follow bloglovin


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

America: The Land Of The Free?

I ask myself a question. A question that millions of black people have to ask themselves everyday, when they are faced with their racist oppressors. The same people that have families, just as they do. The same people that love and are loved, just as they are.

"Do black lives matter?" 

Because as far as America, is concerned, freedom is only about white people. Freedom is for those who have civil rights, and belong to their country. Oh wait. That's right... those who have civil rights aren't confined to a skin colour, because we are in the twenty first century.

And if America really is the 'land of the free' then why, in the last two years have over 200 black lives been taken brutally and unfairly by the American police force, for no reason other than the colour of their skin? 

And why is it, that when a white person is killed in an unjust way, nation wide we cry out, and we blame the system. We get angry, and we fight for justice. 

But when a black person is murdered by those who are supposed to keep the peace, not pervert it, we apathetically sigh, spend a moment contemplating what is going on, but then drop it and carry on with our lives?


It astounds and horrifies me that we live in a world where these murders are allowed to go on. And then when the people of Baltimore stand up and say no more, what happens? They get criticised for standing up and speaking out. 

I don't know about you, but I'm furious. I'm furious that we allow this to continue, in 'the land of the free'. That we allow this type of disgusting, gut wrenching tragedy to continue. I am once again, shocked and appalled by the apathetic nature of our world. 

I wonder to myself what it will take, for the rest to stand up and take notice. Take notice of the god-awful events that are happening. 

I make a plea to everyone reading this: Please, please don't be apathetic. Please, I am begging you, stand up and speak now. Even if you know black lives matter, but it doesn't have a direct effect on you. 

Stand up and speak now, because we have to end this war of racism. 

Stand up and speak now, join me in advocating that black lives do matter.  


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The "Comfort Zone"

For most people, stepping out of your comfort zone can be your worst nightmare. There are so many different cases for this, but I know that for me personally (as seen in my post on insecurities which can be found here), I am extremely self-conscious and when it comes to dressing myself; I am stuck because I do not dare touch most tight clothing, including jeans, and I'm always concerned about how people look at me. I also know that I am not the only one. (In this case, take a look at that post I linked to, I'm quite proud of it!).

But, you see, there are ways in which you can compensate for you remaining in the "comfort zone". For some people, it's the way in which they do their make up in the mornings which brings them so much more confidence to use to speak to people. It may be that they are extremely bright and brainy, so their excellent results shine through the intellectual challenges that they face, or they are a passionate ice skater and soar across the slippery surface as quickly as their legs would let them.

For me, it's performing. I discovered this when I was around 7 years old. I'm not terribly sure where exactly it sprouted from, I just felt like starting one of the new extra-curricular clubs and I haven't stopped since. Maybe it was the lovely teacher who motivated us to keep trying, or maybe it was the friendly faces surrounding me, but I don't remember. I now have a huge passion for the theatre and drama, whether it be devising my own performance or following the strict stage directions and the director's interpretations. I may not be excellent at maths or have a super skinny body, but I sure can perform my little heart out in front of an audience filled with people that I adore. I can allow the adrenalin to race through my body which forces me to shine as an actor and express myself through this creative way. I also love to write (hence setting up this blog with my two best friends), and read, and sing, and play music.

I know, I have gone quite off topic, sorry!

What I wanted to say in this blog post that there are so many different ways to express yourself, so there is NO reason to put yourself down because you're not "smart enough", "creative enough" or even "pretty enough". You are you, which is the best that you can be.
Yes, it is great to stay in the "comfort zone", it is safe and secure. But life gets too boring after a while in there, so it's brilliant to spice things up and try something new. I never thought that I would be able to even comprehend what different pieces of make up do, but now I can't put it down! It's great fun to try something new, even if it means taking a step down a different route which you are not used to. But sometimes it's nice to stick to things that you enjoy the most, such as sports, reading, baking, you name it!

To summarise: you do you, don't let anyone judge you for it.

Thank you for reading this far into my ramblings,
- LF, LR and MG

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

On Suicide

Truthfully, I do not know too much information on this subject, which is the exact point of this post.

On average, 1 person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes. 

Nearly 400,000 people attempt suicide in the U.S. every year. 
Alcoholism plays a role in 1 out 3 cases of suicide.

And yet I don't know much on this topic.

As such a common incident, suicide remains one of those topics that people to this day brush away in hope that the issue will shrink and eventually vanish. People still attach this stigma to the issue of suicide, which is not okay.

I read a book last month titled 'All the Bright Places' by Jennifer Niven. (I promise, there will be no huge spoilers here). The basic plot is that two teenagers, who attend the same high school, meet each other at the top of the school's bell tower, about to jump off. The novel proceeds to follow the two characters' stories and how they affected each other's lives.

This book struck a nerve in me. Not necessarily because of the story or the writing style - which are both fantastic - but the author's note  at the end. Niven explains that her Great Grandfather was a victim of suicide, as was somebody that she had become extremely close to. Though she wasn't close to her relative, the issue of suicide remained prominent in her life and also the lives of her family. She felt that she didn't know enough about the topic and wishes to this day that she could have done something to help.

I would like to direct you to the website This is a phenomenal website which is filled with rich information on suicide, including facts, statistics and helplines. This website is thoroughly important and is the perfect website to go to if you are in need.

One message from Kevin Caruso that I would like to share here is what he wrote about how to talk to a suicidal person. He explains that there are five steps:

1) Listen attentively 

2) Offer words of encouragement and support
3) Let the person know that you are deeply concerned
4) If the person is at high risk, do not leave them alone
5) Talk openly about suicide

I urge you to take a look at this website, and also to speak up about suicide. It could help a huge amount of people.

Thank you for reading,

- LF, LR and MG

Sunday, 12 April 2015

How Not To Be Squashed By Exam Stress

Everyone knows what we mean when we say the summer term. Long gone are the happy memories of extended break time in the sun, t-shirts and shorts or summer dresses. The mixture of suncream and ice cream wafting in through the open classroom windows.

All that disappeared as most of us hit year ten, with it intensifying for year 11-13. Now when someone mentions the summer term, you see a bunch of 15-18 year olds cringing, significantly tensing up, tears welling in their stressed out eyes.

We all know that with May and June approaching, summer term turns into exam season. Counting down the days until our first exam and then to the last, before we are free! However, on some level or another, exams are known to cause a lot of distress and in the worst cases can trigger intense anxiety, depression and cause us to malfunction because we are unable to survive copious amounts of pressure that piles up as exams loom closer.

So how to survive?! Revision is a must, and the long days can sometimes be too much for people to take. Here are some tips that should get you through the summer months:

1) Each day set yourself reasonable targets of what you want to achieve. Try to set a small list of things that you know you will be able to accomplish if you stick to schedule. Some people find a timetable the most effective way to do this, but personally, a list works just find, ticking the things you have done as you go. This way at the end of each day, you will feel that you have achieved what you needed to do, and end off by feeling good about yourself and your progress instead of overwhelmed and like you are unable to meet your targets. This way you will maintain a hard working and positive attitude that will see you through the exam period.

2) Sleep. (I don't mean between 3am to 12pm.) I mean sleep long, workable hours. Aim for about eight hours a night, with an early start so that you can be productive from the beginning of the day and finish revision as early as possible. The less time spent working in the evening the better, in order to get a good break and prepare yourself for the next day. Sleep is a time for your body and your brain to get optimum rest, so don't miss out on it, because it will affect your revision outcomes.

3) Maintaining a healthy diet and drinking water. This is something that is often preached about, but seriously can actually have a big effect. It is proven that a healthy body can equal a healthy mind, and therefore, eating three good meals a day, with a snack in between can alter your progress and help you in feeling better and more productive during the day.

4) Take breaks! It is unhealthy to be stuck inside all day! I suggest working in a room with windows, natural daylight is important, and opening your window will make the room brighter and help you to focus with fresh air. After you tick off one thing on your list, take a 15-20 minute break, helping you re-cooperate and will also keep you focused when you are working. Once a day, take a longer break, say 45 minutes and go for a walk, get fresh air and some exercise, both things that have significantly improved my progress in revision.

Those are just some techniques that help me to calm down and stay focused. Exam stress for the most part is inevitable, but as long as you practise calming techniques, as listed above, you will hopefully give yourself enough breathing space to remember that you are going to do it.

I would say that the best way not to be squashed by exam stress is to remember one very important thing:

Yes, exams are important and no one is denying that. However, exams are not the only important thing. They do not define who you are as a person and what you are going to be like for the rest of your life. They do help shape your future, but there are so many other factors that shape your future, not just exams. Sometimes you just need to go for a walk or have a chat with a friend to remind yourself that life will go on, and the most important thing is that you retain your mental and physical health, not that you pass your exams but have become a wreck as well.

At the end of the day, we should not be letting a bunch of letters on a sheet of paper define who we are or what we are worth as people, and when you find yourself being swallowed up by the idea that your exams are the be all and end all, take a step out, read this post, and remind yourself that you are worth so much more that some grades on a piece of paper, and you should never forget that.

-LF, LR and MG

Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Taylor Swift Phenomenon

When recently having a discussion with friends over today's positive female role models in the media, we struggled to come up with- well any. But as we stewed over this idea, becoming increasingly perplexed by the absence of positive female role models, one name seemed to pop into all of our minds, as we unanimously agreed that Taylor Swift ticks all of our criteria boxes.

We compiled a lengthy list of all the reasons for Taylor Swift being the perfect role model, it struck as as absurd how negatively she is portrayed in the media, considering all the beautiful things she has contributed to the music industry as well as for humanity in general. Swift continues to amaze the world musically as she produced her fifth album in October 2014, which sold 1.287 million copies in the first week, the fastest selling album ever!

But that aside, focusing on what she does for humanity, we were overwhelmed to discover that no only is Swift a strong headed, independent feminist, who constantly speaks out about the importance of fighting for equality for men and women, as well as the strength behind maintaining a support system of good, steady friends, but what Swift does best of all, is use her time, energy, fame and money to constantly look out for, support and care for her adoring fans.

Taylor Swift is a kind, caring twenty five year old, who takes time out her extremely busy life to send care packages to fans all over the world with hand written notes expressing a personal message to them. She sends money to fans who need, visits ill children in hospitals, taking time to speak and sing to them. She donates her money to charities such as NYC public schools and opened to Taylor Swift Education Centre. Swift invited 5x89 fans to secret hearings at her house of her latest release before it came out. As well as this, she personally sees that she keeps up with so many of her fans, constantly expressing her gratitude and support of them, going out of her way to do things like attend their bridal showers and send them concert tickets. All because she is genuine, caring individual who truly emulates the perfect role model, by promoting self worth, positive body images for both male and females as well as constantly leaving her fans in awe by showing her compassion and understanding for those who are being bullied, or suffering from illnesses both physical or mental.

But yet, what struck us as unjust, is that none of what we have described above, is ever spoken about in the media. Instead, the media chooses to focus on Swift's dating life, which by the way, is completely regular of a normal twenty five year old girl, and frankly even if dating six people was considered atrocious (which it obviously isn't) it really is no ones business as Swift should be allowed to maintain some privacy.

Why is it, that all we are told about Taylor Alison Swift is that she is a 'serial dater' and produces music that explicitly outlines her dating experiences but nothing more. Why are the same things not said about Rhianna or pretty much any other artist out there, male or female? Why is it, that for so long now, the media chooses to speculate about Swift, creating rumours that make no sense, zoning on in 'flaws' that they have created, such as being a talented musician and having a boyfriend, when these are things that every other person is more than welcome to? What is this 'Taylor Swift Phenomenon' that gives people incentive to ignore the obviously beautiful person that she is, and replace it with negative and unnecessary hate, that just seems to us, to be completely out of order and pathetic.

Surely, in a world where we are struggling to find good, innocent people- people that are in the public eye that provide us with a positive image of how we should be conducting ourselves, we would want to be pointing out that Taylor Swift is a role model. That the amount of benevolence that Swift exhibits is unbelievable and we should all only aspire to show the same levels of compassion that she does towards everyone.

So what we should take from this post, is that no matter how much the media tries to shove it down our throats, sometimes we need to open our eyes to the good people in this world. Taylor Swift is an amazing human being, and whilst her music is gold to our ears, whats more is that she manages to balance her talents with something even more important- with being a good person.

And whilst Swift would say that the 'haters are gonna hate, hate, hate' we think that it is definitely time for the haters to stop hating, because we have to speak out and speak now, in defence for a rarity in today's society- a positive role model in the public eye that is Taylor Alison Swift.

-LF, LR and MG