Singing and Sausage-rolling, a vital part of best friendship

Do you — or did you ever — have a Best Friend? Do you believe in the idea of one person whose friendship matters the most? Tell us a story about your BFF (or lack thereof).

I DO have a best friend. Though my experience of best friends hasn’t always been great. My first best friend moved to a different school, and when I moved school too, the most we talked was through postcards and birthday cards. Then, when I settled into my new school, my next best friend decided to move even further away-to Australia. The one after that was even worse. She turned out to be a bully. Thanks to her constantly comparing the both of us, putting me down and becoming increasingly nasty I lost confidence, which has taken years to get back. But I learned a lot from that experience, and I’m almost glad she was so nasty as it made me tougher and stronger emotionally. My current best friend took me all of those best friends to get to, but she was worth it (however cheesy that sounds). We are both pretty shy, which meant it took us a while to become close. But when we stuck with each other as people fought and went from different friendship groups, it became obvious that we would be friends for life. So, thanks to Ellie, I do believe in the idea of one person whose friendship matters the most. Because it means there is always someone to rely on for support and to tell the secrets that are too hard to tell your family or friends that don’t understand you as much. I still have a close knit group of friends, who I get along really well with. And I think that it’s important to be in a group as well, because sticking with one best friend only can isolate you from making other friendships. 

Ellie and I met in the last years of primary school and managed to stay friends until secondary school. It wasn’t until the last three years that I became really close with her. Our shared love of Taylor Swift brought us together. We went to see her Speak Now tour, which was our first concert at age thirteen. And this year we saw Taylor again, age sixteen, but at the 02 in London, which was AMAZING. 

We’re the kind of friends who don’t need anything fancy to have fun. Once, I rolled down her back garden in a blanket in an attempt to be a sausage roll.  We laugh at each other-well, Ellie laughs at me when I fall off my bike. And we cry on each others’ shoulders a lot. Which is useful when you’re a teenager and there are a lot of tears to cry. I do crazy stuff for her, most of the time without thinking. Like singing in front of too many people-bearing in mind I can’t sing, to try and get her to sing to ANYONE. (She sang to me later on, followed by tears of course). Sorry Taylor Swift, I didn’t mean to murder any of your songs. 

To anyone that doesn’t have a best friend, my advice is not to worry about getting one. Try and get into a small group of friends who you can trust, then someone you probably didn’t expect will become closer to you and turn out to be your best friend. You don’t necessarily need a best friend to be happy, but once you have a true best friend you’ll know because you won’t be able to let them go. 

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‘Meant for each other’

I’ve just got back from a family holiday. Being surrounded by other families made me think about how some people stay together because of time and some people stay together because they are meant for each other. And it made me think about what that actually means. I think it means when both partners’ personalities fit together. What I mean is that, like a jigsaw puzzle, where one person lacks a quality, the other person makes up for it to make a balance. For example, a short temper and someone with bucket-loads of patience. This doesn’t work with everything because at the same time being too different can distance people. To me, that’s why finding ‘the one’ is so hard. I think that the people that are best suited to each other have equal amount of things in common to things that are different, which I realise is hard to judge. 

While people watching, I saw a lot of couples that didn’t seem to be ‘in love’. Maybe they were just having a rough day, I don’t know. But I found it saddening, because it led me to wonder how people decide whether to stay with someone through difficult times or not. Sometimes people stay with each other so long and try so hard to do so that they change as people and don’t love each other anymore. When you marry someone it’s impossible to know how people and situations will change ad if it’s for the good or the bad. So, making a lifelong declaration to someone seems awfully scary to me-which it probably should be since I’m only sixteen and have never even been in a relationship, let alone a serious one. 

I’m not going to delve any further into marriage and divorce, as it is a whole subject that I could write thousands and thousands of words on. My final thought on this ramble about love is that I believe people should be more forgiving when relationships go wrong. I feel that judgement, not just from the partner, but families and friends can scare people from doing the right thing for them, so people should allow for change and be forgiving if it distances them. 

Defying Difficulties to Help Others

Explore what that kindness means to you, and share it with others.

It wasn’t random, it was a series of frequent, persistent acts of kindness that seem most memorable to me. When I moved house, I no longer rode the bus to school. But I still went on it when I would go round to my friend’s house. I am pretty sure the bus driver knew that I had moved, but since then-and even when I told him I had moved house- he pretended I still lived in the village and had a bus pass, meaning I didn’t have to pay. Maybe it was because when I was much younger, in my first year of secondary school, I insisted on writing EVERYONE a Christmas card,  and I gave him one. I don’t know. And I don’t know if I’m the only one he does this for. But it’s still makes me smile and is one of the acts of kindness I remember the most.

Once, I got lost in Disney world Florida when I was about seven. I didn’t even realise my family had walked off at first. But when I stopped playing and started to cry, I remember a woman walking me to the section she worked in, which sold Dr. Seuss books. She let me read them, while she rang her colleagues to find the rest of my family. And I don’t really remember crying, because I think she made me feel safe, better. I’m sure my dad thanked her, but it wasn’t until I looked back at the memory, older, that I appreciated her kindness. 

My last random act of kindness was during my recent school trip. My friends and I were desperate to go to the fairground so we raced there when the teachers allowed us some free time. To go on a ride, you had to have a certain amount of tokens, which you could buy from a machine. Loading all my change in, to get as many as I could, I gazed around at the flash of lights and laughed at the screams of terror. Sooner than I thought, those screams belonged to me-a mixture of excitement and fear. And even sooner, it seemed we had to get back to the meeting point as our free time dwindled away. Shoving my hands into my pockets as I left a ride, I felt a couple of tokens still left. I looked at my best friend, who was doing the same thing and we shared that look of when you can read someone else mind. Then, we walked to the first person we saw, an old lady with her grandchildren and poured our small piles of tokens. All I could hear as we zipped our way through the crowds was her ‘thank you’ as her smile crinkled the skin around her eyes. 

I believe kindness means defying whatever obstacles come up with the intention to help someone. For example, doing something that might be humiliating for you just because you know it will cheer someone up. And this links to current social media and the ability to post uncensored, anonymous comments. Because when it is easy to be hateful and abusive, it means being kind is resisting the hateful nature of the many comments made by ‘keyboard warriors’ in order to make an honest, thoughtful reply to the piece of information or media. So, I believe kindness, is making the time- rather than posting a nasty remark, which takes seconds- and the effort to do that thing to help someone. And an honest, thoughtful comment is much more likely to help someone because criticism is constructive, while saying ‘you’re stupid’ or something similar gives that person nothing to build from, just a knock to their confidence. 

Confidence, I think, is closely related to kindness, too. Especially in terms of being kind to yourself. Because if you don’t believe in your self, you don’t believe it is worth doing something kind for yourself. And this negativity tends to affect others badly as well. I can openly admit that there have been times when I should have been kinder to myself due to confidence. But, also, situation and relationships with others can affect the way you treat yourself. Earlier this year, I felt like going to my dad’s every other weekend was a struggle, not just because of the difficulty in doing homework and revision, but because of tensions in the family. So, I made a decision that was kind to myself and told my dad that I couldn’t visit for a while. And I stood by my decision despite the way some of my relatives reacted. Doing that, defying the guilt and worries, made me happier and I’m proud of that. That big step has made me realise that it is easier than you think to be kind to yourself when you need a change, whether it is big or small. 

In conclusion, I think that kindness has a significance in my life, which is greater than I realised. Kindness boosts positivity and confidence, which drives me to do new things and be kind to others, too. 

My Summer Goals

This summer is a busy one for me, and I hope to post as much as I can in between holidaying, kayaking, making social action campaigns and whatever else comes along. And as a keen list-writer, I have compiled the goals I want to achieve over the summer:

  • Drink more water. This one is simple and probably a stereotypical goal, but I think it’s still important. To make me feel healthier and improve my skin.
  • Keep up running- I already go running about once a week, but I often get caught up with other things when I am out of school. So, to stay healthy, I want to keep up the routine. And maybe go swimming, too. 
  • Complete my reading list. This one is hard as it will inevitably grow, but for now this is what I have: 
  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  2. Jane Eyre
  3. Wide Sargasso Sea
  4. The Book Thief
  5. Emma (well, finish from where I left it…)
  6. Animal Farm
  7. An Abundance of Katherines
  8. And any YA novels that interest me! (I have already read the Hunger Games and Divergent series recently, so I was thinking the Mortal Instruments and Beautiful Creatures.)
  • Write poetry. And just write in general. Even though it’s something I love to do, sometimes I don’t make enough time to do it.
  • Save up money. For, you know, stuff. Mainly clothes, I’ll admit, and I kind of need a new laptop, too. 
  • Put effort into NCS, making friends and doing activities as best as I can. I’m not very confident at all, so doing this project on my own is a bit of a leap, and I want to push myself to not let my lack of confidence bring me down.
  • Make time for friends- especially the ones that I won’t see at sixth form. It’s important to me to keep the friendship going. So, I’ll be planning cinema trips, swimming, days out and whatever else I can think of.

Now that I reread the list, I seems like quite a lot to do in just over a month. But I’m ready for it. Bring it on, summer! 

Practical Procrastinator

Today’s daily prompt:

We all procrastinate. Website, magazine, knitting project, TV show, something else — what’s your favorite procrastination destination?

Procrastination is delaying something, so it is not necessarily lazy. In my case, I do other things which are still practical and useful, to delay something I know I should do. For example, my bedroom is untidy most of the time because I always put it at the bottom of my to do list. Also, when I am studying, if there is a topic I find difficult, which I know I should revise, often I will study all other topics until I do that one. But, usually, I still study that topic

However, I am the kind of person who worries and feels guilty about things that probably don’t even matter, so I can’t procrastinate for long. I am also the kind of person that likes to write lists, so when there is only one thing left to be crossed off, I have to do it. Maybe it has something to do with being a perfectionist, too. All I know is once I’ve started on my to do lists, there’s not much that will stop me!

Enough

Enough.

It’s never enough-

Not one burger,

Not one car,

Is it Mercedes or BMW you like?

Not one woman.

 

No, the greed doesn’t end with love;

Love, the word used so wrongly.

 

But when you strip it down,

To the meat,

To the structure beneath,

To the girl underneath her body,

Do you still want them?

 

Let me ask you this:

Will you still want your arteries

Ten years from now?

Clogged to burst-

Like the path you left so carelessly,

Blocked from the ones you said you love.

But now, do you really?

Will you still want to lie beside a new woman,

Every night?

Or will you be left in your bed,

Alone.

Wishing for the one,

The one you really love, 

To hold them tight.

Seat Guru

You get to plan a dinner party for 4-8 of your favorite writers/artists/musicians/other notable figures, whether dead or alive. Who do you seat next to whom in order to inspire the most fun evening?

As long as I would only plan this theoretical dinner party and not cook for it, all should go well. I would invite the following people:

  • Audrey Hepburn- because of her class, elegance and positive, inspirational attitude. 
  • Taylor Swift- for the stereotypical  teenage girl in me, who has been a fan since the beginning!
  • John Green- because of the amazing writing advice he could impart on me (as long as I could contain my screams of fangirling excitement)
  • William Shakespeare- who I doubt needs an explanation!
  • JD Salinger- For writing the Catcher in the Rye, which has inspired and provoked new thoughts about life for me. 
  • Albert Einstein- not to learn about science or maths, but to hear the quotes about success and life advice from the person himself.
  • Walt Disney- because he saved Mr Banks (if you understand my reference!) and possibly some free tickets to Disneyland. 

I don’t think the seating arrangement matters to me, as it would be interesting enough to see these people join in a conversation and pass on their different pieces of knowledge and advice. And even if they talk about things I haven’t mentioned, just being able to sit with these people would probably silence me in a state of awe. 

Change and Mistakes

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

The people I have known for the longest are my family. Most of the friends I have now are only recent, as I have moved houses and schools several times throughout my childhood. 

I have watched my little sister grow in her appearance and as a person for most of my life. So, I would probably have to say that to me she has changed the most, but not necessarily in comparison to the rest of my family. I seem to have noticed her changes more because I don’t just see her everyday, but I feel the instinctive need to protect her-whether she notices or not. Watching the puppy fat develop into the beginnings of curves; noticing the way her vocabulary has shifted from using “spongebob squarepants” in every other sentence to “whatever” and seeing the remnants of her mostly short lived hobbies in the form of photos and ornaments.  But the way she has changed is the way everyone changes. We grow up. We move on from things. And we try new things. 

In a way,the changes involved growing up during adolescence are very similar to the way adults change, because adults still grow, they never stop learning. Mistakes cause people to change in order to avoid the mistake happening again, and making mistakes is human so people will continue to change throughout their life. Ultimately, what I’m saying is that everyone changes so much and in ways that are implicit to some and explicit to others, so it difficult to compare the amount of change people go through. Meaning, it is even harder to tell whether the changes are for better or worse.

Fear-an essential part of being human

How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?

I have a few different responses to this prompt. First, is that the ability to be feel limitless, to be freed of the barriers caused by fear seems exhilarating. I would be able to do everything I once couldn’t, from watching gory movies to holding creepy crawlies to public speaking. 

On the other hand, without fear, I feel that these things would lose their excitement. Having a fear means you can prove your strength-physical or emotional- by facing it. An absence of fear could even become boring. We need something to kick-start the adrenaline and motivate us to do things in order to push against our fears. In some ways, fearlessness would close me off from acting bravely as the element of dare would be lost.

Still, I can see the ways fearlessness would improve my life. I would be more confident and lose the anxieties involved with being introverted. I would be able to become a doctor, an optician, a dentist, whatever I wanted without the fear of blood and gore. And by doing that I could help people in new ways.

But would this change me as a person? Would I lose some qualities by losing my fears? In my opinion, I think fears build a person’s character and taking them away would change them and make them lose that part of their character. So, in conclusion, I think my life wouldn’t be any better without fears. 

 

 

 

Can’t Stand Me

What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

The idea of watching myself at first seems intriguing, a way to see myself from someone else’s perspective. But when I actually see the videos I see all of my insecurities flashing in front of me like ugly neon lights, concealing my qualities. I’ve always had bad posture, but on video it  seems to be magnified to the point where I appear to be a hunchback. The memory of the sincerity of my laughter as I watch an old video of my friend and I dancing around is wiped away and all I see is manic, ugly chortling. Looking back at my short lived try at singing, the nerves, the anxiety in my eyes as I move towards the microphone takes me back to those shaky moments of terror right before I performed. And I have to stop the video before I reach the start of the song. There was a reason my singing was short lived!

When I think about listening to a recording of my voice, I cringe. My first thought is of the countless recordings I used to memorise Spanish paragraphs, to revise chemistry, and-of course- my attempts at singing. When I first tried this method of revision, I couldn’t help but notice my awful accent and the way my voice would catch on some words, or stutter on others. Though, I soon got used to my voice and I was reciting Spanish like crazy. As far as the singing goes, my attempts at Whitney Houston songs (a guilty pleasure!) were deleted without hesitation.

So, I would have to say watching videos of myself is more unbearable, because there are more things to be insecure about; not just my voice, but my appearance, stance as well the way I move. Still, I am reluctant to ever delete the videos of me prancing around in fancy dress with my friends. Some things, however cringe-worthy, you just can’t let go…