Tuesday, 4 November 2014

How much does gender stereotyping affect our lives? (Investigative Journalism - bend 3 publishing)

Recently in English we've been working on investigative journalism. I decided to write about gender stereotyping, and since I haven't created any new material to post on this blog, I'm posting it here.

Feedback welcomed in the comments below ^_^

How much does gender stereotyping affect our lives?
By Florence
In a rowdy hall a pair of fighters - a boy and a girl - exchange blows while people below cheer on their favourites. Suddenly, the fight is over - the girl has won. People swarm around her like little worker bees desperately trying to please their queen. Words of congratulations are thrown towards her, but a few seem to stand out like daggers coated with honey.

“Wow! That was great. Coming from a girl, I mean.”
“That was some great technique up there. How did you manage to beat him? You are a girl, after all.”

She doesn’t think much of these comments, taking them in her stride as she soaks in the glory of the win. What she doesn’t notice is what happened before the match - giggles. Gasps. People shaking their heads, as if to say: “Is it really possible for that girl to beat a boy like him?”

Stereotyping is a problem that affects all our lives - in fact, everybody has grown up surrounded by stereotypes, or media that advocates these stereotypes. From when we’re little, we’re loaded up with ideas on how to think, what to do. We’re taught that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. That girls should play fairy princess, while the boys play football. That girls should wear makeup to cover any “imperfections”, that they should look perfect all the time, that boys should be muscular and should look “manly”. That girls should grow up to become mothers, housewives, nurses, dancers - and that boys should grow up to become doctors, bankers, sports stars, engineers.

The Oxford dictionary defines a stereotype as “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing”. They can be positive or negative, but are rarely true. Instead of helping us find our way in life, they limit creativity and suppress our abilities to express ourselves freely, instead confining individuals in boxes based on what they “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing.

The biggest problem we face when fighting against gender stereotyping is the fact that it touches almost every aspect of our lives. In movies, women are often portrayed as extremely “sexy”. Their roles often make no difference to the plot, simply serving as eye-candy for viewers, and are stripped of many qualities that would make them interesting characters. Alternatively they are placed into the nursing, caring archetype - taking care of the house, cleaning up, looking after others. Meanwhile, men are taught that in order to fit in, they should be muscular, financially independent, emotionally detached, strong, intelligent and charismatic - all at the same time.

Media producers can find it difficult to come up with a wide range of characters and their individual personality profiles. The easy way out is to come up with a few main archetypes and slot characters into different categories to create a sense of diversity and make it easier for consumers to identify protagonists from antagonists. However, this tactic bends consumers’ views of the world, giving them an ultra-comprehensive but also extra-rigid set of rules to follow.

To find out more about this issue, I interviewed Trisha, aged 13. She shared a story about her tennis class: “We were running laps, and some of the girls were running faster than the boys. The coach shouted at the boys, saying they were too slow and that they should be doing better than us. I felt angry at him, especially since it seemed like he expected us to do worse just because we were girls.” Anvita, also 13, added: “I think the media gives us an unrealistic expectation of what to be. And both men and women have to live up to what the media pushes on us. When we don’t conform to what we’re told to do, people get upset.”

Gender stereotyping is something we still have to deal with for the time being. Women will always be mothers, and men will always go to work. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), women only made 78 cents for every dollar made by a man, leaving a 22% wage gap. And UK Feminista states that only 24% of news subjects in global channels are female, and only 6% of news stories are about gender inequality. It will take a lot of work, from men and from women, to make a difference and even things out.

Change is on its way.

Thanks to new-generation “post-feminists”, people are changing what they think about feminism. Instead of a word once synonymous with bra-burning and man-hating, we now have a word that calls for equality. From the perspective of Mr. Raisdana, feminism means “treating people equally regardless of their gender... Feminism means allowing men to feel vulnerable and sensitive and not perpetuating some outdated notions of toughness and masculinity.”

On the 20th of September, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson launched a new project called He for She. In her speech, Watson said: “We don't often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don't have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won't feel compelled to be submissive. If men don't have to control, women won't have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.” The movement aims to unite both genders in the fight for equality instead of dividing them into “boys vs girls”-type groups.

And media producers do take into account what their viewers say. More and more producers are featuring a wider range of characters in their work, instead of just working with a few basic outlines. The line between “male” and “female” gender attributes is blurring with the rise of androgyny - the act of having both male and female characteristics or qualities. Just as we can learn to follow along with the portrayal of both genders in the media, we can also learn to find balance and reach harmony.

Nathaniel Branden once said: “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” In order to truly change how the world portrays people in the media, we have to talk about these issues. Have these conversations with our friends, tell them about what’s going wrong. We have to think before we speak, look into the deeper meaning of our words - what are we implying? Why do we phrase things the way we do?

Instead of thinking: “Wow - that was some good fighting for a girl. I wonder how she beat that guy, he looks much tougher than her,” we need to think: “Wow - she’s an excellent fighter. I could learn a thing or two from her.” Without an attitude change, no change is possible. Gender equality can only be reached if we value the strengths of each other.

In the wise words of Gloria Steinem: “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like daughters.”

Sources:
Augarde, A. J. "Stereotype." The Oxford Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1981. N. pag. Print.
"Emma Watson: Gender Equality Is Your Issue Too." UN Women. UN Women, 20 Sept. 2014. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.
"Pay Equity & Discrimination." IWPR. Institute for Women's Policy Research, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.
"Facts and Statistics on Gender Inequality." UK Feminista. UK Feminista, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

Monday, 4 August 2014

I'm in love (Tonari no kaibutsu-kun)

...With an anime character, natch.

Just kidding! But I have recently gotten myself into a bit of trouble, as I am now addicted to an anime (and quite possibly the manga it's based off of). Ahem.

I'm actually pretty late to all this raving about Japanese and Korean pop culture, but recently while I was on holiday I got bored and decided to watch television (unfortunately since I was in Ulaanbaatar all the channels were in Mongolian except for Animax). And thus I found myself rolling on the bed in peals of laughter and wondering what on earth had gotten into me.

Tonari no kaibutsu-kun (literally translated as The Monster Sitting Beside Me) - or My Little Monster - is a 13-episode anime about Shizuku Mizutani, a girl who has no interests other than her grades and her future, and Haru Yoshida, a delinquent regarded by everyone as a monster but who is simply misunderstood. Put like this, it sounds like a sort of messed up, "boy-meets-girl" romantic comedy. Which it is.

If you don't want to read my crazy fangirl ranting, then I suggest you stop reading this post now.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

But at the same time, it's so much more. It's a story about [domestic] violence, sexism, standing up for yourself, and understanding the sometimes confusing conflict between our heads and our hearts. It's about growing up, falling in love (*ehem*) and dealing with rejection. Basically, apart from the fact that it's an anime, it's perfect for English class discussion. Not that I'm suggesting that our school starts teaching us with manga books. That would not lie well with the parents.

Basically, this show threatens to be the very sweet, very cliche, "girl-reforms-psychopath-and-falls-in-love-with-him-in-the-process" story that shoujo manga is often put as. Two characters meet, one confesses their love to the other, things get awkward then mellow out, the other confesses their love and the awkwardness resumes, followed by some figuring things out and then it's a happy ending.

Obviously, this scene doesn't help the show's set-up.
Don't know if this helps, but he doesn't actually rape her. Just so you know.
Thankfully, Shizuku is not your typical shoujo-heroine. She does not let Haru's romantic intentions get in the way of her studying and hates being told what to do. She also fails to sigh about, pining for her love interest simply to drive the plot along. Which is refreshing, for a change.

This is probably the standard opening scene for most shoujo stuff.
All romantic-ness aside, what makes the show truly worth watching is the fact that it's packed full of scenes that made me smile (which is not easy to do, in case you're wondering). My sister fails to find it laugh-out-loud funny, but she does say that she always wants more. She's 10, so she's quite honest. Bonus points for Nagoya the chicken, too. There aren't many chickens in anime.

This is Nagoya. He's named after Nagoya Cochin chickens.
Character design is decent too, and the use of chibi(s? I never know how to plural this word) was just enough to make it cute, but not so much as to make you think that the art budget was probably being stretched. And the music was great (possibly my favourite part of this anime). The range of sound was amazing - loud and brash for fight scenes, but also soft and quiet for the romantic scenes. 

Chibi!!
This is one of the few anime that I would highly recommend to girls. But guys are free to watch too, I won't judge if you're into this stuff. It's adorable and addictive, but I feel like the manga probably would be better since the ending of the anime is pretty frustrating.

- end of crazy anime ranting -

Monday, 30 June 2014

Summer reading - part one

I feel like my blog posts are getting pretty inconsistent and I've decided to do something about it. The last time I blogged, it was about the end of school. Since then, I've been on a trip to Malaysia, started three books and finished two of them. So I figured that I better blog about what I've been reading, especially since I've been reading so much recently. By the way, I'm on Goodreads now, so click here to stalk me and my books.

Finished books
An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
4 stars. The plot was predictable, but I did like the character development a lot. I read this book on the first day of summer in one sitting, because it was just that good. I think I may be biased though, because I pretty much like anything written by John Green. Hassan was great for when the plot got boring and I think I have a - and I hate to use this word - "girl-crush" (shudder) on Lindsey. All in all, a pretty good book. More John Green for me, please.

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
5 stars! I loved this book. I loved Holden especially, even though his habit of calling people "phonies" got annoying to the end. I wish Allie appeared more through the book though. And Phoebe - she was adorable. So much love for this book. The plot wasn't a lot (basically Holden getting drunk, hiring a prostitute, crying, sobering up, visiting Phoebe, being depressed, and getting drunk again) but Holden was so witty. Something interesting I found out about his name: a "caul" is the membrane covering the head of a fetus during birth. So Holden's last name is a metaphor for his inability to see just how complicated the adult world is.

13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
3 stars. The plot was amazing, eerie and left me hanging on the edge of my seat. The characters were not-so-amazing. For the full rant, check out my Goodreads page (hint hint)! In short, I felt that the characters were kind of "flat" and two-dimensional. They were way too similar to the characters in fairytales, where everything is black and white - Clay was automatically good and pure, whereas Justin was immediately shown as an antagonist. This is something I would recommend if you are looking for something light, fast and extremely plot-based to read over the summer. Not something for people who are really into character development and slow pick-ups. Also, am I the only one who found the dual-narration quite tricky to understand?

Currently reading
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
Yes, I am still reading this. I had to give my brain a break after one month of this book (I spent the first day of summer reading John Green - see above). I picked it up again a few days ago, and I have to say: I'm glad I didn't abandon this book. I'm still not done with it, but the last few plot twists have really made this book a worthy investment of my time. Looking forward to finishing it up. If it were possible to give half-stars, I think I would give it a 3.5 - probably something I should reread at a later date. And I'd really love if they made a movie remake starring Tom Hiddleston, Orlando Bloom or Benedict Cumberbatch as Pip. Just saying. I'm totally not obsessed.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
So far, I think I'll be giving this book 4 stars. I love Cath so much, and to me it seems like Rainbow Rowell (I still can't believe that's her real name - but I'm not judging) took a little piece of me and wove it into the story. By the way, that's not gross at all. So far it seems like Nick is meant to be Cath's love interest but I'm not sure I like him, and I'm secretly hoping Reagan and Levi aren't actually dating (maybe Levi and Cath will get together??). The little FanFixx inserts are nice for between chapters, and the fact that Simon Snow is basically Harry Potter makes me love the book even more. If this was made into a movie, I'd hope that Emma Watson plays Cath. Just think of the fandom-ception! 
Also, this book was much better than Attachments, which I also read recently although I'm too lazy to post a review of it. Just check my Goodreads (I'm so good at self promotion now, aren't I?).

So that brings me to the end of this post. Leave book suggestions or any other comments below! 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The end of life as I know it.

So, this is it - the end of seventh grade. I can't say I didn't see it coming, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to come so soon.

The past few weeks have mostly been uneventful. Class has been spent wrapping things up, returning textbooks and/or library books, watching movies, playing games, and having the occasional crisp. Om nom nom.

This year has been one long journey for me. From getting closer to my class in Sibu to hurling accusations at other people during mafia, I really have started to feel secure next to the people around me (and I'm not just saying that). It's almost (*almost*) a shame to have to move on now, especially since it's going to take me another 12 months to feel a connection with my mentor group next year.

Before the school year truly ends, I'd like to thank the following people (even those who probably don't read my blog):
- All my teachers, for the knowledge I now hold inside my poor, tired brain.
- All my friends, for putting up with my stupid questions, bad jokes and awkwardness.
- Everybody in my mentor group, for making me feel like I belong.
- Anybody who has ever heard me tell a joke or sing, for putting up with the pain.

During the summer, I plan to read, write, blog, sleep, and eat 10x my body weight in food. And watch television (I may or may not be planning to re-watch Sherlock for the 4th time).

With this post, my year in grade seven comes to an end. Here's to many happy memories next year.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Book talk.

For as long as I can remember, books have played a huge part in my life. I think I read my first chapter book at around age five, and I've never looked back since then.
However, I usually don't like nonfiction. I'm a very plot and language-driven reader.

When I finished reading the Harry Potter series, I didn't really know what to do with my life anymore.
Basically, I slid down the wall and lay on the floor for a few minutes pondering what to do next.

Sort of like this.
Image credit: http://25andfly.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/wallslide-cartoon.gif
Before we continue, let me just emphasize how much Harry Potter meant to me.
  • I basically grew up with the trio. The first time I read the books, I was only in second grade. But at that point in time, I realized that from that moment onwards I would be a crazy potterhead. 
  • In grades 4, 5 and 6, I dressed as Cho Chang for book character dress up day. I substituted a chopstick for a wand (because I'm just that awesome). 
  • One time, I made a Hermione doll out of a water bottle. The results were terrifying, but I was still so proud of myself. 
  • People who haven't read/hate Harry Potter confuse and frustrate me. 
  • Likewise, people who prefer LoTR over Harry Potter confuse and frustrate me. 
  • I have taken a countless amount of sorting hat quizzes, even though I know I'm probably a Ravenclaw. Although once, I was put into Gryffindor. 
  • When Cedric died, I cried.
  • When Sirius died, I cried. 
  • When Dumbledore died, I was shocked. 
  • When Dobby died, I cried. 
  • When Fred died, I cried buckets. 
  • When Lupin and Tonks died, I sat there speechless. 
  • Usually, Buzzfeed lists like this one and this one make me cry even more. 
  • Et cetera, et cetera. 
Eventually I moved on (gasp!) and I read other series. I read the Hunger Games series and also Divergent. They were okay, but I still prefer Harry Potter (gasp again!). 

Recently, I read The Fault in Our Stars. Before reading it I was so confused as to why everybody worshipped him. But now I completely understand. 

John Green is love. John Green is life. 

TFIOS was amazing. I cried (by now, you probably know that I'm one of the most emotional people ever). Soon I'm going to try and hunt down Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns. My heart broke when I saw the prices in the book store, so either I'm going to wait for my birthday or for Christmas (they're not that expensive, but I can never bear to spend money on anything). 

Last night I started thinking about why I value books so much. And I guess it has something to do with my last-last post: themes. Reading is not only a fun way to kill time, but it's also a great opportunity to learn about the human mind. There's so much that can be learned through reading, and each writer has their own voice and view on things. The great thing about books is that usually you have a opinion on them - you agree or disagree with what the author says, which makes books good material for discussions.

tl;dr (because let's be honest, this post is longer than anything I've posted before): Reading has always played a huge part in my life, and through reading I've learnt about myself, the human mind, and society. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Writing Habits

One of the questions I get asked the most is: "why are you such a good writer?"
And it kind of bugs me because the person talking to me often accompanies it with a comment about how they will never be as good as me.
Of course it benefits my ego greatly, but I don't feel like that's a "good" way to compliment somebody.

And I wasn't gifted with magical writing powers, it's all from having writing habits.
So in an attempt to answer these questions, I'm writing a post about good writing habits.

No. 1: Keep a journal dedicated for any ideas you get, or even just to rant in
Not everything that you write will be ready for publishing immediately, and the journal is for making a collection. I'm kind of obsessed with collecting, which my dad says is bad for feng shui. But collecting is okay if it's organised, right?
Basically, don't have your writing floating around on loose sheets of paper because you will lose those papers.
And speaking of collecting, I like to collect notebooks. Writing in a pretty notebook really motivates me. Here's the one that I write in (by the way, I have an obsession with stationery from Typo. I WANT IT ALL):
Ironically, my grandfather studied rocket science in university.
From typo,  9.95 AUD
No. 2: Write in a diary
There are no rules for writing in a diary. I don't mind if you're a guy, I won't judge. Writing in a diary is perfectly fine anyway. 
Just make sure that if you're writing down all your secrets, nobody is able to find your diary. 

No. 3: Make a vocabulary list
#throwback to elementary school - am I the only one who genuinely enjoyed spelling? 
I am? 
Okay. 
(In all seriousness though, this does help. Do this for a couple of weeks and the next time you journal, throw in a few fancy words)

No. 4: When working on a longer story, always stop when you get to the good part
If you stop at a part where you get stuck you won't want to return. But if you get to a part you're excited about writing, you'll get back to your notebook pretty soon. 
Always press on if you get stuck. 

No. 5: Write for an audience
What is it that you're trying to tell the readers? It's great to write for pleasure but sometimes if you want a challenge, write in a different genre or target your writing towards a different age group. 
Authors note: this is good for if you want to make profit off of your writing

No. 6: Clear a "writing space"
I'll admit: I'm bad at this. I just write at my desk, but that works for me. But I get my ideas when I'm about to fall asleep, or when I'm lying on the sofa doing nothing. Which brings me to my next point:

No. 7: Ideas
The trick to writing is having something to write about. If I get an idea I usually write it down before I forget. Which is why sometimes I have drawings or writing on my hands. And no I am not at danger of getting ink poisoning. 

So hopefully that clears up any questions about writing. What helps you to write? Leave suggestions, ideas, habits, questions, et cetera down below. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Themes

From the point in time that humans decided to tell stories, we have been conveying themes through words. There are only so many themes to write about, and these themes reappear all the time - in movies, novels, comics, cartoons, etc. Some of the themes that I find to be most common are love, friendship, death (or mortality), family, power and words.

But why are these themes always there? What makes them so special? Why do we care?

Themes are subjective and can be put up for discussion. Themes are like images, they portray opinions. Just because something looks one way from this angle doesn't mean it will look like that from a
different angle. Theme is all based around perspective. Themes are relatable and themes can make you feel emotions that you didn't know you possessed the ability to feel (in my case this is often extreme rage, happiness or sadness).

And most importantly, themes deal with things we don't yet understand. Where exactly do we go when we die? Why do we have to die? Is it possible to live forever? Why do we love? How powerful is love? Themes make us think and ponder and try to dig deeper. Everytime we find out new information about them, there are more questions to ask.

People are constantly trying to figure out the 'secrets of life' (call it that if you like). It's our thirst for knowledge that prompts these themes to return again and again. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The good days and the bad days

Sometimes it feels like I'm a piece of furniture.
I'm there but nobody notices me.
I'm not there and nobody really cares.
It's nice sometimes but not always.

Sometimes it feels like I'm the centre of attention.
I'm there and people swarm around me like flies around a cake.
I'm not there and when I come back, people ask where I was.
It's nice sometimes but not always.

Sometimes I feel like nobody really knows anything about me
Maybe I'm strange
I don't know

This post is nonsense
What is life

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - A Novel by Matthew Quick

I recently finished reading a book (cue surprised gasps from audience). I liked it a lot but I didn't really understand it. Not that the writing was incoherent, but the plot and everything else seemed kind of foggy. It's not a bad book, just I didn't get it.


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a book by Matthew Quick about bullying, depression, suicide and rape (in this case, a male being raped by another male). At first it made me kind of uncomfortable and I considered putting the book away, but I kept on reading anyway because I wanted to know what happened to Leonard.

Leonard is the protagonist of the book. He lives in a highly dysfunctional family - his dad is a former rock star who has fled to Argentina and his mum lives in New York with her boyfriend, a French fashion designer, leaving Leonard alone to inhabit a house in Philadelphia. On his 18th birthday, Leonard sets out to kill his former best friend Asher Beal and then commit suicide using his grandfather's Nazi P38 - but not before he delivers a few gifts to his closest friends.

Leonard is in essence, a bomb about to explode and each gift he gives serves as a countdown to his and Asher's deaths. There's just one small detail - will he actually go through with his plan or will somebody talk him out of it?

There are some rays of sunlight that shine through Leonard's grey cloud of misery like the letters from the future that he writes to himself, that lie dotted around the book. Through these letters we see what Leonard wants in life (a family, a place of his own and most of all... happiness). But there isn't even the shadow of a Disney-esque happy ending.

Leonard's story... I felt sorry for him, for his suffering and for everything else but I didn't really understand. In ways, he was bringing this unto himself. Although he views Asher as his tormentor, in some ways Asher is in fact the victim.

This book gets an "ehh" reaction from me.

B+

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Metamorphoses.

It's fascinating really, what we can learn from looking back on our pasts.

I used to be a small girl with hair cut in a bob who chattered eagerly on the way back home from school. I'd talk about what I did in school, how my day went, what games I played in the playground... and my mum would tell me to be quiet. She would call me a chatterbox and tousle my hair playfully.
Now I sit quietly on the bus with my earphones in. I don't talk a lot, only with my closest friends. And at the dinner table, I sit quietly and shovel food into my mouth. My mum needs to prompt me to talk. I have words, I do know what I want to say. I guess I'm waiting for opportunity to come.

I used to laugh in the playground, at peace with the world and I would sing silly nursery rhymes as I one two buckle my shoe-ed around the courtyard with my skipping rope. I would play power rangers (I was always the pink one) with my friends. I usually hung out with boys even though it meant I was at risk of catching boy germs.
And now... I'm awkward. I still like playgrounds, but they're not as nice as they once were. The tarmac is harder than I remember, colder and less welcoming. Power rangers isn't cool and boys aren't really our friends - they're more like silent eyes, judging you and snickering in the distance.

I used to walk around without a care in the world. And now I'm a self-conscious person who constantly picks at her clothes, staring down at the ground, eyes lowered.

Bleh.



Tuesday, 25 March 2014

My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations

I swear I'm not dead. My blog has just been backtracked a bit with all the things going on at the moment - homework, tests (or "quizzes", as the teachers call them), projects, spirit week, sleeping, thinking, eating, drinking, etc, etc.

Prepare for word vomit (you have three seconds to click away if you dislike my word vomit posts).
Don't say I didn't warn you.

(I tried to separate this stuff into categories but it doesn't really make it better.)

Spirit week
So today was fictional character day and let's just say it was okay. I was going to be Daria because she's one of my idols (not sure if it's a good thing that my idol is an apathetic teenage girl who wears large glasses and combat boots, but oh well) and she's funny (but not that she tries to be, she just is). Then I realised I didn't own a black skirt, a green jacket or an orange shirt. Or combat boots. The only things I had in common with her were a)glasses and b)sarcasm. So then I tried to be Jane Lane and that didn't work either, so I ended up being Misty (If you don't know who that is, shame on you. Did you not have a childhood?)
I feel like my costume was good, but I didn't have a pokeball or a pokemon or red shoes. Or red hair. So a lot of people thought I was a minion. Which was... slightly infuriating, considering the fact I spent the majority of last night running around frantically trying to find something to wear.
But anyway - tomorrow is career day, and then it's colour day. For career day I'm going to be a spy, along with Anvita (http://musicandlemondrops.blogspot.com). Because I'm so mature. I'm probably going to end up sneaking around the school all day like a burglar. Oh well.

Books
That stage between books is the most awkward thing to ever experience. There's a sort of nostalgia involved with the book you just finished, but at the same time you kind of want to move on. It's strange. I'm not sure if I like that feeling or not, it's bitter-sweet. Ehh. I am currently reading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and it's one of my favourite books ever. I'm pretty sure that John Green is going to conquer the world and become supreme president dictator of earth through his books. But whatever. They're interesting.
For English we're supposed to check out at least two books to read during the holiday to combat this stage in between books (which I think is a good idea). Any suggestions are welcome.

Movies and going out
I have this urge to go shopping and watch movies and eat and have Starbucks with my friends over the weekend but there are two reasons why I can't: 1) I can't afford half the stuff I want to buy, 2) I feel guilty spending money (it doesn't matter whether it's mine or my parents) and 3) I also want to just stay at home and sleep and read blogs and stay in pyjamas all day. It's confusing.

Boys boys boys
Every once in a while you see one really, really good looking boy. And then your insides explode. This happens to me on an increasingly regular basis. The only problem is I'm too awkward to go say hi and they're probably a complete stranger to me. Which then makes my head and heart battle over what to do. Aka this happens:
Head: STRANGER DANGER STRANGER DANGER
Heart: Ahhhhhh catch me I'm fainting
It doesn't really matter though, because it's not love - it's just lust. And as soon as I look away it's as if they never existed.

Youtube
Youtube is magical. There's so much stuff there - from DIYs to book/product/game/movie reviews to vlogs to sketch comedy... there's something there for everyone. Which is actually a problem for me since I have so many interests.
The related videos section doesn't help either - click click click click and the next thing you know it's midnight and I should probably go to sleep if I don't want to look like a zombie the next day.

note: I do not edit word vomit posts so if there are any typos or grammar mistakes, now you know why

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A response of sorts, to four cartons of milk.

Here's something I came up with a while ago. Somewhat a sequel or a companion read to Ashley's post (click here to read). It's still in the workshop-ing process but I decided to publish it here anyways. Please leave any suggestions below!

Part I
I stared down at my white notebook covered with designs etched on with black sharpie. Each doodle was like a piece of my heart -  a moment in time, frozen in pure bliss and happy laughs. As I withdrew from my "happy place", my friends came out. 
I never left them behind, I knew how it felt. How it felt to have your heart torn out and stomped on. How it felt to know that your "friends" were whispering about you. How it felt to feel that you were insignificant. 
They motioned for me to follow them, and so I did, watching them flip their hair and flirt with boys. I pushed my glasses further up my nose and added a new doodle to my notebook. 

Part II, section 1
I watched my friend cry and I felt nothing run through me. No pain, no guilt, no sadness, no empathy. I patted her on the back awkwardly. I watched her pull out another tears and dry her tears. Making people happy was something I was good at and it made me feel happy to cheer them up. I patted her on the back again, and smiled at her. It wasn't so much a smile of glee or happiness - not even a smile that expressed sympathy. Simply, a smile that showed thereness
She stood up and looked me in the eyes. They were startling dark and steely. 
"Get away from me," she snarled. 
I ran. 

Part II, section 2
"Stop! Come back." 
I turned and saw her chasing after me. She looked like an emotional train wreck: black tears, pale face, bloodshot eyes. She was clearly hormonal and not in control of her emotions. 
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
And that was enough for me. 

Part III
I'd given up. Too many holes inside of me, not enough words of thanks to fill them up. I was like a volcano about to erupt. I had realised that sometimes I was hormonal, sometimes I didn't wait, sometimes I snapped. But most of the time I was fine, I was kind, I waited, I helped. 
My friends were fine, living lives of beautiful ignorance, completely oblivious to the war going on inside of me, to the wonderful lies I spun everyday. They were nice enough, but reminded me of the ways cars drove in action movies - swerving rapidly between two sides of the road. Good and bad. Happy and sad. 
I just wanted to be alone. 

Part IV
There was nothing for me to do, I was an aeroplane doomed to crash and burn. I was always left alone, that one kid in the class treated as a dangerous animal. I was caged up by my loneliness and I screamed as my friends stared at me, clicking away at their cameras, oohing and aahing. I paired up with another boy in my class. Another outsider. I acted like it was fine, but it wasn't. 
I had been trodden on so many times, and now I couldn't get up anymore. I was stuck, pinned down by my agony and my isolation from others. 
Nothing matters to me anymore. My problems are nothing compared with what others are facing. I'm not important. 
Maybe I'll be rich, maybe I'll be poor. Maybe I'll be happy, or maybe I'll just act happy while locking my sadness away forever. But what does it all matter? 
We're all going to die anyway.

EDIT: This is not about anybody I know. I've been asked to change it but I decided not to, but here's a disclaimer anyways.  Every single part of this post is completely fictional. The girl doesn't exist, her friends don't exist, her problems don't exist. The only part of this post that is true is the fact that we're all going to die. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

5,6,7,8. Favourite TV show, favourite movie, turning point in your life, favourite outfit.

I'm sorry for not posting but I suddenly realised how bad I am at drawing
I'm so sorry for doing this to your eyes

5. Favourite TV show
I really like Sherlock but since you've already seen the results of my attempt at drawing Benedict Cumberbatch I decided it would be better to "draw" a quote.

6. Favourite movie
Frozen is one of my favourite Disney movies to date, next to Mulan, Hercules and Tangled. So it makes sense that I would draw it. Excuse the arrow, I have an obsession with drawing them.
Such bad photo quality.

7. A turning point in your life
In case you can't tell, it's a plane transporting me from England to Singapore. 
This is even worse than the previous picture.

8. Favourite outfit
I actually have quite okay fashion taste but it's all way out of the price range of stuff I can afford. Which explains why I always wear t-shirts and shorts. People with extra clothes, please donate to me. 
Btw I'm wearing suspenders which are hand-me-downs from none other than my mum. *cue laughter from audience* I wear them to make statements that I wouldn't have the courage to say verbally. 
Yes, this fashion move is borrowed from the hipsters. They look cool okay? Don't judge me. 
Ouch you're judging me so hard. 
#coolerthanyou
Hopefully there will soon be some prompts that I will actually be able to draw properly. 
I took observational drawing once, I want to know where my talent went. 

Word Vomit

*sorry for disturbing visual*

I have nothing to write about, but here I am anyway. If you haven't noticed, I changed my page font. Layout editing is fun(ish).

I currently have nothing to read at all which is a bit disappointing. But I finished Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen which had a good plot but I really didn't like Ella's character at all. I don't know why but I just felt frustrated with her all the time.

The drawing challenge is so hard and I really don't want to do it anymore, but at the same time I feel like it is my duty to finish it. Why do I do this to myself? *slumps in corner and sobs uncontrollably*

Also I really want to sing but I can't. I open my mouth and I sound like a moaning, screaming thing. Mash up the sounds that whales make with Let it Go or any other Disney song and that's me in the shower. Working on my "singing" skills.
Wish I could take singing lessons

I went swimming today, which felt good. Feels like time passes slower underwater, which is kind of good for thinking. There's a lot to think about, and water makes me productive. Especially if it's greenish-blue with sunbeams coming through it. Kind of like the pictures on tumblr.

Now picture me floating around here in some zen, yoga-ish position.
I feel like binge-watching Sherlock from the very start to His Last Vow. Unfortunately I already know what happens so there's no real point. What's worse is season four isn't expected to come out until 2016. Why? *screams into the universe*

End

Friday, 14 March 2014

2+3. Your favourite book character(s)+A quote you like

I didn't post yesterday, sorry. Whoops.
So I'm posting now.

I'm really terrible at drawing in general, so naturally I botched my favourite book characters. But I think I did well with the quote ^_^

The writing is hard to read. From left to right: Katniss (Hunger Games), Hermione (Harry Potter) and Liesel Meminger (The Book Thief)
And now for the quote.
If you didn't know already, I'm kind of obsessed with Sherlock (if you've never heard of Sherlock, I'm disappointed in you. If you have heard of it but haven't watched it, google it and watch it, you're missing out on a lot). So, I illustrated a quote from Sherlock (Season 2, A Scandal in Belgravia). It's my best work, I'm really proud of it.
Behold...
"Brainy is the new sexy." -Irene Adler (Sherlock season 2, A Scandal in Belgravia)
Just kidding. That is a terrible silhouette of Benedict Cumberbatch (again, if you haven't heard of him - I'm disappointed in you). So I illustrated another quote and this one came out better.
Quote by Oscar Wilde.
If you haven't noticed already, the photo quality of my drawings is pretty poor. That's because I draw them, take a picture on Photo Booth, and edit on iPhoto.
I would scan the drawings, but my printer doesn't function properly as a scanner. I'm sowwy -_-

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

2. Favourite Animal

I'm back with more terrible drawings.
Note: I tried drawing a panda because they're my favourite animal, but failed miserably. So here's a cat instead. Meow.

Small picture because it's terrible.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

1. Myself

Okay, so this drawing challenge.
It is harder than I expected.
Somehow I managed to completely overestimate my drawing skills and my self-esteem is now rock bottom after going to a few deviantart accounts and various other places for inspiration.
Yes I need inspiration to draw myself.

Look at this. What is this sorcery?!
Seriously.
(http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2011/168/b/d/cute_ulzzang_girl_by_hanisaki-d3j5mjx.jpg)
And this. 
This belongs in a museum, not on Google images.
(http://topwalls.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/cute-girl-face-drawing-abstract.jpg)
And this thingy. 
So. This person is amazing at drawing, and knows how to do hair? Whyyyyy?!
(http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m86x778cqQ1qbeqcyo1_500.jpg)
And this. 
I want this person's hands. Wait. What.
(http://data1.whicdn.com/images/37392142/original.jpg)

But I drew anyway, because I said I would do the drawing challenge so I will do the drawing challenge. Prepare to be scarred for life. 

 
No that's not how I stand. But the legs looked like spaghetti, so that's how I drew them to save myself the pain.
Please nobody ever ask me to draw again. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Finish line

Day 30: List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for

  1. My writing ^_^
  2. This blog - hopefully before I die I'll have gathered a group of regulars who read my blog on a weekly basis. 
  3. My "amazing" singing 
  4. The doodles I draw in my notebook + the occasional inspirational quote
  5. My sense of humour (despite the numerous jokes I tell that often turn out to be quite bad)
  6. My karate skills (i.e. tying my belt without punching myself in the nose)
  7. Sarcasm. 
  8. My smile (I think I could do a toothpaste commercial, if I wanted to)
  9. My intense love of Sherlock, Harry Potter and Frozen. 
  10. My signature eyebrow raise. 
I was expecting this to be deep but it ended up being very light and sarcastic. 
Oops. 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

New challenge, but not yet.

Starting from Tuesday (11th March) I'm going to be doing a drawing challenge - it lasts for 30 days, just like the challenge I've just finished (well almost). 

Unlike before, I'll post all my prompts before I start so you can join me along this journey. Hopefully, I'll finish this one in 30 days, since the other challenge I did actually lasted for three months. 

No, I am not remotely good at drawing. So here's something you can use to mock me with. 


Day 29 of the 30 day blogging challenge

Getting. Closer.

Day 29: What do you think people misunderstand most about you?
I find that many people think that I'm either a) the stereotypical asian person - nerdy and anti-social or b) a stuck-up, rude person.
Which I'm not.
I do really like reading and I guess I am a little bit anti-social. But there's more to me than that, I think I have a bubbly personality and I make quite a few bad jokes whenever I talk to people (that's how hard I try to be liked aha).
And I'm not stuck up. No. Just no.

How to get rid of writer's block

Writer's block. Sigh. Once it comes it's hard to get rid of, but here I have compiled a list of ways to put an end to it. I've put an example that I wrote underneath each one. And yes, this list is as much intended for me as it is for you. Enjoy.

  • 1: Write a letter to writer's block about why you're breaking up with him/her.

Dear Writer's Block, 

It's not you, it's me. Actually, it is you. I can't handle it anymore. I want to go out and see my friends Journal and Pen but you never let me. Whenever I go to see Writing you frantically call and text me, asking where I am, just as I get to the interesting parts of the conversation. 

I need a bit of personal time to spend doing whatever I wish. We should spend some time apart. It's been a long time since I spent some quality time with Writing, Journal and Pen. We used to be so close - we were best mates, but now we've drifted apart. This may sound harsh, but you're the reason that our group has disintegrated. 

When you first came into my life, I was quite relieved. I spent time outdoors in the fresh air, exercising and getting rid of the awful headache and back-ache I had. I quite enjoyed that day. I thought to myself: "What's one day without Writing?". Soon enough, one day turned into two days, which turned into a week, a month, two months. I became bored - with you, with myself, with everything I laid my eyes on. I spent my time on Tumblr and Polyvore, refreshing the page every five minutes. I had nothing to do, nothing that would help me relax. 

I crave the excitement that Writing brings to me - I NEED the excitement Writing brings me. We're breaking up. 

Wishing you all the best in for the future,
Florence

  • 2: Write a letter to your past/future self (for the sake of this example, I'm writing to myself 10 years in the future - but what you write to is up to you).
Dear Future Me, 

How's life? Life is pretty simple here, back when you were 13. Good job on surviving high school - middle school's pretty tough by itself. Have you gotten into university? If not, don't worry, keep trying. Don't ever give up. It might seem like the road ahead is rough and rocky, but it gets better and soon enough you'll be on a nice pavement or a nice clean road. 

Is Sherlock still a legitimate show that's still on air? Is Benedict Cumberbatch still a relevant person? Have you been to the US yet (if you got into a university in the US, congratulations). Is Apple still a leading technological innovator, or is it a thing of the past? 

I'm hoping you don't procrastinate as much as I do. If you're a terrible procrastinator, don't be too harsh on yourself. Set goals - before you do anything, sit down and make a list of the things you must get finished, then start finishing things! Here's a toast to you getting rid of your procrastination habits (if you already have, here's a toast to you being amazing). 

Do you still write on your (my) blog? What do you write about? Do you get writers block? If you're a famous writer or a famous writer in the making or even just a stay-at-home blogger - I hope you haven't forgotten where you began... 

Future me, I hope you take care of yourself. We've beaten ourselves up a number of times. We have fallen face first, drowned in our problems, cried at night. Somewhere between you and me, I can tell that we've figured stuff out - how to be happy, how to stand up after falling, how to get over our problems. Good job. 

Love from your younger, 13-year-old, sarcastic, geeky, hopeful, not-sporty-at-all self, 
Florence
(P.S. What karate belt are you on? Can you run a mile without feeling like the living dead?)


  • 3: Make your writing pretty.
Plain old black/blue and white can get boring, so write in different coloured pens. If you write on the computer, use different fonts. Lastly, if you have nothing to write - look for quotes that you like and copy them down in different fonts or lettering. 
  • 4: Do something else.
Doing something else is one of the easiest ways to get your mind off the problems you face while writing. I keep a book that I stick pretty pictures in, and sometimes I work on my lookbook. It doesn't really matter what you're in to, just do something other than writing. The only problem with this tip is that sometimes you forget about the writing. 
  • 5: Write anything. Even if it's absolute rubbish.
The heart is like a plastic bag. It can be stepped on, trodden on, bulldozed over, and it will still be okay for the moment. But mistreat it too often and it will show signs of wear and tear - rips will form, the material will get thinner and holes will emerge... until one day it gets to be too much and the plastic bag breaks. 

Kindred hearts and souls that care are like trees. Increasingly rare to come by, and a refreshing break from the concrete jungle that is our everyday lives. 

Friends are like coins. There are two sides to them - good and bad. When they're bad, they're the worst enemies you'll ever meet. They know all your secrets and are most likely not afraid to sell them for more secrets in return. They'll gossip behind your back and pull out honey-coated knives as soon as you turn away. But when they're good, they're great - like second a second sister or brother. You can pour out your soul to them and they'll nod sympathetically. Stain their shirt with your tears? They won't so much as bat an eyelash, let alone ask you to pay their dry-cleaning bill. 

There are many strange contradictions and interesting similes or metaphors to explore in our world. 
  • 6: Make up an imaginary friend, and hold a conversation with them. 
This sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it works. Make up a name for your imaginary friend - call them Bob if you're feeling uninspired. Write a letter to them. By the way, your imaginary friend is a true fan and they love anything you write, so no worries about him/her criticizing every word you write.

  • 7: Rant. Write swear words if it helps.
I. HATE. BUGS. They're everywhere and I get so many bites and even though I practically take showers in bug repellent they still manage to track me down and suck out my soul via my veins. alkfjdaoifuadslafmsdfdsufaodi *bashes head on keyboard*

So there it is. Seven methods for beating writers block, complete with five examples. Please, somebody nominate me for a prestigious award or something. 

Why I'm not sorry for neglecting the blogging challenge

So. This blogging challenge. I haven't done it for a few days, and I'm absolutely not sorry at all for neglecting it.
Why? Because, truth be told, I have better things to do. *audience gasps in shock and horror*

So far I've been working on stressing over my maths test, falling off of my chair when I see my math grade, finishing Spanish, tearing my hair out over the fact I took too many stickies while reading The Book Thief, frantically drinking water while working on my lab report and trying not to trip on my own feet while running laps in PE.

So, I've had a bit of time to mull over this blog challenge (Yes I managed to give myself time to think - what do you think I do in bed, sleep?). I was pretty close to giving up but I've decided to keep on going - I'm so close to the finish line it would be ridiculous if I decided to quit. The last time I posted a challenge post was on Wednesday and now I have a bit of time, I think I'll write out a post. So, here it is. Correction, here they are. Days 26, 27 and 28 of the 30 day blogging challenge. 2 more days to go.

Day 26: What popular notion do you think the world has wrong?
There are so many popular notions that I find absolutely disgusting. So I'm going to give you the privilege of hearing me rant.

  1. How women should look. I am so sick and tired of people thinking that all women must look like hourglasses, with curvy hips and no body hair (we do grow hair in places other than our heads). Not to mention white teeth that look like they belong in a toothpaste commercial, hair that belongs in shampoo commercials and bodies that belong in plastic boxes labelled "Barbie". We don't have to be size 0s to be beautiful, and I think it's high time that society accepts that. For more rants on this issue, click here, here, here or here. Knock yourself out, enjoy the rants.
  2. By earning enough money to support yourself and buy things, you are making yourself happy. Material wealth does NOT equal happiness. Money cannot buy happiness. Sure, you've got yourself a nice new iPhone, a huge house, a car (preferably something shiny that you would find in a car magazine and preferably something that normal, ordinary people wouldn't buy since it's so impractical), a cleaning team of 4 maids to keep your house spotless and shiny things to fill your house. But, what happens when you die? Death does come knocking on everybody's door, no matter how rich or poor they are (or how shiny and big their house is). What will you leave behind - other than your stacks of money? Sure - maybe you'll get a rush of superficial happiness when you buy something new. But there is a saying from Songhai - "He who has more rags has more lice". Basically, the more things you own the more problems you have. 
  3. Finding "the one". One of the things that I think portrays the most unhealthy image of love is Disney. Princess meets Prince, they fall in love, get married, live happily ever after. What - no first date, no getting to know each other, no taking things step by step? Wow. So now little girls are growing up into teenagers who expect to experience love at first sight - and then they get crushed when they realise that love at first sight doesn't exist. Fortunately, the days of "old" Disney are over and now films like Frozen are teaching young girls that sometimes, it just doesn't make sense to marry someone you just met. 
It's about time, Disney.

Day 27: What is your favourite part of your body and why?
On a superficial level, I quite like my hair because it doesn't get tangled while I sleep, which saves some hair-combing time in the morning. But it's a bit thin and goes limp after a while so I have to keep re-tying it otherwise my ponytail droops like the ears on a sad puppy. Well, there are pros and cons to everything.
However on a deeper level, I like my brain and my heart. Why? My brain is the cool, rational side of me that helps me do well in school and make logical decisions. It also keeps my body running, so that's a huge plus. If I had to draw my brain as a person, I would draw it with glasses (like me!). My heart is the other side of me that listens to what people say and cares about what people think about me. If I had to draw my heart as a person, it would probably be a girl experiencing major mood swings - happy and carefree one moment, then emotional and in tears, then supportive and strong. Haha.

Day 28: What is your love language?
Note: I cheated on this question and took a couple of quizzes. After that I found that my love language appears to be Words of Affirmation. And what does that mean, exactly? It means that I need to feel appreciated. Compliments, encouragement, words of appreciation and kind/humble words are all ways to show love to me.
Ehem.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Back to the challenge at hand

I'm really bad at this blogging challenge whoops there goes another 15 days of not writing anything~

Day 25: If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
I really really love food so this is a great prompt! I personally feel like I would gravitate towards eating dinner with an author... drumroll please for JK Rowling!
And what would we eat? Probably roast chicken (or something else that Molly Weasley would cook). But the main course isn't what excites me most... We'd definitely drink butterbeer and pumpkin juice. For dessert I would probably stuff my face with everything and anything from Honeydukes.

Edit: I was doing some stalking on Google, just to see what came up when I searched for my blog name. I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

It's me - I'm in the top 3 results!
So then I searched for my blog name, not just the URL. I'm still up there though - with my latest blog post. (BTW yes I clicked on it,  just so it was highlighted for you to see)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Sadness

Ever since Christmas break, I've been feeling like my life is going downwards. I feel sad all the time and it's kind of similar to the sadness you might find in depression. But I'm not depressed. Reading accounts written by people experiencing/who have experienced depression will help you to figure out that a symptom of depression is not feeling anything at all.

My sadness isn't caused by other people. It's not like there are people bullying me, or that my teachers hate me, or that my friends secretly want me to go and die. My sadness seems to be caused by myself - I'm destroying myself and my happiness from the inside out. I don't know if it's because I put so much stress on myself (studying for 6 hours a night before maths tests) or because I have so many wounds that haven't fully healed.

At school I'm happy. There's the quiet studious side of me that teachers see, and there's the hyperactive, strange side of me that my friends see. At school I can forget everything and just be myself. There's always work to do, lessons to listen to, tests to write and assignments to complete.

But when I get home I feel really lonely and vulnerable. It's not like when I'm at school and I am surrounded by people all the time. I often just sit by myself and do homework, or blog, or read. Doing things help to numb the pain. But the bliss is temporary and as soon as I'm lying in bed I feel sad. I don't even know how to describe the feelings that run through my head, flowing through my heart. At times, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. My demons don't drown. They sink a bit but then they're rescued again. It doesn't matter what I try to drown them with - music, text, internet or hot showers - they keep resurfacing.

It seems like I wear a mask to school in the morning. The mask is covered in smiles, jokes and strange little quirks I happen to possess. But when I get back home, the mask comes off and my sadness pokes through again.

There's also the existential crisis I've been facing - it's constantly looming up there like a cloud and occasionally a few raindrops of despair and hopelessness fall down. A few days ago in the car my parents talked to me about focusing more on activities unrelated to academics (piano, harp, karate, swimming) as that would help me have a better chance of being accepted into prestigious universities. And that was when the cloud attacked, bringing a thunderstorm down on me. I realized that apart from writing, I have no real talents. I don't know how to play piano well, and I can only play a few notes on the harp. I lack the dedication and motivation to practice everyday for hours on end. There's nothing really that makes me different from other people. I'm just another face in the crowd, hoping to be recognized.

My life is such a mess.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Some more catching up to do

Day 23: List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.

  1. Writing: ever since I read my first book at the age of 3 (it was a Biff and Chip book btw) I have had this craving for my own stories to be written down and published. I don't know why, but I began publishing "books" for my family to read, and my first story was called Miss Daisy and the Missing Puppies. I put so much effort into that book - I even came up with the title of the sequel Miss Daisy and the Chewing Gum Monster. Last year I tried to re-write the story in the hopes of actually publishing it but I couldn't bear to, since the version I wrote when I was younger is so much better in my eyes. 
  2. Watching TV and movies: It's been a long time since I watched TV properly (on a TV) but watching TV is one of my hobbies. Currently I'm obsessing over 2 Broke Girls and Sherlock - Sherlock's a great show but it takes forever for new episodes to come out, plus there are only three episodes in a season *cries*. 
  3. Drawing: I barely ever sit down to properly draw anything but I do remember taking an observational drawing class in grade two which really opened my eyes to the world of art. Nowadays I tend to doodle a lot (that's why I cover all my notebooks with paper and pictures - it's to prevent myself from doodling everywhere all over them). 
  4. Blogging: There are a couple of blogs I read often: Xiaxue (she's quite controversial but some of her earlier posts really make you think) and new tiger in town (daughter of the infamous tiger mother, Amy Chua)  I also check feedly often to see what other people are writing about. I feel like blogging is a great way to get your stories out without the hassle of publishing, plus most blogging platforms are free. I started blogging in grade three (anybody remember studywiz?) but I didn't post regularly. Now we use blogger which is much easier and the blogs are much more customisable. 
  5. Singing: I am notorious for singing in the bathroom. I do it everyday and my talents are rarely appreciated in my household *glares at sister*. I'm terrible at singing but I love it. If I ever get the chance (and sufficient funds) I would definitely consider investing time and money into singing lessons. In the mean time, I'll just sing and mess around in the bathroom. 


Day 24: Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
Arguably I still haven't reached the end of my childhood but I feel ready to tackle this prompt. 
When my sister came home from the hospital, I recall sitting on the stairs crying and saying that nobody loved me anymore (I was a sensitive child - I still am, I cried god knows how many times when watching Frozen and The Book Thief). My family has always been close-knit and I feel like I could tell my parents or sister anything. There's no more crying on staircases for me (shh.. I do have the occasional meltdown though) and I am pleased to say that I wake up most mornings feeling ready to tackle anything (except maybe maths tests).

A Short Note of Apology and the Blogging Challenge

Before I continue writing this blog post, I just want to say sorry for not blogging in a while - I've been studying for a maths test for the past few days and now that it's over I can finally get on with this challenge.

So here are days 18-22 of the 30 day blogging challenge.

Day 18: What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?
I think I'm quite fortunate that I haven't ever had to forgive anything too bad - like a friend stealing from me or some other sort of crime. However, I once had a group of friends who thought it would be funny to leave me out of the group. Whenever I went to sit down, they'd leave as soon as I turned my attention for a few seconds. That was a pretty rough period of my life, since I had always been surrounded by people who seemed genuinely happy to be around and with me. They never apologised, but eventually I got over it with the help of a few good books and better friends who treated me with respect.

Day 19: If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
I grew up in a small town (village even, if you'd like) called Petts Wood in England and I really loved it there - the air was clean, you could walk from your house to the high street in a matter of minutes, during summer you could have a picnic and during the winter you could have a snowball fight (if it snowed). So, if I could live anywhere I wanted... I'd live in England. For the memories.

Day 20: Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood. 

  1. In grade five I fainted on UN day on stage in front of the entire grade and their parents. It was really embarrassing because I toppled over like a tree. The only positive I got out of it? I became famous as "the girl who fainted". 
  2. In 2008 my family moved here because of my dad's work. My grandparents happened to be visiting us in the summer before we moved so I went back to China with them for a couple of months - I took a plane here by myself which seemed very scary at first but turned out to be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. 
  3. In the summer of 2012 I took part in the Stanford EPGY writing camp. I learnt lots of new methods to use in writing (e.g. show not tell) and I wrote some poems that I am still quite proud of. 

Day 21: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
I wish I could say "the power of helping others" and I wish I would say it, but the truth is that just isn't me. I would like to have the power of invisibility. Why? Because I do a lot of stupid things and I don't like to stick around during the aftermath of my stupid actions (unsustainable and mostly impossible).
The first thing I would do with my superpower (is it weird that I just typed superposer) would be to turn invisible and then scare everybody. I've never been that good at scaring people and it's quite a disappointment when they turn around and just give me a look like "no you will not be given permission to scare me".

Day 22: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
5 years: It's possible I may move away for high school, so in five years I see myself cramming for exams. By then I will be 18 and it will be time for me to graduate. Being the hardcore crammer and diligent student I am, I will probably spend most of my nights revising, and barely any time outside socialising. It's a sad life being me.
10 years: In 10 years I will be 23! Hopefully I will be able to find a job after university - if I'm lucky enough to find a job, it would probably be a 9-to-5 job and at night I would spend some quiet time working on my hobbies - writing, blogging and drawing. I hope that in 10 years this blog will still be around (and maybe a few people would still be reading it).
15 years: Nearing my 30s I would hope that I have settled down (although there is something in being single that seems attractive and mysterious). I'm currently not sure how I would end up, and I don't want to know. Some things are best left to fate to decide (or your own willpower, depending on how you look at it).