The Three-Day Quote Challenge: Day 2

Dear Emma,

I did have another quote and another post planned, but in light of recent events there was absolutely no way I could remain in the light-hearted superficial mood that I am normally in.

  

I would hope that most of you are aware of what happened on Friday, especially because I’m not going to go into the details. I’m just going to talk about how I feel, my honest opinions. 

I’ve liked the posts on Facebook, I’ve changed my picture to have the colours of the French flag, but it really didn’t feel like enough. I had to speak about it in the best way I knew how: here, talking to you. 

I was actually told by someone not to post this on here, and that did make me angry. What’s this blog for except sharing opinions, even if they are a bit “controversial”? 

I actually can’t find the words right now. This has shook the world, because in so many countries- not just France, I do acknowledge that- there was cold and there was calculated murder. There was murder without rhyme or reason of innocent civilians, innocents. That’s what gets me. It wasn’t a plan to destroy a building of significance or usefulness. Murder for the sake of murder.

Those poor people had done absolutely nothing, except be terribly unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And now they’ve lost friends, loved ones, or they’re terribly injured and clinging to life in a generic ward in a French hospital. 

Or worse, they’ve become a statistic. Tragedies like this are emphasised when people become statistics. It makes it seem less real when they’re just numbers, not people with families and lives. Apparently it makes it harder for people to empathise. 

And some of the people in this country have the nerve to blame the refugees and the innocent Muslims. There is an awful lot of prejudice in this country and this world. Blaming the refugees, of all people. I saw a post on Facebook that said something along the lines of, “Don’t you realise that these are the people the refugees are running away from?” Couldn’t have said it better myself. 

And the “All Muslims are terrorists” stereotype has to stop. I don’t understand how people can just generalise an entire group of people based on a handful of people who happen to share the same characteristic.

I am proud of the solidarity the world as a whole has shown against these people, but there is an undercurrent of prejudice and discrimination that can’t help to shed some light even in the darkest of times.

I will be praying for Paris and for the rest of the world tonight.

Love from,

XXX

Luck and Horoscopes

Dear Emma,

So this week I’ve been around a lot of horoscopes. Not sure why, but for some reason my mother has been discussing horoscopes with me, as have my friends.

I’m on the fence about horoscopes. The idea that just because you were born at a specific time of the year you immediately fit a set of pre-moulded characteristics is a little unrealistic, and I’m not really a fan. 

Although I do like the idea of a celestial being in the sky that helps me make my life decisions.

I mean, it can be fun to look at horoscopes every once in a while and laugh about what they say about your personality or future goals, but people who obsess over horoscopes and over-analyse them to the point of worshipping them like a Bible are, in my opinion, putting all their faith down to something as inconsistent as whether Venus is in the third house or not. It’s not exactly set in stone.

I understand why people like horoscopes: when I read mine there are many things that make me go, “I’m completely like that! It knows!” But that’s probably because the people who have written the horoscopes have included something that everyone can relate to. It’s not a set of rules.

Although I don’t believe in horoscopes, I do believe in luck. Ironic, huh? Whenever something happens that I think is out of my control, I think, “Damn, that was bad luck.” Or “That was amazing I have such good luck!”

I guess that does make me a bit hypocritical. But we humans do like to find ways to comprehend the world in, and ways to understand and, in a way, control the uncontrollable are always useful.  

Luck is mine. Other people use horoscopes, or karma, or even religion, and that’s good too. 

Love from,

XXX

P.S. This isn’t the most perfect post in the world, but I did write it on a train, so hopefully you can excuse me.

Letter to My Future Self and An Absent Letter from a Past Self

Dear Emma,

So for the past month or so – this post is a little bit later than I was planning it to be, but better late than never – I’ve been seeing everyone who is a part of the Teens Tell Their Story project writing letters to their future and past selves, and even though I was never a part of this project, I thought, Hey! That looks like a fun idea. I could make a post out of that. 

Funny story: When I was around 13 I came across a website called www.futureme.org and thought, Hey! That looks like a fun idea. I could write a letter to myself. So I properly went and wrote an essay to myself, probably full of emotion and all that, and then I scheduled it to be delivered to myself by email two years from that date.

So, the date that I scheduled it to be delivered on was about two weeks ago, and it didn’t turn up, which made me very sad. That letter is now lost forever, so who knows what I said. 13 year old me was a weird time.

Funnily enough, on that same night I accidentally called 999, but that’s another story.

—————————————————————————————

I realise that I’ve been rambling on for 200 words and I haven’t started writing a letter yet. Well done me. Okay, let’s go!

—————————————————————————————

Dear Me,

I don’t know what year it is when you’re reading this, but I’m assuming that it’s quite far away from now, 2015. Even 2015 is about to become the past, it’s November 1st and there are only two months left until the new year, which is both exciting and absolutely terrifying. I’m definitely not ready for 2016.

Just to set the scene, at the moment I’m listening to Right Here, Right Now from High School Musical 3, which has put me in a weird nostalgic mood. Can you remember the last time you watched High School Musical? If not, eleven-year old you is probably crying in a corner. Go and watch it right now! Hopefully you still remember all the words. I just discovered that I still do.

I hope you’re having a nice life. I’m assuming that you’ve finished university – oh God, I can’t even think about uni right now, I’m so undecided on my A-levels I don’t know how I’m going to make that decision –   and you chose a course that you’re happy with and you feel comfortable in, not one chosen for or by our parents or anyone else. 

There are two ideal versions of what job I want you to be doing:

1. Something that pays decently enough that you can enjoy life, but also a job that you enjoy doing.

2. You’re rich and famous because of something you love, like writing or singing and you can really enjoy life but make a difference to other people’s lives. Not gonna lie, I’m hoping for the second one.

Even if you aren’t rich and famous, I want you to be in a great career that doesn’t stress you out too much and that you enjoy. If not, remember it’s never too late to change.

I hosp you’re keeping in touch with all of your school friends. If not, go ring them right now. All of them. I’m ashamed of you for not keeping up your friendships. We have some incredible memories together, and I’m sure we’ll create some epic ones in years to come.

Right now, I’ll tell you a few of the things I’m worried about. My mocks are rapidly approaching, I’m worried that I don’t have any deep meaningful friendships, I’m terrified that people are judging me and getting the wrong impression of me, it’s going to be 2016 and then I have to pick my A-levels and then it’s my GCSEs and then after that, the thought of prom and leaving school is lurking in the back of my brain.

I hope that now these things seem silly and insignificant. I really do. I’m sure you’re worrying about much more important things. I’m really looking forward to it.

Hopefully you can still understand sarcasm.

I’m wondering how you’re going to come across this letter. I hope that one day you just remember the little blog you had as a teenager and rush to find it and go through all the posts. Then you really can remember what it was like to be a teenager, what it was like to be me, because you’ll have a week-by-week account. 

I guess the main reason why I’m writing you this letter is because I don’t want you to forget. I don’t want you to forget little teenage you who wants to be a writer and a singer and a Youtuber and has all these amazing crazy dreams and plans for the future before they’ve been crushed by the harsh realities of the real world.

I want you to remember that at one point the next Disney movie to come out was the most exciting thing ever, and your favourite colour was red and you loved lions and you wrote stories and songs and had pink fairy lights up in your room and listened to music and contemplated life. 

Right now I want do something meaningful with my life, and more importantly, something that means something to other people.

I don’t want you to forget this part of you, aka me, because if you let me down, you know you’re letting yourself down. You’re not giving up on our dreams, because I’m not letting you.

I could probably ramble on forever and I’m nearly in tears, but I’m going to stop now, so I guess my final words are be happy, never doubt yourself and your abilities, don’t regret anything, do all the things you love and then life will be great. 

Don’t give up, okay. I believe in you.

Lots of love,

15-year old you

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Love from,

XXX

Perspective

Dear Emma,

Perspective is a funny thing. Everyone’s got their own opinions and points of view, and sometimes it takes a long time for that to change. 

A slightly random example: up until the age of about nine years old I lived in a cul-de-sac down the the road from a park. It was literally the epitome of a simple life: my world didn’t stretch further than the houses of the kids that lived on my road, and maybe the park once in a while. We played in the street in the summer and had snowball fights in the winter. 

At the bottom of the garden there was a tree that we nicknamed the “Barney Tree”, because it was so tall that its height resembled Barney the dinosaur. Anyone remember Barney the dinosaur?

  
But anyway, in my opinion that tree was the largest thing on the planet, and no-one could convince me otherwise. 

Then, as I grew older, I ventured into the town with my parents, and there was a telephone mast in the centre of town. It was about three times the size of the tree. Needless to say my tiny mind was well and truly blown.  I began to realise that maybe that tree wasn’t the largest thing on the planet. 

So I went on with my life, until we moved house. We moved to a new area, and one of the more notable things about it was the fact that it was dwarfed by a power station. 

If I thought that the telephone pole was tall, then the power station was another thing altogether. The first time I saw it I stared at it in awe because I had no idea that anything could be that huge. 

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that nothing is set in stone. My world started expanding with the discovery of new things, and I realised that opinions can change in the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately it’s not always that easy. There are a lot of people in the world who completely refuse to have their minds changed, because they are stuck in them. They are so focused on what they know that sometimes they can’t open up to new ideas. 

I’m sure we can all be like that sometimes. Maybe all we need is a change of perspective. 

Love from,

XXX

My experiences with racism

Dear Emma,

So, racism. It’s one of the biggest causes of conflict between human beings, right up there with sexism, homophobia and religion. Sadly, it’s a lot bigger than we’d like it to be. There are hate crimes, there are murders, there are assaults. And I know that they are the most extreme forms of racism, but they happen. 

I’m not going to talk about that. What I’m talking about today is my own experiences with racism. As a person who is half-Asian, half-white, I’m not as “black” as some people, which has saved me from a lot of racism, I’m sure. 

And I put the word “black” in inverted commas because I really don’t like that word when used to describe people. 

But that definitely doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced some racial hate in my time. 

Actually there’s one moment that I can remember ridiculously clearly, because it was the first time that someone made me feel like I was different to everybody else.

I was eleven years old, and my primary school was putting on a production of Cinderella for our school play that year. Now, I like to act and I love singing, so I thought I could be Cinderella. Why not? My class was the oldest in the school, so I thought I would have a decent shot at the main part. 

I started learning the piece of Cinderella audition script and all was right in my little eleven-year old brain. 

It happened one day in the week before the audition when all of the girls in the class were on a bench discussing the play and what parts we wanted to be. In case you were wondering, there were only twelve of us. It wasn’t a massively large bench.

So when it came to my turn, I said that I was going to audition for Cinderella. That’s when this girl called Paige pipes up and says, “What? You can’t be Cinderella, you’re black!” 

The table went rather quiet, and I sat there silently, a tiny bit hurt, but mostly confused, because I’d never been called that before. I’d never felt like I was different from everyone else because of the colour of my skin. 

I started to look around, and realised that I was the only one with brown skin among a group of ivory-skinned girls. And I started to feel sad. Like I wasn’t good enough.

Sadly, I let that get to me, and I decided not to audition for Cinderella. Coincidentally, the girl they picked for Cinderella had fair skin, blue eyes and long blonde hair. Hmm. 

Now, I hope that the people I surround myself with are more accepting of me and my skin colour, because this generation is starting to realise that people are all the same, no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation etc. 

I understand that the girl who insulted me was eleven herself, and probably didn’t realise what she was saying. But it still hurt. And I hope that people of my age nowadays, and even eleven year olds nowadays, are starting to be taught in a way that accepts everyone. 

After all, we learn from our parents. The apple never falls far from the tree. 

Love from,

XXX

Apologies and Forgiveness

Dear Emma,

Today I’ve decided to write about something that actually affects me a lot more than I thought it would. 

You see, I’ve realised that I can be a bit of a pushover. I’ve never thought that my self-esteem was ridiculously low: I mean, I’ve had bad days. We all have. But I didn’t really realise how much I used to let people push me around. I’m actually surprisingly angry about it. I agreed with people even though my own opinions contradicted what they were saying. I lied, basically. I lied just so that I wouldn’t cause a conflict.

An example, and a Segway into the second topic in my title, is that I forgive people way too easily. Almost every time that someone has done something to offend me, I’ll instantly forgive them and just continue on. And while I completely understand that forgiveness is absolutely the right thing to do, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. 

The thing is, if you are too easy to forgive, you can reach a stage in a relationship with someone where they feel like they have the power to hurt you in any way they choose to, and you will always forgive them and never “fight back”. And it is a seriously unhealthy kind of relationship. 

I reached that stage in a few relationships in the past, but thankfully I saw sense and cut them off before something really damaging to my self-esteem happened.

Now, I’ve realised that there are situations where it is appropriate to forgive someone and move on, but there are also situations where the apology really shouldn’t be accepted until an equal, fair understanding between the two people involved has been reached. Especially when there has been a miscommunication or misunderstanding, and no-one has really seen both sides of the argument. 

I’ve also realised that there are many different kinds of apology. There is the genuine sincere kind that comes from a place of caring and emotion and remorse, but then there are the obviously fake “let’s just get over it” kind of apology. The kind that come from a place of selfishness and egotism and just plain meanness. 

If it takes a month for a person to apologise, they evidently don’t care about you enough to resolve your relationship. Also, if they choose to apologise to you, but then say “but”, and list the reasons why they were right to do what they did, that’s not an apology. That’s an excuse. That’s a weak attempt at trying to gain back your friendship.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be a pushover, make sure that you cut unhealthy relationships out of your life, and only accept the genuine apologies. If they don’t know how to apologise, they’re not worth having in your life anyway. Also, there are some conflicts that are definitely worth facing, not avoiding.

And finally, as my mother always used to say, “If you have to tell someone to say sorry, they’re not really saying sorry at all.”

Love from,

XXX

Expectations vs. Reality

Dear Emma,

Ah, the brain. Simultaneously the most exciting and terrifying place in the body. You see, there are many, many perks to having an overactive imagination, but there are also a lot of downfalls.

It really helps you to pass the time during a boring class, but then it can crawl into your bed during the late hours of the night and tell you ghost stories. And not the fun kind.

In my opinion, that’s not actually the worst thing the imagination can do to you. You see, sometimes it’s too good.

Sometimes you can spend hours lost in fantasy worlds, or sometimes just the real world, just better. Your crush asks you out, you secure the job of your dreams, and get everything you wish for.

And of course that’s great. Except we can’t live in that world forever. At some point we have to wake up and realise that the world isn’t perfect. It’s far from it.

I can’t tell you the amount of times when I have fantasised a situation in my head, and then when it actually happens it is so different to what I imagined I am instantly disappointed.

I really do need to stop doing that. It is actually quite bad for me, because it stops me appreciating what I have in real life.

It’s nice to imagine, but when reality comes crashing down around you again it can be a bit depressing to realise that life isn’t perfect.

So, just appreciate the things you do have, and don’t let your imagination run away with you too much.

Even if your daydreams involve unicorns.

Love from,

XXX

Why I Can’t Finish What I St-

Dear Emma,

Do you see what I did there? Okay, bad jokes aside, today I wanted to talk about something that is actually quite a big problem in my life.

I hardly ever finish what I start.

You see, I can only do things when I have some sort of motivation, but that motivation normally runs out at the end of the day I started doing that thing. So then it never gets finished.

Case and point: I must have started about ten diaries throughout various periods in my life, and yet I could never get beyond the first page. Don’t ask me why, I am just really really bad at finishing things. I’ve never finished a colouring book or even a notebook, sadly. 

I’ve started to write a million stories, but I obviously haven’t finished any of them. Is it a valid excuse to say that I couldn’t figure out a plotline? Some of them are pretty hilarious, actually. 

To be fair, now I am a little older I have started to get a little better with finishing stuff. Actually, this blog is a great example of something that I started over four months ago (wait, has it been four months already? Oh my god) and I thought that I would have given up within a week.

So I am getting slightly better.

I think this might be because the commitments I make now carry a lot more weight than they used to when I didn’t have any responsibilities. Or maybe, just maybe, I might be maturing…?

Hahaha. Okay, maybe not.

But I have several things that I have committed to that I need to keep on top of, instead of instantly stopping when I can’t be bothered. These things are only going to get more and more important, and I really should stop procrastinating and focus on my life a bit more.

Do I have a lazy streak? You tell me.

Love from,

XXX  

The Green Eyed Monster

Dear Emma,

I’m sure you can probably tell what this post is going to be about. Unless you have a weird mental picture of a monster with green eyes standing at the foot of your bed right now. There are two ways of looking at things.

Yes, I’m talking about envy. Don’t pretend that you haven’t ever been envious. No-one will believe you. 

Everyone has a few things they get envious about. And that’s been around since the dawn of time. It’s even one of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not covet.” But to be fair, back then there wasn’t much for people to covet, seeing as people’s most prized possessions were their pet goats. 

  
Actually, that’s a pretty good-looking goat. 

But nowadays we live in a seriously materialistic world. How many people are wandering around these days with Apple Watches and Segways and Mercedes and all those other things? A hell of a lot. And of course, that means that you want them in your life. 

Now I’m sure that there are people wondering, “Isn’t that jealousy?” Well, I actually had a look at the definitions of both (wow I am so organised) and here is the difference.

Envy occurs when we lack a desired attribute enjoyed by another. 
Jealousy occurs when something we already possess (usually a special relationship) is threatened by a third person.

So basically envy is when you want things that other people have, and jealousy is the fear of having those things taken away from you.

I’m sure we all feel both at some point. Sometimes the things we have seem too good to be true, so we live in constant fear of them removed from our lives. That’s why in all those romantic movies, someone always says, “I’m still waiting to wake up,” because they simply can’t believe what’s happening to them.

I guess that the main difference between now and the biblical times is money. That, or technology.

Money, “the root of all evil,” has become a hugely central part of modern life. We all would appreciate more money. I mean, who hasn’t dreamt of winning the lottery? Now, people can have all these extravagant (and sometimes hilariously unnecessary) things, if they can afford them.

If they can’t, then they’ll have to keep working.

Of course I know that you should “be happy with what you have,” but there will always be those moment where something inside of me just wants a thing, and common sense and rationality get thrown out of the window.

It’s a natural human trait, one of the original “four humors.” If you don’t know what those are, then check them out.

I think humans as a species are never, realistically, going to get over their envy problem. We just have to slowly learn to appreciate our own, without desiring anything else from anyone else.

Love from,

XXX

Better than Revenge

Dear Emma,

First of all, I’m just going to point out that this isn’t a post about Taylor Swift, even though I may have stolen one of her songs as the title. It is a really good song.

On a more serious note, I wanted to talk about something that has happened to my family this week. So, I have a younger sister, and throughout the past few months she has been subjected to name-calling, backstabbing and exclusion from one of her supposed “friends”. 

This “friend” has been drawing the attention of all of my sister’s other friends, urging them not to talk to her or play with her. She has even gone to the extent of pretending that her mother has emailed all of their mothers to talk about it. And this is a child who hasn’t even started secondary school.

I hadn’t known that this was going on, and neither did my parents, or even my sister. She is one of those two-faced brats who is sickly sweet to your face and talks trash behind your back. 

I’ve never really been sure why people are like that. Since when has it been “cool” to make fun of people and make them feel horrible?

Until my sister came home from school on Friday with her closest friend, who told us the whole story. It turns out that this same child has been horrible to lots of different people behind their backs over the course of time. 

Soon people like that realise that they won’t make long-lasting relationships, because people won’t be able to trust them. How will they know who their secrets are being told to?

It just happened to be that my sister was the current unlucky one.

When I heard about what this child was doing, I swear to God I wanted to punch her in the face for hurting my baby sister. I wanted revenge.

I then realised that although violence felt like an appropriate response, due to my anger, it wasn’t the most practical or sensible of solutions. There was a way to resolve it peacefully, even though I didn’t particularly want to.

Actually, it turns out that her friends had the same idea, because they all confronted the offending child that day. They pointed out that she didn’t have control over them or who they chose to talk to, and they actually didn’t feel like talking to her anymore.

I was so proud. Even though they are nine and ten years old, they clearly know the difference between right and wrong. They stood up to a bully without any kind of violence or meanness, and now my sister has her friends back.

There have been so many people throughout history that have spoken their minds and fought for what they believed in, without any actual fighting. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, to name a few. 

I realised that plotting revenge wasn’t exactly going to help anyone, and I would just end up making someone feel terrible just to make myself feel better. I would have succeeded, but at someone else’s expense. And that doesn’t really make me better than her. 

It is always right to stand up to a bully, but it has to be done in the right way.

Love from,

XXX

P.S. And the bully? I think she’s learning what it’s like to be as alone as she caused other people to be.