Tag Archives: thoughts

Revenge is… Happiness?

The best form of revenge is to be happy. Truly. The burning rage people feel when they are hurt by someone, only hurts themselves. We torment ourselves, replaying the same thing over and over again, the hurtful words or actions that someone has caused us.
So I began to think, how can I turn this anger, this hurt, into something productive? People say that every cloud has a silver lining, and this is true.  So when you are upset, hurt or angry, instead of festering over it, hurting yourself, turn it into something that will make you happy.

I was in the library, studying for finals when I had an argument with my ex boyfriend. When the phone call ended, I couldn’t even concentrate on my work because I was so fixated on everything he said. I lost out on some valuable hours of education because of this boy, and so I began to use this to my advantage. Whenever I thought about him, and I couldn’t concentrate on my work, I began to clean my room. For some reason, whenever I have a clean room, I have a clean mind. And then I would organise my notes, printing helpful articles for my work, making schedules that would help me with my studies. And eventually, whenever I had a negative thought, I would automatically start working. one bad thought would make me do hours of work to help my education, instead of lying in bed chain-watching some Netflix programme. And so easily, instead of being angry over my ex boyfriend and focusing on every stupid argument, I used it to further my education, not wasting my time thinking over it.

Next, if I had an argument with someone, and I was focusing on what I didn’t say,  what I should’ve said, or if I didn’t do something, I would start exercising. And the pattern continued- instead of getting upset over petty arguments, I began to work out, doing press ups and sit ups, going for a jog. Not only would this clear my mind, and help me think straight, but soon I began to get healthier, and stronger. Just like that, I managed to turn all of my bad feelings, all the negativity, into something positive for me and my body.

Its not a tried and tested form of counselling, I know. And maybe it won’t work for everyone. But for me, it feels amazing that I can make something good out of every negative feeling, everything bad that happens. And the next time something bad happens, I won’t get too upset, or angry, because I know I can use it for my benefit, to be happier.

 

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POST-STRUCTURALISM + LIT THEORY

Currently studying English Literature at University, this weeks lecture was based on Post-structuralism. I couldn’t find much stuff online, so I thought I’d post this in case someone stumbles across it needing help on the subject or if anyone actually finds this interesting.

Theory is not the same as knowledge or expertise in a certain field, because theory is a speculation. Structuralism doesn’t have to be based on anything concrete, just based on something feasibly explainable. Many other types of Literary Theory spawned on from Post-Structuralism. New theory and criticism is developed as human society and culture continues to grow (e.g. – Lesbian criticism is now accepted. Academia wouldn’t have accepted it in the 60’s).

To decode post-structuralism we have to understand what structuralism is- Peter Barry compares structuralism to the ‘chicken and the egg’ in which Structuralists focus on the chicken rather than the close analysis of the egg that liberal humanists do. It is a belief that things cannot be understood in isolation but seen in the context of the larger structures- The bigger picture, as it were. Structuralism came about when revolution was in the air, socially, politically and intellectually. It’s linked very closely with Linguistics. Saussure’s a ‘History of Linguistics’ – claims how any word in any language, doesn’t actually have any relevance to the thing it describes.

Frederick Nietzsche states truths are illusions; we create language like we would fiction. Edith Kurtzwell in ‘The Age of Structuralism: From Lévi-Strauss to Foucault’- states that the structuralism that Levi-Strauss invented is dead, but has prepared the ground for the various ‘post-structuralisms’

Barry argues post-structuralism is a form of rebellion against it, and more of a cultural than intellectual movement, derived from philosophy rather than linguistics. Post-structuralism is conceptual, questioning the very notions of Truth.

Language systems are illogical, and Saussure’s ‘Course in General Linguistics’ states that word meanings are arbiturary. It regarded truth as an effect rather than present ‘in something’ and everything was defined in terms of everything else- Saussure’s theory of relation. That process itself was relative and constructed, maintaining while words have no central meaning, language is an essential tool of social power.

Texts are open to an unlimited variety of meaning, making us question the world itself as radically uncertain, for language does not reflect the world but shapes it. It raises questions such as if language is deceptive, then who is in control of this system?

Post-Structuralist thinking attaches a more rational and acceptance towards the words and story in a text, looking for a meaning that might seem on a different level than the author may have intended. They do this by referencing the text with the ideology of the time and culture that they are reading in that day- much like to the close reading we as English literature students do.

I personally believe that to truly understand a text we don’t need to know all the social and political context- you can gather your own meaning in relation to how our society and viewpoint stands today, despite the author’s  original intent.

Post-structuralism essentially creates the ‘death of the author’ by creating the ‘birth of the reader’– a concept devised by Barthes in which he argues that readers construct polysemas texts, having many authors and meanings. Barthes argues that we cannot rely on the author’s identity to serve as an explanation for the text, we cannot understand what the writers intentions were and that the author was not the prime source of the work’s semantic content.

In Peter Barry’s talk ‘The ends of theory’ he said to always start with the text rather than the theory itself. He stated structuralism actually takes the reader further away from the original text, into more abstract questions rather than giving us more illumination on the meaning of the text. Barry discusses how Roland Barthes essay ‘The death of the author’ (1968) “makes a declaration of radical textual independence” and is “free of all such restraints”.

Herein lies the debate and the clearest distinction between the two- does the context behind a text help discover, or hinder it? Do we need to see the bigger picture or to focus on the text in hand? It is not something to ever be decided- everything we’ve learnt so far is that there is no ‘truth’ or ‘fixed meaning’, since, as Barry sates, “there is no truth about these matters which exists outside language

First Impressions

I’m pretty sure many people have heard the saying ‘First impressions count.’
I was thinking about this statement today and I was wondering about the truth in it.

Firstly, lets think about places. When you first enter a house, or a pub, you are overwhelmed by trying to take everything in. The first day I moved into my flat at university, parents right behind me, I noticed three doors- one of which was extremely heavy. I remember it used all of the strength in my toothpick-like arms to open.

I met one of my future flatmates unpacking all of her belongings, her parents also with her. After introductions, I finally entered Room 8 of my flat.
It was a small room, a blank canvas. There was a bright blue carpet and plain white walls and a pin board with nothing on it. Over time, I have hovered said carpet many times, I have pinned up pictures and maps and tickets on my pin board and decorated my room, making it personal. I have got used to the door after drunken nights out stumbling home, or outside smoking. I later realised, six months down the line, that the flat I lived in looked completely different to when I first saw it that day many months ago. Everything of course has remained the same, but instead of looking at it with inexperienced eyes of a fresher, excited to move in, I now see the place where I leave- the time I dropped my soup in the corridor, the time in the kitchen where I’ve done work. And I realised- my first impression of the flat had completely changed and adapted to what I am now used to.

The same goes for people. I have met people that I liked on first introductions, only to later find out that actually, that girl is a manipulative, backstabbing bitch, or that guy is an offensive pig. I’ve met people that for some reason, I’ve disliked, only to realise later on that they are actually very decent people, and I have become friends with them. Which brings me to another saying- don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

In life, you will meet a range of people- nice people, funny, horrible, bullying, kind, all sorts. But this takes time to find out what people are. You aren’t going to meet someone and they will introduce themselves saying “Hi, I’m Carly. I’m going to bitch about you all of the time and steal your boyfriend because your friendship means noting to me” and you aren’t going to hear the guy you don’t like saying “I’m really nice, and I’ll be here for you even thought you don’t like me” because it’s not what people do. First appearances are misleading. It takes time to know another human being. So, whenever you meet a new person, remember that you would not liked to be judged on the first few words that you say, but rather your actions over time. We’re so quick as humans to jump in straight away to conclusions but I plead, take your time. human beings and complex machines. you need to decode everyone in individual ways. And you never know, if you take the effort to truly understand and analyse someone, you can make a true friend for life.

Peace out guys.

Who are you?

Many situations will arise in your life in which you have to shortly summarise who you are. An example is the introductory ‘name games’ at school or university where you sheepishly have to say your name, where you live and something about yourself. Recently, when I was faced with such an awkward and unpleasant task, I could find anything to say. It wasn’t, or course, that I had no personality or was the human equivalent of water, but that I cannot be summarised into a sentence. And neither can you. How can I possible say that I’m a writer, a feminist, a dreamer, a wisher, a lover and a fighter? How can I express the contrasting qualities of my being- I love being strong, and independent, yet I Sometimes like being shy and innocent. Sometimes I can dominate a room with talking and telling stories and captivating people, other times I like to sit and daydream, the conversations flowing past me unnoticed. I can’t express some of the deepest philosophical thoughts that I’ve had in my life or how my heart fluttered when I fell in love or how the events in my life have changed me. I know that no one will truly ever know me as well as I know myself. Sure, they may know you’re favourite colour, or what genre films you like, but you are the only person that will ever be a constant in your life. They weren’t there when you took your first steps, had your first kiss, when you embarrassed yourself and laughed and cried and went through life. It’s extremely important to remember that everyone is a human being with a life- a past and a future, and what you see is definitely not what you get. I often wonder what people think when they see me. Sometimes we use fashion and posters and tattoos to try and express who we really are, but it’s easy to ignore that and focus on yourself. I once got in an argument with a girl and was horrible upset, until my mother reminded me that she was too. She had emotions too- it wasn’t just about me and my feelings. It’s so important in this day and age to try and be selfless- because when good things happen to you, it can change your day. Other people deserve the same. Originating back to my point on ‘who are you’ I wonder if anyone else has a problem defining who they are in simple terms? How can a few words summarize your soul, your essence, your experiences? I have come to the conclusion that it is perfectly okay that people will not know every depth of my soul. I like to keep some remains of my soul private, and I can continually change, growing day by day until the best person I can possibly be. A year ago I didn’t identify as a feminist, something which now has influenced me greatly. A year ago I didn’t know how much I loved writing, now a great passion of mine. Every day, you begin to change and evolve, so you are never really one person, just an idea that changes and grows as you continue the journey of life.

 

Getting deep, I realise, but I hope you followed my train of thought. If you’ve read this, thank you very much and please comment below, I’d love to know what you think. Bye!

Autumn Favourites

So summer has flown by and autumn is finally here. At first, I was a tad worried about writing this post just in case I’d be stereotyped as a typical ‘white girl with a fondness for Pumpkin spiced lattes in Starbucks and crunching her way through the leaves’ but a) I actually prefer tucked away cafes that aren’t unethical and eco-ignorant. B) Yes, I do love the sound of crunching my way through dead leaves (slightly morbid, if you think about it) but there is a childish pleasure in doing that. Anyway, I thought I’d list some favourite of my things about autumn, or THIS autumn in particular.

With the weather getting colder, and people getting lazy in the cold weather, I get to spend more time indoors reading. I can set up the typical ‘winter’ scene by setting a fire, curling up in an armchair in a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and just read. Unfortunately as I am still at uni at the moment it’s more like being cramped in my tiny, messy room on my bed that is basically just a bunch of springs and a cover, I have to hurry to finish a book a week in time for my lectures. Still, I get to read new books. Currently I’m tackling Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ along with ‘The turn of the Screw’.

Again, as I have more time, I can watch more TV shows. There is some part of shame as an English Lit student loving TV shows just as much as books but after watching Orphan Black, Misfits and re-watching all 3 seasons of Sherlock I can’t complain. If anyone has any interesting shows to recommend I would be extremely happy.

The third point is a recent change in my life in which I have moved from home to Brighton. Brighton is everything I thought it was going to be. It has the hustle and bustle of London without the stress, it’s an extremely diverse culture and even the buildings are full of life and colour. The graffiti isn’t just ‘tags’ of peoples names, it’s art. I will probably be doing a more in detail blog about my adventures in Brighton but it has definitely made my autumn much more enjoyable as I go down the lanes and into little bookstores and cafes and walk along the streets wrapped up in my winter outfits and looking at everything that’s for sale and everyone that’s selling it. Brighton rocks. And yeah, pretty much everyone comes down here for the summer, but there’s something calmingly beautiful yet strangely odd about the beach in winter.

Fashion. I both love and hate fashion in autumn. Because of how many damn layers you have to put on it’s pretty much impossible to match anything. However, I get to wear my huge range of chunky jumpers and woolly socks which I adore. I get to wear brown lipstick and bundle on scarves and hats which make me feel wrapped up in cotton wool. So in fashion, my favourite outfit would have to be my extremely furry multi-coloured jumper with at least two pairs of leggings when its cold, a nice hat and scarf set and red lipstick and nails. There’s something superficial yet exciting about planning your outfit to the weather, or season, But I enjoy it so I take no shame.

Journals. I recently book a new journal this autumn and I’m really exciting to begin sketching, writing and drawing in it. The first blank page is always a bit startling and every year I worry about ruining that first page with awful, childish doodles and terrible drawing but this year I am determined to create a journal full of colour, excitement that I look forward to documenting pieces of my day in.

Fudge. After my partner and I searching high and low for a amazing, mysterious fudge shop, we finally found it a couple of minute before closing. Upon entering, there were lines and lines of fuge stacked up, of every flavour you could possible imagine. To the sides, jars of sweets bursting full of colour lined upon on the wall, and the floor was stacked of glass counters filled with chocolate treats. Now I have never been a big lover of Fudge. As a chocoholic, I would eat it, however I did not have a particular fondness for it. However, after getting 300kg worth of chocolate fudge, I fell in love. It was creamy, rich, smooth, gooey yet firm, the chocolate flavour completely encasing your tongue with its delightful wickedness. And yes, I ate it all that day. And I think it’s safe to say I will be returning to that shop. Maybe next time I’ll try to chocolate orange fudge.

Croissants. Firstly, it is important to establish I am not a morning person. My perfect day would be a very long lie in till about 12 in the afternoon. So when I’m forced to wake as 7 in the morning it is extremely painful for me and having gone a sleep only a few hours before I often feel like death. This results in a permanent sort of queasiness or inability to eat till about 11 o clock. However, after discovering Tesco’s cheap version of croissants, as a poor uni student I leapt onto them.  And I have to say they’ve paid off extremely well. After being heated in the microwave for a few second they are delightfully fluffy and comforting yet quite filling., and it is this reason why I chose to add them to my autumn favourite list.

S there are a few things that I have enjoyed this autumn so far, please let me know what you think of your own autumn favourites, as I’d be delighted to hear.

Peace out.

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