Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Going in a New Direction

I was looking back at my old blog posts the other day, which made me realise just how much I have changed since August of last year. I think it’s partly to do with blogging (through sorting out my thoughts, getting advice from wonderful people, and seeing so many brave bloggers follow their dreams), and partly to do with my complete dissatisfaction with my current degree; that I have decided to finally work towards something I really want, rather than settling for less.

If you have followed me for a while, you’ll know that I have a tendency to play it safe. Because of this, I have always steered towards career-based degrees, rather than subjects I actually enjoy. Which hasn't been the best decision, since despite my desire to be practical and do practical subjects, I am the least practical person in the entire world. Give me an essay to write and I am in my element. Get me to do anything hands-on that doesn’t involve a lot of words and self-reflection...and I will probably cry. I have nightmares about having to write lesson plan after lesson plan. Which is exactly what teaching entails. Maybe not the best career choice for me?

So while I loved the kids and they loved lessons sucked. They were just the worst. I have no concept of what would work in a real classroom setting. My ideas were just ridiculous. I live in a land filled with words and theories like ‘post-modernism’ and other such terms that everyone uses to sound smart but no one really understands; not a land of ‘hands-on’ activities and ‘real-life’.

And I think, most importantly, it was the feeling I got every morning before I entered the school. That sinking feeling. While I enjoyed my days there when I actually entered the building, I really found it difficult to make myself walk inside. To make myself take those steps. I don’t want a job that I dread going to. I work every day now, and while it’s not an amazing job, I don’t have any problem going to it. I don’t need to feel excitement about work; I’m not all that fussy. But I don’t want a job that I feel unhappy about going to.

And so I felt that is was time to change tactics. Instead of picking a career-based degree and trying to force myself to like it; I am going to do a degree that I am really interested in. If a job comes out if it, then great! And if it doesn’t, at least I know that I tried.

So starting next month, I am doing my Masters in Writing and Literature. It’s not practical, but it is something that I will really enjoy.

And I have started to realise that life is short, and doing what you love is the important thing. Even if there isn’t a guaranteed career waiting at the end of it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Six Dirtiest Words Cont.

Thank you all so much for the feedback on my last post. I was quite nervous telling the world that I don’t mind the way that I look. You wouldn't believe the amount of times I wanted to go back and just delete the entire post... Or write a new one promising that I do, in fact, think that I am unattractive.

It’s odd, isn’t it? I am quite sure I have posted that I like who I am a few times on this blog and not batted an eyelid. But to say something positive about your looks, particularly to others, is terrifying. And I DID get some negative feedback about it too. Though I have previously posted that I am awkward looking/strange looking/ugly, and I certainly have not gotten negative feedback for that.

One person brought up a good point. When someone says that they think that they’re beautiful, we automatically assume that they think that they’re more beautiful than us. We go around constantly telling ourselves how horrible looking we are, and when someone doesn’t share our self-loathing, we assume that it is because they think that they are better than we are. Otherwise how else can they be comfortable with themselves? But when someone says that they are nice, funny, witty, or brave, we have no problem with it. Because we all either believe that we too are nice/funny/brave people, or don't mind that we're not.

But everything in our society seems to be becoming more and more focused on looks. And so that is what we’re placing so much importance on, when it honestly shouldn’t be the big deal that it is.

When I look around at all of people I know, both male and female, they’re all beautiful in their own way. Maybe they don’t fit the Hollywood stereotype, but they are just as beautiful. And what is so wrong with them being able to see it? I would be so happy if they did. If they stopped taking one certain look as something to aim for, and becoming unhappy with themselves if they don’t quite reach it.

I wasn’t, in my last post, saying that we should go around constantly talking about how gorgeous we are. But we also shouldn’t be talking negatively about ourselves either; that too should be just as socially unacceptable. But in the right context, like I believe it was in my post, we shouldn’t be ashamed of saying it. We shouldn’t be made to feel bad for not hating the way that we look.

Obviously, we are all going to have good and bad days. Days where we get dressed up and feel like a princess/prince, and days where we look in the mirror and wish that we hadn’t. But overall, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all liked ourselves? If we were all quite happy with what we looked like, like most are already happy with the kind of person they are (again, good and bad days, but overall).

I hope, during the next week, that you tell the world that you’re beautiful; whether it’s at home by yourself, to a close friend or partner, in a blog post, or shouted from the top of a tall building. And I want you to believe it. And to feel no shame for that.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Six Dirtiest Words

Lately it seems that the six dirtiest words in the English language are ‘I like the way I look’.

We rarely, if ever, hear those words come out of someone’s mouth. And if we do hear them, we are taken aback. One of the main insults I hear about girls, apart from that ever-loaded word ‘slut’, is “she thinks she’s so beautiful.” We’ll whisper it behind our hands to our friends, taking care to roll our eyes at the same time. How dare they like the way they look. How shallow. How in love with themselves they must be to think that they look nice.

But really, what is so wrong with them thinking that they do look nice? Beautiful even? And why shouldn’t they think that they’re beautiful? We all are.

We have always been told through the media that we should love the way that we look. But at the same time we are told that we need this dress, that lipstick, those shoes, to hide our flaws. To really be beautiful. We have become so used to noticing the parts of ourselves that don’t meet the conventional standards of ‘beauty’. Of buying products in a desperate attempt to change ourselves.

It has become socially acceptable to constantly insult ourselves. We stand in groups, trying to outdo each other. We pick at our faults. We focus on the bits of ourselves that we hate. It has become completely fine for us to say “I hate my mouth. My stomach. My arms or my nose”, but it’s become almost blasphemy for us to say “I love my stomach. I love the weight I am at. I think my nose is lovely.”

I don’t want to hear the women I know insult themselves. I want them to look in the mirror and see the beautiful women that I see. And I want them to own that. To feel it. To say it proudly without fear of ridicule.

So I am going to go completely against social convention and say it: I like the way I look. Heck, I even think I’m beautiful in my own way. And I refuse to be ashamed or embarrassed for saying it.

Stuff I Like

Firstly I just want to say that I am not one who promotes products on their blog.
1. Because I am too lazy.
2. Because I am much too self-absorbed. In case you hadn't noticed, this blog tend to revolve around me. Me, me, me. I even enjoyed writing 'me' multiple times just then. Loved. It. THAT'S the type of blog this is.

But a few weeks/months...probably months ago, I won a giveaway on yes and yes and got a pair of earrings from Davinia Hamilton.

And I love them so much that I just had to blog about them! Even though it did take me a really really really long time...but hey, I did have a lot of me to talk about.

These are not only pretty, make anything just that little bit fancier, but are also really easy to wear. I NEVER wear large earrings because I am weak and I don't enjoy pain, but these are so lightweight that I can wear them all day and not feel a thing. So here are some pics of them, and thanks again Davinia for the lovely earrings!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Keyboard Lessons

I was playing my keyboard the other day. Playing like I always do. Timidly, carefully. Second guessing myself. Refusing to trust these fingers that had played the same tune so many times before. These fingers that knew exactly where they were meant to be. Instead I held them back, refusing to let myself be in the moment. Refusing to feel the music. To live it. And there I sat, terrified of making a mistake. But my second guessing, my timidness, leads me to miss keys; my fingers slipping and stumbling, tripping over the music. But I’m playing so quietly that it’s impossible to hear anyway.

And so I took a breath. Felt the moment. And realised that I am tired of this timidness. I know what to do. I know where I am supposed to be. But I am so worried about making mistakes that I hold back. I go through everything as quietly as can be, trying not to make too much noise. Because what if I make a mistake, and everyone can hear?

But when I took that breath, I relaxed. And I played. Without worry. Without embarrassment. As loudly as I could. Don’t get me wrong, there were still mistakes. Loud ones. I basked in the cacophony of missed notes and poor timing. Of things not working out exactly the way I had planned. Because the music between those mistakes was worth it. It was perfectly flawed. It soared through the room, filling every corner. My timing was off. I know I missed numerous pauses. I played loudly when it was meant to be soft, and softly when it was meant to be loud. But I played from the heart. I let pieces of myself fill the air, and I wasn’t ashamed that everyone could see them. I wasn’t ashamed of my mistakes.

That’s how I want to live. I want to own my mistakes and the beautifully flawed music between them. The music that no one could replicate, even if the notes were in front of them. Just as I could never replicate theirs.

I don’t want to be timid; slipping and stumbling through life. Trying not be noticed. I want to soar. I want to create. I want to charge through life and follow my heart. I want to play my own tune as loudly as I can, mistakes and all.

And I want the world to hear it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Camping sure does bring out the bimbo in me...

The main thing I learned on my camping adventure is that camping turns me into a huge bimbo. Or maybe I already am a huge bimbo and have learned to hide it underneath an awkward, goofy exterior. Camping just happens to push all of that aside, leaving me with a nice gooey bimbo-ey centre that becomes obvious to everyone, including me.

In my defence, no one told me that we would be hiking to our camping spot. I just figured we would be camping next to the car. It seemed sensible. Were I planning the trip, we would have camped next to car. Maybe even in it, with the heater running. But unfortunately my dad was planning it. And hiking we were going. Which made the 3 bags filled to the brim that I took seem....impractical.

So anyway, I turned out up at my parents house (I was leaving my car there and dad was taking us in his) with all of my worldly possessions, only to find out that it was a one bag maximum. This may have been the moment I threw a mini-tantrum. Again, in my defence, most of the things I took were blankets. I hate being cold. Hence, 3 bags worth of blankets and clothing. Again, sensible.

Long story short, my dad and sister went through my bags and took out everything that wasn’t necessary. I then took out everything they had put in my bag that was necessary, and replaced it with a hairbrush, a makeup bag, and about twenty tops/sweaters/blankets. I did not think of food or a toothbrush. Luckily everyone else did remember all of that unimportant stuff, and after one more minor skirmish with my sister about my hat (she said that I shouldn’t be taking a 1940s style hat that kept falling over my eyes camping, I said that my hat was awesome. The hat came with us. It really is a great hat) we were off.

And actually, it ended up being really nice. At first, to be honest, I sat down complaining about the cold and watching everyone else gather firewood because inside I am a five year old spoiled brat. But soon I got really into it. It was nice to be away from crowds of people, to not have to worry about the time, to eat simple foods cooked on a fire, and to spend time walking around looking at kangaroos and enjoying the fresh air.

To sit around a fire toasting marshmallows and looking up at all of the stars that city lights tend to dim or make invisible. To hear really boring ghost stories that my sister printed out from google that she did not bother reading beforehand. Even to sleep on the hard ground whilst shivering uncontrollably all night.

To simple be.

So, all in all, I am glad I went. I tend to say no to anything in winter that forces me to spend extended periods of time outdoors. Winter is not my thing. But I have realised that I can’t lock myself indoors every time the season changes. I can’t say no to new experiences just because I may get cold. It’s not a good enough excuse anymore, and I am tired of dreading the colder months and frosty mornings. So I said yes. And go out into winter I did. And you know what? It wasn’t all that bad. Maybe me and winter will learn to be friends after all.

..or maybe just frenemies. Who doesn’t need a few frenemies anyway?

*Also the book club has officially started! Get involved here, we'd love to have you!