Why I Don’t Live For Likes

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I’ve mentioned this in several posts before- but I’m a teenager who isn’t built for this generation. My ‘selfie’s’ are awkward and I could never imagine posting a posey photo of myself. The concept of a hashtag is foreign and I’ve never really been into Twitter or Instagram.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with these social media platforms, and I’ll never judge you for posting your selfie- I’ll just never understand the premise behind it all. I believe that once, social media was a tool for storing memories and sharing photos taken with friends and family. Now I think this meaning has changed, and I can’t help but see a platform of insecurity, and I can’t tell if it’s a good or a bad thing yet.  I live in a generation where people live for followers and getting more than 100 likes on a photo. I’ve seen people post a photo that has a happy memory behind it, only to have them take it down because it only received twenty likes in the first five minutes. When people ask why I don’t post on social media like the other teenagers in my generation, I don’t really have a clear answer for them. They assume it’s an insecurity- but I wouldn’t say I am not a particularly insecure person. If anything, I would say that part of my reluctance to post on social media arrises not on the judgment of how I look, but more on the judgement that I had the audacity to keep a photo online when it only received two likes. The biggest issue I have with a lot of social media is the hollowness of it all. I’m bored of seeing the same selfie after selfie, with with the unchanging face, no intermission of a fun silly photo with friends. What’s the point? Growing up with a large age gap between my siblings, maybe my distance with social media is based on my upbringing, where to my elder siblings the concept of ‘likes’ and ‘selfie’s’ is equally as foreign a concept.I miss the fun in a lot of people’s photos. I’m traditional in thinking that photo’s should be linked to a memory  and not just a good hair day. But who am I to say what a photo means? Maybe there’s some deep meaning or reason for a selfie and I’m just too old for my age!

Leaving Early

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Francis Warwick leans against one of the walls, eyes on the television, mind elsewhere, as the advert for the flu vaccination loops on the T.V once more. Earlier, he gave up his seat to a very frail looking woman, who thanked him by coughing in his face. He is beginning to regret giving up his seat now, because his appointment was scheduled for half an hour ago, yet the doctors still haven’t seen him. He checks his watch and mumbles something about the NHS going down the pan. A buzzing sound comes from one of his coat pockets. He pats himself down until his hand hits something hard in his breast pocket. He squints at the small screen of the Nokia, making sure that it’s not one of those numbers that try to sell him ‘some PPI nonsense’.

“Hello?” He answers “Hiya love… No, they haven’t even seen me yet, bloody NHS… well It isn’t my fault is it? I’ll be there love… I wouldn’t let you cart that home on the bus… I’ll ring you after they see me Dot… Bye Love… Bye.” Francis proceeds to press a button on the phone, which he hopes will end the call; but he can’t be sure what he’s pressing without his glasses. He takes his slouched position at the wall again, silently judging the twenty something year old with the headphones in, for not giving up his seat for him.

Francis hates hospitals. To him, it ‘s just a place filled with time wasters who think they’re dying when they have a cough. Francis wishes he were at home watching Antiques Roadshow with a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit. But he’d never hear the end of it from Dot if he didn’t pick up his results.
“Francis Wo-o-orwick.” The robotic voice attempts to say over the intercom.
“About bloody time!” Francis mutters as he starts to make his way down the hallway and enters into the doctor’s office.                 “I’m sorry about the wait Mr Warwick,” the doctor starts “Please take a seat.” Francis bites back a few terse words as he sits down in the chair.
“I’m sitting.” Francis states bluntly.
“We have your test results back Mr. Warwick”
“I should hope so,” Francis starts “It’s been two weeks. Me and the wife have been wanting to book a weekend away, but this faffy nonsense has stopped us.”
“Mr. Warwick,” the doctor says firmly. She shifts forward in her chair, and clasps her hands together in front of her. She lifts her eyes, so that they keep Francis’s gaze. “We found a tumour Mr. Warwick and unfortunately- the tests have found it to be malignant.”
Francis doesn’t respond. Outside the room, feet shuffle, doors squeak open then slam shut. The doctor begins to think that Francis Warwick hadn’t heard her. He rests his hands on his pot belly, a calm expression on his face, not dissimilar to the one he pulls when deciding whether to have tea of coffee.
“Mr. Warwick?” The doctor asks, “I understand that this may come as a shock-“
“Why do you people use all of this medical Jargon? It’s Cancer isn’t it?” Francis asks
“Yes,” the Doctor replies “we found a cancerous growth in your lungs Mr. Warwick. I understand if you need some time before we-“
“Can it be treated?” Francis asks. The doctor pauses, formulating a response in her head before she speaks.
“It’s quite advanced Mr Warwick… There are options, but-“
“This is such a faff” Francis interrupts, squeezing the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger “It would have been much easier for you to tell me that I’m dying over the phone.”
“Mr. Warwick?” The doctor asks, concerned.
“This is why you have waiting rooms fit to burst. You keep me in a germ-ridden incubator, to tell me something you could have said over the phone!”
“Mr Warwick, do you need to speak to a grief councilor before we discuss options?”
“Grief councilor!” Francis exclaims, “This isn’t the sodding Jeremy Kyle show! No, I don’t want any of that. I just want to go into town and help my wife with the shopping.”
“I think the shopping can wait Mr. Warwick,” the doctor suggests in a light sympathetic tone “It’s best to discuss your options as soon as possible Mr. Warwick. This should be your priority right now.”
“That’s where you’re wrong Doctor,” Francis says, standing from the deceptively hard chair, knees cracking “you haven’t seen my Dot after I leave her waiting. She’ll kill me before the cancer does.” Before he leaves, he turns back to the doctor “Is there anything else doctor? Aside from the cancer.”
The doctor stares at Francis in disbelief, various words in her mind that she couldn’t put into a sentence, she then shifts through her papers with clumsy hands.
“No Mr. Francis… that appears to be everything”
“Good” Francis replies. He then turns to leave, closing the door behind him.
As he leaves the office, Francis pats down his body again, feeling around for the lump of the Nokia. He leans against one of the walls in the waiting room as he squints to find the name ‘Dot’ in his contacts.
“Hiya love… yeah I’m out… It’s alright. Honestly. Look, I’ll speak to you more later; Are you done? Ok… I’ll meet you at the doors, grab yourself a brew or something while you wait. Love you too.” When Francis looks up from the phone, his eyes automatically land on the spot by the wall that he had previously filled. The frail old lady had vacated the seat he sacrificed. A younger woman takes her place, flicking through a magazine while chewing on her excessively long acrylic nails. Francis feels suddenly grateful that no-one had given up their seat for him. He didn’t want to be the frail one who needed sympathy. He figured that he wouldn’t get that label for at least another ten years. Well, that was what he assumed before today.
“Sir, are you okay? You look very pale.” A nurse asks. Francis hadn’t even been aware of her presence. Francis realises that the nurses hand holding his arm is what’s keeping him upright. He uses the wall behind him to correct his stance.
“I’m fine nurse. Just in need of some food I think” he says, moving his arm from the Nurses grip. Before she could object, Francis turns to leave the waiting room, aware that he needed to meet his wife… and tell his wife. Francis doesn’t get scared often, but he’s scared right now. He approaches his car rubbing his chest, as if he could feel the cancer with his bare hand. He isn’t scared of dying. He’s scared of telling his wife. How do you tell your wife and grandchildren that you’re going to decay and die right in front of their eye? How do you comfort them after that?
Francis suddenly realises that he’s been walking aimlessly for a while, and he has gone past his car because his mind keeps conjuring up these unanswerable questions that make his body feel numb.
“I’ll pick up my wife,” he says to himself, silencing his morbid brain, trying to push those numbing questions to the farthest point of his consciousness. He’ll answer them another day.

Death at A Wedding

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I love weddings. They bring out my softer side, and that’s not an easy thing to do. I haven’t been to many weddings though, not in comparison to the funerals. I feel a little out of place sitting in the church pew, staring at the tense shoulders of the grooms back instead of a coffin. I like the atmosphere and even the noise. It beats the flat line silence of a funeral, where everyone’s either crying or trying not to cry. The slow lulling of ‘Here Comes the Bride’ silences everyone. We all stand and turn to see the bride in her wedding dress. She’s clutching her flowers tightly, taking a breath before she starts walking, arm hooked in another man’s arm who looks too young to be her dad. People are getting married older these days. It’s not like a few years ago, where you would have been married with three kids by the age of twenty-one. This woman’s pushing fifty. She’s beautiful, despite the stress of the last few months. I bet she hasn’t been this happy for weeks.
‘She suits being a bride, doesn’t she?’ I ask the woman next to me. She ignores me. The bride’s a little teary. I notice it when she walks past the pew where I stand when she quickly brushes a tear away with her hand. She doesn’t even see me, she doesn’t see any of us. It’s like the only person in the room is her husband to be; He doesn’t look quite so beautiful, I have to admit. His whole body is shaking. I wish someone would just give him a chair to sit on, because I don’t know how he’ll stay standing for an hour. He doesn’t seem phased though. He’s looking at his bride, smiling like nothing’s wrong. He doesn’t break eye contact with her as she walks towards him. It’s like he’s trying to disguise how ill he is, just for her. He doesn’t look one bit self-conscious about the bandage around his neck. He hasn’t even tried to hide the tube that helps him to breathe. He just doesn’t care. When his bride reaches his side, he searches in the folds of her dress for her hand. She meets him half way, twining her arm around his like a vine, becoming his foundation. I heard the bridesmaids gossiping earlier, talking about how he spent every penny he had on her today. His own suit is second hand and untailored… It’s sad to say, but it shows as the suit hangs limp on his skinny body. Had he worn it six months ago, it would probably fit him just right. But this illness has stripped him of his health, his weight and his looks. It’s not a bad suit all things considered though. He did only have four weeks to plan this wedding, with only the savings he had on him at the time. Terminal lung cancer has a deadline after all.
I already know that I’ve left this too long. It’s a shame, I don’t like to make happy stories so sad. I stand from the pew just as he says ‘I do’. I straighten out my black robe, and self- consciously look at crowd, checking if anyone can see me; of course they don’t notice me. They never do until it’s their time.
I look at the couple, exchanging a kiss while the photographer hurriedly snaps photos of them. I figure time can wait. I can give them five more minutes together before I take him. It can’t hurt to let them get a few more photos of the dead man and his widow.

gisHwHeS 2015

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So this post is very late and I’m sorry for that, but I’m a very last minute person! Anyway- Do you like crazy, fun, charitable events? Then you need to be doing gisHwHeS 2015! Only die-hard fans of the TV Show, Supernatural (or those who just love Misha Collins… because why wouldn’t you?) will know what I’m harping on about. Even I have trouble explaining to others what it is. In short, it’s an acronym for:
The
Greatest
International
Scavenger
Hunt
The
World
Has
Ever
Seen

It is honestly the most fun I have ever had. For a week in August, you’re manically running around, trying to complete and gather items on a list- yet these aren’t ordinary items. In the past we’ve been asked to record or take pictures of the strangest things, whether this be a storm trooper receiving a facial, or dancing around a maypole in front of a bus station. The greatest pictures or videos are worth more points, and points add up to a prize- this year the prize is a trip to Costa Rica. If you don’t win and let’s face it, you probably wont (not against my team anyway…) your submission fee of roughly $10 at the bare minimum will go towards the charity Random Acts. The experience alone is worth the fee and more.
Here are some pictures of my gisHwHeS experience in 2014:

Making a human birds nest
Birdsnest

Racing paper boats in a fountain
boats

The flash ready to get stuck behind someone on an escalator

flash

Building a fairy house in London

Fairy

Building a corrupt ginger bread village filled with criminals… we added prostitutes for kicks.

GINGER
Making John Barrowan’s head from masking tape

John
Pink Unicorn that farts rainbows

Unicorn
Cavemen ready to eat in a fancy restaurant

Cavemen

This is just a handful of the pictures that I had. I didn’t even include the videos!
It was both humiliating and amazing, and I can’t wait until gisHwHeS this year. You still have a week and five days to sign up for yourself, and i really urge you to whether this be on your own or with a group of friends. The event was created to spread kindness and happiness to a world that needs to become a little more abnormal. If you want to join, or learn more about the event, click here!
It’s really, the most fun you will ever have.If I’m wrong, I’ll eat 3 year old Kale.

Braces at Eighteen

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I’m what you might call, a bit of an awkward person. I’ve never quite seemed to fit into the grain of ‘normality’ is society. You might say weird, I prefer the term ‘quirky’ (although let’s face it, those words mean the same thing). Consequently, this means that I’m always the one with the go to humiliating story, or the one that silences the conversation in the room when I take a joke too far. ‘Awkwardness’ often has the habit of branching out of my personality into my appearance and my laugh which has been described as a ‘contagious cackle’.
My curly hair is awkward, always acting like a hormonal teenager. Some days it will behave and curl in the way that I want it to, but most of the time it tells me to go f*** myself, sticking out like a mane. And then there’s these bad boys…

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The epitome of awkward are glued to my teeth. My eighteen year old awkward teeth, that were too awkward to push the baby teeth out by themselves, so they had to be removed. I thought the laugh was bad, pair that with a metal mouth and the manic hair, you have yourself a meth-head who needs to be sectioned. It’s needless to say, that making new friends at university this year was a worrying prospect. Who wants to befriend the awkward drug addict? Somehow I got through it, although I spent my freshers year doing that awkward close-lipped smile, that never really looks sincere.

Wow. This was meant to be a post to other awkward older people with braces, to tell them that being an awkward metal mouth isn’t so bad. I’m sorry, I’ve probably just scared you to death. Don’t rip the metal off so quickly! You’ll be thankful when your teeth are straight in the long run. You’ll also have a lot of room for bags on the bus! After all, who would want to sit next to anyone as awkward as us?
(Drinking game: Shot for every time I wrote awkward)

Spike.

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This is my best friend, Spike.
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He’s a mixed breed Labrador who had never stopped acting like a puppy despite being 11 years old. It sounds cliché and extremely pathetic to say that Spike is my best friend, but I can’t think of a title that would describe our bond any better. I’ve known him since the day he was born in the cupboard under my stairs when I was 7 years old. We’ve watched movies together, cheered each other up when we’re sad, ran around in the woods and even played hide and seek together. Unlike most dogs, he loves and takes care of all his teddy bears.
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I’ve always said that Spike is not an appropriate name for my dog. He should have been called ‘Lucky’ because he has been dodging death ever since the day he was born. It began when he nearly suffocated after being born, and his mum was too tired to save him. Luckily we were there and he pulled through. Then there are the countless times where his mischievous side would surface and he would run away when the door gets left open, and not get hit by a car. Even the time just last year where he ran away for 3 days, did get hit by a car and lived.

This is the photo we put on his missing poster... it was the only one we could find in 5 minutes, ok?!

This is the photo we put on his missing poster… it was the only one we could find in 5 minutes, ok?!

I had started to believe that we had found the luckiest dog on the planet, one who would surpass his life expectancy with no health issues.

Unfortunately I was wrong.

A few weeks ago, I was hit with the news that my best friend has cancer. I knew that the odds of a dog of his age getting cancer is very high, working out that 50% of dogs over the age of 10 contract the disease; in his breed it was even higher. Still, the diagnosis was heart breaking, as Spike is more than my dog, he is another member of the family. I already knew that even if chemotherapy was affordable, we would not be treating Spike with it. The thought of him being sick everyday was unbearable, and we knew that a Spike who isn’t constantly wagging his tail, or playing tug of war with his dog blanket is not truly ‘Spike’. So instead I’m faced with the morbid reality that I will never see him open another Christmas present, or eat another dog friendly birthday cake again.
Just a week ago, you wouldn’t know anything was even wrong with him. He was still running around like a puppy, and keeping us awake at night begging for food. But now he has taken a turn for the worst. I’ve tried to turn Spike’s prognosis into a positive. I’ve made him his very own bucket list, filled with things we probably never would have done without Spike’s diagnosis. Number 1 was go to the beach, which he loved.

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If time is on our side, the next thing is to give him a whole steak to eat! This post wasn’t meant to make you sad, and I’m sorry if it has! I’m very aware that those without pets won’t understand why this is a big deal, and it’s not a feeling I can ever explain to you. It’s awful to be away from him at university, knowing that the rest of our time together is so limited, but it makes the moments we do spend together extra special. I’m hoping to tick as many things off the list before Spike’s spark leaves us. I try not to get upset, and feel happy knowing that I’ll still be left with photo’s and memories of my best friend Spike.

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Notes From A Pointless Lecture

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-7 minutes late and the lecture begins… he’s working from a powerpoint but he doesn’t have a clue what he’s saying. Talking about morality in creative writing. I just took the keyboard protector off my keypad… it feels weird. I’m putting it back on.
– Ethics of writing… we all have moral compass which are inside of us all.
-Someone’s showing off. He answered a question that hadn’t yet been asked yet. In a lecture. Really?
-Oscar Wilde, ooh. No he only mentioned him briefly.Back to the boring stuff i guess
-Oops I forgot to listen.
-Ebay time.
-Stumbled across this on the internet, and I’m not allowed to laugh… oh dear.

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-Oliver Twist- Victorian morality. Stop listing the characters. We all know Oliver Twist. Or at least I hope we do as literature students students.
-Art can never change public morality- clearly not. I’ve read some terrible books that made me want to maim the authors.*cough, Twilight cough*.
-George Eliot… German Idealist philosophy who discussed masculine identity. Wait this is a female? Ohh pen name. Sexism and all that. Why do they still call her that? Her real name is Mary.
-All narrative need a sin… this is the world we live in. We’re sick individuals. True though… sick but true. Why is our creativity evil!? The devil can take any form… why not Literature. I bet he’s twilight. Wouldn’t expect that twist would you?
-“If we are offended by something, should it be published? Should we self sensor?” I wish you would have self-censored this lecture.
– I’m feeling sleepy. I knew it was a bad idea to watch Charlie’s Angels. 4 hours sleep will not ‘be fine’. You have an essay to research idiot…which you could have been doing in this wasted hour.
-I want sleep. Ill hide behind my laptop.
-Why do people use abbreviation. It’s so dumb, WTF!?
-‘Lol’- Whats wrong with saying ‘ha’… it’s shorter?!
– I’m getting cranky…. That’s because I’m being bored to death. Thank the heavens that I took my laptop with me.
-Everyone on Facebook is telling me to google blue waffle.
-Don’t google it… or urban dictionary it. All I’m saying is- Gross STI. Ugh. Percy Jackson won’t want this blue food… Rick Riordan fans will get that reference.
– This is just a philosophy lecture! I thought I left that behind at A-level.
-He’s talking about the holocaust now… way to bring the tone down dude.
-Holocaust and religion in the same lecture!? This guy’s controversial.
-Just this… I’m dead. #literaturejokes #ofmiceandmen #notthebandthebook

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-Cadbury’s are releasing popping candy ice-cream. I can feel my butt growing just looking at the picture.
– 3 minutes left… we can do this.
-2 minutes…
-1 minute…
-He’s gone over! HOW HOW HOW… he’s talking about his own moral experiences!? Oh, my parcel has arrived… yay!

ITS DONE… and I have a seminar in an hour. Great. I’m calling in sick.

Unconscious Smiles

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In the still council house bedroom

My sand-fleck sized sister dozes

Too small for a double bed

And an enveloping oasis of a quilt.

Hazy light from the TV borders her face

Almost convincing me she’s alert

But I see her eyes drooping

Half fighting the urge to drift

But giving in and falling

Into a dream-like state.

Sand dunes form on the apples of her cheeks

The ones that roll up

In her desert

of unconscious smiles…

Blogmas day 18: Russell ‘The Revolution’ Brand

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Okay, the inevitable has happened and I have already failed blogmas… but I’m getting right back on the blogging horse with this post.

Those of you from the UK will probably be know the comedian ‘Russell Brand’. Those across seas may or may not. He has starred in movies such as ‘Arthur’ and ‘Get him to the Greek’. He has also made his name as the witty comedian who is a bit of a wordsmith.

Russell haircut
I am not here to flaunt his career, or become a ‘fan girl’ who wants to unleash her obsession onto the unsuspecting public. In all honesty, 6 months ago Russell Brand was a person who I knew of but I had never taken much notice of (sorry Russell!). But recently, I have come to realise that Russell Brand is far more than an actor and a comedian. Recently, he has become my favourite person for the way in which he uses his social status to become a mouthpiece for those who need it. Coming from a relatively dire background himself, his political and social movements are particularly potent because they are real. He knows what he is arguing for, because he has been in the situation.
His YouTube videos ‘The Trews’ attempt to uncover the truth behind the news (it seems that comedians and puns are inseparable) by expressing his views on politicians and various aspects of the news . Don’t let his deep Essex accent deceive you- He is actually an intelligent man. I appreciate the way in which he took a risk in creating a YouTube channel which doesn’t promote his career in any way. He must have recognised the risks of potential backlash that arises from creating such a channel, yet he did it anyway. For years, I have waited for a celebrity to make a difference- a real difference. Not just singing a song for charity, or showing their face in Africa to show how desperately the children need money, before getting a first class flight home to their mansions. It turns out I’ve been waiting for Russell Brand.
He recently made a documentary in which he explored the issue of drug wars. It is rare for a documentary to change and alter my very own values, yet this is what the documentary did. A recovered drug addict himself, Russell can now view the issue of the drug war from an objective perspective; he highlights how we should stop treating drug users as criminals, instead see them as humans who are in need of medical help. My initial thought was of derision, after all we were giving the drug users an excuse to use. I could also not fathom how we could eradicate drug use if we treated it as a medical issue. It’s the user’s fault they chose to take the drugs.
But then I stopped and realised that I was regurgitating the views instilled in me. Were these thought my own? Probably not. Thinking about it, why would anyone choose to take drugs if they weren’t desperate? Drug related crimes are higher in poorer families- can’t we see this correlation? Desperation breeds drug users. In order to stop people taking drugs, society perhaps needs to change and take away desperation from the poor.
Some argue that Russell Brand’s sudden increase in political activity only exists so he can sell his new book ‘Revolution’. For some reason, I have difficulty accepting this. There is a sincerity behind his movement which seeks to positively change society. Russell has the social influence that accompanies being a celebrity- it is refreshing to see it being utilised for something other than self gain.

Blogmas Day 11: Never self diagnose…

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Yep… I only posted 4 hours ago. And yep… it is 5am. And yep, i haven’t been to sleep yet. I have been self- diagnosing, scaring myself to death convinced my teeth are going to fall out.
Here’s a tip. If you have a health related issue, don’t use google. In this circumstance, google is not your friend. He is your enemy who links every health issue back to cancer or Alzheimer’s. Most importantly, don’t use yahoo answers, they don’t have any answers! They’re full of people who tell you you’re going to die in seven days, then claim to be a doctor.
I’ll try to get some sleep now if there’s any point.
Good night!🙂