(forewarning: this post is ridiculously long and after reading Lexie's 2017 review, I realise unnecessarily so. Conciseness never was my strong point)

2017 opened in bed, crying. Start as you mean to go on, they say. I was terrified about the end of exams and pressure and emptiness and lack of direction.
As 2017 closes, I am no longer terrified about these things, I feel (mostly) full and my life feels busy and yes there are cracks and dark corners but I see a direction and a purpose beyond one sole, abusive thing. 
This year has been an unbelievable challenge, academically, mentally, socially, personally. It hasn't been a shit year, that description feels wholly unfair, but it has been immensely difficult and has ensued a lot of pain and fear. 
It has been characterised by 3 simple words: challenge, change, growth
It is a year I never believed I would survive but here I am, at the 31st December, alive, strong and through the cracks of my faulty mind and the challenges of this year, I am glowing with a radiance of survival.
I did it.

In my mind, it is divided into two distinct halves. The first you know about. The challenge. The intense loss of self, an abusive addiction to academia, permanent stress and relentless breakdowns about the prospect of the future. Home was a toxic and messy environment, plagued by depression of a loved one and a raging fire of perpetual conflict.
January to May was characterised by safe afternoons in the library, kind, kind teachers who said kind, kind words, believed in my abilities and listened to my incessant worries, whom I will forever remember for they way they looked after me and inspired me and understood me, days structured with immense precision to ensure both revision and uptight socialising could be achieved, and endless laughs and gossips and jokes. We were bombarded with relentless mocks, in January, in March and almost broke trying to achieve in a school that was falling apart (a failed ofsted, 3 different head teachers). Much of it is a blur. Of tears, of a dressing gown I never got out of, of "I can't do this" to teachers and "yes you can" responses". My dear mum drove me to the beach, repeated nights in a row, to cry, to walk and to listen to my pain. I ignored the dates, hid my calendar, pretended I had no idea how many weeks it was until the end but still repeatedly thought "3 months, its okay thats ages", "4 weeks I can't do this.

June. Fucking June. Here's some snippets of memory.
Geography exam, my first, one I relied so heavily on to achieve. An exam in which the pressure led to a panic attack, leaving the exam half way through, crying into the invigilators arms that "it wasn't supposed to happen like this".
A walk, that same evening, with my closest friends. It was raining and dark. I felt my life was over.
An English exam were I lost myself in the bliss of writing about made up characters and the excitement of an interesting essay.
A conversation with my dear History teacher. "Be kind to yourself Katie", "feed the right wolves".
A day, one of the weirdest of my life, that consisted of 2 goddamn awful exams and a surprise hung parliament???
A week spent solely revising Romantic poetry, days spent in the library losing brain cells to Shelley's depressive narrative and Blake's religious beliefs.
The final exam, utter glee at the questions (presentation of nature in Romantic poetry UHM YES) and the most conflicting emotions.
3 consecutive days of partying, mixed with emptiness.

July was a whirlwind of Leavers' (a night spent clubbing with out English teacher/head of sixth form, all smashed and having a blast), 2 of the most insane weeks travelling around Europe with my best friends, exploring cities and feeling so alive at the adventure, my 18th birthday in the sickest club in Buda.

August is a month of juxtaposition, aching with the pain of grief. I also experience one of the happiest days of my life, opening my A-level results to see 3 A*'s (?!) and screaming "what the fuck", spending the night absolutely pissed and watching the 7am sunrise before heading on holiday that very same day.

And September brought the change, the return of my sister to school, but me not with her, and the loss of my closest friends. It existed as a day by day month, one day it was okay, the next I would creep downstairs and breakfast and just sit in silence, blank faced, crying. But, I survived.

And I suppose the rest is just the after.
And now it feels okay.
Its taken 10 months of pain to reach this place but I've learned time really can heal anything. It soothed my first experience of grief, not towards a person but towards the most reliable and secure element of my life.
Day by day things got easier. I felt less need to fill every second, my life began to feel purposeful, I learned what helped the longing and the loneliness. I busied myself with numerous trips, to Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Manchester, London, Oxford, allowed myself to do more art and create for the pure enjoyment. I applied to uni and experienced an Oxford interview. I spent more time with my family, gave back in return for everything I took this year and allowed the world to be.
I volunteer and I work and I learn and I feel good and life feels as though it has meaning and I have grown so so much, so far beyond anything I could have imagined.
And to get through the absolute shite that, in retrospect, was August–mid November, I wrote and I talked and I tried therapy and I ran and I listened to podcasts and I read and I spent time in nature and I baked and I created and I went on nights out and I reminded myself that it will get better. And it has.

This space on the internet has provided a divine sanctuary of safety. A space that has allowed me to process the madness, to disperse my thoughts when they felt most vulnerable and provided a sense of stability in the turbulence and change 2017.

It has also given me new friends, something I never could have pre-empted, but which cures my loneliness and built my dwindling identity. To them, I really am so grateful for saving this year, no matter how insignificant a part they feel they have played.
I understand myself to an extend I never believed possible, I enjoy my own company, I feel an ability to take on new challenges, I feel proud of my written work and I am so, so much more confident, in trying new experiences, in meeting new people, in talking.

And despite all this deep and analytical talk, there have been some fucking great moments (and just some worth mentioning):
Endless nights out, fuelled by trebles and eager, messy and hazy and complicated but always a blast. The submission of my English and History coursework, the latter causing immense trauma but also producing a piece of work I am overwhelmingly proud of. The introduction of a cat into our house, who I now adore, flute lessons that offered an hour of disappearance from this abusive world, evenings spent with my 3 best friends (more like sisters), where time just disappeared, the annual family Easter trip and days spent revising Soviet architecture on the beach, takeaway nights in pyjamas, a dear teacher who cried at my thank you card (despite me despising geography) and still emails e for updates. A day on the quayside filming for a friend, days at work, often with kids falling asleep, meeting Dalal and Libby in London, endless trips to the beach and walks and the Guilty Feminist podcasts and live viewing at Edinburgh fringe and knitting and probably so much more but this post is already so long.  Fucking nuts politics that saw a general election, the inauguration of an abhorrent president, relentless trauma, in the way of terrorism and fires and an aching country, and so many other global events, the relieving avoidance of a French right-wing leader, the activation of article 50, a faulty government plagued with division and allegation, the rise of the voice of victims, war and coup and an ongoing climate crisis.

And right now, I still miss school in some ways, but the pining has diluted. I am craving education, feeling increasingly stupid but, more than anything, am relishing the absence of permanent stress. I am apprehensive about the turning of the year and no longer having a numerical connection with the academic path and still freak out when I think about growing up. I manage to overthink most aspects of my existence and judge and compare my life with almost everyone around me.
But it's okay. I've survived this, I can survive almost anything.

And, in true melodramatic spirit, some thank you's.
To my aforementioned History teacher for never telling me how much of an annoying fuck I was, putting on extra lessons despite him being sure I would succeed and for inspiring my love for the subject. To my friends, for offering never ending laughs and distraction and withstanding the journey with me, to this online space for offering an unjudgemental outlet, to you all of listening to my incessant crises, to my family for not giving up, no matter how annoying I was, crying every second and the pain a-levels ensued for them all (lol sorry guys, was worth it in the end??) and to my dear mum, for always being there. Always.

Here's to 2018. May it be fucking ace.

(okay this post seems so complainy and whiney and privileged–my year was so much better than some peoples and I am entirely aware of this but my mind also tried to ruin me so I guess it wasn't all rosy but this is just a disclaimer insecure me feels is necessary to say I know how privileged I am. Thank u.)

calm amongst the chaos

This christmas has been a weird one–filled with tears and family dramas but also laughs and fond memories and happiness.  I haven't really been able to relax (possibly perpetuated by my total exhaustion) and have a strong sense of undeserving: of relaxation, of calm, of food, of enjoyment. But despite the inner voice, I've relished time spent in pyjamas, with family and copious quantities of delicious food. Another Christmas will come, and perhaps I will be able to pass that one with a little more ease.

In hindsight, my somewhat dampened enjoyment was possibly caused by the numerous nights of 2 hours sleep that have occurred in the past week and this, along with being ill, has caused an overwhelming fatigue–my sleep pattern has been so messed up.

As was the case last year, here are 3 questions and 3(?) answers.
Leave yours below.

Something that makes you smile.
Having my brother home for Christmas.
Cranberry sauce.
New pyjamas, of which I now have numerous pairs and am struggling to find time to wear them all.
A Soviet Spy book I received for Christmas, which encompasses 2 of my favourite things.
Dancing, with old and dear friends and, in a complicated way, the drama that encircles a night out.
The exciting prospects of the year ahead.

Something that makes you sad.
The relentless and internal pressure, a voice that never leaves, that never allows rest.
The future of my brother, in an organisation I neither agree with nor see the appeal of.
That days spent together, at a slow and loving pace, occurring so infrequently.

Something you wish to achieve.
The silence of the internal voice.
Harmony with my sister.
A fluency in the language of love (meaning French, not romance lol)

I am currently suffering from a night out that rolled into a 6 hour family road trip, the start of which I was most definitely still drunk. Last night was weird, it was in one of my least favourite clubs but I think I had a good time? It ended with drama which left today feeling somewhat stressed and caused multiple outcries of "oh for fuck sake", creating a situation in which I feel trapped but, due to severe insecurity, am incapable of denying.
Its pretty messy but I feel vulnerable discussing it, maybe a 2018 goal will be to discuss more romantic-y shit. This already makes me feel uncomfortable because, as I am beginning to learn, I am catastrophically appalling at expressing my emotions but hey, you don't grow when you're comfortable.
I should probably also learn to say no as a 2018 goal.
Thats pretty important.

How were your christmases? What answers do you have for the above questions?

today's musing: this podcast, which is so so good. Its about the power of emotions, ways to tackle negativity and feels like a warm and safe conversation with your mum. Give it a listen.

update: 2017 goals

I will be composing a lot of 2017 update posts, partly because it has been a monumental year and partly because I need to process everything thats gone on. I also want to remember this year, and how I survived, despite continuously thinking I wouldn't

1) Read 26 books – lol ok so I read about 3 books between January and June of this year, and have finished on a grand total of 16, which isn't bad all things considered.
2) Finish cups of tea– even now I don't revise, I still successfully manage to leave moulding, half drunk cups of tea in every corner of my room
3) Learn to drive–yes! I'm in the process of (trying) to learn
4) Write more poetry–I've wrote a few poems this year, but I'll continue to pursue this next annum
5) Begin French again–I've sort of just been repeatedly putting this off, I don't know why because I love the language more than anything and crave the (semi) fluency of 1.5 years ago but its a definite for 2018
6) Do a photoshop/art evening class–I haven't achieved this but also don't really want to anymore, which is fine because goals change!
7) Get A-level results I am pleased with– OH BITCH YES I couldn't physically have been happier or more overwhelmed
8) But don't kill myself in the process–despite an awareness of the abuse, I did ruin myself in the process of achieving my a-levels and have spent every month since trying to recover from the intense focus and subsequent emptiness, sort of going with the mindset of what was the point?? was it really worth the pain just for 3 starred letters on a piece of paper?? (I could never have comprehended these thoughts whilst in the process but now its something I think a lot about
9) Apply to uni–oh yes! I've applied for History @ Durham, Oxford, Leeds and UCL
10) Get another piercing–got another 2!!!
11) Continue journalling–my journal has been my inner sanctum and having a physicalised version of my mind is very therapeutic
12) Try and let the future be–???? ok but seriously, this has got a bit better.
13) Allow myself to enjoy staying in but relax when going out–oh gurl, you have loved going out more than anything this year, but have also found real peace in evenings in and the fact that most of my friends are now in different cities has allowed space for this peace to grow
14) Get on better with my sister–this has probably been one of the most unsuccessful goals (oops)
16) Enjoy (or at least try to) my gap year– parts have been so enjoyable, some satisfyingly normal and others swarmed by panic and challenge–but the good has outweighed the bad
17) Try being veggie–ok so, for the most part, this has been immensely successful and I am committed to a veggie life (I say for the most part because I have consumed meat 4 times this year, twice when drunk (lol) and twice by GENUINE accident (i.e. I thought the sushi was tuna not duck–oh yeh I eat fish)

I also achieved so many things beyond those I set out at the start of this year so, whilst 2017 feels as though its been defined by one goal then nothingness, that is far from the truth.
How have you got on with your goals? What resolutions/goals are you setting for the new year?

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the battle of my mind

the battle of my mind
who can ruin it first?
the pulsing adrenaline of overdrive,
pushing harder
seizing, singeing 
the flames of burnout licking at my core
or the narcissistic cries of perfectionism 
unattainable expectation
that will never be enough 

either way
when it comes down to it,
when the swords are drawn, 
the final bow taken,
nothing will be left.
it will fight to oblivion. 

a bitter, empty loneliness. 
no one.
and through this struggle, my cruel mind is the only friend. 

I don't know. This poem isn't really how I'm feeling, I more just found it on my document entitled "words" that remains permanently open on my laptop and needed something to share. I'm trying to write more poetry, however, so perhaps sharing will motivate me.
I don't really know how I'm feeling. I'm exhausted but not really sure why which is anxiety inducing and am beginning to experience the tingles of panic about the future, as though I'm (again) not doing enough with my time. 
Ever since returning from Oxford I've felt unsettled. I suppose its the sense that I am, eventually, moving on but its been difficult to resume my routine. I can't fully relax into the things I am doing or truly experience the festivities. Perhaps, once work has broken up next week, I'll have a little more time. 
There are so many thoughts in my head, majority of which feel intangible. I'm trying to use the Messy Heads 30 days of journaling to understand myself a little better, but I've already missed 1 day so maybe not. I've been thinking a lot about travelling but its got a lot of questions surrounding it: when, where, who?  I've also got a Eurostar voucher I need to use and am pretty keen to visit le Chateau de Versailles and Monet's jardins des Giverny, along with my 2nd favourite city in the world (Paris) so if anyones down for a trip hmu lol. I've also been feeling romantically lonely but have also learned that I am fearful of both intimacy and commitment so bleurgh. Everything feels a bit lost.
There are so many potential and exciting trips and events in the new year but nothing feels secure or set in stone which is, perhaps, what is causing the unease. 
Ugh. I want my mind to settle. These feelings aren't the darkness and depression of a month ago but just a little instability. 
Let me know how you all are. 

(the above visual was just composed to showcase some of my favourite musings. All are found here)

some thoughts whilst in Oxford

The title of this post reminds me of something William Wordsworth, or perhaps Percy Shelley, would entitle one of their poems. Ah, English.
Its raining today which is shitty because I need to get out and explore to clear my head and I didn't bring an umbrella–but fuck it, I need to breathe some air.
So I am at Oxford for uni interviews, I didn't want to talk about it too much but I've had lots of thoughts, and have few people to share the inner workings of my brain with (because I know no one here), so here you are.
The interviews have been weird. There was no way I could have prepared for the questions they asked me. No one asked me about the books I'd read or my coursework. To any future Oxford interviewees, you can't prepare–you can't pre-empt what they will ask you. Just read over what you've written and your submitted essay and think about arguments, beyond that relax.
I've had 2 interviews, one on my written work and anti-Semitism (she was like "I'm now going to ask you about your personal statement" and then isolated the single word 'anti-Semitism and I was like oh cmon) and one on a source and the value of testimony. I did get asked "whats the difference between history and memory?" which threw me a little, but in context it wasn't as challenging.
I really enjoyed both the interviews, which is  a good thing. There is, however, no way you can tell what they're thinking, which is intimidating. I sort of think they weren't hard enough so they don't think I'm capable and am doubting everything.
In all honesty, I'm a mix of emotions.
I, unfortunately, have fallen in love with this city, uni and college and I know that that is detrimental as, previously, I was impartial but applied through pressure. But now I love it and don't want to leave. There are only 8 places available at this college, and 43 applicants, so the chances are oh so low. But I really feel at home in this empire of castles.
But I'm also missing the familiar and am looking forward to escaping this high-charged environment of nerves which feels odd. This afternoon I'm going for coffee with an old friend which will be so warming as I'll be able to just be myself and I haven't seen her in so long. I've met some nice people and have had a chance to relax and explore the city but am also looking forward to being in a world I totally understand/where nothing is new.
Despite this, going home makes me a lil apprehensive as I feel I am returning to a world of dullness and am so excited to start my degree and am reminded of my love for this subject. My old school friends are also coming home this weekend, which also makes me stressed because I feel I am retreating to the past and am so ready to explore new worlds and new people and don't really want to go back.
Its now fucking pissing it down. Ugh. (lol I understand that this is so ambivalent and ambiguous but thats sorta how I feel)
But, I am so proud of myself for this whole process. Two years ago I couldn't stay away from home, would never have come to a some-what unfamiliar city, alone not knowing where I was staying or who I was meeting or what my timetable was. But I've talked to new people and explored and I feel so calm and wow. I've grown so much.

This post is maybe a little damp, like the weather lol. I am happy, just this process is weird (its just waiting and waiting and waiting) and it feels odd falling in love with something you know you can't have. But I've had fun and I love it here and I don't miss home or want to escape so, yay for new experiences and growth but also disheartenment at the fact that it'll never come true. Oh.

Its now 18:18 and I am so incredibly tired and am dreading, beyond all amounts, the 4 hour train home tomorrow and the preconceived emptiness of the weekend. I'll probably have a good cry tonight.

gratitude list

Life is really great at the moment, genuinely. Not in a particularly amazing way there's just a lot to be happy about and, despite being horrendously hungover (which appears to be when the majority of my blog posts are written) I am content.

Here's some things I am grateful for.
1. The freedom to be able to lie in bed all day because I'm exhausted and suffering (from last night) and spend the day exactly how I want to
2. The bright crispness of the autumnal morning and the beauty of the view out my window
3. Friends who look after me and are always down to have fun
4. The opportunity to meet new people
5. My cat who lies at the end of my bed
6. My mum who listens to my incessant worrying and my endless tears and makes everything bearable
7. The acceptance that I am an emotional person, my release is to cry and that's okay, it doesn't make me weak
8. The excitement that next year holds, the opportunity to be able to study my beloved subject at some of the best unis in the country/world
9. books, because I feel a love for reading I haven't experienced in a while
10. An excitement about christmas and festivities and celebrations

so yeh. Currently feel like I'm dying but its entirely self-inflicted and I'm being a wuss.
What are you grateful for?

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la vie #2

It is an inclement Wednesday and, after a questionable driving lesson, I have holed myself up in my room to write and read, before meeting my mum in town and venturing out to work.
Life has been so good lately, I have felt uncharacteristically positive the past 2 or so weeks, and even found myself thinking "this feels so right". I am sort of terrified of slipping into the doldrums of anxiety again  but a) I know it'll both come and pass and b) I need to learn to treasure these moments, and have some idea of what made them so positive (i.e. being busy)

Last weekend I ventured to London to see both family (which was a little overwhelmed with "so what are you doing in your gap year?" questions, which I hate) and meet Dalal and Libby. The friday consisted of rapidly changing plans due to terrorist threats, shoreditch pubs, expensive, and disgusting, cocktails, chatter, laughs, feeling at ease and almond croissants. We also got very lost trying to find the station. Saturday, with Dalal, was filled with a 10k tour of London (on foot), pizza, sunsets on primrose hill, peng photo opportunities and questionable bus journeys. With both, I had a blast and left feeling so full of life and excitement and a desire to run from the past, as what I had created now felt so right. It felt like I'd known them both for years and I suppose that is the magic of this online world. I also began to realise that, whilst I have undoubtedly drifted from my school friends, there are so many other opportunities for friendship and adventure. For making my weekend so enjoyable and making this god damn gap year feel like the right thing, I am grateful to them both (ew cringe) and hope we can recreate soon.
Its just a feckin' shame I live so far away.
I purchased a film camera prior to the trip to London and am so excited to get them developed and share.

Oh shit, I knew there was so much to update. The weekend before London I went to Manchester with my good friend who's at uni here. We visited 2 friends who are at uni in Manchester, and another close friend surprised us by coming too. We had a blast of a weekend, filled with nausea-inducing coaches, a disgusting buffet, christmas markets, vodka cokes, a hilarious night out, drunken mistakes, exploration and endless gossip. It was so homely and warm to all be together, even in a different city, and I returned both exhausted and content.

And next weekend, after some serious DRAMA I am staying at home and greatly anticipating a night out in Newc before a long week in Oxford, contending with an interview, for which I am petrified. I am hoping to survive the trauma with a knowledge that their judgement does not define my worth and a copious number of beta blockers–because I actually want to be able to think straight?! I suppose its simply an opportunity to discuss my beloved subject in a beautiful city, and hopefully see my good pal who lives there. And get some banging pics.
And then I suppose Christmas will be upon us, for which I am getting excited with mince pie and christmas cake making and decoration exploration. I am looking forward to actually having time to feel festive this year.
Yesterday I went to my old school for a mock interview which was both unhelpful and strange, strange to see the world continuing without my place in it, and strange to experience the ease I felt. I spoke to a girl in my year who said she had hardly seen anyone from school, and I thought how odd it was that this tight knit world has so easily fallen apart. And today I received a lovely email from my favourite teacher at school and it made me miss him and the lessons and the community but I am also moving on to bigger and better things, which is exciting (and terrifying).
So yes, wow things feel busy. But good busy. I love being busy. Look out for my film photos, which I will post on here once the role is used up, and another A-level advice guide (focussed on History and English) to keep you all motivated.
And all please cross your fingers and toes for my oxford interview, not because my heart is set on it (Durham is, imo, just as desirable) but because its a scary thing and I feel like my knowledge is being TESTED TO THE MAX. Ok I now need to prepare, rather than procrastinate.

fuck the sexist dress code

A rant has been building up in my for quite some time, I don't really know why I haven't vented the burning rage before, but an article (this one, its very regional so probs not of much interest) re-ignited my fury.
source: here
It regards dress-code standards, specifically in schools. And fuck have I argued about this. Throughout my secondary school existence it was something I challenged: in year 8, when told every morning my skirt was too short, I would stretch it to my knees whilst I ran past the teachers then hoist it back up. In year 10, I gave up on fabricating a lengthened garment and just wore a tight, short skirt, exactly how I wanted to wear it. The same happened with tight trousers.
And every time, the same justification was brought to my attention: "because its inappropriate", " because it will attract unwanted attention", "because it isn't professional". But, on an impressionable 12 year old's mind, this was reinforcing, with great vengeance, that the avoidance of harassment, whether verbal or physical, and I've experienced both, came down to our clothing choices. That we had a duty to maintain an appearance that would mean that others wouldn't be provoked to cat call, to perv, to stare. Fundamentally, that harassment was our fault. In every assembly that addressed dress code, it was just girls. Only girls were asked to attend. Because the problem is only with girls, can't you see? They need to be chaste, covered, pure, innocent. It was never suggested that the perpetrators had a duty to control themselves, treat girls like people and that society, and thus school, had a duty to deconstruct the macho expectations of masculinity that teach boys that its okay to behave like that.

source: here
In sixth-from, a new dress code was introduced. Of the 6 rules, 5 were aimed, directly, at the stereotypical image of women. No crop tops, no short shorts, no short skirts, no low cut tops, no bare shoulders. And for guys? No offensive slogans–which is, as you may have gathered, a uni-sex issue. There rules reinforce that woman have to remain covered, subversive. And the same justification was given, to maintain a "professional environment", because its a place of "work", because its "inappropriate". Other issues occurred, people being sent home for mid-drifts being on show (which undermines the girls education and implies that her appearance, and thus the protection of male sexuality and their attention and focus, is more important than the girls FUcking A-LEVELS).
When I challenged the new regulations, accusing them of being sexist because they singled out girls, the head of sixth-form responded "well maybe if you strip it back, they are sexist, but that's just the society we live in"
"but shouldn't we be working to break down those boundaries" I retorted. If we just accept that that's the way it is, nothing will change.

The most concerning thing, in my eyes, is the idea of clothing "distracting teachers". And worryingly, this isn't the first, or second, time I've heard of this. I vividly remember a teacher at school justifying the sexist regulations by saying there had been "complaints" of male teacher who felt "uncomfortable" with the clothing of students.
Not only does this maintain the superiority of masculinity and male comfort but it also, frankly, fucking creeps me out. In my eyes, if a male teacher feels uncomfortable or is distracted by what a female student, who would most likely be under 18, thus a minor, is wearing, then they shouldn't be teaching. They are in a position of authority, of loco-parentis in fact, and it feels so sleazy and seedy that, when girls are there to learn, just like everyone else, teachers are distracted by their legs or chest, and thinking that this may have happened to me is kind of repulsive.
source: here

There is so much wrong with the regulatory dress code enforced in many schools. Whilst a level of professionalism does need to be maintained, its teaching girls, and reinforcing the belief, that we are subordinate. That our preliminary role is to ensure that we don't distract men from achieving.  Because a girls education appears less important than the sexual tendencies of someone getting turned on by a shoulder (which doesn't actually happen, does it?) As well as being immensely heteronormative, it presents guys as sexual beasts that cannot tame their impulses nor exist beyond their sexual desires. Which isn't true, for the most part. This furthers the destructive image of masculinity that both perpetuates this issue and has many other disastrous consequences.  It also teaches that the female body is inherently sexual and is an object for which other people can dictate rules and regulations.
It cultivates the attitude that a girl's clothing invites attention, that rape is the victims fault if they happened to show some skin, that our bodies are not our own and that they need to be covered up.
Schools are supposed to be progressive, fostering the next generation to move our society on, but if they maintain the belief that dress code is superior to education, our society is screwed.

And I wish I could offer some advice on how to break down these boundaries. But I too am sort of stuck. And find myself succumbing to it, even now I've left school.

But I think I would say don't give in. Wear what you like, show as much leg, stomach, shoulder as you wish–I did, despite relentless protest, and it didnt hamper my education (because dress code doesn't actually affect your ability to learn!!). And challenge the status quo–if someone enforces sexist rules on you, ask why: why just girls? why do we need them? what are you doing to alter male dress code (e.g. pants on show)? instead why don't we tackle the issues surrounding the expectations of masculinity?

Let me know your thoughts and any advice you have to deconstruct these bullshit boundaries.

fashion faves

I've had a pretty great week, nothing special but busy, I've felt positive and stable. I'm embarking on a new therapy process (guided by myself) which involves 'not wallowing'. I used to be good at this but over A-Levels I found comfort in the stress. It became me. I've decided to push on through these feelings, see how it works.
Anyway, the glory of working means I have dolla to spend and, whilst much of this is going into savings (for what, I'm yet to figure–perhaps so if, in 5 months someone appears and invites me to travel the world, I have the means at my disposal) and other dull things, I have been exploring some new fashion options.

(I've also kind of forgotten how you write these fashiony–hauly posts–bare with)

When I was in Sheffield I came across some ace vintage items at superrr cheap prices and have been living in them. This sweatshirt is my fave. Its navy (fab), a sweatshirt (fab) and cropped (fab), it ticks all my boxes. It's even encouraged me to wear my mom jeans, which I previously hated. The shirt I also found in Sheff, and proceeded to wear that night. I also usually hate shirts (I'm not a fan of oversized clothing bc I'm small and frankly it drowns me) but enjoyed the aesthetic of this over a cami for a night out. Plus, it added a little warmth.

This jacket is the one thing I've been wanting to talk about, endlessly. I am obsessed. It too is oversized (!) but I think it looks ok (?) and I enjoy that it works as a house coat (lol)/fancy jacket. Its v warm (an essential) and isn't navy, which is a bonus as every jacket I own falls into that category. It was hideously expensive but, as I mentioned in a post many moons ago, it was my post-HAT treat and well, it was worth every penny.

Other fashion faves include my nike trainers (view here), not because they offer much stylistic value but because they are so fuckin comfy (but, note to self, get trashed on a night out). I've also loved my piercings–I got 2 new additions in the past few months and, once these have healed, will certainly be returning for more. I love how earrings can jazz anything up and they allow me to challenge my 'sensible' preconception (which falls into the idiocy of beauty standards–how can piercings make you look less sensible? but its true, and gurl is writing a post on this soon). Oh, I almost forgot, my love for long sleeves. I am living in and loving wearing long sleeve tops under t-shirts, allowing me to drag out the use of my beloved stripes for a little longer. Not only does it keep me warm but it also adds a lil touch, and I'm also loving a good turtle neck, under both sweatshirts and items such as the above. As my mum has repeatedly reminded me, "having your neck covered really does keep you so much warmer". Thanks mum.

SO yeah, just a few of the items I'm lavin.
I'm feeling the anxiety-inducing nature of friday evenings return, nostalgic for school and the past, which makes me frustrated that I still miss school, despite having left over 4 months ago. As my mum, therapist (for 1 session lol) and grandma said, I think I'm going through a kind of grief, which sounds oh so ridiculous but, when you invest SO much into a life event, is totally common and understandable, and will pass with time. Okay yeah so this is so ironic when considering the introduction of this post but its to remind myself of how I was a feeling. Both happy and sad, thanks Stephen Chbosky.

But really, I've got some exciting things coming up (woo) and life is good. And, understand that if you happen to see me within the next 2 months, I will undoubtedly be wearing at least 2 of the mentioned items.
Have great weekends kids.


I'm in a bit of a rut with writing, having both few ideas and little time/motivation to write them. What I write doesn't seem to quite fit my expectation or standard, or portray my intentions.
I need to practice, let go of the perfectionism, and scrawl, mark, stain the pages with frenetic marks of emotion until something feels right.
But until then, here are some of my favourite phrases/quotes.
People who so poetically express themselves.

"I have so much I want to tell you and nowhere to begin"–J.D Salinger

"I sit around and wonder about the fire in your eyes, the movement of your fingers, the way you slowly complicate my life"

"If I didnt think, I'd be much happier"–Sylvia Plath

"The world is big and I am not, but still I am enough"

"I don't pay attention to the world ending. It has ended for me many times and began again in the morning"

"I set out for a noiseless room then I remembered the silence depressed me"–Blackout poetry from Sylvia Plath

"I loved you as Icarus loved the sun, too close, too much"

"Ni santas, ni putas, solo mujeres"–Neither saints nor whores, only women

"Then it went dark and rained and rained and rained"–found in Oh Comely

"You are enough, you are so enough. It is unbelievable how enough you are"

"My brain hums with scraps of poetry and madness"–Virginia Woolf

"You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering"–Ernest Hemingway

"And from the chaos of her soul, there flowed beauty"–Louise Alexander Erstine

(this post was a lot less cringe in my head)

This morning was so super lovely. I drank copious amounts of tea with my two best friends and felt oh so relaxed. I looked at the clock and realised most of the day had gone, but it was like coming home. I now feel sort of sad that they're gone for another six weeks but relieved with the reminder that moments like that are still so enjoyable, no matter how relaxed or low-key. I am also beginning to realise that friendship doesn't have to rely upon daily contact, its more dependent on the moments you spend together. And they are bliss. One of my happiest, happiest memories of 2017, despite being so mundane, was the day of our history coursework deadline. With the work handed in, I spent the rest of the day with the same two pals and we played cluedo and ate pizza and cookies and just sat on my bed and talked and talked, days like that were always few and far between, but man they were special. Our minds and interests and habits are so similar, but we remain so individual and I rarely feel so myself. These memories and moments used to be the norm, but now their infrequency makes me treasure them even more. I am lucky.

I digress. Which of the above is your fave?
All the quotes/phrases were found on pinterest. You can view them all here.

friendship and changes

This post is inspired by Libby, so thanks for the inspo gurl.

I am at that cusp in the trajectory of my life where friendship is changing. Its kind of inevitable, I know, but its also difficult.
I'm grasping at ties I should probably cut, knowing that eventually they'll drift but that I also don't want to say goodbye, just yet.
Fatally, I scroll through photos and soak up the laughs and drunken adventures and travels and dramas until I feel weak with a crumbling nostalgia. I want it back, oh so bad.
But, underneath the facade of memories, I know that some of these friendships make me feel little worse than is worth sustaining. I know I feel somewhat inadequate and replaced and as though I am the one always trying, the one reaching out, the one organising.
And I'm giving and giving and giving until there's nothing left.
But little comes back in return.
To actually say farewell though, to put down my phone, to leave the memories in the past, feels too much. And the emptiness that would ensue, oh.
But it could be so freeing.
So much of me wants to run away from it all, breathe a new air, escape the past, not because most of it wasn't exhilarating and warming, but because I'm ready for newness. And because what they're moving on.
And some of what I have here is still so rewarding (e.g. a friend who encourages spontaneous piercings, who I go for meals with that accidentally and inevitably end up as nights out) and there are so many relationships I want, and will maintain, alas, I'm also ready to move on.
But I suppose the scary thing about moving on is the fear of "what if".

As I dapple in these thoughts, I am reminded of just how special these friendships are. Years of closeness, where they become an accepted part of your world and routine. Where you know you entirely belong, where everything is done together, where you know everything about the other. Where they become more like a sister. Or friends who adventure to the beach after a night out to watch the sunrise, or who travel round Europe for 2 weeks with you or buy you Hungarian cake on your 18th birthday or make A-levels and the library enjoyable or dance and sing and party with you and make you feel so much less alone.

Maybe I can't say goodbye to that.
Ah. Like everything in my world, I think I just need to let it be. And, if they were there only for the most formative 10 years of my life, fuck thats enough. That's more than enough. They've moulded me, and I hope I them. A little bit of ourselves will be with the other.

This year, I just need to ride it out. I am lost in a limbo, still craving the past while everyone around me moves on, but anticipating next year and the newness it will bring.
But, as Libby alludes to, the end of school means friendships can exist in so many new ways. You aren't confined to those with whom you share a class, eat lunch, walk home with so I'll explore and value that, as I make friends with the old ladies who volunteer at the food bank, and the wonderful people in this ever loving online community.

Thanks for always listening.

Twitter - Instagram

la vie

Life has been kinda hectic; I love it but I'm also exhausted. It's a good exhaustion, I think.
I have lots of thoughts I want to document (about friendships, self-esteem, validation and expectation) but I thought I'd just do some updates, to allow time for those ideas to become a little more comprehensible.
SO, I've been doing a lot of travelling. Every time I make a journey alone, it sparks a little pride. Despite all the other stresses, I feel so empowered jumping on a train alone and traversing around the country. I've seen some beautiful sights, new cities and old friends, its been rewarding and warming and exciting, but also a little saddening and demoralising.
I suppose it has reinforced the divide between me and my school friends, their new lives and mine and the decreasing compatibility. Its been difficult to accept their new worlds and my integration into it, for just a night as I top and tail in their cramped bed, but this is more down to me than their evolution as new human beings.
It makes me happy to see them happy, just a little sad that I'm not as much a part of it.

After an accidental night out at home, I made a brief trip to Leeds. I was nurtured by my friend who made my veggie chilli upon arrival, partied with a strange group from school and took advantage of the 90p tequila shots. My body and mind regretted the double night out but it was a lotta fun.
I then had a weekend away with my family in Scotland, in which I enjoyed the openness of nature and the freedom of the sea, read, ate my body weight in cake, and explored Edinburgh. I perhaps wasn't as relaxed as I hoped but managed to accept it for what it was.
And then I have just returned from a weekend in Sheffield, visiting my best friend. It was so lovely and relaxed and it all disappeared into a sense of normality. We met up with another good friend and caught up on the ins and outs of uni life. I bought some vintage clothes, experienced (and hated) the perks of communal living and felt relieved to be re-united. We went clubbing, for which I was in a weird mood which got me down. I felt insecure and insignificant, but with encouragement from her flat, I had a good time. I did leave feeling a little low, I'm not sure why, perhaps the frustration that I still let anxiety and stresses get the better of me (e.g. crying on the phone to my mum as my pal slept because I didn't want to get the bus home–but the 5am bedtime may have had some influence) and the fact that I feel I came across weak and pathetic. But I'm trying to not let these thoughts dampen the weekend.

The weeks in between have slipped away in a blur of work, driving lessons, Oxford applications, volunteering, cake baking and organising. I've been trying to save a little time for self-care, writing or painting or sewing, but its been neglected in my priorities.
I'm loving the blogging community and its curing the loneliness that the uni trips appear to induce. I finally have a weekend at home and am anticipating a walk at the beach and brunch with a friend.
How are you all?