Formspring

No, Facebook! No, I haven't given up on you. Someone asked on Formspring if I had and I was like NO I'm just...too busy? I guess?

At the moment, I'm back from uni (third and final year) for Christmas. I applied for my Master's Degree before I left, and typing those words makes them seem terrifyingly real. An MA. In Creative Writing, the thing I love more than anything ever.
We saw my uncle recently. He told me that wanting to become an academic made me 'useless'. I'm glad I don't see my uncle much. He has a bit of a chip on his shoulder about never going to university and dropping out to join the army. I'm still undecided on where I stand on the pacifist's privilege vs. need to defend the country vs. am I just too naive for words so I'll just shut up. Still, my aunt is nice, and my cousins young and thus adorable. (Yeah, 14's young when you're 20.)

My grandparents are down for Christmas--mainly because it was my uncle's surprise birthday party and Mum's his only sibling--and so this weekend we drove down to the South-West of England for the party. The journey should have taken three hours; it took nine, due to the snow (which was THIGH-HIGH, I have never seen snow that thick) and I no longer love snow as much as I used to because all the news is like 'YOU COULD DIE IF YOU EVEN GO OUTSIDE'.

As I say, my grandparents are down for Christmas. They are chain-smokers and perpetual whisky-drinkers. They are pissed by dinnertime. And I love them, but they're racist as fuck and the cigarette smell in the house makes me nauseous and my eyes sting. I can now see why they're going back to Scotland 'the earliest I can get them there' (says Mum). They're down for Christmas, but not Hogmanay.

Mum hates Hogmanay anyway--she's always in a foul mood on New Year's Eve, and goes to bed at about ten. Not really looking forward to that. Still--Christmas is to come first. I need to get my head down and write a freaking essay or two. I have 14000 words due in for after Christmas, and I've almost completed making notes for them both.

One good thing has come from my uncle telling me I'm useless, and that's when I asked Mum a few days later if I could maybe not visit him anymore. She asked why, I told her, and then she hugged me and actually told me she loved me. My Mum NEVER initiates touch. She never tells me she loves me. She doesn't even say goodbye on the phone, just hangs up, and some of my friends won't even come round when she's in because she scares them. So this was...massive. And it made me happy, I suppose.

So, see, Formspring person, it is not abandoned.

MORE NONSENSE

So it's been a month since I updated, and I felt guilty.

I have now left work--happily, actually. I wasn't fired and I didn't leave. It was a summer job I actually worked all summer for. And they gave me a beautiful card and photo frame, one Lisa (co-worker) knew I was coveting. I guess I'll miss the money, but it's also good to have my Sundays free again.

I've been spending more time outside recently. My friend Hattie can drive and as such we sometimes go on late-night ASDA trips for ice-cream and guacomole. Or for a coffee, at more respectable times. I've also done a bit more theatre this summer, in that I'm now a member of the Youth Theatre Society in another town nearby. There was a singing competition recently and my friends Lucy and Rowena won. Then we all went to the pub. Good times.

I have no problems. I float on a tranquil sea most of the time. God, it's better than it was last summer, when I was a tumult of emotion.

Now all I worry about is what colour to dye my hair and if I have enough cash for a certain outfit and if I need to start moisturising.

I'm growing up.

Hmm.

THIS MEANS I CAN'T GO TO NARNIA, GUYS.

Do I even have anything to saaaaay

And the answer is nooooo

Um, I gave myself a mild concussion last week at work and bashed my head on the boiler? I now have a dent in my head. *sighs* And I have a UTI or something right now but it's painful and I worked half the day today and all day tomorrow and I can't get to a doctor til Monday. It'd better be bloody busy at work tomorrow so I can get my mind off it.

Fun fact, friends: I'm a pretty big fan of Vanessa Hudgens. *awaits mass defriending* She's not the best actress or singer but she has this energy and seems like a genuinely lovely person. Anyway, she's currently in RENT at the Hollywood Bowl as Mimi and I am rather angry the two reviews I have found say she 'doesn't suck' or 'she flopped.' I don't know why. Part of me's like SHE HAD TEN DAYS TO REHEARSE GUYS and the other part of me's proud she did it and the OTHER part of me is furious she didn't eclipse expectations. Being a fan of former Disney stars: harder than you might think.

I did manage to have fun at Whitby and Forbidden Corner despite having said concussion. Forbidden Corner is a garden of follies. Rich eccentrics built little gardens with puzzles and random jets of water and mazes. This one was bigger and badder than all of them. You have to go through a mouth to get in. It burps as you walk through.

Pictures of me and my lilac bag and some bits of the garden and Caifax AbbeyCollapse )

My only regret is not buying a £45 bit of jet jewellery, a silver and jet spider pendant. OH WELL.

Book reviews and debt

Oh dear, self. I get money for a job and then I run around buying crap and now, well, I am halfway into my overdraft and it's gonna take at least two weeks' pay to dig me out of it. Oh dear. And I still need to get the books on my reading list. And I'm going to Whitby for a spell next week. Oh dear indeed.

So! Fingers crossed I don't get myself sacked. Again.

One of my lovely new purchases (amongst other things a bra set I have been coveting for ages and it was FINALLY in the sale and ridiculously expensive lipstick) is a Book Journal from Paperchase. It has sections for book reviews, a to-be-read list, and a borrowed/leant column. Oh, I am a happy girl and I hope I'll use it properly. So far I have three reviews (Handmaid's Tale, The Magic Toyshop and Sum) and I have given nothing lower than a C. Oh yes, it's a lot of fun indeed to sit down and write in it all serious-like. But now I want to read something...less depression-inducing. I have begun The Stars' Tennis Balls but considering as it's a retelling of the Count of Monte Cristo...

SO! Friendslist. Do give me your favourite happy-feeling books that won't make me cry afterwards.

It's 12.25...

And I got up at, what, half-elevenish? TRIUMPH FOR EMMA. I still have to do laundry, shower, edit, check Tumblr for all this week...but I have eaten and taken the first pills of the day, so...win.

My best friend came down to visit (and yes, I have three best friends, being a lucky so-and-so, but this best friend is ekwyfields) from Sweden and we had a wonderful time of it. I mean, yeah, I had to work all weekend when she was here but that only ensured I had more money to spend when I went with her to Nottingham. We laughed, we saw Sarah Millican try out Edinburgh stuff (and I got picked on! And now the populace of Grantham, some of whom were my teachers, know how my Norton Anthology was broken in the heat of the moment!), we saw Shrek, we chatted with my sister and her Japanese exchange Chiharu about Japanese mythology and Lady Gaga (awfully multi-cultural, this house), we stayed up and roleplayed til stupid o'clock, we went out to dinner on her last night...it's crazy how you can be content reading someone's entries or IMing them every night and when they leave you in real life you still feel lonely.

But yeah, we had a pretty great time. Despite being £50 into my overdraft, I am content and happy. Who wants a 'best bits' montage?

*A Starbucks the red-hot minute she arrived
*Fiona giving her a bathbomb and Josefin's realisation she could use it because WE HAVE A BATHTUB
*Sarah Millican making her laugh so hard she almost fell off her chair
*Some woman in Nottingham trying to convert us to Christianity
*Internet memes in realtime!
*Sharing a bottle of Tru Blood and reaction shots to the first taste
*Cooking experiments going horribly wrong
*Buying charms in Nottingham to remind us of our RPs. You call it sad, I call it collaborative fiction.
*Upon leaving the Chinese restaurant, the next morning: "Emma...we could have eaten more."

The plan is to go to Sweden soon, possibly next summer, because I haven't been over there yet and I actually feel like a competent adult sometimes these days.

The job has undoubtedly helped. I now run the shop every Sunday by myself, and the owner has said she's impressed with me (:0) and also, time and a half on Sundays basically makes me as rich as Midas and Croseus put together. (Do you think, perhaps, I lose my perspective on money sometimes?) It is SO MUCH BETTER than working in telesales because I can generally assume people want to buy stuff when they come into the shop. Literally the only minus is that my feet cane by the end of the day.

I am now trying to catch up on LJ entries, but as stated before, I am meant to be doing other things. If I don't comment, I'm sorry but on the plus side I probably HAVE read it.

Makin' Whoopee/brownies

I don't know why I put such pressure on myself to update and then only do it when I'm ill. I've been fighting off a cold for weeks but I failed this morning/last night with a fever and now I have a blocked-up nose and swollen tired eyes and a gravelly voice. Oh well. I guess the damp can't be helping, either...there's a pipe leaking just over my study ceiling and I can smell it >.< Thankfully the plumber came round promptly and should be able to fix it by Monday, but in the meantime we can't use the toilet in the main family bathroom.

Moan, bitch, whine, complain...nobody is, because it's a big house and we all have en-suites. I think Dad'll be most put out. He goes to that one when he doesn't want to wake Mum up in the dead of night.

So, getting away from my family's toilet habits...yes! So I got a 2:1 on my results--not the best, but I have a whole year to make it up to a First. I did get a first in Scriptwriting, and 68 on Editing, and they were my best marks, so smile :D

I've also managed to get myself a job...or, more accurately, Mum put me up for a job. She works for the English wing of an American company and they've just opened a shop very nearby. I work selling pretty things to rich people whilst staring at £80 wallpaper and being pleasant and dusting, and honestly it's not bad. But I've only just had my first day. My second is tomorrow from 10-3. EXCITEMENT. I will probably by this amazing journal we sell, as well this gorgeous silver-plated hand mirror. It's also very close to a Starbucks. Win/win.

I'm a bit stressed at the moment due to being friends with the fourteen-year-old Christian I mentioned. People she know dies and she's either 'Oh, I'm so happy for them, they've gone to Heaven!' or 'Oh no, they never knew the Lord.' And she thinks feminism isn't needed, and some of her friends agree with her and say that it is now men who are persecuted...you should never, ever be friends with someone to try and change them, but goddamn if sometimes I have to bite my tongue.
I...guess I make up for this by posting more about issues facing women and articles on faith when she's around? We'll see how it pans out. I don't want to be The Controversial Friend, but...I can't let it go unsaid.

Finishing this a few hours later and WOW a lot of brown spots have appeared on my ceiling =/ Oh dear. Moved precious stuff away from it...

Home~

I have not yet recovered, perhaps, from The Housemate Debacle, but I'm home so that's a load off my mind :) I have done sod-all, really. Laundry is a no-no at the moment because Mum's doing her loads, so I've made ready meals, emptied and loaded the dishwasher, fed the cat, made myself get dressed...doing nothing is fun.

I'm halfway through a fic, and I'm trying out a slightly abstract style. I'm not sure if I like it, but I'm going to finish it in that voice. It's present tense third person, which a lot of ficcers use, and I normally use past tense first person. Still, when Ekwy receives it, she can give me a critique.

I get my results in...five days. OH MY GOD. I'm shitting bricks a bit, because my second exam didn't go nearly as well as I hoped and I fucked up the third question on the third exam due to what I can only refer to as an 'annoyed bladder'. You are allowed to go to the loo during exams, but an invigilator goes into the bathroom with you to check you're not meeting up with someone and checking notes. My bladder is shy. So that wasn't fun.

Oh! But do you know what was fun? On Thursday, the day before my last entry, I went to Drayton Manor theme park with some of my friends from sci-fi :D I will give you the edited highlights:

*Going to a haunted house and not getting scared as the room 'spun' around us or when the portrait on the wall started speaking to us in an affected accent. Do you what the bit was that scared me? When the restraints came up at the end of the ride.
*Scott was teasing me because I wouldn't go on the giant rollercoasters, so I got...well, I have an 'I'LL SHOW YOU' mentality, and insisted we went on the one we were next to.
It had two loop-the-loops and a corkscrew, and you rode it standing up.
My brain still hurts from being rattled around in my skull.
*Teacups are fun! Until you dance a bit too wildly and send it spinning much faster than you ever hoped you'd be going. Quoth Alana: "Did you really scream more on the teacups than on the rollercoaster?"

And as for now, back to the fic, Tumblr and Twitter.

Well...fuck.

Hey, I've finished my exams!

Aaaand immediately I've been hit with some bad news.

I say immediately. This is probably just me dramatising it. It was a week and a half after. It was 6pm today.

Basically, one of my housemates has told me that after her year abroad, next year, she doesn't want to come back to live with me. My behaviours are "odd." I seem to have an attitude that I own the house and "sod the rest of you". She said she isn't sure if I do it on purpose or if I'm just thoughtless. I don't know how long she's felt like this. I thought we had issues earlier on--I'm messier than her, for example--but we were kind of over them. I guess I thought we were friends and we could talk about anything. Apparently not.

I felt like I'd been shot when she opened with 'I'm not coming back to live here after next year.' It was a complete shock. I thought we were okay. I thought the only thing she was stressed about was exams. She's not the type to make rash decisions. She had been thinking this over, quietly loathing living with me.

I asked her why she didn't like it and she just said she couldn't put her finger on it, but there was something. And so after she leaves tomorrow with her Mum, I'm not going to see her again.

I'm flabbergasted and more than a little wounded. Yeah, she had some valid points--I am self-absorbed, though I thought I was making an improvement on that. I was trying. But my behaviour being 'odd'? I don't know what she means. I'm quirky, yeah, a bit weird, but I'm not...I'm not a contender for OCD or murder or anything. I'm mostly just confused why she told me her reasons, before I asked for any of them. Each one felt to me like a personal attack. Like, you are not good enough. Why aren't you better at being a housemate?

Dad said most of the time people don't want to hurt you if you're being crap and will make up an excuse. I wish she'd come to me sooner and not just sprung this on me. I wish she hadn't independently told me why I suck. I wish she didn't live ages away so she and her Mum are staying over tonight. I wish I wasn't so crap. And I wish I'd noticed something was wrong.

The thing that got me most is the thing about my 'odd behaviour'. Is it worth being yourself if people hate you for it?
Exam retrospective put on hold for something that has been with me today.

The lighthearted reply for me re: this question is generally 'well, if you count most of the stuff I have to read on my course as evil, YES.' The longer, proper answer is of course it's not. Christianity has a rich mythology that is woven into my society and hopefully as we get more multicultural other religions will seep into secular life as well. I don't mean the barmy aspects, but anthropologically they're fascinating.

However.

I've made friends with this girl who's quite a bit younger than me, a friendship based on a shared interest in a series of books. Let's call her L. L recently lost a friend--a 67-year-old friend of the family. This is, of course, very sad.

She put on her Facebook feed that she felt horrible because she and her mother had prayed for his salvation for seven years but despite their best efforts he had died 'without knowing the Lord.'

...

So, in essence, he didn't go with her beliefs and she thinks he's gone to Hell now.

...

In this case, religion is pretty fucking evil. Her mother apparently bans her from reading Harry Potter because it's Satanic, and has homeschooled her for more than half her life. And she has taught her daughter to not accept any else's beliefs--in fact, try and actively change them--and as a consequence her daughter is confused and thinks this person is in Hell because he dared not to be a Christian.

I've had Christians try and 'save' me before. I was once told 'Omigosh, I feel so sorry for you!' when I said I was an atheist. I don't want pity or sympathy. I want respect for my beliefs. I can't make myself believe God exists any more than I can accept vampires exist.

People like my friends Cat and Hannah, my Dad: they're Christian and they don't try and convert me. We can have a religious debate without them saying 'oh, but you're going to go to HELL!'. The closest we've ever gotten is when I initiated a discussion with my father and asked 'so, if you think me, Mum and Fiona are going to Hell and you'll be in Heaven, doesn't that kind of negate the 'eternal bliss' argument?' He shrugged and said 'I make friends easily.'

It was hard to know what to put on that Facebook post. Obviously, I'm sorry for her loss, but her 'main concern' was so horrifically offensive to me I wanted to let her know. But death isn't the best time to argue with someone--and her mother's beliefs make me want to shudder. I want to be there for her so if she ever decides she's not okay with the tenets of the specific brand of Christianity her mother has set down--and she's indicated as much--she has someone to talk to. But I won't look down on her for her faith.

As an atheist, some people expect you to take every chance to shit on the head of organised religion. That is not my style. I try and respect people for their religious beliefs, and yeah, it's a struggle sometimes.

In the end I just said 'I'm sorry for your loss.' Because saying just how offended I was would have helped absolutely nobody.

Tags:

I am half-sick of shadows

I'm pretty pissed off today because, once again, I didn't get into the GMTG show. YOU APPEARED TO LIKE MY AUDITION, IN FACT YOU SAID 'WOW' AFTER IT. PLEASE TO BE EXPLAINING WHY I DIDN'T GET IN. AGAIN.

*sighs* I have issues re: GMTG.

So here's a post about exams that I have taken. To be filled in as and when I get any inspiration.

SATS, YEAR 6

I didn't get on with my teacher in Year Six. She never seemed to take to me, either. I was bright and she refused to believe she was ever wrong. If she spelt something incorrectly on the board and I pointed it, it was dictionaries at dawn.

If you're American, you may not know what English SATS are. For one, we pronounce them 'sats', not 'ess ay tees'. The ones in year six (when you're 10/11) are essentially to measure your school's progress, not yours.

Of course, the teachers didn't tell us this. They were flame-eyed harpies, screeching at the end of every day "REMEMBER YOU HAVE TO REVISE FOR YOUR SATS!" I didn't even know what revision was. The amount of homework we got was something like 'draw a map of your house' once a week.
I didn't do any revision because my Mum was drilling me in practice papers for the eleven-plus exam. I didn't get on with anyone at school and definitely didn't want to go to the comprehensive; passing the entrance exams of Hollygirt (private school, won a scholarship but they all seemed a bit thick) Nottingham Girls High (passed the exam, didn't pass the interview) and KGGS (went there) seemed a better choice for me. They told me that these were the exams I had to pass.

The English paper we did annoyed me. There were three questions, but we'd recently learnt how to write a letter--our teacher told us we had to do the question on letter-writing. I would have much preferred to write a 'typical fairytale' or a play about a missing coin.

My defining image of the SATS is me labouring over a maths paper later in the afternoon, knowing it didn't really matter how I did, and watching my misshapen good luck charm my Dad had got me. My teacher coughed as she walked around the room, and let her hand slide over a question of mine. I frowned, and ignored it.

Later, I found out what she'd done was illegal; not that much later, either, as I went home and ranted to my mother about the injustice of not being allowed to write something fun and she kept messing up my maths by distracting me. Mrs. Andreoli took every chance she could to glare daggers at me after that.

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