F a l l i n g in Love

Have you ever fallen in love with the idea of someone? Maybe this someone is someone in particular, someone you know in your life, or maybe they’re just a vision of someone you hope exists and whom you’ll one day meet.

Sometimes, we fall in love with the little things, like the way you feel when this someone’s eyes catch your gaze, even for a second. Sometimes our love grows exponentially until the foundations of the person who we first fell for are lost in a blur of hopes and fantasies about who this person could be, or who we want them to be.

Maybe, in this way, we are not falling in love with someone themselves, but a certain type of someone. The person from whom these feelings stemmed may no longer be the object of love itself – instead we have fallen in love with the characteristics of this person and the idea that a ‘perfect’ person exists based on these ideals.

I wouldn’t say that I am in love with someone in particular, but more with the idea of being in love, one day, whether that the soon or decades away. Maybe we don’t have to be in love with someone to experience love, maybe we can just be in love with the idea of someone who we may meet in years to come.

Maybe this collection of thoughts is slightly too non-sensical and maybe my understanding of love is misjudged. But maybe one day these words might make more sense to someone, somewhere. I hope.

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Amsterdam Day 1|Don’t trust Em to give directions (I got us lost oops)

amsterdam (1)

Hello! Or should I say hallo as I’m writing about my trip to Amsterdam last week. ๐Ÿ™‚

A couple of months ago, two of my friends and I spontaneously decided to book a holiday in Amsterdam. Well, it wasn’t quite like that – we didn’t just rock up at the travel agency and book a holiday on a whim. In fact, we almost didn’t make it to our appointment at the agency as we got the times muddled up and got carried away eating pizza (and our parents still trusted us to go abroad by ourselves?!?). We were hoping to go on holiday in the UK and stay in a caravan or something, but we actually discovered that it would be cheaper to go on a European city break than holiday here, especially as not many places in the UK will allow groups of teenagers to stay, so going abroad was sort of a last minute decision. As one of my friends went to a Scout and Guide jamboree in the Netherlands last year, we thought Amsterdam would be a good option as at least one of us was (kind of) familiar with the city already.

I’ve wanted to go to Amsterdam for a while now – not only because I’d have a greater chance of bumping into my bae Douwe Bob ๐Ÿ˜‰ – but also to explore Dutch culture too. I didn’t expect to have the opportunity to go so soon though!! To be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in that I’ve actually been, haha, but I’m looking forward to documenting the trip here to look back on in the future.

Anyway, we left the UK last Monday to head off on our adventure. I was actually quite stressed beforehand as airport security really stresses me out and I was worried I’d packed something that I wasn’t allowed to take (like my Harry Potter pin badges on my denim jacket – I would have been so sad if they had confiscated them, but luckily they didn’t). Funnily enough, I actually had to be patted down both times we went through security as I apparently had something metal on me which set of the scanners?? But it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be and we were soon through security and waiting for our gate to open, so it worked out okay in the end.

The actual flight only took 55 minutes from Bristol to Amsterdam, which is mad because that’s shorter than the amount of time it used to take me to get to college everyday on the bus!!? I clearly should have just gone to college in the Netherlands instead ๐Ÿ˜‚ As we were flying with KLM, we did get free sandwiches and drinks which was cool as I’ve only ever flown with EasyJet before where you don’t get any refreshments, also the packaging was really cute!

Clouds outside airplane window

We’d tried to organise the holiday as much as possible beforehand, so we’d already bought our tickets for the bus that would take us from Schipol to the city centre. However, it took us a good 30 mins to actually find the stand that the bus was leaving from because the departure board kept sending us to different bus stands – one of which didn’t exist??? We had to get on at stand B17 but we couldn’t find any bus stops past B14 which resulted in us running around like headless chickens along with two other travellers, who were also looking for the same bus, until the bus we needed happened to pull up next to us, so I guess we’d found the invisible B17 stand without realising? It was confusing.

The chaos continued when we got off outside the Rijksmuseum 40 minutes later. I’d printed out a map and attempted to lead my friends to our hostel but everything looked different in real life and we ended up walking around in circles before we actually found the street we were staying on. I think we must of arrived in rush hour or something as well because the roads were so busy with cars, trams and bikes so it was a nightmare trying to walk through the city with all our luggage. So what should have been a 10 minute walk ended up taking over 30 mins due to my bad map reading. Oops. We landed in Amsterdam at about 4pm I think but it was past 6pm by the time we arrived at the hostel.

Looking down a street
Our hostel on Kerkstraat

We were lucky enough to be staying within the canal belt near to Museumplein and although our hostel branded itself “the worst hostel in the world”, it actually turned out to be rather good compared to other hostels I’ve stayed in! We were on the 4th floor so the view we had from the window was amazing. I spent so much time with my head stuck out the window looking at all the different buildings whenever we came back to the hostel. It really was a great view though.

Dutch houses
View from the window

After unpacking and having a rest, we headed out for dinner. Unsurprisingly, we again ended up walking around in circles trying to get to the Leidseplein area to find somewhere to eat, but we managed to find a shortcut on the way back which we remembered for the following days. We strolled along the canals after dinner and it was beautiful – I really wish I hadn’t left my camera in the hostel but I did manage to get a few (bad quality) photos on my phone!

Canals with flowers in foreground

Yellow car beside canal

Fountain

Multi-coloured Dutch houses

Canals with street lamp in foreground

Hard Rock Cafรฉ sign

I think we ended the day by playing UNO and Irish Snap in the hostel, and of course I kept looking out of the window trying to get photos of the street at nighttime (I was obsessed with this window ahh I miss the view!).

Most of day 1 was spent travelling to Amsterdam, as you can tell, as we had an afternoon flight. However it was really relaxing to have the evening to settle in before our busy second day of the trip!

Hope you enjoyed reading about our first day in the city, stay tuned if you want to see what else we got up to. ๐Ÿ™‚

(p.s. I drew all the featured images for this mini-series myself so apologies if the drawings aren’t great haha)

Identity Crisis Part 2 (but more happy!)

Today, for some reason, my mind won’t stop whirring with thoughts. Like deep thoughts about life and stuff. I’m usually quite a deep thinker anyway, but today my mind is just an explosion, in a good way though.

As you may know from other rambling posts, I have been questioning my sexuality and identity for a few years now, but it’s become more intense in the past few months. Especially (inconveniently) in exam season when I was sort of stuck in this phase of ‘I don’t know who I am’. Then those feelings sort of disappeared for a little while as I came out to one of my closest friends and I felt a bit relieved to not have to ‘hide’ around everyone.

The past few days, however, I’ve started thinking about stuff again so I thought I’d try to write it out to make sense of my feelings and maybe it’ll help someone out there too who is questioning their identity.

I am bisexual. Or I’m pretty sure I am. I am attracted to both men and women, but the attraction I feel towards different genders is different, so sometimes that makes me question whether I am bisexual as I often go through long periods of being attracted to solely men or women. But for now that label feels okay, I’m not 100% comfortable with it but for now that’s what I’m going with.

One thing I’ve been noticing over the past few months is that the way I think about gender, or my gender, has changed. I’ve never really questioned my gender before, and I’m not sure if I’m questioning it now, but something ‘feels’ different. This is mainly in relation to clothing and the way I present and perceive myself. I find myself more and more shopping or browsing in the ‘men’s’ section which I know doesn’t really mean much as I don’t agree that clothes have a particular gender anyway, but I’m finding that I feel more comfortable dressing in a masculine way and it’s confusing me a bit.

Sometimes I’ll put on a dress or floral top or something and feel so uncomfortable I have to change immediately. Which is weird because although I was never a ‘girly’ girl as a child, during my teenagers I have been comfortable wearing these types of clothing up until recently. But now…I don’t know.

I find myself looking to men for fashion inspiration and wanting to wear men’s clothing. My friend and I often joke about my shirt obsession (I have too many oops) but itsy true that I feel most comfortable and happy in them because they feel masculine to me and I like the way I look when I wear them, especially with my brogues, which also happen to be from the men’s section. I don’t think it’s that I’m particularly attracted to men that dress in the way I try to (although I am attracted to some men but that’s another thing argh), it’s more like I want to ‘be’ them, I want to look like them and it’s SO CONFUSING.

However I know it’s perfectly okay to be female and wear more ‘masculine’ clothing and I should wear whatever makes me feel the most comfortable. I’m just confused as to why, all of a sudden, I feel the need to distance myself from anything feminine. But I’m not going to stress over it too much. For the moment, I am happy and I know that I’m discovering more about myself and who I am everyday. I’ll find the answer someday, but for now I’ve just got to do what makes me comfortable.

It feels a little weird writing about this, as it’s something I’ve never talked about before despite being at the back of my mind. If you can relate, I’d love to hear your perspective on things. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Place to Escape

As bloggers, we often find inspiration in the most unlikely of places. Today I was so inspired by a place that the words for this post were forming in my head as I was walking home from visiting it. I was in such a daydream that I actually twisted my ankle on a lump in the pavement and made fool of myself in front of a group of teenagers but I’m just happy I’ve found the inspiration to write again.

I wanted to write about the place that inspired me today as it has become an important part of my life recently. As some of you may know, I live in Somerset which is well known for its farms and countryside. I’m lucky to live on the edge of a suburb, so farms and nature reserves are just around the corner.

A habit of mine is to stroll through the lanes and fields as it helps me to clear my mind and put my problems into perspective. A few months ago, whilst on one of my “walks”, I noticed a little gravel pathway disappearing between the reeds by the river bed. I hadn’t seen this path before, however I knew over the past year or so the local council had been creating a nature reserve and flood plains by the river behind my house, so I assumed that this pathway was a new addition along with that.

As I soon discovered, this pathway continued right along beside the river, lined with reeds and grasses and trees and since then it has become somewhere that I visit often.

It’s quite a winding pathway, and often you have to push branches aside to recover it’s route. In some places, the reeds are taller than me and I feel immersed in the wildlife. It really is a beautiful place.

I love hearing nothing else but the sound of wind blowing through the leaves, birdsong and crickets. Occasionally there are ducks too. The river and pathway are sort of sunken below the pavement, so when I walk along I feel sort of hidden from the rest of the world and I find a blissful peace within myself.

As I mentioned, this place as become very important to me over the past few months. Anytime I’m feeling stress or overwhelmed with life, I go there to escape and relax. Nature has this sort of calming effect on me, making me realise that there is a world outside of my head and that it is thriving. This long, winding path has experienced some of my biggest breakdowns and the wildlife there has listened to my unspoken thoughts, given me time to contemplate before they are whisked away by the wind. It has heard me practicing for exams, going over and over French speaking questions, reciting essay plans and dates of historical importance.

When I walk here, I feel lost. But not a bewildered, disconcerting sense of lost. A comforting lost. I feel separate from the pressures of society, even if just for a small amount of time. My problems feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and that brings me peace.

I guess everyone has their “escape”. Sometimes it’s a person, an object, music, sport or a place. This place is my escape. Maybe – it’s impossible to know – but maybe it is someone else’s escape too.

Summer’s The Word #2: what I’ve been up to so far!

Hello and welcome to the second installment of my summer series. As my summer holiday officially started on the June 20 after my last French exam, I have had almost two weeks off now. As the weather has been lovely, I’ve been quite busy with friends and family. Although, most of the time I’ve just been lazing around watching Netflix because I still haven’t recovered from the mental and physical post-exam exhaustion I seem to suffer from at the beginning of every summer. However, I thought I’d share with you a few exciting things I have done so far. ๐Ÿ™‚

The first thing I did was meet up with two of my oldest friends as I hadn’t seen them properly for about a month due to exams and we really needed to catch up. We went up to Bristol for the day and did some shopping for summer, although I managed to restrain myself in Primark and only buy two tops (which I’m pretty proud of ๐Ÿ˜‚). We also went out for lunch to an all-you-can-eat restaurant with foods from around the world. However, due to exam exhaustion, I wasn’t feeling great so couldn’t make the most of the all-you-can-eat part, but I still enjoyed it! It was a great way to start summer and I was so happy to be in Bristol, as it is one of my favourite place (I even wrote an ~artsy~ travel guide if you’re thinking of visiting – which you should!!). However, on the way home our bus journey was delayed by 90 minutes and what would usually be an hour journey turned into 2 hrs 30 mins sat on a stuffy bus in boiling heat. Gotta love living in the countryside where there’s no alternative roads for buses to take detours!

The following day, my family and I went to watch two women’s T20 cricket matches at our local ground. Watching cricket has sort of become a summer tradition of ours, so I was really looking forward to it. We watched England vs. South Africa and then England vs. New Zealand as part of the summer tri series. It was actually really busy at the ground so the atmosphere was great and as it was an England game, we got loads of freebies, including some cool blue hair/wig things??!

The day after that (such a busy weekend AHH) we went to our town’s annual air festival. This is probably the only decent thing that happens here, so I was determined to go as we missed it last year. As it was so hot, we just decided to take chairs and sit on the beach all day, watching the planes. The Red Arrows were the highlight as always, however I loved the wing walkers too (yes, they actually strap people to the wings of planes and fly around??? Crazy). I did get sunburnt though, and it STILL hasn’t faded despite it being over a week ago now. The curse of pale skin!!

Red Arrows flying over beach

Red Arrows flying over beach

After such a busy start to the summer, the next week was more chilled. I had my friends over for a BBQ (the two I went to Bristol with) as we needed to finish planning our trip to Amsterdam (1 week away ahhh), and choosing our seats on the plane. We also played board games and I think that’s the first time I properly felt relaxed after A Levels. My sister and I also decided to visit our town’s museum (which I helped to refurbish a few years ago) last week as they had opened some new exhibitions, and turns out Doctor Who had decided to visit on the same day so that was great. We attempted to stroll around the beaches but it was soooo hot we ended up just getting slushies.

The TARDIS

Glass museum roof

Slushies and sea view

This week so far has been even more chilled than last week. I met up with another friend to have a catch up and watch films, and we’re hopefully going to have a beach day tomorrow. But apart from that, I’m just planning to relax so hopefully I can get over this exhaustion before I go away on Monday and I also need to start packing!

I expect the next time you will probably hear from me will be after Amsterdam next week. I can’t believe I’m actually going g after months of planning??? And I can’t wait to write about it and share photos (if my camera doesn’t give up on me, I mean, it’s already half-broken and held together with an elastic band oops ๐Ÿ˜‚).

Au revoir pour maintenant, mes amis!

Summer’s The Word #1: a new series + bucket list with a twist

Hello! I feel like I don’t know how to start posts anymore argh but I hope you’re all doing well! If you’re in the UK, you’ll know that we’ve been having a (bit) of a heat wave lately, which I have been loving – what a great way to start the summer (ha yes sunburnt and exhausted from the heat but it’s cool).

As you may be able to tell from the title (well done to all you observant people), I am starting a mini blog series for the summer called ‘Summer’s The Word’ (I know, I know. It’s a bit cringe-worthy). My thinking behind this is, I want to try to start writing for fun again about what I’m getting up to instead of writing about my thoughts and feelings. Although using my blog as an outlet helps me deconstruct my thoughts, I want my blog to be a more positive place, something I can look back on and be proud of what I have achieved. I’m hoping this series will act as a kind of virtual scrapbook of my summer that I can look back on and smile at all the good times I had.

So, to start of the series, I’m going to be sharing with you my bucket list for summer.

A Bucket List with a Twist

'summer bucket list' written on notebook page

If you’re wondering what the ‘twist’ is (now I’m doubting if this actually even is a twist – is there even a set definition or purpose of a bucket list?? Who knows), I have basically compiled a list of things I would like to do over the summer but prioritising self-care. The last few months have been a bit rocky for me mental health wise and I really want to use my summer to work on getting myself back into a happier state.

Lately I keep remembering things I used to do for fun but at some unknown point stopped doing, so I’ve put a few of things back on my list in the hope that they’ll help me to feel happier and more present, as connecting to the present has been something I’ve been struggling with.

  • Beach days!!! I live near several beaches, so I can’t not visit the beach.
  • Arty stuff. I’ve always loved art and I really want to get back into sketching and painting again. I’m hoping to do a whole post about my love for art (watch me never mention art again oops).
  • Reading. I really haven’t read much this year – I mean, I read half a book at Christmas and I read the set text for French A Level a few times, but I have many books I want to read.
  • Scrapbooking. As part of being arty, I love making scrapbooks. I try to make a scrapbook after every holiday abroad I go on, so last year I started one for my trip to Marseille, got halfway through and still haven’t finished it. So I definitely need to do that. I’m not sure if I’m going to make one after my trip to Amsterdam (9 days away!!), depends if I finish last years one!
  • Yoga. Again. So I started yoga just before exam season, and I managed to do it every day for a month. I really, really loved it. It made me feel at peace with myself and was great stress relief but during exams I just, didn’t have time for anything other than studying. I really want to get into the habit of doing daily yoga again!
  • Prepare for uni. I guess this isn’t really self-care, more of a necessity, but either way I’m looking forward to getting all the bits and bobs I’ll need when I move out in September. I’ve already got some stuff, so I’ll definitely be doing a haul soon!
  • Get back into blogging. I have missed blogging regularly so much!
  • Social media detox. I know this will rally help my mental health. If I can just spend a week or a few days away from social media, I will have time to collect my thoughts and fully relax. I usually have a detox of sorts when I go camping with my family, however this year unfortunately we’re not sure if/when we are going away.
  • Musical instruments. You may or may not know that I play the guitar and keyboard (or attempt to in the case of the keyboard). I haven’t been able to play regularly since last summer, so I’m going to dedicate time to practice and enjoy playing music this summer.
  • Cycling. There was a point where I used to have a weekly cycling routine but then, as with everything else, I just…stopped. But I do love cycling and the feeling of the wind rushing through your hair, so I want to try to cycle more often.

I think that’s it for now. I’ll probably add more stuff as the summer goes on. It’s strange, I didn’t realise how hectic my life had got or how many things I gave up in the midst of studying until I sat down to write this but I’m excited to start doing things because I enjoy them, not because I have to.

Have you got a summer bucket list?

Absence of Presence

I don’t know how long it’s been bothering me, but for a while now I’ve had this nagging thought in the back of my mind that I’ve finally been able to form into words.

As I mentioned in my post-exam update a few days ago, the past month or so has been really tough for me in terms of my personal life. This year, I’ve been really trying to improve my mental health and build up my self-esteem, which I identified as a cause of my unhappiness. I feel like I did actually, to an extent, make some progress towards feeling better, however the academic and emotional challenges that exam season posed have caused me to experience some really low lows, worse than ever before. 

Since then, I haven’t been able to shift this feeling that I’m not really living my own life. It sounds strange, and I’m only just getting my head round it after some deep thought over the past few days, but I’ve realised that I’m really struggling to live in the present. I don’t know how long this has been going on for, maybe years. I find myself unable to stop dwelling on past events, unable to move on and find closure. In addition, I keep worrying about the future – what if I keep encountering the same bad experiences throughout my life? What if I am the problem?

I tell myself that one day I will have a group of friends, one day I will find ‘my people’, one day I will have a job and not feel like a failure, one day I will be confident, one day I will be open about my sexuality, one day I will be in a relationship. But this neverending cycle is stopping me from living in the present. I feel like I am a vessel, carrying my past with me and weighed down by worries and hopes for the future. But what is left for me in the present? The past will stay with me forever, whilst the future will forever be unknown, but how can I live in the present when it’s duration and existence is so fleeting? Why can’t today be that “one day” where I am living my life to the fullest?

I feel like my past and future selves are in constant battle with themselves. I’m stuck. I can’t move forward if I can’t leave the past behind. Life is flashing past too quickly and too slowly all at once.

When I look at my friends, they’re all doing things with their life: working, going out with friends, learning to drive, in relationship. It’s hard not to feel like a failure in such a peer-pressured environment. I feel like because I’m not doing these things that everyone else is doing, I shouldn’t be enjoying my life, because I have ‘nothing’ to enjoy and my perception of happiness has become tainted by the lives of my friends who have all the things I mentioned above to define their happiness, purpose and successes in life. I don’t want to think like this, though, this isn’t me. I am not materialistic, not usually. I don’t need objects or symbols of status to bring me happiness, but I’ve become so preoccupied with the lives of others that I’ve forgotten what really makes me happy. 

Along the way, I’ve somehow lost myself, which I promised I wouldn’t do. I don’t want to live the rest of my life just scraping through, never feeling a connection to the present. I want to be me, and be happy being me. I want to feel like I’m living my own life, instead of being caught up in that of others. Right now, I’m returning to my identity as a ‘lost teen’. I really hope somehow I can find myself again, before I waste my youth wishing for something better. Wishing won’t get me anywhere – I’ve got to start taking action and get back in control of my life. I don’t know how, but I’ve got to try.