My Sister Alice

Hello there!

It's been a while, hasn't it? I know I always said that I would never let anything get in the way of my weekly blog posts, yet this statement was made before I realised the impact A levels would have on me. So, after that rocky and horrendous journey, I am now back and ready to write until my hearts content - and not in the form of essays or revision packs; Oh, how I have missed this!

So, here goes.

Alice always make jokes about me doing a blog post about her, and whilst I've always told her to 'get lost' (or something along those lines), the horrific events which have unfolded over the past few months have really taught me and made me realise many things - one of the main ones being to tell every person in your life just how much you love them as, unfortunately, we now live in a world where absolutely nothing is certain. Whilst that scares me beyond belief, there really is no other option than to learn and evolve from these tragedies, and I am trying my very best to remain positive in a world which is constantly being infiltrated with horrendous outcomes.

If you're not in the mood to cringe over me confessing my undying love for my favourite girl in the entire world, then I urge you to click off this page right now.

Alice,

I can't really remember a time when we've not been joined at the hip. We have spent pretty much every single day together since we were brought into this world 18 years ago - and whilst I haven't really made a conscious decision to allow you into my life, I know that if I was given the choice then I would 150% choose for you to be here (well, 99.9% of the time anyway).

Despite the fact it's inevitable we argue - and believe me, we have had screaming matches over the most ridiculous things (a favourite of mine being over who is making the cups of tea that particular evening, which happens way more than I'd care to admit) - we're laughing about it after 5 minutes, especially when one of us comes into the other ones room with their tail in between their legs, clutching a hot beverage as a form of apology.

Although I snap at you ever so often for the annoying things that you do -e.g. singing ALL the time, or having the most disturbing habit to squeeze me or cling to me when you're nervous - I have absolutely no doubt in the world that when we embark on our new journeys come September, I will miss you more than I ever thought possible. Thinking about us not seeing each other every day, and not going in your bedroom in the morning to see you cuddled up with that stupid stuffed Olaf that clings to your side, breaks my heart into a million pieces.



Although you often joke that I'll be FaceTiming you in a frenzy over how to cook pasta or wash my jeans, I know that I'll be coming up with any old excuse just so I can spend five minutes talking to the person who I genuinely don't believe I could go a day without speaking to.

We've always been close, yet this past year has brought us together in a way that no one could ever begin to understand. We lost the third member to our special team, and I can honestly say that your complete and utter strength in the hardest of times was, and still continues to be, the inspiration that I needed to get me out of the darkest of places.

You're powerful Alice, more so than I think you realise, and I truly wish you could see what I see. Nothing hurts me more than when I see you doubt yourself - you are truly the most beautiful person in the world to me. Not only are you utterly gorgeous (after Friday night, I think we have established that you're the best looking one ... when a guy approached me to say 'You're almost as pretty as your sister' ... thanks mate x), but you make me laugh in ways that no one else will ever begin to compete with.



Living in a house with someone who you share the exact same sense of humour with can sometimes be dangerous, especially during the exam season (I think we spent more time singing along to 'Our Songs' than I would ever care to admit) but if there's one thing we do well, it's working as a team. We only want the best for each other, and push each other to be the greatest versions of ourselves - and when I'm being lazy and need a kick up the bum, you're always the first one to offer that assistance.

My favourite time of the day is when we wash the dishes together after dinner - with the music blasting and us singing along slightly out of tune - (on my behalf, obviously) alongside a good old gossip session. I can honestly say it's times like this where I am my most happiest. You seem to bring all the joy in the world to every room you walk into, and despite the fact you can often appear shy when you meet new people, everyone who truly knows you thinks the absolute world of you.

One of my worst fears is losing you, and it's a terrifying concept what the world has come to - just being in the wrong place and the wrong time is proving to be indescribably dangerous. I wish I could wrap you up in cotton wool and spend every waking minute with you, but I guess we need to learn what it's like to be apart. We need to figure out what it's like to live without leaning on each other, without being defined as a twosome instead of as individuals.

However, that's not to say that I'm not always going to be here for you, you know that I always will be. Forever and always, you know that. Anytime, any day, any where. You're not only my sister, you're my best friend - my everything. I owe you everything, and I love you more than I will ever be able to explain. I truly hope you realise that.




To Anyone Who Is Currently Struggling


This week marks mental health awareness week, and I'm scrolling through various social media sites and being inundated with countless posts from brave, strong and inspiring people sharing their stories on the battles that they have faced/are currently going through. Some of these people are my friends, and some are strangers - yet I find myself hurting for all of them, regardless of whether I personally know them or not. I have this fixation on wanting to help every single person in the world, and the sheer inevitability that I can't genuinely destroys my soul. I find my happiness through making others happy, and whilst that's all well and good in my own circle, I unfortunately can't do that for every single person who is currently existing on this Earth.

Mental health is a topic which has always been regarded as taboo, yet lately there has been a massive shift in the way people have decided to communicate and share their personal experiences. I for one cannot begin to express my gratitude for this - firstly, for the general fact that the stigma surrounding the subject matter has ever so slightly started to ease and secondly, because I feel it gives me a better understanding of how to approach/talk to/attempt to help the people I love who are going through similar things.

Throughout the past year or so, I've had this fixation on writing letters - writing down the things I wish I could say to the people I wish I could converse with. Due to evident circumstances, I am unable to post them - instead leaving them lingering in various files on my laptop, or inking the pages of a notebook. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, there's a level of comfort I find from writing things down, that I am yet to find elsewhere - and whilst I will never get to send these letters, it sure as hell doesn't stop me from writing them. As human's we are filled with regret - always for the things we never got the chance to say - and I guess this helps ease this pain into something a bit more manageable.

I apologise for this waffling introduction, what I mean to say is that today I am going to write a letter that I will actually send, or publish, or however you want to interpret it. 'A letter to anyone who is currently struggling' - here goes.

You,

You may be reading this with the toxic mindset that things won't get better. Whilst everyone around you seems to be thinking about the future, you're unsure as to whether you really have one. The emptiness fills you up, and you are unable to look beyond it. You are starting to lose focus on pretty much every aspect of your life, and the interests that you once had no longer exist. All you know is that things can't get much worse, and that they may not ever get better.

There's a constant feeling of loneliness which never seems to subside - no matter how many people you surround yourself with. Everything you thought you knew is no longer, and it's the scariest thing you will ever have to face. Simple things become a chore, and you will feel so far removed from reality that you begin to question pretty much everything in existence. You may start to look for distractions elsewhere, and at the time these may seem like a good idea - but ultimately, in the long run, they won't be. Allow yourself to feel, no matter how hard that may be. Everything that is happening to you is real, and raw, and painful but you have to allow yourself to feel it all before you can begin to conquer it.

Confide in people. I can't express the importance of this. Tell at least one person how you're feeling - no matter how scary this may be, it's the first baby step into making this all go away. It may seem easier to face it all on your own, because when you share it with someone then that's when it feels real. You can exist in your own mind, yet its once you begin to let others in which makes others worse. If you struggle to vocalise how you're feeling, and you feel that you may stumble and stutter upon your words - not being able to string together a sentence without messing it all up - then send a text. Use this as a starting point, and once you begin to gain courage you'll be able to talk about it. A sit down counselling session doesn't work for everyone - and it's not weird or pathetic if this doesn't work for you. Being in a room, one on one, with someone who you barely know and being expected to pour out your heart to them is especially terrifying, and giving up on that doesn't make you weak. Conversing with a friend, a parent, a family member, a teacher, a doctor (etc) can sometimes be just as helpful - I know that I always feel much better after a good cry and chat with one of my loved ones.

There are people who love you - please don't forget that. Whilst you may think you're worthless or that you don't matter to anyone, I promise you that you do. You may be the reason someone is currently smiling right now, the reason for someone's laugh, the reason that they are who they are. You have more power over people than you think, and your importance isn't something which is passing by unnoticed. Your loved ones will be hurting because they know that you are, and they would do anything possible to help you - but in order to do this you have to let them in. Your natural instinct may be to push them away, using the utterances 'I'm fine' or 'I'm just tired', yet if they care about you they won't leave your side. Here is where you will begin to find out who you really want in your life, who you know will stick by you through thick and thin - who will be there for you throughout the good times, yet also the bad. You will lose friends, yet the important ones will always remain by your side.

Things do get better. You just have to believe that they will. Persevere with it, telling yourself that with each passing day you are going to do one thing which makes you happy - and whilst this may be the longest journey you'll ever go on, I promise you that it will be worthwhile. Once you change your mindset, you will begin to look at things from a whole different perspective. You'll learn to focus on the good things, not letting your mind linger on the bad. You may begin to realise that certain things which once consumed your entire being no longer inhabit your mind - and that's okay. Change is a good thing, and sometimes its time for that.

You'll begin to feel the kind of happiness which you once believed only existed in fiction and other various forms of popular culture. You'll laugh until your stomach hurts with tears pouring down your face. You'll sit on a beach with the people who you love most, listening to the sounds of the waves and feeling the sand between your toes. You'll begin to see life as an experience instead of as a challenge. You'll wake up one day, and whilst things may not be as you imagined, they're better than the dull ache of sadness which is currently haunting you.

Hang on in there. It gets easier, I promise you.

Love,
Grace x









Why I Started Writing

One of my all time favourite YouTubers is Dottie James - if you haven't heard of her then I truly recommend you look her up. Instead of the conventional vlogs or challenge videos, Dottie produces beautiful videos of her spoken word poetry - an ultimate guilty pleasure of mine. This morning I stumbled across her most recent video titled 'Why I Started Writing' (you can find it here), and it sparked an idea for what I was going to write about today. Whilst her video vocalises her reasons in a beautifully poetic manner, I know that it wouldn't be as successful if I attempted to replicate that - so, my deepest apologies, I guess I shall stick to my boringly literal drivel. 


So, I guess I shall start from the beginning. For as long as I can remember, I've always had an interest in books. My parents always encouraged us to read, and a bedtime story at night was my favourite part of the day. Although I have vivid memories of the bed being cramped, and of us all arguing over who got to sit the closest to mum - I truly did enjoy it. I loved how words could string together in a sentence and form an instantaneous image in my head - how I could close my eyes when listening to my mum read and picture exactly what she was talking about. 

Creativity has always been a massive part of my life - and my imagination has always been a force to be reckoned with. For most of my childhood I had an utter infatuation with fairies, with most of the books on my bookshelf being coherent of this subject matter. I adored how something fictional (a fact I have only recently come to terms with) could be made to feel so real - making me truly believe that the trees at the bottom of my garden were inhibited with these beautiful mythical creatures. Whilst the illustrations in the books were always stunning, my main focus was always on the words. The intricate details being described, enough to make my wildest dreams inherent a sense of reality. 

As I got older, creative / personal writing became more encouraged in English lessons, and I began to gain a real sense of enjoyment for it. Whilst school has never been something I can. hand on heart. say I enjoy, it was in my English lessons where I finally found a sense of sanctuary - where I could express my thoughts, desires and opinions in my own personal way. As I've mentioned before, science and maths were subjects I completely and utterly struggled with - I guess my mind just isn't programmed in that way, and as I developed a clear interest for English, I began to realise that that was okay. 

I will always remember when we moved on to studying poetry. If I hadn't realised I loved the subject before, I definitely knew I did now. W. H. Auden's 'Stop All The Clocks' is the first poem I remember being introduced to, and even to this day I get chills when I read it. I loved how words could be used to imply exterior meanings, as opposed to the literal denotations that are attached to them. How the stars could be used as a metaphor, how anthropomorphism existed heavily within works of literature. So, when the teacher set us the task of writing our own poems - I took it, and I ran with it; returning in on Monday morning armed with the longest poem I believe has ever existed. Heavily inspired by 'Stop All The Clocks' and a One Direction song ('Moments' - if you know, you know) my page became flooded with words I had no prior knowledge existed inside of me. I still remember the first two stanzas of that poem, yet seem to have lost the original copy (:(). 

Shut the door,
Turn off the lights,
My world is in darkness,
My days are now nights

Why does everyone seem to think
They have suffered as much as me
They have not felt this pain inside my heart
I am in such agony

If I'm perfectly honest, this poem haunts me. I wrote about losing someone close to me before I had even realised that this would later become the case - like all works of literature, I was heavily foreshadowing. Yet, I wasn't foreshadowing the lives of the characters included in my poem, I was foreshadowing my own. 

Like all teenagers, I began to keep a diary - something that I believe helped me through some extremely difficult points. I have this irrational fear of opening up to people, so instead of turning to a friend or family member, I began to turn to my pen and notebook. On nights where the concept of sleep was utterly non-existent, I would sit in bed and just write down every single thing that was on my mind. Whilst the paper couldn't give me a hug and tell me that everything was going to turn out okay, I got such a heavy sense of comfort from it. I was expressing myself, and everything that was going on, yet I was still keeping it extremely private - and this worked well. If I was to give one piece of advice to anyone who is currently struggling, I would tell them to keep a diary. Not only for you to turn to when you're lost, confused, angry, upset or hurt - but also for all the feelings in between. There are moments when I've stumbled across old diary entries, and felt an overwhelming sense of pride - I would write about times when I thought nothing was going to get better - and, I am living proof that it did. 

Then, came the beginning of my blog. I started it in the Summer after GCSE's, where I would write a post about every place that I had visited - perhaps posting once every month or something along those lines. This mainly was created because it was at this point I realised I wanted to be a Journalist, and I knew that this would be a good thing to include in my personal statement. After the Summer, I neglected my blog for a bit - only posting whenever I had the time or energy to do so. Whilst it was something I truly enjoyed, it took a back seat for a while as I began to struggle massively at school and knew that all focus needed to be paid towards my studies. 

However, then things started to go downhill - and I'm not going to go into details, but I'm sure many of you will be aware of what I am referring to here. I began to become extremely fearful of my own words - not wanting to put pen to paper, because I didn't want to come to terms with what would come out. I didn't want to know how I truly felt. Anything that I did write in this time was private, I don't think I'll ever be comfortable showcasing it to the world. Yet, I knew that this wouldn't be the end of my writing forever. I made a promise to someone I love with every part of me to never give up, and whilst it took a long while for me to stick to my promise, I knew I would get there in the end.

'Finding Happiness Again' was the post whereby I reintroduced my blog. (If you want to read it, you can find it here). This post will always hold extreme sentimental value to me, as it was at this point where I felt that I was truly beginning to heal. For a couple of weeks, this post was kept on the notes section of my iPhone, yet I was finding myself re-reading it whenever I needed encouragement or a bit of motivation, and knew that I simply had to post it. So, after deliberating it for hours, I finally pressed the 'Publish' button, and I haven't looked back since. It was one of the most terrifying things I can say I've ever done, as I felt I was sharing a part of me that I was unsure would be accepted. 

I'm pretty sure I mention this in most of my posts, but without the support and encouragement I have received, I know for a fact that I wouldn't be doing this. These posts would perhaps only exist in my notebook, or maybe not at all. People often ask me how I manage to write one every single week, and all I can ever reply to that is that I simply love it. This brings me such happiness, and whilst I often stumble across subject matters which are uncomfortable and difficult to talk about, it helps me more than anyone can ever truly understand. 

The truth is, I don't know where any of this is going. All I know is that I love doing it, and can't ever imagine myself not. Writing has become a massive part in my life, and I never want to give it up. So, to finish this off I'm going to quote the iconic David Bowie, as I feel that it sums up everything I have just spoken about.

 "I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring." 

I hope you're having a fantastic day, and I will see you next week.

Love,
Grace x 

What It Means To Be A Woman



She stands in the mirror, her eyes casting over her short skirt - wondering whether she can get away with it, or whether this will be perceived as an invitation. Her eyes cast over her make up - is this okay? Does this conform to the preconceived idea of femininity? Is she wearing too much, is she not wearing enough? It's a constant battle. She leaves the house, walking with her head down when she spots the men walking in the opposite direction, hoping and praying that for once she'll get a night off. For once she will be able to simply walk past and not be subjected to the cat calls, the wolf whistles, the lingering looks. But she is a young woman wearing a skirt, and somehow this is implied as her giving her permission - she should've expected this, right? Why else would she dress this way?

If anything was to happen, she knows immediately the response she would receive - "What were you wearing?" and "How much did you drink?" are questions which would be asked, and she would instantly be made to feel that the wrong-doing and pure delusion of a male was entirely her fault.

Because it's a well renowned fact that we are responsible for the actions of the opposite sex. We are told to cover our shoulders and to wear longer skirts because they may not be able to control themselves. We are given a strict dress code, and told to adhere to it in order to remain protected. In order to remain safe. Yet, I don't see the safety in that - do you?

It's been stated that if we shout "FIRE" instead of "RAPE", then the chance of someone coming to help us is significantly more likely. The idea of a house burning down is apparently more scary than someone's life being ripped apart, for them experiencing indescribable pain and living with the awful memories of what has happened to them. Or maybe it's the fear that stops us. It's easy to sit here and say how we would act in a certain situation, yet we have no definite way of knowing what we would actually do.


I guess what sparked this post was the show that everyone and their dog seem to be talking about - '13 Reasons Why'. Whilst this series has sparked an abundance of controversial opinions, it has definitely got people talking about the subject matter that it concerns. There are a number of scenes included in it which are uncomfortable and hard to watch - one in particular being the harrowing hot tub scene. Without going into too much detail, here we see the stereotypical 'jock' that is often present in American popular culture, taking advantage of Hannah - your, again stereotypical, 'girl next door' kind of character. Every time I shut my eyes I think about that scene, and it hurts me to think that this act is a version of reality that some people have faced. This feeling of helplessness is one that haunts me, and thinking that at this very moment something similar could be happening is tough and uncomfortable to think about.

The truth is women have come a long way - we can vote, there's no stigma attached to us going out to work, and many dominant figures in our society are indeed female - yet there's still this feeling of uncertainty and inequality that I can't help but pick up on. Obviously I'm going to be biased here, as I have no idea what it's like to be a man *waits for someone to make a 'witty' comment*, but I can't help but feel how women's looks tend to be the deciding factor on their worth as a person. At the end of the day, everything tends to come down to image and I am so utterly sick of it. Yes, it's nice to be told that you're 'pretty', but exhilarating to be labelled 'intelligent', 'quick-witted' or 'genuine'.

We sit and watch a film, and are introduced to archetypal representations of women - and we are expected to enjoy it. Yet every film we watch follows the same structure - the passive female longing for the dominant male - and I am bored of it. I am surprised when I watch a film that doesn't conform to this pattern and, if I'm perfectly honest, I don't think that's how it should be. I love being immersed in a text which follows the story of a strong female character, or at least includes one - and this is harder to find than you would necessarily think. Yet, isn't this damaging for the young girls growing up in this digital age? We are taught to settle, to be passive in our own storyline and to rely on external forces in order to get what we want. Every time I think about this, I grow a little fonder of J.K Rowling - for creating the character of Hermione Granger for young girls (and boys!) to admire and aspire to be like.

I love being a woman, and I'm more than proud to be one - but there are challenges that we face due to our gender that really shouldn't exist. However, that being said, I know how lucky I am to live in a society where things aren't as extreme. There are hideous and soul-crushing stories that are shared on the news, or on social media, and it's at times like this when I realise just how bitter and twisted our world is. The same way that I believe race and sexuality shouldn't be used to dictate a person's worth and rights, gender shouldn't either. When you think about it, it really is entirely absurd to think that our genitals determine our superiority - so why is that the case in so many countries across the globe?

Sorry for this little rant, it's probably jumbled, messy and may not make sense in some areas, but I've just been thinking about it all for a little while now. I hope it's made you think, or even ask your own questions - because I guess that's what we ultimately need; a discussion.

So, I guess I'll see you next week!

Love,
Grace x



Time

I've been thinking so much about the concept of 'time' recently - and how it can be both our best friend, yet also our worst enemy. At the moment, all I'm thinking about is the time that I have left of seeing my friends all day, every day and of coming home and seeing my family in the evening. The time left I have to improve my grades (which, lets be honest, I need an eternity for that), to lie in the bed I've lay in most nights of my entire existence and to remain comfortable in my every day surroundings. Because, in just a few months time, that is all going to change - and to say I'm scared would be an understatement (I.AM.TERRIFIED).

Something that has always bothered me is the fear of the unknown - to delve into something that I am unsure of, because I am used to being so certain of everything I do. I wish I could say that I'm one of those people who take risks, who find solitude in the infinite masses of uncertainty, but I am truly not. I crave adventure, yet I am also fearful of it - because everything always seems so much better in my head than it usually pans out. I have so many dreams, so many ambitions, so many things that I want to do - yet I feel like time is standing in my way, snatching all of these away from me.

It's weird isn't it, how time can pass by either so quickly or so slowly. There's certain moments when you feel the time passing by - e.g. sat at a desk for what seems like forever, writing notes until your hands ache and your brain has reached it's maximum feed of information for the day. Yet, then there are times when time doesn't seem to exist at all. Times when you don't feel the minutes fly by, times when you look at the clock and wonder if you are reading it correctly - times when you are just existing in that moment without thinking about anything else at all.

I hate going to sleep, mainly for the sheer thought that I don't understand the concept at all. It's weird, isn't it? How for 8 hours or so you're just not existing at all, your mind being occupied by strange scenarios which are exhibited in a manner which makes you truly believe that this is reality. That sigh of relief you do when you realise that everything that happened in that weird state of illusion is merely that, and you can proceed with the rest of your day whilst the memories of your dream flutter away. I have the strangest dreams, which often feel more real than everyday life. My dreams take me to places I am afraid for my mind to wander to, and there have been countless times when I've woken up in a state of shock and panic. Times when I've wondered how it can all just feel so real. 

Maybe in a parallel universe somewhere, we are existing elsewhere. 'Deja Vu' is a concept which completely messes with my mind, and if I think about it for too long I start questioning pretty much everything I have ever deemed as reality. How you can be in a completely new situation or setting, yet feel as though you've already experienced all of this before. However, this can sometimes act as a comfort blanket too - you are somehow enraptured in the notion that things are going to turn out okay, because you have already been through this before and here you are.

'Time is the greatest healer' is a phrase I used to hear repeatedly, and for so long I would pass it off as something people would say in order to make me feel better. Yet, over the past year and a bit I've learnt that this is the ultimate truth. I spent what felt like an eternity in the most intense feeling of pain I have ever felt in my entire life, and I believed that this is how I would feel for the rest of my life. I thought that every day I would wake up with the same dull ache inside my heart, and whilst I'm not going to sit here and pretend like that is completely non-existent - the pain has massively subsided. Sometimes all we need is a little time.

I'm thinking back to times in my life when I've felt truly, completely and utterly happy - and, if I'm perfectly honest, that is right now. The other day I got a text from a lovely friend of mine asking how I was doing, and for the first time in what seems like forever, I replied with 'The best I've ever felt in a long time, I'm in such a good place right now' - and I truly meant that. Whilst people, like myself, were expecting this previous weekend to be difficult, sad, lonely and heart-wrenching, I can honestly say it was anything but that. Whilst there are still moments that take my breath away, or where I am overwhelmed by the sensation of grief, there are also moments where I am laughing until I have tears streaming down my face and where I feel that it isn't possible to be happier than I am in that moment.

Time is a funny thing. It's confusing and sometimes bitter, yet it's also magical. I guess in this little ramble I'm trying to get the message across that whilst there are definitely moments when it seems 'time' is standing in the way of everything we dream of achieving, sometimes it really is our greatest friend. I guess we should cherish it, rather than attempting to battle it.

I think this is one of the shortest blog posts I have ever written, and I'm truly sorry about that! Nevertheless, I hope you've enjoyed and I shall see you next week. (Most definitely on Wednesday this time!)

Love,
Grace x

8 things that I have learnt in my (nearly) 18 years of existence


So, for everyone who doesn't know - I turn 18 tomorrow (!!!!). Whilst I would be lying if I said I wasn't utterly terrified by the fact that I will be an ADULT, I am also sort of (kind of, VERY) excited. Birthday's aren't particularly my favourite thing in the world to celebrate, as with any other holiday/celebration etc etc, yet this one is different. Looking back at last year, my birthday was something that I just wanted to ignore - for the day to pass by quickly and minimal effort be made. Yet this year, this year it's all different. I'm not going to lie and pretend that there's not an extreme sense of sadness present in this day, but there's also such a huge level of giddiness and joy too (I CAN FINALLY BUY ALCOHOL!!!) So, I thought to mark the occasion I would share with you '8 things that I have learnt in my (nearly) 18 years of existence'.

1) Surround yourself with positive people
I honestly do not think I can stress this one enough. The people you surround yourself with are the people who are going to have the biggest impact on many aspects of your life - and toxic people will have more of an affect that you originally think. If you constantly have someone who is pushing all their, this is so cringey but bear with, 'negative energy' onto you, then it will 1500349491049% change you into a predominantly negative person too. However that’s not to say that you can’t be there for your friends - there’s a difference between helping someone deal with their problems and someone pushing their problems onto you. Of course, everyone has their bad days and we wouldn’t be human if they didn’t exist, but sometimes there is a point when you have to walk off and distance yourself, sometimes only for a little while. 

2) Do what makes you happy, regardless of what other people think
Again, this is one that I feel very strongly about. In this day and age, everyone believes that they need to have an opinion on just about e v e r y t h i n g - and if they can’t find something to talk about, then they will talk about you. If you’re doing something different and out of the ordinary, then there will most likely be people who feel the need to discuss it - but to that I say; LET THEM! Give them something to talk about, because if your name is in their mouth then it means you’ve made an impact, and most of the time they will be admiring you for it.

3) Enjoy your own company, rather than be afraid of it
This is something that has taken a while to combat. For a very very very long time, I never used to like doing anything by myself. I would always much prefer to be surrounded by a group of people, than be left alone - and when I was alone I would find it quite distressing. In all honesty, and this is deep and philosophical, but I didn’t know who I was - and being left alone made me feel like I was in the company of a stranger. That all truly does seem like an eternity ago now - as, at this current moment in time, I find great comfort in being by myself - admittedly, I do make myself laugh more than anyone else I know (sorry Georgina! you’re a close second xx) and my favourite time of day is when I am just sat in my room by myself doing whatever the hell I want to do. 

4) Life is too short to be unhappy
I feel like this one is something that is so much easier said than done. I know how easy it is to get into a mindset where you feel like you will never be happy again, and once you reach that point it’s honestly is difficult to come out from that place. Sometimes it does seem like the world is against you, and doing everything in it’s power to test you - but all you can do is fight back. I make sure that I laugh every single day, regardless of how impossible that seems at that particular moment in time. I also make sure that I do at least one thing a day that I know will make me happy - even if that’s just sending a funny Snapchat or watching a video (ahem, videos) of Benedict Cumberbatch. Because, at the end of the day, even though it seems like school or getting good grades is the most important thing in the entire world - it truly isn’t. No one’s going to remember you for getting amazing grades, or for being in the top set - they’re going to remember you for being the person you are. (yikes, that was motivational!)

5) Do things that scare you
Whilst I used to fear change or new beginnings, I am now infatuated with them. I love the adrenaline rush you get from gathering enough courage to do something impulsive and unlike anything you have ever done before. The greatest things truly do come from taking risks, and however cringey or cliche that sounds - it’s the truth. I live by the philosophy that ‘In the end, we always regret the chances we didn’t take’ and have accepted that we can only change once we start to begin to take chances. However, with this comes to acceptance of failure. Sometimes you do things, or you pursue something and it doesn’t work - and that is okay! Not everything is always going to work out, and whilst it may seem like the end of the world at the time - by the same time next year it is guaranteed that you will have forgotten about it. After all, we first have to fail in order to succeed. 

6) Realise your capability
It’s so incredibly easy to dumb yourself down, and not believe in your abilities - trust me, I know. Pretty much every single one of my school reports state that I need to believe in my own potential, yet regardless of how many times I have been told that - it doesn't make a difference! However, I am a lot better than I used to be ; I guess that’s all a part of growing up. Whilst I have long accepted that I won’t always be the best - I will never be the top of the class, or the girl who gets full marks - it no longer matters to me as much as it used to. Academic ability isn’t the be all and end all, and I think it’s massively important to realise that. This all stems to comparing yourself to others, and whilst it seems virtually impossible not to do that, you just have to realise that you’re being unfair to yourself. Compare yourself to YOU - are you reaching your full potential or doing the task at hand to the best of your ability? If the answers are yes, then that is truly all that matters. 

7) Don’t change yourself to suit others
In a world that often seems so fake and commercialised, it is becoming increasingly harder to stay true to yourself. It seems as if everyone’s playing this giant game of ‘lets pretend’ and there’s becoming a distortion of what’s real and what’s not - thus leading to false expectations. All I can say to this is that, at the end of the day, all you can be is yourself - regardless of whether that seems like enough or not - I promise you it is. At the end of the day, you're own opinion of yourself surpasses everyone else's - and if you're happy with who you are, then that is all that matters!

8) Live each day like it’s your last

HOW CLICHE?! BUT HOW TRUE!? The truth is, nothing is certain in this world - and whilst I’ve spent months being so afraid of that, it’s not going to change anything. Throughout all the hard times, and believe me - there’s more than you could ever imagine - I have battled through it with the mindset that I can either spend the rest of my life being consumed by the masses of grief and heartbreak, or I can instead focus on everything that I still have - rather than what I have lost. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like there’s not days that I can’t seem to get out of bed, or where I can’t even string together a sentence without choking up - but it is always in these moments when I realise how lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do. So, to that I say - surround yourself with the best people, let yourself be immersed in happiness and do something every single day which you know will have a positive outcome. It’s easy to be wary of the future, to feel like you need to have a plan - but the best thing I ever did was learnt to take each day as it comes, focusing instead on each separate piece of the puzzle as opposed to the big picture at the end. 


Thank you so much for reading!

Love,
Grace x

My Story

I wrote this post a while ago, yet I never gathered the courage to publish it. It's something that is so personal, yet I feel that it's a story that needs to be shared. The truth is, I've met a few new people recently, and there's always this growing sense of anxiousness of 'when will they start asking questions about my family?' and 'how am I supposed to tell them?'. Regardless of how it may seem on here, this is something that I really don't like talking about - after every post regarding this subject matter, I have to force myself to press the 'publish' button. The sheer thought that talking about it may help people always drives me to do it, no matter how against it I am.

Let’s start from the beginning then, shall we? I was born on the 7th April 1999, at whatever time - does that really matter? I was a tiny little thing, 3lbs 11oz, and was the last one to be delivered. Notice the ‘last one’ bit? See that’s the thing, this wasn’t just my day to shine; I shared it with my brother and sister. I am one of three, with one minute between one baby and the next. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that I realised being a triplet wasn’t a very ordinary thing, yet I obviously didn’t know any different. It makes me laugh, because one of the most vivid memories of my child is me watching a documentary of a set of quadruplets, and sitting on the seesaw in the garden thinking 'Aw, I’m not special anymore’. 

I always knew I was a little different, yet for most of my adolescence I tried my very best to blend in with the crowd - which is considerably difficult when you have hair the colour of a tangerine. My family were a little quirky - we did things that not many other families did like bake bread, call poppadoms ‘pompadoms’ and instead of jetting abroad for 2 weeks in the summer, we would be just as happy nipping up to Wales with a 4 man tent, which we later upgraded to a trailer tent - how posh!

However, 2014 is the year that everything changed. After attending a Ben Howard concert in October, my brother had his first seizure. At first we blamed it on the vodka that he had sipped moments before he went into the O2 apollo, yet I began to be faced with what would later become daily emotions of mine - dread and fear. Luke began to undergo a series of scans and tests at the hospital, and we later discovered that he had a growth on his brain.

He went for his operation 2 days after we were told the news and, if I shut my eyes, I can still remember exactly how I felt on that very day. I still remember trying to do up his hospital gown before he went into theatre, yet my shaking hand was fumbling too much for me to do it. I still remember saying ‘goodbye’ and wondering if that was going to be my last one. I still remember sitting on the hospital chair and crying for what felt like years. I still remember nearly fainting when they told us the operation had gone as planned, and that Luke was just sleeping off the anaesthetic. 

Everything had gone smoothly, and I truly believed that this was the end of this heart wrenching scare. I was proved wrong when the dreaded C word was attached to my darling brother, and the first time I set foot in The Christie hospital to watch him undergo radiotherapy. I will never forget the day that everyone found out, how I walked into a classroom full of people who had just been told the news about something which seemed so personal. I remember thinking, ‘It’s real now, everybody knows’ and I knew that I could no longer live in my bubble where I blocked off reality. 

Time passed, and it seemed as if the treatment was going well. We had the occasional scare - Luke underwent another operation, and we constantly received bad news, good news, bad news, bad news, good news and then bad news again. The last set of bad news was the worst news you could ever ever EVER imagine. The cancer was no longer just in Luke’s brain, it had reached his spine too. It had spread everywhere, and there wasn’t a chance that it was going to be cured. My darling brother, who I had spent every single day of my life with, was now a ticking time bomb - and we had no idea of how much longer he had left. 

I’m still completely uncertain as to how I got through this stage, but I guess it’s true what they say - your strength always shines throughout the hardest of situations. I’m sure you’ll have guessed how this story ends - Luke was taken away from us on 2nd March 2016, and we have just passed the q year anniversary. The thing is, nothing can ever prepare you for losing a loved one - no matter how many self help books you read, how many counselling sessions you undergo or how many times you tell yourself ‘I will get through this’. When you lose someone you love that much, you lose part of yourself too - a part that you will never get back. 

It’s the afterwards which is the hardest part. It’s the stares of people as you walk into school the first time after the funeral, who are so unsure as to what to say - because what can you say? No words, no amounts of ‘I’m so sorry’ can fix anything - and there’s the constant feeling of anger that was unleashed from every sad smile I got in the corridors. Something I struggled with the most was the feeling of guilt - which I still feel today. It’s the constant questioning of ‘why him, why wasn’t it me?’ which I find myself asking at the darkest of times. My brother was, and still is, loved by everybody, and I honestly do mean everybody. He had this infectious smile which you couldn’t help but replicate whenever he was around, and he could have you laughing even at times where you couldn’t ever imagine smiling again. And now, when we need that more than ever, he’s not here. When you lose someone, you begin to start idealising how certain situations would be if they were still here. You begin to think that if they were here, they’d be able to fix everything for you - even though you know deep in your heart that that just isn't the case.

The truth is, there’s an art to losing yourself, and it’s so easy to pretend like you’re completely fine - even at times when you’re anything but that. I’m flawed in the sense that I put so much pressure on myself to be happy, mainly because I think that it helps people around me. Even when I get upset and I desperately need comfort and consolation, I hide away from everyone because I’m so scared of them seeing me this way. I’m terrified to let people in, because then they might see me as broken, and I know it’ll scare them away. Because, at the end of the day, nobody wants a misery guts. Everybody loves having happy people surrounding them, even when we all know that it’s impossible to be happy all of the time.  

If we hide away when we’re sad, then it’s like it never happened. Instead of crying, screaming and doing the most stupid things when I’m sad, I have learnt to turn to writing. It truly is such a cathartic sensation putting the pen to paper and releasing emotions that have built up over an infinite amount of time. Writing allows me to figure out how I’m truly feeling, and I am sometimes left in shock over the words which litter the page - I had no idea previously that I felt this way. 

When people praise me for my writing, it truly means the world to me. The words I write are words which come directly from my heart, and are so personal and dear to me. I struggle so much with vocally expressing how I am feeling, and my writing gives me a platform to be able to do that. Whether I’m happy, sad, angry or tired - the first thing I want to do is write. The moment that my pen touches the paper, or my fingers reach the keys, I know that I am about to be taken on a self induced journey - and it offers me a thrill that other people may find in rollercoasters, cliff diving or bungee jumping. 

And that’s it, that’s my story. Well, a bit of it anyway. The worst thing imaginable happened, and in the aftermath I’m learning to heal through the words that I write. I have experienced things at such a young age, that people will perhaps never experience in their lifetime - and to them, I hope they don’t take it for granted. I would do anything in my power to turn back time, but unfortunately the concept of a time machine only exists in the fictional side of popular culture. All I can do now is live my life, figure out who I am and what I want, and hope that one day everything turns out okay. I have goals and ambitions that I know I can so easily achieve once I set my mind to them, and whilst my life hasn’t turned out so great so far, I’m excited to see what the future brings.



See you next week,
Grace x


recent posts