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 👌❤️

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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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One Life – Live It, But Live In The Moment

I’m constantly worried that I’m not making the most of my life.

I only have one (duh) and I want to make the most of every moment.

I start to panic – I could be doing this, I should be trying that, I want to experience EVERYTHING this world has to offer me.

Then I slow down. What kind of a way to live your life is that? Constantly worrying about cramming things in, trying to do everything. It wouldn’t be a happy, content one – that’s for sure.

So I’ve made a decision. I’m going to take my one life and live it, but I’m going to live in the moment. Make the most of the present, be spontaneous and find joy in the little things.

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….

An Honest Rant About My Future + Really Needing Your Help

First off I need to thank my AMAZING friends Liv and Bri for reading this post and giving me the most incredible support, encouragement and advice. Love you guys.

Okay, the rant begins:

Today I had to make a massive decision, one that will affect my future in a huge way.

When I tell you what the question I had to think about today was, it might seem a pretty obvious answer to you. Well, for me it was hard, really hard, and in this post I want to try and be as honest as I can about my struggle as well as asking your advice, even though I have already decided what to do and am happy with my conclusion.

Here goes….

I had to decide whether or not I want to choose to live a different life, a life searching for another way, a way to light a candle in this dark world and to learn the things that are important for my future, even though for my family at the moment that means leaving where we live and setting off to travel in our new home, a truck that my Dad has built.

I know, I know, I’m weird, who wouldn’t choose a life of unknown adventures and opportunities if they had the option!? You’d be crazy not to. Well, let me explain.


I’m not your typical teen, my family think differently than most, we don’t embrace the things that we feel are destroying our world, people’s lives, in fact we try to find ways to fight them. I’ve always been totally onboard with this, choosing to be a light in the darkness, that is, until I started comparing myself to others.

In the past few months I’ve become increasingly discontent and emotionally unstable, I’ve been looking around at everyone else and being extremely unhappy inside because I don’t have the same things as them, stupid things like my own bedroom and makeup (my collection doesn’t extend beyond a couple of lip balms, literally), but also some bigger things – most notably friends.

I look around me and see all these kids with tons of friends (or so I think), having sleepovers and lots of fun, growing up together, going out , experiencing all the things teens usually do and I get SO upset because I don’t have any of that. Apart from all my online friends (appreciate you guys sooooo much, btw) I can’t think of a single person who I can call a true friend. I don’t even really have anyone to hang out with.

I’m not a shy person or an anti-social one, I’m also not someone who’s just too lazy to even bother making friends, it’s just my circumstances that have made things difficult, we never really stay in one place for a long time, we’re constantly on a journey and we’re never very settled, I guess we’ve just never found the right place for us to be.

So this massive shadow of that possibility of friendship if we stay has hung over me recently, even to the point where I’ve doubted all of our grand plans.


So today I had to sit and think about this and I came to the following conclusion, a result of my thinking as well as several recent conversations with various people:

This thing that I desire so much that I burst into tears every time I try to talk about it, friendship, does it even exist? I look around me and all these people I know have experienced SO much pain because of that very thing, they don’t have any true friends and I’m basing my whole future on what they supposedly have when they don’t even have it? Okay, so that sounds crazy.

Secondly, it’s not like I have loads of amazing friends that I’m leaving, it’s only the possibility of it. It’s not guaranteed to happen and even it if did, is that really something I want to forsake my future for?

Who says you can’t make friends on the road? Okay, it might not be so easy, but if you make the effort to engage wherever you are you’ll soon have friends all over the world, wherever you travel really, of many ages and cultures, plus you can choose who to befriend, rather than just the kids you’re thrown together with in a classroom, club or area.

This ghost of friendship can. not. rule. my. life. I am in control and I choose to be positive and to make the most of this incredible, incredible opportunity I am being offered. I am being offered the world.



After understanding this, I started getting super excited about all the possibilities and I came up with lots of ideas. I realised that I’d been blinkered by all this negativity surrounding the whole friendship issue and that I have the chance to have the best education, to learn skills from people all over the planet, I have the chance to meet a hugely diverse range of people from different cultures, with different ideas and thoughts on life, I have the chance to follow my dreams and to create new ones, I have the chance to be a real light in the darkness, if I want to.



The best example I can give you is one I learnt a lot from myself. I’m about to show you a photo I used in an aesthetic I made to reflect my current identity (read all about it in my previous post).



I used this image to represent my desire for true friendship, but after showing my Mum she pointed out to me that this shows a girl who is enjoying the sunset and yet waiting for someone to come along and share it with her. I need to be this girl.




So yeah, that’s it really, do I choose the world or do I choose the norm? I’ve made my decision already, I guess you can probably figure out from my conclusion what it is, but I’d really, really, really appreciate your advice. You guys mean so much to me, I can’t even begin to tell you, wherever I am you’re always there to talk, sometimes about changing the world and deep, philosophical stuff and sometimes just the most random topics. Please stay with me, I need you now more than ever. 

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank a few of you individually since I don’t do it enough.


Thanks for listening! Bye.

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 ❤️❤️❤

 

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. 

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!