What Do You Care About?

What do you care about the most in this world? 

Its just something I’ve been wondering recently and I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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 👌❤️

Family. Community. Society. Humanity.

There is so much negativity building up at the moment. Within families, within communities, within society, within humanity as a whole. These things, these things that are the pillars of our world – they’re breaking down, being replaced.

It’s a massive challenge as anyone really, but particularly teenagers, to grow up in this world. It’s so essential that we, as the future, hold on to what is important. Family. Community. Society. Humanity.

This is a huge struggle, but I’m trying to make the decision to understand and believe in these things.

Soooo, that was the thought of the day! If you guys have any comments on that please do let me know.

Now, I’m going to do like a mini update/catch up thingy with everything I need to tell you all. There’s quite a bit!

  • The amazing Bri has just started blogging again after a couple of months. This is such good news. Please go check out her blog and introduce yourself, it’d mean the world to her.
  • I’m participating in Hannah’s photography contest! No, I am not a photographer, but I wanted to try something new and Hannah is just the sweetest, loveliest person.
  • Remember the social experiment a load of you helped me out with a couple of months ago? Well, I’ve nearly finished putting together all my results and I’ll be sharing them on here very soon. Stay tuned.
  • I’m staying at my Nan’s at the moment looking after her as she just has a knee replacement. She’s doing really well as she’s super determined. She ALWAYS reads my blog so please give her a quick ‘get well soon’ in the comments. She’d be thrilled. 😀
  • I’m going to be doing a ‘day in the life of me’ post soon. So I’m quite excited ’bout that. Also, I’m thinking maybe a little Q and A sesh maybe?
  • I think that’s it??????

What was your thought for today? Tell me all your news! Are you excited for all my future plans on this blog? Lemme know….

#How Are You? Get Involved!

How are you? 

Simple question, right? One you’ll hear pretty much everyday, probably several times. I’m sure you’ll have your automatic answer all lined up.  Something along the lines of ‘Fine, thanks’ or ‘I’m okay’ or ‘Good’ or whatever. You say it without even thinking.

What happens if you do think about it though? What happens if you pause before you answer and ask yourself how you really are? Would your answer be different?

So I’m asking you – how are you? 

Be creative, be thoughtful, but most importantly, be honest.

Now, if you think this is great, please get involved by either sharing this post or writing your own, spread this around the blogosphere, encourage people to be open and honest, show people how to care about each other! We can do this, guys!

Words That Burn + Poems About Identity And Two Big Announcements!

As part of my home school curriculum, I am doing a project called Words That Burn. It was launched by Amnesty International and is aimed at teaching young people about human rights, whilst encouraging them in their creative writing, mainly poetry. Learning at its best, in my view.

So, today I wanted to share a poem that we had to analyse in my project. It’s a really powerful and beautiful piece by spoken word artist Dean Atta, on the topic of identity. After that, we had to write our own poem, about our identity.

However, before we go into all of that exciting stuff, I have an important announcement to make! 🙂 You can now go vote for the nominees in Megan’s Part 1 of the Best Of 2017 Blogging Awards! I am literally jumping up and down right now because I WAS NOMINATED IN TWO CATEGORIES! Wow, I never expected that.  Anyway, go vote! And good luck! *proceeds to dance around the room*

Okay, so coming back to the poem. I present, I Come From by Dean Atta.

I come from shepherd’s pie and Sunday roast
Jerk chicken and stuffed vine leaves
I come from travelling through my taste buds but loving where I live

I come from a home that some would call broken
I come from D.I.Y. that never got done
I come from waiting by the phone for him to call

I come from waving the white flag to loneliness
I come from the rainbow flag and the union jack
I come from a British passport and an ever-ready suitcase

I come from jet fuel and fresh coconut water
I come from crossing oceans to find myself
I come from deep issues and shallow solutions

I come from a limited vocabulary but an unrestricted imagination
I come from a decent education and a marvellous mother
I come from being given permission to dream but choosing to wake up instead

I come from wherever I lay my head
I come from unanswered questions and unread books
Unnoticed effort and undelivered apologies and thanks

I come from who I trust and who I have left
I come from last year and last year and I don’t notice how I’ve changed
I come from looking in the mirror and looking online to find myself

I come from stories, myths, legends and folk tales
I come from lullabies and pop songs, Hip Hop and poetry
I come from griots, grandmothers and her-story tellers

I come from published words and strangers’ smiles
I come from my own pen but I see people torn apart like paper
Each a story or poem that never made it into a book.

I just love love love some of the lines in this, they’re so poignant. “waving the white flag to loneliness” “crossing oceans to find myself” “being given permission to dream, but choosing to wake up instead” I could go on and on and on. Seriously

Now comes the challenging part. I had to write a poem like his: an I come from….. poem. So I sat down and made a list of the things that have shaped my identity and then crafted them into this poem.

I Come From by Gracie Chick

I come from words springing from emptiness,

I come from the pages of a book, 

I come from misty mornings in my mind and conversations long into the night,

I come from the flames of a candle and the glowing embers of a campfire

I come from struggles and determination and an overwhelming desire for true friendship. 

I come from missing the sunrise and waiting all day for it to set.

I come from craving beauty in a world I want to change, 

I come from tears and discontentment, 

I come from dreaming big

I come from two amazing hearts that never lose faith. 

I come from wanting more than black and white

I come from music that no one else hears and stories that no one else sees,

or writes.

I come from a river of ink and a land of where the honey is too sticky and sweet and the milk soured long ago.

Hope that made sense to you guys! Now, the big question is……

Where do you come from???

Please answer in the comments, debating is more than welcome!

And now, time for the second big announcement. Some of you might remember reading my discussion post on makeup a few weeks ago. If so, you’ll probably recall that I included a section detailing the thoughts of many different teens throughout the blogosphere. The result was amazing and everyone really got into the discussion element of it. So, I was thinking I’d make this a regular thing. If you’re interested in contributing your opinions to these future discussion posts, please drop me an email at graciechick29@gmail.com

Then, whenever I need your thoughts, I’ll send out an email (probably monthly) and you can reply with your contributions. This is aimed mainly at teens, but if you’re older or younger and would still like to participate, feel free. Also, if you sign up, you don’t have to participate very time. If you’re ever too busy or just don’t want to contribute that’s totally fine.  Hoping to see lots of interest in this!

What did you think of Dean Atta’s Poem? What about mine? Complete this sentence: I come from…

Are you going to sign up to give your opinions in my future discussion posts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dwelling On The Darkness

 

Dear All,

Things have happened in this past week and they’ve made me realise a lot. I started this blog to be ‘a light in the darkness’ and I’ve become consumed by the very thing I’m fighting. I’ve been dwelling on the darkness, and that doesn’t make any difference to the world. Nothing is changed unless you’re positive and hopeful. Unless you actually take action. 

Blogging is a beautiful, beautiful thing with so much potential, but for me it’s turned into a part of the darkness. It’s taken over my life, meaning I haven’t been getting out there and actually living a life that makes me ‘a light’.

My Mum wrote this in my notepad:

“It’s the life you lead that makes you a light, not your awareness of the darkness”

She’s right.

I’m going to write more about my own life, things I’ve done and thought, things that I hope will inspire others. I believe that getting young people talking about things that matter is extremely important, but our world needs action too.

Signing off…..

Gracie ❤️❤️❤

 

NEVER WEAR YELLOW IN THE SUMMER: A LESSON LEARNT!

As the title states, I think I’ve learnt my lesson. Never wear yellow in the summer, or this happens:

 

 

Most people would be hyperventilating screaming in that situation, but it doesn’t bother me. Like, at all. They were like little beetles with wings and were actually pretty cool. It makes me wonder how humans have become uncomfortable, even scared, around bugs? Where has this come from?

If people calmed down and thought about it rationally they’d realise that, although bugs may not be particularly ‘pleasant’, they’re not exactly disgusting or terrifying either. Are they?

These little fellas weren’t doing me any harm and it was actually quite funny to laugh at my mistake.

It’s crazy to think that there are people in this world who are absolutely horrified to even see a spider and then there are others who tuck into them like a snack. Sorry if this makes you feel queasy, it’s the truth though! The crazy, crazy truth.

This is the result of different cultures and societies. Are phobias of insects what comes with our ‘advanced modern society’?

What do you think? Apologies for the rant…!

I hope this sparks a discussion, please leave a comment with all your thoughts and opinions on this topic! I’d love to hear from you. 

Butterflies…

‘Butterflies in your stomach. Butterflies in your stomach.’ It’s such a cliche but it takes experiencing it to understand how true it really is. I take deep breaths and stare down at the salted caramel cookies my Dad bought especially for today. I realise that this is actually happening.

The gentle rocking of the boat isn’t making me feel any better, I keep glancing up the towpath, nervously watching, waiting. I expect to see them any minute. I don’t really know what they look like. All I know, (well, all you’re allowed to know) is that I am being filmed for a casting development project for a mainstream TV channel. A London production company is coming to film me and my life.

This has all happened so fast and, although I’m nervous, I feel an elated anticipation. Suddenly they’re here, carrying a huge camera and looking professional. This is it, Gracie…..this is it……

It all goes so amazingly, I enjoy every minute. Every minute spent giving my opinions on big modern life issues, being interviewed on challenging topics like politics, feminism, social media, materialism, relationships and social care. Every minute talking about my life and the things I’m passionate about, reading poetry and stories in a voice that seems more powerful now there’s someone here especially to hear it. Every minute spent being absolutely myself.

It was intense and my brain whirrs just thinking about it now. But I was in my element, I like a challenge. I like people who value the perspectives of young people on modern society. I loved thinking about the questions and carefully wording my replies. I didn’t find it easy, but I had the opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it.

All in all, I may be accepted to participate in this programme or I may not. I would love to be able to share my thoughts on life even further, but if not, I am just eternally grateful for this experience and I’m proud of myself for making it happen and getting this far.

Please leave me a message in the comments box below, I absolutely love to hear from you all. Thanks! 

Gracie’s Guide To The 2017 UK General Election Results

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Hey there guys!

As some of you know, I have a job as a researcher for the inspirational Liv, the young creator of theCramm, a movement aimed at empowering and informing today’s youth. You can read more about my role and theCramm here.

Today, I sent Liv an in-depth guide to my country’s recent General Election results. I wanted theCramm’s readers and subscribers to understand what’s been happening and be inspired to try to make a change.

I’ve tried to include a bit of humour and sarcasm and I hope that you’ll all enjoy and learn from this short guide.

Please do note that it contains some of my personal opinions and that I do not wish to offend anyone. I welcome different ideas and thoughts and am happy to listen to others and discuss anything with you all!

Okay, so here goes:

WHAT HAPPENED?
The UK General Election of 2017 (which sounds really grand and pompous, but actually ended up in an enormously embarrassing mess for certain people) came out with some surprising results. In short, we ended up with what’s called a ‘hung parliament’.
A ‘hung parliament’ is when no party gets enough seats to technically ‘win’ the election. 
HOW?
There are two things you can choose to believe about how these results came about:
1) All the parties were just too AWESOME to choose one!
2) Um, all the parties were just too RUBBISH to choose one! 
I know which one I’ve got my money on. 
You could choose to be hopeful and optimistic about these results, believing that something good will come out of this, or you could feel worried and confused about the political chaos that our country is dealing with right now. Again, I know which best describes my feelings. 
SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
There are many options for what could happen now. Our government is currently completely out of action, as no one is rightfully in power. 
Theresa May, our former prime minister and current leader of the Conservative Party, has lost her winning majority and probably wishes she’d never suggested a ‘snap election’ in the first place. It was expected that she would win with flying colours and confirm that she was a strong leader to take us through Brexit, but she failed to reach the minimum amount of seats to be re-elected.
Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party won the votes of a lot of young people, coming a close second in the polls. I think that this is because young people are more concerned with change that our older generations. Mr Corbyn certainly offers drastic change.  He is now calling for Mrs May to step down and resign. 
Realistically, the chances of becoming prime minister for these two party leaders are high. They are the still the main candidates. 
They now have the options of either going to our monarch, The Queen, and getting permission to form a minority government or….. Hey, wait! What exactly is a ‘minority government’? 
A ‘minority government’ is where the party in power has the most seats, but less than half of the total. It means that the government is also made up of MPs from other parties, meaning they also get a say in running the nation.
Other options include a coalition between parties or one main party attempting to go it alone. We’ll have to wait and see what will happen. One thing’s for sure though, the future of our country looks pretty perilous. 
What are your thoughts on these results? Did you find my guide helpful? Amusing? Do you have an opinion on the political events that happened? Comment discussions especially welcome! Thanks for reading, people!

That Time When I Stood Up For What I Believed In

Hello People!

I’d like to share with you two personal experiences that I hope will shape and inspire my future.

In return, I’m asking you to send me the experiences that have affected the way you live your life. I had the idea of creating an anthology of all YOUR most memorable and meaningful life events. All you have to do is comment your story, along with what it taught you in life. Then I’ll put them all together in a post (or two!), like a virtual book. P.S. If it’s a bit longer or more detailed, post it on your own blog and send me the link. Anyone is welcome to take part, so please don’t hesitate.

I’ll start off the anthology with mine. One of mine happened a long time ago and the other only yesterday, but both of them have made a huge impact on my life and thoughts, they’ve both taught me priceless lessons and showed me things I never really saw before.

I’m sorry that this post is so long, but please keep reading, as it’s so important to me and I’d love you to give me some feedback.

Today I’ll start with the first one, which was about three and a half years ago. The second one will be coming very soon……!

That Time I Stood Up For What I Believe In by Gracie Chick (ME!!!)

 I walk across the shiny wood floor, my walking boots thud dully and I listen to the sharp clackety- clack of all the other kids smart, black polished school shoes. I stride towards the other ten year olds, my usual shy smile replaced with a proud, confident beam. The source of my strength comes from the two gold lines that run down the sleeve on my ironed green sweater. Last week I was made a Sixer, an honour given to a few responsible, respected cub scouts. 

As I stand beside my fellow cub scouts, I can almost feel those lines radiating heat. “Gracie Chick!” A voice snaps me out of my imagination.  As I hear the leader’s words, I learn that the legendary Sixer’s conference has been called and I am told to join them, I need no encouragement.

All the younger and newer cubs, that I had once been a part of, whispered about what went on in that back room and, although everyone had their theories, none of us really knew. I knew that I was entering a new and exciting world now.

I watch as the more experienced and older members discuss what we’ll do on the special day that we get to ourselves, to practice team building and leadership skills. 

The suggestions keep on coming and I listen with interest. Suddenly someone says “What about laser tag?” and everyone agrees. “Yes! Yes! Laser tag. Perfect.” “Okay, well that’s settled then.” The leader glances round the room. Slowly and nervously I raise my hand.

“Yes, Gracie?”

“Um, what’s laser tag?” I asked tentatively. 

Everyone jumps in to try to explain it to me. 

“Basically, it’s a dark room and you get a laser gun and run round trying to shoot each other.”

“Kill as many people as you can.” 

“It’s just a game really, but it feels like a proper war.” 

I leave cubs that night with a furrowed brow and troubling thoughts on my mind. In the car on the way home to the farm where I live, I relay all the information to my Dad. I finish with “I can’t believe they find that fun!” 

My Dad thinks for a while and then says this, “Me neither Gracie, killing is never a game. Pretend guns or real guns, shooting is shooting. For too many people all over the world, war is real life. What would a kid who’s lost his family to war say if he saw people treating it like a game?” 

“I don’t want to go, Dad.” I whisper “I think it’s wrong, totally wrong.” My Dad nods sadly, he knows how much it meant to me. 

When I go home that night, I tell my Mum too and between my parents they come up with an idea. “Why don’t you email your leader and tell her how you feel about laser tag? Maybe you could talk to all the others about your reasons.” 

So I sat down and wrote this email to my cub leader. 

Dear Akela  (That’s what we call our leader)

I just wanted to talk to you about why I’d rather not do laser hub.
I feel that running around shooting people is not a game, because war makes people suffer and die!
If you’ve already booked it, it’s ok! I’d just rather not come. Maybe if you haven’t already booked it we could have a meeting about it in sixer and seconder council and I could share my views? Then we could have another vote? I’ve got some suggestions if it’s not too late.
I’ve never played shooting games with other kids and I don’t really feel comfortable doing it at cubs, if that’s all right.
I’ll mention my ideas when we have the meeting (if we can have it).
Yours,
Gracie

 

She replied the next day: 

Dear Gracie.
Thankyou for your thoughtful e-mail, I do completely understand your point of view, my own children were strongly discouraged from playing with guns when they were growing up for exactly the same reasons.
Having said that I do feel that Laser gaming is just that – an  imaginative game which has developed with all the new technology out there & I suspect that those Cubs who came up with the idea & who voted in its favour do not necessarily equate it with real life warfare. You are absolutely right that if at all possible we should discuss it.
I have added it to next week’s programme (Sixer / Seconder Council) although suspect it could develop into quite a debate. Just so you know where we are with planning,
Keego & I had discussed the possibility of going to a centre in Eastbourne where there is a laser quest option but there is also bowling. Can I talk to you tomorrow at X Country?  Akela
I started thinking immediately. What would I say? How would I explain myself? To this day, I still swear that it was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life. I wrote draft after draft on paper and then I scribbled it out and started again. 
Finally I decided on the words I would use and I was ready that next Wednesday nightthough my heart kept doing somersaults and I was scared of what the other kid’s reactions might be. They’d been so adamant about laser tag, how would they take to my suggestion? Would they think of me differently after this day?
I clutched my piece of paper as I walked through the door that night. I still remember the clean white kitchen, with out-of-date custard creams and black currant squash on the side. The other kids all gathered around the table. My Akela nodded at me and I managed a quick nervous smile before I began reading off of my paper. 
Last week we discussed the possibility of doing laser tag as our Sixer’s day out. For my own personal reasons, I’d rather not do that. If you’d like to know what they are, please feel free to ask me later.  However, I have another idea. I’d like to invite you all to come to my farm and play night games in the woods. We can light a campfire and cook over it.” 
Akela stepped in. “Who likes Gracie’s idea?” She asked brightly. A flurry of enthusiastic voices filled the air and almost made me fall over with surprise. I’d been gearing myself up for disagreement and disappointment, yet everyone seemed to positive.
And so that’s how it happened, my boldness changed their minds. We ran around the woods for hours, laughing and joking. We made our own food and stuffed our faces with chocolate fondue. Our bonds as a team certainly became stronger and we all made memories that night. 
And what did I learn from that experience? It taught me that I had to be the change I wanted to see in the world. It taught me that people will listen if you give them good reason to.
I want to know about the experiences that have shaped your lives? What’s the most meaningful thing that ever happened to you? Tell me your stories, I’ve told you mine. As I always say, your beautiful comments always fill me with hope. 
I especially value your opinions on my more personal and thought-provoking posts, so please send me a few words and I’ll reply. I’m also welcoming of comment discussions! 
Don’t forget that the second experience is coming soon, so watch this space….
Goodbye for now and remember to send me your own stories and thoughts!
Gracie
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