29 January 2018

This has been on my 'to-read' list for ages and it's a very strange novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's about a troubled young boy (Burt) who is in a mental institute, but the reason why is withheld for the majority of the novel. the whole novel is written from Burts perspective, but there are interludes where he reads letters between his Doctors notes which helps the reader understand things more. It's a really good book, I really like the way it's written and I Burts perspective of things is funny and very literal- sort of like in Submarine. Throughout the book I kept expecting to find out the reason why Burt was in the institute, and all of my guesses were wrong and when I finally found out I was shocked and it sort of changed the whole book for me. There are some really good bits of imagery in the book as well, and when I found out why the book was titled what it was, I just loved that part.

It's a classic in French literature apparently, despite the author being American. I read a lot of reviews and it's compared to 'The Catcher In The Rye' but I don't really agree with this comparison. Catcher In The Rye is more an aimless novel where Holden is finding himself where as this novel has a destination to meet. Both Burt and Holden have questionable mental stability though, and both those narrators had a certain charm to them but Burts charm was more explicitly the innocence of a child, where as Holdens is infused with adolescent questioning. Also by the end of the novel, I was frustrated at the charm I had felt from Burt. The only thing that frustrated me in this book is you're so desperate for a moment of reconciliation, but it never comes.

I don't really know how to describe this book, so I'm just going to dive in. I had seen the film before I read this book and let me tell you (although I watched the film ages ago) the film gave me very different vibes than the book. To me, the film felt more angry whereas the book was full of so much sorrow and was so tragic. I don't think the film captured the extent of the heartache that the novel seemed to have.

I think this may be one of my favourite books, for so many reasons. One reason being that, despite it being a classic, it wasn't difficult to read- although there were some references I didn't really understand but a quick googled sorted me out. Also, the characters weren't two dimensional at all. I don't really know how to explain what I mean but for every character I felt the opinion of them was so much bigger than just liking or disliking them. I can't imagine a world either where Gatsby and Daisy aren't recognisable either- they're timeless characters and the uncertainty of society portrayed in the book is also still relevant. The only thing I didn't like about the novel is how sad it made me, but I guess it's a sign of good book if it makes your heart heavy- it's just so tragic! But so beautifully written! And also there are so many interesting articles/critical essays about this book online which just makes rereading it so much more interesting. My only criticism of the book is that so many names were given and sometimes I would get confused who was actually being spoken about, but that was most likely just a me issue.

The writing style of this book was so impressive to me, usually I feel like descriptions can last way too long yet Fitzgerald captured the moment so perfectly. After reading more into the novel and seeing contrasting views on what Gatsby car is meant to portray, and the importance of weather (which wasn't over done at all sometimes I feel like I'm screaming at a book to leave the pathetic fallacy alone, but not in this!) and different things about the characters made the writing seem even more impressive. I like the way Fitzergald debunked the myth of the American Dream by the corruption induced by the pursuit of it, usually anything related to the American Dream sends me back to memories of year 11 English class, but the book captivated me enough to make me not even think about Of Mice And Men until now aha. On a different note, I have such a beautiful version of the book, then once I was on the train and read a line I loved so I went to underline it, but I was unaware my pen had exploded and then I got my grubby ink hands all over the front and back of the book, as well as over some of the pages.

This is very different to the other two books, as this is much more a typical teen romance, coming of age novel. It's about a mute girl who befriends a deaf boy. I am a sucker for books like this, but what I found better than most recent books that far into this category is the fact that the mental health topic doesn't seem to be abused. There is no sense of how falling in love can cure a metal illness, but how friendship and different relationships can help this, I don't know how to explain. The main girl, Steff, has anxiety and despite it being a focal point of the book, it's not done in such an obvious way that controls the book, if that makes sense. It's a really lovely, heart warming read. It's easy and light and I found it thorughly  enjoyable. It's not like the other two books where there are things to look out for, it is what it is and was just a very good teen read- in my opinion. If you need something light, I recommend this.

What good books have you read lately- please let me know I'm desperate for a good book to read whilst I'm away. Like I want a general good book that makes you think (like The Kite Runner) but not one that is confusing to read, also just want some general good reads. Not sure how much time I'll have for reading though to be fair. Either way, let me know any suggestions please!


19 January 2018

Recently, I have been a sucker for buying clothes with empowering quotes for women on them. My view of wearing feminism, is that in some way these tops with powerful quotes on them is to trigger something in peoples mind when they see these tops. It may not be an obvious thought, but just a gentle reminder that women are powerful and deserve to be listened to and that not all women have this privilege. It's not an overly active form of empowerment, but just a reminder to not underestimate women and the importance of women banding together in a patriarchal world.

I am lucky because I have always been surrounded by strong women and I've never really experienced an occasion where I felt overly disadvantaged at being a women. In my job there is no difference between women and men, I only work in Customer Care but I know in the greater offices for ASOS there are projects set to inspire women, plus they do a lot of workshops with girls about loving yourself and about powerful women in the industry. I know this isn't the case everywhere though. The only time I feel explicitly disadvantaged at being a girl, is when I became aware of my fear of men that seems to be ingrained inside me. When I am out walking and a man looks at me a little too long and when their gazes and words make me feel as nothing but an object to be looked at is when my femininity makes me feel weak. I'll give an example- once on a night out during when I had bright purple hair a man asked me for a blowjob which I declined. He then shouted at me, stating that my purple hair and face full of glistening piercings were all for attention, so why won't I accept the attention I am being given. His rant was littered with insulting words and swear words and this is one of the times I have felt most scared because I knew I couldn't overpower this man if anything were to happen. Things aren't always like this, sometimes they are more extreme, sometimes they are less but either way this is one of the few times I have felt scared of being a woman as I realised how weak I am compared to men. Although my natural daily behaviours should be enough to remind me of my disadvantage; I'm wary on public transport, I check my car every time before I get in it and am constantly thinking of things I can use as weapons if need be. Yet despite these natural moments, I forget the male dominance that still occurs in our world. So if me, wearing a top that promotes the equality of men and women and places females on a pedastool I will do it so in my moments of fear I remember that there are people rooting for women and that these slogans on our t-shirts aren't lies. Also, if me wearing a t-shirt can just trigger a little thought in someone’s mind, it makes me happy.

However, the things I wear are only clothes. Is it just a case of looking cool, or is it an actual (extremely) diluted form of rebellion against the patriarchal ways that still grip our society? It doesn't make an actual impact other than maybe creating a thought and it obviously doesn't help in places where the difference between men and women is so great that equality can only seem like a hope rather than a reality. I wonder whether these t-shirts also serve as a reminder for women to stick together rather than promoting equality and somehow distance the two genders even more. (side note- I know there are more than two genders, but for the sake of this post I am keeping it very black and white and I'm sorry if anyone feels insulted by this, it's just my basic views on feminism which I know stretch a lot further than just men and women). I also asked someone else their opinion on these tops and they said it seems to be a way of getting Instagram likes, which is understandable because the case of feminism does seem to be a way to publicity for some, so does these shirts actually invalidate the issue rather than help it? Personally,  I don't think so as even if people wear them just to get a few extra likes, it is still a way of raising awareness.

Despite the hope of raising awareness, I’m not entirely sure whether these material manifestations of feminism are created with good intentions. It brings me back to wondering whether they invalidate feminism by making it a little logo on a top- but personally I don't agree with this. It's easy to forget though that these items are being created within the fashion industry, meaning they are created with a capitalist agenda rather than with a political mindset. Is it really dressing for the resistance or is it just for fashion? The funds from these tops don't go to helping women directly but I don't know if raising some form of awareness through the tops is powerful enough to counterbalance the exploitation of feminism for fashion. I think it depends on who is wearing the t-shirt and if they are willing to elaborate on the importance of such an innocent looking item of clothing, but I believe anyone who wears a top branded with a feminist quote are ready to defend it and explain the reason they are wearing it.

On a different note, but one that always seem to cross my mind when thinking about feminism is whether these tops could somehow be detrimental to boys. If a boy were wearing a top calling him 'Empowered' he'd just seem like a bit of a twat, as ultimately his gender always have had the upper hand when it comes to power and it is hard to forget the history between men and the abuse of their self given power. However, if these tops serve to make us proud of being a woman and enlighten the world of all the great qualities women share with men (as we are all as powerful as each other) why can't a boy express their love towards their gender. I know it's because they have always had the privilege and that it is almost impossible to find a time in history where a man was disadvantaged at being a man, but do these tops highlight the hierarchal divide between men and women to young kids? Do they divide us further? These tops are worn by me to ultimately promote equality and make me feel good about being a woman, yet if a boy were to wear one of them he would be seen as showing off. This is going off on a tangent though, about where does feminism go too far and surrounding the questionability of whether self love is encouraged as much for boys as much for girls.

To round this off though, although the act of wearing feminism can be questionable depending on where your intentions come from, I wear it with the hope of evoking some form of reaction, no matter how minuscule and just to bring attention to the divided world. I know it isn't a major act of feminism at all and that the world has so far to go, but these tops act as a reminder that the societal imposed differences between men and women still exist. I hope that when wearing them they remind the world that women possess a strength as great as men and that we should never be made to doubt the greatness that being a woman is.

Why Babies Are The Best

14 January 2018

I was going to do a post about some favourites of mine lately, but it was a lame post and then it deleted which was a sign that it wasn't meant to be posted. So instead, I'll talk about another favourite of mine- young humans. It was my nephews first birthday today and there was a big clump of babies and two kids there- and they're just so entertaining to watch. So, if you don't have the privilege to be able to surround yourself with kids/babies never fear, as I'm going to tell you some of the highlights of today, plus just some highlights of kids in general because they're great and not only that, but their innocence and simplicity seem to be a beacon of positivity lately and sometimes that can be hard to find!

I don't know why I look so scared/uncomfortable in the second photo. I wasn't very prepared for a photo 

(Warning before you read: by baby I mean almost one year old/being over one year old. Kids mentioned are 3 and 4)

-a baby called Ozzy was staring at me, just sitting and staring, and then he stood up so fast pointed at me, then sat back down shook his arms and just turned around. He stood up with so much purpose though only to point at me? Was funny
-my nephew crawled up to every baby there and touched their face and then would move on to the next baby. He only done this to the babies though, not to any of the kids, just the babies. I never fully realise babies could distinguish themselves from adults but I guess this was a sign. Or maybe it's because he couldn't reach anyone else face except the other babies.
-one baby was sitting on her mums lap and just kind of holding a ball having a good time, then she just conked out. Like she full on just collapsed into a deep sleep whilst there was so much noise in the background yet she stayed asleep for a solid half hour.
-I was in a room with this kid who was watching Cebeebies and then an adult (by adult I mean like 25) came in and the kid went to her' Do you want to leave?' so the adult said 'Yeah sure if you want to' and the kid went 'No you leave by yourself' and I stayed because I was on nephew duty and he was in that room, then the kid just stared at me until I felt too uncomfortable so I also left
-Whilst everyone was singing happy birthday my nephew started to lick the cake.
-My sister was eating cake and my nephew reached out to eat some and when my sister said no he just started making this really strange growling/moaning noise (very relatable)
-The kids were being firemen then one of the kids said to the other kid 'OH MY GOD THE FIRE IS ON YOU' and the other kid burst into tears
-My nephew would have these moments where he just done all his skills at once, so he'd be sitting there then all of a sudden would start waving and clapping and blowing kisses and bouncing. He would do this really fast then just stop and carry on as if nothing happened.
-One baby (Ozzy again) would suddenly get really excited at random times and would shake his arms and start screaming.

So there's some positivity for you, happy babies! Nothing better. Hope you all have a great week lads, if you have any good kid stories let me know- I just think they're the best.

How 2018 Began And How It Will End

3 January 2018

Happy new year everyone, I hope everyones year has had a great start! Seeing as my blog is my publicised diary I am beginning this year with a personal post because one of my resolutions it try and accept and talk about my feelings more. I don't overly believe in New Years resolutions though as I'm more of a do it when you want but I've decided to set a few aims for 2018 because I like lists. 2017 was tough for me, I struggled a lot through the year purely being because I struggle with depression which is not something new at all- however I went through a lot of things this year which were undeniably blown out of proportion by an unkind brain. This is a big deal by the way, because my mental stability is not something I often talk about but is something I've wanted to talk about on my blog for sometime and I think in 2018 I may be ready to talk about some things. The beginning of the year was met with an invalidating counsellor plus the fear of a new year which combined with exams put me in a very unhappy mindset which is ultimately why I didn't go to university in 2017, because I knew if I did my brain would unravel even more and there would be nothing left. My sadness never really stems from anything as my life is ultimately, very good, and then actual things happened and I've never really had an external influence to my mental health. However, this helped me to talk about it. It is hard because so many people self diagnose recently and I feel like 2017 was a big year of glamourising mental illness and I'm not sure where the line between raising awareness and using for publicity is but I do think it was crossed quite a lot this year which made it a lot harder to feel like my feelings were real. If that makes sense. Either way, I'm not going to say new year new me because a brain is a brain but I will talk about my feelings more this year.

I'm not a big fan of the phrase leaving stuff in 2017 either because I worry a lot and nothing can get left behind. I'm hoping my necessity to hold onto things makes things better in 2018 though as there are somethings I need to come to terms with and not being able to let them go will fuel this desire. This year I was betrayed by some people I trust most. One of my really good friends ended up having questionable priories and another good friend done some things which  weren't very kind at all. In 2018 I will talk about these things to these people, rather than drunkenly talking about it and complaining about how it isn't fair because I'm sure most things will be justifiable with a conversation. Once I have a conversation memories I share with these people won't be so bitter to me and although the fact of what they've done will still be there it probably won't be as sour to me.. Another sad part of 2017 was my exams, which I was hoping would fill me with pride but instead I worked so hard to be met with grades which I deserved better than. Also my dog died. My 2017 ended seeing my ex boyfriend dancing with another girl and kissing at midnight, consequently making my 2018 begin with 3 jagerbombs in a row followed by some shots of tequila. The taste was horrendous.  I'm not that mad at him though, as I know this is inevitable- I just wish it didn't happen whilst he was right next to me. However, I plan on meeting up with him in March and chatting because I am a big fan of closure and at the end of the day we were bestfriends and I'd like the friendship to continue. The rest of my night was great though because we went back to my friends and we danced and sang, I drank green tea and lied in bed with my friends talking about Robbie Williams. I was horrendously drunk but it was worth it. Then I went home and saw we had gluten free mozzarella sticks which made me realise 2018 can't be any worse than 2017.

There were good moments of 2017. I saw  Kinky Boots, I got completely off my nut with my friends, I met my nephew and new puppy. A lot of good memories are attached to sad ones though, such as going around Europe with someone who made it difficult, I finished my exams but with grades I don't appreciate, I got a full time job that has made me bitter. I did pass my driving test though, which is a miracle as I thought I'd be learning forever, I devoted myself to becoming a wine mum and now can get drunk for very cheap and I fully decided that I'm going to study English Literature at university. Also I met new people and found a love for Peaky Blinders (despite having to wait till 2019 for a new episode). Oh also I turned 18 and no longer have to take three buses to find somewhere that will serve me alcohol. I think ultimately 2017 was a bad year in many aspects, and many good memories are tainted however there are good memories nonetheless.

a photo of me and my nephew, probably my favourite thing to have come out of 2017.
a photo already on my blog of my main girl living it up on my 18th
a disposable that is very bad quality, but I think this was one of the best days of my trip around Europe as it was the day we all got on just like old times
my new puppy who although comes out of losing Lulu, still is one of my favourite things to have happened in 2017
a photo of Berlin, my favourite city

I always say I hope, but I need more surety and constants in my life so I'm say I will rather than I hope, also because some of these things are planned so there is no going back. So pretty much 2018 is the year I will:

-Travel. I've booked a trip round the south of Asia that is only 30 days but I am going alone (sort of, with a group organisation in which I know nobody) and hopefully my friends will go to a Spanish festival and if my Spanish is up to it I may try working in a Spanish hostel as well as a possible trip to Paris with Katie and Poland with another friend. Although I may just go to Poland by myself as I'd only go for a day to see Auschwitz.
-Call people out. I'm not overly mad at my friends anymore who have hurt my feelings because I know who my real friends are- I think my mum cares more than I do, but I still think I need to say some things otherwise I'll just drunkenly talk about things when truly it could be solved by a conversation.
-Take more disposables and journal more. Katie sent me a diary thing that I still need to fill out and I'd like to take a photo a day. Appreciate lifes beauty am I right!
-Learn Spanish, write more and knit more. These are just gap year aims to be honest.
- Read more. I read a shitty (but also lovely) teen novel the other day which has set me up to read again. I'm currently reading The Great Gatsby and next plan to read Macbeth (with the aid of Katie lol this seems like a big love letter to her)
-Wear a nice outfit at least twice a week. Too often all I do is stay in skinny jeans and a baggy jumper but I want to change this. Another thing is that I always wear tops with sleeves because I don't like my arms but I've worn sleevless things a few times on nights out lately and, shockingly, the world didn't stop.
-Gym more. I love going to the gym when I can be bothered, it always makes me feel good and my legs are getting so strong, I'm just inconsistent with the gym. I am always torn between fuck it I'm young I'll stay out and drink and also fuck it I live a very unhealthy lifestyle I should go to the gym to counterbalance all the drinking I do
-Get another tattoo, I know what I want and I've wanted it for a very long time so very exciting
-Wear my retainer more, whiten my teeth, moisturise, exfoliate. I want to be a goddess by the end of 2018.
-Post more, by that I mean once a week. That has been an aim of mine for a while but one day the aim will become a reality
-Get a part time job and volunteer somewhere (this should be easily done I hope and getting a part time job really is a gateway to a lot of my other plans)(I hope)

I think that is me done for this post. Here's to 2018 am I right lads!

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