An Unexpected Return: The ‘I’m Kidding Mum’ Edition

Once again. I am always disappearing for long periods of time, and – honestly – so much has happened since I last blogged on the 1 August 2016. Unfortunately, I have no elaborate, eloquent essays like my last post, so this is simply pure, unadulterated rambling. No structure, no hidden messages, no propaganda.

Just my nonsense.

So what have you missed? First of all… well, not first of all, but one of the most important things: I turned 17. (Wahey!) This is a milestone in UK terms because (also most importantly) I can start to learn how to drive. I am also one year closer to getting married without my parent’s permission; this, naturally, is obviously the number one goal.

I’m kidding mum, that is obviously NOT the number one goal. 🙂

Secondly, I’ve made new friends. I say new friends, I mean friends who have literally fallen into my lap due to entirely unforeseen circumstances. As I, often do, never directly use their names, Cameron – as she is called for an entirely justifiable reason – is a new friend I have discovered, to be politically correct,  who shares my love (pun intended) for words, writing, racial politics and humour. I’m low-key glad I’m talking to her now, too. There has been the development of my friendship with Spaceboi who is, in fact, a boy from space, because he is out of this world. Literally. He also still owes me Welsh soil. (Even though he’s dying and he can’t swallow. #GetBetterSoon) And as a new edition to my shiny card collection of friends, Bag Juice, so named for his favourite beverage in Jamaica (yes, I also went to Jamaica for the summer) is – I have discovered – my ‘long-lost cousin’, whose laugh makes me laugh.

As a matter of fact, he’s on the phone to me as I write this. Bag Juice, as in. As he has just brazenly told me, after a small dispute over GCSEs, “I know bare.” What a legend. Truly inspirational words from an inspirational young man.

(I was going to start the next paragraph with the word ‘also’ but because he’s now at A-Level and thinks he’s a bit cool, Bag Juice suggested that I start with the word ‘conjointly’. I’ve never even heard of it before in my life. He now tells me I should look it up in a dictionary or a thesaurus, because of course, “he knows bare.”)

Conjointly, I have continued my current studies in A-Levels, continuing on with the ever-stressful English Literature, Spanish (now so rapid that I’m surprised I’m not told to bring a life-jacket to every lesson) and History, which is the only thing that is keeping me going right now anyway. But I don’t have a choice, and so I am aiming for that #AcademicExcellence because I intend to make the best of this year. Especially since last year didn’t exactly go to plan. And, naturally, I do not want a repeat of the academic DISASTER (to put it lightly) that was the school term of 2015.

I’m kidding mum, it wasn’t a COMPLETE disaster. 🙂

[Update: Bag Juice has now gone. It’s just me now; thank goodness he’s left me to blog in PEACE!]

Praise the Lord, though, that I got an A and C in my AS Levels. The A was (entire unsurprisingly) in Drama and the C was in Spanish, and even though, sadly, I have been forced to drop Drama – and will subsequently miss my husband Torvald, and my Polish twin sister Caroline, and Turkey, and just everyone in the class – God helped me to pass my Spanish. No, but honestly, it had to be Him, because there is not a chance in Hell (ha! see what I did there?) that I was able to understand a single word on that test paper.

It was all Greek to me. (I’m kidding mum, I obviously revised for it. 🙂 )

Also, on the theme of #AcademicExcellence, I’ve recently deleted my Instagram and Snapchat – and I couldn’t have chosen a better time, really – so that I can focus on my work and my spiritual life as I realised they’re literally two of the biggest distractions for me. I’ve only been accessing them illicitly when it is 100% necessary. (I’m kidding mum, I don’t illegally sneak onto them on my laptop. 🙂 )

Since the tearful and heart-wrenching ending of Downton Abbey, and the anxious wait for the next season of Velvet to be released on Netflix, I have found a new program to alleviate my desperate and insatiable longing for period dramas; Victoria, on ITV. We only have a slight problem – well, I say it’s a slight problem, when in reality it’s a large problem that brings about very worrying developments and has even worse implications; Victoria and Albert, the cutest televised historical couple that I have seen to date, are related.

“But that’s not so bad!”, I hear you cry. “All the British Royal family are inbred!” (You wouldn’t be wrong if you did say this; our current Queen Elizabeth and her husband are second cousins once removed). But wait! Victoria and Albert – the cutest televised historical couple that I have seen to date – are not only related; they are *drum roll* FIRST COUSINS! (Gasp! Shock! Horror!)

What shocks me the most though, is not that they are related or that they had 9 kids (and that’s at LEAST 9 sex – 9 too MUCH sex for first cousins, in my humble opinion), but the fact that despite knowing this shocking fact, I am still high-key gunning for their sweetly romantic relationship.

In other words, I am high-key gunning for incest. (Please feel free to quote me; you will never hear these words come out of my mouth at any other point in my life). What’s wrong with me? I mean, I know I’m a nerd for history, but I’m NOT a nerd for incest and there is never any excusable justification for this practice, right?

I’m kidding mum, I don’t support incest. 🙂

Anyhow. We’ve lost a key member of our History band, which was named ‘Volksgemeinschaft’; now Babs has left and our topic has changed in History (Civil Rights in America from 1865 – 1992) we’ve had to rename ourselves ‘The White Citizens’ Council’. Which is just historical banter, but PLEASE don’t assume that we’re only made up of racist white people, because I am neither racist nor white. I don’t know about the others though… I know for a fact that Mags has admitted to being a white supremacist on the weekends, and she does own an uncanny amount of white bedsheets?

I’m kidding mum, none of my friends are white supremacists. 🙂

Speaking of white supremacy, I also want to say, a HUGE congratulations (and shout out) to the KKK, who would have been in existence – by December 24th of this year – for 151 years! Yes, you’ve read that entirely correctly! The fun-loving, all-hating, Christian band of ‘lovable rogues’ (as I, so gingerly, put it) have been up and running for 151 years! Since December 1865, who would have thought that they would have STILL (yes, that’s right, STILL, because they have an official website and everything!) been alive and well in September of 2016?

Certainly not me. That’s who. (Especially to all those who think we live in a ‘post-racial’ society, they are a group who were literally born out of racist ideologies and stand for white supremacy and are still today being supported by American citizens.)

But let’s not dwell on the positives, eh?

My writing attempts since 1 August have been somewhat faulty; did that sentence even make sense? Probably not. Goes to show, right? But when I was in Jamaica, I kept a diary of the goings-on (for about a week or two) which I tried to start off emotionally-neutrally, but ended up failing and just revealing the depths of my soul to. The worrying thing is, even though I know it’s at home, I can’t remember where I put that notebook. (I’m kidding mum, not the depths of my soul.) But I don’t doubt I will shortly find it and be able to burn whatever necessary incriminating pages.

I’m kidding mum, I’m not going to burn any of it, it’s all evidence to be used against me in the future. 🙂

And on that note, I think it’s time for me to once again depart and leave the heart of my blog empty and waiting for me to return at sporadic intervals, whenever I gather the ability to write.

Farewell, until next time,

The Faerie Squad Mother x

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p.s. I’m kidding mum.

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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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Cue Music

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

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

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

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

10 out of 10, would recommend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did I stick to the plan? No.

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

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

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

So not entirely bad.

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

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

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

You can quote me.

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

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

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

Shoutout to anyone mentioned who’s reading this…

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

Shoutout to the toilet lid for being down…

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

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

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

Goodbye everyone and lots of love

From the Faerie Squad Mother x

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How Ironic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, let’s not dwell on negativity.

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

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

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

Great story.

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

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

PLEASE HURRY UP JULY!

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

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

I need to do some more Spanish.

Adiós.

Love the Faerie Squad Mother x

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Being The Minority

So the past couple of days have been an interesting experience to say the least. But let me not get ahead of myself.

Good morning/afternoon/evening (wherever you all are), this is the first time I am addressing you as a 16-year old Empress! How fantastic!

Anyways, now we’re done with that. So my family and I had a bit of a holiday this week; we didn’t go abroad, just to a small village, which I cannot name for obvious reasons which you will later discover. We stayed in a hotel, about a 5-minute drive away from the village centre (as in, probably their equivalent of a high-street or whatever) and so on the Monday afternoon, we get there and we check-in. Once we put all our cases and everything in our rooms, we go back downstairs so we can have dinner.

That was the first alarm bell. (We didn’t know it yet, but it slowly dawned on us). On the way through the lounge to the Restaurant, we got a lot of awfully odd looks; people were double-taking, some people were staring, and lots of people were doing that awkward ‘I’m-staring-but-if-you-look-at-me-I’ll-keep-eye-contact-for-about-5-more-seconds-until-it-becomes-uncomfortable-and-then-look-away-just-to-make-sure-you-saw-me-looking-at-you’ sorta thing. So naturally, as a family that is mostly unfazed, we ignore them.

We went back to our rooms after and got ready for bed. (Although myself and my little sister – who I have now decided to crown Princess – stayed up so she could post my birthday tribute on Instagram at midnight… and then I COULDN’T sleep because I was absolutely stunned by the intensity of raw beauty my friend posted of me also… But at any rate, we got to bed pretty late)

Then we woke up and went downstairs to have breakfast. That was the second alarm bell. The seating staff dude for the morning looked up at us from the desk and seemed a little startled. After he led us to the table, we all split to go and get our food, and more alarm bells started ringing. (Not literally, that’d be a little bit scary). People kept staring, we got even more weird looks, one guy was double-taking so much I’m pretty sure he got a headache.

By this point, I was pretty sick of all the looks, so whenever people looked at me, I’d give them the sickliest-sweet smile I could conjure up. And then they would blush embarrassed and turn away.

I thought it might get better, but NO. It only got worse.

Later in the day, we went into the village centre, to get some food and to just stroll around and explore, seeing as we were in this lovely, quaint little village and it was my birthday and it was like, well why not?

I’ll tell you why not.

Because it was like we were wild, exotic animals walking through a zoo of spectators. My sister, the Princess, and I stopped at a window-front display, and she looked at this teddy-bear she liked, and went, “Oh wow, Rianna look at how cute that is!” Then I heard a gasp.

‘How strange!’ I thought to myself. ‘Teyah doesn’t usually gasp…’ So I turned to her to ask her if she had gasped, and her face mirrored my expression of confusion. Which in itself answered my question. No she had not gasped.

In fact, the woman who HAD gasped was about 5 steps away from us, walking briskly down the road, and kept looking back over her shoulder at us with these wide-eyes. We couldn’t stop laughing.

Later, my mum and dad told me that they had had a similar experience; they were walking down the road and three little children in a car had pointed out the window at them in excitement – then their mother had also joined in with them.

What started off as irritating slowly became funny. We were walking to Tesco’s and two teenagers, a guy and a girl, came out of a shop; teenagers who looked like the ones, whom, in London, I would ordinarily avoid – just move out of the way for. They looked pretty intimidating. But they gave me one glance, and it was like their faces were streaked with terror, and the BOY, this intimidating looking boy, actually ended up in the road on an effort to move out of my way on the pavement.

Every shop we went into (because the shop’s were pretty tiny) the shopkeeper’s eyes would LITERALLY follow us around the whole way. When we bought stuff in Tesco’s and went to the self-checkout till, nearly every other shopper’s eyes watched us.

It was so strange.

But that wasn’t even the HIGHLIGHT of it all.

Because not only were we treated like an exhibition, we simultaneously got treated like we were invisible.

The final evening we were there, Wednesday evening, when we went down to dinner, we sat in a relatively accessible place. Like, there were quite a lot of other people sitting nearby. We had the staring spectacle of course (but what else could be expected at this point?) from a girl and her brothers? cousins? who all looked around our age.

But then – and this was the BEST part of all – a family, or perhaps a bunch of friends, came to sit near to us. They sat on the table next to us and ensued in very loud conversation. [Conversation which, if anything, only reinforced the fact that they were racist.]

The man, I assumed, was talking about his daughter. He looked about 60, with greying hair, and was talking animatedly about this woman; I figured it was his daughter or his wife, but it was more likely the former. Anyway, my mum and I only managed to jump into the conversation at the part where he started talking about her travelling and all her journeys around the world.

“And yes, one year she decided to go to India.” (It seemed that she was working abroad a lot, I think it was for her job as she was working for a bank or something? From what I gathered anyway…) “She said that her experience there was very interesting but,” at this point, he leaned in as if confiding a secret, “the only trouble was the flight… because of…” he paused for effect, chuckled, taking a sip from his long-stemmed glass of wine, “well, the Hindus.” At which point they all burst out into unabridged, racist crooning at his entirely UNFUNNY and OFFENSIVE joke. I mean, let’s just forget for a moment that what he said was offensive, basically saying the flight wasn’t enjoyable because of the Indian passengers on it, he is also assuming that EVERY INDIAN IS HINDU. Which they are not.

My mum and I looked at each other with wide open mouths. We were actually stunned that anyone could say that. But it got even better when he continued.

“She loves travelling abroad, but there’s always a language barrier for her. She can’t adjust well to the culture.” All things which suggested, my mum jokingly informed me, that perhaps she should stop travelling, because clearly if ‘Hindus’ were an issue on the plane flight, then how would she expect to fare in an entire country FULL of them?! “She could practically COUNT the number of British” (by British, he meant white) “people who were there as well!”

Boo hoo. I thought. That’s my life all the time. That’s my life RIGHT now. Wherever we go places, we can COUNT on one hand the number of black people. Why are you suddenly surprised by this? Oh that’s right; because except from when you travel, (and even then, it depends on where you go) you’re NEVER in the minority. I live my LIFE in the minority.

He went on.

“But when she came to England to work, she found it so much more enjoyable.” Of course she would, my mum added, surrounded in her own culture. “And her work was based in [location], which was great because she didn’t have to commute so much from where she stayed in [location]. She had a lovely little studio flat and a fantastic view.”

“But then they [her company business] relocated to Canary Wharf, and it became an absolute NIGHTMARE for her to commute.”

Oh no! My mum and I crooned. How hard it must be when your business relocates to the central hub of business in London (and also the world) and you have to TRAVEL in on public transport! Oh no! Such #FirstWorldProblems! All the people he was talking to sympathetically ‘awwwwwww’d and he nodded with a face of such sincerity that me and my mum started laughing again.

“So, is she permanently employed then?” One of the women sitting with him directed the question at him. He shook his head with such conviction.

“No, not really. She is partially on the work force, but if they start chopping jobs and sacking people, then she could lose her job.” At which point, I had to shake MY head sympathetically.

I’ve got two words for you, Mr. Racist Wine-Drinker: White. Privilege.

Your daughter would not be one of the first to be unemployed, especially considering the fact that she is the one constantly travelling the world for her company (she also went to Singapore, some countries in Europe, and has been to Australia so much that she has a flat out there) and not to mention the fact that you CLEARLY come from old-money; so regardless of whether she is kept or sacked (and most likely, the FORMER), she has pretty much worked her life away for this company (he never mentioned any partner, or kids of hers) so she is sitting pretty for the rest of her life.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I present to you, the plight of a black family in a small village in England. That was the reason we got so many stares from people. Because we were perhaps the only black people that some of them had ever seen. That was why we got gasped at, and pointed at, and stared at, and talked about, and ignored, and watched, and followed.

Because we were black. Now, if you know me, I totally hate using the race card, but this is one situation where it actually does apply.

The small-mindedness and ignorance (and in some situations, racism) of these people actually astounded me. I mean, I’m not stupid, I know racism exists – I live my life at the receiving end of it – but I didn’t realise how condensed it was in certain areas, and how concentrated those areas were.

But that’s my little rant for this morning. A bit early for me but, ah well. Have a good morning/afternoon/evening everyone,

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! 🙂 )

Eye of The Storm

This week I have been at Pathfinders Camp. Pathfinders is the Christian equivalent of, I suppose, Guides or Scouts for example. (Am not sure what the American equivalent would be… Someone help me out?) I would explain Pathfinders as ‘Christian Camp’, but it’s not really just ‘Christian Camp’, because I don’t think that term effectively encapsulates exactly just what it entails. Yes, admittedly, Seventh-Day Adventism (which is what I am, an SDA) is a denomination of Christianity, but there is a lot more to it than that.

At any rate, I was pretty excited when we left on Monday (after my entirely hectic, chaotic birthday party… Shoutout to all those who dressed up authentically!) and was really looking forward to meeting new people.

Skip forward to today. I am tired, my entire body aches, and I AM SO ASHAMED TO SAY IT, but I have only had 2 showers in the entirety of 5 days (and one doesn’t even count because I only had it when I came home to get my GCSE results… Brrrap brrrap for that by the way, Queen RiRi actually did well by God’s grace!) I was upset because of people’s bad attitudes and stink personalities, certain people don’t know when to keep their mouths shut and others don’t know when to open them.

The tents were alright, but the second or third night it rained and some stupid boys thought it would be funny to run their hands along the insides of one of our tents. If you are a camper, or have been camping, then you will know that one of the golden rules is ‘Do not touch the inside of the tent’, especially when it’s raining, because it limits the tent’s waterproofing abilities, and the tent floods.

Which is exactly what happened. The tent flooded.

Other than perhaps the socialising aspect, learning self-defence, the song services and the Christian side of it, It has been absolute hell and I really don’t want to bring it all back, because, to be fair, it might have been a slightly poopy week, but what has happened in the past is in the past. Where it belongs.

I am not blogging today with the intent to make a statement or have a rant or anything (if I rant, it would just get super personal and I don’t need that) so I am just posting this short snippet before I have my shower (that makes 3!) to let you all know that I am alive and well, and also inform you as to why I have been off the grid for the past week.

Anyways, love you all, I may or may not post later, and I apologise for the negativity… but on a brighter note, it’s my birthday in 4 days. Woohoo!

Queen Rianna

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We’re Nearly There

Right now I am listening to the songs from one of my favourite musicals, ‘The Sound of Music’. As I type this, ’16 Going On 17′ is playing in the background. It’s almost finished, but (if you’ve seen the movie), it’s doing the instrumental bit when they’re sort of chasing each other around the garden, and then it starts to rain and Kurt kisses her and she gets all excited and runs out in the rain and screams.

Great movie. Seriously. Maybe my description didn’t make it sound as fantastic as it is… Ah well.

It’s actually great when I listen to my music because I feel this amazing detachment from reality and I can kind of submerge myself in my thoughts and write easier. (Depending on the day and my mood of course, but most of the time, it’s great). Right now, it’s ‘My Favourite Things’, which, can I just say, those adverts need to stop stealing and obliterating, because it’s a great song.

Anyway. I’m not even on topic right now. I was going to update you on what I’ve been doing this week, seeing as I haven’t posted in like, 3 days. (Shock horror, right?!) Right, so, my birthday is in about… 13 days. Not that anyone is counting, or anything, but because of pre-arranged plans, I won’t be around for my birthday, so I have been out this week planning my party and what I’m going to wear and stuff. Not that it’s particularly interesting, but I’m planning on going to a large green space (with lots of pretty scenery of course, for photo ops) and everyone has to dress up like characters from Ancient Greece. Basically, all the guys have to wear bed sheets, where the girls get to wear long, flowy, chiffon dresses; should make for some fantastic photo ops again.

So Monday entailed myself and my beautiful twinny running around London attempting to find me a dress – which is SO much more difficult during Sales, oh my goodness! – and I found shoes and a belt yesterday. (We’re on ‘Do Re Mi’ from ‘Sound of Music’ now…)

My planning has pretty much just been me organising the games we’re going to play (Egg and Spoon races, Three-Legged races, Sack races, Rounders etc.) because, you only turn 16 once right? I just don’t see the point of having a huge rave when you can just all dress up like idiots and run about like 4 year-olds in a park. Which is what I intend to do basically. And also make all my friends do… I love you guys. 🙂

I also had to write up the Quizzes, because of course, it isn’t just going to be a party. It’s going to be an intense competition; Survival of the Fittest really. So I have 4 categories; Greek Mythology, Disney Classics, High School Musical (I know it’s Disney, but it really needed its’ own category) and then Disney Lyrics, so basically completing a line of  lyrics from Disney songs. So everyone should brush up, and I’ll see who the Ultimate Survivors are.

Today, I woke up with throbbing feet – like, literally, they HURT from all that walking. And let me just tell you, shopping is emotionally and mentally taxing. It is actually so stressful. But I woke up, decided that I would ACTUALLY do some work for Sixth Form (because I have been given literally a STACK of work to do for induction). So, I got out my official looking notebook (Babs, I really should have gotten that one we saw yesterday!) and started making notes.

The first bit to tackle was English. I had an option of 6 books to read and then write an essay on one of them, so I downloaded one that looked interesting-ish (I’m not a huge fan of Dystopia or Sci-Fi, but that’s what all the books were) and put it on my Kindle. So I’ll make a start on that this evening probably, and read it tomorrow when I’m on the train or public transport or whatever. (I’ve given up on the Sound of Music OST, so now I just threw my Disney tunes on)

Then it was History. (Two parts; Nazi Germany and The Tudors, but COME ON. Like, I LOVE The Tudors, why would I even consider doing Nazi Germany first?) I literally spent half the morning watching ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’. No offence to the Queen of Historical Fiction (i.e. Philippa Gregory) but the movie adaptation was so POOR! I trusted it, because the book was AMAZING, but the movie was not there. I was so disappointed. And everything happened so quickly at the end; there was no gradual decline. Her ascension was FAR too rapid and her decline was FAR too sudden. But I got some notes down (not anything I didn’t know already, but I had a black biro and an official looking notebook; so I HAD to take notes)… And then I had to make a start on the Family Tree.

Let me just tell you, I swear, every Tudor and Plantagenet married their cousin. It’s so stressful having to chart all that stuff up when the lines are constantly crossing, and then you see their surname and think, hang on a minute, you’re married to your uncle’s step-sisters brother. (Not exactly, that is just an example). Or even worse, you’re married to your first cousin. (A lot of them were married to their second and third cousins…) But I mean, as far as they were concerned it was fine, because they all received ‘Official dispensations’ from the Pope. As if he has the actual authority to permit incest. As if because Mr. Pope says it’s alright then, ‘HEY-HO! Let’s forget everything else like basic LOGIC and decency and just get married anyway!’

ALSO, one of the key figures in Tudor England, Margaret Beaufort, was married when she was 12, and by the time she was 13, she was a pregnant widow. I kid you not.

But anyways. I’ll just sip my tea. 🐸☕️

The timeline for Henry VII was not as much of a breeze as I thought it would be, because in History, NOBODY CARES ABOUT HENRY VII because he’s not Henry VIII. (In my opinion, for everyone else, Henry VIII is only the interesting one in Tudor England History because he caused so many scandals with all the women he bedded and all the problems he created, simply because he couldn’t keep it in his pants…) So nobody thinks that there should be much information on his reign. There was a bit but not much, and I had to piece together information from 5 different sites, just to make a timeline.

And I don’t even know how I’m going to tackle Henry VIII’s timeline, because there will be SO much about him online. Without even doing Henry VIII’s timeline, I managed to fill four A4 sides of my official-looking notebook with gobbledy-gook about the Tudors, their family tree, their dates and places of birth and death and the tiny amount of information I gleaned from that *coughs* TERRIBLE *coughs* movie.

The next (and, it could be argued, most important) thing to tackle is the Spanish booklet. It is literally a 40 page booklet filled with CONJUGATING VERBS and TRANSLATIONS and I love Spanish so much, but I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS. I managed to get through 12 pages, which is something I guess; I was doing it whilst watching ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ too. At the boring bits or the bits when the characters were having those awkward and intense stare offs, then I’d just do more of the Spanish booklet, and try to ignore the sucky sounds they made when they finally ended up kissing. (Gross, still).

So I’ll be bringing that everywhere with me from now on. EVERYWHERE.

I’ve rambled for enough. The title is just in recognition of the fact that I have about 3 weeks before I have to be back at Sixth Form. (September third, YAY!) And so I’m not entirely THRILLED but I am also anticipating it anxiously.

So there we go. Shoutout to all those who are getting their A-Level results tomorrow, and also those GCSE students who have still gotta wait another week. Because we all know that it’s the waiting that kills us.

Love you all,

Queen Rianna

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p.s. I also watched Ant-Man on Monday with some of my friends, and PAUL RUDD IS ANT-MAN????? As in, the guy who plays Josh in ‘Clueless’ (LITERALLY my favourite movie EVER!) HE IS ANT-MAN! I couldn’t even concentrate for most of it, I just kept thinking, ‘CLUELESS. CLUELESS. THIS IS JOSH FROM CLUELESS. BAE FROM CLUELESS IS CURRENTLY ON THE SCREEN.’

Sorry. I’m done now. 🙂

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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The Hills Are Alive

I haven’t posted for a week. I apologise. HOWEVER, this time I have a valid excuse.

I have spent the past week climbing mountains, walking gorges and rock climbing (all which I will explain in a moment) in North Wales. That’s right. I’ve been away from civilisation living out my life in the valleys. There has literally been NO internet. I was considering bringing something to write with, but in the end I settled on a notebook (story about this coming up too!) and I am so glad I did as well; because I was dead most of the other days.

Now, there is a stereotype that Wales is just valleys and sheep. Let me tell you:

THIS IS NOT A STEREOTYPE; there are literally valleys and sheep EVERYWHERE. Every single bit of land, there is at least one sheep on. More often than not, there is a whole flock (herd?) of them. And the ones we all drove past were all shorn (I now understand why the cartoon caricature is called SHAUN the Sheep! At least… I hope that is an intentional pun!) and had huge coloured marks on their disgusting wrinkly skin. Not that I have anything against naked sheep, but COME ON. Like, get some decency please and cover up. Nobody wants to see you naked.

Anyways, the coach journey started at about 11:00 on Monday 20th and we got to the small hostel in North Wales by about 5:00, which wasn’t too bad, seeing as we were all talking loads and absolutely captivated by the beautiful views. At least, we were all captivated until we quickly realised our phone signals were steadily dropping.

So there we were, sitting at the front, just chatting away about Spanish and Poland, and mating animals and stuff, and then someone goes, “Wait, guys. I think I’ve lost signal.” At which point we all frantically check our phones like, ahhh! Maybe mine has lost it too! And sure enough we have. Then five seconds later, “No wait… It’s back.”

And that was what it was like for a long time. On and off, on and off. The signal kept dropping and then picking up again. It was mental. Anyway, I met some fantastic people on the coach (unfortunately they were NOT my group, but I loved them all the same) and we had lots of banter.

When we arrived there we were all horrified to find that there was no WiFi… and we were yet to discover (for about… a day and a half) that there was a slight signal if you stood in a particular part of the foresty bit at the edge of the hostel grounds. (We later took advantage of this; I spent about an hour during free time every day out there trying to call my family and my baes and stuff).

The next couple of days kinda just sped by like a blur. The first day our team (Reiss! Brap brap!) went rock climbing with RICKY. (I have to scream the name of our instructor – his name wasn’t actually Ricky – because of the ‘Eastenders’ Bianca’s Ricky… we all yelled Ricky whenever we wanted to get his attention) We first had to climb up some super steep hill to actually get to the rock face. Now, the rock face was nothing like what you get in indoor climbing walls; it had no footholds or handholds. It was literally a rock. Face. RICKY ran up to set up the ropes while Team Reiss sat at the bottom like lemmings, just played a few games and then started climbing. After a small tiff with our harnesses (I put mine on incorrectly about 8 times) we finally started climbing.

I say climbing, but it meant that one of us tried to scramble up the rockface desperately while the others stood at the bottom cheering them on and eating our lunches while getting spat on by the rain. Our Senior Mentor and I decided that the weather was super sucky so we made up a sundance (we didn’t even know what it was???) and OH MY GOODNESS it was terrifying. We kind of jumped around in a circle singing (more like screeching), “RAIN RAIN GO AWAY, COME AGAIN ANOTHER DAY.” And then stopped occasionally and waved our arms in a circle and squealed, “SUNSHINE. SUNSHINE. SUNSHINE. SUNSHINE.”

I kid you not, everytime we did that dance, the rain stopped and the sun popped out.

Anyways, after I tried (unsuccessfully) to climb the rock, I slammed into the rock face about 6 times, before I gave up completely, turned around on the rope and just started talking down to my group. Banter.

We left from the rock climbing straight to the overnight camp which was – needless to say – so entertaining. Once we had set up all our tents in the rain (hahaha! One of the girls tents got rainwater through into the porch!) we cooked dinner. When I say we, I mean the girls. (The boys were all faffing about) When I say dinner, I mean pre-made pasta sauce and pasta. There wasn’t much cooking to do really. The cooking just entailed me chopping a bunch of onions and peppers to add to the sauce to make it taste like… something other than tomato puree. We stirred, we stirred and stirred. We emptied packets of salt and pepper into the sauce AHA it was hilarious.

It tasted alright. Was hardly gourmet food, but it was camping so HEY-HO. It was fun anyway.

The next morning everyone just complained about their sleep other than me and two other girls. We left from there back to the hostel where we got more stuff to go and climb some mountains WHOO!

Not whoo. Although the view was beautiful, I came back with scratches on my arms and hands, aching legs (#ThunderThighs), and a sore, wet butt. However, I literally sang the ENTIRE 4-hour hike. Every song I could think of. I did HSM, I did Disney, I did requests, I did The Sound of Music (since it was very apt, singing and spinning around on hills) and I felt so energised. When that got boring, I started talk-singing; which is basically where you talk through songs. It quickly became hilarious, especially seeing as myself and the Senior Mentor were doing requests and had to talk-sing while censoring the lyrics.

Then it quickly became irritating. Anyway, we survived that vicious ordeal and got back to the hostel where we got pizza for dinner (no offense but it was nasty… (there’s the no offense thing LOOL) No but seriously, why do people assume that all vegetarians eat are vegetables?! I HATE OLIVES AND I HATE PINEAPPLE ON PIZZA WHAT THE HELL) and had a rave in our room at night, which was great. (There are 16 girls in our dorm, imagine that)

That evening, my mind started working (in the way that it does, just randomly) and came up with a writing idea. So, when we all got into bed that night, (there also was a bat in the other girl’s dorm, but not ours because the first thing I did when we all came into that dorm on the first day was CLOSE THE WINDOW) I whipped our my notebook and wrote.

And wrote and wrote and wrote. For about 2 and a half hours straight. I filled 11 sides of A5 paper and had a little bit of overspill, but since my writing is quite small anyway, I wrote A LOT. Not that I remembered most of what I had wrote in the morning and had a good laugh at how entertaining it was.

The next day we were smashed. (Not as in alcohol – I keep using that word to describe extreme tiredness, but it always comes across as inappropriate to be honest – just completely TIRED smashed). We then learnt that we were going to go gorging. Zak and Kim kindly informed me with glowing, excited faces that it was amazing, fantastic, so much fun, and every other exciting synonym you could possibly think of.

It was NONE of the above. We were in cold wetsuits, in cold water, in cold weather, on slippery rocks. The higher we climbed, the further we had to drop to our deaths. (It really was that scary). Not to mention that our team decided to have a water fight in the rock pool (which, btw, apparently the Herbal Essence advert was filmed in!) and then RICKY pushed me into the pool. And we all jumped in and then climbed out and it was FREEZING AH. We also had to fit through these rocks called ‘”The Elephant’s Butt” which was as difficult as it sounds.

Somehow, I survived that. It could only have been God, I swear, I was genuinely convinced I was either going to fall to my death or die of hypothermia/pneumonia/an intense flu. (Right now anyway I have a sore throat – I have lost my voice – and a bit of a chesty cough, which I am CONVINCED is purely because of the gorging).

The next day, we all just packed our stuff up and left pretty much. The journey back was 7 hours and 55 minutes long (yes, I kept count) and after we stopped at a service station, I just didn’t think we were even going to make it back to London. However, myself and Tor struck up conversation and just chatted all the way back really, which was great, because I found an English person! (Long story short, most people at this age are either English people or Maths/Science people. Nearly everyone else I spoke to was a Maths/Science person, but Tor was the FIRST English person I had met on this entire trip!)

When we arrived, all I wanted to do was sleep. I couldn’t though. I partially unpacked, by which I mean threw all my dirty laundry into the wash and the laundry basket, but I still have to repack tomorrow for the next week, which should be fun.

But yes. I feel like that is a concise summary of the week without baiting anyone out or firing shots. And now my mission is to learn the rest of a rap to prove to Zak and Kim that I am the ultimate Queen.

Oh yeah. I got everyone to call me Queen. I am saved in people’s contacts as ‘Queen’. It is fantastic. Life of luxury. Now I am in more group chats from all these socialising things and it’s stressing me out. My Whatsapp pings enough from the Group at Royal Holloway; now I’m in a Team Reiss Group and a generic NCS group. I won’t be able to keep up.

Like I said before, I’m tired. So, here you go Team Sabesan. Love you all.

Also shout out to Frazza who is in Canada and may come back extremely polite. (Because we all know how lovely Canadians are) And Kazza who is in Spain (oh no, my apologise, she is NOT in Spain, she is in Sardinia), and Sazza who is in Hong Kong. Whilst Dezza and the rest of the Astellian’s are all sitting pretty in England.

Peace out people and goodnight. No promises for posts this week as I will be away again, but I will try my best.

Queen Rianna

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