Is It Ok To Not Feel Ok?

“It’s OK to not feel OK, right?”

She asks you this question, one day while you walk down the road. Unexpected, unprepared you hesitate and glance down. Wide innocent eyes that always reflected love and happiness now peer up at you with concern; deep in the emerald glow of her eyes was a pain you’d never known.

How do you respond to a question like this? Would you say, “Yes it’s ok to feel this way,” and quicken your pace, turn from the prying gaze and walk on feeling proud that you gave her the truth. It is OK to not feel OK, to not always be overcome with happiness and joy in that moment of life. Would you tell her it’s OK? But not seek further, not wonder why she would think of that question at all?

Or would you stop, turn to the young girl beside you and lay a hand on her shoulder. Would you meet her gaze with your own, letting her see the pain and worries that were buried deep within yourself like her? Would you kneel down so she could see them clearly? Would you smile to her gently and ask the simple question “How do you feel?”

It is easy to simply say, “Yes it’s OK” and continue on, to not pry into her mind and see why would she ask that. It is easy to walk on and block out what had happened, to take comfort in the fact that you mustered up the courage to answer her question and that that was enough.

It is not easy to face her question the way you should. It is not easy to stop what you are doing, bare your own insecurities to her so that she may she see she is not the only one struggling. It is not easy to meet her wondering eyes and ask her how she is feeling. It is not easy to listen as all the times she told you she was ‘fine’ ‘alright’ ‘good’ or ‘OK’ were just a lie.

It’s not easy to come to the realisation that you never knew. You never saw how she truly felt, never heard her cry at night into her pillow, never saw her blink away the tears at the dinner table, never noticed her.

Instead, you saw what you wanted, what she thought you needed to see. You saw the strong girl, who laughed and smiled, who was there for everyone else. Always the shoulder to learn on, always the one with the answers. You saw what you expected her to feel, and constantly you told her “I’m so proud of you” “You are so nice, so kind” “You’re a great friend” “You’re so strong”. Each word reaffirming your belief that she was OK.

But to her, those words were an instruction, an order to follow. “I’m so proud of you” as you are, don’t change now, stay like this for me. “You are so nice, so kind” don’t stop caring for me; I need it. “You’re a great friend,” listen to my troubles; help me with my issues. “You’re so strong,” I depend on you to stay like this, don’t get weak.

She was what you wanted. Strong, kind, caring, she was there for you. Helped you through everything. But all the while she had to hide how she truly was. And so she thought, I can’t be unhappy, I can’t be sad they won’t like that. I need to be strong.

See what you did? You made the girl believe that it was not OK to feel not OK. You taught her to hide her fears, her worry, and her pain. You taught her that the only ones who could feel it were you and that she had to be the strong one. She needed to be the one to take care of you. She wasn’t allowed to not be the girl you wanted because it would make you realize that she wasn’t perfect.

So I ask you now.

“Is it OK to feel not OK?”

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I Am A Writer

“If a story is in you, it has to come out” – William Faulkner

Writing is both a brave and terrifying thing. It stems from the ideas and imaginings of the author. Those can be extremely emotional, personal and difficult to create or they could be just random thoughts that pop into their mind. Whatever it is that you picture; if it has the potential to be something more. Make it something more.

I started writing when I was around thirteen after I’d delved into reading numerous books. Plots would form in my mind constantly and at first, I’d dismiss them, thinking I’d never be able to create anything from them. But one day I got curious and wanted to see what I could make from one of the ideas and so I sat down with an A4 notepad and a pen and just wrote. That’s it, no laptop or anything, I just wrote whatever I thought.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”
-Maya Angelou

At first, it was a bunch of ramblings, random thoughts and undeveloped plots but soon one expanded into a short chapter. A little piece of a tale about a girl searching for something. What? I never knew as she never found it. The short story ended with her walking away from the narrator.

I believe that all writers, whether they are new or experienced and published, want to get better and better. To improve their writing style and the depth of their plots. I know I do. I can look at past pieces I’ve written, not only years previous but even something I wrote a week or even hours earlier, and judge my writing abilities. My grammar could be better, my transitions from one scene to another could be smoother, my dialogue could be richer.

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff and gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say the most valuable traits is persistence.”
-Octavia Butler

There are many parts of my writing that I can improve on but the only way to improve is to continue to write. Though often writers go through long periods of time when the mere thought of writing is not desirable. Writing is often impulsive, when a thought hits you, like a light going off over your head and suddenly words are coming to you easily. This doesn’t alway happen and usually, it’s when I don’t feel the urge to write, when there are no powerful ideas going through my mind, that I find I can write the most.

“If I waited til I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.”
-Anne Tyler

I don’t think there is a way to define writing, a process to create the perfect writing style. It varies constantly, from person to person but also with different emotions. The way you feel about a topic you’re writing on manipulates the flow of the text. A writer uses their own emotions to help influence their work, to make it unique and their own.

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
– E.B White

No matter what or why you write, whether it’s because it’s for college or school, for your own personal view, or a novel for all to read, nothing beats that feeling you get when you write that one sentence, that one line that brings the whole text together and leaves you reeling in that fact that you did it. You wrote it. No one but you. And isn’t that the best feeling?

The Legend of Little Red

A little twist on the known fairy tale of Little Red Riding hood that I created for a module in University.

***

Don’t wear red, they’ll see you.”

There was a legend in Samantha’s town, an old myth of a girl who’d wandered into the lurking woods at night. She’d followed the narrow dirt path winding through the dense undergrowth towards her grandmother’s house. Clad in a crimson cloak, she stood out from the multiple shades of emerald, lime and moss green of nature and caught their attention. There was one little rule in her town. One simple and easily obeyed unwritten law; Never enter the forest at night.

That was when they hunted. They gathered in a large pack and tracked their prey for miles, hooked on the scent of flesh. They’d slink through the grass, dragging their coarse fur covered bellies over the muck to mask their scent as their moonlit glowing amber eyes tracked their quarry. They’d work together, converging on their meal, herding it to where the alpha waited. He would latch long sharp canines into its vulnerable throat. The bite would tear skin from bone, rip muscle from tendon, and send an arch of warm blood soaring through the air. The panicked prey wouldn’t have time to scream before its life ended.

Samantha knew the legend. The girl had gone against the rule in order to visit her sickly grandmother. She’d walked on, not hesitating at the sound of the whistling wind or paused when the wind was replaced by feral howls. She’d continued, even as a mysterious fog lingered close to the earth, blurring her way.

“They came for her, prowling behind her. Attracted by the bright red of her cloak, they edged nearer until it was too late for her. They say her screams could still be heard if any dared to venture there at night-.”

“You know you’re not funny right?” Samantha interrupted her friend’s story, as she strolled through that same place.

“It’s not a joke, Sam. The story is true,” Jack retorted, irritated on the other end of the line.

Ever since that night, many years ago before Samantha was born, other girls have ventured from their homes into the forest. It began as a dare. Once every few years, a girl would be challenged to spend the night in the same area that ‘Little Red’, as the town now called her, had died. Over the years, some girls had gone missing. Each had been clad in red, as was the tradition of the game. Killed by the same beasts that took ‘Little Red’. This year it was Samantha’s turn.

“And I’m going to prove that it’s not.” She traced her fingers along a sapling. “It’s only a stupid fairy tale.”

Jack sighed and Samantha could envision him shaking his head. “You should come home. Forget about the bet.”

“Relax,” she drawled, tilting her head back to see that the blue sky that was visible through gaps in the tree limbs had darkened, giving off a murky illusion. “It’s almost night. I’m not giving up now.”

“Still-.”

Jack’s voice was cut off by a loud, static crackling. Samantha winced pulling the device from her ear. Staring at the small screen, she frowned when it displayed there was no reception. She’d wandered this path many times in the daylight and always had enough coverage on her phone to take a call.

Slowing to a stop, Samantha tapped her screen intending to call Jack. But as she pushedthe green button, her device went black. Blinking, she furrowed her brows and shook it as if that would sort the issue. Nothing.

“Stupid old phone,” she huffed, stuffing it into her jeans. She crammed her hands into the pockets of her baggy red jumper. The hood was up over her head in case any low flying bird decided to drop a little bomb on her. It had happened numerous times before.

Samantha spotted many little birds swooping beneath the oaks and hawthorns to dive into the thick leaves to perch on wooden arms. Some were hopping back into their nests for the night. A small brown blur scaled the birch next to her. She stared at the furry tailed squirrel as it darted into a hole in the tree.

The dirt path curved out of sight, shrouded by shadows and the approaching night. Lingering in place, she scanned the once colourful grove. Now, it appeared like a mass of grey in the growing darkness. Low hanging branches resembled misshapen claws stretching down to scratch her skin. Stepping away from them caused something to snap beneath her feet. The audible crunch echoed like a breaking bone. Samantha tensed. She clamped a hand over her mouth and she glanced down. The shattered remains of a twig laid beneath her foot. Samantha had to squint in order to focus on it for there was a white mist licking at her feet. The fog crept forward as a low haunting whistle sounded around her.

“Just the wind,” she mumbled as the foliage swayed to an invisible beat, reaching for her. “Just the wind.”

Wrapping her arms around her waist, Samantha stepped in the direction of the vanishing route. It looked as if it were being devoured by the shadows. She continued on, the vapour trailing after her, closing in on either side of her. It slithered from the undergrowth as if they had gaping mouths that oozed the white smoke.

Samantha used the tree trunks as guideposts as she walked on. She pressed her palms into the bark, feeling the ridges nip at her skin. On one of them, however, something softer than wood caressed her skin. Samantha tugged it from where it was stuck and rubbed it between her fingers. Thicker than hair, it was coarse between in her hands. And short. The tufts of fur fell to the earth. To the side of her came a light clicking noise. A stick breaking. The bushes rippled by her. Something was moving them. It wasn’t the wind.

A low howl drifted to her as the trees groaned and all the chatter of wildlife deepened to a collective growl. She shivered and looked around. Orange eyes reflected back at her. The way was invisible beneath her feet now. The fog thickened and danced up along her legs. One foot after another, her pace quickened to a jog. As if to mock her further, the branches pushed lower to snag at her clothes.

The rustling of the underbrush was a sign. It was following her.  The vegetation around her creaked. The sound echoed as if nails were gnashing into the wood. She jumped, feeling something tug on her jumper. She never saw it. The hollow hole in the ground was shielded by the mist. Her foot slipped into it, and she stumbled, her ankle twisting beneath her weight. She crashed against a large hawthorn before falling to the earth where rocks and twigs scraped her. Her teeth jarred together, cutting into the inside of her cheek. She coughed, spewing out saliva and blood as the taste of iron kissed her tongue.

Samantha remained sprawled as another howl echoed around her. Her palms stung from the small slashes when she pressed them against the dirt. A soft material tickled her fingertips and she grasped it. Silk slid through her hands until something round pressed into her palm. In the darkness, she couldn’t see it. Tracing it, Samantha could make out the indent of a name. Jane. Gritted substances flaked as she pushed her thumb against the name. The feeling reminded her of peeling old dried blood from a cut.

Stumbling to her feet, she ran through the wilderness, her hood falling back. She pushed into the thick underbrush and raced on. Vines caught on her hoodie, brambles tugged at the material and with some jerky movements, Samantha ripped the jumper off and continued to charge on. Now with her skin bared, the woodland freely scratched at her, drawing blood.

She could hear them. More than one trampling through the undergrowth after her. She ran, so they gave chase. Heavy paws thumped against the floor, crunching the leaves and sprigs as they went. Pairs of glowing amber eyes wavered in and out of the darkness. She could feel them near as she tried to evade them. Her chest burned with each stuttering breath she took along with the stinging pain that pulsed in her side with each step she forced her body to make. Her hair clung to her face. Sweat dripped down her skin and stung her open wounds. The world blurred from her watering eyes. The pain in her chest laced up to her throat as it throbbed. Her panting breath sounded like screams in her ears. Samantha’s legs trembled, threatening to buckle beneath her as she raced on.

As she twisted around trees and ducked beneath reaching vines, the jagged bark bit into her palms, splintering her. Samantha skidded to a halt in a clearing. The moon gleamed down on the grass, highlighting a figure. There was someone there. Inhaling, Samantha was slammed to the earth before she could cry for help. The heavy weight on her back vanished. Samantha choked, flopping onto her side to regain her breath. She scurried to her feet and stared.

He stood there. She knew him. She’d known him since she was a child. With his freckled face and round cheeks, she knew it was him. At his side, sat a dark dog, with thick fur. Sensing her stare, the dog bared his teeth showing off sharp fangs glistening with saliva.

“Jac-.”

“I told you go home,” Jack spoke lowly. The large dog stuck close to his side as he stepped closer. Samantha backed away. He raised his hand. A large mask with pointed ears and a snout covered his face. Amber eyes now watched her.  “I told you.”

Arms latched around her neck from behind. A clammy hand slapped over her mouth as the other gripped her throat. Samantha’s scream was silenced.

Header image from google images

What is TESOL?

TESOL is a module that I am studying in University. It stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. It is a 3 part course that is taken in the second semester of third year (this semester) and the two semesters of fourth year. TESOL is a very interesting and insightful class to take though I am finding it quite difficult.

There is a large intake of theory provided in each two hour lecture. I’ve learned about the past practices of language teaching throughout history, such as Grammar Translation (GTM) which was introduced in the 19th century. It is also known as the ‘classical method’ or the ‘Prussian method’ of language teaching. The main aim of this method was to be able to read high culture literature of the target language. Due to this it focused on written abilities rather than oral communication. 

what is tesolOn top of that we are learning all about word classes of the English language and Phonemes. Phonemics is related to the study of sounds of a particular language. Seen in the screenshot to the side are the phonemes linked to the English language. This is just an example of a few, there are many more to learn. This is the main aspect of the module that I am finding difficult to grasp. Both trying to memorise the different symbols for the sound and learning the sounds itself.

As an Irish person, the type of English I speak is known as Irish English. This means there are many words and phrases that I say differently than someone speaking British English or American English. Therefore when learning the phonemes of the language I must change the way I speak them to be like that of British English for teaching. This is different for me and doing it can be tricky to accomplish.

TESOL provides opportunities of working abroad for those who complete the course and get the certificate at the end of fourth year. 

*Featured Image taken from HERE Screenshot image taken from HERE*

 

The Great Gatsby

In my American Literature module we recently studied the novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald written in 1925. It follows a group of characters that live in a fictional town called West Egg on Long Island in 1922.

This novel interested me as it described the Roaring twenties and covered themes such as idealism as well as resistance to change, mainly from those coming from ‘Old Money’. F. Scott Fitzgerald, himself, was well known during the 1920’s having coined the term ‘Jazz Age’. Like the characters in his novel, he drank a lot and experienced extravagant parties. However, when it was first published it received mixed reviews and did not sell well. It wasn’t until World War 2, after Fitzgerald has died thinking he was unsuccessful, that it was revived and soon became apart of the high school curriculum. Today, the novel is widely renowned to be a literary classic and has had many film adaptations created from it.

Narrated by Nick Carraway, a World War 1 veteran, the story primarily focuses on a mysterious millionaire called Jay Gatsby who is obsessed with the desire to reunite with his love, Daisy Buchanan. They had parted due to Gatsby going to war and during that time Daisy had married another, Tom Buchanan. Tom came from ‘Old Money’, like Daisy. Both their families were wealthy and in the book, Nick describes how Tom brought “a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest,” (11) with him from Chicago. While opposite to him was Gatsby, a man of ‘New Money’ which were often looked down upon by the ‘Old Money’.

As the stories goes on, the narration dos not follow a linear pattern. This intrigued me as often at times it’s not Nick telling the story. There are points where he speaks from the point of view of Jordon Baker who tells him about Gatsby’s and Daisy’s past or as Gatsby himself telling him about who he really is. As well as that, the story does not start with the reveal that the two past lovers knew each other, but their history together is revealed in bits throughout the novel. This unique way of story telling keeps the reader engaged, I think, as you are never quite sure about what will happen.

Despite being only 170 pages long, the novel contains many twists and turns to keep the reader guessing if there will be a happy ending for Gatsby and Daisy and even for Nick himself. Before reading it, I did not think this type of novel would interest me but it is something I would recommend to another.

*Featured images taken from here*

Learning HTML

The module I am taking this year in college which focuses on Writing for New Media provides some classes on HTML. HTML refers to Hyper Text Markup Language and is the language used for describing web documents and web pages. Every website is created from HTML. While a person does not need to know HTML to use WordPress, the option to edit any detail of the site or a post in the site is given through HTML. I had learned about the basics of HTML during my co-op with ilovelimerick.

HTML codes are usually composed of two parts, the beginning and the end. In the middle is the junk of text you wish to be modified. Most HTML codes are written between these icons < >. To begin a code, simply type the command between < >. To end the command a slash ( / ) is added before the command word between < >.

For example, to bold text you write <b> followed by the text and end it with </b>.

It is important to note that when incorporating HTML aspects into a post on WordPress, it can only be done by using the HTML option on the upper right corner of the text box. It will not be recognised if added into the Visual section.

Some basics of HTML:

  • Text written between <head> and </head> provides information about the document. This can include the title, meta scripts and information. 
  • Text written between <title> and </title> gives a title for the document
  • Text written between <body> and </body> describes the page content. Other HTML codes can be used within this one.
  • Text written between <b> and </b> changes the front to bold
  • Text written between <u> and </u> underlines the font
  • Text written between <i> and </i> changes the font to italics

Other aspects of HTML to know:

  • Writing text between <font> and </font> can change the font style, size and colour of text. Eg.<font face=“verdana” color=“green”>This is some text!</font> which creates this – This is some text! 
  • The code <ul> and </ul> will form the words into a bullet list.
  • The code <li> and </li> will form a defined list. Use this with <ul> to create unordered lists.
  • Using &nbsp; creates a space between paragraphs in a text.

Two useful sites I found to help with learning HTML are:

w3schools.com

CodeAcademy.com

*featured image taken from here*

University Final Year Project

FYP is the abbreviation of the term ‘Final Year Project’. It is something many students must do in their last year of their university course. At the moment, preparation has begun for the students in New Media and English this semester for our FYP’s which are due this time next year.

There are many things to consider when deciding on ones FYP. What topic will it cover? Who will be your advisor? Will you part-take in your own research or use others? And what I think is the most daunting one, can you write 13,000 words on it?

For me, my FYP will be on the Media and Fans. I found the Media aspect of my course to be very interesting and am intrigued about the different ways the media represent fans. It helps me then, to be taking some modules that focus on media and all about it. It was a sociology module that I took back in first year that introduced me to the idea of the media’s portrayal of fans. In the module, the term ‘fan‘ was explained to have come from the phrase ‘fanatic’ and has over years gained a rather negative connotation.

Fans are seen as ‘crazed’ and often ‘obsessed’ with their idols. Females are more often seen in this way than male fans. ‘Fan-girl’ is a word used to describe female fans and is described in the Oxford English Dictionary Online as “A female fan, especially one who is obsessive about comics, film, music, or science fiction: ‘your average fangirl, despite the implication of the name, is a grown-up'”. This view of female fans is what I am to focus on in my FYP and to evaluate why it developed.

At the moment, I am still working on my Final Year Project proposal. I am continuing to narrow down my thesis and detail the chapters that will be created. As well as that, I have begun to find research material already written on the topic which I hope to use in my FYP.