The Beginning 


So, awhile ago I began talking to Daniel, the homeless man at the end of my road. I asked him to take photos of things he saw, where he slept, and just general visual documentation of his life on the streets. He agreed, and I gave him a camera. 

Now, a couple of weeks after that, the photos have been developed! I was so happy when he gave me back the camera, with no space for more photos but now, physically holding his life in my hands, I am beyond overjoyed. 

The photos he took came out in the typical disposable camera style – slightly faded and very candid. I love that about them, and the quality only further emphasises the life captured in moments in these pictures. They’re so much more than I could ever have imagined, and each one has a distinct feeling attached to it, making each incredibly beautiful. 

They hold an immense power, and are absolutely amazing – I am so ridiculously happy that Daniel agreed to help me with this project. 

Now, I want to show him the developed pictures and ask if he minds if I display them in one of the two small window galleries nearby. If he agrees, I would like to try and sell duplicates and use the money to help him and the others in the homeless community – I don’t want prison to be a realistic ideal because it would allow them ‘a warm bed and a decent meal’, like Daniel once said it would be. I want to properly talk to him about what would help him, and use any money I potentially got from the photos to do just that. 

This could be the start of something big, and I am so excited. 

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Terrified

First off, I’m writing this on my phone so I can’t promise perfect spelling or any of that. 

Secondly, I will hear from Central Saint Martins about whether or not I’ve got onto their foundation course on Wednesday. I have a ‘backup plan’ but in all honesty I don’t like it – my second choice is a college that does a UAL approved foundation course, so it’s good, but it’s not CSM. Obviously. 

So there’s the stress of not getting in, but then my boyfriend applied for the same course. Now, his art is amazing, not even from a biased view – it’s just flipping amazing. Incredible. Fantastic. Honestly, it’s unique and interesting and just so good

I want him to get into CSM so much, and I genuinely believe that he will. However, I want to get in too. Ideally we both would but this is not, and never has been, an ideal world. 

I’m so scared that he’s going to get in and I’m not, which I would hate to sound mean and selfish even though I know it does. The idea of not being with him and not seeing him every day like I pretty much do now, given that we go to the same school, absolutely petrifies me, and I mean petrifies – I just freeze up and see panic and it’s horrible. I love him so much and the thought of him going there and meeting someone amazing and arty and perfect is awful, but at the same time I want more than anything for him to be happy. I don’t actually, rationally, think he’d just up and leave me because I have far more trust in him than that, but irrationally my brain says otherwise and that argument is far louder in my head. 

Of course, him going there and me not could also result in us staying together and everything would be lovely. 

We could also both get in and be happy there together, or both get in and break up. 

Neither of us might get in and we could stay together or break up. 

I have no way of knowing what’s going to happen and that is horrible because it means that anything could. On the flip side, of course, that means endless possibilities but right now I’m stuck panicking over all these possible futures. 

I just think that, to me, is both going to CSM would mean us staying together, as if that black and white plan is a definite. 

I realise that all of this sounds a lot like CSM is important only so that we stay together, which is actually not true at all – it’s one of the absolute best art schools in the world and has the most amazing facilities. As well as that it attracts people from everywhere, and is essentially a concentrated melting pot of cultures and lives and that fascinates me. I love meeting people and they would all be there because they love art, something I love and always have loved. To get in there would be amazing. 

In all honesty, it’s the only thing in my life I’ve ever worked for – I winged my GCSEs and really my A-Levels aren’t looking too great right now either, although I am trying with them. I’ve always had this stupid mentality of ‘what happens happens because it’s the right thing’ which is bullshit because I think, with GCSEs, the right thing would’ve been for me to have worked and got grades that were good for me, not just ok ones that reflected well on the school. I could’ve done so much better. 

But with CSM… it’s art. It’s the thing I have always done and have always loved, forever. I’ve always had drawings stuck on my walls and photos stashed in boxes or blue-tacked to my windows, mirrors, doorframe… I love making things, and more specifically making things out of nothing – old bits of stuff I’ve found along the street or in skips or something that have become actual pieces of art. I love it, and to me CSM is an opportunity for my hobby to become something more and to maybe be recognised as something more by people who actually know. 

I’ve never worked for anything, but this. My portfolio was beautifully mounted and I love the sketchbooks I showed them. I can honestly say that I tried, and not only that but I gave it my all. 

If I don’t get in and he does, I will be so proud of him and pleased for him but I know that it will hurt me a huge amount, far too much for me to actually admit to, although I think that’s partly because I refuse to think on that pain long enough to really acknowledge how much of it there is. 

I don’t really know what I’ll do if I don’t get in, and for some reason that’s hit me particularly hard with a big ol’ wave of panic this morning. I think it’s partly because I don’t feel like I’m ready for my a-levels or to leave school and my home life isn’t great and everything has just got a bit much lately, and now there’s a few days until I know whether I’m in or not, and whether I am or not determines a lot of my foreseeable future. 

I really really hope I get in, and I hope he does too (and not for that selfish reason, but because he genuinely deserves it). I really really hope I do. For now, we wait. Agh!!! 

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters

I always wondered why someone hadn’t done something about that, and then I realised that I am someone. 

It’s funny how many people mention in day-to-day conversation something that they’re unhappy with in the wider world. It’s strange that they always say that that thing is ‘awful’ or ‘sad’ or ‘unfair’ or any other negative adjective. It’s remarkable how even one person noticing and commenting on these things has the ability to change them.

Every single person on the planet has the ability to change something for someone, and everyone is capable of making a positive difference in the world around them. If you stop and think about that for a moment or two it becomes a pretty powerful thing; ‘changing the world’ doesn’t have to mean going out to some far flung place you’ve been told needs help because ‘the world’ includes where you are right now, and where you are right now is somewhere you can have a direct impact upon.

For me it took a while for that notion to sink in, because I’ve grown up with charities and programmes that stress orphanage- and school- building in countries far away that don’t have the same facilities as we do here, so for a very long time I thought that the only way I could ‘change the world’ was to leave my own but try and replicate bits of it elsewhere, but that’s really not the mentality needed to succeed in world changing…

We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are. 

Think about a remote village somewhere a world away and think about the fact that this hypothetical place has amount of uneducated children and adults. Now imagine you have the chance to visit this place and do with it what you will. You take up the opportunity and are now all set to go and change this place; (working on the assumption that you have the means to fund this) you’re going to go and build a school and train teachers to teach this community, and as far as you’re concerned that’s that and you can go off and put this plan into motion.

When you get there, you do this and within a period of time you have a school and teachers and students, all of whom are pleased with this change in their community.

But, what does this education system do to the rest of their world? If it suddenly limits the amount of time spent culturally enriching their community, or decreases something imperative to that community’s well-being, then was this project for better or for worse?

If you think about it, when you imagine going off and doing something like this its likely that you picture something familiar, like a standard school for your area, mentally photoshopped into different surroundings. That’s normal, I think, but it’s not quite what we should all be imagining; just because something is how it is here doesn’t mean that it must therefore be like that somewhere else, because whatever it is is how it is because of the community it’s in.

My point here is that we need to consider what the people and/ or place we want to help actually needs to be, rather than trying to mimick our world in someone else’s – just because something seems like it should be a certain way because that’s how we’re used to it doesn’t mean that that’s the only way it should be.

In essence, I mean that we need to really think. What is it that will help? Where can I start? And how? And when? 

Well, I think now is as good a time as any to start looking around and talking to people, to start conversations that matter – I mean, talk about the things that are difficult to talk about and plan and do something to change those things for the better. 

Start a conversation that matters. 

Ask yourself, if not me, who? If not now, when? – Emma Watson  

Tattoos

SO

I’ve booked to get a tattoo at Vagabond studios on Hackney Road, after extensive research, and am so excited. I’ve wanted one for ages and thought the semicolon would be a perfect one for me, but then for various reasons I don’t think that would be so appropriate anymore. I’ve therefore given it some thought and decided on a minimalist design of sand dunes/ a mountain range.

Of course, when I told my mother she went off on one about how I should get a meaningful tattoo – which this is, but I can’t tell her why. She and I don’t have the best relationship at all, so I can’t tell her that this tattoo is simultaneously a representation of where my father (who I’ve never met) is from (somewhere I can never visit) and of a mountain range (about as far removed from the sand dunes as you can get, and as high as you can go on foot). There’s the added (cheesy) bonus that it looks like a heartbeat, which I love because it points towards the father bit but also to the reminder that I’m still here, despite everything.

I can’t tell my mother this as ever since she found out the meaning behind the semicolon she has slipped into conversation the fact that ‘all teenagers feel depressed’. It’s taken all of my resolve to not turn around and snap back that it’s things like that, and people like her, who cause that ‘feeling’ to become a very real, very scary mental health issue that results in far too many teenagers ‘feeling depressed’ and ending their lives, and I can’t tell her that I was almost one of them.

But this tattoo! I am so excited – I’ll post a photo of it when I get it done.