~Goodbye, Carefree Summer~

Goodbye, carefree summer. You’re nearly gone now. I can still smell you in the wood smoke on my t-shirts though, hear you echoing in the laughter of my friends and feel you in the wind against my face, it’s much colder now. I miss you already.

I said my goodbyes in style. The water was freezing, but it was worth it….I let go, I went wild, I celebrated your legacy all the carefree spirit that’s inside me.

~Goodbye, Carefree Summer~

It’s true – happiness comes in waves.

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf…(which is what I fully intend to do)

The ocean is everything I want to be; mysterious, beautiful, wild and free.

Make waves, my friend 😉 

And now I’m ready. Ready for autumn and it’s untamed beauty. Ready for its fiery chill and crisp embrace. Come at me. I’m ready.

 

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Three Wishes – Random Ramblings

I’ve been thinking…if I could wish for any three things, what would they be? It’s such a cliché question, but one with so much potential and so many possibilities that my mind flies from one thing to another until I’m so dizzy that I just have to stop.

Stop. Sometimes when your thoughts get too much and you start to feel too much and your heart fills up and you start to overthink to the point that any minute you might just explode, you just have to stop. Breathe.

I crave depth and freedom and I find it so hard to live in a world where everything is shallow and fake. My own head is the only place I can find some escape from that, but my thoughts are just too much sometimes.

Still, I keep thinking, what three wishes would I choose? Here’s my conclusion. How about you?

  1. That the distance between me and some of the people I care about the most wasn’t so great.
  2. That people in the world would wake up and see what’s important and start working in harmony to achieve it so that everyone could be happy and content.
  3. That I could have a sailing boat and sail around the world helping others, teaching people to sail and loving life ❤️❤️

 

 

Scotland Sailing Voyage: Collab With Ma Crewmates 🌅

The cool kidz 😂

I am really, really excited for this post. Like, really excited 😁 Not only do I get to talk about the best week of my life, I also get to collaborate with some great friends to bring you a post about our voyage with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland!

Here goes.

There’s literally SO much I want to say about the voyage, but I’m going to start with the basics.

  • There were eighteen of us ( 6 sea staff and 12 crew aged between 12-14) onboard Alba Explorer – a 72ft yacht that’s been round the world twice (I think???) and now takes young people like us on sail training voyages 🙂
  • We set off from Oban which is on the West coast of Scotland and sailed round the Hebrides visiting loads of different islands.

For me the voyage was incredible because, not only did I have an amazing amount of fun, make the best friends, learn loads of new things and get to spend time in my favourite place (the ocean), I also took another step towards my future and towards working in sail training.

Alba Explorer – or part of her, anyway!

Now, I’m going to let my friend and fellow crewmate Eva take over 🙂

 Well, I had never sailed before and I was very nervous. When I arrived I met the crew and let’s just say some of the boys were far from gents! So that made me feel even worse. On our first day we were put into our Watches and I wasn’t with my friend so I was even more annoyed. But then I got to know the girls I was in a group with and realised they were both very nice. Never judge a book by its cover!

So after the first day, when I was below deck, I realised I suffered from sea sickness which let me tell you is not a nice feeling! But once it passed I got back to baking and sailing. So after feeling homesick, sea-sick and sorry for myself we stopped and harboured at South Uist and got off the boat. That was the day before the World Cup!

I mentioned it to the rest of the crew which was a big mistake because they were all Scottish and hated England winning! Anyway the game was the semi finals so I was really excited. I wanted to watch the game so badly, but obviously there was no telly on the boat.

The next day we arrived at a harbour and one of the watch leaders took us all on a walk. If you haven’t been to Scotland then you won’t know that the scenery is absolutely beautiful. The walk was lovely, but I was dying to know the football score. There was no phone signal or WiFi so there was no way of knowing. “We’re so isolated we don’t even know the football score! I mean prisoners get to know the football score” I thought to myself.

So every car that drove passed with its window open I shouted, “What’s the football score”. Then eventually a man told us that Croatia won and I was so annoyed! 

Anyway those were the worst bits! The rest was so much fun and I wish I was back there now. The ocean was beautiful and we saw so much wildlife like dolphins, whales, basking sharks, puffins, seals, jellyfish and lots more. I learnt how to sail and had a real adventure. I also made three new friends for life which I think was the best bit!

Aw, Eva, that was great ❤️ I agree – the boys were certainly not gents 😂 and yes, it was beautiful. I wish I was back there now too.

Ewan was another crewmate who joined in this collab. Here’s his part about the voyage.

The voyage on Alba Explorer was extremely fun. I had previously been away on Alba Explorer for a weekend, but that was no way near as fun as the week as you didn’t get to know the others in the crew or set foot on land. Some of my highlights were watching the dolphins jumping at the bow of the boat and the barbecue when we swam in the freezing waters of Tiree. It was very fun and I would definitely do it again!!!

I loved swimming in the sea too, Ewan, but it was definitely freezing 😁

Photo credits to Eva

Next up, we have Sasha’s piece!

I really enjoyed the voyage; it was so fun sailing round Scotland and meeting new people. The sailing was really good and in the evenings we all played games which were really fun. Overall it was a really fun trip.

I’m so glad you had fun, Sasha! ❤️

Fergus is the final crewmate to share his experience in this collab. Here’s his contribution.

Arriving in Oban, I could see the 95 foot mast of Alba Explorer from what looked like miles away which was a sight to behold!

I was quite nervous at the start knowing I was going to spend a week with 17 other people on this boat, but to my relief they were all very nice and great fun. There was a boy called Zach who had come from Washington DC to visit Scotland and Ireland, and also 3 girls who came from England; Gracie, Sasha and Eva. The Clyde Cruising Club Dinghy Section was well represented with myself, Stan, Ewan and Oscar all on board. The skipper’s son was there as one of the crew members too.

I really enjoyed going round the Hebrides and it was without doubt the best week of my life! We traveled to a little bay near Loch Drambuie on Mull, staying there for the first night, then went all the way up to South Uist, then to Castle Bay on Barra, followed by Tiree, Tobermory and then finally back to Oban. It was amazing!

On three of the nights we anchored. On the first night the captain, Stuart Simpson, the first mate, watch leaders and bosun did ‘anchor watch’. On the other two nights we had planned to moor up to pontoons however THE SAME BOAT took our place twice! So the crew had to do anchor watch. Anchor watch is where some crew members need to stay up during the night and watch the anchor, hence the name! The First mate draws a box around the boat on the navigation screen and you have to report to someone if the boat floats outside the box (I know, exciting eh?).

All the hard work was worth it because I and all the others were awarded the RYA Competent Crew certificate!

I can thoroughly recommend an OYT voyage to anyone who is interested in sailing. It was exciting, challenging, rewarding and great, great fun!

Yeah, I totally agree with all of that ♥️♥️

This was so much fun to put together and it brought back some great memories. Thanks to all my fellow crewmates who contributed and to YOU for reading.

Bye!

 

 

What Can We Do?!

This is the top headline I see when I open the news this morning.

Fifth of 14 Year Old Girls Self-Harm

Out of the 5,624 girls who responded to the survey, 1,237 said they had self-harmed.

109,000 children aged 14 may have self-harmed across the UK during the 12-month period in 2015 – 76,000 girls and 33,000 boys.

Those who felt boys should be tough and girls should have nice clothes were least happy with life.

These are all sentences that jump out at me. It makes me think – this is it. This is my world, this is the society I’m growing up in. This is it. I am a fourteen year old girl. It’s my generation they’re talking about here. What can I do?!

I can try my best to be ‘a light in the darkness’ in the only ways I know how, but what am I really doing? How am I reaching the people who really need help? Even if I could, what difference would I make? I don’t understand what that 20% of fourteen year old girls have been through. I don’t understand what it’s like to be that desperate. And I can’t claim to, but I do have to do something.

It’s not because I’m a nice, selfless, caring person. No, I just have to. I can’t sit back and let this happen. We’ve allowed these issues to settle in our society and now we’re paying the price. No, the more vulnerable of us are paying the price and they deserve everyone’s help and support to get out of the place they’re in.

I feel extremely sad and angry. And I feel helpless, I feel like I can’t do anything. The only thing I can do is be a friend. That’s something I can do.

This post isn’t a pretty poem. It’s not well-written. It’s a rant fueled by emotion and desperation. I can see my world being dragged down in front of my eyes and all around me people are getting on with their lives and telling me that everything’s fine and will sort itself out. It’s not and it won’t. Not unless we do something about it.

Thing is, what can we do?

~the ocean + me~

I honestly think that I have saltwater for blood, the rhythm of the tides for a heartbeat and the dance of the waves in my soul. There is never a moment when I am not wishing I was at sea.

I have an obsession – with the ocean.

I want to share this piece that I wrote as part of my application to a spoken word programme in London. I haven’t heard if I got in yet, but I’ll be sure to let you all know. Anyway, I believe it captures exactly how I feel about the ocean.

Ode To The Ocean 

You fill my empty solitude with salt and spray and sea,
The never-ending water and footprints on the beach,
Your rise and fall and ups and downs,
You’ve showed me all my dreams,
And thanks to you, I know exactly who I want to be.

The sense of freedom and of flying,
The immortal fantasy of never, ever dying,
Just gliding through the waves forever and eternity,
Ecstatically content and exactly where I want to be.

The mystery of your rugged beauty chained to age-old rhythm,
An ever-changing surface with no predictable pattern,
And far below that, in your depths, are things we’ll never see,
Wild waters that are both forever trapped and forever free.

You sure know how to transform yourself into a masterpiece,
Stunning sunsets, vivid colours melting into your blues and greens,
Epic storms that summon the winds from all edges of the seas,
Black skies, lightning strikes, moonlit clouds sitting on the breeze.

Your waves they tumble and they crash,
Then they rise again from the ash
Like life’s one, constant motion,
Like a phoenix from the flames – the motion can’t be broken.

The wind in my sails and the waves beneath me come from you,
This feeling inside me tells me what I need to do,
And it tells me just where I need to be.
With you, where I belong, out at sea.

Here’s an audio of me performing it – https://youtu.be/hwBGzQWqt3s

We’re moving into our new truck very soon (super excited about that) and I’ve been decorating my bed. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to having my own room and I’m putting a lot of effort into making it look aesthetic. It’s really just a reflection of me and who I am, but my main theme is the ocean. I’ve printed out tons of photos, quotes, lyrics and poetry about sailing, waves, tides, beaches and the sea – as well as making my own ocean neon sign! I haven’t got a photo of it finished, but here’s one of it half done.

It now has a big swirly wave underneath 🌊

Another thing about the ocean is all the memories it holds for me. The best days of my life have been spent in its company. It’s given me a purpose. I’ve met some of my best friends thanks to it. Ocean = sailing = 😍😍😍


That was a kinda random post about the ocean + me. Hope you enjoyed!

 

On Friendships, Being Different and The Future…

*Note: not attacking/blaming anyone here. These are just my own opinions. If you disagree feel free to say so and we can discuss it 🙂* 

My little sister came home crying today because she feels so different to all of her friends, she feels like she doesn’t fit in. Truth is, she doesn’t. She doesn’t even want to. 

I walk past and see her standing there surrounded by her entire peer group. They’re all around her – singing stupid songs, doing silly things and talking about TV shows and movies she has no interest in. I catch her eye. She looks so sad and alone.

Later, back at home, she’s pretty upset. “Why can’t my friends be normal?” she asks me. Her perception of normal makes me smile. “They are normal” I tell her “It’s you who’s different.”

She doesn’t want to fit in with them, to be the same, to wear the same type of clothes, to talk the same kind of rubbish – she just wants her friends to be themselves,  to have fun and not care about being ‘cool’ and fitting in. She just wants them to see what’s good and important, to realise that what they’re watching, listening to and basing their small-minded lives around is nonsense. No one ever did anything notable by being like everyone else.

Look, I understand how hard it is to escape from. This stuff is all around us. Our own society is telling us how to think and act, but our whole future is at stake here!

I understand my sister’s struggle. It’s kinda like there’s something that sets us apart. Like our eyes are opened.  Like for some reason we can see the stupidity and danger in following the crowd. I listen to the rubbish some of my own friends and I feel like screaming at them “wake up! Is this how you want to spend your life??!?!”

Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually even likes this stuff – TV shows, music, internet trends and crazes? Maybe everyone is only obsessed because with it because it’s popular and they think they’ll be left out if they don’t join in with the hype?  Wouldn’t it be cool if one person was like ‘guys, what’re we doing? This is seriously so bad!’ and everyone else admitted they never liked it either?! There’s always got to be a first one, right?!

When I talk to my friends one-on-one we have the BEST conversations. Sure, they’re often a bit crazy, but that’s okay. We talk about our dreams and hopes and our struggles and things we’ve done and learnt. How we feel and things that have made us laugh or smile. We talk about memories and stories and things we’re scared of. Things that make us happy, things that make us sad. Very rarely do I have these conversations when there’s a big group of us. Everyone’s so worried about being popular and liked and fitting in that the conversation always turns back to the same old nonsense. ‘Here we go again.” I think, without enthusiasm. I either roll my eyes and zone out – or listen, get all worked up and offend someone. Oops! 😂

If you’ve known me or have been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know how much I’ve struggled with friendships. It hasn’t been easy for me to avoid peer-pressure. In fact, I’ve probably succumbed to it more than I’d care to admit when things were really tough. I’ve found it so hard to find anyone like me and by ‘like me’ I don’t really mean into the same stuff – I mean not afraid to be themselves and be an individual.

I remember this one day when I just had to let it all go. Holding in the words was suffocating me and I needed to breathe. I wrote this whole long piece, but this was what stood out to me the most when I say back and read through it  at the end:

Do you ever know for certain that you’re not like them or like them or them or them or them? 
but you wonder who you are like?
And you wonder if you’ll ever find anyone like you?

This is why I’m so grateful for the friends I keep in touch with online. They are what real friendship looks like. Blogging friends, friends I’ve met sailing, friends I don’t see often enough, but talk to via email. I’m so lucky and happy with the friends I have in my life and I don’t know where I’d be without them.

So yeah, I’m worried. I’m worried about the future of our world in the hands of this next generation – my generation. We’re lost and the only thing we have to guide us is the negative influences of our society. You see the sickening results of it all around you – mental health, suicide rates, kids nearly losing their lives after jumping out of cars for some new internet trend. Need I say more?

It’s crazy. It’s tragic. And it has to stop. If you’re with me, let me know. It’s not easy for any if of us, but we can do this together, okay 👌❤️

Broken

This was written with a specific person in mind, but it’s for anyone out there that connects with the words and feels those chills that run through your body when you finally hear something that sounds like how you feel on the inside.

Broken by Gracie Chick 

i can see that beneath it all you’re broken,
you can’t hide it from me ’cause I was broken too, you know,
once, not that long ago.

put the pieces back together, like I know you can.
here, pick them up and put them in my hand
and I’ll help you,
if you want me to.

and maybe, while we build you back up,
my scars will begin to fade,
and maybe, so scared of messing up,
we’ll learn why we feel this way.

i see it in your eyes when you’re staring into space,
you need to escape, you need to be free, you need to get out of this place.
this is what we’ve been through and this is where we’ve been,
now we need to find away into the future that we see.

 

Story Time: Thinking Differently + Not Being Influenced By The Media (Even If Your Peers Are) ~RANT ALERT!!!~

Everyone knows that media influence is an issue, right? But, as I’ve discovered, it’s only when you experience the power of this influence first-hand amongst people you know and care about that it really hits home. And when it does hit, it hits hard.

Here’s what inspired this post. Story Time!

Please note: I am not attacking my friends by sharing this story. I love them all very much and do not blame them at all. It is the media that should be held responsible for this incident. 

A couple of days ago I was hanging out with a group of friends – mixed ages, boys and girls. The boys were having a conversation and so the girls and I decided to wander over to see what they were talking about. It turned out that they were discussing what they look for more of in a partner – personality or looks? After laughing at them for having such a weird conversation we started listening and joining in. 

It all got a  bit technical when they started breaking it down into percentages. At first us girls were just laughing our heads off. It was so amusing, but then it became a bit more ‘interesting’. Much to our surprise most of the guys seemed more interested in girl’s looks than in their personality :0

One of them was like ‘oh, 100% looks, definitely’ and so one of the others asked him to describe what his perfect girlfriend would look like. To my shock and disappointment he started listing every single beauty stereotype that the media projects at us – blonde, skinny, etc.  All the other boys agreed with him. These were kids I had spent my childhood with, boys I had grown up playing in the dirt with. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. 

I admit I got a bit cross with them 😉 ‘Guys, come on’ I said ‘That’s such a messed up view! And plus, it’s not even your view, it’s what you’ve watched on TV, read or seen online, it’s not you. You’re being influenced, told what to think! Surely that’s not what you want? Your view of beauty should not be what a corrupt society has put into your head!” I didn’t say all of that in exactly those words because looking back now I am not so blinded by confusion and sadness and frustration, but I did rant on along similar lines.

Some of the boys’ reactions was defensiveness. “Oh, well, I did say I valued personality more”, one said. But what really shocked me was what one of my friends said. He looked at me, smiled and shrugged. “What’s the point of having a girlfriend if she’s not pretty?” 

I felt like screaming. ‘You have no idea what you’re saying!” I thought. ‘You’re young and all around you that’s what people are telling you’ I just shook my head sadly and that was the end of the conversation. 

However, that whole incident stayed in my thoughts for ages after that. It made me wonder what sort of a chance my generation have and how they’ll ever learn what’s right when they are constantly being told otherwise. It also made me think about my place in all this – I may have different opinions at the moment (due to the way I’ve been raised), but how long until this starts to affect me too?

For example, all of my friends (these same ones, but the girls too) are obsessed with the TV show Friends. Ok, ok, I know this is going to be controversial.  I know Friends is widely loved, but hear me out, alright?

They keep trying to get me to watch it, gossiping about what episodes they’re on and squealing about the latest inappropriate stuff they’ve learned from it. That’s after they’ve whispered about spoilers, discussed each character in the finest detail and sobbed  on each other’s shoulders because they only have two more seasons to go before they have to start re-watching episodes. Seriously, my eyes hurt from so much rolling.

Image result for friends

But it really isn’t this that I have a problem with. I’m as much of a fangirl as anyone when it comes to favourite TV shows. I recently jumped up and down more than I’d care to admit when the trailer for Anne With An E Season 2 was released. Any fellow fans out there?

Image result for anne with an eImage result for anne with an e

Image result for anne with an e

The thing that gets to me is the fact that the programmes I watch have positive messages, strong characters, great portrayals of real life relationships, as well as being amazingly entertaining! Whereas things like Friends are full of negativity, fakeness, inappropriateness and although they may make you laugh, if you think about it they’re just trash. Even when I ask my friends what’s good about Friends they struggle 😂

I have made the decision not to watch Friends – even though all of my friends are. In fact, I make the decision to think different and act differently just in general. This isn’t easy – I’m a teenager growing up in the same society we all live in after all, but hey ho, I’m giving it a go.

How about you? 

Image result for dare to be different

 

Big Life Update – Finding Purpose Through Sail Training

Hey Everyone,

How’s it going? I haven’t been around here in so long. It honestly feels like forever since I last sat down to write a post on A Light In The Darkness. I think it’s time you guys got an update!

Where to start?

Since we last spoke sailing has become a huge part of my life. That first voyage ignited a love and a passion that has only grown over the past weeks. I have actually been on another trip since then and am booked into a week long one in Scotland in July. I have decided that sail training – what these charities do – is what I want to do in the future and so I’ve been taking steps to pursue that. It won’t be easy, but I’m willing to work hard.

Me with the crew of the June voyage – proudly displaying our well-earnt qualifications.

Sail training is all about taking young people out on sailing voyages, teaching them skills, helping them to work as a team, improving their self-confidence and self-esteem and giving them a purpose to their days. It’s absolutely wonderful and combines everything that I’m good at and want to do.

I think one of the reasons I’ve fallen in love with sailing and sail training is the sense of purpose and self-confidence it’s given me. I have struggled a lot with lack of direction and not knowing what I’m doing and where I’m going. And I think, if it can uplift, motivate and direct me in such a way, what wonders can it do for young people with mental health issues? Or teens from disadvantaged areas? It’s such a valuable, amazing thing and I want to be a part of giving others the opportunity to experience that same incredible feeling of achievement, confidence and freedom that I have.

I can remember a moment what feels like forever, but was actually only a few weeks ago, when I’d been off the boat for a couple of hours. I was still in that exhausted, elated state and I was walking across a Sainsbury’s car park in my Island Trust t-shirt, feeling a complete and utter sense of freedom and confidence and certainty. Certainty that this was what I wanted to do and that this was what I was going to do.

Moosk – the beautiful vessel that I had the pleasure of sailing on my last voyage.

I simply cannot wait to continue with this journey.  On the next trip I am hoping to get my ‘competent crew’ qualification. For the first time in ages, I’m so excited and energised about something and it feels really good.

It feels like I’m working towards something amazing and achievable and that by taking little steps and working really hard I could have a whole future of incredible opportunities in front of me. Opportunities to sail and opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others.

So how are you all? What have I missed? Future plans, guys? Have any of you sailed before? If so, what did you think? Tell me everythinggggg! And if we haven’t talked in a while, drop me a comment or an email so that we can catch up! ❤🤘❤🤘❤