I write to illustrate my life, document an event or just to simply get a thought off my chest. My happiest pieces are usually written when I'm wearing my best smile, while my negative, upset pieces are composed when I'm wearing a deep frown and even maybe shedding the occasional bitter tear. It's took me a while to realise, but I'm just not one of these people who can write something brilliant on cue. (That's probably not a good thing to admit when I'm studying a creative writing degree, but y'know!) I feel like because I tell people "I want to write" they immediately think I should be able to whack out a bestseller in my lunch hour or during the adverts of Jeremy Kyle, but quite the opposite. It takes time, inspiration and patience (something my mam keeps telling me I need more of, and yes she's very right.) So, my ever-increasing dramatic life may actually give me some content for my "novel" but whether my personal life thrives or fails, well, it remains to be seen. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Bitter timing.

It's barely ten degrees out, I'm wearing two pairs of socks and a stolen hoody that is three sizes too big. Sitting cross-legged on my bed, I stare out of my bedroom window wondering when everything changed. The sky is a murky sort-of grey, miserable-looking even. It's, for want of a better word, cold. Summer 2013 seems to be nothing more than a distant memory and its not even mid-September yet! With cans of Diet Coke and sheer, unadulterated desire to fuel my writing. 

Wednesdays are such glum, confusing days. A break that devides the two "first" days of the week from the others that are merely a countdown to the weekend. But today, it's different. It's as if there's someone up there altering the weather, as if its obvious. [Today is September 11th. You all know what significance that has, I won't insult anyone with a lengthy explanation. I'll just say this; thousands of people lost their lives 12 years ago to the day, innocent people who were only doing their jobs. May they rest in peace, and never be forgotten.] The bitterness is still there, the frostiness just around the corner, a tell-tale sign that winter is approaching. 

Usually, I'd have plans for the weekend right now. As of yet, at *checks watch* 
16:21, I have none. Zilch. This must change as a matter of urgency. Just saying. Weekends are meant to be fun-filled, or in my case, alcohol-filled.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

the big 100.


I say to myself with a grin the size of China sprawled so effortlessly across my face. This, believe it or not, is my 100th blog post. A sign of my hard work, a signal of my determination, proof that, in fact, I can do anything I set my mind to. I'm big on achieving. I don't mean in the literal, 'here's-your-certificate' kind of thing, but the feeling of achieving something. There's nothing else like it. A sense of pride. Accomplishment. Knowing that hard work does pay off, and luck hasn't really got much, if anything, to do with it. It took me many attempts before I actually started up a blog successfully, but when I did it, I finally found that it was everything I wanted it to be, as well as so much more. It's a gateway to other writers, a place to share my inner-most thoughts and feelings without being judged, chastised or shot a hasty glance. It's a place to let off steam, or express my creativity, or just have a little bit of a laugh. To write a memoir, a list or a play. Anything I can think of. Well, it took me just shy of six months, but here it is. The big 100. The centenary of my writing, as it were. The milestone worth celebrating, getting out of my seat and shouting about. The number I never thought I'd get to. Countless hours, many, many late nights, various different ways of writing down my initial thoughts, but the ones that made it here, are truly, the ones that count.

I've been through an awful lot over the last six months, while writing this blog. As you read it from 7th March onwards, you can almost sense it. You can tell if I'm feeling high, or feeling low, or just feeling everything under the sun. My good days, my bad days, and the days I just wanted to forget, bury deep into the corners of my mind and wish with all my might that they never happened, are all documented here. Love, loss and laughter. My darkest times are reflected in some of my most bitter creative pieces, and my happiest times required me to write gushingly over and over and over again until the smile on my face cause my jaw to ache. 

Looking through the last six months in text messages, photographs, tweets, posts and Facebook statuses, I realise how much has happened. I started blogging in March, which saw my cousin Sophie celebrate her 16th birthday and me get some of my first uni results. April saw a lot of loss and heartbreak in my life, and a lot of others I know. It was a hard month. May was busy. It saw me prep, cram and stress before completing my first ever (eek!) uni exams, then celebrate like crazy when my little sister turned the big, legal 1-8. We certainly partied hard, and that's when my crazy weekends truly began. Also, late May bank holiday we added a new addition to our family, a shih-tsu/bichon frise puppy cross, Heidi. June saw happy, sunny days arrive out in full force and more alcohol was flowing than ever. Bad decisions were blamed on vodka and upset, and put down to experience. Two of my cousins celebrated their proms and I began to feel old. July was anticipated for a while, as it signalled something me and my two best friends were eagerly awaiting, a week in Ibiza. A wonderful, hilarious, drunk week was had by all. Note: I discovered absinthe and began a tumultuous love affair with sambuca. Returning from Ibiza saw the flow of alcohol return with more vigour and liveliness than ever before. My friendship group widened, my drinking partners doubled and my drinks trebled. My shopping habits got out of hand. My decisions got worse instead of better, but  all with good intentions. My (love) life [I just laughed at this] well, I best not comment. It's definitely an eyebrow-raiser. So, August has been waved goodbye to, sadly, fondly, and rainy, disgusting September is making its way unwelcomingly into my life (and everyone else's.) One hundred posts, six months, 180-ish days, lots of bad singing, too much binge-drinking, like, 12 birthday celebrations, hundreds of nail varnish applications, too many "fuck"s screamed,  hundreds of shots, 500+ photos, 20-something ASOS orders. Lots of smiles, too many tears but all-in-all, a wonderful half a year. 

Of course, there are things I would change, looking back, but mostly, I'm happy with what the last six months has had to offer. Despite the rain pouring down like there's no tomorrow, I'm smiling. Now to make sure the next six months are as good, if not better, than the last. Only time, and blog post #200 will tell. 


September sunshine.

Yes, we're all staring at that big yellow thing in the sky with a mixture of delight and disbelief. It's four days into what is usually known as an autumnal month, and yet, the sun is burning hotter and shining brighter than ever. Much to my amazement and happiness, I admit, as the prospect of winter coming has made me prematurely miserable for weeks. I hate it. The cold, dark, rainy nights, the need for a coat, and gloves, and even sometimes wellies. The freezing mornings that make you want to stay in bed for all eternity. The impractically-chunky-knit jumpers. Leaving the house looking half-normal, and getting to your destination looking like a horror movie extra with an under-achieving make-up artist. The need for copious hot drinks and the longing for soups, and hot dinners. The need for slippers, and dressing gowns and a thick duvet, not a summer-weight one we've all grown so accustomed to as of late. Waking up to a ground covered in white dust, and wishing you were a burrowing animal, just so you had an excuse to hibernate throughout the long, cold, winter months.

Usually, I'm hating on September. A lonely, darkened, moody month. A month of Fresh Starts, except this year, it's not. Well, not for me, anyway. Every year, I've greeted September with a mixture of anticipation and dread. The knowing. The foresight of school days, new beginnings, or even that big one, University. However, this year, that dreaded sense of misery has vanished, to my utmost pleasure. As I am ready to start my second year at Uni, I feel somewhat prepared. I have made my way, reluctantly, through many of the texts on my reading list for Semester 1, I've made plans with friends for birthday celebrations in the coming weeks, and I'm even missing the bustling campus vibe. The city streets, the sea of people carrying overly-huge textbooks like me. The student daze. I'm thriving on it right now. Relaxed, yet stressful. Peaceful, yet loud. I'm happier now, than I have been for a while, every time this time of year comes around. My worries are being thrust under the nearest rug, because, frankly, I'm not ready to give up my summer smile yet, even if the big yellow ball in the sky does a fateful disappearing act on me. This time, I'm ready.

Nostalgia is a dirty word.

I've done it again. Got all nostalgic. Caught myself looking through old snaps, and that strange mix of happiness and sadness crept up on me. And that stench drifting in, what was it? Regret. Denial. Horror. A mixture of all three. Those days. Years ago. The happier times. Or at least seemingly so. I seemed to worry less back then, I seemed to smile more, I seemed to be happier, more carefree. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm miserable now, or unhappy with where my life is at at the moment. It's just, every so often, that little bittersweet feeling of nostalgia kicks in, and gets me to reminiscing of simpler times. My "younger and more vulnerable years" as described by Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, were, to me, strangely some of my most daring and carefree. I guess it has something to do with age. 

At merely 14, the weight on my shoulders was less, light, easy to carry. I had less baggage, less experience of the world, less responsibility. I was naive, and thankful to be. The pressure was practically nonexistent. School was just somewhere to go to socialise with friends, the real work was yet to come. The real life was just around the corner. Experience of the big, bad world would be sooner than we expected. In the blink of an eye, we grew up. We aged overnight. Everything got serious, straight-laced, important. Those mid-term tests became exams, those spats with friends turned to unsettled feuds, those little jobs turned into big responsibilities. So, why now is everything different? As my teenage years are drawing rapidly to a close, (excuse me while I try not to dwell on this) why is it that I'm edgier than ever? 

The older we get, the more baggage we carry, and ultimately, the less willing we are to take risks. Why? Well I think I've figured it out. The older we are, the more we have to lose. At 19, I'm all too aware of what the big, bad world has in store, and sometimes, I'm not willing to take that risk, because there's just too much to stake. Even though I'm only young, there are certain things I'll hold on to tighter than ever, and not let go. It's also harder to say how you feel. Rejection, judgement and a thousand and one other factors come into play when you're in your latter teenage years. Those soul-destroying, stomach-plummeting moments we've experienced before, well, understandably we're reluctant to put ourselves in similar situations just in case the outcome matches up.

So, nostalgia really is a dirty word. It makes you bitter and confused and yet, at the same time, makes me want to get back to those days, those feelings of freedom. Throwing caution to the wind and risking everything you've got for something you want/need. Maybe it's time I did just that. For once, not concentrate on what's at stake, but what I've got to gain. Maybe if I play my cards right, it'll work out better than ever.