A Rant About Rants

“I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.” – Jane Wagner

Hello happy bloggers!

I challenged myself to write at least one blog post each month this year, so I thought copping out in January would be slightly disgraceful. Having said that, I think it’s about -5c in my student flat right now, and my fingers are slowly turning blue as they tap away at my keyboard, expelled from the blanket burrow which they’ve been taking solace in all afternoon. Thus (good word) there’s a good chance that this will be a fairly short entry!

When wondering what to write about this month my immediate thought was to write a rant. Just at the word ‘rant’, dozens of ideas sprung to mind for me to rant about. There are countless things that I could easily spend at least 800 words ranting about. Appalled by my negativity, I’ve decided to write a rant about rants (because that’s totally justified, right?).

I’m going to start by saying that I think rants can actually be really cathartic and thus (good word) quite helpful, but for me at least, I know that I have a terrible tendency to find myself getting sucked into a cycle of ranting, where the odd passing comment about a minor irritant gradually evolves into a daily 10 minute complaining session to my poor housemate. This is when things start to get slightly out of hand.

It’s a known phenomena that saying is believing; it’s been seen in courts where people have lied in their defence, and the more they lie the more they actually believe what it is they’re saying, until it gets to a point where they’ve erased the real version of events from their mind, and they genuinely believe whatever lie they’ve spun. I think a similar thing happens when we rant. The more I rant about something, the more it’s on my mind, and the more distorted my thinking becomes. Sometimes people will respond sympathetically or agree with me, which gives me external verification for whatever I’m feeling, and this then propels things further. It gets to a point where my entire existence is seemingly overshadowed by the terrible weather (I am studying in Scotland, to be fair), or whatever else it is I’m ranting about.

Rain meme

This may sound ridiculous, but that’s sort of the point – it is! These things build up and build up in my head, so that they’re always at the back of my mind, dragging me down. I build up resentment which is, on the whole, fairly irrational, but I don’t really see how deeply this affects me, nor how stupidly trivial most of these things are, until I write them down. Really I think, for myself at least, it would be more practical to write my rants down and experience the cathartic release this way, and then let it go, rather than ranting verbally to some poor, unsuspecting listener. Having physical evidence of a rant helps me to feel that release, in a way that words left hanging in the air often don’t. Also, unless I publish a rant (haha…) whatever I’ve written is between me and me. I’m not spreading toxic negativity to other people, dragging them down into my abyss of pessimism.

I think also ranting over the little things can be a way of detracting attention from other sources of irritation or pain. It can be easier to complain about small, relatively insignificant things rather than addressing the deeper problems at hand. Whilst complaining is a stereotypical ‘Brit thing’, I think it’s important not to let this stereotype disguise more serious issues. Of course ranting can be perfectly innocent, and in the right circumstances actually quite amusing, but as with all things it’s good to be aware of how much you rant, so that it doesn’t become a drain on your emotions.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” – Taylor Swift

This time last year, I was in a pretty low place. I had just finished an incredibly difficult first term at university, and another equally difficult term lay ahead of me. Being at home with my friends and family around me last Christmas felt so easy and natural, and the weeks stretching out ahead of me back in Scotland seemed endlessly bleak and grey. Not wanting to begin the New Year in the fairly dark place that 2014 was ending, I decided to made a New Year’s resolution: whenever I had a particularly good day, one of those rare happy days when you just feel

jar

Happiness in a jar

overflowing with joy, I would write down what had made me so happy on a small scrap of paper, and put it in a jar. The idea was that when the next New Year’s Eve rolled around, I would have a nice collection of happy memories from the past year to remind me of all the good things that had happened, and hopefully feel inspired to be more positive about the next year ahead.

 

Well, here I am on New Year’s Eve 2015, a whole year later. It was with great anticipation that I just opened up my jar and counted the scraps of paper inside. The grand total? …11. In 12 months, I have written down 11 happy days. 7 of those were in January. Like most people, I stuck with my resolution for all of three weeks, and then subsequently remembered it a mere handful of times throughout the year. But ultimately it did do what I had hoped; reading through the scraps of paper I was able to relive memories which I had completely forgotten about, and I do feel uplifted remembering some of the happiest days of 2015. Whilst this year has by no means been easy, reading through my jar and remembering why I started it in the first place has reminded me how far I’ve come, and of the countless blessings which I have to be thankful for. I used to be sceptical of New Year’s resolutions because they tend to be short-lived, but in the past couple of years I’ve decided that actually starting the year feeling positively motivated can’t be a bad thing, even if that motivation doesn’t quite last the full 365 days.

 I have no idea what 2016 holds for me, but as well as continuing with my Happy Jar (hopefully I’ll manage more than 11 this year!) I am setting myself 3 new resolutions to try and keep me on track, so that 2016 can hopefully be a year which I will look back on with smiles of fondness, where friendships formed and developed, and I achieved things I never thought I would.

  1. Think more kindly about other people – even when thoughts are not verbalised, they can be toxic to attitude. It’s easy to built up resentment by letting yourself feel annoyed and rant internally about people’s habits, but this isn’t helpful to anyone. This year, I want to make a conscious effort to either air issues if they need to be aired, or else get over them myself and not let minor irritants ruin my relationships.
  2. Blog more – I’ve managed 7 blog posts in the last 9 months. This year I want to make a commitment to blog at least once a month, because there’s a lot of noise in my head, and writing it down seems to help in keeping the peace!
  3. Be more involved – as an introvert I practically worship any time I get by myself, particularly in the chaos of uni. As much as Alone Time will always necessarily be a priority for me, in honour of my sanity, I want to try and make more of a distinction between Me Time and People Time, and get a better balance between the two this year. Every one of the memories in my jar involved either friends or family, and I want to try and appreciate my time with them more in 2016.

    fireworks-728435_1920

    Here’s to 2016!

Instaholics Anonymous

“Let e-mails fly like panicked, tiny birds.
Let phones, unanswered, ring themselves to sleep.”

– ‘How to Leave the World that Worships “Should“‘, by Ros Barber

Greetings, dearest Internet Chums – long time no see! Or rather, long time no speak, since I can’t actually see any of you through my screen…that would be weird… Anyway, I’d like to apologise for how long it’s been since my last post. Over the past few weeks, every message I’ve sent to my friends seems to have begun with the words, ‘I’m so sorry for the late reply!’ Let me confide something in you, though, dear reader…I’m not. I’m not really sorry that I didn’t reply to your message 30 seconds after you sent it. I’m not really sorry that I enjoy life outside of the small black box of my phone. I’m not really sorry that I’ve been outside and felt the sun on my skin, and lain in the grass reading books instead of sitting scrunched up over my laptop, squinting at its bright screen in the darkness of my room as I scroll mindlessly through my Facebook feed for the sixth time that day.

Now, I think this would be a good time to put in a quick disclaimer: obviously it is perfectly viable to both enjoy living in the real world, away from technology, and also to reply to your friends. The two are not mutually exclusive, and to any personal friends reading this: please do not take offence! I actually am sorry for the times that I’ve forgotten about your messages for a week or more, and I know that you all lead very busy and fulfilling lives. This little rant is about society’s obsession with technology and social media, not about any of you lovely people! And to any other readers whom I don’t know personally, but who have happened to stumble upon my blog, I am obviously very grateful for your time spent on the internet, and again this little rant is by no means directed at any of you, either!

“People might think you’re…up to something…”

Right, having said all that hopefully everybody’s happy now, so I’ll carry on. Now, to (fingers crossed) assure you all that I’m not a horribly judgemental person, let me take you back to me, last summer. I’d just finished my A Levels, and had two months off before the potential start of uni, results permitting. Looking back over my calendar for last year, (is it strange that I keep all of my old calendars? I like to have them as a sort of record…I’m going to take your Snape eyebrows as a, ‘Yes it’s very weird.’ Moving on…) I can see that there was barely a day all summer where I wasn’t doing something or seeing someone. With my impending move to Scotland, I was eager to see everyone before I left, knowing that I would have at least 3 months before seeing them face-to-face again. Yet despite my apparent busyness, one of the things I remember most strongly about last summer was my constant attachment to my phone. I was hooked on Whatsapp, addicted to that little adrenaline rush every time I saw that that person who I most wanted to talk to had replied, the deflation of disappointment when I saw they hadn’t. You know that montage in The Fault in Our Stars where Hazel keeps checking her phone to see if Gus has replied? Yep, that was basically me, for most of the summer. I had a wonderful summer doing all sorts of exciting things, yet constantly underlying it all was a continuous stream pouring out from my phone. A stream which ran both ways, because as much as was pouring out of it, I was pouring into it.

Looking back, I can see that in spite of the apparent equilibrium of my phwater drainone (am I taking this metaphor too far?), it was still draining me. I’ve talked about this in previous posts, but I was looking forward to events for the Instagram posts which would result from them, as much as the events themselves. I was living for the sake of my social media persona and a busy calendar, as much, or even more than, I was for the real enjoyment of making memories. In short, I’d fallen prey to the claws of online living, and forgotten the importance of living offline in the process. No matter how many ‘likes’ I received on Facebook statuses or Instagram posts, there was always something hollow in it – I never felt fulfilled by it, or content.

Gradually over the past year I have begun to cut down on social media. This wasn’t really a conscious decision, and to be honest it’s only since I’ve come home for the summer that I’ve actually noticed how much less time I spend on my phone now, and the effect this has had; the less time I spend on my phone, the happier I seem to be. Phone<Happiness. That’s not to say that the odd message from a friend doesn’t make me smile, nor that I don’t enjoy staying in contact with people, but rather I’ve found that excessive time spent on my phone turns me into something of a zombie, mindless to anything which cannot be ‘liked’ or replied to with emojis. Have the relationships with my friends suffered from not always replying instantly? No, not at all. I feel like conversations I have with my friends via text are more meaningful now that I reply when I have something exciting to tell them, rather than whenever they reply. In fact, some of my closest friends I can go for weeks at a time without messaging, and it is often these friends that, although I see them only two or three times a year, whenever I do see them it feels as though no time has passed at all. I simply don’t feel that constant sense of urgency to send an immediate reply to everything that comes through on my phone. I feel content in just being, without the need to be in constant communication with everyone I know, as though this somehow validates our friendship, or even the existence of my friends. So to conclude with the lovely words of my good friend, Ros:

beach
“now make the air in your lungs your livelihood.
See how each wave arrives at last to heave
itself upon the beach and vanish. Breathe.”

A Vindication of the Rejection of Clubbing

Tea? Check. Relaxing Spotify playlist? Check. Colouring pens? Check. I’m not entirely sure what impression this gives of me – perhaps you’re picturing a six-year-old, sitting on a shiny red plastic chair, surrounded by an array of teddy bears and Sylvanian Families? Or maybe a retired 60-something, sinking back into a cosy armchair, reading glasses perched on my nose?

Colouring book

See, it is an actual adult’s colouring book, I’m not a complete child!

I am, in fact, 19 – albeit 19 going on middle-aged. I’ve just come home from my first year of university, and am enjoying a few peaceful days before I start my summer job. Now, I expect you’re wondering what a teenage youth like myself is doing with a colouring book, whilst the rest of my age group are out getting senselessly drunk in nightclubs. Well, let me tell you a little secret – in fact, I’ll whisper it, in case there are any clubbers nearby: I cannot stand nightclubs. There, I’ve said it. In fact, I don’t care, I am going to stand bold and proud as I proclaim: I HATE CLUBBING!

It’s not that I don’t understand why some people might find it appealing to completely lose themselves boogying away (no one says that anymore, do they?), jumping to something with a loud beat, feeling the whole club pound in unison as they all party away their stresses, alcohol pumping through their veins. Honestly, I completely get that. It’s just, well, for one thing I can’t dance. I mean, literally, I do not know how to dance. Okay, so I took ballet lessons from the age of 3, but I’m hardly going to pirouette across the dance floor, am I?! I have a couple of drinks and manage to relax enough to stop feeling self-conscious about whatever flailing actions my body is attempting, but even then, there’s this omnipresent beat infiltrating every crevice of my brain. It gets inside my head, so that I don’t know where I end and the music startbees, and that scares me. What if the beat’s got stuck in there, banging against my skull like a bee against a window, desperately trying to get out, but destined to remain until death? I know it’s silly, but it makes me feel like I’m going insane. Then there’s the intense claustrophobia which just comes from being in a club, the humidity, the sweaty closeness of a hundred hot bodies packed into an enclosed space, shoes sticking to the spilt drinks which pool over the floor. Bright lights keep blinding me, damp bodies keep barging into me, and at least two people have actually knocked their drinks over me. After enduring this hell for a couple of hours I finally escape, only to find that I’m suffering from a temporary hearing impairment; the bee may have stopped banging against the window, but now it’s sitting outside, buzzing incessantly. My voice is hoarse from trying to hold any form of conversation over the din of Flo Rida on full volume, and my whole body feels contaminated with the vodka-fuelled mayhem which took place inside.

I could go on, but I think you’ve probably got the picture. Now, how have I survived a year at university without going clubbing, I hear you ask? (Okay, maybe you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you anyway, so you might as well pretend you did). Well, the truth is, I haven’t. Haven’t managed to avoid clubbing all year, not haven’t survived – otherwise this would have a far more morbid undertone. On three or four occasions over the past nine months, indeed, three or four occasions too many, I have found myself in the dreaded Club Scenario. Each of these incidents have been entirely the product of peer pressure, something I am not remotely proud of, yet there it is. But I am proud to say that, since 1st January this year, I have not set foot in a club. How have I managed this? Well, I have somehow miraculously found friends at university who also hate clubbing! Now, the word ‘miraculous’ really is the operative one there – I’m not even entirely sure how I’ve managed it. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends at home who like clubbing, and I love them, I really do. At university, though, you live with your friends, you eat with them, work with them, in short you do everything with them. If my uni friends had happened to be clubbers I’m sure I would have spent far more time in clubs, and, as a result, I expect I would have enjoyed my first year far less than I actually did.

tea

Well, I never said I was tea-total!

So, what exactly was the point in me writing this rant about clubbing? Well, part of me just wanted to give a shout out to any fellow club-haters out there (Greetings Fellow Club-Haters!). Being very much a minority, I think it’s important that we all stick together. But I also wanted to give a heads up to anyone who falls into this category starting university this September, or maybe you’re already at uni, and struggle to maintain your integrity when it comes to clubbing. Well, what I’ll say is this: there are more people out there like us than you’d think. I know that I’ve been fortunate to find friends like me, but really, if you’re honest with people about your aversion to clubbing, they will appreciate you for being genuine, and who knows? Maybe they’ll say they’re not really that into clubbing either, they just pretend to be, and you can all bond about how prematurely middle-aged you are over a nice cup of tea and a colouring book.

Five Things I’ve Learned From My First Year At Uni

“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

— William Faulkner


As I pack up my belongings to head home for the summer after my first year at university, I’ve been listening to many a dreamy playlist on Spotify, thinking gleefully of the three months of reading and sleeping which await me at home. Amidst this excitement, however, is a lot of sorrow for many people; a number of my new friends have expressed their sadness and reluctance to return home. This has halted me a little in my impatience and anticipation to return home, encouraging me to look back and reflect on this past year, and all that I have learned (so far) from being away at university.

1.    Don’t Try to be the Person You Think Others Expect You to Be

This time last year, as I was caught up in the whirlwind of A Levels and the culmination of my school career, I overheard many people in my year exclaiming their desire to ‘reinvent’ themselves when they finally reached the Golden Gates of uni. This troubled me – if they didn’t feel like they were truly being themselves then, who were these people whom I thought I’d known for the past 7 years? Obviously people change, but I believe a person’s core self is consistent throughout their life (see my previous post). Thus if you’ve always hated loud music and nightclubs, going to uni is not going to miraculously change this (as indeed I discovered!). Trying to fulfil stereotypes which don’t truly fit you will only make you miserable in the long-run, with friends who don’t actually know you, or appreciate you for who you really are. You can’t please everyone, and not everyone will get along with your personality, but if you’re true to yourself you will find people who really accept you for you, rather than whatever idealised conception of yourself you have tried to fulfil, and at the end you’ll find meaningful, maybe even life-long friendships, rather than fleeting acquaintances based on falsehoods and pretences.

2.   Life is in the Present: Live It

As social media conquers the world, particularly for my generation, who hardly know life without it, I’ve found that there becomes a tendency in people to live for the ‘likes’ they get on Facebook, to go abroad for the Instagram posts, giving the appearance of ‘living life’, ‘having a good time’. At what point, though, do these words lose their meaning, becoming as empty as the hashtags which accompany them? Obviously I appreciate the irony of saying this on a blog, and I am by no means trying to exempt myself from doing this; indeed, coming to uni has really made me appreciate how susceptible I am to the claws of social media. Especially in the first few weeks away from home, it was very easy to think, ‘I don’t really want to go to this event, but if I go and take a photo and put it on Instagram it will look like I’m “Having Fun”, so I suppose I’ll go’. This isn’t to say that going to events you’re a bit scared of is a bad thing – on the contrary, it’s how I met some of the people who  are now my closest friends at uni! It’s much better to approach these occasions with enthusiasm for the fun they can actually be,however, beyond the Facebook likes – ultimately, they will be much more rewarding this way, and you will be left with positive memoriesfacebook_like_button_big, rather than just a number next to a thumbs up sign.

3.   People Are Different, and That’s Okay (Most of the Time)

As an introvert, I knew that sharing a bedroom was going to be a struggle for me. Bemused was I, though, to say the least, when I discovered that I would be sharing a bedroom with not just one but two other roommates. It didn’t help, either, that they were complete opposites of each other in almost every aspect of life.. Whilst one was painstakingly well-dressed, albeit at the expense of any sight of carpet in her third (*cough* half…) of the room, the other was content with just a few t-shirts and a couple of pairs of jeans, which she wore on a weekly basis. From politics to economics, physicality to mentality, they could not have been more opposed. This left me in some sort of middle ground, trying to act as a buffer between the two of them, whilst simultaneously attempting to resolve my own issues of anthrophobia and introversion, with no private space to close myself off in for months at a time. I’m happy to say, however, that we all seem to have come out relatively unbruised – there were certainly a fair few incidents along the way, but all is forgiven (if not forgotten), and I feel that as we leave there is no resentment left between us. Sharing a room with someone, you inevitably see them both at their highest and at their lowest, and as such you come out of the experience not only understanding each other on a deeper level than perhaps even their closest friends at university do, but also with a sense of resilience, that you have been through so much together and come out the other end.

4.   Lettuce Isn’t Just For Rabbits

So apparently some people actually eat salad…and enjoy it – who knew?! Before I left for home, I always considered salad to be ‘rabbit food’, because, well, it’s what I fed to my rabbits. Leaves just don’t seeRabbit Eating Lettuce wbm like an appetising thing for humans to eat, and to be honest, they don’t taste great. Since coming to uni, however, I’ve realised that putting a piece or two of lettuce in a ham sandwich doesn’t necessarily ruin it – in fact, it can be quite refreshing, as well as giving the appearance of healthiness, which just generally makes you look more in control of your life. I wouldn’t say I was a particularly unhealthy eater before I left, and indeed I was possibly slightly unusual for someone my age in that I had pretty much total control over what I ate at home, cooking most of it myself, but coming to uni has broadened my approach to cooking, and I’ve discovered vegetables which I never even knew existed. So as it transpires, apparently lettuce isn’t actually just for rabbits.

5.  Everyone Has a Story

Excuse me for quoting Glee, but as Will Schuester says: ‘Life really has only one beginning and one end. The rest is just a whole lot of middle.’ We’re all in the ‘middle’ of our stories; everyone has experienced suffering, and there are infinite varieties of suffering. For some reason, I have unconsciously tried to rank types of suffering in the past, thinking to myself ‘Well at least X hasn’t happened to me, like it did to her’, or ‘why are they complaining about that? At least they haven’t experienced Y’. This is something I am not remotely proud of – it’s a dangerous, harmful attitude, toxic both to myself and to my relationships. There are so many uncountable things which cause suffering, and everyone is hurt by it in its various forms. Trying to belittle other people’s pain is patronising and inhumane, whilst telling yourself that your suffering is nothing in comparison to someone else’s is both unhelpful and untrue. Obviously keeping perspective on your own problems is always a good thing, but there is no point in trying to pretend that you don’t have any, just because someone else is going through something else even more horrific. Don’t act like your past is so much worse than everyone else’s (even if, on the surface, it is), but equally don’t forget that you’re as broken as everyone else. Be kind, always.

So there they are, my Top Five Things I’ve Learnt From Uni. Whilst I’m not going to try and hide my unashamed delight at the prospect of returning home after 9 months in university halls, I will keep in mind the lessons I’ve learned, the friends I’ve made and the positive memories I now have from the past year. Whilst leaving home is never easy, next time I shall take joy in the knowledge that there are so many good things which I’ll be returning to – in particular, the single room which I will be staying in for second year.

Patchwork People: The ‘Influencers’ and the ‘Influenced’

 We all have a distinct way of speaking, whether it’s our accent or idiosyncratic vocal tics we seem to have developed. Whilst we often tease our friends about these, I’m sure I can’t be the only one who has, at some point or other, found myself inadvertently using someone else’s colloquialisms. For example, I havestand out gingerbread a friend from Northern Ireland at uni who uses tenses slightly differently, saying something ‘needs washed’ rather than ‘it needs washing’. I had never heard anyone speak this way before I met her, and yet the other day I inadvertently found myself saying that I had a skirt which ‘needed washed’. How did that happen?! A phrase which was unheard of to me until a few months ago had somehow snuck its way into my vocabulary! I’ve always found myself changing my accent subtly from time to time, depending on the accent of whomever I happen to be talking to, but this was a sudden change, not subtle like those I had previously experienced.

This got me thinking about the influence that our friends have on us. I’ve often found myself picking up friends’ habits, whether it be the way they raise their eyebrows or their terms of endearment for people. This makes perfect sense: we see our friends exhibiting a certain behaviour, and as we look up to and respect them, we subconsciously internalise and replicate their behaviours in ourselves. But thinking about this recently has created something of an issue for me – how much of ‘who we are’ is simply an amalgamation of who our friends are? Can we truly have integrity if we are so easily and unintentionally influenced by those around us? Are we just stitched together in a patchwork of other people, Frankenstein style? How can anyone ever be original or unique? But then I have friends whom I’ve known for years who don’t seem to have changed at all – so are some people ‘Influencers’, who are solid in who they are, whilst others, like me, are more malleable: the ‘Influenced’?

I like to think of myself as having some originality, but the more I think about this, the more I doubt it. I can recall countless incidences where I have been alarmingly influenced by others, most notably in terms of fashion, where I will see a new trend and think it looks awful, and then a couple of months down the line, when everyone is wearing it, I will desperately want a peplum skirt or a peter pan collar, with little or no thought spared to my previous aversion. What’s interesting is that it is my internal beliefs which change, rather than just my external attitudes. Whilst open-mindedness is obviously a good thing, is it still so when you are not choosing to be liberal, but rather you are completely oblivious to your mental conformance with social trends? But I do have core beliefs and traits which haven’t changed throughout my life, so why are these seemingly fixed when so much else doesn’t seem to be?

Sorry for all of the rhetorical questions; the only answer that I can come up with to answer them all is that we are shaped by experience. As cliched and cringey as it sounds, ‘nurture’ plays as much of a role in us as ‘nature’, and so it is inevitable that the people we spend the most time with will change us. Whilst this is by no means a bad thing – on the contrary, it is an unavoidable part of human living – I still think it’s good to be aware of the influence that other people can have. We may all be just a muddle of habits and ideas that other people have imprinted on us, but woven throughout that is a thread of originality, stitching together these scraps of other people. At the end of the day, it is that thread which keeps us ‘us’, all in one piece, and so it is essential that we keep hold of that.Patchwork heart

The End of Dreams

dreamDo you ever wake up in the middle of a really good dream, and then get frustrated willing yourself to fall back asleep and discover how it ends? I do this frequently; in fact, it happened to me only this morning. On the one hand, this is rather silly – it really does not matter, most dreams are jumbled nonsense anyway, and personally I don’t believe that dreams hold any symbolic meaning, so there is no real benefit from knowing how your dream would have ended. But on the other hand, it is understandable – imagine if the last page was missing from a book you were reading, and that was the only copy of the book. It is completely natural to want to know how stories end, and even more so when they are our own stories, personally created by our subconscious for an audience of one. But as I lay there this morning, dwelling on the unknown fate of my Dream Self, I had a realisation. Dreams are caused by the random activation of various memories, creating images in our minds which we attempt to turn into something sensical. They are not carefully plotted out before we experience them – they are created as we see them. So when you wake up in the middle of a dream and wonder what the ending was which you’ve missed out on…well, there isn’t one. The ending doesn’t exist. Of course, had you not awoken there would have been an ending, but this would have been a random product of your subconscious imagination. Really, it is just as meaningful to make up your own ending in consciousness as it would have been to view whatever ending your subconscious would have made for you. As Dumbledore says, ‘In dreams, we enter a world which is entirely our own’ – but our conscious imagination is no less our own than that of our subconscious. Whilst it is obviously preferable not to wake up mid-dream, next time this happens take comfort in the fact that there is no secret ending which you’ve been deprived of, there is only your imagination, and that is as valuable when you’re awake as it is when you’re asleep.

My First Blog Post.

Keep calm and write onUm, h-hi, hello…hi! Sorry, I’m a bit nervous – this is my first ever blog post. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but I couldn’t work out what I wanted to do for my first post, and the more I thought about it, the more pressure I put on myself to make it into something interesting. Something original. Something so mindblowingly fantastic that the whole internet would be up in arms about it, and everyone would be speculating on the mystery identity of ‘Pink Dream Cloud’. Of course, this was silly – a prime example of my imagination getting ridiculously carried away (as, if you read any of my future posts, you will no doubt notice it has a rather unfortunate habit of doing). The truth is, I was just being lazy, and also a little bit scared of the Great Big Unknown which is the internet. I was also worried about embarrassing my Future Self, reading back over my early blog posts and seeing some cringey ramblings about what an ‘eager English student’ I was. (Greetings and apologies, Future Self, reading this off a hologram in a floating house). In reality, I’m not trying to change the world with this blog, I just wanted a medium for my less private musings, and a motivation for actually writing them down. So here it is – my first blog post! To quote my old friend Dumbledore, ‘I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind’ – and so hopefully this blog may be a source of relief, if not for you then at least for me!