Poetry you need to read. It could convert you…

1496929404558Hello there readers! So, its been a while since I wrote a post here, what with final year hand-ins. More importantly, following hand-ins I made the decision to take nearly two weeks away from IG and blogging, because on Sunday I leave Newcastle forever (only joking, I’ll be back), and move home to Yorkshire to begin life as a working girl (that’s right, I’ve signed my life away starting in September). The weeks I had left, I understandably wanted to spend with my amazing friends, who are also all buggering off home in a few days. What else have I been up to? Well, if you read this blog often you’ll know that my degree was English Literature with Creative Writing, that I specialise in poetry, and that I always have a book on me. For the past few weeks I’ve been living in a bubble of coffee, reading, and poetry writing (lots of book reviews coming soon). And much as I knew I should be getting some recipes up here, I also knew I didn’t have any ingredients for what I wanted to make -I’m winding down my cupboards so won’t be buying anything in until I reach Bradford. All I wanted to do was read and write. And then I realised: this is my bloody blog and I’ll write what I want. And so today we are talking poetry, and recipes are on hold until I get home.

A lot of people hate poetry. But, poetry is one of the most powerful literary forms out there. Poetry is dangerous. Look at the Romantic era radicals and their poetry. Look at poetry of witness now, and political or spoken work poetry. One of my lecturers once said that poetry holds us in a little bubble of the present; it’s more alive than prose because you experience things so much more vividly for being held in one moment. You’re carried along in that little bubble, and things don’t have to be 100% clear in poems- its about a feeling you get from them. You have to leave a good poem or collection changed in some way. I’ll write a whole post on this at some point. Today, I want to introduce you to some collections, and some poets I think you will love. Some are classic, some are modern, some are to be spoken, some are to be read, some are female, some are male. I hope you find at least one you like.

 

 

Rupi Kaur- Milk & Honey

A fellow poetry student recommended this to me, and I fell in love with it. I read it cover to cover in one sitting. I love collections that tell a story, and this definitely does that. Each poem is short and I’m sure you will find at least one that resonates with you. If you’re a feminist, get yourself a copy asap and thank me lat.

 

Andrew McMillan- Physical

This was the first poetry collection that made me want to be a poet. I fell head over heels for this collection. Its about a homosexual relationship and the male body. It is beautiful. It is painful. It is a must-read. I met Macmillan at a reading in Leeds and actually forgot how to speak for a good five minutes. Its also a novelty to hear poetry in a Yorkshire accent, if you fancy listening to his readings online.

 

Staying Alive anthology (numerous poets)

If you want to read a few different poets in one purchase, then I can’t recommend this enough. If you’re new to poetry then you can flick through and find poets you like to follow up on a bit more. This anthology is published by Bloodaxe, and its contemporary poems on the reality of living in unreal times. Continue reading “Poetry you need to read. It could convert you…”

Quotespirational Monday 28/11/16- In which we talk about the dreaded quarter-life crisis, and happiness…

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy.

Last week I had a bit of a quarter-life crisis.  It’s as if when you hit twenty, these replace the bogey-man: they always arrive in the middle of the night, and scare you shitless.

I’ve been polishing my CV, and gradually beginning to build up speed with my job applications- but the job market is an incredibly scary place. Because there really isn’t that much room; people living longer means people need to work longer, as the typical pension no longer realistically supports them. Which means, like a lot of other things at the moment, those below the age of 30 are losing out.

Over the space of a week, two things occurred to me:

  1. I am considering taking a PT course. Then, should I ever be unemployed, I can support myself by taking on clients. I have a massive interest in health and fitness, and I feel like this would give me some time away from a more regimented working environment whilst still earning. I could perhaps open up more time to travel, and teach in other places. If I happened to develop my own business idea in this time, it’s an option I am open to exploring. Hence, I have found a back up plan to research and consider.
  2. I really really really want to be happy. Right now, I need to explore what would ensure that.

I know may people take a year out to work any job going, but…I’ve always felt like I’d somehow be failing if I did. I’m sure that you’ll know what I mean when I say this: it’s easy to see things objectively when it isn’t you. I know plenty of successful people who took a year out, or who didn’t go to uni at all. But there’s always that worry of am I throwing myself away if I don’t do a masters? Am I throwing myself away if I don’t move straight into the PR/Marketing industry, and miss my ideal job?

Here’s the thing, in all of the above paragraph all I am thinking of is this: what will please other people? How will they judge me? Will they talk about me? And for someone who usually couldn’t care less what the majority of people think about my personal choices, this is a strange situation to be in.

I’m sure you have all by now noticed what, until two days ago, didn’t enter my head, and which I now cannot stop wondering:

What will make me happy?

So far in life I have been lucky that my choices of doing well in high school and going to uni are both widely accepted, and have made me happy. I haven’t ever had to consider that my choice would displease someone other than myself. But leaving the safety of education means choices are harder to go back on, and they really do matter. However, as a twenty-something I’m fortunately at a point in my life where I have the least to lose (no kids, mortgage, or steady job). This is the time I can afford to take risks, and grow as a person.

I think every 20-something feels lost at some point. And for the end of this post… I can’t give you the answers, or a magical way of curing that feeling. I’m still trying to figure a lot out myself, but this week’s quote has to be my ultimate question when making those decisions. Because at the end of the day, life is both longer and shorter than we think it is, and I want to be happy with the majority of mine.

So, this week, consider: what makes me happy? What decisions would/wouldn’t make me happy? Perhaps write a long, long list of all of the big things you want out of life, which you feel would genuinely give you a life you love, and refer to that when decision making (I’ll definitely be attempting this).

Whatever you end up deciding, make sure that you’re seeking happiness and not approval that ultimately doesn’t matter.

 

 

 

Quotespirational Monday 17/10/16- In which we talk prioritising you, taking a rest, and ignoring “inspiration” memes…

If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit

Today I want to talk a little bit about asking for help, taking a rest, and simply stepping back from it all for five minutes.

Not enough of us are told that it is okay to take a step back and catch our breath. We get told that we can have it all, that we should hustle, that every moment of our lives should be productive, or filled with fun- and its just not realistic. And the idea that we should be doing all or nothing permeates every single little bit of our lives: the gym, the way we eat, how we work, how we socialize…and if we can’t give it our all, then what’s the point in doing it?

This week just gone I suddenly realised that, for the first time since I came to uni, I may need to go home for a weekend- outside of official uni holidays. For two years straight I have gone home at Christmas, Easter, and summer-time, and that has been it. Much as I am loving my third year at uni, it’s already pretty intense work-wise. I am also that one flatmate who runs around cleaning because they’re house proud verging on OCD. I’ve been trying to spend time with my friends, managing this blog and linked IG  account, job hunting for when I leave uni, and I’m still progressively working on building my muscle tone in the gym. I am by no means the busiest person I know, but I am feeling fairly knackered right now.

If you read last week’s post then you’ll know about our Halloween house party, and how after being talked around to the idea of a party in my own house, I was actually pretty excited about it. Well, here is another truth of life: people can change their minds. And this party is causing me more than a little stress. The lack of compromise on how many guests one of my house mates is planning on inviting, the tidying up etc etc is all just getting on top of me.

And so I’ve decided to take a rest.

When I opted to go home for a few nights I knew I would have to miss something: either a good friend’s leaving party before she crosses the globe to return to Singapore, or the university organised trip to Scotland this weekend just gone with some friends – or the house party. It was too late to cancel the trip, there was no way in hell I was missing my friend’s leaving do- which left the house party weekend. Incidentally, my mum works most weekends, but is also off on this one- meaning I get family time thrown into the bargain.

But isn’t my plan to go home me quitting at a) my record of staying at uni other than holidays and b) my plan to cram in socialising and c) my idea of stepping out of my comfort zone?

Well, in a way yes. In a bigger way, no.

The decision to actually admit I need a rest is majorly out of my comfort zone, but more importantly, this is part of something I disregarded for many years: self-care. Its about admitting I need time out. Its about saying “Hey, guys, I’m not quitting. I just need to go take a nap for a bit.”

I think that taking a rest, a lot of us feel, equates to “quitting”. Because we’re brought up in a society where we’re taught to stick to New Year’s Resolutions like glue- however strict- and abandon them by February. Because we’re taught to choose “diets” and short term plans you stick with rigidly, instead of a more flexible healthy lifestyle. Deviation from anything, taking a quick rest (or however long is needed) from anything, is wrong. But taking a rest is incredibly important, because you can’t drive a car without gas. So, my train ticket home is booked, and after some initial panic that I’d been wrong and that I  didn’t really need to go home, I am now really looking forward to it. And I still get to use my dragon costume for a friend’s Halloween themed birthday party come December.

This week, or whenever it’s feasible in the near future, take a rest if you need one. Don’t believe the memes and “inspo” telling you to “go hard” all the time, and if you don’t then you’re a failure. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You only fail when you quit, and taking a rest is not quitting. If you need a night in instead of socialising and networking, if you need a lie in in place of your usual 7am gym trip, if you need a day off from studying- then take that break. Refresh yourself, and then get back on it, confident that taking a rest is not the same as quitting.

Quotespirational Monday 12/09/16-What to do when you make a massive mistake

Shake it off

Every week I hope something comes along to inspire my next week’s Quotespirational- either from an event in the week that has just finished, or from Pinterest. This week I had nothing to write of really. This week just gone I had nearly reached the end of the week without anything going horribly wrong- and then Sunday came along.

Yesterday I moved into my beautiful third year house. We (the parents and I) had gotten up at 5am to get into Newcastle before the roads were closed for the Great North Run (my brother nabbed my move in date on Saturday, and this was the only day I could get a lift with all my stuff). I actually woke up before my alarm, amazing seen as I hadn’t gotten to bed until 11:30pm the night before. We didn’t get stuck in traffic. We managed to park. We unpacked in record-breaking time. We got a table easily for brunch. Fast forward to 3pm, and having done the food shop, been into the city, and said goodbye to my parents, I finally sat down in my house, made a cuppa, managed to actually get to meditate– and then checked my messages. And I had a message from my landlord and my flatmate. And my superhero feeling just evaporated completely. Continue reading “Quotespirational Monday 12/09/16-What to do when you make a massive mistake”

Quotespirational Monday 29/08/16- In which we talk kindness from unexpected places…

‘Be someone’s sunshine when their skies are grey’

Kindness goes a really, really, really long way. You would be surprised just how far. Usually, it isn’t the people we care most about that we forget to be kind to though. Nope; its the people who can do nothing for us, or the people who are almost background noise to a busy day. Let me explain…

The two jobs I have had since beginning uni were both waitressing. And both were hard work. Not because of the being on your feet for hours, or the remembering abbreviations for orders, or using the till, or customer service, or clearing tables, or doing maths off the top of your head occasionally, or remembering which cakes contained X allergens when customers asked, or what the three different BBQ marinades for steaks actually tasted like, or even cleaning the entire restaurant / café at the end of the night- if I’m honest I didn’t mind any of those- but because of the customers. My friends who work/have worked in retail say the exact same thing: people are simply not very nice to staff. It’s as if customers forget that staff are human too, and not just “service”. That when they moaned their cocktail wasn’t coming fast enough, we had been running around serving customers cocktails for a several hours, and that there were 10 more customers wanting cocktails too. That when they were horrible to us about a burger being cooked too rare, it was in fact the chef who had cooked it (and who could hide in the kitchen), and not us. Continue reading “Quotespirational Monday 29/08/16- In which we talk kindness from unexpected places…”