Just a thought

I woke up before anyone else this morning and suddenly had the realisation, while considering ways to motivate myself, that out of all the people I could've been I was born as me. I could've been anyone else at all, or no one, but instead I was made as me. Doesn't that prove that I'm supposed to be here? For some reason instead of anyone else it was me that came into being at that particular point in time, and I don't know about you but I think that's pretty amazing – I'm here for a reason, we all are. Not one of us deserves any less than to be alive because we were born to live.
(Which reminds me… alive or just breathing?)

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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  

I will not let him die.

A few months ago I began speaking to Daniel, a homeless man who often sits at the end of my road. He told me about the split in his relationship with his wife, and the ‘amazing’ 18-year-old daughter he has who lives with her mother. He has a dog called Poppy who also lives with his wife in Palmers Green, who he wants ownership of when he finds somewhere to live.

I’ve spoken to Daniel pretty much every time I’ve seen him, and if I haven’t stopped for a chat then we’ve always said hello. He knows me as ‘the girl with the photographs’ because I approached him with an idea for an art/ awareness project; I gave him a disposable camera and asked him to take pictures of his daily life. I’m now waiting for them to be developed so I can put them on display somewhere, and honestly I’m really excited because whatever they turn out to be will be an insight into the life of someone who is massively stigmatised by society. The point of my project was to humanise homeless people, something that is so important – when I first spoke to Daniel and asked his name he stared at me and went ‘no one ever asks’ and then ‘no one sees us’. It was then that I promised him that see him, and that I will make others see him, and other homeless people, too.

Lately, Daniel has begun looking awful; he’s hunched over and almost comatose most times I walk past him, and when I say hello there is less and less recognition in his eyes. I know that the world sees the homeless community as druggies, violent and dirty people addicted to mind-altering things. I cannot deny for one moment that this is the case with some, but just like with any stereotype it is the mistakes of the few that taint the many. I hate that, and I hate that Daniel may now be slipping into the stereotype.

He will die. There is little point beating about the bush and denying this because honestly at this point I think it’s the truth, unless someone can help him. But there seemingly exist no charities designed to help the homeless get back on their feet that truly help – sure, the YMCA can offer accommodation but hostels are on average around £8 a night and people like Daniel simply do not have that money. I am well aware that that might be ‘because they spend their money and drugs on alcohol’ but so what? An addiction is an addiction, and it’s terribly difficult to stop, and near impossible to move past without the right kind of help. Charities that do exist are hard to find and even harder to approach if you are in trouble, particularly because those who need the most help are most often those who cannot ask for it.

I don’t know how to help Daniel now, because talking to him cannot get rid of his problems, and buying him food and water cannot make up for the other things in his body.

He can’t die. He is a person, just like you and I are people. He has a family and friends, and I know that this was not the life he chose; he was happy, and it took one small thing to cause a snowball effect that has led to this. I refuse to let him go without a fight, but I don’t know how to help him. If anyone sees this and has any ideas of where to look for assistance I would be eternally grateful because Daniel is my friend. I have seen him change from alive to a shell of the person I met a few months ago, and it is heartbreaking because this is not what he wanted.

I am not asking for money, I am asking for help. I am asking for awareness to be raised of the horrors of homelessness and for the stigma to be lessened. Just because you do not have a home does not mean that you do not deserve one.

‘A Single Moment In Time’ – Nina

Yesterday was the opening night of my A-Level Art show at a little gallery on the edge of the forest near me. It was beautiful, and pretty amazing to see mine and my class’ pieces hung on the walls of this scenically placed building.

My piece, entitled ‘A Single Moment In Time’, is a copy/ response of a collage piece by David Gores.

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A Single Moment In Time – Memories and events are the ephemera of history; for years they have passed across its stage, barely noticed before they disappear into the darkness, the void of ‘then’. Every moment, however fleeting, lights up some shadowed corner or broad vista of history, illuminating with its intermittent flare of being. This idea is one the artist has explored in this piece through the use of used paper and photographs, capturing a single moment in time through an accumulation of unconnected articles.

 

 

Exam Season Got Me Like…

I’m not going to even begin to attempt to hide the fact that I am rubbish when it comes to revision; for my GCSEs I read my English texts the night before each exam, barely picked up a Maths textbook, didn’t even try to try with French, winged Latin, flunked History, glanced maybe twice at my sciences, and tried a bit (the most) with Art. Obviously, it showed in my grades which were, predictably, nowehere near what I know I could’ve achieved.

I think my problem is, and it’s the same for many people, that I was ridiculously clever in primary school; I was that kid who could ace a test in a few minutes and would always move onto the extension work. Because of that I was praised so much so that when I moved to secondary and found myself at a more average level I floundered around, terrified at the prospect of not being top but unable to work to get back there because I’d never needed to try before and so had no idea how to try.

Now, at A-Levels, I’m still in that position. I’m average, perhaps even a tad below it now, and I’m still lost when it comes to studying. It’s not that I haven’t asked for help, it’s just that my brain is rather like a sieve now.

Obviously, this is a realisation that has caused me no end of grief because, hell, the exams I have coming up are ones whose grades are given to my prospective universities, so to say that they’re a big deal is on a whole other level of understatement.

Right now, I’m sitting at my desk having just got up from lying on the floor scrolling through Buzzfeed quizzes and articles on ‘How To Motivate Yourself To Revise’. Shouldn’t the fact that if I don’t study I won’t go to university be motivation enough? You’d think so.

So I suppose the point of this little post is to say to all those other people in the same state as me that you’re not alone! But that that’s not a reason to stay the way we are, because really we won’t get anywhere by Googling motivational inspiration.

Really, I think we need to set ourselves a goal, an achievable one that’s just far enough away that we’ve got to actually try to reach it. For me, that’s getting into a good university so I can move out. For you it might be the same, or different, but whatever it is, focus on it because if you’re anything like me you’ll be kicking yourself in a few months if you didn’t try for it.

So good luck, my fellow perfectionist procrastinators, I know you can do it.