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Monday, 16 May 2016


I would say that the greatest people are not those who suffer or those that glide through life, untouchable and unscathed. But instead, those that go through life exactly like the rest of us: with all its bumps in the road, both good times and bad. Managing times that are extremely insufferable as well as things that are just the same mundane normal. But what sets great people apart from everyone else, is their ability to experience all these things, whilst simultaneously making something of themselves. Something that will set them apart from everyone else, because whilst it may not be obvious to others, these are the people that no matter the situation are able to retain their own sense of belief, faith and self – something that agreeably sets them apart.

The troubling thing however, is how we can maintain this no matter what the circumstances are. It does not seem human to be able to remain upbeat even in the hardest of times, but what is more, to consistently stay motivated to carry on, through this relentless journey of life. It seems almost robotic to expect those that are great to be able to uphold a certain standard, regardless of what they may be facing. Their perceived greatness almost dictates this assurance, that they will remain consistent in their beliefs, always sure of who they are and where they are going. It is therefore our need of someone else’s greatness, rather than to be great ourselves that we thirst for.

I would then perhaps say that whilst being great is what we look for, in some ways, a deeper version of ourselves does not strive for ‘greatness’ but it strives for motivation. It longs for that feeling of purpose and responsibility. The knowledge that what you are doing has meaning and the effort you are putting in now, will allow you to reap rewards in the future. You want to know that you are sowing the seeds right now, for a life later where you will stand in the midst of your fields, reaping in the produce of tiresome hard work, that months before seemed like an impossible task.

So maybe then, if it is motivation that we seek, less so ‘greatness’ then we admire in those we perceive to be ‘great’ not their ability to remain consistent throughout, but their motivation to see that their actions now will still contribute to whatever the consequence may be later. The ability to remain faithful to the idea that we must continue no matter what else life presents us with, so that one day we will be presented with the reward that we have earned.

Rather we must learn to maintain faithfulness in our actions and seek to work in an area that we find fulfilling in order that our ‘greatness’ comes easier. For ‘greatness’ I believe, cannot be measured in the amount that we suffer, but instead is measured individually, on what we do with the means that we have to turn whatever it is, into something of worth.

-LF, LR and MG xx

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

And so it ends

My school is a funny place. My school is a crazy place. My school, isn't really a school at all. Seven years at the most ridiculous, loving, nurturing, educational institution has taught me lots of things.

Yes, it's taught me English, Maths, Science, History, Geography and a modern language. But it also taught me compassion, maturity, understanding and depth. My school gave me friends, but most importantly, my school gave me a family. A safe space, a place to go when it felt like the whole world had turned their back on me.

My school, in all its strange and innately unorganised ways taught me to be who I am and to be proud. It taught me to love myself, to respect myself, and to love and respect others - no matter who they are and where they come from.

And so, as my long and strange journey comes to an end, I feel the need to write about my school, a place that has seen me grow up more than any place else.

My school gave me role models. It gave me the opportunity to grow up with the most unbelievable positive influences surrounding me. People that showed me that there were ways to be good, kind, honest and dedicated people, all the while being real. People that demonstrated real strength. People that were smart and sweet, badass and funny. These people that brought me up, and showed me kindness for no reason other than that is the kind of people that they are.

A while ago, my friend and I discussed that my school is pretty much run by strong, successful and powerful women - and how cool that was. But I think it goes beyond that. Because growing up with strong, beautiful, unbelievable women who all have their own stories, some of which I have been privileged enough to know, has showed me how to be a strong, successful and groundbreaking women. It has showed me how to achieve my goals and how to build myself up, whilst building up others around me.

My school also showed me how to be brave. It allowed me to fight on my own, and also to fight with support. They showed me how to love and care and cry all the while doing things for other people.

My school has given me so much more than I can ever give it. My teachers have taught me more than I can even begin to explain. My friends have shown me friendship that has an unlimited capacity. And whist this all sounds very cliche, I can't even begin to explain how it really is not.

Because yes, my school is a school. It teaches English, Maths and Science. But my school has taught and given me so much more. And for that, I will always be grateful.

I don't think words will ever really be able to fully express how much my school has done for me, and moreover, how much I am going to miss it and everyone in it. But in my school we have a saying - 'you can take the girl out of Hasmo, but you can't take the Hasmo out of the girl.' And as much as I know that is true, I really hope it will be the same for me.

-LF, LR and MG xxx

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Swimming in the Dark

The best bit about swimming is the silence under water. At the surface everything is going on - kids splashing and shouting, adults doing lengths and kicking. It is pretty chaotic above the water. But when you immerse yourself in the water, it feels like silence is falling like a blanket over your head. You can see everything going on, but there is a stillness that pervades the air. That's my favourite part, when everything is crazy and loud but all it takes is ducking under the water and suddenly everything just slows down and there is near silence.

When things are crazy around me, I often try and escape in my head to that place under the water. I close my eyes and imagine the silence and stillness that makes me so calm. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But when it does, I can escape to a place that no one else has access to. 

Sometimes life can be really isolating. Your experiences are yours and yours only, and although that means that you have within you a very specific and special set of tools, it also means that sometimes you get lonely. And sometimes you get so lonely that the whole world feels like it's filled up with water, and you're trapped inside a really big, lonely, swimming pool. But instead of feeling light and free, you feel scared and alone. Really really alone. 

The worst part of this feeling is that not only can no one access you, but you can't reach anyone either. It feels like everything around you is unreachable, locked. And the silence that you used to love begins to drive you mad, and makes you want to run in the rain or smash plates at a wall or scream into a pillow, just to break the boundary between sound and silence. 

And although you can't pinpoint the silence, or work out what is making you so sad, all you can do is wait until the feeling has surpassed, wait until your head comes up from the water, and you can breathe again. Sometimes this takes minutes, sometimes it takes days, or months and for some people it takes years. 

But when it feels like there are rocks in your stomach, or pains in your heart, like your ears are blocked or your head is filled with cotton wool, you should just know that sooner or later, you will regain feeling. You'll take a really deep breath one day and begin to hear your heart beating once more. So just hold on. 

You know, I write these posts to write the truth, to expose something to other people, and to educate. But more often than not, I write these posts to myself, because sometimes the words that are hardest to hear are the ones we feel the deepest. So to me, and to you, your head will come back out of the water soon, I promise.

LF, LR and MG xx

Monday, 28 March 2016

Why can't I dream big?

From a young age, I was the type of child to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. At first it was a vet, like most children I suspect, as I had a love for animals and all creatures of the earth. But soon, I grew out of that dream, and moved on to another one. My mum did a psychology degree, so my next dream was to be a psychologist. And when I had exhausted that idea, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. I settled on being a lawyer and for the next year or so, thought about all the things I would do once I had my degree. When people asked me what type of lawyer I wanted to be, and I didn't know, they told me to go into corporate law, because that is where the money is. So that summer, I did a week of work experience in a corporate law firm, and was extremely bored. At 16 I decided law wasn't for me, and began to search for something else to reach for.

Luckily for me, only a few months later, I began to fall in love with writing, and discovered that I'd rather do something that I love every day for the rest of my life, than something that was big and corporate but made a lot of money. Writing makes me feel fulfilled, it makes me feel happy and it also makes me feel like I'm making a difference. 

So when people asked me what I want to do when I'm older, I responded happily and confidently that I want to be a published author. This was when I began to notice that the response to my career aspirations were usually met with raised eyebrows, condescending concern and some sort of ill thought out advice. The most common response I get is something like "Well I hope you'll be the next J K Rowling because otherwise you won't be very successful." I love J K Rowling and I am very much part of the Harry Potter Fandom, so my point next should not be taken as a criticism of her unbelievable talent and hard work. 

But it is comments like this that make me believe that as a society our definition of success has changed so significantly. Rather than measure success in how much of an impact one makes in the world, we measure success in how much money a person makes. Now, I'm not naive enough to believe that money doesn't play a role in our lives, but I do genuinely believe that we should not let money be the indicator for how successful we are. 

When I tell people I want to be a published author, the follow up question is usually about what I want to publish. When I respond by saying that I want to write things that change the world, people have lost me all together. But why can't I dream big? Why can't I write something that changes the world, and publish things that change the way we think. Why can't I use my skill to do something good instead of just thinking about how much I am going to earn? Because when I talk about writing, I mean writing to educate. Writing to educate people around me about things that go on that aren't spoken about enough. Writing to bring awareness and writing to change the way we think so that we are more tolerant and accepting and happy with who we are. 

So the answer is that I can dream big. I can change the world with my writing, even if it's just my world. I don't have to be motivated by money, and nor do you, if you don't want to. It's going to be a darn sight harder to make it big in this world, but then again is that what really matters? 

Maybe I will be the next J K Rowling, but on the very large chance that I'm not, all I want to know is that I can still dream big and change the world with my writing, regardless of the number in my bank account. 

LF, LR and MG xx

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Who is Moral?

I asked google to define what a moral person is. Google said that a moral person is someone who 'conforms to a standard of which is right and good. This implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right or wrong.'

The psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg uses four stages to explain the development of morality. These stages work on the understanding that as a person goes through cognitive development, their morality develops to. If abiding by this theory, we should believe that people start off with a very limited perspective on morality; using our role models to determine from a young age, right from wrong. As we develop, we should therefore seek to determine our own code of morality, partially based on societal values, and eventually depart from societies conventions or 'accepted notions' as google called it, and make moral decisions based on our own understanding and perception of right and wrong.

When understanding Kohlberg's theory, I struggled to believe that this quantification of an abstract concept could truly be used as a tool for which we define the development of said moral compass. Yet, when grappling with this idea, I saw my issue was not the abstract concept, but rather the way the definition of a 'moral' person tends to over simplify the human condition.

According to Kohlberg, a person that chooses to return an item that they have purchased amongst other items but not paid for, is morally upstanding. This person, theoretically, has achieved stage 5 in moral development. But does this make them a 'moral person'?

I sincerely doubt it. To me, Kohlberg's theory seems to suggest that one morally upstanding act means that you are a morally upstanding person. But what about the person who returns the item to the store, yet is cheating on his wife? Or the person who hides behind his charitable public persona, but beats his children and abuses his wife? Kohlberg's theory didn't seem to have any answers to the real moral dilemmas that people are faced with. To me, the essence of a truly moral person is someone who acts in private exactly how they would in public - if they give charity publicly, they would do this privately as well. A person does not abuse his children in private but behave beautifully in public yet remain a morally upstanding part of society. The implication that one good act makes you a good person is narrow minded, and ignores the complexity of human nature in so many ways.

The age restrictions that Kohlberg seemed to impose on moral development was the second thing that frustrates me immensely. Kohlberg seemed to suggest that morality develops with age. This would imply that children and young adults are incapable of making complex moral decisions. And that would be wrong.

When faced with a decision that would change everything, what would you do? Being someone in this predicament, having to make a decision that would change everything was the hardest thing I had to do. Before making my choice, I consulted a few adults, who were about as much help as one of those 'motivational posters' that aim to cheer someone up but in reality do nothing. Adults were sympathetic with the difficulty of my choice, but could offer nothing themselves, mostly admitting they had no idea what the right thing to do would be. So all alone, at seventeen, I had to come to a decision myself about the right, or 'moral' thing to do.

Admittedly, I might be haunted by this decision a year later, but ultimately, when weighing up two extremely difficult realities, I chose the one that was most moral, according to my own definition. So, no whilst my moral development according to Kohlberg should have prevented me from making a moral decision, I was able to anyway.

So in an attempt to answer my own question, who is moral?
I had to ask myself what is moral? A question that I don't think Google, or Kohlberg have answered particularly well. One good deed does not make you a good person, just as one bad deed doesn't make you a bad person. Being moral is about acting out of principle with good intentions, in order to do something that you understand to be correct, no matter the circumstance.

The truth, when I really thought about it, is that moral is not a mutually exclusive character trait. Morality is a sliding scale that we use to measure the intentions of our behaviour. It is a empty word, with shallow meanings, that society uses in order to fit actions into boxes.

So if I really ask myself who is moral? The only real answer I could come up with that didn't make me uncomfortable, is to say that moral is the person that acts with good intentions and deeds both publicly and privately. Moral is the person that gives charity publicly, and treats their family with respect and the way they deserve to be treated. Moral is the person without double standards or contradicting ideas. But moral isn't really a person at all, its a persona that we choose to take upon ourselves, a continually evolving entity that isn't bound by age, rather by experience.

-LF, LR and MG xx

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Award Show Culture

Tis' the season to watch award shows. But instead of the usual jolly-ness, this year, award show season seems to be filled with pent up controversy, disguised haters and snide comments. Whilst its always nice to see your favourite artists being recognised for their talent and hard work and general sunshine (AKA Taylor Swift) I have a major problem with award show culture.

Award show culture breeds hatred between artists, and perpetuates a society where people feel they have to 'one-up' each other all the time. The fact is, anyone nominated for an award, and artists not nominated for awards either, should all be celebrated for their contributions to the arts community. That being said, I don't wish to take those achievements away from those worthy artists, I just don't like the way it breeds an understanding that artists have to 'beat each other out' in order to be recognised.

The next issue I have with award show culture, and one that I know has been recognised widely this year, particularly with the Oscars, which is the extremely obvious lack of representation these shows offer. Talent is not restricted to one particular race, ethnicity or religion, so why should recognition of these talents be restricted by the limitations we place on them. It bothers me tremendously that the nominations continually bypass the most worthy of candidates because they don't represent the same culture or ethnicity that they do. Lets have more representation people!

Moving on, the next issue I have is the way award shows force people to degrade artists under the disguise of supporting another one. In particular, since social media has become such an integral platform for opinions and grievances, people and celebrities included will stop at nothing to voice how they really feel. Hiding behind your screen does not excuse the words that are out on the internet forever, and I think this is yet another example of the way celebrity culture blinds us from the someone's true character. Celebrities, don't think just because you're high and mighty it excuses you from having a sense of dignity online and slagging off other artists isn't noticed, or part of perpetuating the problem.

So yes, whilst it is nice to watch celebs being celebrated for their contribution to music or art or television, lets not forget that award show culture has the ability to breed hatred, and this is something that must be recognised.

-LF, LR and MG xxx

Thursday, 11 February 2016

People Come and People Go

Everyone experiences many kinds of people. People who are funny, smart, gentle, kind, responsible, jokey, and so on. People who are there for you when you need them, or that you are there for when they need you. People who stick around for a long time, or people you meet for a day.

My point is that people can walk in and walk out of your life at any time. This brings about mixed emotions; it is so exciting when a new friend strolls into your life and is bound to stick around for ages, but on the other hand, an old friend who waltzes out of your life without you even noticing is startling and upsetting.

In life, this will happen so much. I guarantee that the majority of the people from your day care when you were only a toddler walked out of your life practically as soon as you walked out of those doors for the last time. I guess it just hurts more when you grow up, and did not expect to see people leave so soon.

Say you discover a brand new, flashy group of friends. You bond over endless laughter and various hobbies in common, or even hobbies that are different that are so fresh and interesting that you wish to find out more. This is one of the greatest feelings - connecting with people that you instantly recognise will become a close friend and important figure in your life. However, at the expense of these sparkly new friends, there is a loss of some old faces. You didn't notice them leaving, but one day it hits you and you feel an overwhelming pang of sadness. You see them with their flashy new friends and smile because you know they feel the same way that you do, but there's still this selfish part of your brain that says "but that was me 12 years ago".

I heard a metaphor in this video (credit to Dodie Clark, my inspiration for so many things), which links life to one big bus journey. People will enter and exit the bus at many different times, but you will be on this bus witnessing everyone passing by. The lesson that I gained from this metaphor is to not be too upset over the passengers that have stuck by for the longest time, but to look back and feel pleased that they did travel with you for so long. This lesson is particularly relevant at the moment to me, and will become even more so, as the three of us begin our university journeys.

Thank you for reading this, it has felt good to be blogging again. I am so sorry for my prolonged absence...I kind of fell out of love with blogging for a few different reasons, but this rambling has been oddly cathartic. Needless to say, I have regained my love and I will not go on a hiatus this long again.

-LF, LR and MG