Me at the moment xxx
*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 👌❤️
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.
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?
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?
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.
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!
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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,
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……
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
30th November 2017
It’s a proven scientific fact that any energy that keeps getting larger and larger will eventually explode. For example, friction will eventually burst into flames. Well, there’s friction in my mind right now.
My Mum called it emotional turmoil, my Dad called it being lost, but I think friction is a good word at the moment. I’ve already burst into flames a few times, the energy always seems to die down, simmer quietly for a little while and then begin to build up until, you guessed it, I explode again with emotion again. Most of the time I don’t even know what causes all of these feelings.
I need to look towards my future, focus on the positives that lie ahead and stop clinging onto the negatives of the here and the now. Being sad and discontent never made anyone’s life better, I’ve got to take action.
2nd December 2017
Today I went to see Wonder at the cinema. As the scenes from my favourite book flashed past my eyes, I immersed myself in the story, rediscovering the powerful themes that run through it. Many of them are relevant to my life right now – being different, going to school, fitting in, standing out, real friendships, finding your place in this world, staying true to who you are.
In all of the characters that I’ve known and loved for so long, I suddenly saw myself. When I read the book (and I must have read it 100 times, no kidding) I am an observer in Auggie, Via, Miranda, Jack Will, Julian, Summer, Justin and everyone else’s lives. However, watching the movie made me see their story in a different light. I felt like I was there, I was part of it.
I was Via, struggling with friendships. I was Miranda, just trying to fit in with the crowd, wanting to be liked. I was Summer, trying to be a good friend and Jack Will, trying but not always succeeding.There are no words for how much I loved this movie and how much of an impact it had on me.
4th December 2017
I went to my teen yoga class today. Although I’m not flexible enough to do half of the poses I still love it. It’s amazing for relaxation, concentration, exercise and the releasing of stress.
My yoga teacher, Luna, says that in yoga thoughts are like clouds, we let them drift by without holding onto them. You go into your body and just observe your mind. It makes you less anxious and stressed plus it helps you concentrate on your thoughts and make more sense of them. This was great for me, for someone who’s brain is especially active and often anxious, it helped me chill out and bring things into perspective. </
In other news from the life of Gracie Chick, my prize for when I cam runner-up in a poetry competition arrived. I received a certificate and a small bundle of writing supplies (a notepad, two pencils, one pen and a bookmark). Exciting! 🙂
</A yummy snack of roasted burdock root chips sprinkled with sesame seeds. Okay, I hope you enjoyed that little peek into my life at the moment. I felt like doing an update and I wanted to be honest.<Now, I have an exciting announcement to make ~ Megan is hosting the Best Of 2017 Blogging Awards for the third year in a row! By taking the survey now, you can vote for all the amazing blogs and posts out there that you’ve particularly loved. So, what are you waiting for? Go VOTE!
What’s going on in your life at the moment? Don’t be afraid of honesty, I often am and it never makes you feel better when you bottle it up. You can send me an email if you feel like talking. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Oh, and will you vote in the Best Of 2017 Blogging Awards?
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.
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: 🤐☺☺☺🤐