¿Cómo te llamas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Names also convey meaning.

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

Names also convey cultural heritage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Faerie Squad Mother x

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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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Dear Future Husband

First of all, I’d like to offer you my (premature) congratulations. It will be a commendable achievement to have married me. I don’t know what more you could ask for but clearly your life will be very complete with me in it. Likewise, I will take this time to also offer my condolences. It is also quite unfortunate that you will consciously make the choice to spend the rest of your existence with me. I apologise in advance, and also question your sanity and clarity of choice.

So this is a letter for you. (And all the other people who are following my blog who will read this.) I don’t know if you are reading this right now or if you will one day hear this read out to you on our wedding day by my Head Bridesmaid, but either way, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to write this anyway. 

I don’t know how old you are but I SINCERELY hope that you’re already alive. Someone 16 years my junior definitely would not be my preference. Additionally, I hope that you are doing well in school and that (if you are doing A-Levels) you’re doing amazing because your girl isn’t right now. If you’re at University, l hope you’re studying something that will benefit you in the future and something that we won’t have arguments about during our marriage. Graduate quickly. Do well. I believe in you. Whichever Uni you may be at. And, I suppose it’s too much to pray you’re not doing lots of things that you will regret and that you will be reluctant to tell me about.

Just a few requirements. I’m going to need you to learn all the Troy parts in HSM songs because I can’t sing both his and Gabriella’s at the same time. I can’t sing harmonies, it’s simply impossible. So it’s very important that you can do that for me. You will also need to learn some (by which I mean the majority) of Disney songs, songs from the Sound of Music, Annie and any other musicals later needed, because I often burst into spontaneous song. If you don’t know them and cannot join in with me or finish off my lines then I can assure you it will put a strain on our relationship.

Also, if you don’t like my sister… Wait, that won’t happen. LOL If you don’t like my sister then I won’t even consider marrying you. So the fact that you are marrying me means that you are practically best friends with my sister. Ignore me, silly me.

You’re going to need to be good at and/or like cleaning. I don’t like cleaning. I prefer to cook. So I’m going to need someone to wash the dishes… i.e. You. I don’t mind cleaning but I just don’t like it. So you can do it. You should be able to cook quite competently though, because I don’t think I can be bothered to cook all the time. And if I get sick or something, I don’t want to have to eat takeaway constantly. I’d like home-cooked soup and stuff. (Also I’m a vegetarian and that doesn’t seem like to change so… Be aware of that?)

It’s necessary for you to be able to do DIY. I refuse. I just refuse to do it. So you’re going to have do that.

Also you need a sense of humour and strong sense of self-worth. My family are savage. They will tear you to pieces verbally and if you are unable to take it on the chin gracefully and suffer them and then even give it back, then I’m sorry, you’re not the right person for me. There is no place for fragile masculinity in my household or my family. So that’s not an option.

Being non-socially aware is also not an option. You need to understand my struggles and even if you don’t experience them yourself you need to understand and sympathise where necessary. No more said. 

My mum needs to like you. Seriously. This is very important. My dad will probably take a long (ish) time to warm to you and that’s okay but if my mum doesn’t like you then… We have a problem, Houston.

Religion is important. I don’t doubt that you are the same denomination as me, purely because it’s difficult to have to compromise in my religion without giving up some of my beliefs entirely. Also when we have children (not if, when, because they’re a priority for me) I don’t want to have to fight about which denomination we raise them in.

Children. Seeing as you influence their surnames, I think it’s only fair that I get to choose their names. You can have the middle name if it will make you happy. I’m joking, you can help to influence the choice, but ultimately the choice comes down to me.

I am not conventional. I am prone to bursting into spontaneous song and dancing etc. in the kitchen. I dance in the bathroom. I dance in my bedroom. I dance everywhere. I burst into tears at the slightest thing. (Downton Abbey Season reruns are the biggest cause of this and I often need lots of consolation after particularly distressing episodes. Also some books evoke the same response.) I have an addiction to chocolate which you will have the God-given responsibility to encourage and I like just putting on Classical Music and prancing about. I don’t like wearing pyjamas to bed, I prefer t-shirts and shorts. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning very disorientated, I look quite terrifying and zombie-like. To which I say, for better or for worse.

I’m not sure what else to add really. I’m sure if you are marrying me you will know and learn a multitude of things which I would be reluctant to post online on a public website. You will discover all my lovely bad habits, you will learn how I function and how I deal with a majority of traumas. You will probably already know how dramatic I am.

But I look forward to meeting you, marrying you and quite frankly I wish you all the best.

Lots of love, your future wifey

The Faerie Squad Mother x

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Don’t You Forget About Me

Hi everybody. This is it. My new blog look.

Don’t get too scared. It’s still me. Just newer. And fresher. And more exciting – OOH this is so exciting. I feel like I’m cutting a metaphorical ribbon. (The ribbon is pink, by the way. And satin.)

It took myself and my sister all evening to come up with this. I hope you’re happy, because I certainly am. I feel that this change was necessary and embraces everything about me. The new title, ‘Oops! I Forgot To Think’ is literally me, ALL the time. Sadly. And my tagline, ‘Liberating Mankind from the Comfort of my Bedroom’ will one day be written on the t-shirts of my fans. I quite like it. I feel both parts effectively encapsulate every aspect of ‘Rianna’.

So, since I’m starting again, perhaps an introduction would be in order. Let’s draw a line under this all.


Hi. My name is Rianna. I’m 16 years old.

I’m a blogger, a History enthusiast and a writer. I’m currently writing about 4 books/short-stories (one of which is co-authored) and I fully intend to be published by the time I am 20.

I have the mental age of a 10 year-old, the emotional capability of an over-dramatic 5 year-old, and the maturity of a 3 year-old. I’m not particularly proud to admit those things, but they must be said.

I am happily married (20 years and counting!) with too many children to count. I would also very much like to get married, have a few children and become a housewife. I would also like to be a teacher, of History or English, and not only inspire children (or teens… I’m still not decided on who I want to teach) to follow their dreams, but also help them to become more socially aware. #GetWoke

I am quite dramatic. I love acting and have been in several plays. Drama is one of my A-Level subjects. Because I have very little respect for my life, I chose 4 essay-based subjects.

I’m very good at winged eyeliner. It’s one of my few skills, but one I am very proud of. My wings are always sharp and even; something which seems trivial but gives me great joy.

I wear glasses. I like to read a lot. The latter of which, taking place in dim lighting, caused the former to occur. I mostly read Historical Fiction, my favourite authors being Philippa Gregory and Conn Iggulden. I try and steer clear of cheesy and predictable Romances and Psychological Thrillers. I really can’t stand Psychological Thrillers. Or Crime Thrillers. Or just Thrillers in general.

I would like to study History at University. Studying English at A-Level has made me realise that I DON’T want to study it at Uni.

I’m not very organised. (As the order, or lack thereof, of these points about myself has probably demonstrated to you). I have quite a creative mind, though, I love my Sharpies (WHSmiths Back2School Sale 2k15), and I occasionally draw. I like to draw fancy lettering and calligraphy. I’m quite good at that too.

I’m good at baking cheesecakes. They’re literally the only things I can bake. I make a mean White Chocolate Cheesecake. I can make Lemon and Lime ones too. I’m working on other combinations.

I recently discovered that I like 80s and 90s chick flicks. (Also, please note the reference to ‘The Breakfast Club’ which I – artfully, if I may say so myself – slipped into my title).

I have an issue when people use the wrong ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. It really stresses me out. It causes me a lot of issues.

I have recently self-elected myself the Faerie Squad Mother. That is the symbolism of the image. The glasses are the exact frame I wear, and I just added some wings to connote ‘Faerie’. (Yes, I intended to spell it the ‘old’ way. ‘Fairy’ is just boring, to be entirely honest).

This post is now finished. I should probably go to sleep.

So goodnight, my lovely readers. I hope my new look doesn’t put you off. Have a wonderful day and good morning.

The Faerie Squad Mother x

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‘Religiously-Politically Correct’

People don’t like to talk about God.

He just seems to be a bit of a taboo, to be honest. It’s like people don’t like the taste of His name in their mouths. Any mention of him seems to be a ticking time bomb; and everybody knows how politically correct you have to be these days. God forbid if you use His name around an atheist; they might spontaneously combust or something.

Whenever He is mentioned, it is usually in reference to a group of specific things, which all seem to be interlinked:

  1. The Generalisation of Religious Afflictions (i.e. “All Christians are hypocrites. All Christians are homophobes. All Christians are narrow-minded and old-fashioned.”) which links to…
  2. The Instability of Religion (i.e. “Religion is an organisation for man’s own ends, I mean, look at all the extremist groups because of it. We should just give up on the idea of God.”) which leads to…
  3. Attributing Blame (i.e. “If He existed then how could God allow that to happen?” “If he existed then why would God let innocent people die?”) which leads on to…
  4. The Denouncement of Religion (i.e. “God doesn’t exist, so I shouldn’t believe in anything.” “The selective nature of miracles means they are simply a fluke of nature.” etc.) which leads to…
  5. The Politically-Correct Silence (i.e. “We can’t seem to confine God to our mortal-minded boundaries, so rather than try to understand Him, we’ll just not mention Him in reference to anything positive).

What I find particularly interesting, though, is that the very same people who so adamantly deny the existence of God are the same people who are jumping on the “If God exists, then why is there suffering?” band-wagon. And the same people who are the ones questioning His existence are the very same people tagging their photos #PrayForParis #PrayForSyria and all those other #PrayFor tags that nobody actually seems to recognise the religious sentiment behind them. (Who exactly do you intend to pray to if you don’t believe in the same deity you are claiming to pray to?) And yes, I know that the whole “Pray For [insert name of afflicted country here]” is a fluke of Social Media for people to get more likes and followers, but people need to recognise what they’re saying by tagging that in the first place.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this post isn’t me saying “The evidence is irrefutable for God’s existence,” because I know for many that it’s not. And, like I’ve said many times before, there are times when I’m sure many Christians doubt their own faith or beliefs. Unfortunately, I cannot offer anybody any solid evidence as to God’s existence. I could tell a billion stories of times where I’ve experienced or been privy to what I could only call miracles. But I know that they would serve very little purpose. This post also isn’t me saying “Everyone, it’s time to stop being cynical and to believe in God” because of course, that would do very little in the grand scheme of things. If people don’t believe in a deity whose existence has been widely disputed and many times scientifically disproved, then what is the opinion of a mostly uneducated 16 year old going to do?

Nothing.

But I thought that maybe, since I’ve never actually spoken about it before very much before that maybe I’d talk about what I believe in, and why, because people never seem to understand. And yes, I may potentially get some hate, seeing as this is probably NOT going to be a ‘Religiously-Politically Correct’ post, in contradiction to the post title. But that’s okay. I don’t mind. My beliefs aren’t necessarily the most popular, and that’s okay. But I’m going to try and teach you something about me while I’m at it, because why not? Would it hurt to be religiously-aware?

So. Let’s start from the beginning.

I am a Seventh-Day Adventist. This is just a denomination of Christianity, but it’s one of the more recent denominations, as it’s only been around for a couple hundred years. (Since the late 1860s). Whenever I say to people, “I’m an SDA” (which is just a contraction) I usually get one of two responses:

  1. “What is that?”
  2. “Oh, you’re the ones who don’t eat pork and keep the Jewish Sabbath.”

I would just like to clarify. If you are currently in the first camp, then, to put it simply, we are a denomination of Christianity who are fundamentalists. What we are not (as some people believe we are) is a cult.

If you are currently in the second camp, then you’re right, but you’re also wrong. Not eating pork is not the foundation of our beliefs (although it does form part of our health laws; and it’s not just pork, there are other meats we don’t eat as well), and the Sabbath (which is Biblically from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) is not Jewish. The Sabbath was there long before Judaism existed. So, no, the Sabbath that I observe is not intrinsically Jewish.

So. Fundamentalism. I get lots of fun responses for that, so I’ll just add some points to that. Yes, I am a creationist. I believe that God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th (which is where the Sabbath comes from). I believe in Jesus, that he came and died, and rose again. I believe that everything in the Bible happened as it was described, and I try my hardest to keep the commandments and laws of God in the Bible. (And no, I don’t feel like these are restrictive or conservative or narrow-minded. And I don’t follow them because I just want to get into heaven either.)

If anyone wants to drop the ‘not wearing mixed cloth’ or ‘women must be silent and submissive’ argument (because I’m sure that someone will) then you’re more than welcome to do so in the comments.

I believe in God and the Bible. I don’t just believe in it because my parents believe it or because I’ve been brought up in it. When I was a bit younger, I did doubt my beliefs a lot but I’ve learnt to trust and believe for myself. What I’ve learnt is that if you only believe in something because your family does or you feel like you have to, then there’s not really any point in believing in it, or pretending to believe in it. Because, effectively, that’s what you do.

We don’t believe in Hell. At least, not in the way that it is an endless place of torment where the ‘souls of the damned’ burn forever. That whole idea of hell was conceived by the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, and we don’t believe in that, because nowhere in the Bible does it state that that is what Hell is. It is also in complete opposition to our view of God. God cannot be benevolent or merciful if Hell exists.

Two of our main foundational beliefs are laid out in our name.

Seventh-Day Adventism

The first part in bold reflects the belief we have about the Sabbath. We worship on the Sabbath and observe it because in the Ten Commandments it makes reference to keeping the Sabbath day holy. It also reflects that the Seventh-Day is the Sabbath day, and the Seventh-Day by definition is Saturday. Hence Saturday being my Sabbath.

The second part (Adventism) reflects the belief we have about Jesus’s second coming. So, I believe in the prophecies of the Bible about Jesus coming back again soon. In short, I believe that He is going to come back soon, and there are lots of instances in the world right now that are happening in accordance to the Biblical prophetic books, and the predictions made about Jesus’s second return to earth.

Another one of our foundational beliefs is our health message. The basic idea is that the more you follow it, the healthier you will be. Biblically, we’ve been recommended to eat a vegan diet, and those who do so typically live a long and healthy life.

Our denomination was founded in America, and one of the main founders of it, Ellen G. White, (who is possibly the most well-known and respected women in our denomination) wrote lots of books and texts based on the Bible, which we refer to more widely as the Spirit of Prophecy.

Okay, so now the less ‘politically-correct’ things, I suppose. Our stance on abortion is that if it is being used as birth control then it isn’t right, but in other cases, like rape, or potential birth defects or severe risk to mother or baby, then the woman should make a choice herself. We don’t agree with homosexuality (it speaks against this specifically in the Bible, and we are fundamentalists) but we’re not homophobes. We don’t condemn people for being gay, they’re people nonetheless, and they have the same rights as everybody. There isn’t a stigma against this. (I’d like to take this moment to point out that disagreement does not equal hatred or intolerance. For example, I disagree with other religions; that does not mean I hate them or am intolerant of them.) We believe in abstinence, so not generally in favour of premarital sex, but it doesn’t mean there’s any particular stigma against this either. The whole principle is that it’s not for us (who, essentially, are all sinners) to judge other people, because we’re all on the same boat. And the principle thing for us as well is that no matter what we do or what we’re like, God still loves us.

That’s one of the reasons that I believe in God. Because it takes an immense amount of love to die for someone who has constantly tormented you, mocks you, hates you, and yet you still love them enough to lay down your life. I’m at question to whether I would lay down my life for some of my friends, but I know without a doubt that I would not be the first person putting my neck on the line for someone who I don’t like. So I think there is literally no greater love than the love that Jesus had for me, and the whole world, when He gave up His life for everybody.

It’s okay if you think I’m a Jesus freak or whatever, LOL. I’m alright with that. And this post was not meant to be a sermon, but you know, if it came across in that way, then ah well. But I just thought, hey, why not be different, and write about what I believe in for once, rather than trivial things?

And what harm would it do?

Have a good evening everyone,

Love Rianna

Hypothesising

*Gasps* What a surprise that Rianna has blogged two days in a row! (This is mainly for Lawly’s benefit… if I don’t stick to my word, I’ll never hear the end of it. She’s got blackmail material too LOL)

Anyways. This will be a ramble, I suppose, seeing as I don’t have anything specific to talk about. I was GOING to talk about why I should be voted Prime Minister, but I think that’s a post for another time. Also, I feel like I shouldn’t rant because this has been a good day so far! So maybe I’ll just talk about my plans for this week? Let’s do it.

My Plans for Half-Term Holiday:

  1. Complete all homework.
  2. (NB: Number 2 is only accessible if Number 1 has been completed in it’s entirety) Complete all optional homework.
  3. (NB: Number 3 is only accessible if both Number 1 and Number 2 have been completed in their entirety) Maybe have some free time and relax. MAYBE.

Mostly working basically. Not working, like MONEY working. Working like school and Sixth Form working. And blogging when I have time. (Such a privilege, but JUST for you Lawly 🙂 ) If you’d just like to get a taste of my homework schedule for this week:

DRAMA

  • Write essay on Live Theatre performance (A4 double-sided).
  • Complete character profiling and prep for Krogstad and Nora.

HISTORY

  • Complete sheet on the Cultural effect on Democracy and the Weimar Republic. (A4 sheet).
  • Complete three-sided A3 sheet on Henry VIII coming to the throne.

SPANISH

  • Write essay on film and ratings.
  • Complete 7 grammar sheets, in addition to the three sheets started in lesson with Perfect and Pluperfect tenses.
  • Finish overdue homework on writing advice in response to a health disorder.

ENGLISH LITERATURE

  • Do Poetry Comparison sheet (A3 sheet).
  • Complete detailed prep on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ in Chapter 13 and ‘Household’ exploration, as well as 6 detailed PEE paragraphs on the Ceremony in Chapters 15 and 16.
  • Continue Reading Journal.
  • Optional: Poetry comparison paragraph.

AOB

  • Learn script for school play.

MY LIFE IS A JOKE. MY LIFE IS AN ACTUAL JOKE. Who gets that much work for a WEEK’S HOLIDAY!? My teachers genuinely hate me.

Love from your entirely sane,

Empress Rianna

Crown

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Hello and good morning everybody. (Good afternoon and good evening to those far away!)

Today, a month and a half on from being nominated, I’m actually going to do the award thingamajig. So here goes.

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-tag-image-014

Obviously, thank you to Aimee for nominating me; and a huge apology for taking my sweet time about it LOL. Go and read her blog if you haven’t already; it’s filled with all things Disney, which is obviously fantastic for a Disney fan such as myself. But yes, she’s super cool and awesome and if you haven’t read her blog already then what are you actually doing?

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their site.
  2. Put the award logo on your blog.
  3. Answer the ten questions you were given.
  4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. Nominate ten other blogs.

Because I like to talk, I’ll do the first three, but I don’t really have anyone to nominate, since I haven’t been too hot on the blogging sites recently, and I’ve barely had enough time to write my own blog let alone read other peoples. But anyways! I shall put the award logo on my blog shortly, once I have figured out how to actually do it! However, just because I love asking questions, I’m going to make up ten new questions and you can comment your answers in the comments I suppose. Would love to hear from anybody LOL. Right so my questions:

What is your go-to feel good song?

You know what, I’m not the biggest music person; the majority of music I listen to is Classical, Gospel or Disney, so I don’t have a wide range of songs, per se. Okay, I have different go-to feel good songs based on my mood. My Classical one is ‘Liebestraum’ by Lizst. I love that song so much! (Look at me, even including the links for you guys!) My Gospel one is ‘He’s Not On His Knees Yet’ by CeCe Winans; I don’t have a Disney one really because every Disney song is my feel good one. (I probably didn’t actually answer the question but AH WELL)

What book are you going to read next?

Okay, so I REALLY want to read a Spanish book called “Como Agua Para Chocolate”, which translates into “Like Water For Chocolate”. I just really want to push myself and read a book in another language. So that’s on the list. Other than that, I don’t have anything really lined up to be honest.

Bookmarks, or folding the pages?

Folding the pages. I’m so terrible, I used to use bookmarks but when they’d fall out it stressed me out. So I dog-ear. I’m ashamed to admit it. Susanna would be so disappointed in me if she heard I was still doing it. I’m sorry Sue.

Paperback, hardback or digital?

Paperback without a doubt. Hardbacks are beautiful but they’re too… rigid? And they’re not the easiest to carry around. Like when you’re going on trips and you can’t decide which book to bring so you bring all 8 of the options… you can’t bring all 8 if they’re hardbacks. Digital is very practical when you are in the aforementioned situation and have like 103 options, but it doesn’t effectively capture the essence of book-reading. Also, paperbacks you can flick and fan to smell them when they’re new. 🙂

Who is your hero? Why?

I hate this question because people always ask me this but I really don’t have one; either that or I have too many to choose from. I’m going to take liberties and assume that I can choose anyone, whether literary, fictional or dead. Argh! I really can’t think of one person. Okay, I’m going to cheat the system. Here are my heroes. Here are some more. Here are even more.

What is your dream job?

Once again, I have a few options. One dream job is to be a housewife and stay at home and raise kids as I write my life away at my laptop, and write books and blog and write journals etc. etc. Another dream job is to travel abroad to South America and to be a Human Rights Lawyer and just… lawyer… while in South America. (Because I really love the language. As in Spanish). Another dream is to go to South America and become a teacher and teach kids and be a missionary too. Yay, lots of dreams. Maybe I’ll get the chance to do more than one.

Is the glass half full, or half empty?

Half-full. I’m a very optimistic person. (Banksy, I can almost hear your outcry against the digital screen; YES I may whine at everything, but I’m always very smiley… Except when I’m in a bad mood.)

What’s your dream holiday?

Ooooooooooooooooookay, my mind is going crazy right now. My dream holiday is going to Disneyworld Florida (I can’t go to a Disneyland; after experiencing DIsneyworld, a ‘land’ simply isn’t adequate enough.) and spending like three weeks there, and just being with squad and having so much fun and lots of banter, and then going to Florida beaches and chilling in the resorts and stuff and reading next to the sea. WHOA. Can imagine it now.

If you could be trapped in a TV show for a day, which would you pick and why?

Well, I barely watch TV so I’m going to say ‘Barbie: Life In the Dreamhouse’ (let’s pretend that it’s a legit TV program) because I very much dislike Barbie, like genuinely, she is one of the fakest people I have ever seen on TV. (I know she’s plastic, but everyone else is pretty decent). She just thinks she rules everything – which you DON’T Barbara Milicent, because I am the Empress – and has everyone at her beck and call. Quite frankly, Ken could do better.

What’s your favourite colour?

What a lovely and uncomplicated question. I don’t have one, is my answer. I don’t discriminate. You know what, I don’t even see colour, because we all bleed red. (I know that wasn’t what the question was asking, I’m just trying my best to be difficult).

So that’s it from me. Here are my 10 questions that you can answer one, some or all of in my comments:

  1. If you could live in any book, which one and why?
  2. You are only allowed to read one book (or watch one TV program for those of you who have never had the pleasure of reading a book cover to cover) for the rest of your life. Which one is it?
  3. What is your favourite quote? Who said it? Why do you think they said it? What does it mean? Can you write me a ten-page essay on the meaning and context of it… I’m joking just answer the first question.
  4. Android or Apple?
  5. You have been given a time-machine and you can go back to any one era. Which one do you choose? Why? What do you do there?
  6. The item you have which holds most sentimental value for you is…?
  7. What’s your favourite movie?
  8. How strong was Henry VII’s claim to the throne? Was it weak? Was it strong? Back up your point with key evidence.
  9. Okay, ignore that last one unless you’re doing A Level History on Tudor England. If money was no object, what job would you do?
  10. You can speak one other language, other than English. Which one do you choose and why?

Strictly speaking, I realise that that was only technically 9 questions but AH well, #DisregardTheSystem right? (Also, I really like those questions, I really want to answer them myself!)

Love you all and have fun today/tonight,

Empress Rianna

Crown

Heralding the Empress

Greetings, readers.

I’m not sure how to put this in a subtle way, but uhm… I’m 16 today. So I suppose a speech is in order. Perhaps a quick summary of my life would suffice? Hmm… or maybe a Grammy/Oscar style acceptance speech. Here we go. (This is all impromptu, so let’s not hate, okay? And I’m not even at home right now, I’m away at a hotel where my family is the ethnic minority LOL):

“Ah. Well, what can I say? 16 years ago, a star was born.

I can remember back, way, WAY back when I wasn’t even born. When I was just a little specialised cell, swimming in the recesses of, what would later become, my birthing place. I don’t really remember what happened, because everything was so dark. And then next thing I know, I’m encased in some gloopy cell thing, and all I am thinking is, ‘I’m drowning, I’m drowning!’ but then I remember that I’m not drowning, because I CAN’T drown; because I have been designed SPECIFICALLY to swim.

I also remember this overwhelming feeling of pride knowing that I had been the one to get there first, before any of the others. And that made me feel so great. Or at least, it would have if I had had feelings.

Growing was the easy part. I sorta just relaxed and let everything happen naturally. Imagine a 9-month (or 8-month in my case) holiday where all you do is lounge about on a floating hammock, and your food and water is brought to you. You don’t have to get up to do anything, because all your entertainment is brought TO you. I got read to, I got played music, I got rubbed about. I’m not exactly sure what I ate, because I didn’t taste any of it. But it didn’t matter, because it was just a holiday. You know, in preparation for the big world and that.

Ah, those were the good days.

But then there was the escape. After a while of sitting there one day, a bit bored, I just thought, ‘You know what. This has been a great experience and everything, but, I’m a bit cramped now. And there must be a better place for me outside of this womb.’ So I just left. (I was later told that I left too early, but I was just glad to be out of there to be honest. And so much more space!)

For the first several years of my life, it was difficult. Being unable to read, walk or talk was actually very distressing and, I have to say, although I learned quickly, it wasn’t quick enough. I couldn’t communicate effectively using words, and for all those who know me now know that I have to speak all the time.

Those were dark times for me. Dark times.

But anyway, that was a minor obstacle which I, with the help of my mother, quickly overcame. I learnt how to talk (the next part was for me to learn how to be quiet… a concept which I have still not yet mastered) and how to read. And from there, the world was my oyster.

But people still seemed to want to put my light out. (Not literally, that came out a lot more ominous than I intended it to be…) After a stint of bullying in Infant and Primary School, I think the moment came where, thanks to several fantastic teachers and amazing family members, I realised that I was so much better than that all. I didn’t think that I should be defined by other people’s perceptions and standards of me, and I decided that it was my time to shine. That I was a star. No, more than a star.

A Queen.

It took years for me to fully come to terms and embrace my title, because I didn’t realise the extent of power which I held in my hands. But after careful training, and hands-on working, I learnt how to use my powers for good, and to be the best Queen possible. (Though, perhaps a tad corrupt…)

After I got my island, Astellia, the rest was history. I held absolute authority in my hands, and I ruled righteously and fairly.

It wasn’t easy though. Along the way, I got waylaid by some kinda rubbish friends, people who weren’t very supportive of my aspirations or dreams. I made some bad choices and made some mistakes I shouldn’t have needed to. I messed up a lot. But God was always there to help me up. He gave me better friends, ones who are like my brothers and sisters. He helped me move past my choices and mistakes to make better ones.

And I cannot thank Him enough for the many chances He has continually given me at life.

Yes, I’m a bit crazy. Yes, I’m not perfect. But I have family who loves me, and a wonderful husband (and 6 kids and 1 grandchild and 1 great-grandchild) and a fantastic mistress and bae. Maybe I’m not where I want to be, but I’m where God wants me to be, I think, right now, and I’m okay with that.

I have dreams, I have aspirations. I am gonna be a writer, make no mistake about it. I will be published before I get off to Uni, and I am going to keep at this blog (hopefully) for a long time. And I will, because I’ve put my faith in God and I know He will help me to do whatever it is I need to. He’s led me through almost 16 years (I’m not technically 16 until 5:30pm this evening, but AH WELL!) and, let me tell you, that is NO small feat.

Not with me.

So, I am so grateful to Him for that. I am grateful to my family for putting up with me for so long. I couldn’t have survived without you. LITERALLY. I literally couldn’t have survived without them taking care of me, because then I would have died.

But I’m not dead, so that’s always great.

Anyways, I just want to make it known that an Empress has been crowned (Empressed? Coronated?) and is now ready to rule her Empire. Because I’m going to have to make an Empire now, seeing as I am an Empress. I promise to be the best possible Empress that the world has ever seen.

And I am 16 now. I’m so old, I’m practically an OAP. Getting wrinkles and stretch-marks come next.

But I won’t think about that. I’ll think about the good times, and the exciting times, and all the fun times ahead (and behind of) me.”

So there it is. My birthday speech. I love you all and hope you all have an immensely fantastic day,

(You may want to note this date down in your diary as the day Empress Rianna was crowned – 25th August 2015)

Love from your forever Queen, but now,

Empress Rianna

Crown

p.s. So of course you’re going to want to know what I got for my birthday. So I will say this: I. Am. Ballin’.

(I joke, I’m really not, I got some money, some GORGEOUS shoes and some gift vouchers… and there are more on the way! 🙂 )

21 Things That Should Be Illegal

I haven’t listed for a while, and I was thinking whilst I was writing one of my quizzes, and I thought, ‘Hey, that should be illegal!’ Seeing as I am Queen of my own country, I sat down and began to think some more about the things I should outlaw in Astellia, so I have compiled a list, which I will shortly be passing on to the Parliament. But I also thought that I hadn’t posted anything for a few days, so I would upload an edited version of my list onto my blog, and here they are. My top 21:

21 Things That Should Be Illegal (IMO*)

*In My Opinion

  1. Pineapple on pizza – I mean, I know I mentioned this before in my post when I was complaining about pizza, but COME ON now. This genuinely should be outlawed; it is a crime and a disgrace against humanity. It doesn’t work. Why are we mixing sweet and savoury?
  2. Illiterate children – There is nothing that upsets me more than children who cannot read. It is so upsetting, because reading opens the door to so many different opportunities, and opens your mind to imagination. Parents who are unable to ensure their children can read or are competent at basic speaking and writing in English should have a strongly-worded letter written to them.
  3. Really bad books (which are coincidentally published) – I just have a quick question. IF YOUR BOOK IS WRITTEN SO TERRIBLY THAT IT HURTS ME TO READ, HOW DO YOU GET IT PUBLISHED? Because let’s be real here, if you can get THAT published, then ANYTHING goes really.
  4. Finite Staples  It is so stressful when you need to staple a stack of important notes or homework and you press the stapler down and then you get that horrible imprint on the paper which indicates that THERE ARE NO MORE staples, and your heart bleeds… Because that shallow imprint isn’t just on that paper; it’s also made a shallow and painful imprint on your heart.
  5. People who smoke around children – Why. Stop. This. It. Is. So. Wrong.
  6. Teenagers who whine about EVERYTHING (#FirstWorldProblems) – Seriously, I am SOOO sorry that your hair straighteners weren’t working this morning, so you had to put your hair up in a ponytail and come to school – despite the fact that you have ELECTRICITY, hair straighteners, hair to put UP in a ponytail, the free will to choose what you want to DO with your hair and the ability to attend school as a female. 🙂
  7. Slurpy noises – OK. We get it, you’re a couple. We get it, you’re having a snog in the middle of the street. Could you please perhaps a) find somewhere a bit more private and b) stop making those disgusting slurpy noises?
  8. Bananas – Three words; They. Are. Disgusting.
  9. Fruit on Ice-Cream – Not fruit-flavoured ice-cream, because Strawberry isn’t too bad. But WHY would you mix fruit and ice-cream? Similar to point number one, it is degrading of the value of the ice-cream. Come on now. It’s a disgrace.
  10. Fairy Tales – I whined about this in one of my first ever posts, and I stick by my decision. Coincidentally, the title of my post was ‘Fairy Tales Should Be Illegal’.
  11. Certain People’s Opinions – Mostly those people who are one of the -ists: Racists, Fascists, Sexists, etc. Your opinions are not only small-minded, they should also be kept in your mind. They should not be coming out of your mouth. I really don’t want to hear them.
  12. Ignorant People – In relation to number 11, I suppose. If you don’t know about a sensitive topic enough to discuss it confidently and without embarrassing yourself (or having me embarrassing you) then DON’T.
  13. Bars of Soap – I am not condoning not washing – PLEASE, WASH! – I just hate it so much when you use that soap bar to within an inch of it’s life, and then you have to use this slither of soap, but it isn’t doing anything, but you can’t get a NEW bar until you’ve finished with the OLD one, but there is hardly enough LEFT of the old one for you to even use it successfully… I give up. I. Give. Up.
  14. British Parliament – I don’t even think I have to say much more about this. Most of them, especially the most influential ones, are pretty useless, selfish and heartless.
  15. Bullying – I had a bit of an experience (I say a bit, it was quite long AHA) when I was in Primary School surrounding this whole issue, and it is HORRIBLE. It is so horrible that people could be sending their children to school and not knowing the torment they go through when they get there. It is so horrible that people are scared to go into work or university because some teacher or their boss or lecturer is harassing them. It is so, SO wrong.
  16. Privileges in Prison – TV is not a right, it is a privilege. Satellite is not a right, it is a privilege. Video games are not a right, they are a privilege. So why does it seem that some criminals in prison live life better than people on the outside? Purely because they seem to think that these commodities are all rights; but they’re not, in my opinion. They are PRIVILEGES; and privileges that, supposedly, these people who are CRIMINALS shouldn’t actually be given.
  17. Comic Sans – Whenever I see a poster, a sign or a document written in Comic Sans, my heart sheds the tiniest of tears. It is so small, yet I feel the entire portion of my soul leaving my body with that tiny tear that comes from my heart.
  18. Automatic Numbering – The amount of fights that Microsoft Word and I have had because I need to number something, and then it automatically numbers everything else, but I don’t want it to do that, so then I change the formatting, but then I end up with the numbers wildly misaligned, and that is absolute chaos; and then I try to fix it, but it goes awry and I try and get rid of them completely, but then it decides to change my formatting of my document and I end up losing every shred of dignity I have left.
  19. Democracy – I am not hating on the principle of democracy; it’s a fantastic idea, which, in theory, works perfectly. It’s just that every country which calls itself a democracy only seems to be using that title in pretence; because most of them are Aristocracies. So, if they’re going to call themselves Democracies, then they need to BE Democrats, not Hypocrites.
  20. Using the Incorrect ‘Your/You’re’ and ‘They’re/Their/There’ I talked about how much this STRESSED me out, and got a very strong response from another blogger who decided to take my post very personally. (You should read the comments, they kept me entertained for about a week) But I genuinely feel like this is something which should be illegal and outlawed. It is entirely inexcusable for English speakers to not be able to utilise their own language correctly.
  21. Dropping ‘t’s out of word pronunciations – Why is it that when certain people speak, they feel the need to drop t’s out of the word? ‘Water’ becomes ‘War-uh’, ‘Literally’ turns into ‘Lih-uh-rullee’ and ‘Hottentottentotemnoctemhottentottenstalactite‘ is entirely mangled. (Well, even more mangled than it was before…)

I am aware that I probably dropped in some stuff which seemed a lot deeper in comparison to the item it preceded, but ah well. There you see how my mind works. (i.e. Rather chaotically, and without much organisation). Speaking of minds working, my mind is working right now (for once!) so I am going to go and do some writing now.

Hasta luego mis amigos*,

Queen Rianna

cropped-yto5pzlte

*See you later my friends 🙂 (Get some Spanish knowledge there!)

So This Is Goodbye (For Now)

So. I have come to the end (technically) of a fantastic, 3-week summer program with NCS with The Challenge and – obviously – I needed to blog about it. I mean, what else would I do?

First of all though, shout out to Dezza (who will read this when she gets back from HER first week of NCS) who is somehow managing to survive… wherever she is. Stay strong Dezza and always remember that #TheLads love you.

Back on track now.

So, it has been an absolutely amazing experience; to all those who are fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it) enough to be living in England, I would definitely advise that you apply for this either now, or when you reach the summer of Year 11. I am telling you, despite the drama, the hardship, the sore butts, the aching legs and the late nights… it is completely worth it. In retrospect, it’s easy to say that actually; I had about 5 breakdowns (that was everyday during the first week, and maybe twice a week during the second… then three times a DAY during this week), I cried, I laughed (a lot), I raved (#GetRekt – also, last weekend, I had TERRIBLE rave feet; more on this in a moment), I screamed, I shouted.

But I will never forget any of these memories or the people I met. (Literally gonna see you all again in September, but still… Trying to be emotional and hard-hitting here…) After all, as a wise character once said:

Once you do something, you never forget. Even if you can’t remember.

So, there’s the emotional tirade. Obviously, I have to update you on what I’ve done this week and in the past week as well. Here is last week’s report:

So. There we were. A bunch of inexperienced teenagers faced with a near-impossible challenge; survive without your parents.

Whoa.

(By the way, this is sarcasm. I can survive perfectly well without my parents, but you’d be surprised how many people couldn’t! And, God bless, some people couldn’t even make their own bed 🙂 )

But anyway. So, we got to experience University life for a week; living in our own flats and having our own dorm rooms, cooking dinner each evening, making breakfast and lunch in the mornings and – most importantly of all – TIME MANAGEMENT! (Which is a LOT more difficult than it sounds, especially when you need to be out of your flat by 9:00 every morning and you wake up at 7:00 but you’ve only had about 4 hours of sleep because you’ve been organising your life and doing your hair the night before… sounds crazy but seriously, you’d be amazed how long it takes to do hair when you’re really tired and there’s just SO MUCH of it)

The mealtimes were hilarious. We made a schedule when we got there about who was going to cook and we did it in two pairs and one group of three. All the girls in our flat (7 plus our Senior Mentor) were from our Team Reiss anyway, so we all knew each other, which was good. Basically, one evening (here comes the rave bit now) one of the pairs was cooking dinner, and myself and Jess decided that we should put on a bit of music to make us all feel a bit motivated.

What was supposed to be an stimulating session of music turned into a dance party. We danced to everything, especially Beyonce (Single Ladies, Love on Top, Crazy in Love). We actually danced so hard that by the end of it, our feet were hurting and we were sweating. We also recorded ourselves doing the Single Ladies dance (so terrible it was hardly recognisable), but the next morning we woke up, our feet were LITERALLY throbbing.

We also went to a public speaking workshop, where we had to talk about something which we felt strongly about. I wrote my speech down, so HERE IT IS for all those who want to read/hear it (I promise that it sounds better when it’s read! A tad controversial perhaps, but YA KNOW me… 🙂 ) :

You’re walking down the street and notice a Muslim woman in a hijab with her partner. “Oh look,” you think to yourself, “a Jihadi bride and her terrorist husband.” There’s a black boy in a hoodie walking towards you, so you quickly cross the road. “Gotta be safe”, you tell yourself, “he probably has a gun.” After all, you wouldn’t want him to shoot you.

Hang on a second, you’re thinking right now. Where are you getting these images from? This is a bit drastic isn’t it? And where exactly are you going with this?

Well, I’ll tell you where this is going. I’ll tell you where I’m getting these racial stereotypes from. Because every terrorist or violent radical pictures on the news is a Muslim. Because every black boy in a hoodie you see on your TV screen is either a mugshot of a murderer or the picture of his victim from the opposing gang.

And we lap it up. Even if we don’t think about it consciously, it is in the back of our minds all the time. And whether we accept it or not, these ideals are the propaganda being drilled into our minds, fed to us by the media.

We need to cut it out.

Latino does not equal drug dealer. German does not equate to Nazi. Polish and Romanian do not translate to illegal immigrants. The only way we can stop these misconceptions is by moving past them, stopping the jokes and the dirty comments, and the things which take us away from our humanity and basic empathy.

Okay, so there are radical Muslims; but there are radicals who don’t follow Islam as well. Poles and Romanians aren’t the only ones who migrate, and perhaps some Latinos are drug dealers; but being Latino or Hispanic doesn’t mean you ARE one.

The minority does not account for the majority.

So we should stop letting the small-minded views of people who don’t want to move on from the race-fuelled past dictate to us these stereotypes. Because that’s all they are.

Stereotypes.

Surprisingly, I got quite a good reception for that speech, especially considering the rather controversial opening HAHA (just to clarify, I don’t think that, it was just for emotional impact… it was a technique I learned in Creative Writing). But that was a great day we had.

Also, because our Team’s skill was Drama, we visited an elderly Centre, Age UK in the area we are based in, and had to make a piece of Verbatim Theatre based on what we saw. It was very much interesting, as I got to speak to some wonderful OAP’s (Old Age Pensioners) who told us their stories about wen they were teenagers and the sort of #antics that they got up to.

It was enlightening. Our piece was entitled ‘The Journey’ and followed the story of a young girl named Simran who moved from India as a teenager to come to England for better life prospects. Upon coming to England, and being entirely unable to speak English, she met Uri, a Russian immigrant, who also couldn’t speak a word of English. At classes, they learnt English and eventually got married and had two wonderful children, Mary (named for the woman who taught them English) and Nikolai. We chose to portray this life as many of the people at the Community Centre that we spoke to had told us about their lives on arriving to England, and how difficult it was for them. When we performed it to them, they felt that we had effectively portrayed their stories through our theatre piece, and we were very proud of ourselves.

We also got to take part in two things at the Community Centre; a Tai Chi session and a game of Bingo. The Tai Chi session was comical – I hope I don’t insult anyone who likes and/or does Tai Chi, but really, nothing the woman was saying actually made much sense to me. She was all like, “Dance with the rainbow. Feel the floor beneath your feet, be at one with the energy, dispel the energy from your body, feel the energy pulsating through your body…” (She said pulsating) And we were trying REALLY hard not to laugh. Because we REALLY wanted to. But we managed to take some tips and incorporate some Tai Chi into the end of our Drama piece – and of course, / played the instructor woman. Everyone seemed to find my portrayal quite comical. (I did NOT say pulsating, however)

We also got to play Bingo. Let me just tell you, the movies portray Bingo as some happy game that OAPs play to win some money and have a bit of fun.

That Bingo hall was so quite you could hear a pin drop. Those OAPs took their Bingo SOOOO seriously. One of the women told the number caller off for repeating the numbers because, according to her, “If people wanted to hear the numbers, they should be listening in the first place.” Uhm… honey. Some people in here have hearing problems… Do you want to maybe find a bit of chill?

Anyways. That was last week. I kind of spoke about what we were doing this week so if you want to know then read about it here (it’s more a rant than a summary, but if you kind of pick through the ranty bits then you can find out what we were actually doing). But today we presented the campaign we were working on to a team of Dragon’s (who actually gave us the full maximum amount of £50 that we asked for, which was great!) Also, on that note, if you would like to support our Campaign about Dementia Care Homes and raising awareness of them in trying to get more volunteers, then hit us up on social media:

Twitter: @WeAreTeamReiss

Instagram: @WeAreTeamReiss

MyDonate: mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/weareteamreiss

For anyone who is interested, all the donations on our page will be going to a charity called Attend which runs several care homes, including the one we visited. Even if you don’t want to be an active part of our campaign, or are in a different country, your follows, likes, retweets etc. are supportive of our campaign and help to spread our message. (We also have a hashtag, #MissingPiece – if you want to understand this reference then head over to our Instagram page…)

*Self-promo moment over*

Also, seeing as today was the last day (and we got Pizza! 🙂 ) they did loads of awards and stuff. I got elected for the Youth Board representing my wave (Zak and I are #DreamTeam), I also got voted Most Likely to Be Prime Minister by the staff on our wave, and I also won the TRUE Award for the week. (Only TRUE NCS people will understand… haha, did you get it? TRUE Award… TRUE NCS…)

And Kimmy K bought me a bunch of chocolate. (Not the irritating one on TV, the lovely one from my wave)

Overall, it has been an absolutely brilliant experience for me and I’m sure everyone on my wave and all my new #Squad will say the same thing.

It’s getting kinda late, I started this post at 7:30ish and now it is 10:19. I am thinking I should probably finish this up now. (It didn’t take me that long to write, I just had to wash the dishes and do some ironing and feed my children and check up on my dragon and stuff…)

Love you all, and I wish you a very happy evening tonight,

Queen Rianna

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