🖤 Black Lives Matter! 🖤

black life matters headers | Tumblr

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog. Somewhat forgot it existed. But so much has happened this year and it’s only June. We had World War Three Scares, the fires in Australia, the pandemic and so much more. But I’ve come to revive this blog to speak up on the #blacklivesmatter movement and the murder of George Floyd as well as many other black people, who did not deserve to get their lives snatched away from them.

Educating yourself is important in bettering society and opening our eyes to the reality and cruelty that is racism and discrimination. You can skip this post and disregard it but you should be playing your part in educating yourself.

 

#blacklivesmatter

trayvon martin

On February 26th 2012, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American student was shot to death, unarmed. Martin was visiting relatives at the Twin Lake housing community in Sanford where George Zimmerman, a community watch member, reported to the non-emergency police number that “there’s a real suspicious guy” and that he “looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something”. The police suspected Zimmerman was following Martin in which they told him “we don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman replied by saying “okay.”

After the call with Zimmerman and the police, there was a violent dispute between Martin and Zimmerman, even after agreeing not to follow him and that was when Trayvon Martin was shot by the back door of the house he was staying at.

At first Zimmerman was not charged but eventually, he was charged and tried but in July 2013, he was acquitted by the jury of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

 

A petition to prosecute Zimmerman was created on Change.org in 2012, resulting in 2.2 million signatures, the biggest petition in the site’s history. There were marches and rallies, one of the biggest being the “Million Hoodie March” where protesters wore hoodies to symbolise how Martin too wore a hoodie that night and they protested against racial profiling used against non-white youths who wear hoodies. Social media blew up with opinions on the acquittal of Zimmerman.

In 2013, Obama gave his speech about the trial and race in the US, adding “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” There were peaceful rallies that followed this across many cities.

 

Black Lives Matter - Wikipedia

Pin on Stickers

The 2013 acquittal of Zimmerman on the charge of murdering Martin, inspired a Facebook posting that included #blacklivesmatter, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement created by Black organizers, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.

That’s how the movement began.

 

George Floyd

Jay Park, Tablo, others speak out against murder of George Floyd + ...And now, as you all know George Floyd was murdered, also unarmed. And many more black people before him. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Tamir Rice. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Samuel Dubose. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Terrence Crutcher. The list goes on.

George Floyd was murdered by white policeman Derek Chauvin with the help of three other officers, who kneeled on his neck preventing him from breathing. Much like Eric Garner, he repeated “I can’t breathe” multiple times before he died. His cause of death was asphyxiation AND RACISM!

He was arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20. Compare this to Dylann Roof, a white mass murderer, who executed the Charleston church shooting. Unlike George Floyd, only suspected of forgery, Dylann Roof was arrested peacefully for his murders. He was not killed.

Floyd’s death was a result of inhuman police brutality. And that police brutality stems from the already existing racist system. It did not become like that, it was built like that. Built on black slavery.

 

But George Floyd will not die in vain.

 

White Privilege 

A lot of people over the past weeks have been unclear on what white privilege is. It’s the advantages that come from simply being white. It means that as a white person, you do not need to fear that your skin colour may jeopardise your survival. It means you don’t have to deal with uncomfortable conversations in your day to day life. It means you don’t have to feel alienated, ostracised, judged, isolated, ridiculed in many situations just because of your skin colour.

You can be poor, disabled, gay, struggling and still have white privilege. We’re not saying that your life isn’t hard but your skin colour is not one of the things making your life hard.

It exists due to historic and enduring racism. As Little Marvin stated, “your white skin privilege is not a benign and celestial gift bestowed upon you. It is a benefit accrued over generations of erasure, and genocide, and enslavement, and torture, and capture, and segregation, and redlining, and predatory lending, and prison pipelining, and exclusion, and dismissal, and contentment, and convenience, and complacency, and neglect, and apathy, and silence. It didn’t materialise. It calcified. It wasn’t earned. It was stolen.”

 

White privilege allows more opportunity. I watched this video a while ago but it still stands and portrays white privilege quite well.

 

Yes, all lives do matter but not all lives are in danger. Black lives matter is shining light and attention onto the fact that society does not think that black lives matter. Blue lives, on the other hand, do not exist as being a police officer is a choice not an unchangeable identity; a job that requires you to protect others but that is not what is being demonstrated.

 

You may not have even realised you have it but it’s important to acknowledge it and use your privilege to help those who do not have it. There’s no shame in deciding to educate yourself and changing your opinions and actions because of it.

You need to play your part as a non-black member of society. Having to constantly educate and spread awareness can be emotionally and physically exhausting for black people so don’t let it rest on their shoulders only. It’s not just their responsibility to educate.

Use your privilege to fight black oppression.

“One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist.” – Ibram X. Kendi

 

What to do

It’s easy to say black lives matter and to say you stand as an ally. It’s easy to simply post a black screen for #blackouttuesday but what else are you going to do? It is not enough to just not be racist, you should step up and be actively antiracist. You should not stay silent. 

 

»Donate:

Donate if and where you can. I’ve listed below places that you can donate to. However, if you can’t donate, Zoe Amira has posted an hour long YouTube video of art and music from black creators that will create a lot of ad revenue that will be split between different black lives matter organisations. All you need to do is stream it. Click here. Do not donate to change.org as donations only go to them, not the causes.

Organisations to donate to:

 

»Petitions

we live in a world where trained cops can panic; act on impulse but untrained civilians must remain calm with a gun in their face

If legally able to, try and sign these petitions below.

 

There are many more organizations and people to donate to and other petitions to sign HERE. Ones including those related to other black people who were murdered.

Signing petitions does make a difference. The three officers are now charged and the degree of murder was raised to second degree.

The George Floyd petition is now the biggest on change.org with over 13 million signatures.

 

»Learn and Listen

Go that extra mile in being an ally and educate yourself and others through films, books and podcasts, articles, etc.

TV Shows and Films:

  • When They See Us
  • The Hate You Give
  • 13th
  • Dear White People
  • Selma
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
  • Black Power Mixtape

Books:

  • Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race
  • This Book Is Anti-Racist
  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria
  • White Fragility
  • Me and White Supremacy
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
  • So You Want To Talk About Race

There are many more things you can check out HERE including other books, films and podcasts, articles, websites, etc. Please have a look.

 

»Social Media And Protests

how to protest safely

Use your social media platform to spread awareness and information for others to learn from. Even if it’s just ten people viewing, that’s still ten people you’re influencing. Spread awareness amongst family and friends by bringing up these conversations.

Protest if you can. Make sure you bring water, food, hide anything identificable on your body, wear masks, know your rights. I understand going to marches and rallies may not be accessible or an option for you but you can protest in other ways for example, calling out the behaviour of racists, support marginalised businesses and refuse to support companies who are not fair or who are not antiracist.

 

This is not just a trend – black lives always matter.

“It may take a while to comprehend your role in racist systems, but keep in mind that people are dying while they wait for you.” – Jen Winston

 

-Shay

Pumpkin Carving!

It’s Halloween y’all, where all the scary children and cavities come out to play! To be honest, the real horror of this season is how much money I’ve spent on travelling to Uni.

 

Last year, I carved a pumpkin along with my sister for Halloween. Here’s a flashback:

boo. a flashback.

I made a post about it, where I stated that next year (which is this Halloween) “I’m gonna up  my game”. My exact words.

And let me tell you, I UPPED MY GODDAMN GAME!

 

my oogie boogie pumpkin

So this year, I wanted to do fiction themed pumpkins. I wandered around Google for a while, looking for different films I could base my pumpkin off of and finally, I chose The Nightmare Before Christmas and Alice in Wonderland. I chose two ideas because I had two pumpkins.

I decided my first pumpkin, which was the biggest, I would carve out Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas. My pumpkin was already rotting, which was something I was fairly unaware of. And was something I would later be very very VERY annoyed about. So the pumpkin was soft and easy to carve out, which was nice.

we’re all mad here.

 

I decided to do Alice and the Cheshire Cat with a little Alice in Wonderland quote for my small second pumpkin. This one was no where near rotting and still stands strong so it was very hard to carve out. Also, this one was a bit different because I wasn’t exactly carving it, I was chipping the outside layer. I thought it would be easier to chip than carve. I was very wrong. I ended up with a lot of bruises and cuts on my hands. But my pumpkin’s cute though…

I. cannot. even. begin. to. explain. how. difficult. this. was. to. carve. It took the around same length as The Nightmare Before Christmas film because my sister started watching it and I finished carving close to the end. It was lowkey worth it. It doesn’t shine very bright (like my future) but I’m still proud.

my sister’s pumpkin

My sister decided to do Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas to go with my pumpkin. She was initially going to do Pennywise but that was too hard. It didn’t really go well for her. First of all, I traced the outline with slippery pumpkin guts covered hands. Also, the pumpkin’s mouth kind of broke at one point so yeah….it wasn’t the best. Her pumpkin last year was way better but the Jack Skellington one is still good. I’ve seen some pretty trash ones on my road, not gonna lie, so hers should still stand strong.

 

look at how they spelt my name tf

I feel like I’ve been really Halloweeny and Auntumny this October. I went to watch It: Chapter 2 in cinemas with my two Uni friends. It was my first time watching a horror film in cinemas. Bring a change of underwear if you go. I also tried a pumpkin spice frappucino for the first time. Loads of people (basic girls) drink pumpkin spice lattes and I wanted to see what all the hype was about so I actually went to try the Frappuccino version and it was really nice. It was sweet, which I like. I’ve had it twice now. I’m not turning into a basic, I promise. This October, I also walked in the rain, without a raincoat. I just walked and walked for ages, soaking in water. As much as I was cold, it was somewhat enjoyable. So yeah, if you saw a crazy girl walking in the pouring rain, looking up the sky like they’re talking to God, it’s probably me.

I’m probably going to spend the rest of the evening/night drinking hot chocolate and watching a horror film.

 

What are you doing this Halloween? Have you carved pumpkins?

 

-Shay

My Favourite Non-Horror Films For Halloween!

I recently posted about different horror films, that I liked, which I suggested watching for Halloween (or any old day you want to poop yourself) but what about the people, who don’t want to be scared on Halloween? So I’m back with a non-scary list of films but still quite spooky.

They’re all animated movies. I don’t know a lot about animation but I do like watching them so here’s a few of my favourites.

 

Monster House

Monster House is a film, set around Halloween, where three kids, two thirsty boys and a smart ginger girl, try and find the mystery revolving around an old man, who was rumoured to have eaten his wife, and his house. The only thing is, the house comes alive and attacks and steals from children. The old man ends up going to hospital, which leaves the whole house alone but vulnerable. The three kids end up venturing inside and exploring the horrors and secrets within the house.

I actually really like Monster House. It has a lot of puberty jokes, it’s funny and I like the animation. It’s kind of realistic but not like The Polar Express realistic. Despite it being a ‘scary’ film for kids, it has a warm cosy feeling to it.

The characters are loveable, including ones you begin despising. The characters are all very different, with different dynamics between them. It has an interesting storyline, backstories and ending too. I think it’s pretty underrated too. Give it a go!

 

Paranorman

Paranorman is about a young boy, who can see and speak to the dead. He has to stop this witch’s curse after a bunch of zombies arise from the dead and overrun the town.

I’m not gonna lie, this is a weird one. I, personally, like it because of how quirky and how spooky the animation is. The storyline is a bit more complex than Monster House. I think you have to pay attention to it a bit more but it makes it just that bit more interesting. The characters are very well detailed.

However, as much as I liked it, I can see it being a film you need to acquire a taste for. If you’re into The Sixth Sense, zombies and/or Tim Burton-y films, this one should fit your fancy.

 

Coraline

Coraline follows a young stubborn curious girl who finds a strange small door in her new house. Intrigued, she manages to open it to find nothing but a brick wall. But later, at night, after following a mouse, she finds the door leading into a tunnel that goes to an almost exact copy of her own house, except much happier, brighter and with altered yet ‘better’ versions of her parents and neighbours. However, evil lurks on the other side of the door, which she soon finds out and has to beat.

 

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Coraline! It’s probably my favourite from this list. Everything was amazing; the music (which are actually sung in gibberish), the voice actors, the personalities and appearance of the characters, the storyline, the ending, the animation style, the lines and quotes they say, was spot on. It’s the perfect film for Halloween too. Although I do not, I know that some people do find it quite scary. It is a creepy and spooky film but it’s manageable and very creative.

Go watch it. Now.

 

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie is about a boy named Victor (after Victor Frankenstein), who owns and loves his dog to bits. Until it dies… Filled with grief, Victor, reassembles his dead dog’s body parts and resurrects him in an experiment (he’s a smart boy). His dog comes back alive but his classmates find out about his experiment and try to resurrect other dead animals, which has disastrous effects.

I watched this film right after my old cat died so I have mixed emotions about it. I like it for how spooky it is. I also like the original story of Frankenstein because I like gothic literature so it was already something I knew I’d like. It’s entirely in black and white, which gives this perception of it being old, just like the original Frankenstein story. The characters are very very unique and quirky.

If you’re into Tim Burton style films or you like the original Frankenstein, I think you would like this.

 

Coco

Coco follows a young aspiring musician, Miguel, who lives amongst a family that ban music. He isn’t sure why they hate music so much but all he knows is he loves it and dreams of becoming like his role model, who is a famous accomplished musician. Miguel ends up in the Land of the Dead, where all the dead people go after they…well die. He makes friends with this dead man and they go on a journey to find out why his family has banned music. However, Miguel’s time is limited in the Land of the Dead.

Coco is an adorable, warm, amazing film. It’s a Disney film so what do you expect. It’s colourful, bright, full of Mexican culture (I don’t actually know a lot about Mexican culture so I don’t know how accurate Coco is) and a genuinely good film. The characters, relationships and dynamics are in depth. The storyline is great and well thought out. There’s unpredictable twists and turns in the film and it’s not scary (it’s Disney so again, what do you expect ). There’s also singing involved.

If you love Disney (who doesn’t?) and colourful and bright animations, watch this!

 

Corpse Bride

The Corpse Bride involves a man named Victor (like in Frankenweenie), who gets dragged into the Land of the Dead (but looks nothing like the one in Coco) by a murdered bride. The murdered bride, who is the corpse bride, wants to marry Victor, who already has an arranged marriage set up in the normal world. His arranged marriage wife, Victoria, ends up being rearranged to marry this other evil man so Victor has to decide who he’s going to marry – the corpse bride or his arranged wife… (first place to me for worst explanation of a film ever!)

This film is very gothic, spooky, dark and morbid. It’s has a depressing vibe throughout the whole film but I lowkey love it. The characters are very distinct and unique. The ending is really good, with a twist, which I didn’t think was predictable but maybe it was. That being said, it’s not a film for everyone. Like marmite, you either like it or you don’t.

Again, if you like Tim Burton style films and dark vibes, this would be a good one for you.

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas focuses on Halloweentown’s pumpkin king, Jack Skellington, who accidentally finds the door to Christmastown. He explores how different, warm and bright Christmastown is compared to the scary, gruesome Halloweentown and decides he wants to take over Christmas since he’s bored with the same Halloween routine. He kidnaps Santa Claus and dresses up as him, taking control of his role. But it doesn’t all go to plan.

This is another film that I think you need to have an acquire taste for but no matter who you are, you should still give it a try. It’s definitely a spooky, quirky film, with kooky and crazy looking characters, all which are very strange and interesting. The characters also all have interesting backstories, you can figure out while watching the film for example how they died to end up in Halloweentown. Unfortunately, it has a pretty predictable ending.

Also, there are theories that The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride and Frankweenie are all linked together so you could try and spot clues and evidence for that theory.

It’s debatable whether this is a Halloween or Christmas film but I think it might be a little bit too spooky and dark for a Christmas film. Maybe it’s the perfect transition film between Halloween and Christmas.

 

So those are some of my favourite spooky but not scary Halloween films!

Comment down your favourites or any suggestions.

 

-Shay

My Favourite Horror Films for Halloween!

It’s Spooky Season, guys, which means PREPARE. TO. POOP. YOURSELF!

Since Halloween is fast approaching, I thought it would be the perfect time to suggest some of my favourite horror films ever, which you can immerse yourself into this week. I’ve been told I have a great taste in films so I hope I am able to prove that today…

 

It & It Chapter Two

It follows a group of loser kids (literally, they’re called the Losers’ Club) encountering and trying to defeat this demonic dancing clown, Pennywise, who eats children and projects each child’s worst fear. Sounds horrible, I know.

When I first watched It, I didn’t really like it since I thought it was very creepy and it sort of made me feel uncomfortable, especially having in mind what the actual book by Stephen King is like (it’s very sexual). However, after watching the second film and then re-watching the first, I have grown an appreciation towards both the films. The films have very 3D, interesting, unique characters, all with their own issues and struggles and I think the dynamic between each character is very in depth, which is explored more in the second film. The character development is also very good. The casting of the adult actors to represent the kid versions of the characters was spot on – they look the same! The storyline is pretty generic for a horror film – some form of malicious creature enters and a group of usually young people have to try and stop it – but I liked how Pennywise reflects on each of the kids’ phobias, which makes it a tad bit more unique and scarier. I think the second film was actually better than the first but I may be bias since it was the first horror movie ever that made me genuinely connected and attached to the characters and made me cry. However, it’s not a very scary film, in my opinion (my friend who held onto my arm most of It 2 would disagree).

If you’re into Stranger Things, Super 8, and films like that, It is a good pick for you!

 

Insidious & Insidious Chapter Two

Insidious and Insidious Chapter Two is basically one big film since you have to watch the second one right after the first. YOU JUST HAVE TO, OKAY?!

Insidious is basically about a family, who move into a new house that they come to believe is haunted. One of the young sons falls into a coma but appears to be possessed by some demon. However, there’s much more to the story than just that, which the parents, along with some psychic woman, come to realise and investigate.

Insidious is a very unique horror film, starting off as a usual horror film but trailing off into something unpredictable and very intriguing. It incorporates concepts like time, the astral plane and demons (of course), which brings you to the edge of your seat and not just because you’re scared. I think Insidious is scary, from what I remember, as it has quite a few jumpscares, but it really makes you think too.

This is probably in my top three horror films because of how unique I think it is. It’s hard to compare it to another film like it but if you’re into strange concepts like dreams and the astral plane as well as ghosts and demons, this is for you.

 

Incident in a Ghost Land

Incident in a Ghost Land seems like one of those small, low budget, crappy horror films at first but boy are you in for a rollercoaster.

A mum and her two daughters move into a house, they inherited, literally in the middle of nowhere. During the first day of moving, there’s a break in, where they are assaulted but seem to overcome and escape the situation. The film then jumps to years and years later where one of the daughters, who was really into horror writing, is a famous published author, retelling the events that happened when they first moved into that house. However, not everything is as it seems.

This film is one heck of a psychological horror film. It has so many twists and is very unpredictable. It’s rare to find a horror film like this, especially with how well they executed it. At times, it is a little creepy and uncomfortable, but to be honest, it only adds to the intensity and thrill. The whole film, beginning to end, is amazing. It’s a shame that not many people have seen this, let alone even heard of it, because it is a really good film. Highly recommend!

 

The Sixth Sense

Oooh this is a classic one. But because it is such a classic, I feel like everyone knows how this film pans out even if you haven’t seen it.

The Sixth Sense follows a psychologist (Bruce Willis) trying to help a young boy, who can see dead people. No one, of course, believes the young boy, which is why the psychologist is there to figure out how to treat him. Over time, the psychologist realises the little boy is telling the truth. And some other things too… (I know, I’m great at explaining)

This film, as you may or may not know, has a big twist at the end, which makes you want to watch the whole film again. I watched this one when I was very young so the twist was very unpredictable to me but as an adult, (ew I’m an adult now) I’m not sure if it is unpredictable or not. Anyway, I’ve said too much.

Give this one a go if you’re into big twists or you’ve liked films like The Others.

 

The Conjuring Universe

The Conjuring Universe consists of:

  1. The Conjuring
  2. Annabelle
  3. The Conjuring 2
  4. Annabelle: Creation
  5. The Nun
  6. The Curse of La Llorona
  7. Annabelle Comes Home
  8. The Conjuring 3 (out in 2020)
  9. The Crooked Man (hasn’t come out yet)
  10. A second The Nun film (hasn’t come out yet)

Although you don’t really need to watch in order (you can actually watch them in chronological order based on the timeline in the story) or you don’t really need to watch all of them, it’s fun to delve into every film and piece all the references and Easter eggs together. There are very very few horror films that scare me but The Conjuring Universe can definitely make me scream. It’s even scarier to think that it’s all based on true stories.

If you actually want to be scared this Halloween, I would suggest one of these.

 

Horror that Plays with your Senses

I’ve become a big fan of films that play with your senses such as:

  • A Quiet Place (the characters live in a world where these monsters are attracted to sounds so they can’t speak)
  • Hush (a deaf woman is harassed and attacked by a killer)
  • Birdbox (the characters commit suicide if they look at these creatures out in the world so they basically have to cover their eyes most of the time)
  • Don’t Breathe (a few people break into a blind veteran’s house but find that he is CRAAAZY so they have to be super quiet)

The great thing about these types of films is that it makes you think and consider situations without one of your senses, which is actually quite scary. All the films I listed above are very different from each other but are all very good. A Quiet Place is very well done, from the casting to the storyline, it doesn’t disappoint. Hush is an interesting one but a little predictable. Birdbox is very different but also quite predictable. I also don’t think Birdbox is that scary. Don’t Breathe is a really intense one and had me on the edge of my seat. It’s pretty scary and I think it’s unpredictable due to the ending.

 

Split

Split is about a man, with dissociative identity disorder (or multiple personality disorder), who kidnaps three teenage girls. His persoanlity alters a lot, from a serious man with OCD to a young boy named Hedwig, there are many different identities that are contained within him and are explored. This film is very deep. It explores what dissociative identity disorder is, which I think was so interesting. I’ve never really watched a film that explores the disorder like that. James McAvoy, who plays the main character, did an amazing job. Good on him.

This film, I think, is a hit or miss for people. I know lots of people who really liked this film and some who didn’t. I, personally, think it’s a really good film. The acting is amazing, the storyline, concepts and themes are amazing. The ending is great too because it leads into the film, Glass (I haven’t seen it yet but I’m sure it’s even better).

 

Cabin in the Woods

This film require some patience and a sense of humour. It starts off as the most convential, generic horror film ever, with a group of young adults staying in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, doing stupid things that you shouldn’t do in horror films like going out into the woods in the middle of the night. This can be very annoying to

begin with but as you keep watching the film, you begin to realise why the filmmakers wanted it to be conventional because let me tell you, the ending is definitely not conventional. It’s almost funny. I loved this film for its ending. It may seem silly but I think it’s quite clever.

If you’ve watched many horror films, particularly the classics like Scream, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, etc, this is a good one for you to watch. I can’t say why because it will spoil it but just as a little hint, it kind of makes fun of convential horror films. BUT it’s nothing like the Scary Movie franchise, where it deliberately points out specific films and makes fun of them. It’s not that scary either.

And…if none of what I said can make you watch Cabin in the Woods, Chris Hemsworth is in it.

 

I hope you add any of these to your ‘Must Watch’ lists, whether or not you celebrate Halloween.

I’ll be back soon with a spooky but not scary list of films you can watch this Halloween.

 

Have you seen any of these films already? Please reccomend me any of your own horror films you think I would like.

 

-Shay

Primary School Memories!

It’s funny how fast I have grown up and how fast time has flown by. It feels like yesterday I was blowing out candles, wishing to be best friends with Selena Gomez. Now, I’m wishing for good credit score. Both of which will never come true.

I finally aged up last week, on the 16th of October, like I do every year. And now I’m big fat 19 years old! I literally don’t feel different! I don’t think I’ve felt different since I turned twelve. My face also hasn’t changed since I was twelve. Or my height. BUT, one thing that has changed are my experiences and memories.

I went out on Sunday with a few friends, one of which was my best friend in primary school, who I’ll name Fizz. Since we got to catch up, I went on a little journey down memory lane, which evidently gave me a stomach ache from laughing so hard. I thought it would be fun to share some of the crazy and wacky memories that I have of primary school.

 

Troublemakers on Bikes

Like in It, The Goonies, Super 8, Stranger Things, E.T, basically any 80s film where the kids ride bikes 70% of the time, me and my friends were the Kidz On Bikes in my area. And by ‘area’, I mean our road and the few roads that branched off it. We live in the city, it’s hard to go bike riding for fun when you’re nine.

Kool Kidz

There were five of us (including Fizz), who lived about a minute away from each other (basically on the same road). We would meet up after school and even on day offs and ride our bikes around. I remember brining out as little as £3 and having the time of our lives, negotiating with the corner shop man for lower prices. Business people in the making! I remember the corner shop man emptying Haribo’s onto a plate and selling each Haribo for 1p. We really manipulated him.

We used to play Knock Down Ginger, which is a game where you knock on someone’s door and then run away and hide. I feel like most kids have done this but we were way too brave. There were a few sketchy houses on my road and the roads near us, like this old man who lived in this really run down house. The windows were boarded off, the door was half blocked, the paint was peeling, garden overgrown. It was straight out of a horror film but we tried to knock on his door. We also knocked on the door of this house, which the police always came to. Not really sure why…

We honestly had the time of our lives. We would go out in the dark, in the pouring rain, in super cold temperatures. Now that I think about it, I’m wondering why my parents let me do all that.

 

The Man in the Bushes

In my primary school, there was this field that the big kids (year four and above) were allowed to play on. There were a bunch of bushes at the very back, right in front of the fence. And right behind the fence was a block of flats overlooking the field. One day, at lunch, all the kids were playing on the field and all of a sudden, there was a random man standing in the bushes. We were never allowed to play in the bushes again. There were theories that the man was the dad of a kid that went to the school, who lived in the flats, and he wasn’t allowed to be with his child. I don’t know. Once, he jumped over the fence into the school and we were all made to go and stay inside. After that incident, we all took the piss since we would stand in front of the flats and call out for the man to come back.

 

Cloakroom Ghost

The cloakroom was where we would keep out coats, bags and stuff. It was always dark in there and this one time, we went inside and saw a dark shadow move. Ever since it happened, we would always go into the cloakroom together or be really scared and we would claim to hear creepy sounds. Little did our dumbasses know the dark shadow was our shadow from the light coming in from the classroom. We were very silly.

 

Psychic

Another silly situation was something that happened between me and Fizz. I think it’s a fact that young people experience déjà vu more often than other people so me and Fizz were experiencing it A LOT. Because we were geniuses, we jumped to the conclusion that we were psychic. We wrote it secretly in our diaries. Fizz told me recently that she wrote ‘I am psychic’ backwards in her diary so no one would suspect it. I even remember going downstairs quietly and telling my mum privately about my secret. I genuinely believed that I had some sort of psychic ability.

 

Biggest Scams of my Childhood

In my lifetime, I have met a lot of pathological liars (they’re more common than you think) but I still can’t get over two lies that I was told in my childhood.

  1. Lie 1: In reception, when I was about five, this girl told me and this other girl she was going to the jungle after school. I asked her how she was going there and she told me she gets picked up and goes to stay the night. Even more curious, little me asked her how she could stay there since it was so dangerous and she responded by telling me that there’s a monkey, lion and some other animal that talk and take care of her. Excited, the other girl and I asked if we could come with her. Enthusiastic about the idea, jungle girl told us we could come but we had to ask our mums. I told the teacher I was going to be going with the girl to the jungle after school. I can’t imagine what the teacher must have thought. After school, I asked my mum if I could go to a freaking jungle with flipping Dora the lying explorer and my mum obviously said “no, she’s lying” and I don’t really know at what point in my life I actually accepted that there was no jungle and was no friendly talking animals and that it was all a lie.
  2. Lie 2: There was this boy, who I was fairly close friends with and so trusted, who came in with a little clump of ‘gold’. We asked the boy where he got it and he told us that he got it from the

    what I was expecting

    pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So I stupidly asked where the end of the rainbow was and he told us by the reception of the school. To get to the reception, you could either take this narrow dark pathway outside or walk to it from the inside but when my dad came to pick me up, we had to take the dark pathway. I told my dad, who already looked fed-up, to take a detour to the reception to get the gold. Tired and done, he told me the boy was lying but I went to look anyway. Spoiler alert: there was no pot of gold. Fizz and I were annoyed so the next day, we asked the boy and he told us it moved to the alleyway near my house. I don’t know what I must have done to this boy but he was really trying to get me and my friend, two young weak girls, kidnapped or god knows what.

 

Top Table

I don’t know if this was just my primary school but we had this ‘top table’ thing where every week a child from each year would get picked to sit at the TOP TABLE for lunch, with the deputy head teacher. They made it seem like such a privilege but I don’t remember a single kid that yelled “YESS! IT’S MY TURN TO SIT AT THE TOP TABLE!” I used to dread the moment I would get picked. Sadly, I did and it was the most awkward thing in my life. You just sit with a bunch of children, you’ve never spoken to before, and with this teacher, and you just eat in front of the rest of the non-top table children, who get to sit with their friends for lunch.

 

Activity Club

this is exactly what the parachute looked like

After school, on Tuedays, we had Activity Club. It lasted until 5/5:30, which meant it was only two hours but it seemed like forever when I was a child. Activity club was just  where you could do whatever you wanted. You could paint, make masks, play sports, run around, etc. They always gave us drinks and sandwiches at the beginning and sometimes, they brought Gogos (these tiny plastic monster figures you could collect) for us. Anyway, for some reason, every week, me and my friends would play with the giant rainbow parachute on the field. Every week. I can confirm that my claustrophobia was initiated at this stupid club, or at least made it worse. We would throw the parachute up in the air and then run inside before it could hit the floor and then keep running around until we were all trapped and lost and wrapped up in the parachute. And then we had to find a way out of the parachute. There was very little air and everything was dark and smelt like sweat. I swear we were stuck for a good ten minutes at one point. I honestly felt like I was trapped in the Twin Towers on 9/11.

The same boy who told us about the pot of gold would sometimes come over and push us while we were trapped and trying to get out. There was also this really big boy, who was kinda violent, who would come over and bash into us.

We still did this every week, though, so I don’t think we ever learnt our lesson. We were not okay in the head.

 

Education? Where?

I don’t actually remember ever doing proper learning for most of the year. Of course, we were taught shapes, literacy, our times tables, etc, but for most of the year, we were practising and performing plays, doing art and D.T. (just making stuff) or just anything that wasn’t really to do with conventional school.

We had a supply teacher once called Mr. Stone, who wouldn’t teach us a thing but would just sing songs with us all day. He taught us this Boa Constrictor song about how the snake kills. Our usual teacher, who was quite new, came back the next day, asking what we learnt and we told her that we just learnt the Boa Constrictor song. Mr. Stone ended up getting fired and never came back. We’re pretty sure our teacher got him fired. Jokes on her cause I’m pretty sure we got her fired, too.

The school, education wise, was pretty bad. They re-did the whole place after I left and the head teacher even got replaced. The head teacher before honestly looked like modern Miss Havisham.

my head teacher

 

Those were just a few funny primary school memories I remembered with Fizz. Do you have any funny school/childhood stories?

 

-Shay

What Is Schizophrenia?

As you may or may not know, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week so I feel obligated to make a Mental Health Awareness post.

However, I feel like on this blog, I have spoken about depression and anxiety quite a bit already, educating and informing and even sharing my own experiences and others. Overall, mental health isn’t really talked about as much as it should. Depression and anxiety, two very common disorders, aren’t even talked about enough so imagine other disorders, which aren’t as common. Such as Schizophrenia.

(I’m going to litter this post with a bunch of art done by people with schizophrenia because I think it’s really interesting and beautiful)

 

At the beginning of this year, I learnt about Schizophrenia as a whole topic in my Psychology A Level. Before we first started being educated about it as part of our course, many people in my class were led on by some misconceptions, which I will clear up now since they are very common misconceptions.

  • Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder (it can change qualities about a person’s persoanlity but it doesn’t cause a split personality).
  • It’s not necessarily a violent mental illness (a small amount of people with schizophrenia can be dangerous, the same way a small amount of people with depression or no mental illness at all can be).
  • People with schizophrenia need to be hospitalised (they do not and I will go more into this as the post progresses).

 

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is considered a mental illness, consisting of positive symptoms (an excess or distortion of normal functions) and negative symptoms (a loss of normal functions), which is why schizophrenia is so hard to diagnose and classify. Disorders like depression consist of mainly negative symptoms like poor hygiene or loss of pleasure for hobbies, rather than both positive and negative so can be easier to diagnose.

Here are just a few schizophrenia symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Thought disorder
  • Avolition
  • Speech poverty
  • Slow movement
  • Poor hygiene
  • Changes in emotions and body language

There are actually many many more symptoms of schizophrenia, which can also be symptoms belonging to other disorders. Avolition and poor hygiene, for example, are also symptoms of depression. Hallucinations and changes in emotions are also symptoms of bipolar disorder. People with schizophrenia also tend to possess other disorders too; a study showed that 50% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia have depression, 29% have PTSD and 23% have OCD. This makes classifying and diagnosing schizophrenia difficult, which can be really dangerous for the person as they may get inappropriate and/or ineffective treatment.

 

Some Interesting Facts!

  • It affects about 1-2% of people (% may be higher depending on if you are related to someone with schizophrenia).
  • Suicide is a severe risk in those suffering with schizophrenia.
  • The risk of schizophrenia is the same amongst all genders, countries and cultures, however some cultures and genders may be diagnosed more due to racism, sexism and ignorant perspectives.
  • It is most likely to affect people ages 16-30, especially if there is a big change in that individual’s life.
  • You can recover from schizophrenia but it’s the chance of this is not that high.

 

What Causes Schizophrenia?

The cause for schizophrenia is a hard one to pinpoint, as it is for most mental disorders. Schizophrenia is also aetiologically heterogenous, which is just a fancy word for ‘different combinations of factors leads to it’. I’m only going to explain a few factors today.

  • Genetic: Some people may have genetic variations associated with increased risk for schizophrenia, usually coding for dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter.
  • Dopamine: The brain may produce abnormally high amounts of dopamine and/or there’s too many dopamine (D2) receptors in dopamine synapses.
  • Ventricular Enlargement: Some people may have an enlargement of their brain cavities, which may be a result from the season of birth effect. People born during winter months may be more vulnerable to this, supposedly, as medication taken by pregnant women, who have viral infections, can cause foetal brains to be damaged.
  • Expressed Emotion: The disorder may result from being in a family characterised by hostility, critism, over-involvement and over-concern.
  • Schizophrenogenic Mother: A result of living with a cold, rejecting, controlling mother, who creates tension and secrecy, leading to distrust and paranoia. (This theory is a little sexist and outdated).
  • Dysfunctional Thought Processing: Metarepresentation, the ability to reflect on your thoughts and behaviour and have insight into your own intentions and goals, may be impaired. Central Control, the ability to suppress automatic responses while you focus on something else instead, may also be impaired. (This sounds, to me, more like the result of having Schizophrenia than the cause)
  • Childhood Trauma: Events in the person’s childhood can lead to the development of schizophrenia later on.

 

There are many treatments as a result of these different explanations such as drug treatments to tackle the dopamine problems, therapy treatments to target family issues and own personal issues. Token economy is also used within institutions for severe cases. These treatments are much better than what was once used a while ago. Schizophrenia is feared and rejected from society, even now, but a while back, it was considered this terrible thing and was treated maliciously. People were cut to allow them to ‘bleed out’ the disorder. Some people were kept in cages, some were rotated. Lobotomy was used, as well as electrocution. It was pretty grim. Although treatment is 100 times better now than the olden days, it still isn’t perfect.

 

Scientists and doctors view schziphrenia as an “illness” that needs to be “cured”. However, there is a big difference between what the scientists/doctors’ explanations and the actual sufferers’ experiences. A more humanistic approach looks through the eye of the sufferer and focuses on the human capacity to overcome hardship and pain by sharing experiences rather than just taking drugs and being hospitalised. And yes, the drugs may help the biology aspect of the disorder but taking drugs and being talked about as a crazy person, who is ill, can cause the person with schizophrenia to internalise the stigma put on them. This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy and actually make their schizophrenia worse. It can also lead to suicide as they may feel like a burden.

It doesn’t help that there is a Western emphasis on taking drugs for literally anything mildly wrong. An internet survey found more than 1/2 of schizophrenia websites are funded by drug companies so there’s already a bias towards taking drugs. Drugs may not be the best option, for most people. A Dutch man, Hans, said to his schizophrenia support group that the voices he was hearing started to become nasty and mean. The support group told him to demand the voice for respect in return for respect to the voice and the voice actually became nicer and easier to live with. Therefore, a possibly better option for people with schizophrenia is to stop looking at them as ill people and instead as people going through a different experience to most people, helping them to adapt their lives to live and cope with their schizophrenia rather than trying to get rid of the disorder. In fact, there was a study that found out of some post-mortem examinations, only the patients, who received anti-psychotic drugs, had increased levels of dopamine and/or resistance to drugs.

I personally think that a mixture of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes/adaptations and support from people around the person suffering, is the best treatment. However, this can be quite demanding for the person suffering.

 

Prevention And Coping Advice:

  • Make sure to get enough sleep.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Practise relaxation techniques.
  • Look to friends, family and others for social support.
  • Don’t do drugs, kids.

 

Schizophrenia is a rare disorder but should still be made aware of. You shouldn’t be scared by people with schizophrenia and empathise with their situation rather than fear it. The crazy man talking to himself on the bus may just be responding to voices he is hearing – it’s not harmful. People with schizophrenia are just like you but are just dealing with different experiences, which can be very tragic (some lose jobs, relationships and even lives). It is a complicated disorder, in which treatments, causes and the way we view it are all up for debate but at the end of the day, it’s another mental illness, seen as a taboo, which it should not be.

Spread your awareness for schizophrenia!

 

-Shay

Girls Trip To Barcelona!

In celebration of the end of A levels and school, three of my good friends and I took a girls trip to Barcelona!

me and my peasants

view from my winderr

We rented an Airbnb that happened to be right opposite Arenas de Barcelona, a shopping centre, and opposite a dog park, which was great for us…spending more money and smelling dog sh-

I actually loved the area we stayed in. There were a lot of cute dogs being walked and beautiful architecture and a lively atmosphere, which I realised later on was actually in basically every area of Barcelona. We also happened to be near many places we were planning on exploring.

 

Wednesday 10th July

Wednesday was the first actual day in Barcelona. First thing we did was head over to the supermarket, about seven minutes from out apartment. The supermarkets were so much open spaced than the ones in London and they had a station where you could make freshly squeezed orange juice (this was in most of the supermarkets I went to there). I also got to speak Spanish to a worker, saying “Donde esta la mantequilla?” which means “Where is the butter?” Call me bilingual.

We bought guacamole, which was the most delicious thing in the whole entire world. I’ve tasted guacamole before but this was a whole other level of taste budgasm.

the sea, in case you couldn’t tell

We decided to go to the beach that day, too, which was about an hour walk. And an interesting walk it was. There were loads of people with blankets on the floor covered in little objects they were selling, including fake designer and branded stuff like Gucci bags and Nike and Adidas sliders, to name a few. And I mean there were A LOT. Whenever the police were in the area, they would pull together the edges of their blanket so it would become a sack and run away with their stuff over their shoulders. There were also A LOT of primarily Indian men selling water and beer and shouting “WATER BEER!” Every now and again they would spice it up and say “WATER BEER VERY NICE VERY BEAUTIFUL!” There were also a lot of promoters, who were offering us a deal to get into clubs and stuff, which worked out to our advantage because we were planning on going clubbing.

It was a great start to the day. Until my goddamn period decided to come without warning. On. The. Beach.

The beach was packed but gorgeous and there were a lot of water beer people and guys selling mojitos and other drinks.

a side street

Heading back home, me and one of my friends decided to take the side streets as a short cut back to our apartment. THEY WERE SO CUTE! There were cute fairy lights hanging from the

buildings and small businesses hidden away. There was some guy sitting on the floor who asked if I wanted “weed cannabis”. It was great! 😀

We managed to get onto La Rambles, a famous street, where I saw a small boy squatting to poo on the pavement.

Finally, we got home and long story short, my phone broke and that was the start to a phone free holiday. (It’s also the reason I haven’t been replying to comments that much or reading through my feed).

 

get in ma belly

We went for dinner at La Botiga, which was on the roof of Arenas de Barclone (the shopping centre). I had seafood paella for the first time! After dinner, we went outside and saw these small blue lights flying in the sky. I suggested that maybe the aliens have finally come but apparently that was a stupid idea and we found out they were actually these little toys that you could fling into the sky and catch. There were a bunch of break dancers, who we watched and when we were leaving them to go see this famous fountain, we saw those guys selling stuff on blankets run away with their sacks behind their backs. One was wearing red so I figured Christmas came early in Barcelona.

The Montjuïc Magic fountain was not on so we went up Filla Barcelona and played with one of the flying lights toys for like half an hour. We climbed up a bunch of stairs until we got up to this gallery and we sat and watched this man playing the keyboard. It was actually such a beautiful night. There was also a lot of water beer men.

when he touches the “spot”

 

Thursday 11th July

The next day, we went to Catalunya so we could go to an Apple store to see what was up with my phone. On the way, we saw a ton of bars and sex shops, which made me realise how open they are about sexuality and also drinking. It’s a very liberal place, which I really like. In Catalunya, we got Spanish McDonalds and Taco Bell. It really put the UK to shame. I don’t think I can ever get English McDonalds again without feeling sad because Spanish McDonalds is just too good. There are so many options and choices and oh my gosh I could make a whole post just about Spanish McDonalds but I won’t. I got  Bravas and Allioli top fries (patatas bravas is very common in Barcelona – they sell them everywhere) and I got an M&M McFlurry, which was a big thing for me because we don’t have that in the UK. I also got to pick the sauce to put on top, which is also not a thing in the UK.

a holy image

After eating, we went to the Gothic Quarter, where there’s a lot of markets selling vintage things like pipes, jewellery, old toys, antique items. There was also the Cathedral of Barcelona and the

cutest dog I’ve ever seen in my ENTIRE life. We went by the Picasso gallery but didn’t actually go in. We stayed in this park for a bit, where there was one boy strumming a guitar, one guy

cutest dog in the entire freaking goddamn universe omg but you cant really see it sorry

lying on the grass picking his nose nonstop, an old couple snogging and doing other things…and several water beer men. We went through the Arc de Triomf and down La Rambles and ventured into a Sephora, which we don’t have in the UK. There was a tunnel slide from the ground floor of the shopping centre that went down into the Sephora.

arc de triomf

That evening, we all made pasta and I stayed in the apartment alone at night, watching Disney Channel in Spanish because there weren’t many channels on the TV. I read a book (not in Spanish) and went to bed. Me and my friends watched a lot of Spanish TV in the evenings and morning and we actually became pretty good at understanding what they were saying. I also now know the plotline and characters of Miraculous.

 

Friday 12th July

We took the metro (L3) to Sagrada Familia. The tubes are so nice! They had AC, a small TV and there was a map that lit up every station as you passed it.

another holy image

Sagrada Familia was astonishing. It’s so rich in history and the architecture is so gorgeous!

We sat in this little green area, surrounded by hedges, where we ate our packed lunches that we made beforehand like the little school kids we are. It was all going so well, sitting in the shade and enjoying the beautiful view of Sagrada Familia when out of nowhere, a giant dog runs through the bushes towards us, squats right next to me and takes a huge dump. THE DISRESPECT.

We ended up going to Taco Bell again to get drinks. They had a mojito, which I ended up deciding not to get because I’m a sinless woman. My friend, however, who had been drinking everyday, got one and she is a heavyweight but she still got drunk off a TACO BELL mojito. It’s probably the right time to mention that alcoholic drinks in Barcelona are STRONG, much stronger than in the UK.

We made our way to Park Güell, which was difficult with one friend on her period having terrible cramps and another friend drunk out of her mind. We ventured through the free part of Park Güell and saw the outside of Gaudí’s house. Gaudí was a famous architect. The views were

colourful shops

again, absolutely amazing! On our way out, we saw so  many cute colourful shops selling things with a lot of Gaudí’s mosaic designs. I bought a notebook and pen to keep me occupied when bored since I had no phone. We got the bus back home, which was the same price as the metro, strangely, and as we got back to the apartment, we realised we had lost the keys. That was like the fourth L taken on the trip after a racist incident at the airport, my phone breaking and the majority of us getting our periods. We managed to get another key and we spent a cosy evening eating Spanish McDonalds and watching TV. Two of my friends then went to a bar and my other friend and I went to go see Spiderman: Far From Home. I went in my pyjamas and had a t shirt wrapped around my washed hair. I got a lot of looks. We bought rainbow popcorn, which probably added to my future heart disease. The film was in English but with Spanish subtitles so I learnt the word “cielo” which means “babe” I think.

 

Saturday 13th July

On Saturday, we went to the National Gallery of Catalunya (the same one we sat in front of on

the hand sign

woman in hat and fur collar, 1937 by pablo picasso

the first day). We looked at gothic, modern and romantic art. I noticed a lot of the people in the paintings had their hands in a particular way which looked like a gang sign but I think it means something holy. We also saw adult comic art, which was VERY sexual. Like, it was straight up porn in the gallery.

porn

We then took a cable car to Montjuïc Castle and when going back, the cable car stopped in the middle, which my friends thought was scary but I found funny. On the way home, we passed a petrol station where we saw some men from the Guardia Civil police force AND THEY HAD GUNS! It was very strange for us because we don’t really have guns in the UK so seeing the everyday police in an everyday place holding guns was very different. They were guarding the area while one of them was in the petrol station looking for snacks. I also saw a dog on a motorbike, who looked almost as shook as me.

In the evening, we went to Happy Rock salsa bar. They had a live band playing old school music and I got a virgin piña colada, because again, I’m a sinless woman. I also got patatas bravas. The bar was so lively. There were even old people dancing and everyone just looked happy. LONDON COULD NEVER! After the salsa bar, we went to the beach area (Puerto Olímpico) since all the clubs are there. We had wristbands so we were basically VIPs and got to skip the long cues. Get us. 💁 There are four main clubs in the area, which are well known: Opium, Shoko, Pacha and

the cluuuub

Catwalk. We went to Catwalk. We stayed primarily in the sky room but there was a floor below that and a terrace, which is where people were smoking and just talking. The sky room was really good for tourists, I think. They were playing a lot of old school music (old school rap, RnB and pop) as well as recent ones and Spanish music. There was also French drill, which kinda banged. I think I liked it a lot better than the clubs in London because there was such a mix of people from different countries and the music wasn’t bad and the room was so nice. Not to mention the beach is like a few steps away. However, there are 10 times more creeps. I mean, the men in the clubs are PERSISTENT and very desperate. We learnt to not make eye contact with any of them. If you’re a girl going to a club in Spain, go with a group (tbh you should always go with a group for safety). We danced with a group of boys from East London, who were very nice and prevented other creepy men from approaching us.

We got home at around 4:40 am.

 

Sunday 14th July

Because of the club, we woke up at about 2 pm. It was raining for the first time while we were

cute market stand

there so we waited indoors a bit. We travelled to the beach and because it was a Sunday, there were a lot of markets set up on the way there. It was so cute. I bought these iron on patches I’m going to put on my bag. There were a lot of handmade stuff like organic soaps and dreamcatchers and jewellery. There were also a lot of old, naked baby dolls everywhere. We explored the Maremagnum Port shopping centre, which was extremely packed since it’s like the only thing open on Sundays.

My friend got a dulce de leche crepe, which we shared because it was way too sickening for just one person.

At our apartment, we got ready for our last night clubbing. Before we went to the clubs, we ran to the fountain that wasn’t on before but was on the Sunday. It was beautiful. There were so many colours too. We then went to a shisha bar that we had found the day before. There are a lot of shisha bars in

the sunset haha jk

Barcelona. I ordered a mojito. So much for being sinless. I actually asked for less alcohol but being a lightweight, I got tipsy very quickly. We all ended up getting lightheaded from either shisha or the drinks and we went to Shoko. It wasn’t great. I couldn’t even move (it was that cramped) and the music wasn’t good either. We decided to migrate to Catwalk again.

When it was close to 5 am and there were fewer people in the club and we were extremely tired, me and my friends went into the middle of the dance floor and started dancing as crazy as we could. We did this shoulder wiggle shake thing and were jumping around and waving our arms around. We looked like those blow up wiggly things outside of car washes that move around in the wind with their wiggly arms. We looked so weird but it was honestly the best feeling. As soon as we did that, a bunch of these Spanish boys came up to us and were doing their own weird thing and it was all too funny. We looked like crackheads.

what we looked like

 

Monday 15th July

We woke up at 11:30 am, which was the time we were supposed to leave to go out that day. Two of my friends and I went to the supermarket. I had practically no money left but I bought a pot of guacamole because priorities.

a-maze-ing

We went to Horta Labrinto, a maze, where we tried to pretend to be fifteen for cheaper tickets.

The ticket man laughed in our face. It wasn’t my idea! We split into twos and I don’t mean to brag but I do mean to brag cause I led our half of the group to the middle first. There were turtles near this river and one of them couldn’t get back onto the land after swimming and then three of them, on the land, turned to look up at the same direction of the sky at the same time. I don’t really know what black magic is going on in Barcelona with the turtles but it was creepy. We went to the science museum in Barcelona, which was a long walk but I had Hello Panda and Takis to eat. The science museum was so cool.

the capybara

I do prefer the one in London but it was still so cool. There was an Alice in Wonderland exhibition with loads of mirrors and it was VERY trippy. The museum was very interactive. It was also all on one floor and it was open instead of in separate rooms. There was a giant aquarium and we went outside to see these birds living above the aquarium and we found a capybara. It had a turtle and duck friend.

A1 photography

We then made our way to Park Güell for 9:30 because it’s free after this time and we were broke. We went to a café beforehand and I ate a vegetarian focaccia and had Ferrero Rocher ice cream. Then we went into the mosaic part of Park Güell, with Gaudi’s work. It was so pretty and colourful. We made our way up to the mosaic benches that overlook Barcelona and we sat watching sunset until late at night (we could actually see the stars without light pollution) having a deep chat about people in our lives and just general things. It was something so simple, just sitting and talking but it was just such a nice moment. When it was almost 12 am, we made our way through the pitch black park, terrified, and walked up to the gates that were locked. We were trapped in Gaudí’s park. So, without hesitation, I dropped to the floor and tried rolling underneath the gate. I didn’t fit but when I laid flat, I wiggled out and escaped the park. My friends followed and we ran for the bus stop with sand covering us. 

As soon as we got home, we ate tomatoes and guac, watching Disney Channel in Spanish. We also watched the weirdest film I’ve ever seen, Meet The Spartans, which was called Casi 3000 in Barcelona. We went to bed pretty late as we were cleaning the apartment and packing.

 

We woke up at around 7 am, running on like three and a half hours of sleep. We finished cleaning the apartment and made tuna and salad for breakfast. I was also going to have an egg but when my friend cracked one, there was blood in the yolk. That’s why you buy free range eggs, kids.

 

I absolutely loved Barcelona. It was so different to London but in a good way. Here are some differences I noticed:

  • It’s such a lit country. There’s always music and sunshine and people don’t hesitate to get up and dance.
  • It’s such a colourful, warm coloured pretty city.

    the colourful “graffiti” by our apartment

  • It’s very liberal, I think, and open-minded (there were rainbows for pride EVERYWHERE) and the sex shops and bars are hidden away as much as they would be in London. There’s also a lot of PDA and no one cares.
  • It’s boujee. Even in “rougher” areas, the shops and cafes are still nice inside and clean.
  • People make a lot of eye contact. In London, most people avoid eye contact.
  • Tapwater is gross and they don’t give free water in restaurants, bars or clubs.
  • Buses take longer to come and you can pay in cash.
  • A lot of the time, the pavements looks like roads (I almost got hit). The pavements are also a lot wider.
  • There are a lot of reckless and careless drivers.
  • There were also A LOT of people riding scooters, which would be seen as childish and weird in the UK.
  • They have bike lanes everywhere, too, so you don’t have to ride with cars.
  • AC everywhere (of course).
  • Everyone’s good looking. Not in the way that I’m attracted to everyone but everyone has this glow to them and seem happier.

 

If you’re thinking about going to Barcelona, you should definitely go. It wasn’t even an expensive trip. In total, including flights, accommodation, souvenirs and all the activities we did, it was around £500. I highly recommend going – it’s stunning and so rich in life, culture and experiences.

 

-Shay

Taste The Rainbow!

Honey, I’m home.

I am back from my long exam break. I actually finished my exams mid June but I was doing things non-stop since, which made it hard to sit down to think and write a post. I’ve done a lot in such a short amount of time: took the night bus for the first time and saw a woman snorting cocaine on her boyfriends lap (I thought they were doing something else ngl) and literally hanky pankying later, as well as another guy smoking a joint a few seats in front of me. I also got punched in the boob by a boy I used to chat to in a club, climbed the O2 and led the group down, saw Callum from Love Island on the Northern line. And all of that happened on the same day.

And on my little adventures I’ve been having, running around Central London, I’ve been noticing a lot of rainbow flags and signs, etc. It’s pride day in London, today, so I thought it would be relevant to share something important today in this post. It’s a little secret I’ve been keeping which I’m ready to spill. And I assure you, you’re going to need some ice for this piping hot tea. 🐸☕️

 

I LOVE M&M’s.

All these rainbows everywhere reminded me for my love for them! They’re basically chocolate skittles and I would love to taste their rainbow at any point in the day.  I could eat those rainbow chocolate balls all day long. Who doesn’t love a good old chocolate ball?

 

Every penny I make goes into investing in those little packets of diabetes. I don’t even care that every one of those sweet beads will end up as a bead on my face. #adultacne 🤙🏽🤙🏽

 

I love every single colour to exist of them because I don’t discriminate because I’m not RaCisT! And they just had to whip out all the different fillings too. Peanut, peanut butter, crispy, chocolate. Fuck me up! You’re doing it to my skin and thighs anyway. 🤪

 

I  know I sound crazy but I feel so relieved coming out with my little M&M secret! I hope you’re understanding and accepting.

 

oh also I’m kinda queer.

 

-Shay

 

Everyone’s Unique!

Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an introspective self-report questionnaire with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions, stated by Wikipedia. And also apparently known as astrology for smart people. Choose what you believe! 😂

 

The idea is, you are categorised into one of 16 different personality types depending on your mind, energy, nature, tactics and identity.

You can take the test here or allow me to explain what each letter represents in the types. However, take the test anyway (it’s obviously more accurate than me explaining).

 

Mind

Mind is in regards to how we interact with our surroundings. In terms of MBTI, you’re either introverted or extroverted. But what about ambiverted, Shay? The test gives you a percentage of what you are so you may get 43% introverted and 57% extroverted, indicating you’re about 50/50 (an ambivert) but shows you’re predominantly extroverted.

‘I’ obviously stands for Introverted. Introverts prefer activities they can spend by themselves and have to recharge by being by themselves. They can get exhausted by social interaction and can be sensitive to external stimulation like sounds and smell. A misconception is that introverts are quiet. This is not necessarily true as it’s more about social preference rather that how much you speak, etc.

‘E’ stands for Extroverted. Extroverts prefer social activities and are energized by social interaction. They may be more enthusiastic and excited than introverts but again, being an extrovert does not necessarily mean you are loud and talkative. There can be quiet extroverts too.

 

Energy

Energy refers to how we see and process the world and are divided into: observance or intuition.

‘S’ stands for obServant and describes people as “highly practical, pragmatic and down-to-earth…focusing on what is happening or has already happened”.

‘N’ stands for iNtuitive and described people as “very imaginative, open-minded and curious…preferring novelty over stability and focus on hidden meanings and future possibilities.”

 

Nature

Nature is all about how we make decisions and cope with emotions. There’s either thinking or feeling.

‘T’ stands for Thinking and focuses on “objectivity and rationality, prioritizing logic over emotions.” T personalities usually hide their feelings.

‘F’ stands for Feeling, explaining these people as “sensitive and emotionally expressive…more empathetic and less competitive.” These types focus more on peace and harmony.

 

Tactics

Tactics reflect on our approach to work, planning and decision making. You’re either judging or prospecting.

‘J’ stands for Judging, people who are “decisive, thorough and highly organized…valuing clarity, predictability and closure.” I see these types as the planners and organizers! A big misconception, I’ve noticed, is that these people are bossy and boring. This is far from the truth as I know many fun and easy going J’s.

‘P’ stands for Prospecting. These people are “good at improvising and spotting opportunities…tend to be flexible, relaxed, nonconformists.” I see these people as spontaneous and procrastinators. A misconception on these types is that they are active and love the outdoorsy kind of people. P’s can be lazy and can even hate the outdoors. It’s more about being spontaneous with how you make decisions and your approaches to situations.

 

Identity

This type shows how confident a person is in decisions and abilities. You’ll find no one really mentions this part of their personality but it is still part of it.

‘-A’ is Assertive, meaning “self-assured, even-tempered and resistant to stress”.

‘-T’ is Turbulent, meaning “self-conscious and sensitive to stress…likely to experience a wide range of emotions”.

 

 

My personality type is ENFP-T, A.K.A The ‘Campaigner’. I did the test around 2014, then at around 2017 and again, today (2019), and I’ve gotten the same ENFP-T result (but not exactly the same percentage) suggesting it is quite reliable. My type means I’m extroverted (I do feel more energized when with people and get very depressed when I haven’t had social interaction for a while). It also means I am intuitive, feeling and prospecting as well as turbulent. However, I feel like I’m a bit 50/50 when it comes to Thinking and Feeling but my percentage says otherwise. I, however, still think I’m about 50/50. ENFPs are part of the diplomat group. Yes, there are groups:

  • Analysts (_NT_)
  • Diplomats (_NF_)
  • Sentinels (_S_J)
  • Explorers (_S_P)

 

 

I, personally, think MBTI is really interesting and useful.

  1. Mental Health – The decision making, abilities and approaches of an individual can help with mental health as it takes into account the person rather than isolating and reducing them to just their mental illness. For example, as I said, I get depressed when I haven’t had enough social interaction. I feel like I need to recharge by socialising instead of being by myself to recharge. This can be taken into account to help to encourage people to place themselves in situations, which satisfy them and ‘recharge’ them. Keeping an extrovert alone will only make them more depressed.
  2. Understanding Perspectives – These personality types can help people to come to grips with the fact that everyone has different approaches, decision making, abilities, etc. Therefore, I feel like it encourages people to  understand we’re not all going to see the world and certain situations in the same way and encourages us to be accepting of everyone as we all have different personalities. For example, a J (judging) is more likely to approach schoolwork, for example, with schedules and good planning whereas a P (prospecting) is more like to procrastinate and be more spontaneous with how they work, doing it when they get bursts of motivation. It can help you appreciate the differences in how people are.
  3. Story Writing – For a while, now, I’ve been using MBTI to build up characters in my stories. The types help to see how characters may respond in situations in the story and can help to develop them.
  4. Realizing Your Flaws – If you lack insight into your personality and weaknesses, MBTI is good at pointing out your strengths and weaknesses, highlighting areas you can improve in, for example I can improve in my practical skill and limit how much I overthink (cause I do that A LOT).

 

That all being said, the little letters you get as a result of the MBTI test is just a brief outline of your personality. Obviously, you have more depth that four/five letters and it doesn’t do justice to your identity but it gives insight. One INTJ may be funny whereas another INTJ may not be. The 16 personality types does not mean there are only 16 kinds of people in the entire world.

I do highly recommend doing the test, though. It’s interesting and fun and highly highly detailed if you read through all the information they give you about your personality type and you can find out what celebrities have the same personality type as you! Amy Schumer and Danielle Radcliffe apparently have the same personality type as me. 😄

 

Comment your personality type!

 

-Shay

 

P.S. All the images used are from the 16 Personality Types website as they’re so vibrant and well drawn. Credit to the illustrator (it’s not specified who).

Women In Science!

In celebration of both International Women’s Day and the start of British Science Week (8th-17th March), today I’m making a post dedicated to and appreciating women in science.

 

In the 19th century, women were excluded from formal scientific education but later on in the century, there was a rise of women’s colleges, providing scientific jobs and educational opportunities for women scientists. Also in the late 19th century, on November 7th 1967, Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win the award twice. As of 2018, 51 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize. (This could actually be a higher number as you’ll see if you continue reading.)

Women in science has greatly motivated and inspired me to work in science and get involved in that community. I bought a book, written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofksy, entitled Women In Science, which is a collection of pages dedicated to the work and achievements of different women in science, so I picked eleven to share with you today!

 

Hypatia – Astronomer, Mathematician and Philosopher

Image result for hypatiaHypatia was one of the earliest recorded female mathematicians, born between 350 and 370 CE in Alexandria, Egypt. Her father, Theon, a famous scholar, instructed her in maths and astronomy and she became an expert in both. She was one of Alexandria’s first female teachers and people travelled from faraway lands to listen to her speak. However, the religious tensions in the area became violent and she was killed around 415 CE, due to her ‘pagan’ teachings, by extremist Christians. Hypatia is a symbol for education in the face of ignorance.

 

Elizabeth Blackwell – Doctor

Elizabeth Blackwell set  herself on the path to becoming the first female medical doctor in the Related imageUnited States. She was accepted into Geneva Medical college but had to sit separately from the male students and even the teachers were embarrassed by her presence in the anatomy classes. She made her thesis on good hygiene and how that can prevent the spread of typhus. In 1849, she graduated first in her class. With her sister, they opened the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children in 1857, where they treated the poor and taught female medical students and nurses and later, in 1968, went on to found the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, and the London School of Medicine for Women, in 1874. She made it possible for women to become doctors and called for better hygiene standards in hospitals and homes.

 

Nettie Stevens – Geneticist 

Image result for nettie stevensStevens worked hard to save up money for her undergraduate education at Stanford University and PhD at Bryn Mawr College. She was a geneticist and found male insects had an XY chromosome shape but females had XX. She published her groundbreaking research in 1905, which changed many misconceptions like the sex of a baby was determined by what the pregnant mother ate. However, around the same time of her discovery, Edmund and Wilson made the same discovery of XY chromosomes and Edmund was awarded the Nobel Prize. Nonetheless, she will not be forgotten for her amazing research.

 

Mary Agnes Chase – Botanist and Suffragist

Mary was born in 1869 and enjoyed learning about botany, sketching plants and using her savings to take botany classes at the University of Chicago and Lewis Institute. She worked with Reverend Ellsworth Jerome Hill as he mentored her and she illustrated plants for his papers, which eventually landed her a job at Chicago Field Museum, where she was a scientific illustrator for museum publications and then, an illustrator for the US Department of Agriculture in 1903. Despite all this, another amazing thing she did was protest for women’s rights to vote in the US, even though she was at threat of being fired. She participated in hunger strikes, was jailed but helped to gain the right for women to vote in 1920.

 

Lise Meitner – Physicist 

Meitner was born in Vienna in 1878 and worked at a Chemistry Institute in Berlin in 1907, after receiving her PhD, but as she was a woman, she was unpaid and wasn’t even allowed to use the labs or toilets so did her radiochemistry research in a basement. She worked with another scientist, Otto Hahn, as they tried to create new elements but with the Nazi’s rise to power, Lise fled to Sweden since she was Jewish but exchanged letters to Otto about their research. Lise ended up discovering nuclear fission but was unable to return to Germany so Otto was awarded a Nobel Prize for their work without her.

 

Alice Ball – Chemist

In 1915, Alice Ball became the first African-American and first woman to graduate from the University of Hawaii. At age 23, Alice developed a way to isolate ethyl esters in it’s fatty acids, found in chaulmoogra oil, to blend with water for injection as a treatment for leprosy. Those suffering with leprosy, at the time, were arrested and isolated but due to Alice’s treatment, the ‘Ball Method’, they were freed from exile. She found a cure for a what was thought of as a hopeless disease.

 

Gerty Cori – Biochemist

Gerty Cori became a biochemist at the University of Prague and received a doctorate in medicine. This is when she met Carl Cori, who she fell in love with and married. Not only did they become partners in life but also partners in science as they worked together and solved the mystery of how cells us sugar for energy (now called the Cori Cycle). They both shared a Nobel Prize, in 1947, but Gerty soon developed a bone marrow disease as she continued to work in the lab. Carl ended up carrying her to get around when she got too weak and she died in 1957.

 

Joan Beauchamp Procter – Zoologist

Joan was a zoologist, who endured chronic ill health. She kept snakes, frogs and crocodiles as pets and started working at the British Museum, in 1917, as an assistant keeper of reptiles and fish. She then became the London Zoo’s curator of reptiles, in 1923, and discovered a new species called the Peninsula Dragon lizard. She built houses for the reptiles specifically for them to make them feel comfortable and made it seem like their natural habitats with help from her artistic talents. Under her care, the reptiles lived longer in captivity than ever before. Her health, however, caught up with her and she made her way around in a wheelchair with her pet Komodo Dragon on a leash. She died at the age of 34.

 

Mamie Phipps Clark – Psychologist and Civil Rights Activist

Racial segregation meant Mamie wasn’t allowed in shops owned by white people and had to attend poorly funded black-only schools. She met her husband and future partner in psychology at Howard University, where she learnt psychology could be used to prove segregation is wrong. Mamie and her husband conducted the Doll Experiment, travelling the country and comparing responses of children from segregated and integrated schools. They found evidence that segregation damaged children and caused self-hate and this was used in the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation in public schools.

 

Rosalind Franklin – Chemist and X-Ray Crystallographer

Rosalind’s father disapproved of women going to  university but she went anyway and earned a PhD in physical chemistry from Cambridge University. She spent hours, at King’s College, using X-rays on fibres of DNA, capturing a famous photo providing DNA is a double helix. James Watson and Francis Crick were also trying to figure out the structure and peeked at Rosalind’s work without permission, using her findings to publish their work. She was not credited in their work and they won the a Nobel Prize four years after she died from cancer in 1958. Watson wrote jeering comments about Rosalind in his book, The Double Helix, and admitted to looking at her data. We remember her as the woman, who should have won the Nobel Prize.

 

Valentina Tereshkova – Engineer and Cosmonaut

Valentina dreamed of exploring the world but her family was so poor they couldn’t afford bread. When the space race began between the US and USSR, where she was born, the USSR wanted to be the first to send a woman to space and since Valentina was in a parachute club, she was a perfect candidate. She was selected to compete with four other women and the training was intense but she was eventually chosen as the first woman in space. Valentina flew by herself on the Vostok VI shuttle in 1963 and orbited Earth 48 times, which set a new record. Her photographs in space helped us gain a better understanding of the atmosphere. She had a very bumpy ride back, nauseated and disoriented, but she earned a doctorate in engineering and worked closely with the cosmonaut programme after her trip. She now works for world peace. She is an amazing example that women are strong and tough.

 

It was very difficult having to pick a small amount of women from the Women In Science book. I highly recommend reading it as it is filled with such inspiring women from marine biologists to inventors and neuroscientists to psychoanalysts. A lot of these women were not only scientists but also film actresses, senators, authors, etc, which makes it that extra bit inspiring. Rachel Ignotofsky is also an amazing illustrator as the book is so beautiful! Most of what I wrote above has been taken from the book.

 

Although today is International Women’s Day and we should spend the day appreciating women, let’s not forget that everyday is a day to respect and appreciate women as well as other people.

 

-Shay