The Tessellation Diagram

Humans beings are born with the innate need to feel. Throughout life – as a baby, a toddler, a child, an adolescent, teen, youth, young adult, adult and elderly person – this need is the focus of everything we do.

Babies cry because they want attention, they need to feel loved. Toddlers waggle their arms to be picked up because they want to feel comforted, they need to feel cherished. Even when we’re older, we date or marry people because we have this seemingly insatiable need to feel wanted.

But wait, you’re probably thinking, what about people who DON’T feel? Now, I know I’m thinking of it from a black and white perspective, but it is impossible to ‘not feel’. The first connection we make when we think of feelings is one of happiness; we assume that in order to effectively ‘feel’ it has to be good feelings. It doesn’t. Bad feelings – feelings of doubt, guilt, fear, depression – are feelings just the same. At the end of the day, everyone feels something. It might not be the same as we grow up, and yes, even evil people feel things too (though exactly what, we may never understand) but everyone feels something; and some to a greater emotional extent than others. Even psychopaths supposedly have the same breadth of emotions as everyone else, they just don’t ‘attend’ to their emotions the same way that everyone else does.

In general though, the most widely sought-after feeling is that of a need; to be wanted, to be loved, to feel like you matter to someone. This is what drives the majority of our daily lives, from childhood all the way up to retirement age. We want to feel like we have people who care for us and love us. This is why we at first develop friendships; from an early age especially, friendships teach us how we feel that we should be loved, how worthy we feel of this love and also how we feel that we should care for others. This is why that when we first start to develop friendships, it is so important that we are taught our self-worth and value; because when we have little or no self-worth, then we don’t have particularly high expectations for the love we feel like we should receive.

The start of someone’s life is the most important part; it makes them who they are. Each mistake, each tear, each success, each failure; but the important part of the learning and growing process is that they are all feelings.

For me, feelings play a huge part in my life. I get very easily attached to people who I feel are worthwhile people to have in my life, in both platonic and romantic senses, and at times, it can be very difficult for me to let go. My need to feel loved, to feel wanted and to feel appreciated drives nearly every single one of my relationships with friends and with family. In the past, as I think I’ve probably mentioned (or slyly indirected) I’ve lost quite a few people who I once considered my really close friends, or ‘best friends’ as some people would refer to them. And yes, losing friends is sad, and it hurts a lot, and it can take a long time to get over. To some extent, I would argue that I never really ‘get over’ things, but just learn ways to cope and move on.

So this is where the title comes in – after my long, and mostly necessary ramble. A while ago (about a year ago now, WHOA time flies!), I was chilling with Dezza and trying to explain to her my interpersonal relationships with others. I described it to her using the simple example of a tessellation diagram:

Imagine a blank white page. Now draw a hexagon. Now draw another one connected to it. Keep drawing hexagons until your page is a tessellation filled with empty-looking hexagons.

This is the structure of my relationships. The ’tiles’ closer to the upper left are some of the oldest ones; the tiles further down and to the right are new ones that are added. Pretend that there is a name painted in black on every single tile; these are all the people I interact with regularly, occasionally or infrequently. The oldest tiles, the ones that are broken and cracked, are often the ones that I have tried to remove, but with disastrous consequences. You see, the longer you leave these hexagonal ’tiles’, the more difficult they are to pull up without completely shattering the tile altogether; over time, and without care or attention, they become neglected, brittle and subject to fracturing.

On the other side, you have the newer tiles, that are being added as I write at this very moment. These tiles are the ones that are shinier and new, but only time will tell how well they wear. (That’sΒ  a bit of a mouthful: only time will tell how well they wear…) And then you have the tiles somewhere in the middle that are neither old nor recent but are very shiny; they are the ’tiles’ that I regularly attend, cleaning, polishing and filling in any cracks which appear when cracks start to show.

Some new tiles don’t last very long; sometimes the names written on them are quickly scratched over before the ‘paint’ can dry and replaced with new, more worthwhile names. Old tiles only remain because taking them out of the tessellation altogether would mean… well, it just wouldn’t be a tessellation; as much as many relationships I’ve had have been somewhat questionable, there is no doubt that I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for the mixture of both good and not-so-good experiences.

And that’s it, I guess.

That’s the positive outlook of the whole situation; even though not every friendship and relationship I’ve had has been positive or edifying for me as a person, they’ve all crafted me in ways which may not have made sense at the time, but start to make sense the older I get.

The more you age, I guess the less you realise you know and understand about things. I’m not trying to make out like I’m an ‘old soul’ far ahead of her peers, but there are certainly (as it goes without saying) things that I’m still learning. I’d like to think I’ve become a lot more sensible in choosing my friends and surrounding myself with encouraging people who understand me and support me, and give me the opportunity and the privilege of being able to reciprocate as well. I don’t even have to @ anybody, because you all know who you are. πŸ™‚

But yes, that’s it from me for the evening.

In the (fictional) words of Albert (and then Sir Robert Peel): There it is.

Love from The Faerie Squad Mother x

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p.s. I watched the next episode of ‘Victoria’ and their incestuous cuteness never fails to simultaneously shock me and move me to tears.

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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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To 8-year-old Rianna

How the hell do I start this? Oops. Shouldn’t say hell, that’s probably a bad word right now. Uhm. Ignore that sentence.

Right now, we are 16. (Do I say we? Are we the same person or different individuals? Who knows?) We could have avoided so many problems right now if I’d have written this to you earlier. I just want to try to correct what should have been corrected about 8 years ago, but I was unable to tell you, being 8 and all, because I didn’t know the things I know now.

I know this won’t change anything but let’s pretend that this will. These are some really important things that you have to listen to, okay?

Firstly, please love yourself. Don’t let people trample all over you. Don’t let people bully you or tell you that you are worth any less than you have been taught to believe. It will take you many more years to learn to love yourself if you don’t right now, and you don’t need all the drama of self-acceptance and self-confidence. Really. You don’t. Understand that you matter, that you have a voice and that you can use it. Understand that nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.

Understand that you are beautiful. Just because your hair isn’t blonde and you don’t have freckles and your eyes aren’t blue, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t beautiful. You will learn later that the way you wanted to look was just society telling you how you should. But embrace the way you look. It doesn’t matter whether everyone else teases you for your hair and your butt and your height. You are a beautiful black girl and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And if they do, don’t believe them. They are taught to believe that you cannot be beautiful, but you can be, and you are.

Keep working hard. People will call you a nerd, and a geek and whatever other offensive words they can find to use. Don’t cry, they don’t matter, because in a few years when you are going to sit your exams and they are the ones asking you for help with revision, you will smile at the reversal of fortune. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re ‘too’ smart, that you’re ‘too’ intelligent, that you’re ‘too’ anything. You are just right. Put effort into the things that you do, and I promise you, it will pay off.

Stay strong in what you believe. It will take you a while to fully embrace and understand everything you believe, but make sure you believe it for yourself. Right now, some of what you believe is what you’ve been taught to. Understand everything for yourself, and don’t just let people tell you right and wrong; learn it for yourself. In about two years you will want to be baptised, and you will, with your best friend. Keep the enthusiasm you have for God, and don’t let anyone take it away from you. Don’t be ashamed of what you believe in. It will become harder to express your beliefs when you get older, but the more you do it and stand up for what you believe in, the better it will be.

Keep being sociable and friendly. Everywhere you go, you will make lots of friends and lots of acquaintances. The difficult thing is learning to differentiate between the two. Don’t just give your phone number out to everyone that you meet, because you will end up with lots of phone numbers of people you don’t even speak to anymore, and you’re too scared to delete their contacts. Also, you will get a smartphone one day. I won’t tell you when, that’s a surprise. But keep waiting in anticipation. Your waiting will one day pay off.

Act, dream, write, sing, dance, do the things that you’re good at. The more you do them now, the easier it will become for you to do them when you get to where I am. You won’t be able to do Street Dance, even though I know you really wanted to, but there are other things you can do. Keep up all your talents and hobbies. Keep drawing! Don’t stop because the moment you do is the moment you might lose your ability. Don’t rip up your drawings when you’re mad or when you’re upset. Don’t make hasty decisions when you’re mad or upset. Try and manage your emotions properly. Channel them. Talk to people, never, EVER bottle your emotions. It will only cause more damage and pain than you can begin to fathom. (I know you know what fathom means, don’t worry).

Don’t stop reading or dreaming. Sometimes they can be the same things. Keep reading, but PLEASE I beg you, stop reading Jacqueline Wilson. (I think you’ve probably grown out of her by now). Also, don’t read romances. They won’t get you anywhere and will fuel this entirely unrealistic romanticist nature in your teenage years. And don’t read manga either, no matter who tries to get you to. Read historical fiction. I have a hunch that you’ll really like reading about the Tudors, and Ancient Greece and Rome. Learn about the world around you. Learn about the past, and the present. Learn about your heritage, your culture, where you came from. Ask questions. Never stop dreaming.

What you can stop, however, is relying on your friends. The sooner you grow out of being a follower, the better. Your friends will try and make you do things that you don’t want to do. Sometimes, if you let them, they will succeed. But you have to be independent. You have to learn how to cope for yourself and make your own decisions. Sorry to disappoint you, but none of your ‘best friends’ from primary school will even talk to you by Year 11. The people you will find as your friends will surprise you. And popularity doesn’t matter. Friends aren’t about how many you have, or how popular they make you. Friends are about the people who are there for you time and time again.

You’ve probably got a huge crush on someone right now, I don’t know who, and it would probably make me laugh just remembering. But if you can (the key word here being ‘if’) just leave off boys for a couple years. Say… 52? Wait until you’re 60. That’ll probably make your life a lot easier. Obviously this is unrealistic, but just try and be patient. Not every boy that you like is going to be your future husband LOOOL. Don’t mistake liking the attention someone gives you for liking someone. Have expectations and standards. I mean, I know you’re only 8, but boys are barely all that and a bag of chips.

No matter what happens, no matter what you achieve or where you go, remember where you’ve come from. You will go on to do great things. You will change your life goals 4 times, probably even more, seeing as I haven’t quite settled yet. You will be a Queen and then an Empress, you will rule nations and empires, you will advocate for Black History Month and slowly evolve into a social justice warrior. (I know that doesn’t exist just yet, but I promise you, it’s as worthwhile as it sounds). You will experience things you have never experienced before, you will have your expectations reached and exceeded.

Believe in yourself. Trust that you can, and will, do amazing things.

And, one last thing, for your near-future: I’d appreciate if you could lay off the Disney please. The soundtracks take up an awful amount of phone (and mind) space, and they’re too catchy. Be into them, by all means, but don’t be such a die-hard fan.

Lots of love,

16-year-old You (aka. The Faerie Squad Mother) x

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A Wish Lis(z)t

The title was a pun. For those who get the joke, congratulations. For those of you who don’t, I am very much into Classical Music, and one of my favourite ever pieces is ‘Liebestraum‘ by the composer named Franz Liszt. So. That’s it. A pretty pathetic joke, but a joke nonetheless.

*Clears throat*

It’s coming up to the Christmas period (I mean, it practically is Christmas already) and there’s this hype – that naturally, I very much dislike. Seeing as I haven’t done a list for a while, I thought, let’s be a bit different. So, I’m going to write a wish list. Which of course, will be fuelled with bitterness and sarcasm.

Before we start though, I’d just like to say: I’m not a Christmas cynic. I’m not Ebenezer Scrooge, and I don’t have anything against Christmas. (I am, after all, a Christian). HOWEVER, the one thing I DON’T like about this time of year is the commercialisation of something which was a religious festival. I mean, the principles of celebrating Christmas are somewhat pagan anyway, but we’ll ignore that for now.

Christmas has become more of a secular celebration than a religious one, Jesus is no longer the ‘Reason for the Season’. (If you would excuse the cheesiness) Presents are the reason; EVERYONE, no matter what religion, buy their family and friends presents. So it just doesn’t make sense to me. Because, I mean, the media doesn’t make as much of a storm about Eid or Diwali, or other religious festivals. (Clearly, it just doesn’t think these other events are as profitable enough to commercialise and secularise so…) But ANYWAY. This isn’t ‘Rianna’s Rant About the Media’s Secularisation of a Traditionally-Christian Holiday’. (Maybe that can be my Christmas Day special).

No. This is ‘Rianna’s Rant – in the form of a Lis(z)t’. Sorry. I really had to drop that in again. In case you missed it the first time.

So let’s go.

RIANNA’S CHRISTMAS WISH LIST

I wish that…

  1. Everyone thought twice about their shopping exploits. For the whole year round, everyone’s complaining that they’re broke. I mean, understandably, because of the government and the impossible living conditions nearly everyone (other than the elite) are in, but I’ll just… sip my tea. But everyone is ‘broke’, then they spend money they don’t have on ONE day of the year. Then at the end of it, they’re even MORE broke. I mean, come ON. Do you NEED that one-of-a-kind, limited edition, gold and platinum plated toothbrush? No. Is that diamond-encrusted toilet roll dispenser entirely necessary to impress your visiting relatives? The answer is no. Do you have to buy a game you may play with once and then never again? No you don’t. Put it down, and save your money.
  2. Everyone was as friendly at Christmas as every other day. You get cards from people who didn’t even knew you existed (albeit, your name is spelt incorrectly, but it’s the passing thought that counts, right?), Secret Santas are (mostly) pretty sweet, and everyone seems more willing to share their chocolate. (Chocolate. πŸ™‚ ) But why is it that every other day of the year, people ignore you. I mean, okay yes people ignore you at Christmas, but LESS so. And you’d think everyone was your best friend. But there’s more of a sharing spirit, mostly, and that should definitely be translated into every other day.
  3. People could spell my name correctly. This isn’t a big one, but for me, it is very irksome that people just cannot spell my name correctly; especially in cards that look so lovely. It’s not difficult. There’s no ‘h’. Stop putting an ‘h’ into my name. Stop removing an ‘n’. I need that ‘n’. Really. Put it back.
  4. Nobody left their shopping to the last minute. Do you know how anxiety-inducing Christmas shopping is? It’s horrible. Enough said.
  5. Houses always smelled like pine needles. When people have real Christmas trees, their houses smell AMAZING. Every other day, the said houses smell like… Well, who even knows, because the smell is blocking your nose. And also…
  6. Rooms always had to be this tidy. You’d think that the whole family was eating dinner in your room for the amount of tidying you’ve had to do. And, to be honest, after all the effort you’ve put into making it so tidy, you sort of wish that everyone COULD eat dinner in your room, just so you can show it off. Seriously.
  7. People remembered the significance behind this day. No, it’s not JUST a time of exchanging presents. No, it’s not JUST a day to roast a chicken and boil brussel sprouts. (I LOVE brussel sprouts though…) It was originally a Christian holiday. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus. The whole idea of giving presents stems from the idea of the wise men giving presents to Jesus. There is a religious principle behind this whole day. Please. Try to remember this.
  8. People stopped caring so much about decorations. Some people say that the older you get, the less you care. I don’t know how true that might be for you, but for me, it’s very much true. Right now, I don’t know what I want for Christmas. I don’t really care very much, and it doesn’t affect me at all that we don’t have (and have no intention of putting up) a Christmas tree in our front room. Like, they make so much mess, and YES they’re fun to decorate, but then you’ve got to UN-decorate them, and that’s not fun. It hurts. It hurts taking down all the painstakingly arranged ornaments. *Sobs silently*
  9. Presents weren’t made into such a big deal. So your 6 year-old didn’t get the right colour iPad that they wanted? Boohoo. The 6 year-olds who MADE your child’s iPad hardly had your child’s Christmas in mind when they were waking up at 3am to assemble parts in a factory half-way across the world. And who cares if you’ve got socks again. Great. You’ve got more things to keep your feet warm while others in colder parts of this country wish that THEY had got the socks you discard underneath your bed. Presents have become the focus. Yes, presents are great. Yes, presents can be lovely, agreed. But they’re not important, and they promote a consumerism attitude, and it’s entirely unnecessary.
  10. Downton Abbey Christmas Specials were more widely appreciated. I mean, this Christmas’s one will be the last one (cri cri) but nobody appreciates them. Who is there to discuss them with who actually watches them? Fix up everyone. Clearly your priorities are all wrong.
  11. I can scroll through Social Media sites without seeing everyone’s perfectly-wrapped (or unwrapped) gifts. Like really. I don’t care. Get off my feed.
  12. There wasn’t so much wasted food. Look, I know this is a difficult concept to understand but… just because it’s December 25th, doesn’t mean that your stomach’s capacity suddenly increases. JUST COOK THE SAME AMOUNT OF FOOD THAT YOU USUALLY DO. If more people are coming, grettttt, cook a little bit more. STOP COOKING ENOUGH FOOD TO FEED THE THIRD WORLD IF ALL YOU’RE GOING TO DO WITH IT IS THROW IT AWAY AFTER GETTING SICK OF EATING SO MUCH CHICKEN IN A ROW. GET A SMALLER CHICKEN. STOP. STOP. I HATE food being wasted already, you’re just WASTING MORE. DON’T COOK WHAT YOU WON’T EAT. LISTEN TO ME. THIS IS IMPORTANT. It’s so important I had to type it all in Caps.
  13. There weren’t so many tutorials for EVERYTHING. I don’t want to learn how to make a Christmas wreath with the hairs of the squirrel in my back garden. I don’t want to spend all day hand-making Christmas cards that only end in my hands being covered in paper-cuts. We all KNOW that nothing we make will never even half resemble the pictures from the tutorial. And I may not be a professional, but I don’t feel like 15minutes and 39seconds of ‘How to Make: Homemade Christmas Frames (Glitter optional)’ will be a worth-while expenditure of time.
  14. Christmas jingles weren’t so catchy. Constantly humming them in my head. Irritating.
  15. Everyone could spread out the days of their shopping. When I just want to go up to my shopping centre and browse in the bookstore, I don’t need people lining every shelf. You don’t even come in here usually! Why the sudden interest? Please. Fully stress.
  16. More people effectively utilised the excuse to dress-up and/or paint their faces etc. Do you understand all the potential there is to just look like an utter idiot all day? Why would you NOT want to do that? Wear your Christmas jumper. Paint your face. Be Rudolph. Do whatever. Nobody can stop you. It’s Christmas.

I think I’m done now. And on that note, I think that was a good way to end:

‘Nobody can stop you. It’s Christmas.’

I mean, unless you’re planning on doing something illegal or ill-advised. In which case, the LAW and the POLICE can stop you. So please don’t. (Also, would I be implicated in your crime for somewhat encouraging you?) On second thoughts, let me rectify that statement.

‘Nobody can stop you, as long as you intend to remain a safe, law-abiding citizen of [insert country you reside in here]. And don’t let the fact that it’s Christmas make you feel like you are suddenly exempt from the law… but yes, act like an utter idiot if you want to. As long as you are acting like a SAFE utter idiot who is not endangering yours (or anyone else’s) life.’

Stay safe everyone, take care, don’t accept gifts from strangers. And have a great holiday.

RiRi x

If You Are a Teenage Girl…

… like me, then you may find the following points helpful. If you are an adolescent girl, then likewise. If you are neither of those things or even (gasp) a male, then I hope you’re entertained or enlightened.

I made a post before about things that I wish I’d known when I was younger about friends and life (which was mainly a rant about my old friends to be entirely honest, but ANYWAY) and since I feel that this has once again become necessary, I’m going to make some more points which I believe are – likewise – important.

Follow closely with me now children.

1. Health and Comfort > Other’s Opinions

If you want to wear morally-questionable legwear (yes, I have done this before, despite the looks I received) even though your friend doesn’t like them, ditch it.

As in ditch your friend, not the legwear.

Your friends don’t dictate to you what you can and cannot wear, and your personal style, comfort and health (because girl, you don’t gotta be wearing thin clothes in the winter to be matching up to everyone’s approval) are always ALWAYS more important than what other people think. And let the girls who think it’s cool or fashionable wear their stilettos and hot pants, because boo, when they’re in their 30’s (if they’re even lucky it takes them that long) they will have all manner of health problems and feet problems, whereas YOU – lucky, you – get to wear WHATEVER you want then, because you have the health to go with it. And smoking isn’t great either, wait a bit longer before you start to ruin your insides, mmkay?

2. Don’t Be a Clone

You are too special and too important to be an exact copy of someone else. If you want to be a clone, be a clone of yourself. (If that’s even possible… I mean, does that even make sense?) Be yourself. URGH. I literally HATE that phrase but it is very important, and the more you adhere to it, the happier and freer (hopefully) you will be and feel in the long run. You probably won’t be friends with the person you’re cloning in 5 years time, or even 2 years time if you’re not so fortunate. At that point, you’ve spent the majority of your time and effort pretending to be this person, and you’ve wasted time and effort you could have spent discovering and becoming yourself. URGH. I keep spewing moist phrases here, but I think these are accurate too. So don’t do it. Be original. There’s only one you out of about 8 (or seven? who knows?) billion people in the world. That’s 1 in 8,000,000,000. That’s also a lot of zeros. And a lot of people who AREN’T you. (7,999,999,999 people who aren’t you, to be approximate.)

3. Education > Social Life

Once again, no need to throw away years of opportunities and chances because some girls want to dress up and go to someone else’s ‘yard’ and grind and twerk (is that what all the cool kids do these days?) on other people’s Snapchats. Please don’t do it. Don’t waste a lifetime of an opportunity that young girls in other countries would KILL to have. It’s not worth it. It really isn’t. And what is the sacrifice of a few social events in light of great grades at school, and amazing degree and an excellently-paid job?

4. Your Beliefs are YOUR Beliefs

I don’t even have to say much for this. What you believe is just that, and nobody can tell you otherwise. (Remember, OPINIONS are not the same as Beliefs. Beliefs are based on some level of system, either cultural, traditional, social or religious. Opinions can be wrong. Beliefs cannot be.)

5. If He’s Not Woke…

…Don’t fix him. I.e. If he has no social-justice awareness and is not aware that reverse racism does not exist and is not able toΒ  join in and add to your rants about social justice matters, don’t try to change him, because you probably won’t be able to. (This doesn’t apply to your friends. If they matter, then fix your friends.)

6. Boys Are Stinky

No, really. Even the ones who smell nice. Unless he’s [insert favourite literary love interest here] at this point, boys can be very useless and don’t know very much about treating girls like Princesses. Which, I must say, is a must for me. And seeing as I am (or was formerly, I don’t know, we’re still on a hung jury for that one) an Empress, that means you have to treat me like twenty Princesses. (I don’t think that’s equal, but you can see why I didn’t take Maths for A-Level). They get less stinky, but it takes them a long time. Sometimes you have to give them a shove in the right direction. But not right now; you need to be focusing on shoving your education forward, not the currently-developing minds of teenage boys. And adolescent boys are even WORSE. Jut stay away from those. They’re just terrible. Don’t even go near them.

7. Your Parents Don’t Hate You

They really don’t. (I mean, unless they do, but I don’t know about your life so…) In most cases, at least, they’re trying to help you. And yes, most parents have a pretty messed up way of showing their support sometimes, but just try your best to accept it whenever you can.

8. And lastly… French Braids are NOT French

I mean, this isn’t entirely relevant, but it REALLY bugs me when I see girls with cane-rows calling them ‘French Braids’, like HONEY did the pasty French introduce these traditionally Afro-Caribbean styles, NOOOO they did not. Stop trying to take everything, White Supremacy. Sometimes be content with the styles you have and stop trying to act like you invented our styles first. Gosh. White girls do it better? More like #WhiteGirlsDoCulturalAppropriationBetter. Also, since we’re on it, NO, Kylie Jenner didn’t make the style popular either. πŸ™‚

So those are my few gems of wisdom. Not much, but something. So. There you go. Hope that helps.

Also, along with the theme of this ‘new year, new me’ thing (which, by the way, I think is SUPER cheesy, but very relevant) I’m going to try and move past the bad associations I have with this blog by renaming it! So we’ll see how that goes in the New Year. But I’ve got a name for it already, so it should be interesting. How sad that it will change, cri cri. We shall mourn together in our hearts, in the many places we are in. (Bit over-dramatic, but you know how I love my drama). I’ll give it a complete make-over and everything.

ALSO, I am now the proud mother of at least 35 children! (If not more, I really can’t keep up with all my children!) I’ve become the Mother of our NCS Youth Board, so I can’t wait. It’s awfully exciting having kids.

I think that’s enough ‘also’s. I’m going to have to figure out how I’ll sign off my blog too (have lots of options for this). Yay! I can’t wait for it’s new look LOL. But until then, let’s go for an adequately bland and nondescript sign-off, until I’ve figured it out.

Love you all

RiRi x

 

Sudden Discontinuity

So I’m taking a break from this work. Just to update everyone who cares (i.e. no-one LOL) I’ve managed to do *turns to list next to my desk and counts*… SIX things on my list of homework! How fantastic. After my break I’m gonna smash this Spanish essay. Like, honestly, it’s not staying on my list any longer; it’s taunting me, I swear. Then I’m gonna force my sister to help me learn my lines.

So I went a bit OTT on my History homework. The task was to create a table with 3 columns – Positive Characters of Henry VIII, Negative Characters of Henry VIII and Other Information. Instead, I created an A3 poster, folded it in half, wrote with that beautifully-stylized Old English writing and added pictures.

With my Sharpies.

Seriously, once the Sharpies come out on a project, it’s going DOWN. (I’m yelling Timber… I’m sorry, I saw an opportunity and I took it). Once I’ve got my Sharpies out, I don’t mess. They’re so important to me, like if I use Sharpies on a piece of paper, or on a project, then that piece of paper slash project should be HONOURED that I would grace its face with my colourful Sharpies.

Enough about the Sharpies. I’m filled with this need to talk about the Tudors, so that’s what I’m going to do today.

On my sister’s Snapchat story the other day, I posted about 300 seconds (if not more) worth of videos, of me telling the stories of Henry VIII’s wives. Honestly, I would do it again, but I feel like it’s more educational and beneficial if you SEE if, rather than if you READ it. (And don’t worry Lawly, I’m pretty sure Teyah saved them all on her phone, so we’ll show you next week.)

But I think that, in a manner of helping me to ‘revise’, I’ll go through the reigns of the monarchs from Plantagenet England with Edward IV to Tudor England with Elizabeth I and hope that I’m getting it right. Obviously this is going to be the most summarised paraphrasing of their lives ever; please don’t hate on me if you’re a history scholar. If I’m wrong, definitely correct me LOL. Let’s go.

OKAY SO FIRST we have this awesome King called Edward IV. (That’s fourth, for all of you who can’t read Roman Numerals). Edward is a Yorkist King. (Remember that, that’s important). Edward is also a ladies man. (Lemme hear you say ‘ooooooh!’) So, for some reason or another, he comes across this woman called Elizabeth Woodville and is all like ‘DAYYYUUMMM, I just GOT to have her.’ So he marries her in secret. Just one problem; Elizabeth is a Lancastrian. (Lemme hear you say ‘oh no!’) This means that technically, she is Edward’s enemy. Anyway, obviously people at court don’t like her, but Elizabeth doesn’t really give a monkey’s because she’s married to the KING OF ENGLAND for goodness sake, like who would CARE what the haters say? She has loads of kids for him (three of them being Elizabeth of York, Edward V and Richard) and then after lots of drama of passing the crown back and forward between Edward IV and Henry VI, Henry VI is killed. Yay, Edward is King happily ever after! And then Edward dies. Oh no, who will have the crown now?! Basically, his brother, Richard III is supposed to crown Edward IV’s son, Edward V. But the boys, Edward and Richard disappear into the tower, never come out and then Richard’s like “Oh, no what a dying SHAME that there are no longer any heirs. Now I have to be King, oh NO what a COINCIDENCE.” So then Richard III crowns himself. But Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV’s widow is very mad, because she doesn’t want Rich to be the King. So she’s all like “Nuh-uh, Rich. I don’t think so. Over my dead body.” But then she dies.

Nah I’m just joking, she betrothes her daughter, Elizabeth of York, to the Lancastrian boy Henry Tudor. (Later known as Henry VII). And after lots of plotting and scheming, and failed battles etc. Henry Tudor lands in England with a force and defeats Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, becoming King Henry VII of England.

So Elizabeth Woodville is happy now, because she never like Rich in the first place and her daughter is on the throne. OR IS SHE? Because it takes Henry a whole year to have Elizabeth’s coronation, which is a bit cheeky really, because Elizabeth has a stronger claim to the throne than Henry. Anyways, Henry and Elizabeth’s marriage theoretically ends the York vs. Lancaster regime, and they become the TUDORS. ‘Duh duh duh.’ So Elizabeth has four kids, Arthur, Margaret, Henry and Mary. Arthur is being trained to be King and everyone’s like to him, “Art. You’re gonna be a SIC King. As in the good sic.” So he’s all like “Yeah, I is SOOO ready for dis.” So he even marries Katharine of Aragon the Spanish Princess, in prep for his life as King. But then he dies 6 months after they’re married.

And then everyone’s like to the next son, Henry, “Now, Hal, this is a bit awks but… your bro’s dead so we’re gonna need you to be King.” And Henry’s like “SIC!” (as in the good sic) because he’s never really wanted to join the church anyway. But he’s not exactly trained for being King and stuff so he’s a bit awks. And then when eventually his dad Henry VII dies in 1509, Henry is crowned King Henry VIII and he marries Katharine of Aragon (which is a bit awks, because she was his dead brother’s wife) and then they rule together happily.

6 wives and 3 (legitimate) children later, Henry VIII dies. (Lemme hear you say ‘awwwww!’) And his last surviving wife marries his third ex-wife’s brother, (someone call Jeremy Kyle, man, Henry VIII’s love life was a MESS) and then everyone’s like “Ayyy, at least Hazza had a son!” This son is Edward VI. (Yes, another Ed). But Ed is a SIC King. (Not the good sic, this time, he actually is VERY sic; sic like YAKKING IT UP BIG TIME). I guess you could even call him, Edward the SICth. (I’m sorry, that was so terrible, but I took the chance again!) Eventually, before even marrying anyone, Ed dies.

But not before his advisors, name his cousin, Jane Grey, as his heir. Simply because she’s Protestant and the REAL next-in-line, Mary, is Catholic, the advisors don’t want the country turning back Catholic, not after all the changes that Henry VIII made. So Ed dies, Jane Grey is crowned Queen… and then Mary’s like “Uh-uh, I don’t think so Janey-girl; over my dead body.” And then she has Jane executed and is crowned Queen Mary I.

Mary marries Philip of Spain, who is a bit mean, really, but they’re both staunchly Catholic and basically persecute Protestants by burning them at the stake. So people are really scared of them. And all the while, Elizabeth (sneaky Liz) she’s just biding her time, waiting for Mary to die. And eventually, she does. Mary dies heartbroken, childless and heirless. So now Elizabeth is Queen Elizabeth I of England.

And then Liz steps up and she’s all like “Yo yo yo everybody, I is yo Queen now, I ain’t bout dat ‘burning at da stake’ lyf, so you’s will all be fine as long as you just don’t fight me for the crown AYYYY is we good?!” So everyone’s like “Yeah, sounds good to us.” And she sticks to her word. She doesn’t burn people at the stake for her beliefs, though she turns the country back Protestant. Some bitter Catholics try killing her but she’s like, “Nah, I ain’t having this STILL. I didn’t fight for my crown so you’s lot can come and try killing me, NAHHH fam.” She never gets married, never has kids and overall is a pretty good Queen.

And then she dies. And with her death, the line of Tudors is forever…

GONE.

*Curtains down* *Audience applause* *Throws roses onto stage* *Standing ovation*

*Empress bows and wipes a solitary tear from her eye*

Empress Rianna

Crown

p.s. I hope that was both entertaining and educational for all you guys. πŸ™‚ I wasn’t quite sure how to end this though, so I went with the more dramatic approach.

A Friendly Reminder

Dear White People,
Please imagine a person saying this word: Nigger.
If, like some white people, you do not even feel comfortable reading this word, let alone imagining someone actually saying it, then I can only hope that your reasoning behind such thought is that you understand the hurtful intention behind it; not because you just genuinely feel uncomfortable whenever issues surrounding race are brought up in conversation. (In which case, congratulations! You have reached a higher level of human intellect otherwise known as AWARENESS :DπŸ‘πŸ‘)
If however, like some white people, you feel like this word would be said in a friendly, amiable tone, or are only uncomfortable because you don’t like discussing racial issues or acknowledging that your ancestors were more than likely slave owners, then you are both silly and very, very mistaken. (In which case, you seem to be stuck in the depths of human misunderstanding, also termed IGNORANCE :oops:πŸ˜―πŸ‘Ž)
Do you know the origins of this word? This word was used by your ancestors as part of the systematic oppression of black slaves. You using this word only evokes these memories. At no other point in history has the word “Nigger” been synonymous to “Comrade”, nor has it even had connotations of affection or respect. Using this word evokes these memories.
It is not okay to say. I don’t care if your boyfriend/girlfriend is black, I don’t care if your best friend is black, I don’t care if your chicken/dog/llama or the flower in your back garden is black. This does not give you the right to use this word. When you use this word, you are accepting and becoming a part of the systematic oppressors. When you use this word, you are conveying the narrow minded, racist and stereotypical view that black people are worse than animals; this is what the word was intended for, to make black slaves feel worthless. Calling a black person “My nigga” does not make you black, nor does it earn you any credit. All it makes you sound like is an ignorant person who is unaware of the meaning and intention behind this word. It is not okay to sing it in songs. It is not okay to laugh it off when someone gets offended at it. Apologise.
It is an offensive word. It was not intended to uplift the broken spirits of sufferring slaves, it was intended to grind them further into the dirt. You using this word is only grinding the broken bones of my ancestors deeper into the ground.
Stop
Saying
Nigger
Nigga
Nigguh
Or any other variation of it.
And what the hell is a “whigga”? A white nigger?
Why are you familiarising yourself with the word? Why are you trying to extend the narrow barriers to include the very same people who instigated the oppression? Stop getting familiar with it. Unfamiliarise yourself. Stop being comfortable with saying it. Recognise what you are saying.
In conclusion:
1. It is not a friendly word so stop saying it.
2. There can be no justification for saying it.
3. There is no context in which using it becomes acceptable.
4. Any variations are just as offensive as the derivative.
5. Just stop.

Dear POC,
The same applies for you.
It doesn’t help either, when you refer to your White Friends as “niggas” or “black”. Also, stop using phrases like, “You’re actually so black” or “You’re more black than me/that girl/that boy etc.” Being black or a POC is a biological predetermination. It is not a feeling and you cannot BE black or a POC unless you are biologically black or a POC.
You referring to your non-POC friends as “black” is problematic in two senses; firstly, like I said, it is not an adjective you can attribute to them without first embracing racial stereotypes. (Please, define what “being Black” is for me – if your description includes twerking, having a large butt, talking “ghetto” (which, in itself isn’t a particularly flatterring characteristic to attribute to Black people or POC anyway…) listening to Dancehall, Hip Hop, R&B, Rap and/or Reggae and eating chicken then I hope you realise how your stereotyping is reflecting on yourself as well). Secondly, it also puts these friends under the false illusion that they have the God-given right to say/sing/use the word “nigger” without causing offence; after all, if they are “black” and “all Black people use it” then why should they not be allowed to?

In conclusion:
It’s not really up for debate, to be honest, it’s just not a very nice word. Please stop acting like it’s okay to use.

Yours sincerely,
Empress Rianna

image

A Few English Lessons

So. *taps mic* Is this thing on?

I haven’t posted for a VERY long time (considering the fact that I am drastically failing at my goal to post at least one thing everyday) and so I feel the need to; especially seeing as this blog is mostly my way of talking to somebody (i.e. you) other than my friends and family who probably get sick of hearing me talk at them all. The. Time.

Anyways, before I start the ACTUAL blog post. This week (hopefully) will be a nerd-filled, jam-packed week of geeky excitement. Myself, the Astellians (all bar Sazza and my little sis) and the Elms Squad are going to turn into a bunch of tourists; we are visiting nearly every single *coughs* FREE *coughs* museum in London. It was literally a matter of Susanna and I sitting down and saying: “We have a week free. We have 10+ museums to visit, so we need to get to at least 2 everyday.”

I even made an itinerary and everything. (Is that even the right thing? An itinerary?) So that should be absolutely fabulous.

Right, back on track now. So. I’ve probably mentioned before – or you may have even noticed – that I am a stickler when it comes to punctuation and grammar; and very little stresses me out as much as the lack or the misuse thereof.

As briefly as I can in one short evening post, I am going to just highlight some common mistakes, how to rectify them, and then throw in some of those rules. (Because EVERYONE loves English grammar rules!) I’d just like to add a disclaimer: I am not an English scholar. I repeat, I am not an English scholar. I AM, however, a teenager who very much appreciates the correct usage of the Standard English Language and I feel like we need to learn to speak correctly as a generation, to be honest.

I’m rambling again. Anyways. If you’re reading this and you’re American, you may think, “Hey, she is adding a lot of ‘u’s where there don’t need to be any!” Well, let me just tell you: if I read your blog, I am thinking “Hey, he/she has removed all of those ‘u’s which upsets me very much!”

But hey. Common dialects, right?

1. YOUR and YOU’RE

The Queen’s Explanation: YOUR is used in reference to a person’s possession, either of object or character. (i.e. A characteristic or possession, both physical and metaphysical; like emotions)

e.g. YOUR dimples are adorable, YOUR jacket smells like roses, YOUR six-pack… etc.

You cannot use YOUR when you are DESCRIBING what a person is doing or what they are!

e.g. YOUR amazing (though it is true of me, it doesn’t make grammatical sense), YOUR ugly (there are two errors in this example anyway… I am not ugly, and you are using the incorrect word), YOUR winding me up, YOUR boring, etc.

Key Point: YOU’RE is a contraction of “You are”. When you say YOU’RE, you’re saying YOU ARE. So if you replace the word YOU’RE in the sentence with YOU ARE and it doesn’t make sense… YOU ARE using it incorrectly! (See what I did there? Hee hee!)

e.g. YOU’RE fantastic = YOU ARE fantastic (Correct in BOTH senses!)

YOU’RE coat is very nice = YOU ARE coat is very nice (Incorrect!)

KEY POINT: Just don’t get it wrong in conversation with me.

2. THERE, THEY’RE and THEIR

The Queen’s Explanation: THERE is used when you are talking about a place. Let’s combine this concept with point number 1:

e.g. YOUR coat is over THERE,Β so YOU’RE going over THERE

THEY’RE is a contraction of THEY and ARE (similar to YOU’RE – YOU ARE). You use THEY’RE when you are describing the actions or characteristics of a group of people.

e.g. THEY’RE going over THERE (The same principle applies here; replace it with THEY ARE and if the sentence still makes sense then it is correct!) THEY ARE going over THERE.

THEIR is used when you are attributing a physical or metaphysical possession to a group of people.

e.g. THEIR coats are over THERE THEY’RE going over THERE to get THEIR coats.

Confused yet? YOU ARE? (WOW… I did it again.) Okay good.

3. WHERE and WERE

This one is a lot simpler than the other two concepts.

The Queen’s Explanation: WHERE is in reference to a place or destination. (e.g. WHERE are THEIR coats? THEIR coats are in your wardrobe, WHERE YOU’RE keeping them…)

WERE (by my understanding at least, I hope this is correct) is simply the past tense particle of the verb ‘to Be’ (Long story, so let’s not get into how that works… it’s an irregular verb, okay?)

e.g. WERE THEIR coats over here? No, THEY’RE over THERE. WHERE are they? THEY’RE with THEIR coats. (I’m not sure why I have a sudden obsession with coats, but for some reason, that’s the only example I seem to remember from all these books about correct grammar and punctuation!)

Key Point: You cannot use WERE in reference to a place.

A good way of remembering THERE and WHERE is that the former can be a direct answer to the latter:

WHERE? THERE.

Whereas WERE cannot be used as a response to THERE

I hope this is not getting out of hand now. Only a few more things to clarify now!

4. Using Apostrophes ( ‘ )

The Queen’s Explanation: Apostrophes are not natural disasters. They can be used as means of contractions (not like the ‘giving birth’, ‘dilation’ type contractions; but the ‘shortening word’ contractions) or also to show possession. I am going to try and keep it as simple as possible, because it can get VERY technical.

CAN’T (cannot), DON’T (do not), WON’T (will not), COULDN’T (could not) and WOULDN’T (would not) are all standard examples of using apostrophes for contractions. The use of this ‘ shows that the user has intentionally missed out letters and is replacing those missing letters appropriately by alerting any reader to the fact that they have purposely omitted these.

SARAH’S doing something she SHOULDN’T be; she just CAN’T help herself = Sarah IS doing something she SHOULD NOT be; she just CANNOT help herself. (Meeting up with Lampton boys… just some Astellian banter there)

Using apostrophes to show possession is simple: you use their name or identifying tag and then add an ‘s’ after the apostrophe:

e.g. The CHILD’S pen. The apostrophe highlights to the reader that the pen belongs to the child.

MATTHEW’S family. (Whose family are they? THEY’RE Matthew’s family.)

Now here comes the plot twist. It has always been taught that when someone’s name ends in an S, you cannot apply this principle (adding ‘ ‘s ‘), but actually, that is incorrect. You are allowed to do that… and it is in fact, grammatically correct.

e.g. JAMES’S car – this is actually correct. This is because there is only ONE James.

IF however, the FAMILY is called the JAMES family, only THEN do you add an apostrophe by itself:

e.g. The JAMES’ car.

If I don’t stop now I am very much convinced that this will turn into some sort of online teaching seminar: How To Use English 101. I think I will end with two commonly-taught rules; both of which are absolute RUBBISH to be honest, because they are violated so often:

1. ‘I’ before ‘E’, except after ‘C’.

2. Never start a sentence with a conjuction (i.e. And, because, but, or, also, so) – Honestly, the amount of times on this blog that I have violated this law… I should be put into prison!

And just in case you didn’t think the English language was complicated enough (SEE? I just broke law number 2!) :

CATS HAVE CLAWS AT THE END OF THEIR PAWS, COMMAS ARE A PAUSE AT THE END OF A CLAUSE.

The English Language, Ladies and Gentleman. Just try to understand and follow the rules I mentioned above (as in the ones where I was giving my explanation) and you’ll be alright.

As long as you don’t mess them up around me. Then we might have a problem. But with that, I bid you all adieu and goodnight.

From YOUR Queen Rianna

cropped-yto5pzlte

Irony (Pt. 3)

OK, so I was supposed to write this about a year ago. (Hyperbole; that was a tad of an exaggeration!) But here it is.

So just to summarise the past two posts, Part 1 and Part 2, I was saying a great big thanks to all my infant and primary school teachers. Which I think would lead nicely into the people who inspire me right now. The only thing that has been bothering me really is the fact that I’m not sure if I’m allowed to use people’s names or not; especially teacher’s names, because they might not want me to. So I’ve had to abbreviate them and/or shorten them to make sure I don’t get in trouble. (Fingers crossed)

And so it begins. Seeing as I did my last two posts chronologically, I’m going to try the best I can to keep this chronological as well, but my mind is all over the place right now. I won’t be able to pinpoint exact years for most of them but this is a bit different because I think that I have LOADS of people to get through. Anyways:

My School Teachers:

  1. Miss C was my first head of year when I was in Year 7. She also taught me RE and she pushed me a lot in my lessons. I don’t know, but there’s something comforting about a teacher knowing you are clever but still challenging you to do more. She would always make me think more about the things I said. She asked questions which rivaled the ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy Stem’ thing, and as a result, really pushed my Year 7 brain to the max. I had her for 3 years for RE and I relished every lesson we had. Yes, it was challenging. Yes, it was difficult, but I think it was exactly what I needed. So thank you Miss C for being so cool and funny and making me enjoy RE. And also for helping me to take a broader look at the world.
  2. Mr D was my second head of year. I think he came about when I was in Year 8 and we had him all the way up to near the end of Year 9. He kind of reminded me of Mrs P (as in from Primary school), in that he often spoke to my mum a lot about different opportunities for me and helping me to move forward. I don’t remember him as a head of year much though, I more remember him as my History teacher. He was entertaining and actually grew my love of History, similar to Miss C (from Year 4). I guess being taught by him helped me to see how amazing History was. UNFORTUNATELY, I didn’t take it as a GCSE subject (though I slightly wish I had instead of Geography…) but I still won’t forget those lessons. So thank you, Mr D for showing me how amazing history is and encouraging me to do more.
  3. Mrs H is the careers guidance counsellor at my school. She was also my English teacher (she taught Poetry and Non-Fiction to us, the latter of which is one of THE most boring topics ever) and she was just lovely. Even when we had boring topics, she tried so hard to get us all engaged with her lessons. She puts so much efforts into everything and she is genuinely one of the loveliest teachers I have ever had the privilege to know. She regularly emails me with opportunities; a lot of the competitions I’ve entered and things that I’ve applied for have really all been from her. I’m so grateful that she is here, and so I want to say thanks Mrs H, because you are so awesome and I appreciate everything you’ve done for me so much!
  4. Lawly. I don’t think I really need to say much about her. She was my form tutor from Year 7 then was cruelly wrenched from us in Year 11… but she’s been like a school mother to me. She’s literally been there all the time. She’s seen me cry AT LEAST twice, we’ve had DMC’s in the sports hall at 8:00, before school even started. (And yet, I still can’t seem to grasp her accent; I want to learn how to do an Irish accent SOOO badly!) She has always pushed me to do more, she’s had insight into things I couldn’t even begin to imagine AND my mum loves her. Which is always a bonus really, because usually parents and teachers are not the best of friends LOL. But she has inspired me to do so much, and she is always so proud of my achievements. I love you a lot Lawly and thank you for always being there for me!
  5. I don’t REALLY want to mention ChaChaSquaPe, because he’s a bit useless… buuuutttt, him and Lawly have always opened their office to me whenever I’ve been distressed or just want to hang out and I don’t think I can thank him enough for his support. And of course, the ETERNAL banter. (Like, if it was on a Nando’s scale, I’d say his banter is EXTRA HOT, which a sprinkling of the extra hot sauce on your chips as well). He’s also taking us to Disneyland, so I need to be nice. πŸ™‚ But thank you Banksy, for putting up with me in your office, just talking at you and eating your muffins whilst you ‘do work’.
  6. Mrs P yes, ANOTHER one my favourite teacher (is this even allowed?) and my inspiration in English. I’m not sure what to say which I haven’t said about her already, but she is always encouraging me to do more, to work harder and to push my mind. She has helped me to bring out a more creative side, she has made English lessons enjoyable (not that they HAVEN’T been enjoyable because it’s my favourite subject… to be honest, even if I had Andy Murray teaching me English, I would still find a way of enjoying it) and she has supported me in every one of my endeavors. She told me I can be a writer. I am going to be a writer. Thank you Mrs P for instilling in me the encouragement and belief that I can do whatever I put my mind to. And also thank you for your super sweet letter at the end of Year 11. πŸ™‚

My Family:

  1. My twin sister, J, has been a huge inspiration for me. She’s been absolutely amazing and even when she was going through her struggles, has always been a support to me. I’ve always looked up to her, and she is working so hard, and I’m so proud of her. She has been with me through SO much (I try to forget all the conversations we had about certains, LOL πŸ˜‰ ) and she is the person who I will never be able to NOT be friends with because she knows FAR too much. But I won’t need to because I love her a lot and she has always been with me. Thanks, J, for being there for me when I needed you, and even when I didn’t know it, I would still know that you were beside me.
  2. Auntie L and Uncle B have been so amazing. They’ve put up with me constantly. Literally, they’ve had me for an entire month and I am SO grateful and feel so blessed to have amazing people like them in my life. Auntie L is a good listener; she will listen to me whine and she will make me feel like I have someone who understands me. Because she DOES understand me. And even when she doesn’t, it’s OK, because I know that she just gets me. She’s supported me through a lot, (in regards to boys LOL) and Uncle B has always provided me with sandwiches (though I know that is Teyah’s thing really) and home-cooked meals. I genuinely am so grateful to God for them and for their constant support. I love you both a lot.
  3. Auntie A is another mother to me. Even though she’s abroad a lot, she has played a huge part in raising me and making me the girl I am today. I can’t say thank you enough for all the things she’s done for me, the things she’s encouraged me to do, the person that she’s helped me to become. She was the one who helped me to come out of my shell, who guided me through all my friendship drama, who helped me to decide what I want to do when I’m older. It’s all down to her, and I don’t feel like saying thank you is enough. I love you so much Auntie.
  4. Antang is my other mother. (I have so many! I am so blessed, oh my!) Especially during my exams she’s been a humungous support, always been messaging me and encouraging me. I know whenever I need to, I can message her, and she’s opened her home to me so many times. The messages, the pictures, the words of encouragement and support… Antang, you REALLY don’t know how much I appreciated this. Sometimes, it’s just small things that keep you going. I love you a lot Antang.
  5. My big sister, Gabbster, has been there ALL THE TIME. She has literally been my driving force through this entire exam period, she is around when I need her and even when I don’t know that I need her, she is there for me. She has done so much for me that I don’t even think I’ll be able to repay, but seeing her get where she is is an inspiration to me. She gives me hope for my future and she is such a hard-worker. She doesn’t whine about the curveballs that life throws her; she catches them and throws them straight back at life twice as hard. I love you so much Gabbster, and I am so so thankful that God put you in my life, because you have inspired me in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.
  6. Last but not least, Auntie Y. Even though I don’t get to see her often, she leaves a lasting impression on me, even when she’s not there with me! LOL. She inspires me because she is such a hard-worker. She is so selfless and I look up to her. I want to be like her so much when I am older. She is so kind and caring, and funny, and she is just so effortlessly friendly. Anyone who has the privilege of knowing my Aunt has the privilege of being friends with an amazing person. I love her so much, and I’m so glad that I’m related to her.

Of course, since the whole point of these three posts were about saying thank you and being grateful for all the wonderful people God has put into (and also, taken out of) my life, I am also going to send a huge I LOVE YOU and THANK YOU to my fellow Astellians (Susanna, Sazza, Babs and Ewnte) and also The Cheeky Lads (Frazza, Dezza, Kazza and Izzy) for sticking by me through a lot. You are genuinely great friends, even greater people, and I know you will all go on to do amazing things in life. (Stop laughing, I am serious).

AND OF COURSE, how could I forget my AMAZING mother and father for a) giving birth to me (no small feat, if you ask my mum), b) KEEPING me, because really they were under no obligation to do that, c) PUTTING UP WITH ME for almost 16 years, and just being there. Yes, we have our disagreements and fallouts, but you’re the ones who will be there for me no matter what, even when everything else goes wrong and people leave, I know that you two are the ones who are there constantly. The sacrifices you have both made to get my sister to where we both are today… Words cannot describe how much I love you and am grateful for all the things you do.

I’ve said amazing quite a lot in this post, so please excuse me.

I don’t think that we acknowledge the people who mean the most to us often enough. Nor do we acknowledge people who have done a lot for us. This is my attempt to rectify that, though it’s pretty long and soppy (LOL) I guess it’s the thought that counts, right?

At any rate, I think I’m done now. HOPEFULLY, I didn’t miss anyone! (If I did, then I am SO SO sorry and I love you a lot!) But I guess, thanks for reading my soppy post. I am currently sitting in the aforementioned PE Office in the corner of the room, while Lawly does some admin stuff and Banksy was just whining down the phone about some exercise books he wants to order. I think he’s settled on purple for the music books.

Amazing people.

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.