Monday, 29 July 2013

Bringing the 'Top 3' back!

Remember when you were in year 9 and you had a 'top 3 girls or boys' or friends or anything?! Well I'm bringing back top 3s! Monday Top 3s are coming your way. Every Monday, a new top 3. 

Today is my top 3 favourite poems.

NUMBER 3: Maya Angelou - Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. 

So this is my favourite poem ever. I discovered this poem in 2012 during a really weird time and it just gave me shivers. Beyond just the shivers I totally respect how she has created such an amazing villanelle. 

Girls like pink. Boys like blue.

When I was just a wee babe I had no idea I was already being shaped into what is understood to be the feminine expectation, just by being called 'Sarah' I was being led into the female gender role. By the age of six I had a well established pink bedroom filled with Barbie Dolls. But when I started to want to 'play rough like the boys' I became labelled a 'tomboy'. I didn't realise how much of an impact being labelled either as 'girly' or a 'tomboy' would have on me as I grew up. 

When I supposedly 'grew out' of my tomboy phase I used to spend hours drawing my dream house out with an unusual amount of detail including 2.5 kids and a dog. Then I got the Sims and I would finally get to get a glimpse of my dream wasn't until I went to university I realised I could question gender boundaries and became aware of the way that we force children into choosing a life they think they want because it is right for their gender. 

It made me confused. It made me confused because suddenly I had a choice (I always had one, I just never knew). These choices created so many paths for me but I felt like because I was aware of these choices, the things I'd wanted before became closed off to me. I rejected the thought of marriage and children for a long time, I didn't know what I liked anymore...because I was still being fed with gender expectations. I initially started to like 'boy stuff' just to get away from 'girl stuff'...I was STILL being fed with gender expectations.  

Doing what makes you happy is something that everyone says and something I always try to tell myself. But I find it extremely hard...sometimes I don't know what makes ME happy but I still feel like I'm doing things to make society happy and keep things going in the right and expected order. I catch myself listening to political debates, reading articles and agreeing when I disagree. I pick pink over green because it is a girls colour. I shop in clothes shops for women. For months I felt unhappy because I felt that I didn't know myself anymore and trying to do what makes you happy when you don't even know, is very very hard.

I decided to reconsider everything, I considered marriage, I considered never getting married, I considered painting my room black, I considered buying a 'boyish' car... I thought if I didn't have 'girly' things I'd have to be a 'tomboy'. I had a lot of work to do. I walked for hours thinking about everything, I felt lost. Then I looked at my long-term boyfriend and felt absolutely no pressure to make a decision about marriage or any big commitment, I realised that over-thinking these things does not make me happy. So many people ask me constantly if I'm engaged yet as we've been together for five years and it makes me want to never get married because of the pressure they put on me. I need to be sure I'm doing it for the right reasons. I also feel that they are a huge financial strain that burdens you for many years post-wedding. My issue with children is resolved, I want children. I love children and the fact we can make life is incredible. I'm happy to admit that, however, I'm in no rush and finally don't think I need a perfect house, dog and husband before the child comes. I also realised that I like pink, and that may be because it was forced down my throat (not literally!) as a child but I still like it. But I like blue and green and black. And this doesn't make me a tomboy or girly, it makes me, me. I don't want to be defined solely by my gender but as an individual. 

Focusing on doing what made me happy became a lot easier when I took the pressure off myself to chill out and enjoy my life. What makes me happy changes regularly because humans are ever changing. Right now I enjoy watching movies, lots of movies, I enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer...a lot. I enjoy walking, swimming, biking. I enjoy my education. I enjoy reading. I enjoy sleeping. I love spending time with my little brothers and sisters. But tomorrow I don't have to like the same things (expect the sibling thing, kinda like them all the time!)

Doing what makes you happy is harder than you think but if you realise you don't have to be who society tells you you are, it makes knowing yourself and what makes you happy a hell of a lot easier. Be you, be individual. 

Saturday, 29 June 2013



It is a beautiful thing. It can be a destructive thing. The stormtroopers realised they were the droids they were looking for, Alvy Singer realised he still wanted to be with Annie Hall...all too late. But because of hindsight, they could see with a new perspective. Hindsight happen in our daily lives, we look back and think, maybe I shouldn't have eaten that, or maybe I should have gotten dressed that day. Whenever I go shopping I have no sense of financial responsibility, I go home and realise that I really didn't need any of these things and need the money to pay bills. Hindsight is good for the big stuff too...I'm good at looking at my academic achievements objectively and I see the good and the bad and how it has all been meaningful, however, I just can't do this with my personal life, I just see a lot of big messy mistakes. Looking back negatively at my personal life happens to me in cycles, about 6 monthly cycles. Am I alone here? Am I the only one that thinks every friend/potential (not slayer) you let slip by could have been the bestest friend you'll ever have or your great love? 

How do we know if we have have made the right decision in letting these people leave our lives, or maybe you didn't want them to leave? Sometimes hindsight can be painful and can make you appreciate things, see how vast your feelings or someones feelings were. 

But I can't say I have a good relationship with hindsight. It comes out of the blue, a reflective day. I don't enjoy these days, they take me back to painful places that I still can't understand and they take me out of the present. I lose perspective of my present day, I think all my relationships now aren't right and I missed a chance. It becomes destructive for me, people around me suffer because for days I recoil from their friendship and affection. Days like this all start because of dreams. Hey Mrs Dream, you have a lot to answer for. I've usually had a dream about someone in my past and we are having a good time together. Last night was on a rollercoaster and we were having the best day. These dreams make me sad because I wake up and I'm not on a rollercoaster but in my own room. I then put on some music...usually Kate Nash, Bon Iver...anything to make me feel bad. I know it makes me feel bad, songs that take me back. I still do it every time. Then the cycle starts. It is so destructive for me and I can't digest it meaningfully. I try to rationalise things; it didn't work out because of this; they aren't your friend because of this; I go round in circles until I come to the conclusion that it was my fault and that they should be in my present. This is where my current relationships suffer, I push friends away. I shut down.

Maybe I am just in that position in my life where I did mess things up and I'm learning from it? Or will I forever go through this? Will my future husband suffer for every almost relationship I had? My friendships that don't exist yet, will they suffer for previous friends mistake? Making hindsight meaningful is hard. But today when I woke up much the same like many a'morning I decided HINDSIGHT...I'm not your bitch! I looked at the wonderful people that are in my life this morning and felt happy. 

In case you were wondering here is a sample of a hindsight top 5 playlist (you won't be surprised by number 1, however, it isn't Usher Confessions, sadly) that bring me great destruction:

Number 5: Birdy - I'll Never Forget You

Number 4: Sleeping at Last - Turning Pages. (Yeah it is from Twilight and what?)

Number 3: Bon Iver - Creature Fear.

                                           Number 2: Disclosure - Latch. 

Number 1: Bon Iver - I Can't Make You Love Me/Love in the Nick of Time.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Is saying no to size zero fair?

So I've been thinking more and more recently about the way women talk about each other and to each other about weight...generally it isn't very nice! It got me thinking about the 'Say No to Size Zero' campaign...isn't that a little unfair? What about women that are really skinny and that is just the way they are? Or people that are ill? And people that starve themselves, we should try and be as compassionate as we can, it is a huge cry for help not a cry for a whole campaign saying NO to the way a woman looks. 

This picture and quote below makes me incredibly uncomfortable...isn't that kinda say size 0 is ugly? Society IS ugly that's for sure...but I'm not sure the Size Zero Campaign is the right thing to make society better. We're once again telling someone the way they look is wrong.

Don't get me wrong - these teeny tiny  skinny models aren't the best role models for the younger generation, but neither is telling them to say no to the way anyone looks. We should be encouraging them to look at what is healthy and wholesome. I can't help but feel really uncomfortable about the size zero campaign, if someone started a 'say no to size 12 campaign' because they think that is unhealthy a huge portion of the population of women would speak up and say 'I'm healthy!' but size zero is a minority. I agree, I don't think you can be a size zero and really really healthy, but some people are. So what if they look really skinny? How an earth does that effect your day? 

Women need to start looking at other women as equals because I don't think we're there yet, especially when pages like this exist: 

This website has a section called 'weight gain'. It makes me furious that women talk about each like this. For example, all over the newspapers and magazine is how fat Kim Kardashian looks...isn't she PREGNANT? How dare we say that she is too fat, are you a doctor? No? Then we'll leave it to them. So what she got pictured eating an ice cream, she probably has an extremely balanced diet, an ice cream is not the end of the world. 

Women standing up for other women is empowering and here is how you can do it:

- Ditch the trashy magazines and websites. By buying them or going on those websites you add to the hits their getting = more money = more bitching.

- If your friend is judging someone on the street, a random stranger they don't even know, call them out for it! Say 'hey, are you perfect?' 

- Choose to see the positive in one another. This isn't just for women but men too. It is an empowering thing to do. Block that negative thought and think about how good that woman looks in that dress instead of how bad those shoes are...

- Delete and unfollow all those facebook and twitter pages that are about pointing out people for their flaws. They are awful...imagine finding a picture of you on there? I'd be mortified and my confidence would be obliterated. 

- If someone you know looks like they're starting to look really unhealthy, use your digression to ask them about it, make sure they know you are there for them. In the society that we need to live in, women need to know they have someone looking out for them and not judging them for their recent weight gain/loss. 

So make a change now and starting by SUPPORTING other women instead of belittling each other! It is the best thing you will do all me!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Being a Buffy fangirl

Being a Buffy fangirl for the most is awesome...but there are times when people are like 'you still watch Buffy and Sabrina the Teenage Witch?' with a look on their face that I can only interpret as pity. And I usually respond with an overly-excited 'YEAH!' and further embarrass myself. But I do still watch Buffy, A LOT. I love it so much, everything I know I learnt from Buffy the Vampre Slayer...

1). Buffy the Vampire Slayer taught me that being popular isn't always cool. I learnt this in series one. Cordelia tries to get Buffy in with the popular girls and Buffy just is not having any of it. She sees the true awesomeness of Xander and Willow. Cordelia also ends up being part of the scooby gang eventually and loses her popular status...making her cool. This is such an important lesson we should teach kids; being popular is not everything! 

2). I wear the cheese. The cheese does not wear me. Being cheesy = good. I went through a phase pretending I did not like cheesy things (and I don't mean foodie cheese because I have always loved that) like chat up lines, cheesy jokes, cheesy tv series and so on...but I was lying to myself. I LOVE THEM! Buffy has your daily intake of cheesy lines especially when she is about to kick some underground butt. My favourite is when she tells the Master he has fruit punch mouth. 

3). The British jokes. I love seeing how Americans interpret us Brits. It makes me laugh so much and Joss Whedon does it well. My favourite episode is 'Tubula Rasa' and this is because it is THE funniest (and saddest at the end) episode. Spike (a bad vampire turned good) and the scooby gang lose their memory and Spike doesn't realise he is British and when he does: 

            'Bloody hell! Sodding, blimey, shagging, knickers, bollocks... Oh God, I'm English'

                'Welcome to the Nancy tribe' 

Another great one from Buffy herself is: 

         'I know this one. Slaying entails certain sacrifices, blah, blah, biddie blah, I'm so stuffy give me a scone.'

This taught me to totally embrace the British jokes and learn to laugh at myself. 

4). Some people are gay, get over it! Any Buffy fan will remember the day that Willow and Tara started to fall in love. They are one of the SWEETEST couples you will ever see. Willow was still awesome even though she was gay, I learnt that sexual orientation had nothing to do with your awesomeness! Willow was and is one of my favourite characters, I love her for being a nerd, being super quirky and dressing in some rad 90s clothes. 

5). Sometimes we all do bad things but your best friends will always forgive you and help you. Buffy taught me that we all do doosh bag stuff sometimes! Buffy has done MANY bad things and think I remember liking her the least when she went all weird and tried leading Xander on. She went a bit cray but everyone forgave her and knew that wasn't their real friend! Willow tried to end the world...but her friends stood by her. I'm not planning on ending the world any time soon but I know my best of buds will always love me anyway. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer mainly taught me everything. It taught me that even if you save a banker from a demon, he still won't give you that bank loan; that dating an older guy really isn't all it has cracked up to be; I don't really have the weight of the world on my shoulders; all good people make mistakes too and I am one of them! 

So call me a nerd or cringe at the thought of me still crying when Buffy has to kill Angel or dies because I stand up strong and unite with my fellow Whedon fans and say to you...Buffy taught me life skills and everything I need to know.