Go check out my best friends new blog ❤ crazy proud of her for having the courage to start over and for always being true to herself. Also, whilst I'm here lol, thought of the day inspired by conversations with several friends….if something's not our problem until it becomes our problem and then we're shouting about it and demanding change, how do we reverse that attitude? Things will affect all of us eventually, we all have a role in shaping the society we want to live in.
Forever and always this blog has been a place where I can be completely honest and express myself and that often means sharing my very random,rambling writings. So often I have this sudden thought or a feeling and then this desperate need to capture it, other times I think for ages and ages about what I truly want to say and write something carefully orchestrated and expressed, sometimes I just…..write and let all the emotions flow through me and form themselves into words.
I recently had a notification telling me that I started blogging five years ago. Half a freaking decade. So kinda as a very Gracie celebration of that (staying true to what A Light In The Darkness has been for all that time) and partly because I have loads of random snippets of writing that need to be somewhere except taking up a thousand drafts in my docs, ta da…here you have a writing dump!
Before you ask, sometimes I’m okay and sometimes I’m not. And that’s okay. This writing is honest, but it also reflects only one moment in time. At the moment, my life is a whirlwind of emotions and experiences, but mots of all – hope. All I want to do is capture that in some way, but don’t worry about me – worry about the world we live in and what we can do to make it a better place.
the sun glares in your eyes but i see all the stars in the sky shining back at me,
your laugh rings out over marble floors,
mouth stretched wide in a sculpted smile,
your voice spirals up echoey staircases that swirl like cinnamon buns
and then slides back down the banister like a child at play
i fall into you blindly and laugh when we blend together like blue and grey on a rainy day,
we surf waves of our own creation,
our hands melting into the ocean like we’re part of it too,
souls that struggle to find the words
and i always will be
– for a friend
2) – inspired by knife crime and desperation
and with your words my heart burst into light that blinded me and lit you up and we danced in the darkness, twisted together in shadows and strength.
when you tell me about the fight you got into, the blade twists in my gut too and i can’t breath for a minute. then i close my eyes and count to ten and let the rawness hide itself in my heart until someone makes me cry again. just know that when my dad says i need to come shopping instead of staying in the car to write, it’s not really him who sends the tears streaking down my face – it’s you. and not just you. it’s also millions of others like you. when people ask me what’s really wrong i can’t tell them because they don’t understand that you can’t see through your anger and frustration and confusion and that you’re drowning in it all and i keep trying to guide you through and my every word to you is filled with oxygen to keep you breathing for just a little longer because i can’t let you leave me. i can’t let anyone leave.
so I double text and triple text and ask ‘are you okay?’ and don’t care what anyone thinks or says because i care too much. but it still never seems like enough. it should be but no, it’s too little too late.
and i want to do this. i want more than anything to take all this pain and turn it into something beautiful and maybe that’s just because we’re all a revolutionary at heart..at the moment the best way I can describe it is that my words mean both everything and nothing. like they are what I inhale and exhale, what i need and what i create and they are all i can give you.
they’re words i hope will change things. words i hope will keep you alive. these words are not empty, they are the carriers of great things, of a new world, of lives yet to be lived. futures twisted and bent out of shape. i want to straighten them out but i can’t. and they’re oddly alluringly beautiful like this mess of words that makes no sense. did you know you could get high on tragedy?
every night i pray to god that you’re okay and that you find the strength to keep going. i wish on every 11:11 (stupid how you clutch at straws am I right?) and squeeze my eyes tight shut and sometimes i’m so happy that you’re happy and sometimes i’m just not. sometimes because you’re not. sometimes it has nothing to do with anything.
this makes no sense at all but neither does the tangle of emotions inside me and i think that’s why i love words so much because when they fit together, they fit. and they are the truth of the writer and then the reader. they can be written in stone and mean completely different things to completely different people and still be perfect, messy truth.
when you tell me that you hate yourself, i hate everything. i hate the society that made you see yourself that way and i hate that i can’t change it. and no one understands. no one. because i’m locked in here and yet i’m free as anything. no one understands that the reason i cry is because it’s so beautiful and so painful all at the same time. and im okay. i promise. its okay.
and maybe i’m confused and i’m making it all up. maybe you’re the same. maybe neither of our stories match reality. maybe we’re all crazy. but to me this is the truth, this burning, explosive soul that’s running out of oxygen, but never out of words.
there. that’s it. i’m done.
Lil note – me and my family have started organising CommuniTea events on our challenge. They’re basically all about bringing people of all backgrounds together to bridge the gaps and divides in our society and because we believe that when we come together we create a better future for us all. This is the speech I read at our first event…
Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a voice for my generation because I’ve felt their pain and wanted a better future for us all. For so long, I’ve done my best just to fight the symptoms, trying to be there to listen, offer what advice I could, answer the phone when my friends are crying. I’ve sat there watching anxiety, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, self harm and hopelessness become the norm and felt helpless. What could I do to stop this wheel in motion? How could I reverse it?
For me, CommuniTea means getting to the root of the problem. It means finding a way to catch my friends and stop them slipping through my fingers like the future that’s slipping away from all of us. It’s bridging the gaps so that people can’t fall through.
It means being able to tell them that people do care and have their back, and actually mean it when I say it. It means that no one is alone. It means being able to do more than just try to pick up the pieces when they fall apart. It means finding something that holds us all together.
So often we think that we’re better off on our own, just looking out for ourselves, but we’re not. That may be the unspoken narrative society feeds us, but on this challenge I’ve seen what happens when people come together and I’ve felt it in my heart.
We all struggle and we all feel pain, but even where there is darkness, especially where there is darkness, people are pushing through like flowers through concrete. They are breaking down all of these complex societal issues and problems and coming up with one, simple solution that we can all be a part of.
It’s called community and we’ve seen it in action in almost every single area we’ve passed through on this challenge. You just have to look. We’ve seen how the pain in people’s pasts can be healed by the purpose that caring for others gives them and the comfort of knowing that there are others who care about them too.
We’ve seen how people overcome their struggles through coming together and forging relationships. They’re sharing their lives and creating positive change at the same time. They’ve realised that this is where the change starts. Here. Now.
And the best part is that it’s happening everywhere and absolutely anyone can be a part of it. I can’t promise anyone that it won’t be a step outside of our comfort zones, but no one ever achieved anything by being comfortable. I’m a fifteen year old girl and I’ve just spent nearly six months stepping out of my comfort zone every single day and it’s the best experience I’ve ever had. I want you to experience that magic too.
It’s not really magic, but it feels like it. When people come together, when people really care, it brings out the best in us all, the smiles the joy, the connection, the feeling of being a part of something. Part of the solution, not the problem.
Sitting down to eat and talk and laugh and play cards with asylum seekers, you realise that we’re all just human beings. Feeling the most welcome and at home you’ve ever felt anywhere after just a couple of hours in the inclusive chaos of a community in South Wales area where people struggle and are almost forgotten or written off by the rest of society, but are there for each other through it all, changes your perspective. Meeting all these young guys in Glasgow who have nothing going for them, but refuse to let the darkness drag them down, motivates us to help them and others rise.
I can’t tell you how important this is. To me. To you. The darkness affects us all, but so will the positivity. It will light us up and set our souls on fire. We just have to give it a chance.
4) Some random one liners that might be something more one day and quite possibly…..won’t.
i can’t talk to you because you won’t talk to me and this is how i learnt that life is not fair.
Humanity is one part pain and one part strength.
If I asked you if you know the same things I do, if I asked you whether you’ve seen the hearts that cry out, even unknowingly, would you give yourself to them if they would take you?
Well there you go guys! Hope you enjoyed that and maybe it made you think in some way??! How are we all doingggg?? Love as always xxx
I wrote this on World Mental Health Day, but the signal in the English countryside is sporadic to say the least. Anyway, it’s a bit late, but no less relevant.
I just wanted to share a reminder that anyone can talk to me about anything (big or small) at any time. I don’t want anyone to go through anything alone ❤ Life is tough and it affects us all so message me through my ‘Wanna Talk?’ page any time and I will do my best to be there for you ❤ I know how much of a difference it makes just to have someone there for you and we’ve all gotta stick together if we wanna make this world a better place so I’m serious – message me whenever guys.
A lot of us don’t often know what to do to help others who are struggling with their mental health and although I’m no expert, here’s a list of things that are simple but (from my experience) make a huge difference.
Make it clear to your friends, family and members of your community that you’re there for them through thick and thin. Even if you take it for granted that they already know, sometimes a reminder that they can trust you and that you’re there no matter what goes a long way.
Get involved in projects in your community. On my family’s challenge we’ve met so many ordinary but incredible people who are transforming lives in their own town or city just by bringing people together and supporting one another. Being a part of something can mean so much – having a purpose, being surrounded by people who care about you and finding hope for the future is a lifesaver for so many people.
I’ve done loads of volunteering with groups like these recently and whether they use fixing cars, fitness, sailing, arts and crafts or something else, they’re making a huge difference and what you get from being a part of that is absolutely incredible. Bringing people together is truly the solution to so many of the struggles we’re all facing and it’s creating a better future for us all. I’d tell absolutely everyone to do a bit of research (social media is great like that) and find a way to get involved in a project in their community. It’ll be the best step outside your comfort zone that you ever take.
It’s the little things. Send your friend a random text telling them how much they mean to you. Leave uplifting notes in library books. If you notice that someone you know seems down, try to find small ways to show them you care. If someone wants to talk, find time to listen.
Educate yourself. Read up about mental health. Ask questions. Don’t make assumptions. Listen to people’s stories. Don’t judge. So many people are misunderstood because of other people’s ignorance. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
Be real and encourage others to do the same. In our society, there’s so much pressure to be something we’re not and to hide our true selves to fit in, but that’s where the issues start. It’s not easy, but once we start being open, honest and real and accept others for who they are too, others feel like they can too and society changes for the better.
So there you have it – five ways we can all make a difference. Mental health is something so many of us struggle with, it’s tough, it’s real, it’s raw, it’s painful. Let’s come together, support one another and show others that they’re not alone.
I’ve posted this on here before, but it was ages ago so I’d like to share it again. It’s a poem I wrote and I would ramble on about it, but I’m going to let it speak for itself. Just remember….you are never alone ❤
What would you add to my list of ways we can all make a difference? Any thoughts to share? All my love xx
Every year 29,000 asylum seekers flee persecution and destruction in their homeland and arrive here in the UK. They make a perilous and often fatal journey because they are desperate and have no choice. Have you ever had a nightmare where you’re stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea and there’s no safe place to go? Well, we can wake up from it, they can’t.
They leave their country, their home, where they may have been persecuted, threatened, tortured for something that’s just part of who they are – their beliefs, their political stance, their sexuality, ethnic group or just standing up for what’s right. They may have been caught up in turmoil and violence and want to protect their family. Sometimes their only choice is to escape. Ask yourself, if you were in that situation with your family, what decision would you make?
They brave a hard, dangerous and dehumanising journey which, in reality, many don’t survive, to reach the UK – my country.
When they arrive they are often met with hostility, prejudice and a system that seems set up against them.
Why is that? Why are we so convinced that these people have come here to take something from us? Do we ever consider what they might have to give? Why do we assume that they’re here because it’s an easy option? Maybe it’s their only option. Why are we convinced that they’re all bad and they’re all the same? Is that because we only listen to the lies the media tell us and are too afraid of what we don’t know to find out for ourselves?
Mark, Sarah and lots of volunteers run The Sanctuary project at The Gap Centre in Newport city centre (South Wales). They’re providing constant support and a sense of community and belonging to all asylum seekers. They invited me and my family to go along for the day, help out and spend some time with everyone.
First Mark took us on a tour of Newport, we could hardly walk ten steps without Mark stopping to chat to someone he knew from the centre, shaking hands, introducing us, asking them if they were coming for food later.
Once back, we were put to work moving tables, sorting through donations of books and cleaning bathrooms. We then all sat and chatted and ate and played card games before heading off to play badminton.
The whole time, we were made so welcome by everyone. Whether it was the guy who made the effort to teach me how to serve in badminton, even though I was useless (I got it down to a fine art in the end), the guy who took great pleasure in giving my brother Evan a traditional Kurdish haircut, everyone who sat and talked and made an effort to engage with us even though we didn’t always speak the same language, everyone who told us about their lives, their families and their culture. Even though you may feel you already know it, the whole afternoon just made us realise that we really are all just human beings – we all feel pain, we can all smile, we all have hopes and dreams.
I genuinely feel like I made friends. And I had so much fun, playing Uno and badminton and hanging out with all these people of all different cultures and backgrounds. Since when did different become bad? Different is amazing. We can learn so much from different. Different is just…different – not better or worse.
Thank you so much to Mark for inviting us and for telling us about all the incredible work that The Sanctuary do and for letting us get involved. Also thanks to everyone who welcomed us and made us feel like part of the family. All the best to all of you for the future ❤
What are your thoughts? Have you ever found yourself with a different perspective on something after spending time with people you wouldn’t usually hang out with?
Heyyy there people, bet you didn’t think I’d be back that quick, huh? Gracie? Post twice in less than two weeks? Unheard of. No way.
Well, today’s post is a little different guys. It might have something to do with the fact that it’s OCTOBER THE 4TH and I’ve been looking forward to OCTOBER THE 4TH for ages and CAN YOU TELL I’M EXTREMELY EXCITED THAT IT’S OCTOBER 4TH?
As I was saying, this post is a bit different. Usually this blog is used to share my ramblings on the world, on life, on the future and on the challenge my family & I have taken on to try and make a difference. People often tell me that my posts make them think or give them a new perspective or make them feel empowered or less alone and I’m honoured because that is EXACTLY what I want my presence in the blogosphere to do.
Sometimes we all get a lil busy changing the world and rebelling against societal norms that we forget that we’re supposed to be young people living life and having a good time. We forget to celebrate all the huge positives in our lives.
So today, as it’s October 4th, I want to celebrate one of the HUGEST positives in my life – my best friend. Adria.
There are literally no words to express how much my best friend means to me, but as it’s her 15th birthday, OCTOBER 4TH, I’m throwing her a surprise party.
That’s right – a surprise party and YOU are invited! This party is for all of us and it’s all about celebrating the positives in our lives.
So go comment down below –
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADRIA!! (plus give her all your cake)
- A positive in your life/something that needs celebrating/means a lot to you
- Either something you could do to share that thing with others or something you have (a skill or passion) that you could use to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.
Then get interacting, people! Say hi, exchange ideas, celebrate each other as well as my gorgeous best friend. In her honour, I am naming October 4th International Change The World In A Positive Way Day haha
But before you go, I have one more thing to share! I was firing random writing prompts at Adria the other day and this one about someone who goes to prison because they did something wrong and a loved one who campaigns for justice just popped into my head so I decided to write a short story based on it as part of her present…here goes….
This is a short story that I was inspired to write as a young person who wants more than anything to stand up for her generation and it’s dedicated to one of the most passionate young people I know….who also happens to be my best friend and actual twin.
Light The Way
The sirens screamed in the distance. We both knew exactly who they were looking for. Ali turned to me, eyes burning with an intensity somewhere between determination, anger and sadness. I knew then what he was going to do.
Half of me wanted to run from this nightmare, run far away and never come back. The other half wanted to throw myself between him and then and protect him until it was my blood at his feet.
“That’s not who you are.” I told him, but it sounded more like a question. My whole body shook, every molecule pleading with him to turn around and walk away. “You have to show them. You have to tell them….something…you have to make this stop.”
He smiled as if it physically hurt him to do so. “Maybe it’s not who I am, but it always was who I was destined to be. You know no one can change that. It just is what it is. This is the right thing to do, Nancy, and I’ll be okay, I promise. Don’t worry about me.”
“I love you” I whispered.
He grinned, and I remember wondering how he could do that when every part of my being throbbed with pain.
“But I never said…”
“Oh baby, you didn’t have to. There’s a way you look at someone when you love them. A way you say their name. I know that because I love someone too, and I sure hope she knows it. Nancy, you’ve gotta be strong, okay? For me and for everyone here.” Only then did his voice start to break. “You’ve gotta -” he stopped, a single tear running fast down his cheek.
I reached up to wipe it off and smiled up at him. “You think this is the end, Ali? I will fight for you. Damn, I will fight for us all. Now go…let’s both do the right thing.”
He walked away and I watched him go. The blue, flashing lights lit the way.
Five Years Later
“The arrest of then seventeen year old Ali Johnson for theft and various alcohol, drug and gang related charges, took place five years ago to this day. Now, the 22-year-old is due to be released from HMP Brixton after serving his five year sentence. Johnson will be warmly welcomed back by many, but none more than childhood friend and activist Nancy Jones. Miss Jones has spent the last half a decade fighting for the futures of the young people in her local South London neighbourhood and, from his prison cell, Johnson has been her biggest supporter. With his help, the 21-year-old has made a hugely positive impact on the lives of many young people and greatly reduced the crime and violence rates of her community.”
“I love you” were the first words he said to me as he stepped outside as a free man for the first time since we were both teenagers.
I stared out at the crowds waiting to meet us, a tiny smile threatening to break out across my lips “I know”
We stood side by side on the steps up to the prison and looked out at the colourful sea of people before us. It seemed like the whole of London had turned out. There was a murmur and then total silence, broken only by the distant traffic. I took a deep breath.
“We believe in young people choosing their own destinies. Why should where we come from limit our right to dream?” I shouted. My words were met by a roar of agreement and approval.
“People like Nancy here light the way for us all” Ali spoke up “Take the opportunity to change and be who you are, not who society tells you to be. We will not be limited by the place we call home. The people we share our lives with will not watch those same lives be thrown away.” he turned around to point to the prison buildings behind him.
“Our communities are special.” I continued, “They are what make us who we are, they are beautiful and unique and that is why we cannot let them stay like this. At the moment, that beauty is buried under a layer of dark and dirt and our young people are starting to forget what it looks like underneath.”
The energy that had been building up erupted and the crowd went crazy.
“Look,” I fought to be heard over the noise. “it won’t be easy, maybe no one will listen to us, maybe no one will help us, but we’ve got to try! We’ve got to create a brighter future for us all!”
Ali looked at me and smiled. “I think we did the right thing,” he said.
I grinned. “Me too.”
NOW go comment down below –
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADRIA!! (and give her all your cake duh)
- A positive in your life/something that needs celebrating/means a lot to you
- Either something you could do to share that thing with others or something you have (a skill or passion) that could make a positive difference in someone else’s life.
LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTEDDDDD……