eighteen

It was my birthday on Tuesday and since it was the big 18, I wanted to write a post acknowledging it and honouring my new status of ‘wise old person’. I’ve been in Madrid this week with my family and I also had a little celebration with my pals the week before, so this birthday has definitely been one to remember. I think that’s good though – honestly, in previous years, I’ve not made much of a big deal out of birthdays because I just didn’t have the friends to celebrate it, whereas now I have such a solid group of people around me. Also, I’m starting adulthood as I mean to go – partying and travelling 😉

This will sound morbid although it’s not intended in that way, but I never really expected to reach 18. I think when you’re younger, being 18 is equivalent to being an adult and somehow it never clicked that one day I would be an adult. I always felt like I’d be a child forever, and even though I can do pretty much anything I want now (sorry mum and dad 😉), I also still feel about 3 years old.

I’m going to stop rambling now and start compiling a list. I want my future self to look back on this post and think ‘wow, I was smart and down-to-earth and not embarrassing’, which is quite unlike how I see my past self. I know full well online (and often in real life) in the past I’ve put on this persona who is so dissimilar to me, and looking back now, I really regret doing that. I hope I’ll look back and think ‘wow, she had her shizzle together’, and therefore this post will serve as a reminder to get my future shizzle together. I hope I’ll look back and remember how much I grew as a person in my later-teen years and how much I experienced, and realise how much more I’ve grown in the next few years.

Me indulging in the last few hours of my childhood in Retiro Park, Madrid

Be yourself

Something I’m still working on, but something that in the last few years (in 6th form especially) has been so important to me. As I said before, I know I used to put on this cool, cocky persona to try and fit in, but I must have looked so embarrassing and ridiculous because cool and cocky are the complete opposites to what I actually am. I’ll be the girl in the library or the bookshop, reading or writing or listening to music, or the girl at the back of the classroom thinking about where to travel to next. Instead of forcing myself to be loud and assertive, I’ve started encouraging myself to be more confident, and that’s the way to improve. My problem before was that I didn’t have enough confidence to show the real me to my friends/classmates, whereas now (with a little bit of encouragement) I’m much happier being myself, and I know I fit in because I’m being myself.

Be comfortable with yourself

I’ve already mentioned it really, but you have to accept yourself before others can accept you. Had I kept projecting this cocky persona, my life would have been so different – I wouldn’t have the friends I have now and I still wouldn’t like myself, because I’d know it wasn’t really me.

If you’re not happy with something, change it

I’ve realised now that life is incredibly short and so you might as well fill it with happiness. I’m constantly trying to improve myself and make myself the best I can be and whilst I think I’m still quite a way off my ‘best’, it’s satisfying knowing that I’m heading in the right direction. And the same goes for school/friends/relationships – if you’re not happy doing a subject, change it, if you know your friends aren’t really your friends, change it – it’s hard, but you might as well be happy. Short term pain, long term gain.

You might as well do what you want to because life’s so short

A few of my points so far have been quite similar, but when my friend died aged 16 it really hit me how precious and temporary life is. Since then, I’ve realised you have to do things you want to do because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Do what you love because you love doing it, instead of doing something because of other people’s views/what they want you to do/what’s cool

Again – be yourself. Do your thang in life for yourself and for your own satisfaction, instead of being told what to do. Make your own way, do what you want and I think that’s how you become happiest.

Fringes and frizzy hair don’t mix well

Not as profound, but still very significant. I never seemed to learned that my hair type doesn’t suit fringes and never will, because over the years I’ve had several cut in, each time thinking ‘oh it’ll be fine’. Spoiler: it won’t be fine and you’ll look stupid.

Educate yourself on important matters instead of believing everything you’re told

Something I still need to do more of. When I first wrote that, I meant what school/teachers and parents tell you (saying that, 99% of the time my beliefs are the same as parents – not because they’re my parents though) but then it occurred to me that this also applies to the news. Watching the news does not give you the full story most of the time and even when it does, a lot of the time it’s biased which is why I think it’s so important to research important events/happenings yourself and form your own opinion.

Don’t immediately assume you can’t do something just because you’re not good at it the first time around

Exams aren’t (and shouldn’t take over) your life

As you probably all know – because it’s all I talk about on twitter and on here – I have my A Level exams soon (my first one is a month today…:/). I handled my GCSE exams badly. I completely put my social life on hold, I very rarely took breaks because I felt so guilty when I wasn’t revising, my whole life was consumed by revision. I still remember the first night of summer when I just watched TV and it felt so amazing to relax, and to relax knowing that I didn’t have to worry about exams and grades for the next 4 months. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a perfectionist (very much so!) and I’m trying really hard to get grades I’m proud of but I know now that you need a balance. Even though these exams effectively determine the rest of my life, I’m not too worried about them; naturally I’m nervous but not to the extent of GCSEs (which seems counterintuitive since A Levels are undoubtedly more important). I know that I’ve tried so hard and hopefully my grades will reflect this, but working 14 hour days isn’t healthy or beneficial, and I don’t want to look back on my A Levels (like I did for GCSE) and think I spent way too much revising, and too little time having a life. I’m also just trying to make the best of exam season – yes, it’s a pain, knowing that I should be revising probably more than I am and naturally it’s a stressful time (not just with exams, with uni/social life/trying to book things for summer/getting ready to leave high school behind) but it’s so temporary. In 2 months I’ll have finished and I’ll be free, so I’m just giving exams my best shot but trying not to damage myself in the process.

The right people will end up in your life – don’t try to hold onto people who don’t want to be there

I’ve not talked about this at all on my blog and I’ve only mentioned it indirectly a few times on twitter but *drum roll please* I’ve had a secret boyfriend for the past 3 and a half years. Or (more accurately now) I’ve had a secret ex-boyfriend. Because we had been together so long, I really struggled when he said he no longer wanted us to be together and looking back on my messages to him in the days (and weeks, tbh) after he broke up with me I was so disappointed, to the point of looking desperate frankly. Partially it was just adapting to being on my own, but more painful was having to face the fact that it’s the end of a big chapter of my life – we’ve both liked each other since we met in year 7 (I’m not joking), started going out in year 9 then broke up around Christmas in 2018, which is a long time of being friends and being together. To not really have either of those things now feels odd and unnatural to be honest. I’ve started to come to terms now with it – I’m fine with being single, I just don’t want to lose him as a friend too, which unfortunately I think is happening but drifting is probably inevitable haha – and again, I’ve realised that wasting my energy wanting people who don’t want me back isn’t the best use of my time. Onwards and upwards! I’m looking forward to meeting some fit English Lit guys at uni 😉

If you fancy someone, tell them

Kind of related, but just go for it. You might lose a tiny little bit of dignity or pride if they say no but hey…is that really such a big deal? In a few years we’ll all be old and we’ll have forgotten all this – you might as well try.

Read as much and as widely as possible

Set as much time as you can aside for friends, family and self growth

I’ve tried to set a rhythm or formula to my life at the moment because with exams coming up every minute is important. 60% of my energy is concentrated on school, and the remaining 40% is focused on friends, family and self-growth (whether that’s a hobby, a new habit you’re trying to implement or doing something to better yourself). Obviously that’s not a hard-and-fast rule and it differs day to day, but I find it helps put into perspective what I’m doing and if I’m spending enough time/too little time on one certain area.

How short life is

It’s so bloody short!!! Do I need to say any more? I’m writing this post at the ripe old age of 18, but I was still in year 5 yesterday, I swear. I can’t comprehend it. Time flies, honestly.

The right decisions are sometimes the hardest to make

And additionally, the right decision doesn’t always feel like the right decision. I know full well that pulling out of my Cambridge interview was the right decision to make, but that didn’t make it any easier. However happy I am at uni, I think I’ll always wonder what my life could have been like, if I had gone to the interview and got a place (which of course is a massive if!!). I think if you can feel in your gut that something isn’t right though, you should trust it, because life has a weird way of working out.

Dreams can easily be goals, and are also not static

Linking on to the topic of Cambridge, last year made me reflect a lot on what I thought was my dream. I realised dreams can change, and can also become goals that are accessible. Since I was about 10 going to Cambridge University was my dream but actually, it was just that – a beautiful dream. A much more realistic dream is going to the University of York and it’s also completely my goal – just 7 exams and AAB in my exams between us 😉

Don’t be embarrassed to tell people about what you love doing

I’m such a big hypocrite for saying that because I love blogging, but I’ve told literally nobody that I do it. I think some people from school have found out but they’ve never mentioned it to me, which I’m perfectly ok with. When I first started, I didn’t tell anyone because we were at the age where doing anything creative or unusual was immediately uncool, which to me at the time was exactly what I didn’t want. Now I just like having a platform that’s completely separate to my school and home life. I’m sure people will find my blog and other social accounts and probably at uni I will be more open about sharing them, but I know that if it came to it now, I wouldn’t be embarrassed to say I blog. I’ve had some amazing things to come from blogging – new friends, nominations for awards and travel inspiration to name just a few! – and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Tie your happiness to places and things instead of people

Because people are unpredictable and can be rubbish, sometimes. However, places can’t let you down, and neither can pizza and chocolate…

I still have a week of my Easter holidays left so I’m going to try and get a few posts prepared for the next few weeks, including my Madrid travel guide. The next 2 months are going to be hectic and I’m going to be stepping up the revision a lot but that’s okay – it’s temporary and it’ll pass so quickly, I know that.

I hope everyone’s ok, and happy Easter!

“i’m fine”

There’s a saying that bad things come in threes and if that’s the case, I’ve been hit twice over recently. I’m full to bursting point with emotions, so much so that I’ve not quite come to terms yet with how I actually feel. All I know is that I’ve been experiencing a sort of emptiness lately.

I’m not going to go into what’s been going in a lot of detail because a) is anyone that bothered really? Everyone has their own issues and me offloading mine onto you probably isn’t going to help much, and b) some of it is personal to me and my family. Several (quite frankly) shiz things have happened, all in close proximity to one another and I’ve been struggling a lot, especially in the last few days, with accepting change and moving on.

I’m going to call the title of this post “I’m fine” because that’s the main reason I’m writing this. As soon as anyone asks me how I am, I’ll automatically answer I’m fine, even when I’m so far from it and I think this is applicable to a lot of people. I’d so much rather cry on my own, tucked up in bed with all the lights off, than admit to someone that I’m not alright (precisely what I’ve been doing lately). We all seem to bottle up our issues which perpetuates them, making them much worse.

Admitting you’re not happy at the moment is the first step to things improving. When I say that, I don’t necessarily mean even admitting it to others; just acknowledging how you’re feeling is progress. I always project this persona of being completely happy with myself, my life and everything and everyone around me, both online and offline, and subconsciously I begin to believe this is the truth. Keeping in tune with your emotions and allowing yourself to feel them is so, so vital. You won’t always be happy and that’s absolutely OK. Take the evening off and relax, do something you enjoy.

Furthermore, invalidating how you’re feeling is as equally damaging as ignoring your feelings. Questioning why you’re so bothered about something is a sign of your passion, and we need to stop misinterpreting that as a sign of weakness.

Follow my Twitter for some truly inspirational content 😉

We have to learn to accept bad days, bad weeks even, but as humans we have a tendency to let a bad day or week dwell on our mind. Don’t let negative emotions characterise and define a period of your life. Life is really, really hard sometimes but your mindset is so important. There are always positives to be taken out of a negative time. I promise. Sometimes, you just have to look a little harder than normal.

Talk to people. Vent your frustrations at your friends or, if you’re not comfortable with that, write it down. Journal. Open an anonymous twitter account and let everything out. I can’t stress enough how cathartic I find writing – there’s something about seeing your thoughts written down on paper that completely calms the mind. Life feels a lot more manageable that way, when you’re not lugging around conflicting thoughts and emotions.

Have a look on Spotify too, and flick through some of their ready-made playlists. Belt out some Adele or do some crazy head-banging to a rock playlist. It helps (trust me!) and when you hear someone voicing exactly how you’re feeling, you feel less alone. It’s comforting, knowing that you’re not the only person to have ever had their heart broken 😉

I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak recently but yesterday it really dawned on me that I’m sad…about a boy. Then I realised, if somebody doesn’t like me for who I am then, ya know, it wasn’t going to work out anyway so it’s probably for the best (even if, right now, it feels like the end of the world). Better things (and people!) will come out of it. I can’t emphasise this enough: you are enough on your own – you shouldn’t need anybody else to be comfortable and happy with yourself. Boys/girls will come and go in your life, and whilst it is hard to accept moving on at the time, better people are on their way. And in the meantime, enjoy the single life! Be happy with your own company! Take yourself out for a meal! At the end of the day, you’re the only person who will stay with you throughout your life, so you might as well be happy 😉

I wrote most of this post yesterday. I was in quite a good headspace – things felt like they’d finally clicked into place. Whilst I’m still a lil bit sad, I’m well aware that things are going to improve, and quickly – you just have to believe that the bad phases of life are only temporary (because they are!). Have hope x

The Book Club

Since the start of term, I seem to have been busy non-stop – although I couldn’t actually tell you what I’ve been busy with to be honest, because I don’t seem to have done much of the pile of schoolwork that I need to do. Which is slightly worrying, to say the least.

In terms of what I’ve been reading lately, I was given a few books for Christmas so I’ve started them. First of all I read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. As I was reading it I was trying to figure out what it reminded me of, and I think I’ve decided it’s a mixture of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Groundhog Day and Cluedo. There’s just one narrator who’s trying to solve the mystery of who killed Evelyn, but he inhabits several different bodies of guests at a party and although he becomes different people, he lives out the same day, over and over again, in these different bodies. It’s really quite confusing and there were a few points where I just had to stop and think for a sec because I couldn’t quite figure out how he knew what he did. If you’ve read Seven Deaths, let me know what you thought of it – I really couldn’t shake off the Harry Potter Time-Turner vibes, and being set at a party in a huge old mansion made it feel like a big game of Cluedo.

I bought The Perks of Being a Wallflower in my post-Christmas book frenzy (I bought 16 books in 2 weeks #obsessed). Have you ever had that thing where a memory suddenly comes to you, completely out of the blue? I had that. I realised that for my 10th or 11th birthday, I’d received the film of The Perks of Being a Wallflower because I’d just discovered Harry Potter and fallen in love with Emma Watson. I remembered watching the first couple of minutes and then having my parents abruptly switch the TV off because apparently at the time I was ‘too young’ to watch it. Anyway, this all really randomly just popped into my head, so I decided to buy the book and at some point I’ll try and root out the DVD from somewhere in my family’s collection, and (finally) watch it.

I really enjoyed reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Even though some parts were dark and the themes throughout are hard-hitting, I loved the narration and it reminded me a lot of Catcher in the Rye which is one of my favourite books. I wish I’d been introduced to it earlier, but hey 😂

My friends and I booked tickets to see A Woman of No Importance, so I read the play beforehand to get to grips with the plot. I’m writing this on the night I was meant to see the play, but unfortunately it was cancelled which I’m actually really sad about. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading the play and, as my introduction to Wilde’s plays, I’m excited to read more.

I was also bought the collective book of Oscar Wilde’s short fiction for Christmas (a fab present) which I’ve been reading before I go to sleep. A lot of the stories are fairy tales so they’re really quite relaxing to read after a long, hard day at school lol. I admire Wilde’s talent of summing up humanity and our characteristics so succinctly into one sentence, and there are many such quotes peppered through the stories I’ve read so far. I particularly liked The Portrait of Mr W.H. because 1) there were several quotes that I recognised from The Picture of Dorian Gray, 2) it taught me a lot about Shakespeare’s sonnets and 3) the plot within the plot was a v intriguing technique. 10/10 would recommend any of Wilde’s work.

fulfilling your dreams (or…not)

A few points I just want to say too:

  • Firstly I hope this post is actually legible – thank you Eleanor for giving me the idea to handwrite posts, genius!!
  • In no way am I saying Cambridge isn’t the right choice of uni for anyone – for me at this particular moment in time, I don’t feel it’s right. You don’t have to follow what you once dreamed of doing.
  • Dreams can change. I am ridiculously excited to go to York, something that, one year ago today, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be saying. Everything seems perfect. Your dreams and desires change as you do, and that’s good. So, in a way, I did get into my dream uni: it’s just not the uni that I used to think was my dream.
  • Thank you so so much to everyone who congratulated me/wished me luck – even though I kind of knew I wasn’t going to interview, your support honestly made me cry ❤️
  • I’m going to put York as my firm choice uni, and the offer is AAB which hopefully is achievable. My second choice is Nottingham but my offer there is AAA, so I’m not sure if I’ll actually put it down as my insurance, because if I don’t get the grades for York, I certainly won’t have for Nottingham!

state of mind

– photos from pinterest –

I’ve been musing a lot lately. Partly as a form of procrastination, but partly because I feel like I’m on the brink of a new start and I’m just waiting for it to happen.

These last few weeks, I’ve been focusing on trying to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Not just for my own benefit but for everyone who surrounds me, because we all need a little more happiness in our lives. Instead of sending typical snapchat streaks (yesss, I still have them, I don’t know if they’re still cool or not?!) of a black screen and ‘streaks’ written across, I’ve been sending my pals fun messages in the mornings. Motivational even, as some of them have said 😉 I’m feeling really motivated for life in general at the moment, and I really want to share that with other people. I find, when I’m feeling down, even a simple reminder that I’m loved, or that I can do something, helps me a lot so I’m trying to reciprocate that with others.

In time for the new year I’m trying to instil some habits on my life which I think the moodboard at the top of this post quite accurately summarises. I’m trying to set up a sense of calm before the chaos of next year by being present at all times, and really focusing on the here and now. I want to make sure I have a lot of fun in between revising for the dreaded e*ams, so next year I’m trying bullet journalling. As well as being a hobby, I’m hoping having a journal will motivate me and organise me (a win-win situation for everyone hehe).

I just feel like I’m in limbo at the moment – I’m working towards a goal that at the moment I’m 8 months away from knowing if I’ve achieved or not. Whilst I am trying to focus on the present enjoy every single moment of sixth form since it’s my last year of formal education, it’s hard, despite me being the most content at school I think I’ve ever been. In summer I have so many things to look forward to – seemingly endless time, travels with pals (hopefully!), days out to various cities. I want to learn about natural history and visit lots of museums and art galleries and stare into space looking at constellations but at the moment I just don’t have time. And I desperately want time. 17 isn’t going to last for ever and I want to feel like I truly made the most of it. Because then it’s 18, and that’s when the tough adult shiz starts. Everything seems to be in preparation for university – I keep saying things to myself like ‘oh, when I’m at uni I’ll join the gym’ (you guys need to hold me to that!!). It just feels odd to be working towards something so far in the distance but which is in reality not that long away.

This definitely has not been one of my most eloquent posts but I just wanted to put down my thoughts. I seem to be stuck in-between two phases of my life, not that that’s necessarily a bad place to be stuck: I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

November Goals

I honestly do not know where 2018 has gone. We have 2 months left before 2019 which is probably going one of the biggest years of my life so far, and that’s terrifying.

On that note, I thought today would be as good a day as any to set some last minute New Year’s resolutions.

Numero uno: I really want to focus on not making things into an (unnecessarily) big deal. I mentioned this on twitter a few days ago – I build stuff up into a huge insurmountable task that can never be completed which then stresses me out completely. But school isn’t like that, and neither is life; everything is achievable.

Two: my time management is getting better, but it needs to be better still. I’m so so so guilty of requiring a break after doing literally anything – I’ll do an hour’s work, then allow myself 3 hours rest 😂 and similarly, if I know I’ve got plans for the day I’ll immediately write the whole day off an unproductive. I desperately need to fix this (I’m getting better at it too) so that’s going to be a focus on mine for the remainder of this year and next.

Three: save some money!!! I have spent a ridiculous amount of money recently, but *please* let’s not talk about that.

Four: upload on my blog weekly – let’s see how that goes, hm! I’ve been saying this all year, but now I really want to focus on keeping the quality (?) content coming. Especially since before long, my life will have succumbed to revision so I want to make sure I have everything prepared for my (inevitable) break in spring.

I know this has just been a little post but I hope you’ve enjoyed it regardless! I love taking time to reflect on my goals, seeing what I have and haven’t met, as it just helps me to realign my priorities. Have you met your New Year’s resolutions, or are you setting a few more now like me? 😉

Finding Your Voice Online

Blogging is a weird thing. It’s like having a conversation with a person who you’ve never met before and who you really don’t know – literally anybody could be reading what you’re writing. And that’s scary.

Since I began blogging, which I think was in 2015, I’ve not told anybody I know that I have a blog. Nobody. A few people I know from school have found my blog (I think – they’ve at least found my instagram and Twitter, which have my blog’s URL in the bios) and that terrifies me. I really don’t understand why; partially I just want to keep the two worlds separate, and I’ve never liked other people looking at my work, but more recently I started to wonder whether I subconsciously think it’s too much of an almost-taboo subject to be a blogger. There’s a lot of debate going on at the moment about the significance of blogs, especially since that advert that the internet went ballistic over. Today I decided that I wanted to write a letter of sorts to people I know in real life who will, eventually, find my blog; to tell them why I blog, and why I don’t talk about it.

Finding your voice and your identity in a real life scenario is hard enough, particularly in your teenage years when you want to simultaneously fit in and stand out. You know, you’re trying to figure out your body, your likes, your dislikes, your clothing and music taste and stick to what you want, whilst also maintaining that slightly distanced persona every cool person seems to have. It’s hard, and it’s made ten times harder when you don’t even know who you’re communicating and speaking to.

Writing and publishing takes some confidence, I won’t lie. Your blog is like a Horcrux, a little part of your soul. Sorry for the Harry Potter analogy but honestly, it does feel like it – whatever you say online, you know that someone, somewhere in the world will read it, reply, help if needed, comfort, joke…they’ve got you.

In this incredible online community there is a place for everyone. You know when something feels so good that you don’t want to talk about it to anyone, because then it’ll feel somehow less good? Blogging fits exactly into that category. It’s hard to start with, like when you’re at an event on your own and have to find someone to talk to, but so quickly, you become part of an online family.

This is why I blog. It’s fun, I love writing – I always have and I’m fairly sure I always will, although English Literature essays?? Maybe I’ll give them a miss – and you grow as a person. Often I’ll be writing, the words pouring out, and I’ll type something that I didn’t even know I thought. It’s like an extension of yourself, where you can say exactly what you want.

Why I don’t talk about blogging? It’s private. It’s like a diary, although published to limitless numbers of people. Contradictory, huh? I love it, and I love you if you’re reading this.

Also, if I know you in real life, please don’t mention my blog because I will turn bright red and possibly cry. Pretend you haven’t seen it. Read from afar 😉