Deeds Not Words ~ A Lil’ Rant

When I sat down to post today, I was going to share some quotes that have inspired me recently, but then I thought differently. I am surrounded by people talking about things whilst the problem just gets worse and, although I definitely see the importance of communicating and sharing thoughts, I also see the need for action.

My Dad has always told me  ‘deeds not words’ and I believe he’s right. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the darkness around us, but we have to use the emotion, that anger, sadness and confusion, to make a difference.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to put my energy into solving problems and creating solutions and I want you to do the same. This applies to everything – relationships & friendships as well as bigger issues that affect our families, communities and society.

 

 

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A Teenage Perspective: Q&A Collab With Erin @KittyJadeBlog

Hey there people,

Today I bring you a Q&A collab with Erin from KittyJadeBlog. We’ll both be sharing our experiences, opinions and thoughts on the world around us, all from a teenage perspective. To read my answers to Erin’s questions, head over to her blog– be sure to follow, she’s a talented writer and her posts always give me something to think about.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing young people in our society?

I know from experience that comparison is one of them. Just looking through your best friend’s story on Snapchat can trigger a certain nerve in your brain that says ‘I wish I was having a day out with my friends’ or ‘I wish I looked as good as her’ etc. Instagram also does this, but you have got to think: would you post a selfie of yourself when you are having a really bad day? Would you not edit your photo before you post it? No one is perfect, no one is not insecure about something (external or internal) and if they did love every bit of themselves every day – they would be vain.

This is very clichè but: when you are happy this won’t matter. Consider your feelings over your body. This is how you are made and you can’t change things (without spending loads of money) about the skin and bone. Maybe take a break from the mirror, the selfie camera, and see the difference.

What do you find most frustrating about the society we live in?

At the moment I am at an age where either you are mature, sensible and hardworking or time-wasting, immature and foolish. I know where I kind of fit in. I go to school and I see people in my form wasting their education because they ‘can’t be bothered’. They are ungrateful for this free education that they have and never considering someone who doesn’t have an education and wants one. So my main frustration is ungratefulness. It is hypocritical of me to say that but if we could change the importance of money and put happiness there instead I think that people would be more grateful. Young people don’t work as much to live nowadays (in certain countries, like England for example) and obviously you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

If I could change one thing, it would be to get people bothering again – rather than can’t be bothered.

What are your plans for the future?

I have only ever been to two continents (Europe and America) so one big thing of my ‘bucket’ list would be to travel and try to explore every continent of the world. In my near future is university. I would like to study politics and English but I’m not sure what the outcome of that would be. Art is another thing that would be an option I could potentially succeed in but the subject would be a hobby, not a career choice. Or maybe it will. I don’t like to plan too far ahead; it will kick me in the butt.

Tell us something you have read/experienced/heard about that has changed the way you have lived your life?

Over the years of my life, many things have influenced me and had a great impression on me. I do not think I could narrow it down to one thing. People obviously play a big part in all of our lives and my biggest influence is the one thing I have grown up with: school. I am so super grateful that I have the opportunity for a free education at the moment and I appreciate the influences that it has on me: so many experiences available, so many people I can see and good and bad influences clearly separated.

If the whole world was listening to you for a couple of minutes and you had their full attention, what would you say?

I love this question. Despite having this great opportunity, I would probably be speechless. There are so many different people in the world and I would want to offend anyone – so I’d probably stay silent. Maybe an awkward ‘hello’? Probably just a smile.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out Erin’s blog to read my answers to her questions.

Now, tell us your thoughts! Discussions welcome in the comments section down below. We wanna hear your answers…from your perspective….

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? 

 

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.

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

 

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…..!