Being a Pagan Student

This new academic year has begun and freshers has now passed. It was a hectic time for me and the other society council members as we put on the events and met the new pagan students of Falmouth Uni. By the end, I was asleep by 8pm and felt like death, narrowly deflecting Fresher’s Flu.

I had a hard think about what would be useful to the freshers. Being Pagan has a diverse meaning so we needed to cater to everyone. I recently saw an article about how freshers is all about drinking and it excludes new students, but that wasn’t the case at our uni, nor can I imagine that was the case at all. Our first event was a tour of the groups magickal, mystical and natural spots. I was pretty nervous throughout freshers as the society wasn’t really successful last year and I’d grown comfortable with the group. This year, we had freshers to get through and attract as many people as possible. The tour went well and lit up the imaginations of five freshers. We visited places such as The Grotto, a pond in the shape of a star with a war memorial near by, built by American Soldiers, surrounded by a tall wall of bamboo and near by a stream; a fertility statue built into a wall, hidden by trees, The Walled Garden, which encompasses an orchard; Tremough House Garden, a lovely italian-style garden which accompanies the old convent, and we ended with the Chaplaincy cottage, the hub of inter-faith relations.

tour
The Star Pond at The Grotto during the Chaplaincy Tour for Pagan Students

The second event we’d put on was a gathering for the Eclipse. I really did not expect 20-30 students to turn up, most of them with no idea on what was expected of them. I have never led a ritual for any more than three, so it was incredibly daunting and I didn’t intend to, as I’d written on the event ‘individual ritual/meditation’ so when everyone asked me what they were doing, I could have died. I did not come prepared, but I should have expected lots of non-pagans with no experience, really. The numbers after that fell, unsurprisingly. I apologise to those that thought I was going to lead a big dramatic ritual, with drumming circle, passing round a shisha pipe, chanting under the eclipsed moon, or whatever it is people do at festivals. In my mind, it was going to be something much more quiet and personal. The energy that was invoked however was amazing, a few other freshers picked up on it. I guess there really is strength in numbers.

eclipse-sept-16
Just some of the students that turned up for the Lunar Eclipse gathering! 

The last freshers event we had was our Mabon feast. Mabon is the second harvest festival, a time for reflection, giving thanks and wining and dining yourself before winter comes around. It was a lot of fun. We went to Zizzi’s as it was easy, provided for lots of different dietary requirements and preferences and was no-fuss. We’d under booked.

As time goes on, as president I’m seeing a lot of pressure on me, again it was something I should have expected but coming from an ‘easy’ year or desperately trying to pull in members and not putting on any big events because of this, going from one extreme to the next was quite maddening, to fulfil spiritual duties. As president, everyone looks to you for advice and wisdom, something I’ve not before experienced. It was lovely though to see so many people interested in Paganism. Especially when I was told during my time as a fresher that it would not be popular. I’m having a lot of fun with this though and I’ve made a lot of new friends. It’s everything I was hoping for when I was a fresher.

lunar-eclipse-sept-16
My new friends 😀 

xo

Transition: What I Did Last Summer

So, I’m back after a long stint away from the keyboard. I’m in my final year of university now and keeping myself incredibly busy. My modules are going pretty well, I believe that my novel should be finished by Christmas. After finishing the first draft and not looking at it for three years, I feel like I’ve now acquired the necessary skills to see what I was doing wrong and put it right. That was my purpose in coming to uni. It wasn’t like I came to Cornwall for the nightlife, or to get away from my family; or to throw money I don’t have in to an elitist institution for the fun of it. No, my aim was to have The Ascendant finished by the end of my stay here. However, my Novel Writing module seems to be just the catalyst I need to get the motions moving. It’s pretty damn exciting.

The summer, much like university, has been a time for transition too. I was working two very different jobs, I lost and found some core people in my life, not necessarily the same ones. It was a roller coaster from start to finish and yet, it didn’t really feel like anything happened. When I was asked what I did over the summer, all I was able to say was ‘work’, and yet, even just from work, I felt myself changing. It had been a couple of years since I’d been in a job and since that experience, I’ve not wanted to go back into retail, or employment. I didn’t like how vulnerable you were when working for someone. I didn’t like feeling like a punching bag for customers and the employer. I haven’t been back inside the shop since. I haven’t even been into the other ones I didn’t work at because all I thought of when I saw them was the bad stuff. How I’d cry, or fall asleep, or both, when I’d get home, if I was lucky. If I wasn’t, then I’d cry at work, making sure I’d shut myself away somewhere first. It can be hard to think of the good when there’s a lot of bad stuff about.

This summer, I was afraid it would happen all over again. I picked up some work as an Avon Rep, delivering to friends, family and the neighbours. I liked that job because I love make up, I liked not working for someone else and I liked meeting new people. That was the first step to gaining my confidence. The second was when my sister offered me a job at the pub where she works. I was hesitant and so anxious that I’d end up with a horrible boss and I’d have to plan a murder or something. Getting into the swing of things and getting to know my work mates took a bit of time but I did get confident and I was pretty good at what I did. The experience of earning money again was a thrill I had forgotten existed. However, I still didn’t have a large amount of money as seeing my friends and family was still top priority, despite having two jobs, because once you go to uni, you don’t really see much of people. You can’t afford to.

img_20160903_232357
My best friend Jess cheering me up on a night out after having a hideous time with a friendship break up. 

The best part was hanging out with my sisters. It’s somehow easy to forget how much you miss them when you’re busy working a lot and you realise just how much you’re not around to see. That’s the hardest part. I was able to have a lot of interesting bonding experiences with my family. The situation with my friends changed a lot too. It’s like the saying goes really: You win some and you lose some. I expected that if something like that ever happened, I would have been a lot sadder than I was. Don’t get my wrong, I was pretty hurt, but I felt a little prepared for it. Like all of the previous arguments we had had begun building up a wall for me. If it had come out of no where, it would have hurt a lot more. And at first I thought: ‘I don’t have any friends now’. Then I had to take a step back from what I’d been thinking, slap myself in the face, and tell myself to ‘Stop being stupid, you’ve got loads of mates’. And I started to talk to and hang out with them more, alongside my family and I realised that when people love you, they don’t expect you to have to put in a load of effort all the time and they appreciate it when you do. When you love them, you want to but it’s not always viable. I’ve tried to show the same patience people show to me, back to them. I feel more secure.

IMG_20160908_165606.jpg
My sisters et moi lunching in my final week back home

The last phase of this transition was moving house. Same landlord, different house and a lot more problems. Will I ever rent from a private landlord again? No. If being at uni has taught me anything, it’s that landlords are more than happy to rip you off a bit of dolla and they think they are in the position to do so. *

Reflecting over the summer, I see that I have changed. Maybe not physically, maybe not deep down in my soul (I’m still forgetful, forever tired, and at times have difficulty concentrating) but I am wiser. My plans are becoming clearer and I’m coming back out of the shell that I’d put up over the last year. Now I’m back at Falmouth, I’m feeling much better for it. How was your summer? Have you felt a change of self? xo

 

 

 

Feature Picture by Cummings Photography

*I’ll probably write up on this further in the year

Referendumb

Hello folks, it’s that time again where I need to write about a big issue. So people everywhere are having their say on whether this island on the edge of Europe should stay with in the European Union. Before uni, I’m not even sure if I knew fully, what the EU was, it was just something that Britain put itself into after the wars. The EU is a big union that oversees the money and politics that roams around every member state. That said, I’m sure you have heard many people from around the world having their say. Americans have discussed the possibility of our country weakening as a result of leaving and many other leaders have said they would prefer us to remain within the establishment.

But what do I think? I’ve read some of the ‘Stronger in’ and ‘RemaIN’ and nothing of the Leave campaign, I’ve only seen those that have advocated it, which doesn’t reflect a vote of confidence in me. However, based on what I have read, the only reason I have heard that seems to make sense is that the government is not fit to run this country. That seems to be the only thing. I have heard all of these things that the EU has implemented like: regular working hours, regular pay, jobs. My pretty logical answer would be ‘why can’t the government keep the working hours and pay the same, why can’t they encourage local, independent businesses? Surely that would also make the country greener, open up jobs and encourage initiative? But, I was assured by an avid EU voter that the government would do that, they just want to mess up everyone’s lives. Which is why I’m calling this article Referendumb. Neither side is particularly helpful.

My last point is the fearmongering, which both sides are guilty of, however I can only comment on that of the Remain Campaign. ‘leaving will cause us years of uncertainty and a recession’but I wasn’t even aware that we had left the last recession so I’m debating whether leaving will make much of a difference to the mess we’re already in. We just need a good government that are confident with what they are doing and don’t insist on screwing the people over.

As you can probably guess, I am most likely to vote out, although I’m still undecided. I would like to vote Conservative out and replace it with a perhaps more competent government that can not only get us back on track, but make us better than ever. According to this leaflet I’m 1 of just 30% of the student body that is most likely to vote Leave but I think I’ll be happy with my choice.

Getting Drunk in Falmouth Town

Hello everyone, so, I have never blogged whilst drunk, not have I blogged past lunch time but I guess this is a first in both occasions considering it is 3am and I’m pretty drunk although I have sobered up a bit. I’m not sure what I really want to say in this post but I guess I should start at the beginning like most stories begin. I went out with a friend and her friends, it was a great night, however, we got separated after getting distracted by another friend coming in, however, she soon disappeared and I ended up alone. Sure, Falmouth town isn’t huge or anything and the crime rate is low, which was one of the reasons I was attracted to it, but ending up alone on a night out is shit and I felt crap.

I sat down on a step and was ready to accept the reality that that was probably going to be my bed. Then I saw another friend and I thought: ‘Yes! Maybe she can help!’ Nah mate, nah. Some guy starts grabbing my arm, asking me for a kiss. I tell him I’m not interested as I’m engaged. He grabs my hand and starts pulling on my bloody ring! There I was drunk and confused, with no idea what was going on but I did manage the words ‘get off me.’ He starts talking about how I cant let people tell me what to do; well, there we go. Hypocrite. Anyway, I stumbled on through town and the only friends awake had just gotten home. I went to the takeaway to try and sober up when he comes in and looks right at me. Luckily, he didn’t come over but I did get anxious. I grab my food and go. I sit down on a bench because I had too much food to carry (they really over filled it, it’s marvellous!) and yeah, I ate. I ate until a bloke came over and asked for something to smoke, but I don’t smoke. He asks for a light. Again, I don’t smoke. He sits down and tells me his mums passed and it’s her funeral tomorrow. I felt sad for him. He asks for my name and where I’m from, I tell him. ‘You’re from Yeovil? I come from Bridport!’

‘No way!’ I exclaimed. I was so happy, finally someone from back home. So we sat there and talked for maybe around half an hour, about home and it brought a real smile to my face. He mentioned a well known family from back home and I asked if he knew mine. ‘Nooooo. You’re a Wiltshire? You’re not!’

‘I am,’ I laughed. We both marvelled over Somerset and Dorset and he told me about how much better Somerset is to Cornwall and Devon. I agreed. He told me all these stories from around the home counties and it just made me want to go home even more. We agreed that Cornwall is lush, but it just ain’t home! Bless him, he kept thanking me for giving him the time of day (or night) but it was me that was thankful. I was sad, alone and ready to just give up, but he reminded me of who I am and where I come from and that’s something I need to remember more often.

He stood up at the end of a story, to leave and gave me a hug. He asked me if I had friends back home and I said I did. Stuff like that could never happen in Yeovil, and I was grateful for that group of absolute babes. He wished me home safe and thanked me again. I walked home crying tears of joy for finally meeting someone that was:

A. From back home way and knew what it was like to miss it as much as I did.

B. Was as drunk as I was.

C. Actually asked if I was ok.

I guess in writing this story, I’d like to give this bloke from Porthleven with the broken hand, a big thank you. He’s probably never going to read it, hell, I’d be surprised if anyone did, it’s just another drunk white girl rambling, but it’s really nice to know that there is kindness in this world. No matter what your background is, no matter what colours you’ve painted your past with, there will always be someone out there that will make your day, or night, so much better and will send you on your way with a smile. Thank you Mr. that stays in Haselbury Plucknett sometimes, I hope our chat has made tonight and tomorrow seem a little brighter for you.

Sam, that flower from Yeovil.

It’s a comfort to know that family has always got your back, even when they don’t realise it. No matter what kind of connotations a name brings, connections are connections and that’s what’s got your back when you’re drunk and depressed in the middle of town at 3am.

The 7 Wonders of Yeovil

Guess who’s back? Back again? Yes. I am back home. I’ve been back for a few days but my laptop screens got screws loose… or missing… and so I’ve been a bit cautious about whipping it out. Now I’m at George’d dads and there’s a desk, I can finally write! Yay! So, this is my introduction. I was at uni, it was my last week before coming home for Easter and my friend told me that she’d read ‘How’d you write about Yeovil?‘ and loved it. She asked me how I found so much to write about our ‘little’ home town and the cogs in my dusty brain started turning for another piece. Yeovil and it’s 7 wonders and yes, there are seven, I counted.

So, I’ll firstly give you the list, and then I’ll explain:

  1. Taunton
  2. Neo
  3. Takeaway Alley
  4. Yeo Lesuire Complex
  5. Yeovil Country Park, AKA Ninesprings
  6. Wyndham Street

Here we have it and if you disagree, lets agree to disagree. If you can count to more than seven, then I’m real proud of you.

  1. Taunton is ‘the heart of Somerset’. Yeovil ‘has the mind of a city, the heart of a town’. But I think that 98% of people living in this pretend city, would rather live in the heart of Somerset, eh? It’s retail centre is much bigger and more popular than ours, this in itself has various advantages. It’s night life is pretty good, from what I last experienced a few years ago. And, as far as I’m aware, You never want to kill anyone from Taunton. All the people you could possibly hate live in Yeovil, so Taunton is agro free for most yeovilians. Taunton is Yeovil’s wonder and is only a 40-minute-drive-ish away, so it’s not all that bad.

 

 2. Neo is a wonder in itself. Now, I was going to write a separate review of Falmouth’s night life but I think it’s important that I have something to compare Yeovil’s night life to. I know you’re all groaning. Neo, and Yeovil, is crap, blah blah blah. But it’s our crap, and that’s what’s most important. You go out on your Friday or Saturday night, or both if you’re one of those warriors I mentioned in my previous article, no matter where you start, nine and a half times out of ten, you will end up in Neo. No matter how much you complain and cry in the toilets at Wetherspoons, you can not fight the magnetic pull. At night, Neo is the centre of the universe. Everyone knows it’s crap and yet no one can never say no. What choice do you have? Well, I’ll tell you.

I went out for the first time to ‘Club I’ (That stands for Club International’ in Fali. I was told to brace myself before going in and I was right to. I didn’t realise that there were two flights of stairs I had to walk up before getting into the club. At the end of the night, I watched a man fall down those stairs. Be thankful that Neo isn’t a health risk. On getting into the club, I realised that I was paying £2 for a mouthful of Archers and lemonade. There was no seated area, there were no podiums, poles, or massive ‘stage’ type deal, all of the peasants were thrown in together. It was barbaric. There were no bouncers around that I could see. And the animals took their drinks on the dance floor! You don’t get any of that Neo. After that night, I couldn’t wait to get back to Yeovil. You don’t need to use your hips and elbows as weapons just to create some kind of space to dance in. So, Neo is a whole different planet and it’s the only one Yeovil’s got. It brings so many different types of people together. The old, drunken men covered in glow sticks; girls in dresses barely suitable to be underwear, caked in make up to hide the youth in their faces, the men that go to impress these women, I could go on with the list of descriptions.

3. Takeaway Alley. How many towns do you know with it’s very own food quarter? 99% of Just Eat orders probably come from this one road. And it’s had a song written about it. One bands experience of Yeovil and Takeaway Alley was so bad that they actually wrote a song about it. It’s pretty folky, so it might not be to everyone’s taste, but just take a look at ‘Yeovil Town‘ by Show of Hands and listen carefully to the lyrics. In 10-20 years, I don’t think it’s actually changed. I went to New York a few years back and I know it’s hard to make a comparison, but one could say that Takeaway Alley is our own Little Italy, or Chinatown.

4. The Yeo Leisure Complex. I can barely even spell it, but it’s that area where the Nuffield gym is right in front of Pizza Hut. An accident? I think not. I associate Nuffield members with fearlessness and stomachs of steel, but I think the common conception of Nuffield is beefcakes and gym selfies on Snap Chat. You’ve also got the bowling alley which changes name so often that I’m not even sure what it’s called right now. All I’m aware of is that the alleys keep breaking and even the owners given up pumping money into it. I always have liked a good game of bowling though and the name has only changed like, three times. I guess the over priced cinema should also get a mention. But that’s all I can think to say about it. I love going to the pictures but I’d rather save money and go to a cinema in any other town but Yeovil. I hear Dorchester’s deals are perfect.

The Nolasco

5. Ninesprings is the location of summer in Yeovil. It’s a rite of passage in childhood because the park is ace. You’ve got ducks but don’t let your kids go near the swans. They’re feisty buggers, as one of my  younger sisters learnt when I told her to go up to one, when we were kids. For many teens, it’s where you go for the odd cheeky sexual encounter away from the parents, or just a lovely date if you’re more Yeovilite than Yeovilian. Ninesprings is lush though. It’s the place in Yeovil that could still be described as natural.

6. I’ve put Wyndham Street down as the last one. For some reason, Wyndham is broken up all over the place. You’ve got Wyndham Park, Wyndham Hill, Wyndham Street , Wyndham Court but it reflects one side of town. Wyndham street it just around the corner from takeaway alley and all kid of stories are generated on this one part of town. Due to the grotty secrets that it hides, it’s not really considered a part of the town centre, despite people local to Wyndham Street wishing it was. For now it’s just home to Domino’s, a polish shop and a notorious brothel, which, despite the police repeatedly shutting it down, comes back like a weed. I’d love to one day see this road become integrated with town life again.

So that’s the 7 wonders. I didn’t tell you they’d be pretty, or ugly. I just told you they were wonders. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and if you’ve got any thoughts on what your own 7 Wonders of Yeovil are, pop them down in the comments! Cheers for reading! x

 

How’d you write about Yeovil?

First things first: take advantage. When you title your work, be sure to use a shocking title to highlight the absence of education and sensibility. Refer to words such as ‘chav’, drugs’, ‘immigrants’, ‘over populated’, ‘criminal’, ‘beat up’, ‘charity shops’, ‘teen pregnancy’, ‘traffic chaos’, ‘Yarlington’ and ‘ugly’. When referring to ‘The People’, you must distinguish clearly between those raised and born in Yeovil, although, those in other areas of Somerset may be included, except Chard and Bridgwater (those areas don’t count) and foreigners, most commonly Polish folk.

Do not feature an intellectual on the cover unless they are popular and have in some way, tried to better the living conditions in Yeovil. By no means should it be a councillor or a local politician; book burnings would be frequent. Instead, you must go with either the working class hero that is known for their thick, homely accent or a hugely famous and widely loved celebrity that has visited Yeovil, such as any actor or actress of ‘TOWIE’.

In your text, you need to talk about Yeovil as if it were the only place in Somerset, because it is. Nowhere else is worth mentioning, and Bath and Bristol aren’t really in Somerset so there’s no need to worry about them.  Taunton rivals Yeovil so it’s best not to mention them unless you’re ready for a civil war. Just close your eyes and hope they go away. Yeovil is developing. It’s all consuming. Soon all of the surrounding villages will become one with Yeovil. It is Somerset’s mother. You must mention its deep history: its glove factories, its place in the War. Take car not to mention the deteriorated state of the ‘stink’ factory though. Nobody needs to know that it’s a drugs den. It’s a big town with a population of more than 45,000 and it’s rapidly increasing. We’re close to being a city. You must include the football team but leave out the unnecessary description of the stadium and bad parking in residential areas every Sunday due to these battles that Yeovil can never win. Paint the people as ambitious football fans.  Your reader won’t care about the particulars, as long as they know that there are lots of big, strong athletic people, that should be enough to keep them reading. You must begin your research with the Facebook pages: ‘Yeovil ‘Real’ News’, ‘Yeovil…A Trip back to the Past’, ‘Buy and Sell Yeovil’… the places you will find true, factual information about Yeovil and its inhabitants. It’s a booming economic success and The Quedam is its shopping capital. Yeovil is far enough away from the levels to avoid any threat of flood although all weathers that hit are considered unsavoury. These are all good things to include in your writing.

Construction Gold
An actual image of Yeovil’s expansion. It’s happening. Be afraid. 

Make sure you inform the reader about the night life and the warrior lifestyle that the youths of Yeovil endure every weekend. Neo is the academy for youth, where they will dance until they are pouring with sweat, upon poles above the ordinary class of people. It is where they will drink liquids you could only dream of, from a simpler time. It is where they attract their mates, after an extensive period of pluming themselves at home and walking in shoes that make walking on glass look comfortable. Neo is the end trial of a number of tests, including Wetherspoons and Karma. If your characters make it through all of the trials, a trip to Charcoal Grill will be the ultimate reward, other kebab shops will do though. You must reflect on how delicious their kebabs are to those poor souls that have endured such a night of tests and trials. Yes, Yeovil’s youths are the strongest of Britain’s young but they are modest and therefore, will not acknowledge their strength. Those that do are not worth mentioning unless you are looking to create a villain for your story. There are plenty of villains worth bringing up in your story set in Yeovil.

20140906_000031.jpg
A group of young Yeovil warriors embarking on their final trial, Neo, after barely making it out of Wetherspoons alive on a Saturday night.

Taboo subjects would be showing appreciation of the road works which are wrecking havok through the town, the lack of independent businesses operating in the town centre and UCY (University Centre of Yeovil). UCY is a forsaken ground that is frowned upon by any respectable, ambitious young person. To talk of higher education is not generally done. Assume that everyone has dropped out of education as soon as they were legal to do so, although the juiciest stories come from those that dropped out long before legalities.

Include a love story, perhaps that develops between the single young parents of a baby or between two drugged up lovers that declare their hatred of each other loudly in the bandstand because they have been banned from The Quedam. You may also include a battle between parents and teachers over pupil illnesses, holidays, general scruffiness and rudeness. Your readers will love to hear about the treachery committed by teachers to their pupils at one of Yeovil’s local youth prisons.

You must talk sarcastically and discuss how much you hate Yeovil and can’t wait to get away from it because that is that your readers will expect from you. If you oppose this tradition, your writing will fail. Yeovil is not a place where the sun is always shining. Despite the lack of floods, it is not a pleasant place. It would take a true visionary to change the opinion of masses. You should probably explain early on whether you are right wing or left wing but do not state ideas that are too radical. ‘slightly’ will be the key word to use here. Otherwise you may attract a readership that you do not want and many of your potential readership will not understand a word you say. Regardless of political intention, you must talk about Yeovil’s failures and how the new generations are ruining it. You must talk about how nobody wants to live here but no one ever really gets out; unless they move away up north, because the people are southern and southerners have issues adjusting to any lifestyle that includes removing oneself from bed.

The Maths Of Feeling Lonely

I read The Age of Loneliness by An Author’s Life, and this is supposed to be a bit different but aware of the mentioned text. I don’t know how to mould the content so I’ll just have to see where it takes me.

So, unsurprisingly this is today’s topic because I woke up feeling lonely today. I’d spent this weekend staying with one of my best mates from home who attends Plymouth University. There were laughs and there were tears. All in all, it was a great weekend. I find loneliness one of the most frustrating feelings of all though. I wake up without George (the fiancé) every morning and it’s lonely. I go about my morning, getting ready and doing work by myself. That get’s pretty lonely too. The afternoon progresses, I might see people on campus. I might get a phone call from George, I might actually have social plans formed and yet, but that point, in can be pretty hard to know when to turn that switch off.

And I know, it’s not just me. This weekend alone, I realised that a lot of people around me feel it too. Being around people can be a distraction but when the distraction is over, you are left with yourself and for some people, that can be pretty damn scary. Some people say that the outside world is scary but I believe that our own minds are even scarier. At the end of it all, you are born alone and you die alone. There’s one voice alone in your head. It’s the internal that can be most dangerous.

View loneliness as a warning bell.

When you feel so sad that you can’t do anything and the silence gets too much, and the lack of company gets too much, it’s time to go find some. That’s not always something you can do, like me waking up alone in the morning. That’s something I have to endure until George visits again. But there are times when you can do it. If you’re at home, watching stuff or playing games, whatever it is, go and seek out those you live with. Parents get taken far too easily for granted. They are there to help you and they’d probably tell you you were being silly if they saw you choosing to remain alone when you are feeling lonely. Being around people doesn’t always help satisfy it, but it certainly can help. Especially when they are people that you are close with and trust. If they aren’t, then perhaps don’t bother with them.

last supper

The issue with loneliness is that it comes in so many forms. Moving away, losing a partner, losing friends, being overloaded with work, losing a pet, and there are probably  loads more. Loss in general is enough to trigger loneliness, whether someone walks away or is taken from you, a hole, no matter how big or small, will open up in your life. Equally, other big events can make you feel lonely as you’re having to replace sociality with whatever is currently consuming your time. Social media and virtual experiences of people, aren’t enough to satisfy the need for actual human contact. 

I was going to call this ‘The Art Of Feeling Lonely’ However, loneliness isn’t like over thinking. It’s not something that takes you to places, regardless of if you want to go there. Loneliness just happens. It’s not tied to age or experience. At the age 6 I felt lonely. At the age of 15 I felt lonely, and now, nearly 21, I feel lonely. I’m dead sure that it won’t be the last time that I feel lonely either. So, I’ll call it an equation of maths instead, where loneliness is a feeling of subtraction in your life. Something has been taken away which has made you feel this void. It might even not be something you’re aware of. The subtracted could be you. Before this feeling, you may have enjoyed being alone. It’s something that many people are good at; but then something happens inside yourself and you realise that you don’t enjoy your own company any more. It happens.

The thing with maths, is that you can add things to your sum. When you feel something has been subtracted, add something, or someone. Experiment. The numbers you add don’t have to be huge, or daring. They don’t have to feel like a leap. There’s no point in over compensating. Do the maths that you can do and the loneliness should take care of it’s self.

Thanks for reading everyone (: See you soon xx

 

My Experience Of The Wedding Industry Pt2: Engagement Competitions

Hello darlings, I recently entered a local engagement competition on Facebook, you may have read ‘My Appeal‘,but probably not. it was something that popped up on my timeline from friends that had liked someone’s post in the competition group page. They had posted their engagement story and a picture of the moment. I thought it seemed like a lovely idea so I looked into it more. There were prizes: a photo shoot, a £50 voucher and various small discounts off of local vendors. The couple that had caught my attention on my timeline had a lot of publicity and exposure on Facebook. I thought: why not and through George and I into the competition.

It was tough.

I had a week to get as many likes on my post as possible. What I realised was this was firstly a popularity contest, secondly a writing contest and thirdly (if you submitted a picture) a beauty contest. To ensure my success, I decided I had to write the story well. I had to have emotion and hilarity and romance. My story is romantic and funny, but not everyone can word things as such. I picked a picture George and I took at my mums on Christmas day a couple hours after he proposed. I had the goods ready and they were pretty high quality, if I do say so myself.

The problem I was going to have was with the popularity bit. I’m a pretty introverted person and often keep to myself despite the fact I come from a big family and have a lot of friends. I didn’t really think they’d help but I messaged them anyway. After this, I think I must have gotten between around 150 likes. The leading couple were at around 220 and it was daunting because they were a lesbian couple. I really did not think I stood a chance against a couple that were potentially getting their likes from the LGBT+ community Facebook groups. I posted all across Twitter and Tumblr, but nothing really happened there. I then remembered that I’m a Pagan; I’m a part of a tight knit community, too. I saw a huge influx of fellow pagan people coming to like the page and I really couldn’t feel any prouder to be apart of such a wonderful community. And then there was also all of the different uni groups I was apart of, finally, there was a benefit to being a student.

hat

And then Saturday night happened. The leading couple gained around 200 likes and I really did not think I could compete. I felt down about it but George through my phone to the end of the bed and put on a movie, which made me feel much better about it all! The next day, we went out and enjoyed our Valentines day together before he had to go back home. After he went home, I had a sudden burst of faith. I shared the post again everywhere, added more Pagan groups and got my family and friends sharing on Facebook. I went to Instagram and Twitter with #WitchAndTheAtheist, because these things are easier to find with a hashtag, no? I’d gained 250-300 likes. I was far too excited to get the early night I wanted. I won with 10 minutes short of midnight.

I had messages coming at me, likes going through the roof and adrenaline. I really couldn’t believe what was happening and I could not wait to tell George in the morning about what had happened over night.

Of course, while this was all exciting, it wasn’t without drama. Right before I went to bed, a competitor had read through my comments and appeared to be getting argumentative. this worried me a little, I was too tired and excited to handle conflict but I did so well, and with the help of a friend. It wasn’t until I woke up and checked my notifications that I really had to laugh though. Someone had reported my engagement photo for nudity. I thought it looked a little bit suspicious but I chose to ignore it. I won. I didn’t know who did it, but it didn’t really matter.

engagement

But I learnt a few things from this experience:

1. People go crazy for things that are free.

2. Where there’s a popularity contest involved, seek out a large group of people, just like you.

3. People will try and argue and even do petty things when you take things as seriously as they do.

4. Faith is a handy tool to keep about you.

5. There will always be another competition somewhere so don’t feel too downhearted if it doesn’t look like it’s going your way.

6. Entering competitions is a good way to pass a long engagement and keep excited.

7. If you have ulterior motives… such as a best friend having a unpleasant experience with one of the other competitors, this makes you even more eager to win.

Cheers for reading guys, hopefully this won’t be the first and last competition I enter, I had a lot of fun and I hope you have enjoyed reading pt2 and if you haven’t get checked out My Appeal, go for it. The competitions closed now but the post and story still remain.  x

 

Self Improvement

Hello all, yes, I have returned from both the excitement I’ve been harbouring for my mother and myself, and the trauma of restarting university again. I can now say I am more than half way through my university career at least. I’ve achieved great grades for my first semester, but through this trauma and feeling of overwhelming dread, I have been wondering if it was worth all of that stress and anxiety. Was it worth the weight I lost because I could not eat? The sleep I missed out on due to nightmares? The craziness I put myself through because I did not have the time to socialise or to even put on clothes, let alone wash them. I do wonder at how students can say university is a dawdle and how people can look down on students and call them lazy or whatever. You get out what you put in. So, naturally, I’ve been a bit worried about coming back into an environment which I am mentally, not particularly equipped to handle. Luckily, George was around to remind me of the end goal. That’s important.

So, have I tried to make things better reader? Well, I assume that you assumed by the title of this piece that I have found a way to help with stressful situations. I have tried a few things.

I am awfully unorganised. I have poor temporal awareness and my spatial awareness can be pretty awful too depending on which one is my main focus. My mum suggested a To Do List app so what do I do? I go onto Google Play and I don’t just download any to do list… I download THE To Do List app, todoist, which is what my spelling looks like when I’m thinking of a million things at once, as is the usual then. It’s come in pretty handy… when I actually remember to make a list of the things I need to remember. I must remember to become better at that.

I then decided to keep a diary. I’ve always kept a diary since I was very young. I like to write about things regularly and I love to have a good reminisce. My diary was never a regular thing though, unfortunately. Maybe once every few weeks, if I really tried. This diary was going to be different though to my usual angry and depressed self tearing pages and smudging ink. This one was going to be a health diary to find out what I ate and when, how I drank, slept, socialised (in person, as apposed to the too regular virtual contact), exercised, toileted ect. I’m sure you get the picture. I realised that it’s a human thing to do all of these things and yet I struggle to remember how long it was since the last time I did any number of normal human functions.

This diary lasted 2 and half days and I am rather proud of myself. What I found was, that instead of documenting accurately what I do daily, I found myself doing everything more often and correcting myself so I had plenty to write about. I’m never usually that interesting. So, after two and a half days I started to find myself in a rut where I couldn’t move from my position in bed and I hated my entire life. I realised at this point the diary was a bust (it was on the table, too far to reach from bed).

A diary would not do. The moment classes started up again, I realised I’d be far too busy to be able to go so in depth as I did. I needed something else. I needed purpose. A reason to smile. A reason to haul myself out of my safe zone. I needed a daily goal. So, three nights ago I started writing down a number of possible things that I could achieve. Some easy and some more difficult. These included: diet and exercise goals, appearance goals, hobby goals, house goals, social goals, habit breaking goals, spiritual goals; something I could do in a day, or for a little bit of the day.

The first goal I had was to sit with my housemates. This was a scary prospect to me for some reason because I have become quite the recluse. It’s one thing to talk to people through the internet, another thing entirely to look at people and to talk to them. So, that evening I asked if they’d like to watch an episode of Shadowhunters with me (review to follow) and they agreed. So we watched an episode and I felt very proud that I both fulfilled my first goal and had a nice time doing it. I didn’t set myself a time limit, so I didn’t have to push myself too hard on the first go.

Yesterdays goal was to stay away from Twitter accounts that I deem as bad. In terms of ‘bad’, I refer to the twitter account of ex friends which I now passionately hate. Hate can be a very addictive feeling and can be very hard to pull away from, particularly when they have caused you harm and have acted like a complete douchebag and it brings me a certain amount of pleasure when I see they are going through a rough patch. I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel that way. We’re only human. Anyway, I knew I could do it for a day. I don’t check twitter everyday, although I did yesterday, I was able to refrain from the devils call.

Today my goal is to play music and sing. I have always loved music and singing. In fact, I saw myself as a singer growing up more than I did a writer. I hated reading as a kid and for most of my teens and I loved singing. I entered my school talent show, I took BTEC Music, it really was the direction I saw my life going in. Funny how directions change. So, this evening I shall be singing, might even get the guitar out if I feel I have the time. University is really asking too much of its Creative Writing/ English students this term.

Anyway, I hope this has been useful to anyone that is also struggling. Keep up the good fight. x

Home Is Where The Heart Is, So They Say

Heyo, so it’s approaching that time of year when students start panicking about where they’re going to move over the summer. After already moving several times since coming to university last year, I hoped to settle down here. I found a house I like. It’s not dirty of messy like the last one. I’ve got nice house mates unlike the first one. I have lots of space, George can come over whenever he’s able to, and it just feels perfect. However, I’ve been told I’m going to have to leave because the landlords have given my house to another group. I hoped it wouldn’t come to this because I was told current tenants would get priority. I’m a current tenant and I didn’t not get priority. So it looks like, what’s left of us, will be looking for a new house. I’m a little bit peeved, I know how manky and tiny students houses can be. I’ve looked round enough of them. I’ve come to the conclusion, from the three landlords I’ve had now, that none of them are any good.

If you are a fellow student I have some advice for you:

Make sure you know what you’re mates are like before you move in with them. If you’re like me, messy but considerate, it will drive you insane if one of your group leaves your communal areas in a mess frequently. At my previous house, this drove me insane. because it was all the time. It’s not so bad every now and again but living in a mess all the time is a nightmare. How are you supposed to organise your work if you can’t even organise your kitchen? If you’re unlike me, and doesn’t understand how to use a bit of Fairy and a sponge, I suggest you learn how before you get slaughtered, or alternatively, if you’ve got one, use a dishwasher. But, make sure you rinse stuff off first. My house mates and I found out far too late. I don’t want you to be susceptible to the same fate as ours.

Mould is a problem I didn’t even realise existed. I mean, in my last house, don’t get my wrong, my windows were grotty as hell when I first moved in, but I didn’t realise walls got it too, until this house. If that’s a problem you’ve got, I suggest a few things: First, wipe it all off with an old flannel and some Dettol Mould spray. That works pretty well for any new mould However, it will take some of the paint off of the walls, but that’s your landlords problem, not yours, hopefully. Secondly, when you have the heating on, unfortunately, you will need to open the windows a little. You’ve got damp problem and you need to heat that water up and waft it out of your house.

Food can be expensive and 99% of the time, I bet you can’t even be bothered to cook. You’re tired, you’ve been working hard (or not) and cooking isn’t even in your vocabulary. Nor is food shopping. But guys, you’ve gotta eat! If you’ve not thought of it, try doing a house shop. Each chip in £5-10 a week. And do house meals, that way, you’ve got at least half the week where you’re going to be eating something good for you. Neither of my two previous houses did this. Well, the first one did, with my other house mate, but not with me and the second well, the living arrangements were as messy as our kitchen! In this house however, we did this and it was cool. it was nice to get to experiment and you got to try new things. Like, I’d never eaten lemon chicken before and my house mate’s was weird and delicious and while I didn’t like it, I really did and I wanted to stop eating it but I couldn’t… you get the picture? Keeping a house together is about team work. Your house mates need to be people you can depend on, work with and have fun with, of course.

I think that’s all of my student housing advice for now. I next want to talk about home. Home can be really subjective. When I say home, I can be talking about 5 different houses and yet none of them are really my ‘home’. My uni house can’t be considered home because I’m getting kicked out of it in 5 months. It’s a temporary solution. Home is something permanent. When I go back to Yeovil, I stay with my fiancé and we move between his mums and dads houses. Neither of these feel like home either, because like my uni house, they are temporary. I move between the two regularly and then I’m off again to Falmouth. I recently realised that moving in with your boyfriend (or in my case, fiancé now) and his family is an odd experience. I call it coming home, because I get to be with the one I love. However, it’s not quite home because I still feel like a guest; I don’t have a history there. It’s a new setting halfway through my story. I felt like that when I lived at my grandparents. It wasn’t my house, but someone else’s. they had different rules, different ways of doing things than I was used to. Then there are my parents houses.

My dad’s house is the one I grew up in as a child until about 14. That one doesn’t quite feel like home any more because: A. it has gone through many changes, B. The rest of my family aren’t there any more and C. It feels like so long ago since I lived there, I was just a kid. It’s got history, I’ll give you that, but it lacks something present, something now. My mum’s is the most like home out of all 5 houses. My mum’s there, my sisters are there, my dog’s there. I lived there very recently, before kind of moving in with George and I still go there a lot. It’s got more of a history and I’ve cooked there. That’s what I have decided the criteria for making a home is. Permanence + Memories + Being able to cook and clean comfortably + Family presence = Home. Family Presence can be taken out of the equation and still mean home, if you live by yourself, you can still be at home. You might have pictures of family or some kind of trace still around of them, they don’t necessarily have to live there with you.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of home and what it means to me personally, for a while. I wondered why I just couldn’t quite feel comfortable anywhere. I began thinking that I just didn’t belong any where and this made me feel very sad. I know now though, that all of these places are what makes up my home. I’m a bit of a traveller at the moment, moving from place to place, and I’m not quite feeling settled, but I know I will soon, once all of the temporary places get replaced for one permanent place. What’s your idea of home?

xx