Dear 2020, I’m writing this letter addressed to you as dear but you haven’t always been ‘dear’ to me this year. In January, you tore my heart out of my chest and squeezed as hard as you could. In February, March, April, May and June, you sat and watched me fall apart over and over again and the only hand you could lend me was time. During these months, I re-discovered my strength and my worth with the help of an army of friends and family. No stronger army had I ever seen.
Taylor Swift does it again and I ain’t even mad
Let’s set the scene shall we; it’s about 11:30pm on a Thursday night. I’ve just come home from seeing a theatre performance and am mid-way through writing my review of it when my partner calls me. Now, I knew that my partner had a 6am shift the next day so I knew that he’d only call me if he had something extraordinary to tell me or if something had happened to him. Thankfully, it wasn’t the latter. He was calling me to tell me to check my socials as Taylor Swift had just announced a surprise 9th studio album Evermore, a skated album to Folklore, which is one of my favourite albums ever recorded. So naturally, I went into a state of shock and only had total of about three hours of sleep before I had to go and teach children the next morning.
Things Florence Given has taught me about being a woman in a patriarchal world
For the past few months, I've been following Florence Given quote closely on Instagram. Like many social activists, she uses her instagram platform to raise issues of awareness of sexuality, race and gender and has created some pretty incredible artwork embedded with sharp and witty slogans about the above issues, one of which is my desktop background. Florence recently published a book called Women Don't Owe You Pretty, which broke a bunch of records after its publication and is probably one of my favourite reads of 2020. It's definitely my favourite feminist manifesto and opened my eyes to many behavioural, emotional and psychological things that I was subconsciously (or consciously) doing to myself and additionally, what norms living in a patriarchal society inflicts upon women. So I thought I'd share a few points which stood out for me and made me ponder on my own internal and external thoughts, actions, lifestyle and tendencies. I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, some of them will resonate with you too. They are as follows:
Confessions of a perfectionist
One of my biggest struggles in my public and personal sphere is being a perfectionist. My desire to be a flawless person in both my internal and external life means that on a day to do basis I set myself exceedingly high standards that I set out to achieve. Whether it's making sure that I get the highest grades on my papers, ticking off everything on my to do list or making sure that every dish in my cupboard is in the right place. Yes, my perfectionism is a motivating factor in achieving my goals, practicing self-improvement and in giving 150% into everything I do. It means that I'm a high achiever; a trait which has a massive downside at the best of times. I often find myself setting standards that are extremely high and often impossible to achieve. If I don't achieve these ideals then I become very self-critical about myself and my own self-worth. I become so overwhelmed with all of these stresses and my own demands of making sure that I'm this perfect being that I often end up over-thinking and procrastinating the task at hand due. My fear of failure of not doing enough often sends my brain spiralling down a few steep slope and I often find it difficult to find the calm after the storm.
Bops That Make Me Feel Empowered
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel very drained and exhausted, whether that be from work, study or life comittments or just the daily chronic pain from having endometriosis. Or maybe it’s the lack of sleep and social interaction that get me in a funk, who knows. To generate my energy and remind myself that I’m a strong independent woman that can tick off everything in her to do list, maintain a 7.0 GPA, be a living and supportive girlfriend, get to work on time and do all the regular life things, I’ve made myself a playlist of bops that motivate me to be the fierce female that I know I am. They are as follows:
Learning how to live and love after heartbreak
At the start of this year, I wrote a blog post called Grief. It was probably the most personal thing I've written and especially the most personal thing I've ever posted online. It's also my most read article, which still surprises me to this day. I didn't think my story of heartbreak and pain would resonate with so many readers but I'm glad it did and that some of you found solace in it.
What we can learn from Will and Emma on Glee
I love Glee. I'm not even going to say that it's a guilty pleasure as I quite frankly don't feel guilty in any way shape or form. When it first came out, I was obsessed. Some might have even called me a mega fan. As a theatre kid, I felt like I'd found my people and I felt like I finally had some sort of representation in pop culture media. So naturally, for Halloween, my partner, who also loves Glee, and I decided to dress up as Glee characters. We decided to dress up as Mr Schuester and Emma as my partner admittedly looks like a young Will and I have red hair, so it kinda worked for us. It wasn't until I was in an OP shop looking for a signature yellow frilly top, cardigan and signature short skirt, that I actually started to ponder on the nature of their relationship and soon come to the realisation that to this date, I think they're one of the healthiest and most supportive couples to exist on tv.
Your Vulnerability is Your Strength
I don’t know about you, but I’m an incredibly vulnerable person. I’ve always worn (and still wear) my heart on my sleeve and this, I’ve never found it difficult to let people in. Until recently, I thought that wearing my heart on my sleeve and being such an open person was my harmatia; my fatal flaw. And when I got my heart ripped apart at the start of the year, I blamed myself and my nature. My first thought was that if I didn’t love so much, if I don’t fall so hard and if I didn’t share too much, then my heart would be hurting much less and I would be healing quicker.
Taylor Swift is the Poet of the Twenty-First Century
I don't know about you guys, but I've been listening to Folklore on repeat since it came out. I also may or may not have memorised most of the lyrics. I've always loved Taylor Swift. There, I said it. And I've always loved her through all of her different sounds and albums, because of the quality of her lyrics. The poetic nature and the imagery in her lyrics are what lures me in, and it's probably why I love Folklore so much. She's not only one of the best songwriters of our generation but one of its best poets too, as that's what her lyrics are: delightful slices of poetry. Instead of writing a 600 word academic essay as to why I think she's such a profound poet, I thought I'd share with you all a list of same of my favourite poetry of hers. They are as follows (and in no particular order):
Star-Crossed Lovers: Do they actually exist?
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘star-crossed lovers’ before. Most of us probably first heard it during our high school English class when we were studying Romeo and Juliet. But, star-crossed lovers have always existed and you may have even had a crush of been in relationship in which you’ve felt a love so powerful but unfortunately external factors like distance you from one another, work or time constraints have gotten in the way from you pursuing that love or that relationship to its fullest. It’s like being forced to break your own heart over and over again because of whatever married is in your way.
The Best Ted Talks About Heartbreak, Grief and Loss
For those that have read my previous articles, know that this past few months hasn't been easy for me or my heart. During my time of grieving, I would often find myself googling what I should do and what other people have done to mend their broken hearts. Some of what I found was useful and some not so much. I'd loved watching and listening to Ted Talks, and fortunately, I found a number of them that were super helpful and made feel less alone in terms of the pain that I was going through. So if you're going through a heartbreak, I hope this list provides you some solace.
Hello and welcome to my Ted Talk about Overthinking. For those that know me, know that I like to over-complicate everything. To overthink or think too much. I'm a very visual person so I imagine that when I overthink, it's like that game I used to play as I a child, in which there's a pole that's connected to a string that has a tennis ball on it that you hit and watch as the tennis ball goes around and around and around until the next person hits it. I like to picture that when I overthink, I'm the tennis ball flying through the air, not knowing how to stop but desperately yearning to be beside the pole once more.