Saturday, 29 November 2014

Home: Just a concept?

Whenever I feel a flash of inspiration and I'm away from my laptop or notebook, I jot my ideas down in the 'Notes' section on my phone. I'm sure this isn't a surprising concept; many people do it. 
I found this note I'd left myself among the list of disjointed ramblings and thought I'd share it. So, here you have some thoughts conjured up many miles away from 'home'. 


As I type this, I'm sat on a plane 39,000 feet in the air on my way to Morocco to complete my charity expedition and (hopefully) summit Mount Toubkal. And as this metal tube hurtles it's way through the air at 499mph, I've been thinking a lot about the concept of home.

For a lot of people, the word 'home' conjures up images of parents, family, a childhood setting, maybe Christmas or other similar occasions. Family; security; safety. For others, it may mean a city, town, village; simply the place in which they're from. Somewhere they can ground themselves; a pivot from which they can resonate.

But for me, I'm unsure what home means. Sure, my first instinct would be to describe my mother's house; the place where I grew up. Or Coventry, as that's where I was born and where I've always lived. However, in the past year, I've lived in a number of houses in the same city, with a range of different people and they've all strangely felt at some point like 'home' to me. I don't know whether this just makes me an adaptable person, or whether I'm just a little lost.

So, I guess, what I would have to say is that for me, home can't be based solely on location or memories. It's a feeling, a concept. My home is wherever I feel most content; a place I can relax; a place filled with laughter, song, and most importantly, a place where I can be inspired. It can stay constant, or it can change without me even realising. 
I also feel a if a person can have more than one home. To me, the family home will always be my 'home', but it won't be the only home I have. And that's okay. 

I guess I'm lucky to have found more than one place where I can feel comfortable, and as long as I have that place to escape to when things get tough, everything will be okay one way or another.  

A
xxxx

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Space just for Me

I've always been a creative person; my mind often wandering off into a world of it's own. A world of hope, magic and wonder. A world where anything is possible; any dream is manageable. And so, it's hard for me when the reality in which we're placed is in such harsh contrast. 

Sometimes I'll catch myself daydreaming of a world so similar yet so different. An imaginary oxymoron. Another space completely, where everything resembles the ordinary, yet can't be matched up. 
At times, the changes between the two worlds will be loud and bright, like a flash of lightning on a stormy evening. I'll be whisked away to another location completely, or I may not look the same as I do now.

Yet at others, the difference will be so minute, so subtle, that I'll catch my breath wondering if maybe, just maybe this is real.
You'd look at me and smile that dreaded, beautiful smile that shatters my heart into a thousand pieces whilst simultaneously fixing it back together again. There'd be definite eye contact; I wouldn't be afraid to hold it for fear of you seeing deep into my soul. And you wouldn't be afraid either. 
We'd share something; a spark, a moment, a feeling. It would be real and concrete, not hypothesised and unrealistic.

Things are the same, yet different in this little space of mine. And at the moment, I'm not sure which one I prefer.


A
xxxx  

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Dear Autumn,

You're a challenging one aren't you?

Along with your vibrant influx of colour, you bring winds of change.

Of challenge.
Of slight discomfort.

Yet, you've always been my favourite. Despite the struggles nestling just underneath the surface, you bring with you something so special.


A rusty hopefulness.


The chance of something new; a fresh start, a new beginning.

As the leaves flutter down from the branches, their job for the year complete, I imagine brushing away my worries just as simply.
But, it's not that easy is it?

Unlike your relentlessly happy sibling Summer, it's easier to feel alone when you're around, Autumn. Troubles and worries creep up on me in the early evening dusk. As the nights draw in quicker than before, I find myself contemplating a lot.

It becomes far too easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of negative thoughts. Like the leaves whistling, weaving and winding their way through the wind, my mind takes over and anxiety kicks in.

But, that's okay. I can manage with the worries; they teach me new things about myself and they remind me that I care. For months during Summer, everything is lightweight, free, fun and easy. Autumn arrives and we're thrust back in to the realms of the real world, as suddenly as we're jolted out into the cold. 

But, you're not a burden to me Autumn. Far from that. Instead, you teach me to embrace the changing landscape. By testing and challenging me in more ways than one, you remind me that the best memories come from not running and hiding from that which scares me. 

Autumn; you're a time for snuggling, for curling up in the warmth with a mug of tea as big as my face. 

For laughter, for music concerts, for new books, new friends, new moments to treasure. 

A time for reflection, for realising that everything is going to be alright one way or another. 

For remembering who and what means the most to me, and clinging onto them as we head towards the magic that is Winter.

You may not be as warm and inviting as Summer, but my gosh Autumn, you sure have my heart.


A
xxxx


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Late Summer Evenings.

Late summer evenings are one of my favourite things. I can never get enough of the way they make me feel. There's something rather magical about the way the setting sun makes everything have a gloriously golden shine.

When it's that perfect temperature that requires you to need a chunky cardigan over your pretty dress and sandals.

When you walk past people in the street and they're smiling to themselves as for this small fraction of the year, they can leave their jobs  without being surrounded by drizzly darkness.

When it stays light until late, making every dreamed adventure seem possible.

There's something hopeful about summer evenings. The best things always seem to happen then. When everything is calmer, quieter; yet nature is louder, screaming out at us, 'Hey, look at me! I'm pretty darn great, you know.'

Why, yes nature. You are.

It's easier to fall in love in the summer. Everything shimmers with hints of everlasting hope. Laughter becomes a repeated track in everyone's playlist.

Company is welcomed; it feels easier than ever before. Parties are had, problems are forgotten and our worn-out stories of the future are created.

As the wildlife settles down for the night, and the breeze sends a shiver down my spine, I look around and feel grateful. Thankful for the promise this weather can bring; thankful for the people I've been able to share it with; thankful for the memories that'll never cease to exist after the summer heat turns to snow.

The promise of Autumn is high in the air, and I find myself wishing for all the wonderment to continue through to there.

A
xxxx

Sunday, 13 July 2014

'The Now'.

In the past few weeks I've spent less time on YouTube than I have previously due to being too busy to sit down and catch up on the creators I follow most. However, whilst struggling to get off to sleep the other night, I thought I'd peruse my subscription box. In doing so, I came across the latest video from Will Darbyshire, a relatively new YouTuber entitled, 'The Now' and it really hit home.

In the video, Will discusses the idea of living in the 'now' as when it really comes down to it, that's all we actually have. As he says, the past is just a collection of previous presents; the future is an infinite number of 'nows' that we are yet to experience.
What Will then goes on to explore is the dilemmas we can all face in choosing how we experience our 'now'. A lot of us, myself included, struggle with thoughts of what we're going to do in the future and how we're going to get there. And this can sometimes mean that we miss out on the beauty that simply is, now. 

The choice between following our hearts or our minds; the predicament of opting whether to be rational and make decisions based on our futures or whether to act spontaneously in the spur of the moment isn't an easy one. Will talks about how he has recently started living each day for what it is, and one of the points that struck a chord with me most was, 'if something makes sense to you and nobody else, I think you should just go and do it'. In the last few months, many of the decisions I have made haven't really made any sense to anyone else, but I've still done them. I've begun to start thinking about what makes me happy right now, and learning to embrace that rather than constantly making decisions that are only going to change my future, not my present. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going completely off the rails and spiraling into a psychotic 'YOLO' stage, I'm simply doing more of what makes me happy. 
And I believe that this can only be a positive thing. Not just for my present 'now's' but also for my future ones. By experiencing more now, and making the most of each day as it is, I can feel myself moulding and blending into a better, happier person. This may mean that the aims for my future 'now's' shift slightly, altering their course to head towards happiness as well as practicality, but inevitably this will mean that the future me is happier than the one I had planned out before.

I think the main thing I took from Will's video this week was the knowledge that it's okay to do unexpected things, to explore pathways you never thought you would and most importantly, it's more than okay to make a decision based on your happiness over what others may deem as the best option. As long as you're content and comfortable with the decisions you're making, and you believe that they're going to have a positive affect for you one way or another in the long run, keep doing them. Even if all you end up with are some stories of your crazy youth to tell in the future, at least you can say you had a bloody good time.

We only have now. Don't live your life waiting on tomorrow, saving yourself for a time in the distant future. It may never come. Enjoy what you have now. Do more of the things that make you happy.

'We're young, we live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world; might as well have fun while we can and save the serious stuff for later.' - Summer, 500 Days of Summer. 
You can find Will's video here, as well as his channel which I would highly recommend you subscribing to.

As always, thanks for reading.




A

xxx

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Reflecting on Silence.

Well, it's been a while since I've done this! For weeks now, I've had the urge to blog, to write, to express something...anything but I just haven't known where to start.
There are many reasons for this. The most prominent being that I have just been so incredibly busy in the last few months that whenever I did get five minutes to myself, I usually ended up napping accidentally!
 The other reasons merge into one really. I'm not happy with my blog lately. Looking over the past few posts, I have come to the realisation that this is not how I want my little space of internet to be. I don't feel that it truly expresses me, or gives me the right kind of opportunities to explore everything I want to. Therefore, I have been reflecting on this, whilst attempting to find a solution. I feel a change is in order, and until I can find a new direction with which I am happy, I don't want to post anything. 
A major reason I haven't been able to solve the issue with my blog is because I don't really know who I am or where I'm going at the moment. I have a lot of figuring out to do, and until I have done at least some of that, I don't want to right half-arsed shitty posts. Because they're not fun for anyone to read!

John Green sums up the way I am feeling quite perfectly in The Fault in Our Stars - 
'My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations'.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that until I can see a brief outline of any constellation, I'm going to be silent for a little longer. Stick with me though guys, I promise it'll be worth it.

A, 
xxx

Saturday, 15 March 2014

'I know you want it'.

In light of all the YouTube sexual abuse drama that's been going on at the moment, I've been thinking about the subject a lot. And I'm angry. And disappointed. So disappointed that we are still living in a society where men believe it's okay to do what they want to women because they think 'she wants it'. The fact that role models for younger generations are being revealed as abusers is extremely worrying. It seems that nowhere is safe, but if we aren't showing people the correct way to behave, how do we expect this to change?

What if a woman doesn't 'want it'? Have you thought to ask her?
It seems that lately, there are a lot of 'no''s in response to that last question. And I'm wondering why. Why do men feel that they can treat women in such derogatory ways? Don't get me wrong, I know that it is not always women who are the victims, but they are definitely the majority. 

All too often I'll be out in a bar or club with my friends and men will quite happily squeeze or touch any part of me they wish. And when I turn around to question just what the hell they think they're doing, more often than not they have a smirk on their face. This behaviour is not right and it needs to stop. Just because I wear dresses with bare legs, or make an effort with my appearance, you do NOT have the right to touch me without my permission. Women are not play things, we are not here purely to fulfill your sexual desires, we are people. I'm pretty certain that if I were to start touching up guys as they walked by me I'd get some odd looks. So why are we surrounded by a culture that allows for this behaviour to continue? 
'It's just a bit of banter, love, chill out'. Sexual harassment is not banter. It's not funny, and it is not okay.

When you say the phrase 'sexual abuse' most people's initial thought would be of rape. But that's not all. Sexual abuse is any form of intimacy, even just a kiss, that takes place without your consent, regardless of your gender. If someone is pressuring you in any way to agree to do something you've acknowledged you're uncomfortable with, they are abusing you.

So, 'lads', when you're having a 'banterful' grope of a girl in a club that hasn't said that's okay with her, you're committing a crime. You have not been given consent to touch her. Stop. And when you manage to psychologically manipulate someone into feeling guilty enough to eventually succumb to your advances, remember that that is a crime. 

I don't think enough people realise or treat the issue seriously enough. If we did, it wouldn't be such a common occurrence. Being abused can be severely damaging. Victims often find it hard to put themselves back into the situation where the attack took place. They can feel uncomfortable in their own clothes, believing they should cover up to prevent the same from happening again. They begin to wonder whether it was their fault all along, 'Did I lead them on? I must've given off the wrong signals...my skirt was short that night'. Trust me, I know. 
But it is NOT our fault. And I cannot stress this enough. It doesn't matter what you wear, how you dance, what you choose to act like, unless you consent nobody has the right to do anything to you. Regardless of how much they think 'you want it'. 

If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, please do not blame yourself. You didn't ask to be treated this way, we're just unfortunately stuck in a really shitty time where this terrible ideology of 'lad culture' seems to be growing. 
But, if we keep speaking out about this maybe one day it'll change. 
Until then, I urge all women to remember this:
Whatever we wear,
Wherever we go,
Yes means yes
And no means no. 

Thanks for reading, guys. I'd love to hear your opinions on this topic.
A
xxxx

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

'Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.'

*DISCLAIMER: Actually will need them for where I want to go, but I love this quote.*

Hello there, little space of the Interwebs I call mine! How have we been keeping? Many apologies for my absence lately - I seem to have had all of my inspiration zapped from me. However, I am back today with a different kind of post! 
Normally, when I sit down to blog I'll have a plan in mind of what I'm going to write. My notebook will be open next to me, and I'll have a few ideas jotted down about what I want to share with you. However, tonight is different. I don't have a single subject I intend on talking about; I just fancied writing. 
So, I thought I'd give you a little update on my life, the things I've been loving and loathing and see where we end up!  Prepare for thought splurge now. (Apologies in advance - I can feel this being a rambling one.)

I've been thinking a lot about the future lately. This has stemmed mainly from last week - my normal lectures were suspended whilst we took part in 'Careers Week'. The aim was to get us all thinking about where we're headed after our degrees, and more importantly, how we plan on getting there. It's terrifying to think I've only got just over a year left of my degree, I feel as if I've just begun. 
So anyway, as some of you may know already, my aim is to be an English and Drama teacher in a Secondary school. And so, for the past week I've been seriously contemplating which universities I will be applying for later in the year. Oh, and failing miserably at the practice entry tests...it seems ALL my maths knowledge has disappeared quicker than my money in the Topshop sale. And that is speedy, trust me.

The future's a funny thing, isn't it? One minute, you're sat talking about all the dreams and ideas you have, the places and events you're planning on going to, and the next minute it seems they're right there, happening. It's a scary thought that in only two years time, I'll hopefully be finishing my PGCE with a job lined up ready to begin. A teacher in two years?! I really don't feel like an adult yet, and I certainly don't look like one!! 
Don't get me wrong though, I am so excited at the prospect of all this happening. 

I also attended a meeting today all about how to successfully pass on the Musical Theatre Society to the up-and-coming committee. Now THAT put things into perspective. How has it been almost a year since I nervously stepped up to the front of the room and put myself forward for President? The next few weeks are going to be very busy with the society; the roles for our summer musical 'Guys and Dolls' will be cast, auditions will begin, and elections will run. It's daunting to think that I'm not going to be looking after the society for much longer. I've grown so incredibly attached to it, I feel like it's partly my little baby now that I need to help nurture! However, I'm sure the next committee will be great, and I plan on helping them to find their feet way before their roles kick in. 

The future, hey?! It's looking crazily hectic, but I'm excited to enjoy the rest of this term and see what the rest of 2014 has to bring. 

I think that's about all I have to tell you today! I have a super exciting trip planned for September this year, but I'm going to dedicate a whole post or two to that, so stay tuned to find out what crazy adventure I've set myself up to do!

If you've made it this far without falling asleep, well done! You should give yourself ten points or have a doughnut or something. 
Thanks for reading!
A
xxxx

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Life Is a Cabaret, Old Chum!



Hello everyone! 
Well, it's been a while since I've been on here, nearly a whole moth to be exact! I have missed blogging.
 University has been pretty hectic as of late, mainly due to my Musical Theatre Society's production taking place. For those of you that don't already know, this year at university I have been lucky enough to be the President of our Musical Theatre Society. Each year the society performs twice: an original showcase written by the artistic team in January, and a fully scripted musical in the third term.

This year, our showcase was titled, 'The Phantom of the Musical' and saw the Phantom himself take the audience on a journey of musical delight as he strove to find his perfect leading lady. Featuring songs from Les Miserables, Cabaret, Chicago, Miss Saigon and more, the show was pretty diverse. However, our wonderful Artistic Director wrote an excellent storyline and I'm very proud to say the show was a success!
We performed for three nights to sell out crowds and everybody had a great time. Here are a few snaps of some of my favourite moments:

Myself and some of the boys, they're the best.

Two of my closest friends and I.

Who run the world? GIRLS!

Performing my all time favourite song from a musical with my favourite people. ONE DAY MORE.

Cabaret.

Tiny person, big stage.

Taking our final bow on the final night.


As well as leading and organising a lot of the committee side of things, I was lucky enough to be granted a solo in the show. I sang, 'Life is a Cabaret' (hence the title of the post) and whilst this song proved difficult for me at times, I'm happy with the overall result. Although I've had solo parts before, I've never actually performed completely alone on stage and in character for a whole song; this was something new for me. And I loved it! I really feel like my performing and confidence has improved massively since I joined MTS back in 2012. I know I am by no means the best, but to have people notice an improvement in something I love doing feels great. 

But, more than all of that (and this is where I get soppy, again) I am so very happy to have helped create something that other people loved being in. As I've said before, and am likely to say many times again, MTS means so much to me. The society has become a huge part of my life; a place where I have met many of my best friends and experienced some of my favourite moments of the past few years. To know that other people are gaining a likewise experience from the society too makes me both happy and proud. One of our newest members Suzie, has written a lovely blog post about her experience which you can read HERE. Reading things like this make all the stressing, worrying and late-night last minute organising worth it.
Our university media team came along on the final night and filmed the show for us. You can watch it below. I’ve never been as proud of a show as this.




Performing really does bring people together; we are proof of that. Our members come from a variety of backgrounds; some have performed all their lives whereas for others this is their first experience of stepping onto stage. But, this is all left at the sidelines and in our society, we all come together to create something as a team.  MTS is a crazy, dysfunctional, at times very incestuous family, and I bloody well love it.
There really is no business like show business!

As always, thankyou for reading.

A
xxxx