Cue Music

So I’ve been MIA for a while, but I’ve decided (somewhat magnanimously) to return to my child and show it some love and affection. Ergo, this blog post.

DISCLAIMER: Obviously all the names used in this aren’t people’s actual names, so please don’t be surprised; I’m just using ones that make sense to me, and maybe people who were there will be able to figure it out too, LOL.

Anyway, for the past weekend (last Friday to Monday) I spent an amazing, fun-filled, beach-filled, music-filled, laughter-filled four days at a caravan campsite in Cornwall. (What a tongue twister…) In fact, there was so much said fun that I lost my voice and am still now recovering. Although I blame W____ church for that – we were screaming ‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls in their caravan and me and Yin-Yang both lost our voices. Everyone else wasn’t so unfortunate.

I’m pretty sure we spent FAR too long in W___ church’s caravan, because nearly everyday from the second day, we went and chilled in theirs and listened to music and ate food and talked. I mean, minus the fact that I forgot to add them all on Snapchat and didn’t get to see any of the videos they’d posted of us all in the caravan, it was definitely fun.

10 out of 10, would recommend.

Also, I’m pretty sure myself and my sister were two of like four of the people there who weren’t Filipinos LMAO. But I met some wonderful, talented, hilarious people (I can’t fangirl too much otherwise I might get carried away) but the majority, unfortunately, live REALLY far away. And by far I mean like, it would take them 5 – 28 minutes – depending on arm stroke length – to swim from their houses to London. (Or perhaps a bit longer than that depending on how bad the traffic is).

I got the chance to sing with some pretty cool people this weekend too, both other singers and musicians, so that was definitely one of the highlights of the week. Spaceboy’s musical prowess completely blew me away, as did Caesar’s constant willingness to join in and sing with me, for which I cannot thank him enough. (#ReadyForAnything) And Moustache’s playing of that drum-box thing and his guitar, and The Enigma’s guitar playing was also awesome and they were all so much fun to jam with. And talk history with. And reenact the assassination of Julius Caesar with.

The caravans were alright. I mean, of course they weren’t five star, but we (specifically us, because nobody else’s seemed to worked) had a banging heater. Like a proper fire stove that was really toasty and that we turned on every morning and every evening. I was scared though during some worship we had that we’d left it on, so I ran back to our caravan in the rain… only to find that it had, in fact, been switched off by the more responsible adults in our caravan, Chilli and Sunflower. Which was great because not only was my trip useless but I was also wet. Yay.

But myself and Michy-Fichy got the largest room with the double bed and the heater (LOL, you snooze, you lose!) so we had a ball in that room really. I had a sleeping bag and she had the bed sheets, and it was – for the most part – comfortable. And when the heater went on, we were all toasty in there too. Once again though, I was terrified that we would wake up to choking fumes and something nearby the heater, which happened to be flammable, on fire, so I made sure I switched it off before either of us fell asleep.

Also, one lunch time we had some huge jam sesh, where someone would literally just start playing a song on the piano and then everyone would join in. It was truly so beautiful aha, *wipes away solitary tear rolling down cheek* we did Adele, Beyonce, One Direction (bleugh), Justin Bieber, John Legend, Taylor Swift (bleugh, once again), Ed Sheeran, it was just great. Slightly dissonant at times, but I have a feeling it had more to do with the fact that the song being sung was by One Direction or Taylor Swift rather than the people singing it being inharmonious.

We also went to Cornwall beach on the Sunday, which I’m sure would have been a lot nicer if it wasn’t cold. But I had a foolproof and simple plan to stay warm and happy: Stay. Out. Of. The. Sea.

Did I stick to the plan? No.

In fact, the first thing I did when I got to the beach was strip down to my swimming costume and run into the sea.

Did I stay warm and happy? No. You know why? Because I didn’t STICK TO THE PLAN.

To be fair, the water was really clear and there were very few rocks or seaweed, so I didn’t feel like my legs were being attacked by the marine manifestation of Ursula in her hybrid human-Cephalopod form. (A little Disney/scientific classification reference there for all you fans). I also managed to get sand EVERYWHERE (that’s genuinely the one thing I hate about the beach) BUT we made a sand-mermaid, which I have to say was perhaps one of my greatest artistic feats to this day.

So not entirely bad.

It was also lovely because me and Sparkle got to bond, and we went on a long, romantic stroll down the beach and she and I walked for ages and just talked and talked. I was a bit of a psychiatrist, is that what they’re called? Therapist, psychologist, counsellor? Whatever they are, I was that for about an hour and a half. But I really love listening to her and I’m so glad that God put us both into each other’s lives.

AND – this is one of the best parts – last week when I went to Hampton Court Palace (#HistorySquadDayOut) I had a bag of Bombay Mix, but I forgot that I hadn’t finished it. So when we were at the beach and my sister whipped out a bag of half-full Bombay Mix from her snacks bag, you simply can NOT understand how fast my heart began to beat. It was one of the most beautiful moments. So I say:

The only thing more beautiful than discovering food is when you FORGET that you have food and THEN discover it.

You can quote me.

What else to say? When we left on Monday afternoon I was really sad but at least I got to sing with Spaceboy and Caesar one last time, which was really the cherry on the vegan-cake for the last day.

The theme of the camp ‘The Armour of God’ was also really nice; it gave us lots of opportunities for different activities and I know I thought about quite a lot of things differently after all of that. It was nice seeing that the people running it – the main oragniser and all the speakers – were genuinely so invested in us youth. Like they really cared; not just about what they were saying, but about each one of us as individuals. At the end of the four days, I felt really encouraged spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. And musically.

I’ve probably written a lot of mostly incoherent nonsense, so I’ll sign off here with a few shoutouts:

Shoutout to anyone mentioned who’s reading this…

Shoutout to ‘Las Problematiques’ and Tarq – I miss you guys…

Shoutout to the toilet lid for being down…

Shoutout to NASA for having our backs since 6000BC and creating the ozone layer…

Shoutout to my mum, for having me, which made this blog post possible…

And shoutout to my sister for being a loser and belting songs from the ‘Les Miserables’ OST all. Morning.

Goodbye everyone and lots of love

From the Faerie Squad Mother x

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How Ironic

I think it’s really funny how some people seem really surprised that I’ve suddenly begun to talk more about racial issues and such, not just on my blog but also in real life.

I’d just like to let everyone into a little secret: I’ve always been talking about this stuff.

It’s just that when I used to talk about it, I tried to keep my voice as quiet as possible so that nobody complains that they’re offended or that I’m a ‘racist intolerant’ or whatever else. But now, I’ve made a conscious choice to make my voice heard.

I also find it really funny how before, when I was content to quietly mumble about social injustices with my friends, there was never a reaction, but the instant that I find and use my VOICE and on my personal BLOG of all places (what am I thinking? How RUDE of me; my PERSONAL blog?!) people suddenly make a fuss about my opinions.

I bet if I was to post a blog complaining about the Instagram update and saying how unacceptable it was, people would comment things like, “This is so true! THERE IS SO MUCH INJUSTICE IN THE WORLD!!!!!” or “I’m so glad SOMEONE said something! I thought I was the only one!” or even “I actually think it’s alright.” Even if I was to post entirely in (probably very poor) Spanish, I guarantee people would still comment, “I couldn’t understand anything but this is so true!” Even my post about my somewhat controversial religious beliefs didn’t elicit the level of hate and disagreement that my racial post from Sunday did – both online and IRL. But when I post about racial issues people tell me, “You make this all up” and “You’re not even oppressed. Go live in a third world country and see what oppression REALLY is” and “Stop complaining! You’re not helping your own situation by fulfilling stereotypes!” (Which, may I just ask, stereotypes do I fulfil?)

Plus, oppression is relative. Just because I don’t live in a third-world country or somewhere where many women are openly treated as subordinates, doesn’t mean I am not still at a disadvantage in my own country. I’ve mentioned before, I’m a black female. I live in a Western Society, where the institutions cater for White Heterosexual Rich/Middle-Class Cishet Males before anybody else. This means that within my own native system, I am at a disadvantage. And I think people think of oppression and imagine slavery being reintroduced into society; but it’s a lot more than that. Oppression is about how prejudice and discrimination has become institutionalised and normalised to the point where a specific set of people are benefitting – and it just so happens that I am not a person who is actively benefitting from the system.

I mentioned in my #BodyPostivity and Letter to my 8-year old self post that I’m learning to love myself and that nobody can make me feel inferior without my permission. Which is very true. In the past couple of days, because of the reactions to real life and on-line situations, I’ve begun to doubt the validity of my voice and my opinions. But then I get slapped back into reality and realise, “Why am I letting bitter, ignorant people limit my voice?”

And I realise that, as much as I don’t like confrontation, some things have to be said. It has taken me SO long to climb out of the box that I was put in from Primary School, and I’m still on my self-love journey. I literally cannot believe that I would even consider taking any anonymous person;s comments to heart. I literally cannot believe that anyone would take time out of their day to read through a post, become offended by the literal truth and then decide to share their negativity  – to be honest, I love hearing from my fans. Especially the bitter ones. (Plus, I’m flattered you think me so significant!)

Anyway, let’s not dwell on negativity.

I had an exam yesterday, a written one for Drama. Which went really well. We had to sit two papers; a live theatre and a studied play script. For my playscript, we studied Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’. If you HAVE read it or had to perform it then I feel sorry for you if you had to be Nora. If you haven’t, maybe do in your free time. It’s an interesting play definitely, but you have to take into consideration a lot of contextual factors. Interestingly, it touches upon issues of female subordination, to an extent, because – long story short – the play centres around a married couple, Nora and Torvald Helmer. They live in 19th century Norway, and Nora is literally treated like a child by her husband – a doll, in a sense of speaking, hence the title. It’s actually SO weird, he calls her all sorts of weird, dodgy pet names, and she loves it, but she’s quite manipulative.

To be honest, their marriage is just a disaster waiting to happen.

But in the end (SPOILER aha) she leaves him after a LOT of unnecessary and avoidable drama because she realises that she has become such a trophy wife and a pet to him that she doesn’t even know who she is herself. She says she wants to discover herself or whatever, so she leaves him with the children.

Great story.

But anyway. I have an exam next Tuesday for Spanish Listening, Reading and Writing which should be VERY interesting, seeing as I’m a lot worse at Spanish than I initially realised. I’m sitting in my study periods, and I’ve just spent about an hour practicing Spanish words and phrases and grammar etc. (Memrise is actually fantastic. It is keeping me going this year in Spanish, I swear!)

Because of the fact that my AS subjects have technically ended, I now have two mornings and two afternoons off from school, which is literally fantastic because it means I can go home earlier and I’M SO READY FOR SUMMER NOW.

PLEASE HURRY UP JULY!

Because they’ve changed the system and as of next year, AS-Levels will technically no longer be a thing, they’re introduced these new exams which are like UCAS Prediction exams, so that when we apply for University (next September, I think, we start) then you have the Predicted Grades from the ‘official’ University system, I suppose.

Which sucks because it means more unnecessary and stressful exams. But whatever.

I need to do some more Spanish.

Adiós.

Love the Faerie Squad Mother x

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¿Cómo te llamas?

In Spanish, when you ask someone what their name is, rather than saying ‘¿Cuál es tu nombre?’ (What is your name? – which supposedly, is more formal), you say ‘¿Cómo te llamas?’ The literal translation of this is, ‘How do you call yourself?’

I’ve always thought this an interesting concept, because I think there is quite a difference between asking someone what their name is and asking them what they are called. I could be entirely unnecessarily building this difference up, but let’s see, shall we?

The opening sentence for the story I am currently writing is:

“Many people say that the first gift you are ever given is your name.”

In many ways, a name is a gift. The protagonist goes on to mention how the meaning of your name can shape who you are and give you the ability to do amazing things.

According to Google, ‘name’ is a noun which means a word or set of words by which a person or thing is known, addressed, or referred to. Therefore, asking someone what their name is, is asking them what title they are known as. More often than not, names carry some level of significance, be it culturally, socially or domestically. For example, names convey class and status. Someone named ‘Jane Boggs’ for instance, is perhaps not as highly socially regarded as someone called ‘Penelope Clarington’.

Names also convey meaning.

My name, ‘Rianna’ is a variant of the Welsh name ‘Rhiannon’. According to ‘Behind the Name’ (which, may I add, is a very exciting website to use) this means ‘Great Queen’. Which I completely was. My surname, ‘Davis’ is similarly a popular Welsh surname, and according to some quick googling, it originated from the Davidson clan in Scotland. But is mostly now used in Wales and England.

Names also convey cultural heritage.

Which, it is, at this point, that we shall have to pause for a moment. Because, I mean, I don’t know how obvious it is, but clearly, my ancestors were neither Welsh nor Scottish. I have a very Welsh sounding name, especially in its pre-derivative form (‘Rhiannon David’) and this gives absolutely no clue as to my origins, except pointing back to slavery.

In fact, the only thing I can tell conclusively from my name is that my ancestors were once owned by a ‘Davis’ family. Because that’s effectively what it tells me. I have no other link with my heritage because my name (here it comes again) has been erased and scribbled over with somebody else’s name, effectively denying me the privilege of knowing and understanding my cultural heritage.

So what makes me very sad is when people have their cultural heritage (due to their beautifully, rich-sounding names and/or surnames) and choose to reject them because of society’s Eurocentric standards. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the stigma there is around ‘African-sounding’ names, and I get that obviously many people will be eager to change their names so they don’t ‘sound black’. And that sounds bad, but you have to consider the fact that we do live in a White Supremacist world, so everyone in Western societies feels like they have to conform to a Western societal standard. Which, to some extent you do in order to get by.

In the West, ‘Babatunde’ isn’t a beautiful, meaningful name. In the West, ‘Babatunde’ mostly connotes ‘freshie’, ‘African savage’. It doesn’t hold the same cultural meaning that it does from its’ roots. In the West, anything that sounds remotely ‘ethnic’ is mostly laughed at and scorned (unless it’s at the Kardashians’ or Jenners’ initiation, of course) and because of these culturally-rich names, people are denied the chances to jobs and such because interviewers see their application and immediately recognise the person applying is clearly not white-British. Or alternatively, recognise that this person is African and want to hire them as evidence that their workplace is not racist because of their ‘multi-culturally diverse’ employees.

So we return to my name. As lovely as my name is (gracias a mis padres) and as much as I don’t want to change it (because I don’t even know what I’d change it to!) there is a part of me that wishes my name wasn’t so ‘bland’ and ‘whitewashed’ so that I was able to trace my heritage right back to its roots.

That’s why people denying their cultural names because they get teased for them make me sad, because they have the opportunity to know where they come from, what part of Africa their ancestors live in, or lived in. As much as there is a huge stigma around these names, and lots of racist stereotyping and such, the under-appreciation of these names really upsets me. I mean, society teaches us to really hate ourselves, gosh! Not just the way we appear and the way we look, but also the way we refer to ourselves; which comes right back to the point I was making at the beginning. When you ask someone “What is your name?” (because English is such a great language, we only have one way of asking that) and they tell you their middle name, because they are too ashamed to tell you their first name, they are not lying. They are telling you their name. They are telling you the words which have been attributed to them in order to identify them and the words which they are used to being addressed by.

But when you ask someone “Como te llamas?” (how do you call yourself? – I mean, I know it’s Spanish, but the point still remains), in my opinion, you aren’t just asking them what words they use to identify themselves. What someone is called is more than just what they are referred to. What someone calls themselves also says a lot about who they are. They could still answer this question with their middle name, because that is what they call themselves, and that is how they view themselves. They don’t necessarily want to associate with their culture or their heritage because of the stigma surrounding it, and it’s effectively them denying who they are.

I understand there is a lot of controversy surrounding this anyway, as in choosing ‘socially-accepted’ names over heritage names, and I probably see in it a more ‘black-and-white’ way than someone else who is actually in this predicament. And yes, I understand that society has a funny way of destroying our lives and culture from the roots up, but if you have those roots, why wouldn’t you reclaim them? Why would you want to let go of them, or feel ashamed, if you’re one of the few lucky ones to know where you come from? Why would you want to exchange thousands of years worth of your geographical history for a few decades of social prosperity but cultural ignorance? Maybe I’m asking a stupid question, but I think it’s a fair question, as someone who would love to get in touch with my own history.

And when I say history, I don’t mean that I want to be told that my ancestors were slaves in Jamaica and then probably slaves in England. I want to know my specific history. I want to know which country they were taken from in Africa. Which tribe they originated from. If that tribe still exists today. There’s so many gaps in my own knowledge of my personal history, because of the gaps in my name.

And society, especially Western society, makes you feel guilty that you name is unpronounceable, and forces you to shorten your name to make it less ‘ethnic’ and more ‘blandly ethnic’. I mean, disregarding the fact that they didn’t shorten slavery because it was ‘unstomachable’, how dare they try to strip people of their culture?

They don’t make us shorten Shakespeare’s name into something less ‘British’.  Everyone can pronounce Truman Capote and Jack Kerouac, despite the fact that their names aren’t phonetic, and we’re taught how to pronounce them, and Scott F. Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway are never referred to as ‘Fitz’ and ‘Hems’.So why should you have to do that for a name that holds just as much significance for you culturally as the Union Jack does for the British?

I think I’m pretty much done with my rant about names, but before I finish up, I just want to drop this YouTube video of Button Poetry (my absolute FAVOURITE) and end on this note:

I don’t hate my name. I don’t feel any particularly strong way towards it, to be honest. My name is what I am referred to by. But my name is not who I am. My name cannot tell you – nor can anybody’s, for that matter – about my hopes and dreams, my aspirations, the person I am, my characteristic or my personality. But names have meanings, and names have significance. My name means something to my parents who chose to name me that. My name means something to people who know me and hear it, and think about me. My name means something to God and my name will one day mean something to even more people when it’s on the spine of a published book. Everyone’s name carries a significance. Appreciate your name and its’ meaning, no matter where you come from, no matter what your name is. Because your name is YOUR name, and if you don’t let them, then nobody can take it (or its’ meaning) away from you.

 

Peace out, (I wrote this all in my first two study periods LOL, I’m being productive!)

The Faerie Squad Mother x

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Acute Observations

I’m not wearing my glasses as I type this – I don’t even know what I’ve done with them, they’re somewhere in my room – so please excuse any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

I really don’t have anything to talk about today. I could have a semi-conscious ramble about something (I just woke up from quite a nice nap?) but I don’t have anything to ramble about. So I’m gonna… uhm… make it up? Like I usually do.

Today after school, Steph and I were running the Year 7 and 8’s Drama Club. As Sixth Formers (Ha! We are so cool!) my drama teacher had entrusted us with the special task of running it by ourselves. She usually runs it and we assist but today she couldn’t be there; so it was just us.

We didn’t have a plan.

Our plan was to wing it. My role is mostly to sound like I know what I’m doing; Steph’s role is to get everyone to like us, which I think she does a pretty good job of. Whereas I’m quite good at putting on the front of knowing what I’m talking about. Even though I never do.

Anyway. Our plan was to make it up as we went along. Our teacher had given us a booklet to work from but neither of us had read through it, so we were sorta like, “Ah stuff it, we’ll work from scratch.” She’d also asked us to pick out some particularly promising students to be involved with the school play; so there we were, wondering, “How on earth will we do that if we don’t even know what we’re going to do?” Dezza, Babs and Venus all slunk into the Drama studio behind us, anxious to watch what we were going to do. It kinda goes without saying, I suppose, that even Steph and I were anxious to watch what we were going to do. Because we literally had NO idea.

“Hi guys.” I told the bunch of wide-eyed Year 7 and 8 students, innocently sitting in a circle on the floor of the Drama studio. All whilst munching on an apple. I was LITERALLY munching on an apple whilst talking to them. “Today, it’s just me and Steph running the club. So it should be fun.” They tittered amongst themselves – honestly, I can’t STAND tittering – so I said, “Remember what we said last week. The more you want to get done, the less you need to talk. The more talking you guys do, the less fun we have.” And they all looked sorta terrified but satisfyingly pacified by my words. So I was happy. (I found my glasses by the way; I can’t bear to type any longer without them…)

“Today,” my words were unsure, my brain racing ahead of my mouth (for once), “we are going to do some Improvisation.” And then I felt like I’d hit upon a gold mine. The amount of improvisation games we played in Drama throughout my 6 years of the subject were LIMITLESS! Also, this would be a fantastic way to see who held most promise; improvisation is always fun – and can be funny, when done properly – because you just sort of through everyone into the deep end and see how well they fare. Let’s go along with this, I told myself, as I noticed Dezza’s face light up with amusement. I knew she’d be a great help to me – which she later proved to be. “Who knows what improv is?” I asked the eager young ‘uns, and their hands shot up into the air. I gave a short explanation before telling them that the ENTIRE club (I was working from my mind here, okay, let’s not hate!) today was going to be based around improvisation. They seemed content and blissfully unaware that I was just planning the whole thing on the spot.

“Let’s get to our feet and move around then guys.” So they followed my instructions while I anxiously and frantically racked my brain for a game to play to warm up. Then I glanced upon one that I had used in my AS Drama lesson two weeks ago and I was like YES FANTASTIC. So we did that for about ten minutes, which gave me enough time to figure out the activities for the ACTUAL club.

And Dezza became a useful aide. She rushed to my side to remind me about all those amazing games we played with improv; the park bench game, where you try and get the person on the bench OFF of it, and the game where you just make up random scenarios and characters and switch people in and out of the game.

The Park Bench game was good for a while, but the students quickly got bored, so we switched into the other game; the ‘Scene’ one.

That lasted LITERALLY about half an hour.

It was half an hour of PURE, unadulterated BANTER.

With Tey, Dezza, Babs and Venus as the assisting audience, we actually cried. The Year 7 and 8’s improvisation was actually so fantastic that some of them deserved medals… and others deserved Oscars.

For that half an hour, we laughed, we cried, we sympathised, we gasped; any possible emotional reaction you can imagine, those students evoked within us. Honestly, my stomach hurts so much. (Well, PARTIALLY because of their performances but…)

So, we imagined quite a few scenarios, but I think I shall list my favourite and most memorable ones:

  • A couple being counseled – In which the ‘counselor’ informed the couple that they need to “sort their issues out”, I was unsure if she remembered what her purpose was? Also, there was some innuendo banter going on and I was a bit surprised, for a bunch of 11 and 12 year-olds that they were even thinking of that!
  • A doctor giving some sad news to a family – In which she told the mother not to ‘get tears on the carpet’ and that they needed to ‘pull themselves together’
  • A teenager telling her parents that she was pregnant – I’m pretty sure we all expected something very dramatic, but instead we got something very deadpan, making it quite comedic “Mum. I’m pregnant.” And then later, when she was asked who the father was, she LITERALLY deadpanned again, “I have no idea.”

Of course, we had our favourite students and we thought a select few were absolutely fantastic; I tried to put them in a lot of the scenes, but obviously, I couldn’t look like I was favouring any over the others. But it was amazing. Then at the end, I put them into groups of 3 (intentionally, to see how well they worked in groups other than their friendships one; like, some were SO clingy, oh my goodness! I mean, I know they’re Year 7’s and 8’s but COME ON!) and gave them this instruction:

“You are going to create for me a 1-minute scene, where you have a mother, a daughter and a doctor. Go.”

They had five minutes.

After which, we watched all 6 performances, and I was almost rolling on the floor with laughter. (At some of them; honestly, it was slightly scary, quite frankly, what some of them produced. One performance was particularly morbid and I had to stop it before they kept going because it was just… WHOA.) But they were definitely laugh-worthy mostly, and I couldn’t stifle most of the laughter inside of me, as a result of their performances.

Honestly. If I could, I’d nominate them for Oscars. Clearly, Hollywood is looking in the wrong place.

You’ve got it all wrong, Hollywood. You need to be looking in West London for your next big stars, cos they’re right here.

Anyway, I think that’s enough from me.

Love to Squad and Lawly (look, a specific mention!) and I’m off guys.

Love Empress Rianna

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10 Things I Hate About You

Romantic Comedies, otherwise known as Rom-Coms.

These are one of the only things with which I have a simultaneous love-hate relationship. Naturally, I’m not going to talk about why I love them so much… because really, I hate them. They have absolutely destroyed me. They have put a million unrealistic goals and expectations in my mind for what to expect from future relationships. As a result, as a means of revenge, I’m basically going to pick apart all the cliches.

So without further ado…

THE CHARACTERS

The protagonist is either a youngish/middle-aged woman who has failed at love several times (and often has to attend her younger sister’s wedding to just reiterate how much of a failure at love she is) or a woman who is completely smitten with her absolutely perfect boyfriend/fiancee whom she doesn’t know is cheating on her with her best friend/work colleague/enemy, etc.

Her love interest is either the playboy/womaniser who has slept with half of her office (the female half) and her entire block in her apartment, the unexpected guy (the dweeby one, who she never sees as attractive until the end) or the best friend who is there for her 24/7 and whom she VICIOUSLY friendzones every time he attempts to make his feelings for her clear. Often, they are a combination of these: you can have the playboy best friend, – who has sworn off love, until he realises that he has fallen for his best friend – or the unexpected best friend – the guy who is so sweet and lovely and we GENUINELY do not see it coming (but this is more rare; they are super predictable).

The protagonist often has two best friends – a sassy-but-sensible gay guy and a chunkier, wilder version of herself. Sometimes the younger/elder sister counts as a best friend, but not often. Her best friends are the ones who push her to do things that she would never dream of doing. They’re the ones who simultaneously come up with the crazy ideas and also dissuade her from them when things start going wrong. Because they DO go wrong. A lot.

The protagonist usually has a very selfish, self-centered mother who is obsessed with marriage. If, as it is usually, the protagonist’s younger sister is getting married, the mother is the one who wants the protagonist to get a wealthy boyfriend. She often tries to set her daughter up with friend’s sons and gets very angry when the blind dates don’t go well. If the protagonist doesn’t have a mother, it’s usually because she’s dead.

The protagonist’s father is usually estranged from the mother and is dating a woman the same age or younger than the protagonist. He isn’t often in it much, or he’s dead, or lives in a different country. However, he proves to sometimes be a huge emotional support for the protagonist and is usually the one who predicts her future love life. (i.e. He often is the one who says her and her best friend will end up married).

THE PLOT

In my opinion, there are several archetypal plots for these movies:

1. The Jigsaw Piece – The protagonist tells her mum in a mad moment of irrationality that she has a date for her sister’s wedding. As a result, her best friend has to step in and they pretend to date, for the benefit of their family. Eventually, they both realise (usually only the protagonist realises, because her best friend has been in love with her for YEARS) that they are just meant to be together, usually after a kiss which means more than it’s supposed to. Then everything just fits into place.

2. The Replacement – The protagonist who has sworn off love and often hears about the conquests of her playboy best friend, goes on holiday or AWOL for some reason or other. While away, she meets a guy and brings him back right around the time that her best friend discovers he has feelings for her and is going to tell her. Then he (the love interest) spends the next couple of weeks/months leading up to the wedding trying to figure out how to tell her before it’s too late.

3. The Change – The protagonist has just discovered/been alerted to the fact that he boyfriend/fiancee has cheated on her, or she is sick of the fact that she ‘settles’ for guys when she knows she can do way better. She turns to her friends for advice and they all suggest that she re-invents herself in order to become a new person and move on. Whilst she is in this phase, she becomes closer with a friend/neighbour who is a playboy. She uses his expertise to help her re-invent herself and they share a kiss at some point which means more than it should. The guy realises he wants to be with her and she wants to be but is unsure because of his history.

THE DENOUMENT – The Neat Ending

1. The Wedding Crasher – The best friend-turned-love interest decides not to go to the wedding and watch the girl he loves be married to someone else. At the last moment, he decides (often by the encouragement of his friend) that he should not let this girl go and races to her wedding to stop her from getting married. In the end he tells her that HE wants to marry her and that he has serious feelings for her.

2. The Proposal – The protagonist is sick of wasting her time with silly boyfriends so is holding out for the real thing. The love interest is – conveniently – a commitment-phobe, but realises he would rather commit himself to the protagonist than not risk a great opportunity. It is very unexpected – NOT – but he hints at it a lot.

3. The Declaration (Often links with ‘The Proposal’) – Lots of things have happened throughout the movie which don’t make much sense to the protagonist until the best friend/love interest confesses everything. He explains to her why he has done all those crazy things in the beginning and basically admits that he has fallen in love with her or has been in love with her for a number of years/months or whatever. Sometimes this could end with ‘The Proposal’ but often it just allows the two characters to kiss. Sometimes at the end, you get a snippet of ‘Moving In’, when the two have decided to live with each other.

THE CLICHE LINES

IN THE CASE OF A BEST FRIEND-TURNED-LOVE INTEREST…

1. GIRL: (After a bad date) It was so terrible, I can’t believe it. I have no luck, I am never going to find anybody.

GUY: (Staring at her) Anyone would be so lucky to have you, seriously.

GIRL: (Looking up at him) Awwwwwr [insert Guy’s name here] you are the best friend a girl could ask for.

2. GIRL: (In a jokey, platonic sense) I love you so much.

GUY: (Takes a deep breath, in a serious, romantic sense) I love you too.

3. GIRL: (Coming out of a dressing room in something super sexy) Does this look alright?

GUY: (Pauses) Yeah, you look… fantastic.

GIRL: (Spinning and oblivious to the fact that he is now admiring her butt) Because I’m not sure if he [insert different guy’s name] will like it, I mean…

GUY: (With some effort) I’m sure he’ll love it. You look really good.

GIRL: I’m actually SO glad I can take you shopping with me. You’re the only guy who doesn’t check me out.

GUY:

4. GIRL: (Addressing her best friend) Ew, that’s weird, you’re like my brother!

LINES THAT MAKE YOU CRINGE OR CRY…

1. GIRL/GUY: We need to talk about that kiss.

2. GIRL/GUY: (To another person about their love interest) They don’t mean anything to me! (NB: We saw a VERY bad case of this in HSM, but it does actually happen in some RomComs)

3. GUY: (When he has been caught with another girl) I can explain.

GIRL: (Turning, shaking her head and runs out of the room)

4. GIRL: (Looking at the sunset/piece of art etc.) Isn’t it beautiful?

GUY: (Looking at the girl) Yeah. It is.

5. GIRL: (Comes down the stairs/enters the room in a fancy outfit, really dressed up) Whuddya think?

GUY: (Speechless) Uhm… WOW.

GIRL: (Looking worried) Is it my hair? Is this dress too short? What? What is it?

GUY: No you look…

GIRL: (Still worried) I look…

GUY: Wow.

GIRL: (Looking bemused) I look ‘wow’?

GUY: Yes. I mean, NO! You look…

GIRL: (Laughs) You really make a girl feel special. (Walks off and forgets about it)

6. GIRL: I thought you were different.

7. GIRL: I trusted you.

8. (In alternating segments)

GIRL: (To her friend) He has the most amazing eyes. And he just LISTENS to me, yaknow?

GUY: (To his friend) Her figure is just… (makes shape with hands) POW. And I couldn’t stop staring at her BAZOOKAS.

GIRL: (To her friend) He treats his little brother so well, he is a great person all round, he has a lovely personality.

GUY: (To his friend) And her butt in that dress! Wow, I am going to ignore the fact that she has a great personality and just make comments about her body!

UNREALISTIC AND FALSE LESSONS THAT THESE MOVIES TEACH US…

1. No matter what the guy is like, if he loves you then you can change him.

2. The first person you fall in love with will be the person you remain with for the rest of your life.

3. Your best friend is in love with you, he/she is just waiting for the chance to tell you.

4. Guys are always chauvinistic pigs. Except for your best friend. He’s only a chauvinistic pig when he’s around his friend, but then you change him.

5. There are no barriers to true love. Even if the person is going to get married, if they’re in a long term relationship, it doesn’t matter. There aren’t any barriers.

6. Getting married is the end of the story. Once you get married, that’s it. You have cracked the code, you have achieved perfection. There is no more work to be done.

7. Marrying someone whom you haven’t known for very long is very sensible.

8. It doesn’t matter if you’re about to marry someone who you know doesn’t suit you very well, because your TRUE love will gatecrash the wedding and stop you from doing it anyway.

9. Gatecrashing weddings and stealing the bride is oh-so romantic.

10. Always wait until the latest possible minute to declare your love for somebody, JUST to make it very inconvenient for them. In fact, wait until RIGHT near the end when everything seems impossible. Because they will always give up their plans at the drop of a hat for you.

So there you have it. I don’t really want to go on anymore, because I feel like I’ve covered the majority of it. But that is it really though isn’t it? I mean, I’m speaking for the majority of these movies here, which makes sense I think.

Anyways, I’m off now. Back to London later (unfortunately) so need to finish packing… And don’t worry Susanna, I’ll do the post at some point. I promise.

I’ve also been nominated for the Creative Blogger Award, so I’ll do that at some point this week.

TTFN,

Queen Rianna

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The Big Debate (SPOILER ALERT)

I did warn you that I was going to be posting a lot… But I feel like this will be my last one for today; I have a few other things to do.

But this is a VERY important post. No, it is not Irony Pt. 3, (sorry Lawly) but I will have that up by the end of this week! In fact, this is a debate which shook the foundations of a few of my friendships and even made me reevaluate some. (Yes, it was that deep). The topic we were debating was quite sensitive, seeing as both options were both plausible, but in the face of this debate, one was the clearly ultimate superior to the other… but never mind that. The question we were asking was:

Who is better: Mulan or Pocahontas?

Hua Mulan, aka. Fa Mulan

‘Matoaka’ Amonute, aka Pocahontas (later Rebecca Rolfe)

Now, before I start, I’d just like to say; if you a) don’t know who those girls are or b) haven’t watched either one of their featured movies, then please IMMEDIATELY close this tab and watch them ASAP, because you don’t know what you’re missing out on. And OK. I know it sounds ridiculous, because they’re both super cool Disney gals (who, may I just add, are two of about four Disney gals to have their names be the title of the movie) and also, what normal teenager debates these sort of things?

NEWSFLASH: I’m not normal. (I am a teenager though, unfortunately).

So anyway. Back to the debate. Of course, I felt it entirely necessary to share this with you, because it really made me think. Myself and my friend had a 40-minute debate about this at like ten at night, and STILL couldn’t come to any agreement. I have to be fair and present BOTH arguments equally (even though I fully KNOW which one I think is better, though I won’t disclose just yet; but sure, you are free to guess if you think I make it obvious) before I sum the arguments up. But here goes. (My practice as a lawyer, really, things like this are essential for my mind! And also just fun in general, because the debate got so heated, at one point my aunt told me to be quieter because I was screaming down the phone)…

FOR: Pocahontas, AGAINST: Mulan

Pocahontas is the super cool, independent and fierce daughter of the chief of the tribe. (Technically, she is a princess). In the beginning of the movie, she has a dream about a spinning arrow and when she talks to her Grandmother Willow, they decide that this is going to be her fate; a spinning arrow. Pocahontas is one of the ONLY princesses in all of Disney history to actively choose her own fate – her father wants her to marry a tribe warrior called Kocoum, but she sings a really sick song (called ‘Just Around The Riverbend’) about how she wants to go her own way (NOT like Gabriella from HSM; as in go her own way ‘independently’). Now, as much as this may sound rebellious or whatever, Pocahontas is not one for blindly following the standards of other people. She wants to make her own decisions, do her own thing, make her own choices. Many of the other Disney princesses are often only pursuing what they have been taught, beit by their family or their inspired dreams. Pocahontas doesn’t have much for her in the tribe. Yes, she might be the chieftain’s daughter, but she wants to be MORE than the chieftain’s daughter. She wants to be known for herself.

Mulan, on the other hand, is known for her family, and everything she does is because she wants to please her family, make her family happy. Nothing that Mulan does is for herself. In fact, in the movie’s very first song, ‘Bring Honour To Us All’ she is LITERALLY trying to be a ‘good’ daughter to please her family. And then when THAT doesn’t work, she sings ‘Reflection’, about how she is trying (and failing) to reach up to the standards HER FAMILY has set.

Pocahontas biggest achievement is preventing war between the ‘copper-skinned savages’ and the ‘white-skinned devils’ (no hate please, I’m using phrases from the ACTUAL movie) i.e. the Native Americans and the British. When her love interest (John Smith, OOH, he is BAE) is captured by her father and the warriors, she visits him DESPITE the fact that he could be punished. When it is time for him to be executed (AHA SPOILER) she literally FLINGS herself in between the executioner and John Smith (tied to a pole, but still… it was a very moving scene). She put her own life at risk, not just because of the love of this guy, but also because of the love she had for her own tribe; she knew that if John Smith was killed, the British would attack her tribe, and they’d probably all be killed too. She realised this before anyone else did.

Mulan fights a war. Obviously yes, winning a war is a great achievement, but she doesn’t actively seek to prevent it like Pocahontas did. YES, she may not have been able to prevent it, but her ‘method of prevention’ is firing a cannon into a mountain to avalanche the entire hun army. (AHA SPOILER) Effective, YES. Friendly and life-preserving, NO.

POINTS TO ADD

  1. Mulan has a bunch of friends around when she is going through her struggles. Even after she reveals herself as a female (AHA SPOILER) they still return to her side when the huns return (AHA SPOILER) and help her. Pocahontas, for the entirety of the movie, is alone. Other than Grandmother Willow who gives her advice, she has nobody to physically be with her and help her. She is a lone wolf.
  2. Pocahontas is (admittedly) prettier than Mulan.
  3. In the sequel, Pocahontas 2, she travels to England to act as an ambassador for her tribe. She has to journey to a far away land and then assimilate the culture, as she is viewed nationally as a ‘savage’. She is willing to sacrifice her culture for her tribe and herself for the sake of her tribe.
  4. Overall, the songs in Pocahontas are better and more catchier than the songs in Mulan. ‘Colours of the Wind’ and ‘Savages’ were some of THE sickest (like the GOOD sick) songs in Disney history. Mulan’s songs are good, but some don’t hit the mark.

FOR: Mulan, AGAINST: Pocahontas

Mulan is the lovable, sweet and self-sacrificing daughter of a war veteran. (She’s not actually a princess, but who cares?) In the beginning of the movie, she hears of her father being summoned to war and, knowing that he is injured and will probably die in this battle, decides to cut off her hair (no small feat for any girl, let me tell you), bind her breasts (once again, no small feat) and ride off to war with her father’s stolen armour, an assumed name and a hapless dragon guardian. Mulan is the ONLY Disney gal to act in such a selfless manner; she rides off to war knowing that she could die, but preferring that she die rather than her father. She thinks she has dishonoured her family (to an extent) but even in her obedient nature, she realises that she cannot allow her father to go and die. Mulan stands nothing to gain from going to war. If she is caught, she will be executed. If she is NOT caught, then she would have saved her father from going and may return home safely, if she is not killed in battle. Pocahontas stands to gain from stopping the war. She gets to have her man, so to speak, and she also gains the respect of every man in the camp. Pocahontas lives in a society where women were highly respected. Women may have been housewives, but they certainly were not traditional housewives; they weren’t penitent or subservient. They were still empowered. Mulan lives in a society where women are nothing. Their only role is to get married and have children.

Mulan has to fight against biological conditioning. She is a petite, slight Chinese woman amongst men who have probably been training all their lives for moments like this. She has to push her body to the absolute LIMIT and beyond so that she will become conditioned for war. She has no idea how to fight. She has few moments to learn and yet eventually becomes a very skilled soldier (all whilst a) keeping the pretence of her gender and b) singing a kick-ass song ‘I’ll Make A Man Out Of You’)

Pretty much single-handedly, with quick thinking, Mulan defeats the majority of the hun army. When the Chinese army is greatly outnumbered, she is able to put her own life at risk (once again) for the safety of her friends/army and fires a cannon to create an avalanche. Without this quick decision, there is NO way that their army would have survived. Although it may not be life-preserving for the huns, it is life-preserving for China, and as a result, even the Emperor acknowledges her (AHA SPOILER) as the saviour of China, DESPITE her gender. Mulan manages to break the typical gender role of a woman in her society throughout the movie, and by the end, has everyone realising that maybe women aren’t useless.

Pocahontas, on the other hand, doesn’t really break role. Her saving of John Smith is the emotional manipulation of her father. She full and well KNOWS that no fellow tribesman will lay a hand on the chieftain’s daughter, and so will not execute John Smith as a result of her being in front of him. In the beginning of the movie, she plays the ‘I don’t need a man’ role, and then suddenly, BADDA BING BADDA BANG, John Smith turns up and – after much hanging out – her philosophy suddenly changes. Mulan is trying to become a bride and when that doesn’t work she feels ashamed. Even when she realises that she has feelings for General Shang (WHOO, another BAE to be honest, because that man bun got me like…) she puts them behind her in order to focus on the task at hand – being a soldier. She refuses to jeopardise herself or her family simply for the feelings she has for this – super fit – guy.

POINTS TO ADD

  1. Pocahontas has TWO love interests… someone say GREEDY.
  2. The sequel of Mulan was PARTIALLY soul-destroying, what with the fact that she thought General Shang was dead, and was fully ready to marry someone else. (AHA SPOILER) The sequel of Pocahontas was SOUL-DESTROYING, with the fact that she thought John Smith was dead and then SMOOTHLY navigated to a new man. Darn you, John Rolfe.
  3. Mulan is never willing to deny herself or her feelings (when she is allowed to be a woman warrior, she does.) Even when Shang disagrees with her personal philosophy that ‘her duty is to her heart’ she doesn’t care. In fact, they even fall out over that. Pocahontas is willing to give up her culture for a new man. Just because John Rolfe asks her to be some ‘civilised’ British woman, she does. She dons some disgusting dress and EW.

So that’s it. The argument. I had to summarise a lot but the overall gist is that Pocahontas is independent but emotionally-driven and Mulan is kick-ass but emotionally-driven.

And I did this test, Which Disney Princess Are You? Which you should do, because BUZZFEED. (I won’t tell you who I got, but I got one of these two gals. 🙂 ) But make sure that you ONLY do this quiz and don’t click on ANOTHER quiz, such as THIS ONE (but of course do that one, it’s Which Disney Prince Is Your True Love?) Anyway.

To be fair, I’m not going to tell you which one I favour, because that’d be biased. However, I CAN tell you that anyone who does not see the clear winner in this situation is an absolute WEIRDO… and quite frankly, doesn’t deserve to watch Disney.

That’s all from me, Queen Rianna

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Irony (Pt. 2)

So I was thinking whether I should post Part 2 tomorrow, but I guess since Part 1 and 2 are both about my past primary school experiences, I may as well post it today. The first post was from Years 2 to 4. In this one I’ll get through Years 5 and 6.

4. Year 5 – Miss L

Miss L was one of the loveliest, sweetest teachers that I can remember. She was the sort of person you’d go to when you wanted to cry, when you wanted to talk or when you just wanted to sit with someone in comfortable silence. When we went to ‘The Wilderness Centre’ (kind of like PGL, but the more nature-orientated version), me and my friend shared a room, but we got really scared because there was this horrid tree outside which cast a really scary shadow on the floor. We went to Miss L and she comforted us and gave us lots of sweets. Yes, she was THAT sort of a teacher. The one who genuinely cares about her students.

Miss L also encouraged me within English and she got me interested in Poetry. Now, you may have noticed that I mentioned that “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes is my absolute favourite poem. The interesting thing is that before Year 5, I didn’t really like poetry – not to the extent that I do today – but we studied this poem in English. Now before you think, well it’s not about the teacher, it doesn’t matter what teacher you had for English, you still would have gotten into poetry, NO. No that is a lie. Miss L didn’t just read the poem. She made it come alive. She read it with emotion, with voice, with tone, everything possible to make it feel less like structured rhyme and more like a free-flowing story in prose. Everything about the way she taught me just made me really come alive.

So in 2009 (I think it was that year, I can’t remember too clearly) my local library held a poetry competition and I entered it with my friend. I really regret this now actually, I should have entered it by myself. But anyway, Miss L was the one who told us about it and was very enthusiastic when we were runners-up in the competition. We got to meet an author as well, and got a signed copy of her book, “Being Impossible”. I don’t remember much about the day or the ceremony, but I do remember that I felt very proud at winning something with my poetry.

Miss L taught me that words matter. She taught me that you can do anything and everything with your words if you have the mind for it, if you have the imagination for it. She helped me to widen my thinking, to make me think more like a writer and less like a student simply studying poetry. I loved every second of her English lessons and I can’t thank her enough for helping me to become invested in English and the arts, because now I simply cannot live without them. I love writing poetry and really, a lot of it is down to her.

So, thank you Miss L for encouraging me. Thank you for fuelling my passion and beginning in me a journey which would never end, and one which, seemingly, would become an important factor in my life many years later. I am so grateful for this that you’ve done, and I wish that I was able to see you now, to speak to you and show you my work. To show you what you started and how far I’ve come. For this skill, for this love which you inspired in me, words can never be enough.


5. Year 6 – Miss B

The funniest thing about this Year is that I really don’t remember much. I don’t remember many of my teachers or the stuff that we learnt, but all I really remember is my English lessons.

At this point (and also, as I still am) I was learning and developing as a writer. We used to have to do a lot of creative writing in English and so I always had the chance to write. Miss B was my Year 6 English teacher, and even though I don’t remember much about her, I do remember her speaking to me about my writing one day.

She said something like this, “Rianna, your writing is very good and shows a lot of depth and thought… but you always write about the same thing. You always write romance style, and your writing style is also very predictable. Can’t you try something a bit different?” At the time, I thought it was totally harsh; I was just like “Oh my goodness Miss, I try to write so hard and you just crush my dreams and my ambition by telling me that it is predictable.” (In my head of course, I would never dare to say anything this sassy to a teacher). The next lesson, I was still relatively troubled by what she told me, but when she handed out our books and gave us our instruction, I flipped to a clean page and decided I was going to try something new.

That wasn’t symbolic by the way… but I guess in a way, it slightly was.

I started writing a Sci-Fi style story. Yes, it did slip SLIGHTLY back to romance, but I was getting there. I was developing my skills. Miss B, although it seems like she didn’t do much, was the one who taught me that I don’t have to be confined to one writing style. Yes, perhaps I was good at writing romance stories, but that didn’t mean that I shouldn’t try anything else. She helped me to realise that I could write so much more, I could explore so much more if I just stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new.

I can’t thank you for this enough Miss B. Yes, I know now that I’m relatively good at writing romance stories, but you were the one who showed me that I could do so much more with my writing ability. I’ve started so many other stories which aren’t romance orientated at all, and I’m so glad that you taught me this from early on, so I’ve had more time to develop. Thank you so much for your help in English, thank you for always being a guide for me and also teaching me things about myself.


So… I think that’s it for tonight. I am DEFINITELY not doing Part 3 right now! That’s going to be WAAAAYY too much to digest. This works nicely with the first one which I posted, because they’re linked directly. But worry not, my dear readers. Part 3 will come tomorrow!

I hope it will at least, I’ve been pretty lazy with my posts in the last couple of days… Sorry about that. *smiles weakly*

Queen Rianna

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Irony (Pt. 1)

OK, so this is going to be a three-part post. (It’s gonna be quite long and so I have to split it up into three parts to make it seem a bit shorter). Let me just start with a bit of background.

I’ve really wanted to talk about my inspiration for a while. I’m not talking about celebrities and people who will never know, I’m talking about people who have impacted me uniquely in my life and whom I have never forgotten, nor will ever forget. I have several reasons for this (these) post(s): firstly, the fact that there are so many people who contribute or have contributed to my life and make me the person who I am. There is a saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”, with which I wholeheartedly agree. Secondly, sometimes we don’t appreciate or say thank you to certain people, and I think I really need to; thirdly, because I am really upset I didn’t have a chance to stay in contact with some of these people, but they’ve helped me nonetheless.

I was going through some of my old school reports from Primary School (I even found one from my Year 2 class!) and it just reminded me of all the wonderful teachers I had throughout the years. I’m going to try and get through Years 2 through to 4, but I promise, there’s a lot to get through.

Now, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to put people’s names online and stuff, but I won’t be saying the names of schools or their first names, so that’s OK I’m sure? (I certainly hope so…) Anyway, enough of my chatter. Let us begin.

1. Year 2 – Mrs B

Mrs B hated me. I’m not even being funny, there was just something about me (I don’t know what!) that she didn’t like and she made my life at school an absolute misery. There’s so many memories I have of her… and NONE of them are good. LOL. So, we had these book levels right, which were like, colour-coded. I don’t remember many of the colours or the order, but all I remember was that brown was the highest level and she REFUSED to move me to brown. For what reason, I have no idea, because when we all did reading tests, I had the reading age of a 13-year-old in Year 2; there wasn’t really any valid reason for her to not move me up. But for whatever reason, she refused to. She also told my mother in several meetings that I was too self-confident and what she practically said was that I’d never amount to much.

I also remember one time, that we had a “Teddy-Bear Picnic” (we had to sing the song, I remember it so vividly that I still know the song) and we got to bring in our teddy bears. Me and my two friends (that was an issue, I was finding it difficult to make friends at school) were throwing our teddies across the circle at each other, and of course, we were children, we thought it was hilarious and lots of fun. But Mrs B decided that we were being rebellious, and so she took me and one of my friends to her office and gave us both letters to take home to our parents about our ‘bad behaviour’. (I’m also going to take this moment to call her a racist, because there were THREE of us throwing teddy bears, but only the two black children got taken to her office… and my other friend had started it as well!) Needless to say, we were terrified about what our parents might say and so… we attempted to flush our letters down the toilet.

It didn’t work out too well because I didn’t take the letter out of the plastic wallet.

You’re probably wondering why I’m mentioning her and all these not-very-nice moments after I’ve just done some long spiel about ‘inspiration’. Well, ironically, she was the person who helped to set everything else in motion. If it wasn’t for her being horrible to me, I may never have moved to my second Primary School and met all the amazing teachers that I did and had all the opportunities that I did.

So yes, this is very ironic, but I want to say a huge “Thank You” to Mrs B wherever you are, because without your disbelief and discouragement, I may never have had the opportunity to meet the wonderful people I did and be encouraged by people who actually believed in me. Thank you for pushing me away from you and towards a brighter future.


2. Year 3 – Mrs P

I really hate to quote Mean Girls, but Mrs P was a pusher. (And a good one, not the Burn Book version of one). She pushed and she pushed and she pushed. She refused to give me my pen license until my writing was immaculate, she made me do harder work, more work, set me more challenges and tasks. I can’t say that I very much appreciated any of that then, but I definitely do now.

Apparently, I was supposed to be moved up a year, but she told my mother in a meeting that she didn’t think I needed to be, that all my mum needed to do was stretch me and push me and get me to do more. My mum took her advice. I was always reading. All the time. My mum bought books, she took me to the library, she bought books and took me to the library. Whenever we did a project at school (I remember doing a project about Hippos) I knew that Mrs P expected the best from me, so I worked very hard. She was like the grandmother figure who you don’t want to disappoint. And I loved her, she was great and she really encouraged me to do everything and anything. She helped me to believe in myself again.

So, thank you very much Mrs P, wherever you are. You came in at a time where I thought I could do nothing, where Mrs B had destroyed any amount of belief I had in myself, and you built it back up. I wish that I could have stayed in contact with you, and I wish that I could tell you to your face how much you did for me, because I really appreciate it.


3. Year 4 – Miss C

This one isn’t so much about her inspiration, but what she got me interested in. In Year 4 History we were learning about the Tudors. Now, at first I thought that the Tudors were really boring, because we had to do a project about Tudor Life in England, which kind of just meant finding out about some monarchs and stuff. But of course, always being the extra one, I didn’t want to do a mediocre project. I wanted to do something that nobody else had thought of. I went home and spoke to my mum and she suggested that I find out about Tudor medicines and treatments, and I thought that would be very interesting. So I did all my research, read lots of Horrible Histories books (YES, they are the best, don’t hate) and came up with one of the best projects possible. Now, I know that obviously she didn’t choose the curriculum, but many other classes did different projects, not about research, some just came in dressed up as Tudors. (I wish I had the chance to do that, but still…)

At any rate, now, I am OBSESSED with the Tudors. Ask anyone who I know or speak to regularly. The Tudors fascinate me, they’re so interesting and I could probably tell you all about them, their lineage, the Kings and Queens, court gossip, everything. I’ve read every single one of Philippa Gregory’s series “The Cousin’s War”, and other notable authors like Alison Weir, Emily Purdy and Laura Andersen.

So, this is Thank you to Miss C. You might just have thought you were assigning a project, but really you were assigning a lifestyle. I love the Tudors now, and I love Medieval fiction, and that’s all thanks you to Miss. Wherever you are, I want you to know that I’m very grateful.


So. That was pretty long. (Sorry about that, and I still have WAY more to get through). Obviously though, it’s not finished just yet, so I won’t say goodbye, but I will say, UNTIL LATER…

Queen Rianna

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Captain von ‘Trapped In An Elevator’

I’m on the internet guys! No, not this blog. (That’s a bit obvious really isn’t it?)

I was a runner-up for that fabulous competition being run by IGGY & Litro, and I’m so excited to have had the wonderful chance to have been shortlisted for it. So my story is on their website now; it’s called “My Children Are All Monsters”. Check it out! (https://www.iggy.net/writingprize/rianna-davis.php)

Anyway. Back to the title.

How, you ask, does ‘The Sound of Music’ relate to being trapped in an elevator? (Or a lift as us boring Brits call it…) Well, in the lift today I had to hum that song ‘My favourite things’ in my head, because I think I was going to have a breakdown. Sorry. Let me start from the beginning.

So, the award ceremony was at the Shard, and obviously, YES the Shard is as fancy as it sounds. I’ve never been there before, and needless to say I was gushing over EVERYTHING. (By the way, the view from the floor we were on was amazing! We could see Tower Bridge and the Tower of London and… Sorry, I’m getting carried away). But anyway, they have these really fancy lifts. Like, there aren’t any numbered buttons inside the lift, you press the number of the floor that you want from OUTSIDE the lifts on these really fancy keypad things, and then once you’re in the lift, you can’t change your destination. At first, I thought this was really cool.

Then I got stuck in it.

There was a bunch of us, probably around 7 or 8 people – my mum, dad, older and younger sisters and brother, my aunt and uncle and my English teacher – and we had just left the ceremony. We rushed to get into one of the closing lifts, and just about made it… But as fancy as these lifts were, they were TINY. Regardless, we’re just going down in the lift, and it opens up on the third floor, so we’re all a bit like, “hmm, don’t think this is the right floor”, (It was of course, but we didn’t know this yet), and remain in the lift.

The lift was possessed.

It goes up. It keeps going up to the 27th floor, it eventually stops but the doors don’t open. Then it goes down to the 7th floor. Then it stops. The doors remain firmly shut. It goes back up again, at which point everyone is wondering what is happening. Is some sick person sitting in the ‘control room’ moving the lift up and down just for the banter?

Probably.

I start laughing. Very loudly and very hysterically. Everyone looks at me and says, “Why are you laughing?” And my response is the generic one.

“Because it’s funny.”

NO. I lied. I was not laughing because it was funny, because there is NOTHING funny about being in a possessed lift in such close proximity with people that you could virtually see up their nostrils. I laughed because that is what I do when I become emotionally overwhelmed and don’t know what else to do but laugh. It was terrifying.

At which point I started to sing the words I remembered from that tune in ‘The Sound of Music’, which isn’t very many. All I remembered was:”Dah dah dah dah dah… dah dah dah ROSES… dah dah dah dah something NOSES. Brown paper packages tied up in string, these are a few of my favourite things…” And then of course the chorus.

We survived. We did. We got out of the lift the next time it opened on the third floor – we didn’t make the same mistake twice. We all… I sprinted out of the lift and onto the landing and took some dramatic heavy breaths. No, really when you’re in a lift with so many people, everybody kind of uses up all the oxygen. I had to take some very deep breaths to regain all that oxygen that I had lost the chance to inhale before. (I’m not sure where the Science in this is, but I’m pretty sure I’m getting this wrong).

Needless to say, it was an eventful day, and I learnt a lot of things. First of all, I learnt NEVER TRUST THE LIFTS AT THE SHARD, because next time, we might not even be lucky enough to get out. We could be going up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down for ALL OF ETERNITY. We narrowly escaped the eternal hellfire. And I promise you, everyone says that nothing is worse than hell, but I’m pretty sure being trapped in an elevator for the rest of your life is worse.

It felt like the rest of my life. I was sure that when I came out of the lift that the dates for my exams would have gone past. (I’m slightly disappointed that this wasn’t the case but, oh well, at least I’m alive to tell the tale).

Second of all, I learnt that life is too short. When I came across this competition, I was just like “ah, why not, may as well enter it.” I do not regret my decision at all. When I wrote my short story, I thought, “Should I enter it? Will it get anywhere?” and the answer to both questions was yes. Yes, yes, 100% yes. There is no point in living and being scared of doing something, of saying something, of writing or drawing something. As somebody put it succinctly today, “Failure is a springboard for improvement.” Success is not final and failure never fatal. We live and learn from our mistakes and we become better as a result of them, but life is far too short for us to NOT do something because we are scared of failure.

Don’t be scared of failure. Embrace it. Let it teach you what it has to and then let it go. And never forget to thank it for teaching you something that success never could. (Oh, that was a bit inspirational. You can totally quote me.)

So yes, I am proud of my achievement today. No, I am not disheartened that I did not win. Yes, I am happy for all my personal cheerleaders, who came with me and were also unable to come, who supported me. No, I am not upset that I didn’t get to taste those delicious looking chocolate brownie things because I was wearing my retainer. (That’s a lie, I totally am). Yes, I am thankful to God that I didn’t asphyxiate in the lift. No, I am not going to be visiting those lifts anytime soon.

I think that’s all from me tonight. I’m supposed to be going on an Ice-Cream date tomorrow (Ooh, how exciting!) and hopefully I’ll go to the gym or at least clock some time running or something.

Stay strong guys.

Love your super excited Queen Rianna

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p.s. I found an apple! There was one left, it was hiding in the fruit bowl under the oranges and it was delicious! (Now there are none left. Now I am sad).

Jesus Take The Wheel

You know when you’re trying to to do the writing thing and you just can’t?

Like, for some reason your brain shuts off or you go blank and then you stare at the cursor, mocking you, DARING you to “Go on. Write something.” So you manage to whack out a couple of sentences, and it doesn’t even make sense; you end up rewriting the same three lines over and over and over again.

But, as Susanna says, “Just because I have no writing, doesn’t mean I can’t writing.” (Yes, I know it doesn’t make grammatical sense, and it’s not supposed to, but please don’t judge me – it’s 19:53 on a Sabbath evening).

What’s been going on with me recently? Hmmm? Well, I’ve learnt that I have very strong tendencies to eat apples. In fact, in the past week, I’ve probably eaten about two every day. This might not sound bad, but first of all, that means that I’m keeping TWO doctors away (and what if I get sick or something!) and secondly, if you knew me, you’d know that I don’t really like fruit. Me eating two apples is weird. Am I pregnant?!

Who knows.

Also, I’ve found out that I have an inclination towards Classical music. I’ve actually found some really nice composers and songs and I’ve even been listening to it to go to sleep a few times. I’m going to start listening to it when I study because apparently it helps to retain information and it puts your brain into a more relaxed state of mind to learn and absorb information. It doesn’t hurt that it’s very beautiful either. One of my most recent top composers is Ludovico Einaudi, his pieces are really calming and I really do believe that classical music can get you feeling some kind of way. You feel?

I’m pretty sure that I want one of his pieces to be played for my wedding march, because UGH it just gives me the shivers. In a good way, of course.

Anyway, not very much has been happening with me. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to get any more writing done recently. It honestly feels as if all the writing has been sucked out of me, which is exactly why I couldn’t write the other day. I wanted to post something emotional about the plane crash, because I felt so horrible and sick when I heard it, but I thought, I better not before I end up ranting and raving about this man. Of course, I’m not justifying what he has done, but I have no idea what he was feeling or thinking. But I’m not going to get into this, or I WILL become emotional.

I don’t know why but I don’t feel like I have that spark today. The one that makes me want to write and creates worlds with the flick of a pen and make the words on a page come alive. I seem to have lost my ability to command the armies of words that flow from my mind, and it’s making me feel terrible and so useless.

There are a couple more competitions closing within the next week or so, but I’m panicking, because I’m here just struggling to even whack out a sentence, and most of the word counts are 1,000 or above. Honestly, when I’m at school and have lots of work to do, I can sit at my laptop for hours and type and type endless story, my imagination runs wild. And now, I have to do revision and I’m on holiday, so I have more time than before at least, and the only thing that I can do is start with an opening phrase.

Usually, I’ll just type a sentence and then an idea will suddenly come to me and I’ll run with that. Then the more I type, I find words that I can use and phrases that would fit beautifully and then I think YES I’ve got it, and that’s it. But right now, I’m staring at this opening phrase and hoping that something will type itself for me. Really, Jesus take the wheel, because right now, I am not a licensed driver.

I’m also underage. I shouldn’t even be driving.

I have a YouTube tab open, listening to some Classical to get my brain working, but all it’s doing is making me want to sleep. Like, no! Darn you, neural conditioning! Please, please, if I could just get a paragraph, that would be great. At the moment I’m working on about three stories, but none of them are going anywhere, and they’re all better in theory than in practice. Maybe if I had more time, like in the summer, then I’ll get back to writing them. But I’ve done all my research and background on them and everything. I’ve got folders for them and it’s just a matter of time before I find myself adding more to the documents, or maybe even (as I have done in several cases) deleting them altogether and just starting again.

That is usually quite an easy option. It also seems to be most effective in encouraging me to write more, because it’s kind of like I HAVE to write in order to replace the work I’ve deleted and then more because I have to make more progress on this.

All I know is that in the summer (or at least after all my exams) I’m going to be writing like crazy, writing down all the things I never had time to before. (Which is now, because I’m speaking of the future). I don’t have time to do anything it seems now, but I really need to make time. All I can do is hand the steering wheel over to Jesus. (Not literally, because I don’t drive, and not even figuratively; what I mean is myself and Him would have to swap sides, so I’ll end up on the passenger side…)

And also eat more apples. And listen to Classical music.

That seems to do the trick.

Goodnight everybody, it’s too late and OMD I am going to lose an entire HOUR of beauty sleep.

Really raving about this lost hour now. Gosh.

Queen Rianna

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