Saturday, 1 August 2015

Change of Web Adress

Hi guys,

My blog has moved to my website ( To keep up-to-date with my mad ramblings, check out my new blog!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

On Pain, Timing, Heartbreak, and All the Rest of that Character Building Stuff.

When I was a little kid, I never cried at anything important. I cried at stupid things, like being “hungry” (as in, I wasn’t actually hungry; I just liked to eat out of boredom. I still do), but I didn’t cry when my Nana died, and I only cried a tiny bit when my cat Bella died. Now I cry at practically everything. I think I started crying about actual sad things when I was somewhere between ten and twelve, and by “actual sad things” I mostly mean books. My emotional journey, and practically everything I’ve ever learnt about life, came from novels and the lessons they taught me.

The first book I remember being truly distraught at was John Dickinson’s “The Cup of the World”. It was my favourite book when I was twelve/thirteen, though I only ever read it once. I would repeatedly reread my favourite scenes, especially the one where Phaedra confronts Ulfin (page 400andsomething, I believe). I probably cried at “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” prior to this, but it’s “The Cup of the World” which I remember as the breakthrough book in terms of emotions.

As I come to the end of my sixteenth year, I cry at many things; I cry freely, and I cry too much. In The Fault in Our Stars, one of my all-time favourite books (do not read it, you will absolutely sob! But do read it because Augustus Waters is the most perfect guy to ever not exist), there’s this line “That’s the thing about pain; it demands to be felt”, and I have found that to be more and more true the more of life I experience.

I’ve changed a lot in the past few years. I used to be really shy, and scared of so many things. I’m still scared of things. Last night I actually jumped at my own shadow, which I think proves what a complete cliché I am (though I laughed a lot about it afterwards, because it is so incredibly cliché, and so am I, to some extent).
But I have changed, and my response to fear has changed with me. I have become gutsy and impulsive, and that terrifies me more than anything, because once I get an idea into my head, I will follow through with it, and that never works out the way I plan.

Over the past year or so, I have become more and more passionate about feminism, and I’m beginning to realise exactly what that means. It’s not always easy to practice what you preach. I’m forever telling my sister that “If you like someone, you have to communicate with them, you have to tell them how you feel, otherwise you can never move forward”. I’m always telling her to do that, but when have I ever done that? You can probably see where this is going now, right?

Today I did something very brave. It’s not the bravest thing I’ve ever done; the bravest thing I’ve ever done was go to secondary school after years of being homeschooled, but I’d say that this is a close second.

There was a guy (isn’t that how all the stories start?), and he was absolutely beautiful. He had dark hair, and really dark eyebrows which were juxtaposed to his pale face, and he had dimples, and the loveliest smile I had ever seen. He was intoxicating in the most calming way.
When I was fourteen, I bought a juice in a café, and the guy behind the counter smiled at me, and I knew then that he was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Afterwards, my sister said that the guy was really hot, and I felt really angry with her, because I didn’t want her to agree with me.

He’d be working in that café sporadically over the next two years, and whenever he saw me he’d grin at me and say “Hi, how are you?” even if he was in the middle of a conversation. He left an impression on me, certainly, but I didn’t see him enough for it to be at the forefront of my mind. Last May, though, I started working in that very same café. By this point, he was working in a different part of the same place, but he’d always come into the café to get ice cubes, or to just stand in the kitchen and talk to whomever was working. He still smiled at me, still asked me how I was, but it was different now, because it was more often, and he seemed even more beautiful than he had before.

There was only a month or so when we were both working in the same building at the same time, because he went travelling, and after that I only saw him once before he went to university. But he’s back now, for the Christmas Holidays, and he’s even more beautiful than I remembered.
I’ve used the word “beautiful” quite a few times now, so I’d just like to clarify that I don’t just mean he’s aesthetically attractive, or anything as superficial as that. He is incredibly attractive, but it’s not just that: it’s the way he smiles as if he’s completely enchanted by the person he’s smiling at, and it’s the way that he talks, and the way that he’s just so completely himself. I was enchanted by him – I still am.

Three days ago, I was talking about him to some women at work. Not in the context of “I really really like him”, because there was no way I was going to say that. But when I mentioned him, one of the women randomly said “You two would be good together”, and I suppose my blushing (and eventual agreement) gave me away, because a few minutes later I had four women telling me that I needed to ask him out.

At first, I was completely adamant that I could NOT EVER ask him out; because what if he thought I was stupid? What if he said no? What if he didn’t like me like that? What if he thought I was too young for him, or the distance was too much, etc?
The problem with me, though, is that once I get a really stupid and risky idea in my head, I just absolutely HAVE to do it. For anyone who’s read TRANSCEND, think of what happens in Chapter Eight. That storyline came to me in a dream, and I woke up and thought “No, I can’t POSSIBLY do that! It just wouldn’t work!” By the end of the day, I’d changed the entire plot of the novel to incorporate that idea into the story.

So you can probably imagine how I would react when I got the idea into my head that I should ask someone out. Especially given that it also meant I was proving my worth as a feminist. In a patriarchal society, girls are taught not to ask guys out, because girls are meant to be the passive sex, whilst guys are the motivated ones, the ones who are allowed to make all the moves. Whereas in a feminist society there would be true equality, and girls would be allowed to ask guys out.

So I decided that I would, no matter how nervous I got, and no matter how much I wanted to chicken out, I would do it: I would ask him out.

Here’s some life advice: don’t drink coffee when you’re nervous, because it will increase it tenfold. And don’t eat lemon cake and almond croissants, because they will bring you very close to throwing up.

So, after consuming way too much caffeine, with my heart battling the constraints of my chest the way a wild animal battles a cage, I did it. I asked him out. And he said he needed to think about it. I felt so ill. My entire body was composed of my heartbeat and nothing else, as though all my blood was trying to escape me. I had always known he was never going to say yes. He had been acting like he really liked me, but for all I know it could have just been my imagination putting a different spin on things to make it seem that way. And I couldn’t imagine him saying a straight-out no, because he’s too nice for that. So I had always known it wasn’t going to be an easy answer.

A couple of hours later he came up to me and explained why he couldn’t say yes: he was already seeing someone else. “Of course”, thought my deflated mind, “of course.” And beneath the raging sea of bitter disappointment, I knew that this was how it was meant to be, because that’s how it works. Nothing is simple in the way you want it to be.
He apologised, and he smiled his beautiful smile, and I still found him completely irresistible, but I knew that that was the end of my silly fantasies. For the second time today, I proved my worth as a feminist. Because feminism means you respect other women enough to never even consider chasing after another girl’s boyfriend, no matter how much you want to be with him.

So I smiled back, apologised myself, and went to the toilets and cried for a bit. Then I went and got a cup of tea, because not only am I a cliché, but I’m a British cliché. Then I went and cried some more, but it wasn’t proper crying, it was that awful thing where you try not to cry and your face gets redder and redder, and your lip trembles, and tears slide over the bottom of your eyes and down your face. I told myself to breathe; I told myself that I am a strong, independent, feminist woman who don’t need no man. Then I cursed myself for using a sentence with a double-negative in it, then I told myself to breathe, and left the toilets. Twenty or so minutes later, I went up to him and told him that I hoped he was really happy with her/him. He smiled slightly at the “him”, and said “She’s really nice”. I smiled back, and I gave him a quick hug and told him that if he ever changes his mind he knows where to find me (which I know is decidedly un-feminist, but the sad thing is that the patriarchy creeps into our actions no matter how hard we try to avoid it, because it has been conditioning us for our entire lives).

And then I walked away. I, Eliza Serena Robinson, the queen of Never Letter Things Go, walked away from the one person that I truly wanted, and that scares me like hell because it means that I’m maturing.

After letting myself be completely enchanted by his smile one last time, I left the building, and walked to the quietest part of town I could find, and cried more than I’ve cried in a very long time. And I didn’t stop myself. I didn’t try to tell myself that everything was okay, because I knew that it wasn’t. That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt. So I felt it, and it ached. It ached more than the end of Mockingjay, more than the end of Allegiant, more than the end of every book I’ve ever read. Because life is not a novel but at the same time it most painfully is.

There was so much foreshadowing, but I never guessed the way the plot would end. And sometimes the “happily ever after” you so wish for can only be once upon a time. And that hurts like hell, but it builds your character. And we’re not dead yet, so you never know. But it probably won’t happen, because why would it? I hope he’s really happy with this girl; I genuinely do, because he is beautiful, and he deserves to be loved, even if it’s not by me. And I hope that I’m happy with the cats which I intend to acquire, because all this has done is assist me on my way to spinsterhood and crazy-cat-lady-ness.

And hey, at least I’ve got something to write about. Because let’s face it, this will probably end up in one of my novels, because how can it not? Every time I feel hurt, another character is born deep inside of me, and one day that character will emerge, and grow, and the pain will go away.

I don’t know which of my characters have been born out of pain, and which out of curiosity, but I think I can guess. Phoenix is a character made out of pain. Phoenix was meant to be a nice, happy, bubbly character, and she was meant to be like the best friend I’d never had but always wanted. Instead she turned into the bitterest form of myself that it was possible to imagine, and if you read TRANSCEND you can see just how well she finally manages to overcome that. Phoenix transformed her pain, for the greater good, and I transformed my old pain, for my own good.

But Phoenix and I have learned the same lesson, and it’s that one person isn’t enough. Phoenix wasn’t happy with just Persephone, in the same way that I need more than the people I sometimes call my friends. Because everybody has other people, and when people have someone other than you, you’re going to end up alone.  I don’t have the person who’ll choose me over and over again, but maybe that’s because I’m not ready yet, or they’re not. Or maybe we haven’t met, or maybe we have. I don’t know. Timing’s a bitch.

Time works in a weird way. Because if I’d just asked him out at the end of the summer, he wouldn’t have met this girl, but I doubt he would have said yes to me, because it wasn’t meant to be back then, just as it’s not meant to be right now. I hadn’t grown enough back then. I’ve changed so much since starting Sixth Form, and I’ve grown into the person that I’m probably going to be for a while. But he’s grown in a different direction, and our paths just haven’t crossed at the right time.

Here’s the difference between me and Phoenix: I’m not angry. When Phoenix found out that Kai was with Abynechka, she: threw up, freaked out, joined the army, and hated Abynechka (okay, she hated her anyway, but this strengthened it). And Phoenix hated Kai, too. She hated him because she wanted him so much.
I don’t hate this guy – at all – because he’s lovely, and he deserves to be happy, and, let’s face it, I would have been the girlfriend from hell. And I don’t hate the girl that he’s with, either. How could I? I’ve never met her; I don’t know her. He says she’s really nice, so that means that she is really nice. And even if she’s not, he thinks she is, and that’s all that matters. I wish them well.

And if they don’t work out, and I’m still around, well then maybe… Just maybe… But I’m not going to focus on it for too long, because he isn’t mine to focus on, and I have enough self-respect to know when to let things lie.

So this is the end of the road: our paths have diverged, we’ve gone in different directions. In a week or so, he’ll go back to university, and he’ll be gone again for several months.
On Monday, I’ll be back at school. I’ll fall back into my old routines. I’ll do my schoolwork; write the five-or-so essays a week which will define the next two years of my life. I’ll spend all my free lessons hanging out in a tiny room in the English department, hiding away from the rest of my year-group. I’ll write my novels. I’ll read novels. I’ll pass my A Levels, and I’ll go to university, and I’ll follow my plans. Because some plans do work out (but only the ones which don’t involve other people).

I’m learning more and more often that there is a difference between plans and fantasies. Plans are something you can work towards, a means that you can follow to a definite end. Fantasies, though… well they can completely crush you. Fantasies don’t have logic or instructions; they are nothing more than spontaneous bouts of unacknowledged self-destruction. I spend a great deal of my life fantasising about all these different little things that I want to happen. The problem is my fantasies have never really come true, so somewhere deep inside me I don’t expect them ever to.

The things I want to achieve in my life, such as the grades I want in my A Levels, are things which I can plan, things which I can work towards… But anything involving other people, whether that is in terms of friends, or anything else, that’s something I can’t plan for. All I can do is cling on to the thinnest threads of hope as I fall blindly, headfirst, into the abyss.

But it’s the end of this year, so I should embrace the theme of endings, and focus not on the old, but on the new. Or even better than that, I should focus on something equally beautiful: continuation. So instead of heartbreak, or agony, or the cruelty of timing, I’m going to focus on the following things: finishing writing The Choices We Made; getting straight A’s in my A Levels (I’m getting close to straight B’s, so hopefully I’ll get there by next summer); rereading my favourite novels, and continuing to learn the lessons that they are teaching me; putting my all into school, and not getting distracted by beautiful boys with enchanting smiles; adoring my teachers the way I do; writing blogs to say all the things I can never say aloud; smiling, because that’s what life is about.

This year has been a series of challenges, but they have made me stronger; they have built my character, and pretty soon I may even be ready to be the protagonist in my own life-story, rather than the wacky, eccentric anti-hero. I learnt three things about myself today, and they are some of the most important things I will ever learn: 1) I am brave; so, so, so much braver than I thought. 2) I know when to be selfless, when to put other people first, and that if you truly care for someone, you’ll set them free, let them go their own way, rather than continuing to fight for a hopeless cause. And 3) I learnt the most important lesson of all: when to walk away. (And 4) sometimes you can feel so sad that you actually won't be hungry. I never knew that was possible).

And I have no regrets, not a single one. There’s nothing I did today that I would have done differently. Maybe everything happens for a reason, or maybe life is random and we are thrashed about at the universe’s whims. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s this: no matter what life throws at us, we can’t let it defeat us. Instead, we can let it help us grow. If life feels too much, remember that somewhere in the world, there are flowers which roll up into a dry skeleton plant for hundreds of years, waiting for the next rain. If they can survive, if they can live throughout the most impossible of odds, then so can we.

And if that fails, then listen to music. Whether it’s “leaning on a lamppost” or “almost lover” or “all about that bass” it doesn’t matter, because music is therapeutic. I myself will probably spend the brief remainder of this year listening to The Band Perry’s “Lasso”, because it’s the song which completely gets how I feel right now. Whether it’s “You looked at me and the stars lined up” or “I found all the clouds touch the ground / In this small town”, or the most simple of all: “You can’t blame a girl for trying”, that song completely understands my soul.

There are fewer than four hours left of this year, so now I must go and write a long, reflective, and completely pretentious-yet-somehow-true-to-myself diary entry about how much I’ve changed in the past twelve months, and eat Doritos and drink Chardonnay, and stay up till midnight, and hope that next year brings me happier times, and if it doesn’t, I’ll at least hope that it will bring further strength to my character.

I’ve felt sadder today than I have in a long while, but I don’t feel defeated. If anything, I feel energised and hopeful. Why? Because in spite of everything, I’m still smiling.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Some Brief Thoughts on Friendship and Hair Dye.

I am currently experiencing a dilemma.
For part of my Media AS coursework, I have to make a storyboard for a movie trailer, and then design film posters based on that storyboard. I decided to use the plot of The Choices We Made (the novel I am currently writing) as the inspiration for the storyboard. And so there are thirty+ drawings of my characters, mostly the protagonist, Katerina. I decided that I would use myself as the model for the posters, because I am a loner who prefers to work on her own, and doesn’t want to use someone else in her pictures. However, I began to find a problem with this. Katerina has long blonde hair, which was evident in the storyboard, and dominated both the mise-en-scene descriptions, and the impact of the lighting. I, however, have conspicuously not-blonde hair. So I’m considering dyeing my hair blonde for the posters, so that there are no continuity errors between the storyboard and the posters.

But dyeing my hair blonde would be a rather drastic thing to do, and I can’t decide whether it’s worth it. (And I’m scared it won’t match my eyebrows, and I’ll look really odd). The whole should-or-shouldn’t-I-dye-my-hair issue has highlighted another issue, and this issue is that I don’t have anyone I can go to for advice.

Every time I ask people for advice on things, the answer is always “don’t focus on it” “it will be okay” “just ignore them” “don’t do anything drastic” “don’t risk it”. Basically, it’s Leave Things As They Are, and Don’t Disturb The Natural Order. I, however, am a drastic person, and I don’t know whether I should be drastic, or whether I should fall into the comfortable trap of Always Being Careful.

To some extent, my preoccupation is purely “Is it worth dyeing my hair blonde?” but underlying that preoccupation is another one, and that is “I’m drowning in still waters”. I don’t have anyone who is also drastic; I don’t have anyone to tell me “Go for it!” “Do the thing!” “Take a chance, take a risk!” There’s no one to tell me to be brave, or to escape my comfort zone, so if I take that leap, I always have to take it alone. I don’t want to be told to stay unchanging forever, and I don’t want to be confined to how I’ve always been. I want to be brave enough to push forward, and take risks, even little ones (like dying my hair a colour which may not suit me). And I want a friend who pushes me to be brave and strong, someone who’s there for me both when I’m melancholy, and when I’m joyous, but also for the in-betweens, and for the indecision, and the worry. I want someone who’s there for everything, because I’m sick of feeling like it’s preferable to be alone.

I feel as though I’ve grown apart from the friends that I do/did have, because we’ve grown in separate directions. The direction that I’ve grown in is a bit diagonal, and not even I can see where it’s going. So maybe I push people away a little, and seek my own company rather than that of others, but it’s because I genuinely feel that I don’t belong anymore, if I ever did. I don’t know who I’m becoming, but I know I don’t want to grow into her alone. But I also know that I have to be careful of surrounding myself with people who are careful. Because careful will hold me back, and that may be more comfortable, but it won’t help me grow, and it won’t help me make decisions.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Thoughts, Feelings, Daydreams, and Bullet Points.

Lately I’ve been feeling deeply melancholy, and I can’t even quite figure out why. Perhaps it’s the darkness of autumn, or the rain and clouds that hover low in the sky like a smothering blanket. Or perhaps it’s just me, just my natural temperament. I always thought I was a naturally positive, optimistic person, as if I could only be one thing, that how I was on the surface was the same as who I was in my depth, but lately I have come to realise that that isn’t the case. On the surface I seem pessimistic, and beneath that is a layer of hopefulness, of optimism, and right at my core there is yet another layer of pessimism. Which am I? Am I hopeful or hopeless? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

It’s becoming harder and harder not to become completely embittered about life. It feels as though everything I want is just being pushed further and further into the future, and I have nothing to look forward to in my life (apart from the fact that the Mockingjay movie comes out in three weeks!!! :D #justsayin’). I have hopes and dreams and plans of how I want my life to go, but right now they’re less than a shadow – they not real to me except in my dreams, or my daydreams.

I like to think that I have a nice firm grip on reality, but I spend at least 80 percent of my time daydreaming and making little stories in my head of how things will turn out, and they almost never happen the way I want them to. I can only think of one occasion where one of my daydreams actually happened. I had been thinking about someone I knew and hadn’t seen in a while, and my mind just drifted off into flights of fantasy (the way it always does). I saw him a couple of days later, and it went almost identical to how it was in my head. But that was the exception, not the rule. Generally, if something I want to happen does happen, it will happen with a twist, making it something that I don’t really want. Because life’s fair, you know?

The thing about my unrealistically optimistic daydreams is that it’s not that unlikely that they will happen; it’s just about circumstance and timing. I know what I want, and when I want something, I will go after it with all I’ve got. I’m not going to use the term obsession, but that’s pretty much it. I don’t really have any hobbies – unless you count writing, reading, and over-thinking – so when I decide there is something I want to gain or achieve, I will work towards it with all the strength I possess.

I know what I want to do in my life:
  • I want to go to Oxford University and study English Literature & Language.
  • I want to travel all over the world, and go to places like Russia and Estonia (because CONSEQUENCE, AMEND, and TRANSCEND are set in those countries, so I can be like “Yeeeaaahhh! Half my characters are going to be murdered here in about three hundred years! Isn’t that absolutely fantastic?!”), New York (city of dreams, and I’m such a dreamer), Nashville (because I love country music) and I want to go to places that no one has heard of as well, because that would be totally amazing, to just get lost in some far-flung corner of the world.
  • I want to get married
  • I want to have children (this is all obviously when I’m at least a decade older than I am now); so long as they’re not evil monsters.
  • I want to write loads of books which will become world-renowned best-sellers that millions of people will read and fall in love with and see themselves in. I don’t want to be famous or anything, but I want my books to be famous.
  • I want to have a really successful career, whether that’s as an author or as anything else I choose to be.
  • When I grow old, I want to be one of those cool old ladies that are really eccentric and people are all like “oh my gosh, what on Earth has Granny done now?”
  • Mostly I just want to be middle-aged. I don’t know why, but that is my life aspiration. I want to be late thirties-early forties, married, with like four kids or something, I want to write loads of books and stuff, but I just want to be settled in a nice, quiet (but still awesome and passionate) routine after having spent twenty years doing loads of amazing things.
  • I also want to go to protests and wave placards in the air and fight for a better world.

Out of all the things on the list, how many of them aren’t possible? (Marriage, maybe?) Even going to Oxford, which seems quite a challenge isn’t that impossible. To study English, I need to get three A grades at A Level. I’m two months into Year 12, and my current grades are this:
English Lit: B
History: D (cries a thousand tears)
Media: B
Philosophy: A (hell yes!!!!!!!!)
Apart from the trauma that is my History grade (it physically hurts me to get such an awful grade) I’m pretty close to three As already. I have close to two years to get the grades I need, and, on top of that, because I am (sadly) in a Comprehensive school, I have 80 percent more chance of getting into Oxford or Cambridge than somebody from a private school, because the top universities have to pay a fine if they don’t let “ordinary” people in. So dream no.1 isn’t as impossible as it sometimes feels.

Dream number two is probably slightly more expensive, but still completely possible, as are all my dreams (okay, I don’t know how possible it is for my books to become world-renowned best-sellers, but hey, never say never).

It is my short-term goals which feel as though they’re blocked by insurmountable obstacles, because these goals aren’t things you can achieve by getting good grades or saving up money. My current goals are this:
  • To no longer be isolated. To have friends who understand me, who hear me when I’m quiet, who accept me for me, and who choose me again and again. I want to find my tribe, the people I belong with, people who I click with.
  • I want people at school to stop talking crap about me, and I want random thirteen-year-olds who I don’t even talk to to stop laughing at me for stupid things which really aren’t their business.
  • I want more people to read my books.
  • I want to be happy (which I’m not).
  • I also want things such as: to get paid more; to be able to drive (only three months till I can start learning); to get a car once I’ve learned to drive; to do more fun things (I don’t even know what fun is); to have more spare time, rather than writing five essays a week and falling asleep the moment I get home from school. But these little things aren’t impossible, they just take time. It’s the rest of the list which doesn’t feel possible.

That’s why I feel sad: because I feel lonely even when I’m with other people, and because so many people laugh at me, and because I’m unhappy. I’m so unhappy. I don’t connect properly with people my age. No matter how hard I try, I just don’t fit in. I’m not saying I’m special, or that I’m better or worse than anyone else, and I’m not romanticizing my differences, or anything else that people have said I apparently do in my blogs; I am simply saying how I feel, and how I feel is completely alone, because I don’t know how to be normal.

I hate being the age that I am (I’ve already mentioned that I’d rather be middle-aged). I don’t want to be so young, because I don’t feel like I am. I want to have life-experience, and I want to have been to lots of places and seen lots of things. I still want an amazing future, but I also want an amazing past.

I have come to realise that time is the answer to practically all of my problems, but the problem with time is that it’s not in the present moment, it’s something in the future, and I don’t know when it will be, and until then I have to find a way to make the best of what I have right now, rather than being so miserable about things that will one-day end. Even school, which feels like it will last forever, will be finished in twenty months, at least four of which will be half-terms/holidays, plus two days off for weekends, so that twenty months quickly diminishes, and isn’t half as much time as it seems. Before I know it I’ll (hopefully) be going to University (hopefully Oxford), and my life will be completely different (hopefully). I have so much to hope for, so much to wish for, and maybe my hopes and wishes aren’t real right now, but one day they could be. So until then I shall live in my little dream world, and revel in the fact that Taylor Swift released an album a couple of days ago (and quote lyrics from that album on every possible occasion), and I shall strive to get the grades I need, and when my twenty-month sentence is done, I shall be out of here, and move on to greater things (hopefully).

And if all else fails, I can become a hermit in the Scottish Highlands, or the Himalayas, or maybe the North Pole, and I can get a really big cat to snuggle, and read lots of books, and everything will be okay.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Grenzy – A Feline Obituary

When I was four years old, a stray cat came into our home, and she never left. I remember Mum said we had to wait till Dad came home before we decided whether we could keep her or not. When we did indeed decide that she would stay, we found her a little basket, and put into it a pair of my trousers that had a hole in, so that she would have somewhere comfortable to sleep. This cat was called Bella (which I believe foreshadowed my sister’s Twilight obsession.)

Bella died a year later, but not before she had left us with five beautiful kittens: Athena, Maria, Gretel, Elvis, and Demeter. Gretel was “mine”, and she was named after Gretel from The Sound of Music (which I was obsessed with when I was five). Gretel went through a series of names, including Gwaup (pronounced Gwoop) and Grempseed (as in hempseed), and eventually became Grenzy, which she was known as for the rest of her life. Grenzy lived for 11 years, 4 months, 6 days, and 4 hours.

Recently, Grenzy hadn’t been well. She had lost so much weight and she had a permanent cold. She was emaciated, and she sneezed all the time, and she peed everywhere, and she was incredibly ill. She was put down yesterday, and we found out that she’d had a really bad case of cat flu.

I didn’t come to the vets with Mum and Dad. I could have, it wasn’t till after school was finished. But I didn’t want to. I’m a coward, and I didn’t want to see my cat die. I didn’t come outside when Mum and Dad buried her. I didn’t give her a cuddle before they took her to the vet. I’m a coward, and I hate myself for it. Yes, she was in a horrible condition when I last saw her, but that’s no excuse for my cowardice. Grenzy was my best friend when I was a child. I was the first human she saw when she was born, and I should have been there at the end, but I wasn’t, because I’m selfish.

Grenzy was the most diverse playmate I could have hoped for, but in retrospect, I think it was probably cat abuse. I carried Grenzy for the first sixth months of her life, and by “carried” I mean I held her upside down, carried her around in a bag, draped her around my shoulders, let her sit on my head. I once put her in a sandal so that she could “drive a car” up my sister’s back. She fell off Bethany’s (my sister’s) head. My grandmother once broke a shelf up into individual cradles for the kittens, and I dressed Grenzy and Demeter up in dolls’ dresses, and put them to bed in there. Grenzy was my baby, my best friend, my cat, and the first thing I loved completely whom I wasn’t related to.

Grenzy would feature heavily in the games I played. She was obviously romantically linked with the knitted Tom Kitten toy that my Dad’s auntie made me for my seventh birthday, and she was obviously a rival to Ty, my toy cat (who was also in a relationship with Tom Kitten). (My childhood games were scarily similar to some of the books I write), and she was the “mother” of half the china dolls I used to collect. The games involving the china dolls were very…disturbing (not just because they had a cat for a mother). Grenzy used to come into my room during the night, and I’d wake up to her sleeping on my head. Grenzy was my everything for so long.

But things changed. I grew up, and decided I didn’t want to be covered in cat fur all the time, and so I stopped cuddling her, stopped loving her quite as much as I used to. And on top of that, there were other cats. We gave most of the kittens away (except Elvis, who probably got sick of being pushed in and out the cat door whilst Dad said “Elvis has left the building”, and decided to leave). Bella died. We got a new cat, Henry, but he ran away after only two months. Henry was a complete legend; he had so much personality. He would lie, spread out, in the middle of my bed, so I would have to sleep half on the bed and half on the windowsill, and he’d stick his head in people’s armpits.
After Henry came William, and, later, Charlie. William is the most adorable, massive ball of fluffiness to ever exist. He’s a short-haired Persian who had to leave his previous home because he wasn’t very nice to the thirteen-year-old cat that he lived with. And so he became ours. I put my fingers into his cat-cage on the way home, and he licked them, and that’s when I fell in love with him. He’s cute and cuddly, and unbelievably grumpy, and he’s the squishiest, cutest thing ever. William took up some of the love that had been designated for Grenzy, and I don’t know how to forgive myself for that.

Then came Charlie, “The Ginger Whinger”, who never stopped meowing, and had a tendency to pee everywhere. Charlie didn’t get on with William, and after two years, we decided it was best for Charlie to go back to the animal rescue centre (“we” being Mum and Dad).

William and Grenzy lived in peace together for the rest of her life – some of their most adorable moments were when they would curl up on the same armchair, looking so incredibly cute. But Grenzy became more and more unwell, and yesterday, she was dead. Put down. Killed.

Grenzy was manipulative, possessive, controlling, and she wanted to be as close to people as they would allow; closer, even. But she was loving, also. She would curl up on people's laps, and purr, and dig her claws into them. She was so friendly, so lovely, and she's gone.

I don’t know how to deal with her being gone. I feel guilty – I wasn’t very kind towards her recently; I didn’t cuddle her, I didn’t stroke her, I got irritated when she tried to come in my room and sleep/sneeze on my bed. But I did love her; I still do, and that will last forever.

 Grenzy, the ultimate photo-bomber.
 William, my only remaining cat.

 Me and Grenzy, when we were young:

Saturday, 20 September 2014

An Allegory to Express Thoughts/Feelings, and Some Stuff About How I Feel Right Now

For a while now, I have been meaning to write another blog about school. I wanted to write about how much I love sixth form, how great the lessons are, how much I adore my teachers. That’s what I want to write about, but right now I can’t, because there is something else on my mind, something that brings out the passion within me, the passion for justice. It may seem like a small problem, and compared to almost every inequality in the world, it is a small problem, but to me, it isn’t small. To me, it is the undercurrent to everything I do, it is the public-opinion poll to my life, and every time I do a single thing, it is there, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting to strike out, and even when it doesn’t, I am haunted.

This thing I am referring to is the way certain individuals react to me. I would like to state that I am not making a generalization, and I am not saying lots of people are like this, and I am not insulting the school (because I really do love being at school), I am just talking about a few people – maybe even just one or two people, I am not sure.

There are a few individuals who dislike me for a reason that I do not know, and they seem to find it amusing to comment mean things on my blog, an example being: “Hello there. id like to order 10,000 copys of your book in preparation for bonfire night. thankyou.” This is one of the less mean ones.

I know that it is not very mature of me to write a blog about this, but I want to express how I feel, and right now I feel that this is the only way I can do so, so here goes.

I used to assume that people from school didn’t read my blog, because why would they? It’s not like people have a lot of spare time, so why would they spend it reading what tends to be about 1,500 words of my thought process?

Then when people did start commenting nasty things on my blogs – and they made the mistake of using their real name – I presumed that they would stop after I confronted them, because I knew who they were so I could just report them. No, they just switched to using anonymous.

I’m a massive fan of allegory and metaphor, so I’m going to tell a little story.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who could weave entire worlds with her hands. The worlds were – to her – the most beautiful tapestries that anyone had ever laid eyes on, because within the silken threads she could see her entire soul, every thought she had ever had, every person that had ever influenced her, every decision she had ever made. They were her, made into a material object. They made her more than a person. They were arrows through her bow. They weren’t her, but she sent them on their way, into the world, helped them live in their own right.

In some ways, the girl was proud of the tapestry-worlds that she had woven, but mostly she was humble, because they were just her entire being, that was all. She didn’t realise how much she needed them until the boys began pulling out the threads. At first it was only one single thread at a time, and it didn’t hurt too badly, because the image was still complete, she could still see the world within the tapestry. Then the boys began to tear out multiple threads at once, and – although she could still see the world – she could no longer see herself.

By tearing threads out of the tapestry, they were tearing threads out of the girl. She had put so much of herself into the worlds she created, but all that the boys saw was a piece of fabric, and they didn’t like fabric, and they didn’t like her. They had taken away parts of her, and they didn’t realise or care. They had stolen the worlds she created, taken them for themselves.

There were many kind people in the girl’s life. Some of them looked upon the tapestries and saw the girl’s true face, and others didn’t look at the tapestries, but they helped her when the threads got tangled, and – to her – that was sometimes even more important, because we can’t do everything on our own.
But as the boys stole more and more of the threads, the girl felt more and more alone. She had lost some of the people – maybe because they misinterpreted the tapestries, misinterpreted her, or even because when they looked at the girl they didn’t like what they saw.

The girl was frightened to lose more people, frightened to be alone. She considered compromising, considered discontinuing the creation of the tapestry-worlds, because maybe then friendship would be easier to come by. But she was too far gone, because she already had quite a reputation. Even if this was not the case, the girl could not give up the tapestries, because they were a part of her very being. They were her soul, woven into silk and velvet.

There were still kind people, and she treasured them all the more because of those she had lost. But she was wary of them now, wary they would abandon her. She was terrified of being completely alone. So she became more and more solitary. She would spend her free time by herself, creating another tapestry-world, and she would eat on her own, because she didn’t want to plague anyone with her company. But the girl grew lonelier and lonelier, and when her sister moved away she created a small tapestry to express her feelings. When these boys saw this tapestry they made cruel jokes about burning many of the girl’s favourite tapestries, for no reason other than pure spite and disrespect for the girl’s feelings.

The girl didn’t know how to respond to this. She wanted to talk to a friend about it, but she didn’t want to bother the few that she had left, so she kept it to herself. She wanted to tell someone in a position of authority about it, but she wondered if perhaps that was pointless, because she had no real evidence of who was behind the cruelty, even though she knew exactly who the perpetrator was. The girl contemplated quitting weaving tapestries. She could try hard to be ordinary, try to be accepted, but she wouldn’t be true to herself. So the girl chose instead to weave another tapestry-world, and hope that rather than pulling out the threads of this one, the boys would see themselves within it, and maybe see the harm they had caused to her. She hoped, and hoped, and hoped, that maybe one day they could learn to be kind, learn that there is no reason to be cruel. But deep down, she knew that there is no point in trying to change people. Yet she kept weaving, a single thread at a time, and hoped that the picture she created might one day make a difference.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: there is no need to mock my books. You don’t need to read them; you don’t need to even think about them. If they bother you, pretend they don’t exist, it’s that simple. But don’t make me feel bad for them, because they are a part of me as a person, they are a part of who I am, and I do not go and tear you down to make myself feel better, because that is just plain mean. There is no reason for people to be cruel, no reason at all. Imagine how much nicer a place the world would be if we could all be kind to each other.

There have been so many times when I have felt that if I could just be normal, then maybe people would like me. But I came to realise that that is complete bullshit. If I were “normal” I wouldn’t be myself, therefore people wouldn’t like me, they would only like a mask.

I refuse to become a mask.

There are people in this world who like me for who I am, and even if they are few and far between, they exist. I am not going to tear myself down because a couple of teenage boys can’t seem to accept that I have different interests to some people. There are kind people in the world, and those are the people I intend to focus on, not the nasty ones. In the end we can only be ourselves: nothing more, and nothing less.

All I strive to be is someone bright, someone shining, like one of the many stars in the sky. I don’t want to be the centre of attention; I just want a light, want to be part of a group that shine as bright as each other. But these people are like black holes to me, and they steal all my light. (I have used the black hole simile in AMEND, but I can reuse my own ideas, right?) But now I feel that I will become the black hole, and that is the last thing I want.

I would also like to say that, other than these few individuals, I really do love sixth form. Every day when I go into school, I feel happy and positive, and I usually leave at the end of the day still feeling happy and positive. My teachers are amazing. I may not have a lot of friends at the moment, but I am content. I like school, I really do. There are so many good things about it, and it is sad that bad feelings always seem to outweigh the good. But I am trying my hardest to think only of the good, because there is so much good in the world, so much good in my world.

I want to dedicate this blog to the people who have been kind to me, whether it be recently or in times long past. Whether you be people from school, or people from work, whether you’re someone I see every day and talk to all the time, or someone I bumped into for the first time in ages and only talked to for a short while, you all mean so much to me. To the people who’ve listened when I needed someone to listen, or hugged me when I needed someone to hug, thank you. Something may seem little, may seem insignificant, but things build up, and a build-up of good things is so much better than one of bad.

Kindness is currency; kindness is what pays our way in the world. Kindness, not cruelty, gets us by, and that is what we need to remember.

Two Steps Behind (thoughts on my sister's departure for university)

Eighteen and a half years ago, the world’s biggest drama queen was born, and her name was Bethany. 22 months later, she gained a younger sister, who also had melodramatic tendencies, but not enough to steal the crown of the world’s biggest drama queen. This sister was called Eliza, and she was me.

This morning, Bethany left to go to university in Wales, four hours away. Where there were two, there is now one. Bethany and I haven’t always gotten on very well. When I was about five, she used all my blue water-colour paint to write out the word “Cinderella” and I still haven’t quite forgiven her. On the rare occasions that I actually convinced her to play dolls with me, she would spend the entire time doing their hair, dressing them up, when all I wanted to focus on was the story. We disagreed on most things. But, in spite of her always stealing my make-up, and using my laptop without asking, she’s my sister, and even though she’s only been gone ten hours, I miss her.

Being homeschooled for most of my life, my sister was my best and only friend. She drove me completely mental, all the time, because we were so different, but she’s still the one who’s been there for my entire life, and now she’s gone.

Like it or not, Bethany was one of my greatest influences. She was the oldest: the first to walk, the first to read, the first to leave. I was always two steps behind, and now I’m walking alone.

Who am I without her? Who am I when I don’t have anyone’s mistakes to learn from? I’m me, and I know who I am, but I don’t know who I am when I’m the only child left. She’s 22 months older than me, and she’s an adult, so where does that put me?

Where do I fit into her life now? She’s going to make so many friends that I’m never going to meet, and she’s going to have so many boyfriends that I’m never going to scare… She’s going to have an entire life that I'm not part of. But my life will be pretty much the same as the one she knew me to have: I’ll go to the same school, I’ll have the same friends, I’ll have the same teachers, the same problems, the same house, the same family, the same self. She’s leaving me behind, she’s moving forward. I’m staying right here. And maybe that’s okay.

Life changes for different people at different times. Everything’s sped up for her right now, but maybe it will be my turn soon, and maybe it won’t. That’s the thing about life: we never know what’s around the corner, we never know where we’re going to go next, or who we’re going to see, and we never know who we’re going to become.

I've lost my sister for a while, but maybe by stepping out of her shadow, I will be able to fully become my true self.