Saturday, 25 October 2014

This relentless thing called life.

How do we pummel through this relentless thing called life? When moments of freedom reveal themselves it is too soon after that piles of bricks clatter down on your thoughts and you are buried so far under you struggle to breathe. This happens so frequently that after a while you begin to question why you rummage through these bricks until you find the air again despite the fact that one day you'll be trapped once more. When heavy thoughts rain down so unkindly you experience a blindness. Suddenly all of your love and your desires become smeared with black tar and you cannot see two feet ahead for the clouds are so dull, so grey, so cloistering. Surely the best answer would be to end. To end this feeling, end this cycle and free ourselves from this unwanted suffering that creeps up from below every time we suppress it. It takes such great mental power to suppress or override suffering that it is a wonder we have even achieved living for such a time. The constant raining over our heads starts to hurt after too long.

And yet these moments of freedom that we arrive at are euphoric and when we are flying through them there is not one thing greater than life. When love consumes us and we climb out of the pile of bricks suffering will cease without our notice and we cleanse ourselves of the raining thoughts of our own impending doom.

Life overpowers our darkness, overwhelms it. And so we keep going, keep going, keep going.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Stupid people.

What makes me clever? Is it the grades I get at school and the qualifications I will leave with? Perhaps it is the number of books I read, or even the type of books. Is it the amount I write? Is it what I write? Does my cleverness get measured on the difficulty of sums I can do off the top of my head? If I go to Cambridge university am I more clever than if I were to go to Surrey? Maybe if one teacher thinks I am wonderful in one subject but in another the teacher is concerned about my performance my intelligence is halved. Or possibly if I read a New Science issue once a year I could be deemed as a little smarter than I was before.

If cleverness were based on the amount of effort one puts into everything they do I don't suppose my cleverness would be as great as others. In school at least. If cleverness were based on the amount of ambition one has then by God I could quite possibly be a genius. If cleverness were based on the quality of conversation one upheld with every one they spoke to my cleverness would vary greatly. If cleverness were based on how one spoke then once again I would not know how to measure myself.

If I am not gifted nor talented am I not clever? If I do not get noticed by every teacher in the school for my work and marked as an extremely skillful student am I a little less intelligent than those who do?

Were I  to choose a career in acting, or in hair and makeup, or perhaps in fashion retail can I ever enter the realm of intelligentsia?

Who is even going to decide on my cleverness? My teachers? My university? My parents? My book shelf?

Were we to create a label called "Clever" and pick from a room of young people there would be a very small group. If a teacher was to choose some students to go into a 'Gifted and Talented' class not only would that leave a large majority with said teacher but it would deem the others as utterly giftless and talentless. How worthless those students would feel. Where on earth are those students supposed to go after that? Into talentless jobs? Talentless lives?

There is an incorrectly sorted category for clever people. Especially for young people and especially in schools. Cleverness is a spectrum, just like emotions and love you cannot possibly define it as one thing. Or measure it in any way because there are thousands and thousands of versions of 'clever'. If you do not fit into the Gifted and Talented box at school then you are zapped of some of your individuality. There you go off into the vast and endless sea of stupid people. You can still come to lessons but you'll never be quite as good as the intelligent ones. You'll probably be compared to someone you have nothing in common with and be asked to raise your standards to theirs. You will be put into a box and either taken out and admired from time to time or put away to be dealt with later.

Cleverness is an extremely difficult thing to deal with with young people. They're not fully formed beings yet. I am not a fully formed being. I think that the way young people are handled at school in reference to their intelligence can be very badly done. It can hurt and damage ambitions or ideas that are just beginning to grow. Perhaps, to anyone who is listening, we need to reform the way in which students are rewarded and we need to stop categorising them at such a tender age. If a child 'knows they are stupid' somebody has failed them.

We are not all clever, but then, what does clever even mean?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Dear Hannah,

My funniest, sweetest, silliest only sister, what ever would I do without you? I suppose, though contrary to belief when you won't let me watch what I want on tv, that I would be desperately lonely without your presence. It would be a much quieter household I admit, but a sad one all the same. 

If you were not with me every second of every day when we go on holiday who would laugh at mum and dad with me? Who would make up silly songs on long journeys home or sing beautiful opera music when we do the washing up? Who would still play fight when we are far too old to do so or attack me rather forcefully as a form of affection? 

We would never have made up the most beautiful musical theatre production ever to grace the earth in the middle of the kitchen at the same time as putting away the dishes. I wouldn't have been so pleased if I'd have improvised alone. 

I would not be able to have my breath taken away every time you walk into a room and want to tell everyone that the beautiful girl standing there is my sister, if you were not there. If you were not there I would have no one to be proud of. I wonder how empty that would feel. 

Christmas would be dreadfully dull if I did not wake up with you each year and share the excitement of the Father Christmas presents we still get to enjoy. Nor would our birthdays be as exciting if we had only adults to share them with, which is why I write you this letter. 

I am sorry I could not be there when you turn 14, but I am more sorry you have even reached that age. I'm not exactly sure how it came about. I do know, however, that I miss the chubby, little you that was so earnest you were possibly the sweetest girl in the world. 

Although, despite missing your younger self I look forward to the new you. The older you. To be my ever-present friend. The only person in the world I can say "I hate you" to and be forgiven in only less than a minute. I love you, and I miss you, and I hope you have a happy birthday. 

Yours lovingly,