A Pensive Cerebration of the Capricious and Fickle Nature of Human Beings

I know the title of this post is long and somewhat laborious, but I thought it the best phrase to even partially express the sentiments of my post. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, how disloyal and selfish human beings can be, especially in terms of our relationships. Our intentions and emotions are forever changing, the shifts in our relationships meant to accommodate those respective emotional modifications – more often than not, however, with such revisions only considering the person making the changes.

Not all changes are purposeless, I’m sure it goes without saying. There are toxic relationships which need to be eliminated; no matter how much one tries to justify abusive relationships (emotional, verbal or physical in either a romantic or platonic situation) there is little else more damaging in the life of the average human being. And of course, people change. Admitting such only further stresses the necessity to be rid of certain burdensome associations, as the person they have become is, of course, NOT the same person whom you initially befriended.

Sometimes it’s funny to think how much people change. In general, change is a positive thing, but it can also be a stumbling block in the way of relationships. Anybody you know, at any time without warning, could decide they no longer want to be a part of your life, be it a boyfriend, a best friend, a parent, a relative, whoever. They have the ability to choose to destabilize even the most sturdy and reliable of relationships, though I suppose whether they have the right to is another question altogether. But like it or not, it happens. And people do change, suddenly, without warning, leaving your friendship in broken shards or your relationship in pieces of fragmented heart – and there you are, wondering what you did wrong.

But when you really think it about it, it’s not always other people changing. A lot of the time, it’s ourselves. We change – be it for better or for worse.

We become more mature, or immature. We grow emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or we regress. We think differently, we meet new people, we explore and discover things which we have never before seen the like. Or we don’t. Whatever the case, these changes in us affect our currently-existing relationships, either negatively or positively, depending on the respective change in the other party as well.

When your best friends looks at you, and notes with disgust in her voice, “You’ve changed”, she’s not lying. You HAVE changed. It’s just that those changes have now made you the better person and put you at an assumed advantage in that friendship; and she doesn’t like those changes. The problem is not that you have changed. The problem is that she HASN’T.

When you watch your best friend looking at you with sad eyes as you tell her sympathetically, “I’ve changed”, although she doesn’t want to believe it, you have. It’s just that those changes in you have left your relationship undefined and in new, uncharted territories, and now offers you neither comfort nor happiness. The problem might not be that she hasn’t changed. Perhaps the problem is that you have.

But change should never be the foundation upon which a relationship is built. Too often, people make friends or date someone with the intention of ‘changing’ them, which is effectively saying, “I won’t accept you as you are; you must fit into MY mould.” No matter how you want to look at it, it’s often selfish – the ‘fixer-upper’ ideology – but also dangerous. Building relationships purely on the projected view of what you envision the person to have become after you have finished ‘changing’ them, means that you are never content with people as they are. You simply want them to be your version of themselves.

And staying in a relationship because of a change you hope to happen is also not a great idea. I mean, I know that many times the only thing standing between you and a successful friendship or happy marriage is a bad habit, but the assumption that the other person will change purely to satisfy your needs within that relationship is also not great. It means that you will hang onto relationships way past their ‘sell-by’ date purely because of the misguided hope that they will change; not just for the better, but also in the specific way that you want them to.

Yes, there are cases where people can change, when they realise that they have an issue or some other insurmountable problem which stands in the way of a fruitful relationship with you, but THEY are the only ones able to dictate when that change will come about. You cannot neither force nor expect someone to change. Change comes about naturally, and though you may make the person aware of their flaw or whatever other imperfections, they have the ultimate choice as to whether to act upon it or ignore your counsel and seek a happy relationship elsewhere.

Sometimes change is necessary for growth. A snake cannot grow without shedding its skin, and though this may be a somewhat difficult process, leaving behind the old allows you to move forward into the new. Not every relationship you have will always be long-lasting. Some are superficial and have their ‘expiration dates’, and that’s okay. Of course, it’s important to recognise such friendships; because they are so short-lived and intense, they can drain you as they are often emotionally demanding and exhaust your energy reserves, not to mention, your mobile contract.

And of course, I am speaking in the assumption that only one party of the relationship changes. It is likely that both could change. If you both change for the better, growing together and developing healthily through your relationship, then despite changing times or seasons, your relationship will go the distance. If you both change for the worse, despite your identical poor choices, you may stay together, both blissfully unaware of your regression. If one changes for the better and one changes for the worse, it is likely that the former will become hyper-aware of their respective changes and either make the latter aware of their flaws or leave them.

What I’m trying to say is, in every situation, there are lessons to be learned. Whether one of you or both of you change, or even don’t change, there is always something about you which can be improved, if you are willing to be open to positive growth and constructive criticism.

As I noted in the title, the natural nature of human beings appears to be irrevocably fickle and it is becoming abundantly clear that we are consistent in only one thing – inconsistency.

I’m not entirely sure how to end this, as I realise that my blog post very closely resembles one of my equally pretentious essays for English Literature. I suppose I can only say that I am perhaps misguided on many things which I’ve commented on, but that I hope it offers insight for some people and that it is, for the most part, relatable.

Look at that, I even included a conclusion.

Goodnight everyone, wherever you are.

The Faerie Squad Mother x

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A Weapon of Mass Construction

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Thought it’d be a good idea to start my post off with both a thought-provoking title and a (mostly) overused quote, just so that you’re efficiently baffled. Perhaps you’re starting to form ideas in your mind already as to what I’m going to write about.

I was talking to my friend last night, and I can’t remember how exactly we got there, but we (REALLY) briefly touched upon the power of words. The conversation went a little bit like this:

Me: It’s so much fun. Writing these whole new worlds.

Him: Yeah I know. Funny how words can completely shape an environment/character.

Me: Yeah. Words are amazing. They can do so much man.

(And then, here comes the amazing bit…)

Me: That’s my next blog post. Words and their power.

So here I am. And here we are.

Let’s return to the quote from the beginning. I actually love this quote so much. “The pen is mightier than the sword.” It’s so relevant and so true. Allow me to enlighten you as to some of the many ways this quote is relevant. But first, some context.

This quote is attributed to the novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play ‘Cardinal Richelieu’.

Francois: But now, at your command are other weapons, my good Lord.

Richelieu: The pen is mightier than the sword… take away the sword; States can be saved without it!

Now, since Richelieu is a priest, there is obviously the stigma that he is not allowed to take up arms against people who are trying to kill him. However, he acknowledges that even though he has no weapons, the power of words is more powerful than any weapon he could use. He even goes so far as to say that without armaments, entire states can be saved.

I haven’t read the play (the above was the result of some quick googling – thanks BBC) but context is always helpful. However, the BBC article also informed me that there were even earlier references to this path of thought.

A similar phrase appears in 1582, “The dashe of a Pen, is more greeuous then the counterbuse of a Launce.” (The dash of a pen is more grievous than the counter use of a lance.) Going back further, the Greek poet Euripides, is quoted as writing: “The tongue is mightier than the blade.” “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than 1,000 bayonets,” is another quote comparing a weapon to words, and is allegedly attributed to Napoleon.

So, what we learn here is that many people, not just writers and artists, but world leaders, and leading thinkers alike all seem to have the same train of thought. Let’s keep going.

According to Google definition, ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ is an old proverb which means ‘writing is more effective than military power or violence.’ According to the Cambridge Dictionaries website, it means ‘thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence.’

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

“But this cannot be!” You say. “How can something which simply emits ink onto a page be more powerful than that which can take lives?” (You’re probably NOT saying this – or at least, I hope you’re not – but just pretend you are for the purposes of this blog post).

Let’s look at this from a more literal standpoint.

The thing about a sword is that it has one purpose: to destroy. I very much doubt any soldier would have picked up a sword and thought “Hey, this would be GREAT to cut my nice block of cheddar with,” or “Perhaps this would look nice if I melted it down and made it into a necklace.” Swords are for killing, really. They don’t have much other purpose. The people who wield swords have one intention: to kill. Yes, swords can take away lives, and yes, they can rip lives apart because of the lives they have taken away.

The thing about a pen, however, is that it also has a purpose, but one which both reflects and counteracts the purpose of a sword: to destroy AND create. With a pen (or a metaphorical pen; I think typing counts too) authors have single-handedly crafted worlds, characters, Kingdoms, realms, and even re-created parts of history, all with its’ carefully wielded use. Yes, pens might not be able to physically kill people – although, I suppose it depends which pen you use – but, to an extent, they CAN physically kill people. Pens can also destroy. People used pens (or quills, rather) to sign death warrants. People write malice and hate-fuelled letters, which can tear someone’s life apart. Newspaper articles filled with slander can ruin someones career… or alternatively build them up. There is very little limit to the power of the pen.

A sword, on the other hand, would not be used for construction. What good can you do with a sword? Swords aren’t made to create. Pens are, however. And words do exactly that.

I also thought that the blog title was rather apt, because a sword, or any other weapon really, is a weapon of mass destruction. But a pen, being as it is, can be used as a weapon of mass construction. I think it’s amazing how powerful a simple word can be.

Words literally create a whole other realm of thought. Reading a book is not just an amazing feat for the reader (who, in a sense, is doing a bit of work on their part too, as no two readers view a book in the exact same way) but also for the person who wrote it. In order for you to have imagined the book, or the character, or the setting, in the way they would have wanted you to, surely that required a level of skilful use of words.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone is necessarily able to use words in terms of literature. But everyone uses their own powerful words in different ways. Some people (like myself) prefer to write their power. Some prefer to speak it. Some prefer to sing it. Some prefer to dream it.

But everything we do with words has some form of power, whether we recognise it or not.

Words were what the slaves used in their songs to empower themselves and each other in the darkest moments of their lives. Today, we have the lyrics of Negro Spirituals to remind us of that. Words were what the Popes of Medieval Christendom used to wage war on countries. Today, we see the effects of the Crusades, all because some men had willed it with their words. Words were what Hitler used to rally the support of millions of German citizens, and instil a sense of nationalism and patriotism within them all. Today, we look back at the horrific results from the rule of a skilled orator and yet an evil, racist, homophobic, misogynist dictator.

Words are amazing. They are beyond comprehension. How is it that we can both look at the same tree, but you describe it in a different way to me? Because the physical appearance of that tree manifests itself in words in our mind in different ways.

Pens are the metaphorical vessels of words. Since we live in the age of technology, I suppose not very many people use pens anymore; we prefer to type. (Speaking of type, I would LOVE a typewriter, actually). But pens, quills and ink, fountain pens, were what many famous poets, writers and singers used to pen their eternal works. The pen was what immortalised Shakespeare, Austen, Chaucer, Poe, Hemingway, Dickens, Tolkien, Orwell, Steinbeck, Woolf, Tolstoy and hundreds of other creatives like them.

So. That’s it. I think I’ve effectively used words to try and explain how words can be used effectively. (Also, the English language is so weird and complicated). To end, here’s a poem which makes me grateful that I grew up speaking English and didn’t have to learn it as a second language. And once again reiterating the power of words, to not only create and destroy… but also to confuse.

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, slough, and through.
Well don’t! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps.
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard but sounds like bird.
And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead,
For goodness sake don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not a moth as in mother
Nor both as in bother, nor broth as in brother,
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear, for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose–
Just look them up–and goose and choose
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword
And do and go, then thwart and cart,
Come, come! I’ve hardly made a start.
A dreadful Language? Why man alive!
I learned to talk it when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn’t learned it at fifty-five.

Good afternoon everyone, and love you all.

The Faerie Squad Mother x

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Not A Problem

This is going to be a very long rant. Just be aware that as you read this and the post seems to go on forever it is all fuelled with emotions. So please prepare yourself. There may be some sensitive issues mentioned, just as a warning. It it going to get pretty personal.

Let’s start. So since I was unable to post during the past week, I had been drafting a post whining about the translation of books into movies (which hopefully, I will post later, if it doesn’t seem so feeble after this rant) but today, during a rather, shall we say, enlightening experience, I decided to perhaps leave that post for later and get everything I thought about today off of my chest.

But first, a bit of context.

At NCS with The Challenge, we are currently on our third week; Social Action. This is the week where we go out to a Social Community Partner (i.e. Charities or organisations in the area we are based in), suss out their problems and try to help solve their issues and/or make the community more aware of the work they are doing. We are required to come up with a campaign in our groups in order to achieve those goals, and today (the first day of Social Action) we went out to actually visit our Community Partner (Charity Partner? Social Community Partner? I’m sorry Rochelle, I really wasn’t listening) and try to get some inspiration for our campaign.

The place we visited was a Care Home for Dementia Patients. It was an 100% Dementia home, which meant that everyone in the home had Dementia, or some form of it, and of course some people were in a more developed stage than others. When we met the co-ordinator for the Home, he explained it to us as three stages of Dementia; the first being calm and helpful, slightly forgetful; the second being often anxious and excited, but with a short attention span; the third being a more developed, anxious, emotional character. He also explained to us how we had to be aware that many Dementia sufferers live in their own alternate reality. As volunteers and young people, we were supposed to talk to them in a way which did not confuse or upset them, but instead encourage them and keep them happy. If we were mistaken for someone’s daughter, son, grandchild or husband or wife even, we were to just remain appropriate all the time, but not say we weren’t that person, because it would upset them.

Despite our initial misgivings, especially seeing as a few of us had had unhappy encounters with Dementia sufferers in the past, we put it behind us when we went to the home and spoke to some of the residents with quite open-minds, trying to be positive about the whole situation.

I’m pretty sure I was very close to breaking down.

I spoke to a lovely lady, (OBVIOUSLY I cannot say her name) but she told me some fantastic stories about her growing up. She told me how she was an only child and her mum loved to garden, and made lots of jams with the berries they grew in their back garden. Her dad was deaf because he was badly mistreated as a POW (Prisoner of War) in the First World War, and her mum was partially deaf, so they all developed a sign language. She told me that she was evacuated twice during the Second World War; the first family wasn’t nice, but the second family was in South Wales. She went to school in a small village there, and they tried to teach them Welsh but (she told me fondly, laughing at the memory) it was not going anywhere for her. She told me about how she used to be a shorthand typist, how she stood in for secretaries, and during the War used to type up Secret Documents, which couldn’t be reread but had to be shredded when they were discarded. There was an airport near where she used to live, and the Spitfire planes used to take off from there, and she would watch them occasionally from her house. She told me that she used to sleep under the table in her kitchen, and that they didn’t have a proper sleep for years because of the air raids.

She told me all that.

And then she told it to me again. And again. And again.

I heard all of those stories at least 10 times each. Every time she finished a sentence, her face would light up, and then she would repeat to me another one in excitement. And each time she did that, my smile grew a little wider on the outside and my chest was crushed a little bit more on the inside. I had to nod enthusiastically, and ask her the same questions I asked before, as if I hadn’t heard the stories. I varied the questions, and asked different ones, and I kept getting the same stories, and I kept asking her questions I had asked her before. She punctuated her speech the same way, with the same hand movements, laughter in the same places, a cheeky smile here and there. She never asked my name, and to be honest, I was too scared to tell her, because I didn’t want to have to say over and over, “Hi, my name is Rianna.” Even though she had been talking to me for about an hour and a half.

And it wasn’t out of selfish reasons. It was purely because I absolutely hate the feeling of helplessness and lack of control that Dementia sufferers have to (or don’t have to, depending on how you look at it) deal with.

We spoke to the co-ordinator again, who told us that the biggest struggle they had at the home was the fact that the community was very separate and not involved with these elderly. He told us that what they really needed was support from the locals, and volunteers, people who were willing to give time. I would have loved to volunteer then and there but I was still kind of reeling from the whole thing. When we left, I was pretty quiet. If you know me, I’m not a particularly quiet person. But I genuinely was lost for words. Because it got me thinking. And hence this rant. (I’m literally just starting now, so don’t be alarmed!)

Often, we forget about people like these who make up our society. Because they aren’t in the spotlight, not authoritative figures of social importance necessarily or in front of us, then we don’t seem to notice them. We forget that these were the people who built the world we live in today. Many of the elderly especially were the ones involved in the World Wars. They were the ones who worked hard when they were younger, they were the ones who got involved in everything. Okay, so the world was different back then. It was more acceptable to be outwardly racist, homophobic and sexist; of course, there were big differences. But seriously, the only difference between then and now was the fact that society did not make them the people who were cast-outs.

We also forget that eventually (one day, if we don’t die soon) that we will be old. We will be relying on the same services that these people are relying on and we will be the ones who may be suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s (either one, God forbid). We have no way of predicting the future or what our health will be like, yet we take it for granted so much. It is expected for us to wake up, to be able to slip out of bed, to go and brush our teeth and use the toilet or whatever. It is a routine we don’t think much of.

What if it took more than an alarm clock to rouse us? If our legs had to physically be moved to get us out of bed, and it took two people to help us brush our teeth and clean ourselves after we used the toilet? How dehumanising must that feel for an entire generation of people who used to be active, young, healthy citizens?

How does it feel not actually realising that you are repeating yourself? That you’re trying to be friendly, ask questions, and all you seem to do is infuriate people and wind them up because (unbeknownst to you) you’ve asked that question eight times now? To be put in a home simply because your family is all dead and there is no-one to look after you? Or even worse; your family are all alive, but none of them can – or want to – look after you in your state? Or even worse; to not even remember any of your family? To look into the faces of people you have spent your entire lives with; yet to you it is as if you are gazing into the face of strangers?

It upset me how disconnected a few members of our group were, and treated the whole thing either as a social experiment, a boring visit or a chore, as if they thought they could better spend their hours elsewhere.

A quote which I very much appreciate and have been pondering on for a while since it was first mentioned last week at NCS, was one taken from a meeting of some of the world leaders discussing the biggest threat in the world. When we first discussed this, we all threw in some cliche answers; poverty, starvation and hunger, child labour, slavery, racism, terrorism etc.

But it looked like we were wrong. Because, although each of these large problems in their own way, the Dalai Lama expressed:

“The biggest threat is that we are raising a generation of passive bystanders.”

And that’s what we are really. Right now, we are all a generation of passive bystanders. That is how these issues are allowed to get worse and more problematic; because the ones who have the power, the means and the intellect to solve these problems, are the ones who are swept up in mass consumerism and materialistic mentalities. We, the ones who are being trained to be world leaders, we who have the world at our fingertips, the ability to make a change, are sitting by idly and watching as the world suffers with problems. We don’t seem to want to get involved in those problems until they start to affect us.

And by then it’s too late.

It’s too late to change the past, because we’re watching all these opportunities, all these chances to make a difference pass us by, and by the time that those problems that we buried in the back garden start to become a problem for us, badda-bing, badda-bang, we’re suddenly old and frail, and in the exact same position as those who we didn’t want to help.

What we don’t realise is that the world around us and society is sustainable. In Geography terms (that GCSE actually came in handy), it means that we are able to use it and its’ resources today without it affecting the use of those in the future. In more simple and relatable terms, it means that the world we are living in now has been set up for us by those before us. Therefore, we have the responsibility to keep it sustainable and set it up for the younger generations, so that when they reach our age, they will be able to do the same thing for the generation that follows them.

It’s a continual cycle.

But because, as a generation of passive bystanders (the phrase of which, I think, so perfectly encapsulates the essence of this generation), we have decided that this doesn’t affect us, and are more interested in the new Apple product being released than the falsely-accused, jailed and tortured being released, we don’t want to take action. Because it ‘doesn’t affect us.’

And to be fair, the fault lies with a combination of both nurture and nature. We are growing up in a society which is teaching us to take what we want, get money, get rich quick, spend all your money on commodities (mostly unaffordable; but that’s what we are being taught loans are for, right?) and KEEP. BUYING. MORE. Which is essentially the message which each one of us is digesting, being fed to us by the things we watch, listen to and (less often) read. However, it also has to do with the way we are brought up.

Children being brought up where nannies are the mothers and parents are only ever seen at weekends because of working schedules, are being taught that money is more important than anything else, even family.

Children who are sat in front of television screens and are given technology to play with before they can even speak or walk, are being taught that entertainment is everything, that excitement is key to life.

Kids and toddlers who play colouring-in games on tablets, on computers and mobile phones, rather than using pencil colours and books, are being taught that accessibility is more convenient than having to work for what you want.

It is the combined fault of the people who are raising these upcoming generations and the mentality and the mental confines which we are unwilling – or unaware of – to break out of. We need to recognise that if we are to move forward, to begin rebuilding the society which we so often complain about, then we need to be the ones to stand up and make a change; because we are the only ones who currently can.

Before I get too carried away, I’m going to drop in my key message here and roll with it.

#FirstWorldProblems are not Real Problems

I’m sorry, but that is not a statement which is up for discussion. Here are two beautiful videos which so effectively encapsulate that message.

The fact that we complain about breaking a nail when there are people having their nails ripped out as methods of torture; that we whine when our parents ask us to do chores to get pocket money, yet some children don’t get ASKED to do chores, they are TOLD to do them, and they don’t get paid or treated well; the fact that when we have no signal for our phones (I must admit, I am at fault for this one) we are dying, but some people are entirely content without mobile phones at all, is entirely upsetting, and actually very ungrateful and the wrong sort of mentality to have.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every other person in Developing countries wants to be like you and me, because I am fully aware that there are people entirely satisfied with the conditions and situations and circumstances they live in, despite having so much less than us. But since we are in a Western Culture where your worth is valued on how much and what you have, this is how we are being taught to think, and this is stopping us from being aware of people with real issues out there.

And we don’t have to look as far as countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. That was the whole point of my recount about today; there are people who need our help right here. This is not a campaign, this is not a marketing ploy, and I am not promoting any specific charity or organisation, nor am I telling you to go right now and donate in order to feel like you’ve made a difference. That’s another thing about us; we feel like money can solve any problem.

The Dementia home where I went today didn’t want money. Maybe they needed it, but there was a much deeper need for something else; company. Time, volunteers, people who wanted to help and help selflessly. It upsets me how many young people only want to volunteer because “it will look good on their CV” or it will “make them more employable.” Yes, these are definitely bonuses to the whole thing, but look at how many opportunities we have been afforded. Can we not give back to the community on a larger scale, knowing that whatever we do will effectively be done to us?

We set the example. We are the ones who are going to be the world leaders of the next generation, which is what scares me the most, as I mentioned in a post a while ago, but effectively, we are the ones expecting to be treated like royalty when we get to those situations and those ages… yet we are doing nothing for the ones who are there right now.

Where is the fairness?

I’ll give you a hint: THERE IS NONE.

I think it’s probably quite clear how impassioned I am about this whole thing, and as well as that, it is also quite clear how little as a generation we have done – and as a result, how much MORE we need to do to make up for this shortcoming. We cannot complain about the world we will potentially live in (God forbid) if we do not do anything now to change it.

Everyone can change it in their own little way. Donating to charities isn’t always the immediate answer, but it definitely is a sure-fire way of making sure that your money is going further than the Forever21 sales. (As long as they are reliable charities as well). Volunteering, social visits to homes like the one we went to today, just being friendly and making the people in these homes who so rarely get out, feel like young, carefree people again. Petitions, campaigns, doing research in your areas and local communities to find out what needs to be changed, what can be improved and how exactly you can work towards doing it, counts for something.

You don’t have to start a charity. You don’t have to do something immediately. I am hoping to become a Human Rights Lawyer, travel abroad and write about things I see and experience. Obviously, that will not all be done overnight. But in the meantime, there are smaller scale things we can do to change the world we are in.

I don’t think I’ve ever ranted so passionately about non-race related issues, but I’m glad I was able to.

Let’s just keep in mind here, as a generation, we are privileged; so we need to stop acting like we are deprived. That’s my rant for today, amassing a record 3,139 words.

Peace, love, hope, joy (and everything else) to all my readers,

Be aware, and remember, #FirstWorldProblems are not Real Problems. Love you all,

Queen Rianna

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A Thing I Felt Like Telling You

Well… a few actually. I hardly think they’re particularly inspirational and I’m not going to say that I’m SO experienced so I know EVERYTHING; because I don’t. But what I CAN say is that this might actually be helpful for somebody and anybody could possibly read this and go, “Oh my goodness, this is actually quite true!” Anyway. Enough of that.

But naturally, feel free to comment, because I really want to hear all your comments about the stuff I’m going to say.

I literally keep saying “I’m not going to post anything until the 12th June, buuuuutttt….” So this is one of those moments. This was something I really needed to get off of my chest and now seemed like a good time. This probably seems very random and out of place, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently. And if you ask any of my friends, it’s pretty dangerous when I think (LOL), but I’m going to go ahead and post my ‘thinkings’ (or thoughts, for all of you who won’t allow me creative license) since this is a rambling blog anyway.

In the past couple of months, there’s been a really big emphasis on the ‘friends’ front for me. When I say ‘friends’, I’m not talking about making new ones so much, I’m more talking about the friends that I currently have/have had. Now, obviously, for any teenager, especially girls, friends play a huge role in our lives. For many of us, friends are super important to us and their attitudes and tastes also could dictate our own lives, if we allow them to.

Now, before I start telling you a few things, I’d just like to clarify: I’m not saying that everybody is like this. My sister, for example, is a person who doesn’t let her friends change who she is (God bless), and I know lots of other girls (and guys) who stay the same, regardless of their friends. But obviously (and I hate to sound like the ‘agony aunt’ here) peer pressure is a huge thing, and it’s more real than any of us like to admit. And I’m not talking about some dodgy guy with a trench coat coming up to us and asking “Hey kids, wanna buy some drugs?” I’m talking about the sort of peer pressure which is so subtle but causes us to completely change aspects of ourselves just so we feel a part of it.

And thus it begins.

Thing 1: Every friendship can teach you something.

This sounds a bit funny I guess, but it’s true. Even the terrible friendships teach you things; that you don’t want to hang out with those kind of people, or how to better handle situations in the future. A lot of friendships can even show you what sort of person you are. For me, a lot of my previous friendships have taught me the sort of things I could never learn from my current friends. For example, when people get angry, they often bring up lots of things from the past, and when me and my friends would argue, sometimes they’d say things about me which were, admittedly, not nice… but also true. This, I guess, kind of put into perspective the sort of person they viewed me as and helped me to change accordingly. I realised that if I wanted to have friends who were trustworthy, kind, reliable, loyal etc. then I had to be that person for other people.

Thing 2: You should never feel uncomfortable with your friends.

I feel like this is the sort of unspoken thing, but nobody really seems to address it. There is literally no excuse for feeling uncomfortable around the people that you call friends. If you’re shy, if you’re an introvert, if you have anxiety; you might be thinking, that’s absolute rubbish, but to be honest, I have friends that are all three of those things, and yet when we’re together you would never even know. Friends are supposed to be the people who you can say whatever (I mean, as long as it’s not offensive – but then again, they can always make you aware of this) to, whenever (especially when you’re having an existential crisis at, like 3 in the morning) and however (because I do some WEIRD voices; I do love a good accent) and not feel worried that they’re going to judge you. You shouldn’t have to hold anything back from your friends of your personality when you’re with them, or alternatively, hide any aspect of who you really are.

Thing 3: Friends don’t flaunt your failures. They help you to make improvements.

They are supposed to be supports, not meant to drag you down. In life, you are going to be friends with people who are negative ALL. THE. TIME. Don’t get me wrong, these people can be genuinely great but eventually, their negativity is going to grate on you and/or even make you more negative. I’m not saying “Ditch all your negative friends” but what I am saying is that you need to be aware of what some people’s intentions are. There are going to be ‘friends’ who are jealous of you and are constantly making you feel like less of the person that you really are. For ages, I’ve been friends with people who only want to use me to pull themselves to somewhere and then ditch me; but no more. Friends are the ones who lift you up. Friends are the people who tell you, “Yes, you can do this” or alternatively, are able to be realistic and say “No, you can’t do this” but still “Maybe try this instead.” Friends don’t tell you “This is ridiculous. This is unrealistic. This is impossible.” Friends are the ones who say “No it’s not.” when YOU say all those things.

Thing 4: It is better to be bluntly honest than tactfully untruthful.

This is a big thing for me. There is nothing more that I appreciate when a friend says to me in all honesty, “Rianna, what you just did/said was not good. You need to apologise.” Or some other variation of that. Some teenagers seem to think, in this current day and age, that they are all untouchable, perfect and untainted gods and goddesses. Newsflash: You’re not. We make mistakes. We mess up. And that’s fine. But if our own friends are unable to tell us when we’re doing something wrong, or we don’t want to listen to their honesty, then you might as well go and dig yourself a hole in the ground. It is, in my humble opinion, the responsibility of friends to tell your friends what they’ve done wrong. There’s no point going behind their backs and whining about them if you haven’t told them to their face what they’ve done wrong. In fact, all my current friends are able to do that, and I’ve actually ditched the ones who were unable to be ‘corrected’ so to speak, because they saw themselves as above everyone else. That doesn’t sit right with me. Sorry, but it’s true; and sometimes, a good friend should be able to tell us without having to worry about how we will take it.

Thing 5: Time doesn’t mean anything.

Just because you’ve been friends with someone for 9 years, doesn’t mean that they’re the best possible friend you could have. Just because you’ve been friends with someone for a year and a half, doesn’t mean that they can’t be your closest friend. Just because you’ve been friends with someone for less than a year, doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them everyday. Time is one of the most unnecessary factors within a friendship. Yes, it certainly helps to know someone for a long time (and I don’t think this idea applies to dating so much as friendships, LOL) but the strength and loyalty of a friendship is not dependent upon the number of years or months or days that you’ve known them. And as you could probably tell by my detailing of time at the beginning of this point, I talk from experience.

And a few more points before I close up, because this is getting a tad personal…

  1. Friends only have to hear your voice to know how you’re doing.
  2. Friends don’t talk about you behind your back; they just say it to your face… but in a nice way.
  3. Friends respect your wishes and your beliefs. They don’t try and make you do things which you’ve made it clear that you don’t want to do or don’t believe in, and they CERTAINLY don’t mock the beliefs and ideals which you hold.
  4. They don’t FORCE you out of your comfort zone; instead, they hold your hand and help you out of it whenever you are ready to go with them.
  5. Just because you talk everyday, doesn’t mean you know everything about that person. Just because you’ve been friends with a person for a long time, doesn’t mean that you will always be friends with them.
  6. PEOPLE CAN CHANGE. And they will. O ho, they most certainly will.
  7. ALSO girl-friends do NOT date your ex (unless, of course, you’ve had a good sit-down discussion about it and you are entirely cool with that) and they most certainly do NOT fight over boys. At the end of the day, boys are interchangeable for most of us at this point in our lives. Friends are more important than guys. Trust me. I almost lost a friendship over one.
  8. Friends don’t get friend-jealous. They acknowledge and understand that you ARE going to have friends other than them, and that isn’t a problem. They don’t feel like they have to compete for your attention.
  9. Friends don’t play with your feelings. I think at this point, there is quite a fine line between being ‘just good friends’ with the opposite sex and crossing that, and very often those boundaries are crossed. But friends should realise that if you don’t BOTH want to go there, then they shouldn’t try to.
  10. Don’t be scared to drop your friends if you feel like you need to. You can always find new ones. I know this is a super cliche line, but sometimes, we need to stop thinking about our so-called ‘friends’ and think more about ourselves.
  11. The friends we have now (in teen years) will affect a large proportion of your life. They may not still be in our lives at the end of high school/university etc. but they do play a large role in forming the people who we are and also the personalities that we cultivate. So it’s super important that we pick the right ones.

This all sounds slightly heavy, but I think those points really speak for themselves. Friendship is a big thing.

Is she a counsellor? Is she a therapist? No, she’s a Queen. (All these things are literally from experience!) Goodbye everybody and creds to you ALL for reading that spiel, because I’m pretty sure that is the longest post I’ve written to date.

Queen Rianna

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p.s. If you’re reading this and you feel like I’m talking about you… I probably am.

When The Disney Movie Should Be Rated ’15’ but it’s Rated ‘U’… (SPOILER ALERT)

((I know I said I wasn’t going to post until the 12th June, but this is a super important post and I need to raise awareness of these issues… Also, I’ve been nominated for some Blogger Award thing, so I’ll probably post that as well this week!))

So the other day, right, I had taken a break from revision and I was really feeling to ingest some Disney. So I think, hmm, rather than watching the ones I watch ALL the time, maybe I should watch an old one.

Then it came to me. ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. YES! I haven’t seen it for so long that I’ve practically forgotten all about the characters and plot, etc. So I did. I watched it.

I was horrified.

Don’t get me wrong; the movie is absolutely AMAZING. Phoebus is just bae, Esmeralda is #WomanCrushErryday, and the songs and scenes are really well-crafted.

But I was horrified.

Not that it was a scary movie, but (SPOILER aha) within the first 10 minutes of the movie, somebody is dead. And I’m not talking about “Big Hero 6” dead (SPOILER aha) like the sort of dead where you don’t really see, but I’m talking about sprawled upside down with a broken neck on the stairs to the Cathedral.

That was the first straw. The second one was that when Claude Frollo (the villain) was holding and finally saw the baby (later known as Quasimodo), he was disgusted, and on his horse, rode over to the well by the Cathedral, stating aloud when the priest asked him what he was doing, “Sending this monster back to the depths of hell where he belongs.” Like MAMMA MIA, calm it Frollo, he just has a deformation; you don’t have to treat him like an alien.

But obviously, Frollo didn’t get the memo, and decided to name the baby “Quasimodo”, which means, “half-formed”. Wow. OK. Did it need to get that deep though?

The THIRD straw was when (some years later after he was forced by the priest to keep the child, NOT kill it – what sort of monster would DROWN a baby anyway?!) he was teaching Quasimodo the alphabet. Usually, when you teach children the alphabet, you go “A is for Apple, B is for Bike, C is for Cat…” and so on. But obviously, SOMEBODY didn’t get the memo (once again). Claude Frollo’s version of the alphabet went – and I kid you not – like this:

A is for Abomination. B is for Blasphemy. C is for Contrition. D is for Damnation. E is for Eternal Damnation. F is for Forgiveness. 

They didn’t get any further than that because of some altercation (Quasimodo accidentally said ‘Festival’ for F…) but really, that was enough.

But not enough for Disney. Because they take it a STEP further and turn Frollo into some randy old man who just wants to have sex with this gypsy that he is obsessed with.

Really.

Like, from when he first came into power, all he wanted to do was kill all the gypsies in France. (This is also an issue????) But then suddenly there is this feisty gypsy girl who keeps seeming to defy him and escape all his attempts to capture her. And what does he do?

Sing a song (which is, I can’t lie, a GREAT song if you didn’t entirely understand the meaning behind it) to the ‘Saints’ about how this dark-haired gypsy is tormenting him. Oh, the name of the song? Hellfire. The song is called Hellfire.

Here. Take a look at some of the lyrics: (I’ve just cut bits together)

You know I’m so much purer than
The common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd
Then tell me, Maria
Why I see her dancing there
Why her smold’ring eyes still scorch my soul (AT WHICH POINT IN THE SONG, A DANCING ESMERALDA EMERGES FROM THE FLAMES… !)
I feel her, I see her
The sun caught in raven hair
Is blazing in me out of all control (OK, this is DEFINITELY not appropriate for little kids to be listening to)
Like fire
Hellfire
This fire in my skin
This burning
Desire
Is turning me to sin (THE SONG IS ABOUT HIS LUST)
It’s not my fault
It is the gypsy girl
The witch who sent this flame
He made the devil so much
Stronger than a man
Protect me, Maria
Don’t let this siren cast her spell
Don’t let her fire sear my flesh and bone
Destroy Esmeralda
And let her taste the fires of hell
Or else let her be mine and mine alone
Hellfire
Dark fire
Now gypsy, it’s your turn
Choose me or
Your pyre
Be mine or you will burn

THE SONG. IS ABOUT. HIS LUST. He wants to kill all the gypsies but now there’s this one who is (admittedly) attractive and so he’s basically offering her a choice, “You’re a witch and you’re gonna burn… Unless you sleep with me.”

EW. NO. Please stop. (The music doesn’t help either, it’s so dark, and there’s these chanting men in the background chanting in Latin and it’s just… *shudders* so, SO wrong!)

This is completely NOT appropriate for little kids. Here, if you are brave enough to watch the scene from the movie. Seriously, if you can watch this and not be entirely shocked that this movie is rated a U then quite frankly, do not have children. I repeat: DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN.

Not just that, but the movie is so dark. Frollo is one of the most messed up Disney villains I have EVER encountered in my entire life.

OK, so I have never really liked the Disney villains but – I can’t lie – some are quite cool. Gaston’s arrogance was funny – before it turned him into a blood-thirsty murderer – Ursula’s attempt at stealing someone else’s life was slightly amusing, especially considering the fact that she just wanted to get out of the sea really and have a life with someone… and even Cruella de Vil had style.

But no. Frollo has no style, he’s not funny, he’s the most GENUINELY cruel villain I have EVER watched in Disney. Even Captain Hook for chicken’s sake! Captain Hook who is very bitter at Peter Pan cutting off his hand, even Hook is a bit of a softie.

I am not sure who was possessed to craft a character like Frollo and then actually give him LINES like the ones they did. Seriously. Whoever created Claude Frollo, I seriously worry about their state of mind.

Similarly, whoever decided “Oh yeah, UNIVERSAL would be a PERFECTLY acceptable rating to put on a movie of this sort…”

LEAVE. Seriously. GET OUT.

That’s all from me, that’s my lovely rant for today. LOL.

Queen Rianna

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While We’re In The Mood…

In the car on the way to the gym, me and my big sister got talking. At first it was just casually about exams and just doing my best, but then it turned a bit into the actual logic behind school.

Now, I know people have been saying this for a long time, but the education system is really (and I mean REALLY) messed up. Let’s take GCSE’s for an example. So you study anywhere between 6 – 12 subjects for 2 years, and at the end of those two years you have between 10 – 20 exams on those subjects. These exams are spread over the course of a month, during which you only have ONE chance to do well or that’s practically it. You’ve messed up.

Now, before I even start looking at the problems with the physical exams, let’s look at the two years of schooling. So you come into school for up to 190 days a year, (more than half of the year, excluding holidays etc.) and let’s say you learn something essential each day. The minimum required attendance rates for most state schools are anywhere between 85 – 95%, so that means at least 161 days present at school. This means that you have lost up to 30 days of ‘essential topics’, so you now have to use your own time to catch up with whatever work you get.

Of course, in every lesson you do (let’s average and say 9) you have a book/textbook or even both. So that means you have 18 books in your locker/cubby hole or whatever. You then have to do homework each night from at least one lesson, so that requires you to be organised with your books everyday, so when you take them home you have to bring them back if you have a lesson the next day. If you forget/lose your timetable, then there is a high possibility that you could get a detention.

Detentions run for at least 15 minutes after school. They could last as long as 1 hour 30 minutes, which is an extra 1 hour 30 minutes which could have been spent doing productive homework or catching up on missed lessons.

We haven’t even gotten to the worst bit yet.

There are 7 different types of learning: Visual, Kinesthetic, Aural (Auditory), Verbal, Logical, Solitary and Social. What’s messed up is that only about 3 of these are actually applied in education. There are large elements of Visual present – classroom displays and such – evident Aural (auditory) – teachers speaking or talking over a powerpoint – and also Social, as school mostly forces human interaction.

But what about the other 4? There is very little chance for Kinesthetic learning, except for in Science with practicals sometimes. But most classes are taught with a powerpoint and teacher’s voice. And what about verbal? We’re just told that we should be quiet, that we should work in silence and not distract others. Now I’m not being funny, but I’m somebody who can’t work in complete silence. I don’t DISRUPT the class like some teachers try and make out, but some students, like me can’t actually function in absolute silence.

Neither does this incorporate very much logical thinking, as we are taught to basically just digest everything we need to know and not really told WHY we need to learn it. The main logical lesson we are taught is Maths, and not only do I believe that some of the things which they teach us are absolutely USELESS, but also that they don’t encourage much logicality. I mean, seriously, is looking at a triangle and trying to figure out a missing angle going to immediately make you think, “HEY! Let me use inverse sin!” (If you say, of course, then you’re the real MVP). And of course, if you’re a solitary learner rather than a social learner, well… you’re stuffed.

OK. So let’s say you survive all those issues and actually manage to get some information down in that grey matter. You’ve survived until the end of those two dreadful years, and narrowly avoided several panic attacks and anxiety attacks. (That in itself is an issue, school shouldn’t be making us stressed). You get your exam timetable and everything’s going great, revision is fabulous and perfect.

And then your mum dies.

Now, not to be insensitive or try and make you depressed or offend anybody, but as much as this is sad, there is literally NOTHING you can do about it. The most the teachers can do is tack some extra time onto the end of your exams, and maybe you’ll be able to get the grades you were predicted. And in no way am I saying the loss of a loved one fully impedes the ability to take exams, but for many people, it will be an emotional battle. Therefore, it is a serious issue.

Then on the morning of your first exam you wake up and realise that you have appendicitis. Crumbs. You’re rushed into hospital and after some complications, you’re there for an entire MONTH. This means you’ve missed almost 8 of your exams. Great. Now all you’re going to see in those spots is your mock grade from Christmas, and you totally didn’t revise for any of them… When you finally get back into school, you manage to make it to one of your afternoon exams. The paper is put before you, you open it and then… That’s it. The words blur in front of you, nothing makes sense. The question paper asks you about a complex process and your pen stays frozen in your hand. “NO!” You want to scream to the beady, suspicious invigilators. “I know this! I got full marks on this in my mock!” But then they call “Pens down.” And you’re done. You haven’t even gotten through the whole paper.

Some people are just NOT exam people, OK school? Some people would do better if you gave them aural tests of their knowledge, some people work well with coursework or some sort of long-term project. Because let’s be real here – most of our future relies on our emotional and physical well-being at the end of 2 years, and there is NO way to predict this so far ahead. We have NO idea what will happen to us a month, a week, a day or even hours before we go into that exam hall, and we don’t know if we’ll come out on the other side feeling so confident about ourselves.

And all because of these things.

Fast forward and you’re only studying 4 (or maybe 5) subjects for A-Levels. But you’ve already done lots of subjects for GCSEs, so why does the number suddenly drop? Because maybe, just maybe, not all these subjects matter as much as our teachers like to make out. English being compulsory, yes I understand. Maths and Science… my understanding slightly wavers here. We can live without understanding Photosynthesis and Speed vs. Velocity and all that. I am in no way saying cut these out of the education system, because some students really thrive in these subjects! There are so many wonderful girls I’m blessed to know who are determined to be scientists or mathematicians of some sort, and good on you gals! But also we have to understand some students do the exact opposite. And it’s not because they’re ‘dumb’ or stupid or any other of those labels, but because they just don’t understand the topics.

There’s no way around it. If you can’t learn the way they want you to learn, then that’s it. There’s no other way of learning, or passing exams or anything. You just have to accept that you will be labelled as thick for the rest of your life and you’ll never be able to get into Oxbridge to study History, even though you got A*’s in all your Humanities subjects, only because you just about scraped a D in GCSE Maths and English, and let’s not even TALK about your Science grade…

Is this fair? No. Is it going to change? Most likely not. And if it does, certainly not for the better.

And while I’m at it, thanks a bunch Michael Gove. We couldn’t have asked for a better Minister of Education. Hats off to you.

Queen Rianna

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Normality vs. Abnormality

From the beginning of mankind up until today (probably not, but this is all for dramatic effect) we have all been asking ourselves one big question. And no, it’s nothing like “Does God exist?” or “Why is there evil and suffering?” Nope. The question we are all asking is:

Am I normal?

And I’m not just talking about any old ‘normal’, I’m talking about the normality that people fight for and change themselves in order to achieve.

Now, before I go on, I’m just going to consult the dictionary. Normal (by definition, so please nobody shoot me) means “conforming to a standard, usual, typical or expected”. Some other synonyms, just to give you a better understanding of the word; STOCK, COMMON, ORDINARY, CONVENTIONAL. I don’t know about you, but just going by the definition, I know I don’t really want to be like this.

Anyway. I’m not finished yet.

Would you believe that a Google search for “Am I normal?” pulls up 1.56 billion hits. BILLION. That is a heck of a lot of hits for a seemingly innocent question. Of course, being the inquisitive and curious person that I am, I decided to check out a few of these links, since lots of them were quizzes. (I cannot believe a QUIZ can determine how ‘normal’ I am). So, first of all, what the hell?! Every single test I’ve taken – a grand total of 4 – have told me different things. Now, I know I’m special – but how can I be 50% normal, 84% normal, special AND normal all at the same time?

Lesson learnt: Obviously an online test cannot tell me if I am normal or not.

Secondly, what upset me the most is the comments which were made with the results. Whenever it told me I was normal (3 times, actually) it said “Congratulations!” or some other variation of that, but when it told me I was “special” (and I quote) :

You’re special, in a great way!

You’re unique! You’re not normal, but you’re not weird at all! You’re one of a kind.

Why does it feel like they are rushing to reassure me that being ‘abnormal’ is not a bad thing? Another one of the tests actually had the cheek to tell me that I should mostly keep my weirdness to myself. Another one said that it was a good thing that I was normal because I’d get more friends that way.

These standards are actually ridiculous. Listen, OK? You be as ‘different’ as you like. If you are also a 15-year old female who would rather watch “Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse” than “Vampire Diaries” or “Gossip Girl” then you go for it. (True story). If Disney is your favourite music genre, and “Downton Abbey” is your favourite TV series, then cool. (Also true story). It doesn’t even matter anymore, because all these ideas about what is normal and what is not are all coming from the media and society.

Let me just tell you a thing:

1. Being normal doesn’t mean you will have more friends

Friends are not dependent upon you, you are dependent upon friends. There’s a saying that says, “Friends are the family that you choose.” This means that friends are people who are supposed to love you no matter what, and if you can’t show your true side to your friends, then really, you shouldn’t be friends with those people. I’ve lived much too much of my life thinking that I have to hide my personality to gain approval, but the only thing that happens as a result is the stifling of my inner Queen, and it doesn’t work. In the past, I’ve had to cut myself off from some people because I felt like I couldn’t be myself around them, and that’s not what friendship is like. Friends won’t mock you for not listening to [insert popular artist here] or for “reading too much” as I’ve been told often. (How is that a bad thing, you uneducated swine?!)

2. Being normal is very boring (and it’s a choice!)

You can’t switch your “normal-ness” on and off, because there is no such thing. The whole idea is about adapting to certain situations; obviously when I’m at a job interview or at work, I’m not going to be prancing about to my fave OST’s, or walking down the corridors funny. The difference is that I just know where and when it is appropriate to be 100% myself, and when I need to tone it down a bit. I’m just going to define “Abnormal” for you: “deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying.” My advice is, be neither normal or abnormal. (Abnormal is what ignorant boring, normal people label others whom they don’t understand). Be special. Be unique. Be different. Be crazy. You can change from being “normal” so to speak. All you have to do is stop living within the confines of society, and of your friends, and actually develop your own personal styles and opinions and attitudes. It’s hard, I know, but I promise that it’s so much more rewarding than following the crowd.

3. Being normal is also overrated

Like I said, I have spent too long trying to ‘fit in’, and it has taken me almost 13 years to realise that I don’t need to fit in. (Hence why I created my own country, and that, because fitting in is stupid). I shouldn’t have to change myself in order to fit into a stupid gap in society, that I won’t even be able to fill. I refuse to become a mindless, faceless clone of other teenage girls, with no personal opinions or anything unique to myself except my name. Teenagers nowadays, especially girls, need to recognise that being a bog-standard, nothing special, ten-a-penny person isn’t going to get you anywhere. And sure, hey, you might land that standard job, but you’re never going to get out of that cubicle and into that office if you’re just the same as everyone else.

When somebody meets me, I want them to go away thinking either, “She was cool”, or “She was weird.” And I’ll tell you why. I’d like people to think that I am cool because… well, I am. No, I’m joking, seriously, people recognising me as cool (don’t worry, I was as shocked as you are) only comes about when they are as “weird” as me, so to speak. I remember one time, I was on this residential Science course, and we had to introduce ourselves to everybody, like going around the hall. We all had name tags on, but I thought, hey, let’s mix this up a bit. So anytime anyone came and said hello to me, and told me their name, I would say with the most deadpan face, “My name is Shaniqua.” And they’d look at me funny and glance at my name tag, as if to say, don’t you know your own name? So I’d look down confused at my tag and then look up and laugh and say, “Oh, it’s spelt Rianna but it’s pronounced Shaniqua.” From that moment, I instantly knew who I wanted to hang out with/talk to, and who was just not worth my time. The former were the ones who would laugh at my joke, or even deadpan join in – I got one who told me that was her dad’s name. One even asked me how did I spell the pronunciation, and could I write it down because they might forget it.

The latter were the ones who would roll their eyes and scoff, like they thought I was some immature, ridiculous, silly, childish teenager. (Which I was… and still am). Anyway, I’m going off here.

The point is, we should not let ourselves be defined by others. Whenever I see girls in the street who look exactly like each other, I want to scream. I want to scream, “You could be better people if you just thought for yourselves! If only you looked different, if only you looked unique, stood out. People would notice you, and your life might be so much more fulfilled, if you’re just DIFFERENT!”

Don’t be scared to be different. I promise you, it’s so much fun, it’s freeing and it’s SO fulfilling.

I tried to be normal once.

It was the worst minute of my life.

Love to all my ‘super super’ readers,

Queen Rianna

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Would You Rather?

No, this is not one of those cheesy questions being used to discover people’s personal opinions on others. This is one to make you actually think for a while:

Would you rather live for a long time, have an established life and be financially stable and comfortable, but not experience ‘true love’ or be truly in love with anyone?

OR (big fat ‘or’ in the middle for you and I, Je Suis!)

Would you rather experience an intense, passionate love (‘true love’, call it whatever you like) but die after a year?

Hmmm… Well, interesting enough, everybody I asked said they would rather the second choice; for some reason, the appeal of having a very intense – but indeed short – love was stronger than the idea of having a long successful life. And what I’m trying to figure out is why? (Please do not assume I am some ‘anti-love’ person, success is great, but love is great too!)

When I think of the phrase ‘short, intense and passionate love’, the first thing that really springs to mind is Romeo and Juliet. (Thank you Shakespeare!) Not only is this possibly THE most famous love story ever written, but it is also possibly the most tragic love story ever written. (If we’re not counting the story of Helen of Troy…) Anyway, you all know the story. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl’s families are sworn enemies. Boy and girl fall in love against all odds and marry in secret. Boy and girl try to run away together but the plot goes wrong and they end up dead.

You know, just your average love story.

What is most fasincating about this story (I’m reading it right now actually, I’m about halfway through it) is the intense emotions felt throughout the entire thing. No character, even minor ones, does anything without 100% emotion behind every action. But of course, since we’re looking at the idea of passionate love, we gotta look at the lovers.

Romeo… (how do I put this nicely) acts like an pubescent teenage boy who doesn’t know what he wants. From the beginning of the play, it’s not even Juliet he’s supposedly in love with; it’s a girl called Rosaline. And the reason he is so ‘lovesick’ as you will see in the beginning, is not because she doesn’t love him back, but is because his advances are being rejected since she is celibate. Basically, all he wanted was a decent lay. Nice, Romes. He moves on PDQ (that’s ‘pretty damn quick’ for you textlexics out there…) from Rosaline and straight on to Jules though.

Juliet seems to be quite a ditsy girl. Her head is always in the clouds and she seems to live in her own dream world, even when everything comes crashing down around her. One minute she doesn’t want to get married, the next she is whispering to the dark of night (where our gallant Romeo hides) that she loves this dude who she met at a masked party… and KISSED. Like sheesh, sorry, did nobody see them kissing on the dance floor?! She thinks it romantic to die in her lover’s arms, to kill herself to be with him ‘after death’ so to speak, and romanticises the whole concept of suicide. Not that Romeo exactly helped but…

And go for it. Tell me that Juliet sat on the grass with her head in Romeo’s lap, and just talked about utter nonsense. About the way she felt when she lost a shoe, or telling him a story which entertained her. I’m not saying that these things are definitive declarations or presentations of love, but what I am saying is that they hardly got to know each other. Especially since I think it was more of a ‘lust at first sight’ than anything else, all I can say is they rushed into everything together pretty quickly.

Don’t get me wrong. Shakespeare is a literary genius. If I could write like Shakespeare, WHEW. What I would do. But I feel like this play is a very extreme presentation of the intensity and passion of ‘love’; in fact, so much so that it ends in death. I don’t even think what Romeo and Juliet experienced for each other was love; I just think it was lust. And no, of course I don’t assume that I am a love expert, but I can deduce from basic experience and knowledge that MOST long-standing love doesn’t end in an unspoken suicide pact. Love is supposed to last a long time, right?

So what’s the obsession with having a lot for a little? A year is quite a short amount of time, if you think about it. A year to not only have to get to know somebody, but also have a very personal, intimate relationship with them; more than likely there are going to be things that you hide from each other, things that you will never know and just a general overview of lots of minor details – but things I still believe are as important as the big things too. I know obviously that the ‘would you rather’ had very few choices, but why do we want to have so much heat but only for a year?

And also, why do we feel like we HAVE to experience love to be happy, so to speak?

Yes, I know that we have to be loved. But notice, in the original first point, you would “have an established life and be financially stable and comfortable” and I never said that other people would never love you. I said that YOU would never experience it or personally be in love with anyone.

Maybe it’s the buzz of love, the rush of emotions that we like to feel. When that person smiles at you and your tummy feels all warm and fuzzy, or when they hug you and you kind of want to stay in that hug for the rest of your life. Is that an experience of love? Or is it just our minds fabricating the emotions, in ORDER for us to experience it? I do, 100% believe that love exists. I’m not a skeptic and I do not doubt it for a moment. I just wonder if true love exists for us in real life in the same way that it exists for us in our minds.

So – for me – no, Romeo and Juliet were not in love. I think they were in love with the idea of love. And yes, perhaps their relationship (can I even call it that?) could have developed into a more… stable sort of love, if they hadn’t committed suicide and stuck around a bit longer to actually get to know each other. (Nobody can tell me they actually think Romeo and Juliet spent time getting to know each other; he practically proposed to her after a day!)

At any rate, who am I to be talking about true love and whatnot? I’m only 15.

Oh yeah, that reminds me! Do you think that age defines the ability to experience ‘love’? Because I feel personally that love comes with maturity, and maturity is usually synonymous with age. But let me know what you think about this all as well!

Thanks Shakespeare. Even now, your literature forms the basis for educational content, discussions and – occasional – blog posts.

ANON (Shakespearean term, meaning: In a short time)

Queen Rianna

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Anti-Jokes

Do you ever feel like your life is a really terrible joke? And you keep waiting for the punch line; but the only thing that is getting punched is you? By life? In the face?

If you agreed with all of the above, I can’t say I sympathise, sorry. I think that my life is great and absolutely perfect.

If you thought that the previous statement was serious, you obviously have no concept of sarcasm. Because, let’s be real here. Even if I was a Disney Princess, my life would not be great and absolutely perfect. Yes I would have a supermodel’s physique and an immense – and pretty infinite – wardrobe, but I would be saddled with an annoying Prince (I really don’t like many of the features romantic interests in the Disney movies except John Smith, Aladdin and General Shang… and even they wind me up sometimes) and would never get to do much else but live out my life within the walls of a palace.

Sorry. Enough about Disney. This is not the time for me to rant about that.

In Study Skills yesterday, we were discussing the very interesting idea that ADHD and other attention disorders have increased as – interestingly – the technological world and other commercial industries develop. Whilst none of us discredited ADHD or any other disorders as ‘fabricated’ or ‘non-existent’ we recognised that these two factors seem to be linked with each other.

Now before I go on, if anybody has any of these disorders, don’t get me wrong: I am NOT saying they don’t exist. I am not saying they are made up. What I am saying is that the growth between the diagnosis of these and the developing commercial world seem to be conveniently proportionate; as one grows, so does the other.

There are so many things at our fingertips. This is the 21st century, and whilst we do not all drive down the road in hover cars like previous generations predicted, there are technological developments which far exceed the average human mind or understanding. Not just that, but TELEVISION! Need I say much more? Television, tablets, mobile phones, smartphones, everything we have at, practically, the touch of a button, and yet people wonder why children’s minds wander and get bored when they are sat in a classroom for up to an hour at a time, looking at an interactive whiteboard. (The name is quite misleading because the only person INTERACTING with that whiteboard is the teacher…)

I’m not going to just talk about people with attention disorders, but I’m just going to generalise and say the whole of ‘this generation’. I can’t really speak much for myself, because as much as I’m surrounded by all this stuff, I’d much prefer a decent novel to a deadbeat soap opera any day, and my phone can hardly be classified as ‘state of the art’. But for most people my age, we are consumed by consumption; our only aim or focus in life is to obtain more and get as much of it as we possibly can. Ask most average teenage guys what their goals are in life, and they will probably all regurgitate some variation of “Disregard females, acquire currency”. We are so focused on possessions and our obsessions are becoming dangerous, even to the point of elitism in some situations. Why should people be made to feel bad if they don’t have a personal laptop, but share a family computer? Why is it ‘social suicide’ to have a Nokia instead of an iPhone 6? (Because, of course, the iPhone 5 is SO last week…) All of this is spoon fed to us by the global producers in society, and the generation of us who rely upon the words spewed from the mouths of these master manipulators simply gobble these ideologies up without a second thought.

And it’s killing us.

Yes, sometimes we might joke about the girl who doesn’t know what a democracy is, or the person who thinks that UKIP is a supermarket. Even the people who think that the reference to ‘Ferguson’ is a reference to an episode of a TV programme. (And yes, I kid you not, these are all real comments made by real people…) But in reality, it’s terrifying. Because if we find politics (and I quote) ‘boring’ and ‘irrelevant’ then God have mercy when we reach the age to legally vote and not know who to vote for in order to help secure our economy and our futures. (And no, we cannot just vote for whoever our parents vote for!) What happens when the only thing which we find interesting is the TV screen, and we seem to be running out of the bright young minds to become educated doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers and MP’s? What do we do when paper pages no longer catch our interest – when instead only intensely bright, glaring screens will allow our slowly dying minds to ingest watered-down words and phrases?

It is a sobering thought and a sickening joke. There is no punch line to this one. We really have to wake up and smell the sweat and toil of all those people before us who have fought, and in some cases died, for so many rights and privileges, so many which we abuse everyday. Technology may be the answer to a lot of things…

But it’s not the answer to everything.

And of course, technology has it’s benefits. It’s revolutionising the medical field and helps out with engineering and mechanics. I completely agree with the use of technology in these instances; because these uses are entirely selfless. These are helping to develop our society, our community and our nations as a whole, so who could really find fault with them in these circumstances?

But it’s down to us. We can complain all we like about ‘poor education’ and ‘stupid system reforms’ but if we don’t take every opportunity, every chance we get to actually make a change, then what is the use? Of course, it’s not entirely our fault. (Thanks, Michael Gove, you’re really the best!) I’m not saying we should take the blame, but we can’t boycott the system. That’s a bit silly really, and – if we’re being honest – I don’t think most of us actually understand the implications some of these changes have entailed. It’s just like they say, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Yes, I know it’s not that easy. I know that education and opportunities are based upon the sizes of mummy and daddy’s bank account (if you even HAVE both parents) and your postcode, and that sometimes your forename and/or surname can be a deciding factor in admission to a Russel Group University, and your home address the signature on your own death warrant.

The problem with us is that we want to get rich quick. We want to do as little as possible to generate the greatest income, and truth is, that’s not how life works. I know that there are those exceptional cases where people are able to make a living from nothing, when people have built up entire empires from empty cardboard boxes on the streets; but not all of us will become those miracle stories. Yes, some of us may, but statistically, not EVERY single lazy teenager is going to get lucky and make a couple million pounds by accident. We have to work for it. But we don’t really want to work for anything anymore. Not when practically everything is done for us.

We are supposed to be the generation of the future. We are supposed to be the ones who make a difference, but how can we when we are all but brain-dead, and being drowned by the media? When our life source is our phones and how you would think you have killed someone when you take their technology away?

Yes, I am guilty of this. I never said I was entirely exempt. But we really need to be realistic. And at the end of the day, who is going to be getting an education, or even going off to University and getting degrees?

Our smartphones? Or us?

I think I’ve said enough.

Queen Rianna

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