surviving

Week one of exams fini.
The past 3 weeks have been, admittedly, close to some of the worst. But I know its not just me, my friends have cried and broken with the relentless nature of exams. It's involved so many tears, panic, phone calls, cries for help and required a whole new way of looking at myself and capabilities.
Today, I am exhausted beyond the point of function, my eyes fuzzy and my head clouded. I know I need to open my Othello text and stick my head in notes of the collapse of the GDR but not today.
This past week has been an exercise of self-care, so here are some tips on getting through the impossible.

Comfort: in your clothes, your surroundings, your food. Some things that helped me include reading Harry Potter, wearing old sweatshirts, dried pineapple and walks with dear friends.
Escape: my dear mum has driven me out the beach in pouring rain on numerous occasions this past week as 'long views' are supposed to add perspective and the openness allows me to escape the panic.
Tears: in exams, with friends, in the library, in hugs, in bed, in the bath. We've all decided tears drain the emotion and provide a sedated fatigue.
Help: asking for anything you need. For me this has been different seats in exams, trips to the doctors and constant emails and reassurance.
Sleep: aided by lavender scents and warm baths, it adds a little perspective.
Distraction: for me it has been planning my 18th in Budapest (!) and the political MADNESS that is unfolding in the UK.
Care: towards yourself and others. I feel everyone has been so nice towards each other recently (I probs could have played a greater role in this lol) but just kind texts and kind words and kind reassurance.
Perspective: as I cried on the phone to my mum in the school yard (yes I was such a MESS), epiphanic perspective dawned. They don't matter, I can resit, they aren't a true reflection, my health is so much more important. Whatever it is, remind yourself of the rationality.

But out of the ashes, some good things have emerged. The kindness addressed above, the recognition of the voice of the youth that WILL NOT BE SILENCED and the realisation that I need to look after myself.
I hope you are all coping a lil better than me (lol)

oo in lieu with 'self care' this was my pre-exam bath. SO EXTRA but gr8 nonetheless.



i may have been an idiot all this time

Les Examens.
I don't have much to say as all the fear and existential crises and stress and tiredness is both expected and integral.
(It shouldn't be integral but it feels like a fundamental part of me)
Plus, we are all in the same boat.

But as well as the above, I turned to Rupi Kaur for some wisdom.
Remember this, kids.

most importantly love
like its the only thing you know how
at the end of the day all this
means nothing
this page
where you're sitting
your degree
your job
the money
nothing even matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
and how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave them

And while I know I will be filled with an abyss of self-loathe when I am mind-blank in exams or open my envelope on the 17th of August and the tears and pain will be wasted, I will still be alive.
I will still be breathing and have my identity, my laugh, my mind, my cat.
And you will too.

Bonne chance, friends–I'm off to have an existential crisis about university courses which is 110% irrational because its not happening for 16 months.

Some happy things

It's late and I have a busy day tomorrow but I need to get words on paper.
I've been thinking a lot about existence and future and the unknown, much of it overwhelming my hormonal brain as I battle through revision-loaded days that leave me exhausted. Below I will explode some thoughts and emotions so they can be easily ignored as I feel they consume too much of these posts.

pic credz here 

As I type, Bon Iver 'For Emma, For Ever Ago' plays, which I think is my favourite album ever. It breaks me and immerses me in the past***

Here's some things I am looking forward to/that make me happy:

- eating nectarines on warm June mornings
- exploring new cities
- having more time to read for pleasure
- learning
- my cat
- finding more about myself when I don't have the excuse of 'a-levels'
- dappling golden light on the blue above my bed
- building my jewellery collection
- the newest additions to my succulent collection
- redecorating my room
- living in Paris (one day)
- days spent in the garden
- re-learning French
- ASOS deliveries (even if they do fuck up leaving me with 50p in my account)

What are you looking forward to?

********ignore this lol********

I don't feel much at the moment, I haven't for a while. This year has disappeared but little significant has happened, I don't know who I am and can't categorise this year with memories or moments or topic (this year meaning academic because my whole world seems to exist in academia). I feel I can't remember anything about myself, I can't define myself, push myself because I don't know myself. It feels sort of terrifying and sort of emptying. I feel my year has melted with blinkers, I can't define it by anything-its just become a forgetful normality.
Fear is there. Does it ever leave?
But who am I? Where do I exist? Am I going to disappear? Do I live beyond stress?
Who am I going to be when I can't pour every ounce into shitty education that has lost every part of my identity?
I am lost, so lost. But through sadistic punishment I drive harder knowing it will never be enough.

***This album makes me think of fear of exams and spring light and the comfort of school and my teachers and the library and the exhilarative anxiety I felt towards exams, without the fear of 'next year'.
But this year, I feel nothing. Exams don't generate the same emotions, I feel scared but really I just feel like I am disappearing. I invest everything into surviving this year that 'me' beyond it feels non-existent.

Grey

Its a grey kind of day. The budding trees are standing against a backdrop of nothingness and only the bursting pink blossom breaks their monotony.
It feels kind of grey in my head too. Revision is getting me down, as are empty days (that aren't empty because I have little time other than to revise and procrastinate) and I feel in a thoughtless rut. 
I want to treat myself but I've spent all my money on birthday presents, interrail accommodation and clubbing, purchases that seem to define my age. 
Since we last spoke, little has happened. 
I handed in my history coursework which I was, in actual fact, very proud of. Hours of tears and stresses had gone into that 4000 word essay which, in mid-November as I panicked to my teacher, I never thought I would complete. 
We broke up for Easter which was anti-climatic as it just meant 2 weeks of revision and stunned me back into that "fuck its nearly all over" mentality that consumes. 
I returned to my favourite place, for a week that caused more stress than usual. It was all pretty detached, I spent much of it at my makeshift desk revising or on the beach reading, but not really feeling 'there'. It was beautiful however and did something to cleanse my soul. I have included a selection of pics, that probably replicate the ones from last year, and the year before.












This did feel an idyllic place to write about Socialist realism, something to make revision a little more bearable.



And above is where I have been spending my days, probably in pyjamas, surrounded by cold, un-touched cups of tea.

Today is Thursday. The penultimate day of my easter hols. I feel stressed and uptight, I don't want to revise but there is little else to do to pass the time. This is a common side affect of revision for me-I forget what I do for enjoyment. I will pass these next two days at my desk, taking quick walks in the park, crying, watching movies and in a bubble of fuzziness.
Monday will roll around and the days will melt away with an unfathomable speed.

***

If anyone has any tips on how to revise Shakespeare please tell me. I'm 110% struggling with Othello but am avoiding it because avoidance provides short term comfort.


p.s should probably mention this 'snap' election (that was promised would take place n 2020?!) to which I exclaimed "what the fuck" as I walked to the library. I can't vote because I don't turn 18 until 9th July (1 month and 1 day) which really pisses me off but use your votes wisely people.

Life stuff

pic credz

What I've been doing
Hours in the library, tears, mocks (more tears), coursework deadlines, mini egg consuming, not much else. A bitta' clubbing which 110% wasn't a good idea because I'd spent all week in school until way too late with exams and revision and was exhausted. But I needed something to break up the monotony. Life is a tide of similarity. In a punitive way, I enjoy the stress, focus because it means I can ignore problems that probably need addressing (such as why I can't deal with not having structure and focus and stress). But I've also cried a lot and said "I can't" more times than felt possible. I've signed off my Eng. coursework, which I'm proud of because it was all from my head and it was mine.
I've also been hiding from the imminent fear of "next year". Its irrational but consumes me, plagues me.
This weekend has been beautiful weather, we had our first lunch in the garden and my soul has enjoyed soaking up the sun. I've also been enjoying work quite a bit lately, the enthusiasm of the kids as they learn to say "kitten" fills me with the joys of learning.

What I've been reading/watching
Reading: Exposure, Helen Dunmore
It's been slow but last Sunday I had to wait in the car for an hour and, while the sun was blazing in, I had a glorious epoch of peace, thoroughly enjoying the written word in the moment of quiet.
I've, of course, been re-reading my English texts. They are 90% crap (Dorian Gray: aesthetic hedonism, The Little Stranger: slow and dull) and I need to embark on Othello but I am a little scared of the language.
Watching: Not much, shitty YouTube videos because materialistic hauls are my absolute guilty pleasure (I hate them but can totally switch off to their repetitive privilege). After months of hunting, my friend and I watched 'Edge of 17'. We were excited because it would supposedly reflect us. It didn't really, it was a bit strange but quite an enjoyable watch. This weekend I am planning on watching Moonlight but that plan will probably disappear with the deadlines and procrastination.

What I've been listening to
It has mostly been my 'revision' playlist, on repeat-which is all just Penguin Cafe Orchestra/Chopin, pretentious I know, but something has to drown out the noise of the library.

What I want
Change but not change.
Adventure, new places.
To not have a year of emptiness, to be feeling the excitement of going to university that everyone around me is feeling**.
To see more of the day, instead of my desk, the library, the classroom.
New penpals, if anyone wants to send letters on an intermittent basis, hmu***

What I've been anticipating
Easter, because there are numerous parties, I am returning to my favourite place and its always blessed with rejuvenating sun.
Sleep, because not enough of that has been happening recently.

This idea was stolen from Lexie who stole it from someone else. Steal it too if ya want.

** I know I've made the decision, therefore can't complain, but regretz
***not because my current penpals aren't 10/10

Changing times

**this is heavily opinionated lol**
An irrelevant picture but maybe some calmness?

This week, the Lords passed through the Brexit bill, article 50 will be signed in 14 days (apparently but does anyone really have a fucking plan?) and that begins the process that should take 2 years.
But this was never supposed to happen, never expected to happen so it's all just guess work.
But I have come to the realisation that the world of my future will be no correlation to the one I grew up in.
The freedom of passing borders with no control, free trade, close companionship with those just across the channel, it feels like it may have all disintegrated by the end of my adolescence.
A union that essentially began as a peace treaty after the atrocities we all witnessed in the 20th century and one of the fundamental building blocks is mindlessly pulling out. I know this isn't new news but its resurfaced in my peripheral since the rise of Scottish nationalism (independence?). Hell, by the time I am 25, we may not even be a United Kingdom of 4 nations, just divided England floating alone.
It's kind of difficult to comprehend that something that has been so fundamental in my youth may have changed. Even reminiscing to 12 months ago, the politics are unrecognisable. It feels like we are truly entering the Brave New World.
I'm scared that I'll never have the opportunity to explore Europe with the freedom I currently take for granted and that I'll never fulfil my dream of living abroad, escaping this confining British identity***. And there's such uncertainty, no one expected this to happen, the referendum came about as a result of a throw-away election promise and it ended up with this. The leaders have abandoned ship and we are headlessly sinking.

These are just thoughts in this politically charged climate.
I am also furious about education, arbitrary cuts (meaning Secondary schools could lose up to 6 teachers) and being in a failing comprehensive, the heart of the education system, this would be an absolute bloody disaster. My friends and I repeatedly say they are making changes to education without consulting those who are actually experiencing it. Surely us, as 17-18 year olds know what works and what doesn't, have relevant experience that may actually do some good.
Finally, George Osbourne. And his £650,000 salary for 1 day of work a week. Along with numerous other jobs. And being a back-bench MP (supposedly a full time job). Since writing this, Osborne has been made editor of the London Standard. A full-time job (for which he has no experience) but doesn't he have the privilege of representing the people in parliament? Isn't that a full-time job?
If our country is run by greedy, disillusioned men (not actually true but I'm not much of a fan of Theresa the Appeaser either) what hope do we have?
I'm terrified about the state of this world but also kind of sadistically intrigued to see how it will all pan out.

*** i know these are minor problems lol

Some nourishment

This week is going down with the shittest. School thought it was a good idea to do another round of mocks but after school this time. So after a day of stress, revision and lessons, we have a 2.5 hour exam. And then coursework deadlines (x2), the geography coursework booklet coming in and revision for actual exams that actually matter.
I'm so unbelievably tired and lost and its only day 1.
SO here are some things getting me through.


1. Twirls/Wispas/any chocolate (in copious amounts)
2. Wearing no makeup
3. Letters from lovely people
4. Songs: Santa Monica Dream, Angus and Julia Stone//Southern Jukebox Music, Penguin Cafe Orchestra//Bon Iver, Lump Sum
5. Guilty Feminist, Stereotypes episode
6. The unbelievably cute and enthusiastic kids at work (not the ones that fall asleep)
7. Anything that Noor Unnahar writes (I'd recommend her instagram)
8. This post from Messy Heads (which is becoming my bible, I wish it didn't cost the same price to ship it to the UK as it does to buy the actually mag)
9. And this post 
10. Wanderlust about travelling around my beloved continent 
11. Exposure by Helen Dunmore (I adore spy/historical books and this is that, its a nice break in the 10 mins before I fall asleep at night)

There is so much political anger in me, all the sentiments of June 23rd are coming back. But for now, enjoy the above. 



March musing




It was so bright and fresh this morning and, as I walked to school with 'Guilty Feminist' playing in my ears my chest felt light with excitement and hope. The beginnings of spring warmth were soaking through my skin and my mood was just so happy.
It was quickly dampened by a shitty lesson of Romantic Poetry, however.
I've been feeling unprecedented self-acceptance recently and wore an outfit I felt kinda killer in.
Both the skirt and jumper are recent purchases from Topshop which plays on my ethical conscience but in the hierarchy of factors my turbulent mind could deal with, something had to slip.
After a euphoric half-term that felt, frankly, like another world, the return to school has been passable. Its stressful and exhausting but also comfortable and enjoyable. There's the usual gossip and I see my friends without having to organise a group outing. I'm desperate to escape to uni in September but am committing to my Gap Year with the intention to build on self-discovery and earn some dolla so I can live on more than just beans. I'm worried I won't have the drive to study that I do now but understand that if that's the case, then HE isn't for me. And that's okay.
Coursework deadlines are looming and the exam countdown has begun, the end is looming fearfully near.
My mind feels foggy with the fatigue that has become synonymous with school but I'm hoping a bath and sleep will provide a temporary cure.

I hope you're all having good weeks, what's an outfit you feel ace in?
Instagram

Lost



I need to write to free myself but my mind won't flow and my fingers won't work. To receive self-validation I need to create and think and inspire but its not happening.
I have so many thoughts but can't tussle with their transient threads.
I can't think of words or topics or opinion.
I feel trapped and the only vice to escape this entrapment is the one I am trapped from.
How do I get out this funk?

The Go-Between


I think this is my favourite book. Ever.
But then I think about Kent Haruf and his Plainsong Triology and then my mind wanders to the ever cliched Great Gatsby and wonder if maybe they are actually my favourite books.
But, either way, this one is a piece of literary magic.
I have studied it for my English coursework and still, when my mind glides over the epilogue, I shiver and tears form in my eyes.
I don't know what it is.
Maybe the utter fragility and vulnerability of innocence that is manipulated in the most deceitful way.
Maybe the sensuousness of the language; the metaphors, the imagery, the symbols. Its rich and abundant but still raw with the pain of realisation.
It is defined by the exploration of sexuality, identity and gender within the confines of Victorian mortality but presents destruction of self in the most tender manner.
Its warm and luxurious, being set in the heatwave of 1900, but so heartfelt.
It is a text, unlike any other I've studied, that gets better with analysis. The exploration and confusion is so much more apparent and Hartley's true skill portrays.
I remember reading this book in the beating sun of 2016, in the month it was set and it gave it all the vibrancy and life it deserves.
But every time I open the epilogue and I read "during my breakdown I was like a train going through a series of tunnels, sometimes in the daylight; sometimes in the dark, sometimes knowing who and where I was, sometimes not knowing" my heart aches for Leo's youth and destroyed innocence.

This book is remembered only by its opening line:
"the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."
but its so much more .
Its raw and its pure and its corrupt and its innocent and its damaged and it feels like its Hartley's mind, life and in someways survival poured into 300 pages of perfection.


Self-worth

Learning to love yourself at times when it feels like the last thing on earth.
Words to quieten the storm of chaos.


"I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I want to be and where I am to inspire me and not terrify me"

"On days like this my whole existence felt like the crumpled paper that missed its shot of being targeted into the trash can and survived. It also felt like the words crossed with black ink, that were cruelly rejected by the hand that wrote them. On days like this, my existence questioned the existence of my existence. On days like this, I had no answers"

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your being"

"The option is mine, in every moment, to choose peace over panic"

"What we don't need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human"

"Life is tricky baby. Stay in your magic"

"My whole life I've been telling myself "don't be afraid".
And its only now that I am realising how stupid that is. Don't be afraid. Like saying "don't move out of the way when someone tries to punch you" or "don't flinch at the heat of a fire"  or "don't blink". Don't be human.
I'm afraid and your afraid and we're all always going to be afraid, because that's the point.
What I should be telling myself is "be afraid but do it anyway."
Live anyway"

Learning to love yourself feels impossible, sometimes I wonder whether it is.
But I will embark on the journey because I currently feel on the cliff of an existential crisis. And some self-love would really help right now.
My narcissism makes me want to vomit, every time I write 'I' in a post it makes my stomach crawl.
But again, maybe thats part of learning to love oneself-allowing attention, time and value.
And as reassurance (to myself) its a whole lot harder than it seems imprinted in beautiful lyrics. Staying in your magic and not being terrified and living in peace. But we can do it.

***
everything is from pinterest and I am actually fine just being melodramatic about life (I think)

life stuff

Apologies that all these posts are just boring documentations of my more boring life-I wanna do a journal update but I need energy and I ain't got much of that.

Life.


 Here's a brain storm.
The most dominating feature of this has been the future. I am suppressing the thoughts because I am terrified and don't exist in any future and don't want to leave security or grow up or be an adult. I am regretting not applying to uni but then again know I wouldn't be able to cope if I went in September. This thought has been strategically buried this past week and I hope to leave it there.


Trump and History.

Everything he has done, and we are on day 8, I cry in fear. The progress and movement and empowerment, lost in a patriarchal signature. I maybe have some hope, the people are strong and have a voice, but from my desk in the middle of the UK, I feel helpless. The most repulsively ironic aspect of this sickening thing is the signing of his Immigration ban on HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY. The day in which we remember the 6 (12) million who were systematically murdered for their religion (race, ability, sexuality...) and, with the flick of his grotesque pen, he is moving a step closer. And Theresa May, you weak, Trump-loving appeaser. Remember, you are 100% un-elected. I am disgusted to have you leading our country and 'speaking' our 'British values'.
#TheresatheAppeaser is trending on Twitter and its terrifyingly accurate and is foreshadowing a much darker future. Just remember what weak old Nev did with his piece of paper.

History wise, it has encouraged the epiphany of History. That sounds revolutionary, its not. I just worked out part of why I love it so much. Its the certainty. I know that Germany spent the first half of the 20th century (or more) in total turmoil but that it is now the most powerful country in Europe. It would have felt never ending in the repression of the Nazi period or the chaos of the division but its just a timeline now, a story that I know the end of. But this, Brexit and Trump and the climate, its now. I don't know how it will end. I think that's why I like it.

Dancing.
I spent 7 hours dancing this weekend. (which is actually a lie bc I wrote this last weekend. Instead dancing until 4am, I ate dough balls and watched Angus, thongs and perfect snogging with ma pals, reliving the 2008 mems). In heels, until 4am. It is, by far, the most enjoyable exercise. The weekend was passed in taxis, on the dance floor, with friends, in bars and next to speakers that left my ears ringing for 3 days. It was captured in pictures in bathroom mirrors, the constant headache and bruises invading my chin, shins and feet (from dancing in a compact room, not a fight lol). I lost my inhibitions, did no school work, got 3 hours sleep and am proud of the release.


Its a slow Sunday morning, my room is a tip, I've got mountains of coursework to battle through. I am thinking too much about the future, not just my gap year but when I am old, old. It is pointless because what is it going to achieve? I am hoping next year to do some writing, maybe make a zine, or write for one at least. I am terrified of the apparent emptiness and lack-of-focus but it'll be okay when it happens.

***

11/01/17


The tears are relentless.
"I am at the end of the world"
And I know when I wake tomorrow, it won't feel that way,
but now I am trapped.
In failure.
In fear.
In discomfort.
In expectation.
In disappointment.
I am not invincible.

***

There are good things. I got a cat and she sits by my feet and watches me work and it breaks my heart. I bought the season's first of mini eggs today and I've been loving the new series of Sherlock.
I am simply exhausted, through fear and exams.
I hope it feels better tomorrow.

Grounding

To break through the overwhelming and saddening reflections on the whirlwind of this past year, here is a grounding excerpt to remind of our blessing.



"Although by most measures this has been a terrible year,
it is a terrible year in a spectacular world.
For us to be here, together, now,
it is a privilege"

I have been repeating it to myself as a mantra. Its origin is unknown but it rationalises the reflections.
To two thousand and seventeen.