Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Musically Inspired - Why Do I Care What You Think?

     Why do people feel this overwhelming need to fit in? Why are other people's opinions so important to us? People are willing to change their appearance, pretend to like things they don't and go along with ideas that they know are bad; because the alternative is so much worse. The most obvious form of this is playground bullying, but peer pressure is something that seeps into our lives, often without us realising what we're doing. People are always giving us their opinion on every aspect of our lives - our clothes, our taste in music, the opportunities we choose to take and the ones we don't. And sometimes it's good to have other's people's advice on important matters - but it's never ok to follow this advice when you don't want to. And often, people don't even offer advice, but rather just snide comments and opinions on things that don't concern them - and this plants doubt in your mind, doubts about your choices, your abilities, your chances at success.

     So why do we care? Because it is human nature to want to fit in, to be accepted and liked by our peers. No one wants to feel alone, an outcast for simply being their self. We crave human contact and companionship, and are therefore often willing to sacrifice in order to get this. We seek advice because we realise that we don't know it all - but just remember, neither does anyone else.

     So here's the important bit - why would you want to be friends with people who don't like you for you? Why does their opinion matter, when they are clearly so close-minded that they cannot appreciate diversity within humanity, that they believe they are always right? No one is perfect, no one has everything figured out. So stop listening to people who tell you that you can't achieve what you want. Stop listening to people who tell you that you have to change. Because what do they know? Find the people who appreciate you for yourself. Prove the doubters wrong. Make choices based on what will make you happy. Don't waste time on people that don't matter, people who aren't looking out for you. Embrace the things that make you different. Figure out who you are and who you want to be. Know when it's ok to have some fun, to do things that are crazy and stupid. Make the most of life. And never, ever apologise for being yourself.

Song: Reckless - You Me At Six

Friday, 11 October 2013

Musically Inspired - Trying to be Happy

    Happiness is not easy. Happiness doesn't just happen. And happiness can be damn hard to make happen. there are so many factors that determine our happiness, different for every person and often out of our control. Sometimes you can have a dream about you think will make you happy, only to realise one day that that's not it. Happiness isn't permanent either - as sad as it is to admit, what made us happy once may not make us feel that way forever. People change and grow, and so do the things we want out of life. Maybe you realise your dream job isn't all that great. Maybe you realise you don't love the person you thought you did. Maybe you've been fooling yourself, pretending things are ok when they're not. Life is not a fairytale, not like the movies, where everything works out for the best in the end. And I think it's important to realise that, if you want a chance at finding real happiness. Accept the things will never be perfect, and maybe you can learn to be happy with what you've got.

      And I think we're all a little messed up somehow.No one is perfect, no one has the ideal life. Maybe you're close, close enough to be happy with what you've got, and that's great. But we've all got our problems, our anxieties and insecurities. Maybe some people can get past some of them. But ridding yourself completely of all of them? Has anyone ever managed that? Maybe your problems seem pretty insignificant compared to other people's - what's a little stress compared to full-blown depression? But that doesn't mean they're not important to you. You can just magically make your issues go away by belittling them and pretending they don't matter. Ok, sometimes you do have to man up a bit and try to be strong - but it's ok to admit when you're struggling, even if just to yourself. You've got a better chance at finding happiness if you face your problems, instead of sweeping them under the rug.

     And maybe some of us don't believe we'll ever be truly happy. Maybe we don't know what it is we need to be happy, maybe we don't know how to overcome our problems, maybe we don't think we deserve it. But that doesn't mean we should stop trying. Seize opportunities, say yes to things, go after what you want. Accept that perfect fairy tales don't happen, but also that that doesn't mean real life has to be a disappointment. It might be scary, you might regret things - but better to regret doing them, than not trying in the first place, right? Just don't give up. Happiness is not easy - but it's not impossible either.

Song: Happy - The Maine

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Hands Off!

      Can anyone please explain to me why feminism is still an issue? Humans have been around for thousands of years, and yet somehow, despite all the the developments and breakthroughs regarding feminism, we still do not have gender equality. Now, I'm not going to explore every aspect of this topic, or this post would be a million miles long, but rather I'm going to focus on one aspect, that I think is overlooked at times. The best way I can think of to state this is inappropriate physical contact, and I'll explain what I mean by that.

       I got started thinking about this topic after something that happened to me recently. I was walking along the street - not a street I would go along alone at night, but I regularly walk along it in the day, and it was 10am when this happened. Anyway, I was walking along when I suddenly felt a hand touch my bum then run up my back. Naturally, I was startled by this and turned around to see a complete stranger grinning at me, a guy in his mid-20s I'd say. I looked at him in disgust and carried on walking, speeding up to try to lose him. He tried again however, basically attempting to put his hand up my skirt. I hit his hand away, told him to eff off, and walked off as fast as I could, changing course towards what I knew was a busy street. This was the first time anything of this sort had happened to me, but it got me thinking about this sort of thing. What threw me though, was if he had tried to be forceful with me, it was the middle of the day and I cam across another person less than a minute after getting away from him, so he would easily been caught. And if this wasn't his aim, did he really think that was the way to charm a girl? He failed completely, unless his goal was to come across as a complete pervert.

       But that idea of trying to charm a girl stuck with me, and got me thinking about other times guys exhibit this behaviour. Obviously in the street in the middle of the day is never appropriate, but what about in bars and clubs? Once I thought about it, I realised this has happened to me before in these scenarios, but I hadn't quite thought about it in the same way before. Often people are out in these places, looking for some sort of flirtation, or are 'on the pull' (looking to kiss someone, for those unfamiliar with the expression), in which case physical contact of some sort is the goal. It's certainly something I've done myself before, kissing a guy I've just met, for no other reason that it's a bit of fun and I felt like it. And generally, if you make it clear you're not interested, guys will leave you alone. Sometimes I'm not in the mood for it, or I'm having a girls' night - whatever. Which is fine when the guy does leave you alone, but that's not always the case.

        Some guys need to learn to take no for an answer - I didn't get all dressed up to impress you, I did it because it makes me feel good, because I happen to like this outfit. I'm drinking and dancing to enjoy myself, not for your benefit. And some guys don't even look for a sign of consent, they just grab you - dancing behind you, touching your bum, any sort of physical engagement - and this is what really gets me, because what the hell makes you think you have the right to touch me like that? It's my body, my personal space, so back the hell up unless I say you can do that. Quite frankly, it's just disgusting. And ok, sometimes if I'm in the mood I will kiss a stranger for fun, but I would never get involved with someone I met like that. It might sound a bit hypocritical, but it's not a great first impression to make, as if you're kissing me knowing nothing about me, then it's nothing more than physical attraction, which is clearly all you're interested in. If both parties just want harmless fun, then never want to meet again, that's clearly fine for them. But I've pulled guys, then they've given me their number - I don't know what their hopes are, but I certainly will never, ever use it, for the reasons given above. I want to meet a guy who gets to know me first, who likes me for a lot more than my appearance.

        Now just to clarify, for all this is a post about feminism and women's rights, I'm not saying that it's just guys who do this. I'm well aware that there are girls out there who are very confident and forward, and who will make inappropriate physical contact with guys. However, I'm writing from personal experience; I have been felt up without my consent, and I am most definitely not one of these girls.

        So sure, we've had plenty of advancements in women's rights. And I'm certainly glad that women are now allowed to be more promiscuous, to have a bit of fun, rather than stay an untouched perfect little princess until marriage. But I do wish there were still a few more gentlemen and a bit more chivalry going around. So yeah, sometimes I'm up for a bit of fun - but guys, please learn when to keep your hands off!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Musically Inspired - Making it Happen

       Just as a quick intro - this is the start of a sort of series I want to do. I had the idea to write posts based on songs. Basically just whatever I start thinking of while listening to that particular song and where my thoughts head from there, so this could go pretty much anywhere. Sometimes it's the entire theme of the song, other times I just focus on a specific lyric. Just a little experiment I want to try.

         Our lives are our own. We control them, we make decisions for ourselves. At least, this is what we are told. Make your dreams come true, reach for your goals. So why do things still hold us back? Sometimes things do spiral out of our control, external forces mean we can't always do what we want. Other times, it's ourselves holding us back. Mostly out of fear. So many of us don't go for things because we are scared of failure. Scared that we won't make it, that we aren't good enough. Some thing I'm probably guilty of doing myself. And people can say 'Don't be afraid, just go for it' but for the wallflowers like myself, it's not quite that simple. It's difficult to summon courage within ourselves. I often wish I could find it, wish I could just plunge into things. Sometimes I feel like life is just passing by, and I'm not making the most of it. I want to be able to say 'Now. Now is when I'm going to start making it happen." But more often than not, it doesn't. Prime, basic example - look at how often I update this blog. Standard advice for budding writers is to write everyday, but I find that pretty hard to do most of the time. Not so much out of fear though, more laziness or lack of inspiration. So I  can work on that more easily than I can on the confidence issues. And you can only tell yourself that you're just having on off day so many times. We all know the clich├ęs - seize every opportunity, grab life with both hands, dreams only come true if you work for them. And I'm not denying any of this, I absolutely believe that we should make the most of life. I'm just saying, for the people like me, that it's ok to find this hard sometimes, as long as you keep trying anyway.

Song: Weightless - All Time Low ("Maybe it's not my weekend, but it's gonna be my year.")
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