Be A Little ‘Sadder’

Disclaimer: this post could be seen as a bit controversial. I just want to begin by saying that I’m not blaming anyone, I’m simply sharing my experiences and opinions and, as always, feel totally free to comment below if you disagree. I would love to hear your thoughts.

In our society so many positive things are labeled as negatives. Putting effort into something or taking it seriously is seen as ‘lame’ and having a dream and putting all your heart into following it is seen as ‘sad’.

I have had many experiences of people telling me that something I’ve done or made or that something I strongly believe in is ‘cringy’. Who are they to tell me that?

They don’t understand the motivation and dedication it takes to get up and go to work every day of your summer holidays to fund for something you love to do. They don’t understand the reason that you take your education seriously and the mindset of doing something to the best of your ability because you learn from it and you can be proud of what you’ve achieved.  To do something to help someone else because we need more kindness in this world.  To put your soul into making our society a better place to live in when you could just care about yourself.  To them that’s uncool. It’s lame. It’s sad.

They don’t understand what it’s like to love something so much that it hurts. To think of it during every moment, to dream of it day and night. To want to dedicate your life to it. To be willing to work hard and sacrifice to get where it is that you want to go.

I look at those people who call me sad or lame and I think about whose future looks brighter. Mine or theirs? I feel sad for people who don’t take anything seriously, who believe that life is a joke because that is what their life will be. One big joke. We will be following our dreams, making a difference and living our lives the way we have created them and they will have missed out on that because of their ignorant perceptions.

I feel sad and angry. People’s lives could be so much more. They could be so much better.

So be a little ‘sadder’, don’t be afraid of being called ‘lame’. All I’m asking is that we change the way we think a little bit, rewind and ask ourselves ‘Why are we calling that lame? Why is that sad?’ Often the things we dismiss or label are priceless, beautiful things that we can learn a lot from if we really take the time.

Please comment and share! I believe that this is a really important issue for our society to become aware of and I would love to hear what you think? 

 

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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?

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.

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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?

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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? 

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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….

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Gracie’s School’ Q and A Post + An Exciting Blogging Announcement

In my last post I introduced to you to my very own school, students and classroom. I shared my happiness at being able to fulfill my dream and making it happen through my own determination.  I  also asked you to submit your questions for my school themed Q and A. Well, many of you had lots to ask so read on…and enjoy!

Questions from Mukta:

When and how did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?

I’ve always loved learning and, to me, nothing sounds more like paradise than a place where young people can gather together to learn and share and pursue their passions.

School, and the modern education system, are supposed to provide that service, but I don’t believe they are. The majority of my generation view school as a negative place, a prison, something they’re forced to attend. School should be a place everyone wants to go to.

I am home-educated and the above is precisely the reason I don’t go to school. The reason I decided to become a teacher is because I want to create the school that I dream of, the school I want to go to.

What time do you begin/end teaching?

Nothing is set in stone yet, at the moment I’m being pretty flexible. Usually we start at about 10am and finish about 4pm??? 😀😀😀

Questions from Loren:

When you start a real school, will you want it to be elementary, middle, or high school?

I hope that my school will be a place where kids and teens of all ages can come together and learn. I want it to be an environment where they help and teach each other. I am from the UK so I’m not exactly that familiar with the US education system, we say ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ schools here!

Questions from Melissa:

Are your pupils allowed to direct any of your teaching and follow their own interests or are you quite strict in following your lesson plans?

There needs to be a balance. I do make lesson plans (which I try to stick to), but if I see that my students are interested in or enthusiastic about a particular subject, I’m more than happy to focus on it. I also welcome my students suggestions and ideas. I have certain parts in each lesson where I ask one of my students to lead the activity and I just watch. It teaches them teamwork, leadership and creativity, all equally important lessons!

Questions from The Girl With IronWings

Are you guys going to travel around the farm place and learn things practically or…..?

Yeah, I guess so. It’s important to include a bit of reading, writing, maths and theoretical science, but most of the activities we do are outdoors, hands on and practical. I find that my students learn better when out and about on the farm. For example, we went fishing in the stream and then identified and learnt about what we caught. They loved it! Way more than reading about the affect humans have on natural habitats! 😀 I bet they remembered more of the former too.

How is the teaching going to be – How different from today’s schools? 😊

Hehe. I would say it’s pretty different. Here’s a quick list.

  • All different ages and abilities taught together.
  • We learn about things that are important in life, like knowing and appreciating your surroundings and how to protect them. 
  • The learning (and teaching!) is FUN!!!
  • I try and think about what suits my students individually, what they need help with and what their strengths are. I keep that in mind when making my lesson plans, unlike school with its ‘one size fits all’ attitude.

Also, since it’s about the environment will you be using gadgets?

We have a few gadgets… a camera trap that we’ve used to try and capture the secret lives of wildlife on the farm. We don’t use a lot of technology, just the internet to research things and find information.

Questions from Misabella :

What is your favourite subject to teach?

I’m about to start doing a book club + English and creative writing classes. I don’t enjoy maths very much, just because I teach out of a book and have to follow a set system/curriculum. These ‘environment’ lessons are great, I get to be creative and come up with fun, unique ideas that really engage my students. 😁

Do you find particular methods of discipline more effective than others?

I’ve googled the different ‘methods of discipline’ and would say my style is a mix of them all! I do try to set boundaries, but I also try and be positive and humorous. I wouldn’t say I’m strict, I try to be patient and listen to my students – although that is something I struggle with. I think this is an area I need to look into a bit more – especially if I want to be a successful teacher!

Questions from Tom:

How long do you hope to be keeping up with this school for?

Well, we’re living at the farm over the autumn, winter and early spring so the lessons will probably continue through those seasons. After that my family and I are off on our travels, maybe into Europe, maybe even further, searching for a place to settle down and call home. When we find that place I have no doubt that my school will re-establish itself and begin again, stronger and better than before. 

School is an interesting word, I wonder if it’s Greek?

Well, thanks to your research, Tom, we now know that it is a Greek word meaning ‘lecture place’. It would have looked like this in its original text: skholḗ or σχολή. Great fact! 

 I hope you all enjoyed that little Q and A! I loved sharing my thoughts and ideas on education, I even learnt a few interesting things in the process. If anyone still has any questions, please feel free to comment them and I’ll try to answer.

Okay, now I have an exciting and important announcement to make: I am getting some newly designed features on A Light In The Darkness soon! Not saying anything more, but watch out for a post revealing those. This is me at the moment: 🤐☺☺☺🤐 

Xxx

The Perfectly Imperfect Tag ~ A Guest Post By Aqsa!

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Today I am honoured to host the creation of an inspiring new tag by my amazing blogging friend Aqsa . *fanfare* I asked her if she wanted to do a guest post and she came up with something as brilliant as this. Totally typical. Anyways, it is with great pleasure that I share with you The Perfectly Imperfect Tag! Here’s the link to it on Aqsa’s blog:

via The Perfectly Imperfect Tag: My Blogging Campaign/Featured Guest Post! – Aqsa Says What? — Aqsa Says What?

Expect my participation within the near future!

Wishing this tag the best of luck! Hope it spreads all around the blogosphere…..!

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!