Feminism, Fangirls and the Fandom

feminism fangirls fandom

I am a really big advocate of all things fandom. I love to be a fan, and I love to talk to other fans, and I love fanfic. In short: I love being excited about things! I didn’t always know what fandom was – for me now, being active in the fandom is not just liking something, but liking something and connecting with other people about it. (Probably over the internet, but not necessarily.)

Fandom has not just been about discovering the community. It’s more than the actual fandoms themselves: although I’m pretty new to everything, it’s essentially been my doorway into learning more about feminism and diversity and current issues. It’s really interesting to look at the demographics of the fandom in comparison to that of the characters in fanworks.

Personally, I feel as though the fandom – through the way I experience it – is largely women. But I often see articles saying talking about being a girl geek as though we’re in a minority? Maybe this used to be more true; I’m not sure. (And sadly I don’t have a TARDIS.) Is a fangirl different to a fan or a geek or a nerd? I don’t feel like it should be, but in my mind it’s more closely linked with someone…kind of like Cath Avery. And also maybe like me. I thought this was just my brain, but it seems like it’s true that the creators of fanworks (I’m kind of using this to talk about fanfic, art, edits, podfic, all that kind of thing) are mostly female.

The gender disparity is really, really wide when it comes to fanwork creation. It’s quite unusual for me to see a fanartist, writer, or blogger who isn’t female. I mean, It’s difficult for me to talk about fandom as an entire entity because at it is essentially ‘I like something and I participate on the internet about it’, and I am definitely not capable of collecting statistics for the entire internet. But as someone young and new in the fandom, the concept of ‘fan’ as a male role bemuses me because coming into the fandom in recent years I’ve never experienced it that way.

Do I think we shouldn’t call ourselves fangirls? For a while, I thought that it was kind of a negative term, but it can better to change those views than the actual word itself. Although some fans might get on your nerves, that’s not everyone! I find that in most part people who call fangirls stupid etc. don’t tend to be part of the fandom. I’m happy to call myself a fangirl. However, even within the fandom I think there’s negativity towards people who are quite fierce in their shipping. (Also: I keep trying to find a place to put this stat, but I haven’t found it yet. Apparently most slash shippers are LGBTQ+, which admittedly was not something I had thought. It feels like there’s an idea they’re mostly straight?)

Even as I say that the creators of the fandom are predominantly women, the subjects of their works are usually men. It’s a really strange relationship. Probably because it’s strange how mainstream media is populated by white men… I mean, fic is even more overwhelmingly male than actual published fiction. Fic is still remixing something already there, and what’s already there tends to be men.

I have a lot of strong feelings about fanfiction. I would happily give a fully PowerPoint-ed presentation explaining why it is an excellent thing. There’s this idea that it’s all terrible and terribly written, and whilst there are some maybe less good examples, they’re not the only fics out there. There are also trashy books, in case you hadn’t noticed. (I like some fics more than books. I admit it.) And one of the things that I enjoy the most about fic is the diversity, because I kind of end up wanting everyone to be queer and that can definitely happen in fic.

The spectrum of diversity and representation in fandom is really varied. In canon queer elements tend to stay in subtext a lot; even though there’s starting to be more representation of LGBTQ+ characters and same-sex relationships in mainstream media, it’s still not…that much. Whereas most fanfiction on AO3 features a non-straight couple.

RETURNING TO MY POINT. I love fanfiction because people write pieces that are both diverse and well-written. You can find awesome fics about queer characters that both a) don’t erase their queerness or struggles and b) have excellent plots and writing. can we have this in books as well pls Or you can even write it yourself! But, I mean, whilst fic can have a really diverse cast in relation to sexualities, there are less fics with characters who are any gender other than male. If you go into the Archive of Our Own tags and plug the numbers into a calculator, the ratio of f/f to m/m is about 2:15. Which is a lot. There was a great conversation on Twitter about LGBTQ+ characters in YA fiction and the media — about the fetishization of m/n/, and the lack of f/f — which is also very true for fanfiction. And here is another post about queer girls as a cautionary tale in literature, including some stuff about the fandom. Fic isn’t without its problems.

I love the fandom. I am ever-grateful to it. It would be nice if fanfiction and books could help each other out over a nice cup of tea — the only way to do it, darling — and then I can find even more things to be excited about than before.

Why I Am Happy to Be Alive Right Now

happy to be alive

As the pretentious man in the informative video on teenagers we watched in Year 7 will tell you: “Teen emotions are a rollercoaster”.

Gru is me.
Gru is me.

My thoughts at the time were something like ‘Uh huh. I am definitely believing you right now, pretentious man making faux sympathetic faces and pretending to know what it is like. Your word is the law.’ I think now that it actually wasn’t a terrible analogy, though. I have no idea if it gets better or worse as you move into the ages that *gasps* start with a 2 (and a 3, and a 4, etc.) but it feels quite apt for me.

I’m a complete yo-yo when it comes to feelings. One small thing can set off a crazy living nightmare sequence that hurts whenever I think about it. And one small thing can make me impossibly and indescribably happy.

We’re supposed to be the internet generation. The ones with the concentration of a goldfish who can’t do anything except take selfies and whine about homework. I think we’ve definitely grown up in a different environment to our parents, sure, but it doesn’t feel all doom and gloom to me?

I feel so lucky to be alive right now to steal a line from a musical making me indescribably happy at this moment in time. There are definitely a lot of issues right now that weren’t as prominent a few decades ago, but I think we’re so much more well-equipped to deal with them. I FEEL HOPEFUL FOR THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY.

We are not just the concentration-of-a-goldfish, selfie-taking generation. We’re supposed to be less happy than we were 30 years ago, but…having lived now, there’s no way I’d jump in the TARDIS to live back then. (Pfft, the 80s. Practically ancient history.) The world isn’t all problem-free, but here and now I have so many fabulous things like young adult fiction, for one. WAHT WOULD I DO WITHOUT ALL MY YA?!? I think young people are way more accepting than older generations. I think many of us feel strongly about equality. I’m super grateful to the internet for ruining my life introducing me to a ton of books and fandoms and writing poetry, but it’s also educated me so much on actual more serious things. (That’s not to say social media *coughs*tumblr*coughs* is always right. Information is just a lot more easily accessible than it used to be.)

Sometimes, people tell me that I shouldn’t be relying so much on books for my happiness. I totally get that they’re not, like, living and breathing people you can talk to, but if they make me happy then…WHY NOT? It’s not hurting me, and it’s not hurting anyone else. (I mean, I might have slightly damaged my friend’s ears with screaming from Carry On. But that was only temporary.) When I’m feeling upset of anxious, I will honestly just sit down somewhere quiet and go listen to something like a podfic. The world feels a lot less terrible when ridiculous scenarios are being read into your ear.

I am just very in love with people and books and the world. I’m so happy to be able to experience all the things I love. It can be hard to remember that, but when I do feel good — when I read writing so breathtaking that I maybe actually forget how to breathe, or I hear an fabulous song, or I have the loveliest conversation with someone — it seems like I couldn’t possibly think anything else.

(By the way, this post is part of The you can spell this right Eve Happiness Project started by Sydney @ Love, Sydney. I thought for a while that I might not be very qualified to write it, because I don’t exactly feel amazing all the time, but thinking about all the things that make me happy ACTUALLY MADE ME VERY HAPPY. 😛 You can check out the other posts in the link-up here.)

“I Want To Be a Writer.”

i want to be a writer

If you look on my social media profiles and whatnot, you might spot that the word ‘writer’ usually features. I mean, technically I don’t yet have a cohesive and linear novel *coughs*Ineedtostopprocrastinating*coughs* but I like to mess around with words. Somewhere along the way I assumed the title of writer. I like it. I like to call myself a writer. General public opinion of writers seems to be that they are be mythical, sleep-deprived & manic tea and/or coffee drinkers, which suits me just fine. 😉

I don’t ever introduce myself as a writer. I don’t even really discuss it in face-to-face conversations, like, at all. I see people who have brainstormed awesome things with their writer friends and it makes me wonder if I’m missing something. Am I missing something? I guess I don’t know.

I mean, I wouldn’t introduce myself as a writer, because most teenagers don’t announce themselves as their profession when you meet them. (In my experience. Maybe in the far reaches of not-my-one-school this is a thing??) But back in my wee days of primary school, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ was a pretty standard playground question. I said wanted to be a cat breeder. I think that says it all, really. 😛

Jokes aside, I also often said that I wanted to be a writer. Whilst it was true that I didn’t have a cohesive, linear novel then either – um, I really doubt I wrote anything actually longer than about a thousand words – I feel like it was more okay to say that then. I was far more confident about professing my love of books and stardust and magical worlds. Adults probably shared knowing looks but, whatever; I either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

Ah, the days of that. Now career choices are actually looming and I’m terrified. I don’t know what I want to do. I like writing – enough to call myself a writer – but I know some people don’t think it’s a proper goal. That it’s too difficult.

I know writing is super hard! I get this! I am the one doing it, after all. I understand that getting published is difficult and being successful even more so. I am 100% okay with writing on the side of something else, in the cracks. I do that right now. (Well, I at least try to.) I’m a bit of a Cath; I could see myself just spending uni writing and hoping I can write for another for years after that. Or not. Writing is pretty solitary. Mystical. Like a lone unicorn. BEHOLD MY MANE

Someday I’m going to write a book, and some people will read it. That’s the one thing in my future that I’m sure I’m going to make happen. What I love about it is that it’s something you can work at; I don’t know, I feel like a lot of opinions are based on whether you have ‘talent’ at, like, 14. Maybe there’s a certain amount of inner love for words, and to me, when I read blogs, it reads as if some people just have a natural eloquence, but you can improve. As long as you love writing, you can write. You aren’t – pardon the pun, hehe – written off just because you aren’t good at waffling about a literary device.

So I don’t say that I’m a writer very much in face-to-face conversation anymore. I’m not very good at navigating rocky conversational waters. I tell people that I have no plans for the future – which is mostly accurate – and then we move on. I breathe a sigh of relief. (That is, until the subject returns 24 hours later.)

Take Note, Muggles | Wizarding v Muggle Issues

take note muggles british wizarding issues

I’ve got to admit it, if I found a wormhole to Hogwarts I would totally go. IT’S FREAKING HOGWARTS. However, outside of my flailing-and-desperate-checking-the-post-for-my-Hogwarts-letter, I do have some Actual Real Problems with the wizarding world. And I realised that most of them had something in common: they’re also actual problems that I have with British society today.

So! I present to you a list of some of the difficulties of the wizarding world that occur throughout and beyond the HP books, and how they’re actually pretty relevant. (Mostly to Britain, because that’s where I live, but you don’t at all need to have an in-depth knowledge of British politics. *looks down at self and coughs* They’re pretty broad ideas.)

The government is corrupt. Hurrah. The system is a villain.

Aside from the Death Eaters taking over the government for a teensy while, the Ministry isn’t that bad. There are lots of worse fictional examples. See an annual televised fight to the death.

yay hunger games

But: Umbridge. Umbridge. There are people who like Draco and Snape and Voldemort, but to be honest, I’ve never seen anyone who likes Umbridge. (Let’s face it, she is the scariest character.) Whereas Voldemort is the Big Bad Villain to be Defeated In Battle By The Good and Pure Hero, I think Umbridge is more frightening because her brand of fear is more real. Plenty of people have been caught out by the system which is supposed to protect them – I mean, the law isn’t perfect. Though I’m not saying that, like, the entire government is corrupt, many people of high status (and wealth) get away with nasty stuff. There is still a ton of prejudice and bias – heck, Parliament isn’t even all that representative of the people. At least 20 MPs – out of 650 – were educated at Eton, and there’s no way you can tell me that’s proportional. I just feel like we were really screwed by the 2015 election. Ugh. The seats did not at all correlate to the percentage of votes so maybe the voting system actually needs to change??? Speaking of which:

The education system revolves around tests and, frankly, it sucks.

Okay, this is another Umbridge thing that thankfully was resolved after The Order of the Pheonix. I find it interesting how the Ministry’s reach for more testing and less practical work was kind of villainised by JK Rowling, because that’s pretty much what’s happening now in the UK. Our children are doing worse compared to the rest of Europe? Give them tests from age 5! Get rid of coursework! Let them spend another hour in the exam hall defining their future with their ability to use keywords from a mark scheme!

I really dislike the current education system. Learning shouldn’t be something that make you sick with anxiety. I mean, I get that I’m going to have to work but it’s not learning that I inherently dislike. I enjoy gaining new skills. But you know what? Not everyone works well in exams, and that doesn’t mean they aren’t clever. Likewise, there are plenty of occupations that can’t be prepared for simply with written work. You can’t learn everything from textbook. :/

People cannot be categorised with a word.

Just. GET RID OF HOUSE STEREOTYPES. Please.

I dislike what the Houses have become. Sorting people based on qualities they value makes sense, right? You’re probably going to achieve more and be happier. What I feel the Houses often become is a sorting of people based on their personality.

It’s so difficult to box people up into four different types. There’s always dissent about Sorting of fictional characters, and if you think about Sorting your friends or even yourself into Houses…it’s pretty hard. We all have different facets. We are not defined by one trait. And we certainly don’t remain 11-year-old self for the rest of our lives. (What, people change? *gasps* -_-)

The HP books almost exclusively from the viewpoint of a Gryffindor, which means that a lot of stereotypes are perpetuated. Gryffindor not the only House worth being in. (Or a bit of Slytherin if you like villains.) Gryffindors are not all awesome. As this excellent Tumblr post says: Cedric Diggory did not die for all the good Harry potter merch to be Gryffindor and Slytherin.
This is not okay. ALL HOUSES MATTER. Hufflepuff is NOT the freaking potato house. Not all Slytherins are evil. Ravenclaws have actual personalities beyond intelligence. Gryffindors are not always the heroes. (Another nice post about this.) Many people could probably fit into more than one house. You have choice.

I know that you can be moulded by the people you surround yourself with. I don’t want that to happen to all the ickle new first years. (Though! Non-Hogwarts schools also yessss.) So many stereotypes exist around us, sometimes based on things that aren’t even our choice. They need to go.

Prejudice? Stereotypes? Yeah, I’m not done with this.

I don’t feel that strongly about Snape but I absolutely do not forgive him for Lupin. Lupin was awesome, and also he was an awesome teacher. He’s the teacher we all wish we had. Obviously he is not?? a? danger????

In my opinion, Potter isn’t that good at diversity. I mean, plenty of fans write and draw and imagine it diverse, using the relative freedom it gives, which is super nice, but. It’s so widely read that I felt such a difference could have been made. Instead…yeah.

But I think we can probably agree that Lupin definitely didn’t need to leave, and the prejudice against werewolves is not cool. Prejudice is not cool, full stop.

Is loss of free will equal to loss of life?

Ah, the 3 Unforgivable curses. You probably know them I find it fascinating that those three were chosen to be Unforgivable – with punishment as a life sentence Azkaban – because most people rank Avada Kedavra as the worst, then Cruciatus, and finally Imperio. Why did Rowling choose to make crimes different in the eyes of many the same in the wizarding world? Should using Imperio get the same punishment as Avada Kedavra? Okay, this isn’t a problem per se, but I find it interesting JK Rowling chose it to be this way.

This thing about the Chosen One. What.

The concept of a Chosen One is strange. I just…do they start off like that? Hell, why is one person even chosen to be more special than the others? It just feels weird to me. It’s used in so many texts yet I feel like that one person is so removed. It sounds pretty lonely. Where are the effect? In this moment of promotion for my favourite mages, I present to you a reason why I am HELLA EXCITED FOR CARRY ON. Exploration of this yesss.

In conclusion, I have found that complaining whilst listening to the Harry Potter soundtrack is a great way to pass the time. *coughs* Ahem. What do you guys think of issues in books and issues today? Do you know your Hogwarts House?

I’m collecting my blog survey results soon – thank you so much for all your responses so far! – so if you haven’t already filled it out, this is a pretty great chance to make my blog more awesome. 😉 It will only take up a tiny portion of your internet browsing time, I promise!

In a Land of Myth and a Time of Magic

land of myth

(Don’t tell me that you don’t sing along to the opening sequence of your favourite TV shows. THAT’S THE PURPOSE OF THE OPENING SEQUENCE, DUH.)

I’m not a big TV watcher. I know pretty much nothing about TV shows that haven’t either a) been shown on TV at a reasonable hour within the last 3 years or b) are on Netflix. Or in the library. It’s not good at all. HOWEVER! I like a good bit of Saturday night TV, and the Great British Bake-off is usually the highlight of my week. Oh goodness I can’t wait for August to arrive.

morgana2

Yes. I watched Merlin. I mean, looking back on it now, maybe a lot of it was badly written and the jokes were repetitive and awful but ALSO it had magic and dragons and a lot of things that I like. Merlin was probably the first fandom of younger me. You can probably imagine my sadness/extreme anger at it ending and being replaced by Atlantis.

Atlantis was not a good show, in my opinion. I watched a couple of episodes, ’cause, hey, the first two series of Merlin were also pretty bad, but: nope. Mainly, I disliked the characters, whose main problems were that they had no character. I apologise deeply to fans who were upset at its cancellation (I really do feel you) but personally I’m kinda…glad for the opening?

The BBC sucks at representation. Sherlock is an awful example of queerbaiting. All the ‘bigger’ shows – hmm, Robin Hood, Merlin, Atlantis, Sherlock, Doctor Who – are led by (canonically) straight white men.

*smashes keyboard* It’s not that I inherently dislike the plot of these shows. (Except maybe in the case of Atlantis. And slightly Robin Hood, because that also wasn’t very good.) It just pisses me off that there are a ton of great female-led shows in America like Once Upon a Time and Agent Carter but the BBC still can’t bring itself to have any female leads in action/sci-fi/fantasy. Atlantis didn’t at all have to be male-led. I love Peter Capaldi, I do, but the role of the Doctor is such a good opportunity for diversity of any kind yet still nothing. A lot of the female characters are also kind of…the same? Badass girls are awesome, but, like, sometimes they also need to have different characters.

There hasn’t been a sign yet of Atlantis’ replacement. There was a run of Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell, a novel adaptation, but that was brief and from what I can see I don’t think anything has changed.

Well. I’m interested to see the new show, if there is one.

morgana1

Do you have any TV shows to recommend that aren’t stuck in the land of myth? Been to the cinema lately? A fellow Merlin fan? LET ME KNOW. 🙂

Framing My Life?

Framing my life

I wear glasses. I have done since I was 3. Although I know some people do, I don’t hate them – I kinda like the way they look on my face. (Except when they slide down. But that’s mostly because of my greasy nose.)

Sometimes I do wonder, though, if I would have turned out any differently if I didn’t wear them.

Obviously, I know what glasses should not be a personality trait. They’re just a problem with my eyes. Yet I can’t help but notice that the majority of the glasses-wearers in my year at school are in my friendship group – and many of the ones who aren’t wear contacts instead. It makes me feel a little ashamed of these glasses that I really do quite like. It makes me want to throw them across the room and pick up a packet of those expensive jelly things and stuff them in my eyes as fast as I can.

Well, not really. Although I can see how contact lenses would be useful, and I’ll probably try them sometime, I don’t see them as something I would wear constantly. Glasses might be restrictive in a surprising number of way: eating spaghetti, rain, steamy bathrooms, losing them/losing things, roller coasters, taking photos (and photos of said glasses), swimming and such, but I’m used to it. I get that those are very trivial things compared to what it could be, but still. If you want to get rid of them, you gotta pay.

The things that gets me most though are the – dare I say – ‘negative’ connotations that come with these frames: nerdy, awkward, uncool etc. Unfortunately, that’s still the way that they seem to be portrayed in many fictional works, and it’s just made worse because I am. I do like reading and writing and all of that. I wouldn’t want to change myself. It’s simply that…I wonder.

What if I hadn’t been born with eyes like this? Would I still be who I am today? After all, glasses weren’t uncool in Reception. People asked to try them on a lot, with all the ‘how many fingers am I holding up?’ majazz. (By the way, never ask that. It’s bloody irritating once you pass the point of primary school, okay?)

I suppose that glasses aren’t important in the grand scheme of things. (After all, bad eyesight seems to have completely disappeared from fantasy and dystopian novels that aren’t Harry Potter.) I don’t know. I guess that it’s just that…I’d like the stigma to go. And, as ever, I’m still wondering.

7 British Words (That Aren’t ‘Bloody’)

British words that aren't bloody

(WordPress is really not liking me at the moment. I hope this posts. Otherwise, come over to my actual blog page and view everything from there.)

I am tired of ‘bloody’ and ‘mate’ being the only words used to identify a person with a British accent in books. I hate to tell you, but there are actually other accents in Britain and not all of us drink tea. As such, I have a compiled a* list of words used by a knowledgeable Londoner such as myself, which authors should endeavour to use in their writing.

*(not entirely serious)

1. Naff Ooh, I’m feeling quite urban here, aren’t I? Naff is a curious word which means the opposite of tasteful, but not the same as distasteful. Synonyms include gaudy, trashy, a large proportion of Camden market.

2. Term I know I’ve said this before, but THE AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM IS VERY CONFUSING. (And maybe other places too. I haven’t read enough books to make judgements, really.) In this wonderful country, we have three terms instead of, like, two semesters, or whatever they have across they have across the Atlantic. I’m not really sure.

3. Converse It took me several re-reads and a film to discover that when Hazel Grace wears Chuck Taylors, she means converse. I just call all of those shoes converse, even if they’re actually £4.99 fakes from Primark.

4. Nick Something that will happen to your Liberty bag if you leave it on the bus, i.e. get stolen.

5. Train Do they even have much public transport in America? Characters seem to drive or fly everywhere. I know the USA is crazy big, but I managed to take an 8 hour train from London to Aberdeen. (On which I left my pencil case and books, by the way. Never going on it again.) And, just to confuse everyone, you’ve got the Tube and the Underground and the Overground and the Eurostar and the DLR. Fun times.

6. Shops Yes, I am going shopping to the shopping centre to visit the bookshop. IT’S IN THE VERB.

7. Lessons Because school does not deserve to be classy.

Oh, and one more: “Isn’t it just chucking it down?”

Dear authors, I hope you have taken note and will do your best to include these in your next novel, undoubtedly set on this glorious island of ours. Old chaps, thank you for reading, and cheerio; for those fellow Britons of mine, are there any I have missed out?

My Hero Monday: Nimona

my hero monday This month, I’m starting with something a little different – I’ve decided to participate in Chloe @ The Book Hugger’s My Hero Monday linkup! My Hero Monday celebrates female heroes in our society. This month, we had a free topic, so I decided to go with Nimona from my the webcomic Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. nimona cover

Nimona

When did I first hear about her? Nimona is the protagonist of the fantasy-scifi-monkpunk-I-don’t-even-know-what-genre webcomic Nimona, which I literally cannot recommend enough. (Especially since it’s finished now, so you don’t have to go through the agony of waiting for updates.) I was introduced to Nimona by a friend around a year ago, and have been completely hooked on it ever since. It’s written and drawn by Noelle Stevenson, who also writes The Lumberjanes, contributes to Wander Over Yonder and even drew the illustrations for Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. What makes her one of my heroes? Nimona is an an awesome character for a lot of reasons.

  • Nimona is a shapeshifter. She could look like anything she wants. In a world where the media tell us that we should be skinny if we can, Nimona doesn’t – and she’s still awesome. She is still beautiful, and I think that it’s great she has started to show a greater diversity in comics and books. (In fact, the characters in the comic who most fit society’s norms are probably the guys.) And she also has the best hair, which changes colour quite frequently
  • She’s also a really strong heroine; she’s way more villainous than the supposed villain, Ballister Blackheart, who is basically just a big softie. She’s impulsive, fierce, and she doesn’t ever wait around to get saved (she does most of the saving herself). However, when I say ‘strong’ heroine, I don’t just mean kick-ass, because that’s not just what I want: I want shy heroines too, and clever heroines, and heroines who sometimes make the wrong decisions. I want well-crafted and flawed characters. Nimona has flaws, too, and I really like that she isn’t just a two-dimensional character.
nimona goldenloin
Goldenloin, who runs like an idiot.
  • There’s absolutely no romance between her and the male lead, Ballister. They have a great friendship instead! There is some romance, between Ballister and Goldenloin (yep, I promise that’s his name) but I feel like a romance between Nimona and Ballister would have been really awkward. And wrong. So I’m just glad, for once, that there’s no romance for the protagonist.
  • She’s had a dark past, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of stuff (mostly). I really admire how she overcomes things.
  • She has the best way of playing Monopoly ever:

Nimona comic, copyright Noelle Stevenson So, those are the reasons my Nimona is my hero. If you haven’t already read the webcomic, then hopefully this has persuaded you to do so! Be sure to check out Chloe’s blog, and be on the look out for more MHM posts. I really enjoyed participating, so hopefully I’ll remember to do it next month! All of the images used are credit to Noelle Stevenson.

Worry About Weight is Stupid, Right?

This is not something that I ever thought I would be talking about – it’s one of those things that I’ve locked up in my never-to-be-mentioned box, you know? But I’m feeling okay at the moment and I think that right now might be a good time to take it out again.

I never thought that I would be someone who would worry about weight. I still don’t really consider to have worried – I don’t know, it’s just a scary thing to label something. It’s just a thing that happened to me, and it wasn’t even that big an event. I never did anything because I was too scared.

You see, when I was younger I didn’t have a lot of self confidence. I started getting spots from around the age of 10, when the majority of my friends still had very clear skin. I briefly turned to makeup, but even then there were people in videos telling me that I shouldn’t have to use makeup because I had perfect skin. I didn’t. I also became quite self-conscious about weight about a year later, when I was 11.

I feel so guilty for spending that summer swinging my legs under the desk because I thought it would burn calories and jumping up and down in the evenings. I feel bad that I have given in to the media and expectations. I don’t know if I should feel guilty at all, because I never acted on the voices inside of me. Yes, when I read warning tales like Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, I kind of secretly admired the heroine, but I never did anything. I don’t know if that makes it better of worse.

To be honest, I don’t really know anything. I don’t want other people to feel that way at such a young age (and I’m so young even now to be thinking about this). I don’t want my friend to eat almost nothing for lunch after skipping breakfast. Me? At the moment, I feel alright about myself, but when I wrote the first draft of this post a month and a half ago I was not alright. It was a post full of self-hate and it hurts to read it. I know that the doubt is still within me somewhere, however hard I try to erase it.

I used to think that worrying about weight was stupid and that I was invincible. I know that I’m not. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with my experiences, because my feelings are so complicated that it’s trying to sort out grains of sand. I guess I can just tell people and hope that they find something they recognise…?

What Do People Think of my Name?

Names; Blank Pages
I’m in the process of choosing a character name – I guess I’ve sort of got out of my writer’s block now – but I keep getting backtracked and musing about names instead. Names are fascinating. Certain names don’t seem to go with certain personalities, but then you think ‘What they were called that?’ because names seem to have a mind of their own. They fit to their owner.

Whilst I was sitting in an empty carriage on this little train of thought, I started to wonder what people think of me and my name.

I don’t think my name describes me very well. When it is used on book characters on other people, it sounds different. On me, it sounds sort of…stodgy. Like plain mashed potato. Or plain pasta. Or basically anything plain.

My name feels like mine, but it doesn’t feel like me. As I said before, names change for their owner. The aura I get from one name in a book is not the aura I get from that girl in my class under the same name. I could be making this whole thing up, considering I’m looking at myself from I inside and not out. I’m not sure.

But I wonder what people think of my name. I wonder what people think of me, as person. I wonder…

Goodness me, this train of thought really has taken a detour. (And my computer is STILL out of action. Gah.)