It’s never easy being young…

People are always afraid of getting old, of finding those fine lines and grey hairs of time passing them by, of missing opportunities and the sense that each day you’re the best you’ll ever be. If I’m honest, I’ve never really prescribed to that philosophy. Since a child, if I was the closer side of six months to my birthday, I’ve always rounded up. Being young for me was always difficult, always feeling too old for my years and hating the condescending stares of those more experienced eyes around me. Age for me always represented, progression, wisdom, experience, passion, learning… Moving away from the past and growing into the person that I feel inside, each year finding my feet a little more…

Thats easy to say when everything’s going well, when you’ve a plan, when you’re still only 22 and have you ‘whole life ahead of you’. But it’s not easy beings young – the Argo, the angst, the attitudes. All this raging hormones and learning curves, new lessons and choices to make. The world might be your oyster, but they are a delicacy to get used too. There’s the opposite sex, and sex, and then the ex; growing pains, growth spurts and guessing… It might be an exciting road we travels, but however worn it’s still got its fair share of bumps and twists and turns.

Decisions come thick and fast, what to do, where to go, what to be, who to be with, what to want, what t get, what to aspire too, what to work for… And that sinking feeling that these questions will remain unanswered and sought for a fairly long time. Life after all doesn’t get any easier or let up instead striving forward and creating new challenges – not the easiest thing t comprehend. If I could go back and grow up again, I can say I wouldn’t. I still haven’t for a start, I’m still 15 somewhere inside, trying my best to look the part, to fit in, to do well, to achieve…

But it’s not easy. Even getting out of adolescence isn’t easy with the present economy. School leavers, or Uni graduates, everyone s struggling to find their place in the world. Those with a career plan are finding it virtually impossible to get started in with the lack of jobs, and the rest who are unsure are desperately vying for whatever wage they can take. As a young thing, I’ll admit it all seems a rather daunting prospect.

Swamped in submissions…

swamped

I’ve not been great at replying. I’ve been bad at checking emails. But I’ve been worse at posting. Life’s done that thing of getting in way. Swamped by essays on Georgian Literature, Genre and Popular Culture, on Pope and Keats to Miller and Tarantino… I’ve been eyes deep in foot notes and journals, in bibliographies and books and I’m out the other side. Yes I’m sat back relaxing to the sweet sound of no work, and the prospect of the New Year…

And further deadlines, dissertations and that casual decision of ‘What I’m going to do with my life’. It would seem that things have turned out exactly how I imagined University to be, unrelenting, stressful and daunting. I have to admit the ride over the last two years hasn’t been too bad and now that I’m half way through the final part and on the cusp of starting my working career, I’m contemplating anything but deciding what to do.

So as I’m curled up on the sofa, with a cup of tea, two very fluffy cats, surrounded by research and an iPad poised in a vague attempt to consider work, I think I may just sit back, relax, stare at the log burner, and rest. For tomorrow is yet another day. I’m back on here, I’ve a lot to catch up on with you and, well, we could all just use a minute to ourselves.

Not a self promoter.

Now I’m not one for boasting, bragging or bigging oneself up… it would seem I’m not really a fan of words that begin with B, apart from… boobs, belles, boys, bits, bums… We can see what I have on my mind. Anyways, I don’t think it’s necessary or very becoming from a young lady, such as myself. To be honest, it’s not great in anyone. There’s confidence, there’s being proud of an achievement, then there’s arrogance and rubbing people’s faces in your success – it’s a fine line to tread.

I’m not one for self promotion. I don’t wish to attract that much attention to myself. I am confident in my own skin, I know me, what I like, what I don’t, and if I don’t or am unsure, I’ll spend a few hours debating it in my mind, and possibly sharing it with you. But. There are things I know I am good at, and there are things I know I excel. We all know our own strengths as well as our own weaknesses but I tend to focus more on what I enjoy, more than what I think I may be good at.

As far as I am aware, I think its fairly dangerous to trust your own opinion of yourself. Know yourself, like yourself be proud of yourself, but don’t think you know it all, after all, we lie to ourselves all the time. We lie to others about ourselves, we are in effect our best friend and our own worst enemies, for quite those reasons. Always out to protect but also to blind. So well, I thought I’d do something very random, because I am random and I feel like it.

I’m going to share some things with you. What they will be are things I like, things that interest me, things I love, and they’ll be relevant. To me, to you, to something you like, a common interest, to someone you know, or to knowing where I’m coming from when you hear my ramblings a little more.

I’m an English student. I spend most of my days with my head in a book, thinking about a book, reading a book about a book or thinking about what I’m not reading. I spend time exploring history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, epistemology, literary theory, I’m an overthinker by trade, probably why I spend such a long time looking into things on a microscopic level, I’m a lover of analysis – whether its of a page, a character, a period, a psyche, or just my muddled and cuffudled brain.

I’m a TEFL qualified teacher, so I mould the brains of non English speaking students, which is ironic seeing as I seem to pay very little attention to grammar, punctuation spelling, or even whether the word I use actually exists in my own personal life. I enjoy teaching, love teaching, I find it the most interesting and fascinating thing to do. Its inspiring, rewarding, challenging, had work and fun, and they are all the reasons I love doing so.

I’m a writer of erotica. Don’t get too excited, I’m not published (well in an anthology, somewhere… not big time, published) I have a blog, I write sex as sex should be, raw, passionate and without too much soppiness and character. Its all about release and self expression. its another side of me to this one, a more primitive, raw, randy side agreed, but a side I embrace all the same.

I’ve started a music blog, because I’ve realised I listen to a lot of obscure stuff, that people seem to be very interested in when it comes up. I mention people nobody has ever heard of and that have less than 1000 followers on Facebook. I like finding odd little artists and songs, searching for something new to my ear, to prick the hairs on the back of my neck and make me stop and listen. And as I love sharing, well why not share that too, seems selfish to keep all my little musical treasurers to myself.

I write for my University online publication, infact, I’m under interview for Editor in Chief. I’ve been in print issues, and my writing is journalistic, from news to current affairs, reviews and previews, entertainment to fashion, politics to columnist pieces. I enjoy all sorts of writing. I think words are the most powerful tool, and weapon at our disposal, and I’m rather a fan of playing with them.

Now. I know that all this sounds like a bit of a boast, that I’m trying to show off, say how well I write, how many different things I can throw my hand at, how busy I am. Its not. I’m not a great writer, I enjoy it, there are certainly better out there. I’m a fan of commas and long sentences, using the ‘three’ in description and prescribing to clichés when I feel like it. I write colloquially, without thought, or point. I ramble, I jump about, I even forget the point I started with and end up somewhere completely different – not a to b, more… j to r (if you follow my meaning).

I’m simply saying it because, well I thought you might like to get to know me. Maybe you might want to read something completely different and fancy my other blogs, perhaps I felt like divulging, or maybe I felt like taking stock of what I do do. I think I may have my fingers in two many pies to do any properly or to the level I truly wish to. I’ve neglected my blogs of late with life’s general hiccups as it is, let alone kept on top of everything else, but as long as their a pleasure and not a chore, I’ll keep doing them. Thats what life’s about isn’t it. Sharing. Doing things you love. Talking to one and other.

Do I follow you, do you have another blog I should be checking out? – post it. If I’m not writing I’m reading something, editing work for the paper, books for University, marking for students homework or an album review. Might even be the back of my cereal box. If you fancy some music, or erotica – ask. If you want to know something else –  ask. If you want to chat – talk. I am, as they say, all ears. I fancy sharing, so lets here something about you.

What do you do, what do you like?

Think thoughtfully.

Thinking. Its something we do all the time, something we cannot escape. When we are not actively thinking about anything our brain is computing something, thoughts are subconsciously running through our minds, even if its about what we’re doing. When someone asks what we’re thinking about, we suddenly think about thinking, about what we should be thinking, were thinking, thoughts about, thinking. And then we say, nothing, because actively we weren’t thinking anything…

Then there are the things we need to think about, the daily activities, remembering specific information, about work, life, family, our relationship, about the milk that’s getting low in the fridge, when we’ll get to the supermarket, which one, the one near work or when we’ve returned had tea and go late, what are we having for tea tonight, what’s in the cupboard… our thoughts run away with us constantly, on tangents and processes we’re not aware of.

As a depressive and having done cognitive behavioural therapy, thought processes, interest me. How dangerous a thought process can be. Our thoughts affect everything, the way we feel, the way we act, we present ourselves, how we achieve, how we cope. So, sometimes we’ll wake up and ‘ta da’, we’re in a fabulous mood, we look in the mirror, we feel fresh, rearing to go, our brain keeps on a positive note and we blissfully and excitedly bustle through our day… OR we wake look in the mirror and our brain decides to attack us, tells us we’re fat, we look horrid, that today’s going to be one of those days. We cant do anything because our brains decided its a shit day and therefore we’ll subconsciously make sure it is. We’ll turn down coffee with a friend because we don’t feel like, despite it probably being the thing that would bump us out of this funk.

But what scares me more than that is over thinking. We all think to much, and sometimes we seem to get stuck, musing, mulling things over, ruminating about things that weren’t a problem, aren’t a problem – creating a problem for our own sakes. We become obsessive, paranoid, totally consumed and preoccupied by this one thought. Something small becomes bigger so it becomes unbearable. I do it all the time. So I get up, I’m not having a great day but I perk up and I say hi to flatmate/friend/family member. They are equally as off colour as I am and grunt, not bothering to speak before leaving the room. Brain – she hates you, they hate you, you’ve upset them, what have you done, your always upsetting people, you cant even think what it is because you’re a bad friend, go and ask… so you do and, nothings wrong, but she’s saying that because somethings wrong… and before you know it you’ve become an annoying friend who suddenly thinks you’re a nutter and caused a problem by being, you.

It’s not just friendships – i’ve thought myself out of twenty or so decent relationships, with good people because i’ve over-thought stuff. we’ve had a rough patch and i’ve been to quick to go, this is it, they dont care, this is how its gonna be, do you want to spend the rest of your life like this (as though marriage was on the cards at 2 months) or they’re nice but not fun, you want someone fun, someone exciting someone who will push your buttons, you’ll break up with them anyways, somewhere down the line so do it now, they don’t really care or they’d make more effort and another one bites the dust. Its irrational and unlike me, who prides herself on being non judgemental, a logical thinker and a fair person, I certainly don’t think like it at times.

And its not me, its me being something I’m not. Suddenly being insecure, or over thoughtful, second guessing something really insignificant and it all goes tits up, and amazingly because i’m so preoccupied, I cant see how its happened. The confident, happy, calm, collected, secure in her own self Carla disappears momentarily and a monster takes over and destroys me. I’m not blaming the depression, I just think, we as people, don’t really like being happy. We like having something to think about, an issue, life is going great and we fabricate problems and drama from nowhere for, as all I can see, entertainment purposes. Mental.

I did it recently, nearly talked myself out of a new relationship thats building because he’s not my ex and to my family I know they’ll be comparing and they’re different, they’ll think i’ve just jumped into something, have I jumped into something, am I happy, he makes me happy but, am I just going to end it, do I even want a relationship now, but now i’m kinda in one, and he really cares and i’m just going to hurt him because he’s not the marriage and children that I had with the long term ex, but how can he we’ve only just met, and that’s it, we have only just met, we’re still so early on and yet we’re so serious, I don’t want serious… And suddenly, I’m being weird, he;s acting oddly because he doesn’t know what the hell he’s done and we row. And my brains response? he”s not the one for you see, you’re already rowing and you’ve only just got together. Its utter madness.

Now. Do not get me wrong, I love thinking, i spend hours musing about the oddest things, about philosophy and ethics and English related stuff, and theories, on films and they’re influences, on how we change, on us as people, on the big life questions, I love letting me brain run off and form some conclusion eventually. But on other things, I think we all need to keep it on a tight rein. we need to remember that our biggest enemy at any time is ourselves. If someone beats us up, mentally, physically, verbally, its the affect and the way that we deal with it that has the biggest effect. Its how we let the experience change us, bother us, influence us. No one can hurt you if you don’t listen, don’t care for their opinions and know, deep down, you’re a decent human being.

We have the power to make ourselves great, to build ourselves up, to give ourselves the strength, the drive, the determination to succeed, to make life long friends, lasting relationships and a career we want. But its our minds that hold us back, our insecurities, that little voice in side of doubt, of dilenma, of diliberation that has the final word. It’s hard to be carefree if you care for yourself, your life, and those in it, but its harder to let your brain settle and care less for what it says than what it does to help. I genuinely believe we have a power inside us stronger than we can imagine, our brains have the ability to heal ourselves, change ourselves, make us lose weight for example without effort, to develop and guide us. We know so little about its capabilities that we have to treat it with respect and an air of caution and a sense of awe.

Thinking, over thinking, under thinking, not thinking, always thinking, thinking pointlessly, thinking logically, thinking pragmatically, thinking irrationally. thinking without thought… we all do them, we all have our ways, our processes, our thoughts, the way we form them, they way they develop, but thoughts are just that. They are meant to be times for self reflection, ordering and understanding, not berating, irritating and confusing our worlds and the things that our happening in it.

Think about thinking, the way you think, what your most common thoughts are, and I bet you’re surprised what they are, and how they affect us all.

If we ever needed encouragement…

We all have days, days when we want to give up, days when we can’t see any point, days when we take yet another knock and think, is it all worth it? It doesn’t matter if it’s at work, if its home life, it’s a hobby, or an interest. Whether its something we’ve just started like that new gym regime, or something we’ve been doing for ages – trying to see ourselves better. Some days it’s a little bit too much effort.

Well, if there ever was a story to inspire, it comes once again in my beloved Mr Murray, who after his Wimbledon defeat, myself and the English Nation poured their hearts out for. A dream whipped away by the greatest man in tennis. We all said, how do you bounce back? How can you overcome something that took so much emotional strength from you, and so much passion to reach in the first place.

By winning, in straight 3 sets, 28 days later, beating the same man, on the same court, and take home a gold medal. It was never going to be an easy task but a glimmer of hope, a window of opportunity opened  and Andy took it. Maybe it was a grudge match, made it was revenge, maybe it was to prove himself but prove he did. The same emotional, shaky and unsure Andy had disappeared. A new man stood in front of us all.

Calm, collected, full of composure and relaxed. He played the best tennis of his life, he threaded the needle down the line more times than we’d ever seen, his shots were sublime, his speed and reaction as fast as ever, and Federer looked, well tired. It’s not to say that he wasn’t, that he wasn’t himself having an off day, but Murray took advantage.

He showed that in loss there is not defeat. That with hard work, with self belief and courage, you can bounce back and achieve whatever you wish. He won, the biggest match of his life, in perfect form and made us all realise, we need not give up on our dreams.

Rutherford, who went on to win a gold medal in the long jump, after defeat in Beijing, nearly gave up, nearly quit his sport and retired for good. How he would have kicked himself. He wouldn’t have realised his potential, wouldn’t have realised his dreams, and accepted his place as Olympic Champion. It would have been easier, to accept and to give up, but with more time, harder work, and the same support – just shows what can be achieved.

We need not give up on things we feel passionate about, when the boat gets rocked and a storm brews, when life seems to throw hurdle and hail storm, it may knock you down but it wont break you. For me, it was another time to realise that despite life’s woes there are so many things to be happy about, so much to look forward to, so much to strive for – so much more to achieve.

We’ll all have our break, it might not be in sporting history in front of 15,000 people, but we all have our moments, our chance to shine, our spotlights, surrounded by our fans – our families, our friends, our partners – ready to celebrate with us. Whatever your back breaker is, lets not give up just yet, because in a months time, your life could have changed completely.

Rain is coming.

“You know when you get that smell. That smell that rain is coming. It can be a hot summers day, not a cloud in the sky but you get that smell. And you know. Change is coming”… It might not be rain, it might be a storm, thunder lightening, the whole she-bang. But there was a something.

We all get it. That feeling. A sense of things. It’s not quite poignant or exact. But it’s there, a thought in the back of your mind and feeling in the pit of your stomach, just in front of your fingertips and past the tip of your tongue. It’s not audible or explainable. You can’t say to anyone with clarity exactly what it means.

But it means. Change is coming. I had that today. Standing looking out to sea, over the waves, the surf dancing on the wind, a feeling. You could say that you make a change, you force something to happen because that feeling is you wanting something to. But is it? Do we want it….

Or do we let it. Do we just have a heightened sense of perspective, that feeling and we accept it as it comes. A change is about to happen in my life. I know not what or when, only that it’s coming. That sense of rain. Rain suggests something awful. But rain can replenish, and save as well as dampen and depress.

A change is coming. And I embrace it whole heartedly.