Sunday, 31 March 2013

30 Posts of Truth-Part 3

3. Something You Have To Forgive Yourself For

Most of my exam results from GCSE level upwards. There's always been something I didn't work hard enough for and that's left me with fewer opportunities than I'd like at the next stage, and I've always been quite hard on myself for that. I mean, if I think about it realistically I've done pretty well-I've got 10 GCSEs, 4 A-Levels and (against the odds) a degree with honours, but I still kick myself not working as well as I easily could have. I think it stems from the fact I've never liked not being good at something-the reason I can't drive yet is because I hate having to learn because it doesn't come naturally to me. I was reading a blog the other day and suddenly felt like I had had my brain invaded-hopefully Unsweetened Tea won't mind me quoting from her:
"I never had to try very hard in school and got really excellent grades, and all that I took away from that was that I don’t like failing. So, when I try something new now and am not immediately qualified to do whatever thing professionally, I pretty much lose interest. That’s why I have eight bajillion hobbies that I half-ass."
(From this post)
Don't get me wrong, I'm not ashamed to tell people that I got a 2.2, I understand that this isn't an awful mark and I recognise that getting the highest grades isn't the only thing to aim for in life, certainly not at the expense of your health or sanity, but whenever I tell someone there's a little voice in my head that goes "but I could have got a 2.1 if..."
I know that I could have done better if I'd made myself work harder, but then again everyone can do better if they work harder, can't they? I think what I need to remind myself  that no matter how hard I would have worked previously, it wouldn't have changed the fact that I got dumped at the end of the Easter holidays in my 3rd year of uni, and that made everything go to pot. No matter how hard I had worked up to that point, I still would have missed lectures because I couldn't face leaving the house, not been able to revise properly because I was an emotional wreck and completed my most important piece of coursework for my entire degree in only 3 days having avoiding meeting my tutor because I didn't want to tell him I was broken and couldn't do anything all cos of a stupid boy. And maybe all that might have made all the difference between a 2.1 and a 2.2 anyway.

So yeah, I am going to try and cut myself some slack, try and forgive myself for not working as hard as maybe I should have done. I've got a good degree from a good university, and I have my health and happiness back, so that can be no bad thing at all.


Find all the completed 'Truths' posts here.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Friday Letters The First

I've seen these on quite a few blogs now, and always thought the idea was lovely-taking a few moments to write a sentence or two as a letter to your universe each week. (All started by Ashley at who now does a link up for lots of people to post their Friday Letters in, and gather them all together.
I know I've been pants at blogging recently, I've got lots of ideas in my head but I'm struggling to get them out and onto paper at the moment for some reason-they're just not coming together right. In a bid to ensure I post something this week, and because I again haven't written a Five Minute Friday piece, I'm going to write a Friday Letters post:

Dear Spring: Please come soon. Snow is ever so fun in winter but not in April. I miss flowers and lambs and green grass everywhere.
Dear Blog: I'm sorry I've been neglecting you. I'll be back soon, I hope, just need to get the cobwebs out of my brain and allow the inspiration out.
Dear Readers: Thankyou for sticking with me during my prolonged absences. I've not had a day with 0 pageviews in months, so thanks! I'll make it up to you, or at least I'll try.
Dear Body: Please, please get properly better soon. You've been iller in 2013 than for years and it's really rubbish. Please no more colds that last more than a month, stomach bugs, days where I can't get out of bed and definitely no more incredibly painful stomach spasms like the one you gave me yesterday. That was horrid. STOP IT PLEASE.
Dear Sheffield: I'm going to be in you for a whole week next week. This makes me happy.
Dear Sheffield Friends: We should get together for drinks and cake and marvellous things.
Dear Me: Don't give up yet, and keep on smiling.


I will be in Sheffield next week for rehearsals and such like, but I intend to have internet access so will hopefully get a few more blogs up as long as my brain decides to co-operate!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

30 Posts of Truth-Part 2

Another week in which I haven't blogged much, because I didn't really have any inspiration for something to write unfortunately. I have a couple of ideas knocking around my big ol' brain now, so I'm hoping to get those up in the next week and get back into this whole blogging thing again, but for now here's another 30 Truths post:

2. Something You Love About Yourself
As I said in Part 1 there's quite a lot that I do like about myself, although I guess I never really think about the specifics of this often. Generally I like me. It feels a bit odd to break that down further but here goes:

-I like my appearance. I'm at the stage in my life where I'm almost perfectly happy with what I see in the mirror each time. Regardless of how I got to this point, I'm glad that I no longer need someone to tell me that I'm beautiful for me to realise it for myself, wobbly bits and stretch marks and all.

-I like my confidence. I'll talk to most anyone, as long as I'm not feeling grumpy at the world. I can't stand awkward situations when you've just met someone, sometimes all it takes is a 'Hi, I'm Jenni' to break the ice and stop things being so stilted. Of course sometimes it does nothing to help, but you can't win them all.

-I like my independence. I'm someone who's grown up with no brothers or sisters so I'm very used to my own company and I like it that way. I'm happy to travel around on my own as long as I've got a good book and I've never really missed my family when I've been away from home. I'm glad that I'm not someone who gets homesick, or constantly needs to be around people to be happy. Of course, it's wonderful to spend time with the people that I care about, but I'm equally as happy on my own.

-I like the person that I am becoming as I grow up. I'm someone who knows her own mind and holds her own opinions. I'm constantly learning things from my friends,  from the world around me and working them into my life. I'm growing up (mostly) and I like the Jenni that I am turning into. I'm doing things for me, just because I want to, and forging my own path. I sometimes feel like the only thing I'm missing is a direction to my life, a purpose, a dream. Once I have that (and of course a job to pay for it!) I'll be set. I'm looking forward to it.


See the other posts in this series here.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Dream What You Want To Dream...

I feel I should issue a trigger warning here for mentions of human dissection and associated events. If you're squeamish or disapproving of this then you might want to skip this post, or at least the big paragraph in the middle of it.

My Mum gave me this picture for a birthday a long time ago and it's hung on the wall in my bedroom ever since. Right now, I don't think I'm very good at doing what it says, and I kind of feel like my life may be slipping through my fingers somewhat, and I really should make more of an effort to grab a hold and start doing something with it.

Yesterdays NaBloPoMo prompt was "What is getting in the way of you reaching for your dreams?" and I can honestly say that right now the answer is 'not having any dreams' because I have no idea what I want to do with my life at the moment. It's hard to chase your dreams and try and catch them when you have no idea what you actually want them to be.

It's weird because for years I knew what I wanted to do-since 14 I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life and how I was going to achieve it, right through until my 2nd year of uni when I was 20 when the whole idea got turned on its head. I wanted to be a forensic pathologist-the people who do autopsies on bodies for cases involving suspicious deaths, and I knew I needed to go to med school to do this. I actually got in to med school at my beloved Sheffield but didn't get the required grades in my chemistry A-Level. Had a bit of a cry about this on results day but then shrugged it off-I'd just do a science degree first, then medicine as a post grad. Simple. So that's what I did, I shipped myself off to do my Biomedical Science degree with all my ambitions still intact (Put it this way, about 50% of the people on my course wanted to go on to be Dentists or Medics, so it was a very good plan!). Then my second year of uni rolled around and several things happened to halt my ambitions in its tracks. Firstly, David Cameron and Nick Clegg came along and decided to up the tuition fees for universities to £9Grand a year, meaning I couldn't really afford med school at all. Secondly I realised that I probably wasn't going to get the high 2.1/1st that med school requires. Thirdly, and I feel this is fairly important, I realised that I was absolutely pants at anatomy. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, and I recognise I was really lucky to be able to do human dissection on a Biomed course and it was really interesting. But I'm pants at it. Give me a list of bones or muscles to remember (or a big chunk of text, or a script etc) and I could do it easily, reel them off and sound like a true professional. The trouble is knowing the names is no help to you if you can't work out which one is which when faced with a picture of a partially dissected arm (NB: I have developed a dislike for the forearm because it has an unnecessary amount of muscles in it for such a small area, all of which have very similar names.) or a torso with the skin removed. All the colour-in-anatomy books didn't help me because everything inside your body is all basically beige-with the exception of your gall bladder which is violently green-and so I didn't do very well in any of our anatomy exams. This culmination of events finally taught me once and for all that I wasn't cut out to be a pathologist, as I wouldn't really be very good at it at all. And actually I was fine with it, mostly, although obviously felt more than a little lost-the thing I had been aiming at for 6 years of my life had just been lifted out of my fingertips and placed firmly out of my grasp forever.

But then this kind of apathy set in. I wasn't really connecting with my course, wasn't pushing myself to do better, wasn't really enjoying it any more. I had personal problems which didn't help, but I didn't really do myself any favours when it came to third year because I guess I wasn't really sure what I was doing it for any longer. I had no purpose, no direction, no goal to get to in ten years time. I got my degree but I know I could have done better if I had tried a little harder (and hadn't got dumped at the end of the Easter holidays, but that's another story...) but I just didn't have the inclination to.

I'm still the same way now. I graduated in July last year and since then I've done...nothing. Don't get me wrong, I've had some amazing times in the interim, done some awesome stuff, but I'm still living like a student and not doing anything with my life. I still don't know what I want to do for a career, I'm flirting with various ideas but I've not committed to any of them in any way. I don't have a job or an ambition or drive to do anything and I need to change this.

I'm writing this post to remind myself that I am the only person who can help myself. I am the only one who can dream those dreams and go where I want to go. That it's time to get serious and start trying to live like a proper adult rather than a bum who wears pyjamas more than actual clothes. That I may not know what I want to do yet, but I have to do something because I can't live in my childhood bedroom with no money forever. That I need to take a hold of myself and give myself a good kick up the arse to do something. I'm 22, this is the time of my life, the time I should be making myself and discovering myself and seeing the world through un-blinkered, open eyes, not shutting myself away in my bedroom and not doing a thing with it.

So yeah. Right now I don't have any dreams, or aspirations. But for Gods' sake Jenni, get out there and turn over every stone until you find a new dream to alight its flame in your heart. You're never going to find it staring at your computer screen. Do something, be someone, before you're old and riddled with regrets.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

30 Posts of Truth-Part 1

Hello all! I've not posted anything in over week because I've been fighting off a stinker of a head cold that kept me in bed for 2 days and has left me feeling lousy all week. I also didn't do the Five Minute Friday this week because the topic was 'Home' and I've already written about that before. I've still not shaken the horrible cold off at the moment, my nose has almost dropped off with all the blowing, my throat HURTS a lot and really annoyingly I can't hear a thing-it's like I'm listening to the world with earplugs in all the time because I can't hear people talking to me unless they're facing me, and my mum keeps telling me I've got the tele too loud but I can't tell. Basically it's all a bit pants around here, but instead of feeling sorry for myself any longer I thought I'd dose up on cold and flu remedies and anti-inflammatories and try and fish around in my foggy, snot-clogged brain and see if I could come up with an idea for a blog post.

I couldn't, so I'm dusting off the 30 Posts series and getting down to actually starting it.

1. Something You Hate About Yourself
I find it strange how this is starting with something negative over something positive but there you go. There's not a lot I hate about myself, generally I'm quite a positive person and I like a lot of things about me. There are a few things I dislike more than some though, and I'd probably change if I could:

-How emotionally needy I am when I am in a relationship.
(I can't really think of any way of phrasing that better) This is a throwback to my first proper boyfriend who should have broken up with me about 18 months before I broke up with him. We stayed together more because we didn't know how to not be together than because it was good for us. In the last year and a half we were together he never told me he loved me unless I said it first, never paid me a compliment that wasn't "I think that about you, too" or something. It made me really insecure and really kind of needy and I noticed that this trend continued into my 2nd relationship-I'd get worked up and worried about the silliest of things because I was scared that if he didn't say he loved me then that meant he didn't. And I don't want to be that girl, I don't want to be the person who frets over all the little things and never feels truly emotionally secure in a relationship because I think it's frankly ridiculous. I don't know how I can change it though, it seems to be a thing I just do. But ugh it's annoying.

-How much of a dick I can be in large groups.
I have noticed recently that when I'm with big groups of my friends then my personality changes and I become a bit of a nob really. I'm already quite a loud person but I get extra loud, overly sexual (not in a sexy kinda way...I just talk about inappropriate things and jiggle my boobs a lot. I met a friend's boyfriend a couple of times in this situation and he thinks that's just how I am all the time and I desperately want to tell him I'm not, not really!) extra competitive and basically just a bit of a twat. There have been occasions where I've got home from meetups with all of my USLES mates and gone to myself "I have no idea why they're friends with me." I don't really like myself when I've got my dick personality out, and I've started to be able to spot it when it rears its head. Whether I can stop it is another thing entirely.

Well, this was jolly.
Hopefully I'll be back with inspiration and normal(er) posts again soon.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Thanks To Twiggy I'm An Old Fashioned Girl

Title of Post taken from this song-Twiggy from A Slice of Saturday Night-a fab musical set in a nightclub in the 60s. This song is sung by an overweight, insecure character. 

I get inspiration for my blog posts in all sorts of places, most often train stations when I don't have a pen, but not always, thankfully. The inspiration for this blog came from this video by Those Pesky Dames-awesome feminist ladies talking about important stuff on the internet. (Forgive me for not embedding it into my post  but it felt a little bit cheeky as I didn't make it.)
Before I begin I would like to make a couple of disclaimers:
  • This is in no way me hating on the Dames, I have a lot of respect and admiration for those ladies and think they speak a lot of sense and talk about a lot of important things. Whilst I can't say I watch every video, the ones I have seen have seemed very well put together and thought out, and are a good way for baby feminists like me to learn more about stuff that I might never have even thought about before. I think they're pretty awesome really.
  • Secondly I know that the video I have linked to is a very personal account and I have no intention of criticising or judging those personal issues. This is not intended to be a personal attack on her or any of the other Dames, and overall I completely agree with the content of the video, it's just a few niggly bits that drew my attention and made me a bit cross.
In case you don't want to watch the video, it outlines a personal account of dealing with body confidence and weight issues and talks about how that links to feminism and the reasons why she thinks that its currently on her mind. The message behind it is that women need to stop shaming themselves and others about their body size, about their eating habits, about the way they look or the size of clothes that they wear (which, lets face it, doesn't tell you a whole heap anyway!), which is a message I fully support-people should love their bodies a little more and care less about what they look like and how others judge them. 

My problem comes from the phrasing of a couple of key sentences that she uses:

"'re human and you have tissue, and skin, and muscles and hair, that's just like a human body!..."
"...we're all just made up of "body things", fleshy things-we're fleshy creatures, we're bony creatures and cartilagey creatures..."

because I noticed that she never uses the word 'fat' at all, and it struck me as rather odd. If you're essentially describing humans as tissue and hair and cartilage it feels weird to me that you wouldn't use the word fat as well. 
I mean, let's face it, unless you're severely malnourished you have fat. Everyone has fat. Yes, some people have more of it, some people have less of it. Some people have it in different places than other people. Some people have a more socially acceptable distribution of that fat and some less so. But everybody has it. Some people are happy with the fact that they have fat, while others are desperately unhappy about it. 

Personally, I don't think that vilifying the word FAT solves any problems. I don't think omitting it from a description of "what normal people essentially are" helps anyone to accept the fact that people have fat and that is perfectly fine. I totally agree that people, women in particular, need to stop being ashamed because their bodies don't fit the presented norm, and also need to stop shaming other people who don't either. Judging someone because they're fat or feeling relieved that you're slimmer is pretty horrible really, it's just a body-and it's not yours to judge or to care about anyway. Having fat or being fat doesn't stop you from feeling self-confident, from being beautiful, from being loved, from being happy! (Although aren't we always shown that this is not the case?)

I'm always amused when I say something to my friends along the lines of "I'm fat but..." or whatever it might be and they respond with contradictions: "Oh no, you're not fat, don't be silly". Are they even looking at me? Hell yeah I'm fat, fat and fabulous. I'm not using it as a negative word, as an attention seeking word, I'm using it as an adjective to describe my body shape. Yeah, I'm curvy. Curvy and fat. I've not got a pillow stuffed up my jumper, what do they think is under my skin?

I just really like the negative connotations that are all put under the heading of 'FAT', when it's just another way society tells a woman (in particular, but men too) that she can't be beautiful. So I would like to add to the message in the video:
We're all humans. We're all different. We're bags of skin and muscle and bone and hair and FAT. Whatever your size is you have no more or less reasons to be ashamed of your body than anyone else in the world. Stop judging other people-and yourself-by the number printed in the back of your jeans and don't be scared of the word fat, of being called fat. If you want to be fat and happy then do so (Like me!) because there are worse things in life you could be. Having fat is not a reason to hate your body, and it's certainly no reason not to think of yourself as beautiful, but hating this fact of life is never going to let you love yourself as much as you should.

"Let's all eat and not feel ashamed and just be happy with each other." WHATEVER our shape and sizes are.


Friday, 1 March 2013

Five Minute Fridays: Ordinary

I never wanted to be ordinary when I was a teenager-I went out of my way to buy things that were unique, were different, I never wanted to be one of the crowd. I’d loudly and obnoxiously proclaim my dislike of anything that everyone else was buying just because everyone else was buying it, and I’d get mad at my friends if they copied me because it meant I couldn't wear that thing any more. Yeah, I was a bit of an arse.
I've never owned Converse shoes because when I was about 15 everyone had Converse. I stubbornly resisted even when they brought out nice ones, and when I was 17 I bought my first pair of Doc Martens in luminous neon green because no-one else had them-ironically I got into Doc Martens before all the hipsters thought they were cool.
Seriously, it's awesome.
This photo is so me-I love it!
Taken by Michael Lau
And now? Now I am more content to be ordinary, as ordinary as any one person can be at least. Sometimes I'm happier blending into the crowd than standing out against it vibrantly and obviously. And sometimes I wear amazing things that I know are going to make everyone who I pass notice me, because I want to be different that day, I want to be extra-ordinary. I've learned to relax a little, I share the same clothes as some of my friends and we make jokes about not wearing them on the same day as each other. I don’t get cross with people any more if they tell me they really want to own something I have because I take it as a complement-it means they think I'm cool, I'm trendy, | or at the very least awesome enough to emulate. And yeah, I know I have my own kinda ‘look’ sometimes, and I love it-wearing a mini skirt with a big pair of clumpy Docs will never not make me feel amazing. At the start of each day I can choose to be as ordinary or as un-ordinary as I like, and that, as far as I am concerned is an excellent thing.

The site link to this blog is and that is because it expresses my opinions exactly-everyone is an entirely ordinary human being, same as all the rest but everyone is also entirely extraordinary too and we’re all different in a million trillion brilliant ways. It’s pretty awesome.

NB:  |  denotes where my 5 minute alarm went off.

If you want to know what Five Minute Fridays are all about/take part yourself/read posts from other bloggers, more information can be found here:

My posts are all here: Five Minute Fridays