Friday 6PM ft. Cait

Get To Know Me Questions

 How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Author. Blogger. Bookworm trying read absolutely everything!

 There is a fire and you can either save your book or the last slice of cake in the world. Which are you saving?

Probably…my book!? Which might be a bad decision because I can’t eat it later…

  What some books have you read/ movies you’ve seen that have changed your life?

Despite feeling like a cliche, I truly have to say The Hunger Games! It really changed how I wrote, encouraged me to really hone my own voice, and it also opened the doors to Young Adult fiction for me. And then I had such a book hangover after it that I went looking for those lists of “what to read when you’ve finished The Hunger Games!” and that’s where I was introduced to Maggie Stiefvater, who is absolutely my favourite author. So I owe a lot to The Hunger Games!

  What are some of your biggest pet peeves?

I am super peeved when people hate on others for loving harmless things! Just let people be happy!

  How many siblings do you have?

I have five — four sisters and one brother.

  What made you want to start blogging?

I actually have to blame my oldest sister…she suggested starting a blog. And though my first reaction was “what’s a blog lol”, I did start and obviously it kickstarted a huge part of my life for me!

Untitled design (3)

General Mental Health Questions

 How do you tell if a book has good rep if you don’t struggle with mental illness?

The best thing to do is ask the opinion of someone who also has that same illness — or read their reviews! I look for other markers too. For instance, if these problematic tropes pop up, I get concerned that it might be bad rep:
(1) is the character with the mental illness built purely on stereotypes?
(2) is the illness represented only by the villain?
(3) is the character only loved after they’re cured? or are they “cured” unrealistically?

When it comes to noting if it has GOOD rep, I often find the story really loves and cherishes its mentally ill characters! If I can, I also look to see if the book is #ownvoices (ie: the author has the same illness and is writing from experience).

  Advice for bringing up the topic of mental health with a friend who is struggling?

Sometimes it’s easier to reach out through a text instead of in-person. Instead of cornering someone into telling you “what’s wrong”, make yourself available (if you can) to be a listening ear, a support. Often those of us with a mental illness feel like massive burdens, so belay that fear for us.

  My family and ‘friends’ don’t care about my mental health, what advice do you have for that?

If you’re able, find an online community to support you! I’ve met amazing people online who struggle with similar things that I do, whether it’s depression or social anxiety. Books are also a safe haven to find comforting messages. But absolutely know, no matter what, you’re not alone. You’re not a burden. And you thoroughly deserve the best life you can have.

Untitled design (3)

Autism

  What is autism?

It’s a disability with such a huge spectrum that it’s rather hard to define! But it’s usually classed as having social and communication difficulties as well as very definite sensory sensitivities. It’s something you’re born with and, no, you can’t “catch” autism or develop it.

  How old were you when you were diagnosed and what impact did your diagnosis have on your life?

I was diagnosed at 21! I’ve been autistic my whole life, but a lot of the autistic diagnosis markers are based on boys, and girls present differently. My life was really starting to unravel after highschool, a common thing for autistics who don’t transition well (like: from highschool to adulthood), and my family and I pursued answers…which turned into an autism diagnosis. Suddenly so many things made sense. It was a relief for me, a lightbulb moment. I had the information to find tools to make life easier for myself.

What is the biggest positive of being autistic?

Things I love: being intensely creative and seeing the world from a different angle. Taking such deep pleasure from small things. Being passionate and good with details and being easily accepting of other’s differences. When you’re different, it makes little sense to judge others!

 What is the biggest challenge you face being autistic?

For me, it’s overwhelm. Too many people, a change in routine, a deadline, things being too loud…my ability to tolerate them is very low and throw more than two at me at once and it’s a recipe for disaster.

  Have you had any negative reactions when people have found out you are autistic. What advice do you have for that?

The worst was being caught in an online conversation about eugenics where someone said to me that autistics shouldn’t exist. Being told you’re “defective” and the world would be better off without you is an actual gut-punch. Sometimes I think it’s best just to walk away from things like that and take care of yourself first. But if you feel able to, and have the tools, speak up. I wrote an article back, taking apart their flimsy thinking. But the whole thing did leave me shaken.

  How do I support my friends/family members with autism?

Ask them what they need! For example: the expert on my autism isn’t a book, an article, or a psychologist. The expert is me. But I’m not the expert on the next person’s autism. So let the autistic have the voice, in any way they’re able to communicate. Also read lots of memoirs by other autistics. Never act like your autistic friend/family member is broken.

  What are some things people don’t usually know about autism?

I honestly think most people know next to nothing about it! Which is why we need more accurate representations in books and media (preferably lead by autistic creators!). I find people get surprised at how many ways autistics stim (these are like self-soothing repetitive tics that we could do for hours). Usually you think autistics just flap or rock, but we have so many ways to safely stim and we love it! Touching textures, smelling things, listening to specific music, fiddling with things, dancing, finger movements, jumping.  

  How can society make things easier/ more accessible to autistic people?

Because autism is such a huge spectrum, it really depends on the individual. One thing I have deeply appreciated while beginning my career of being an author, is how my agent and editors have made communication accessible to me. I’m not great at speaking out loud, so we skip phone calls and work solely by email. Things like this make the world of difference. Don’t shut doors because you think an autistic “can’t do something”. Find another way to open the door.

 Finish the sentence, “To everyone with autism, I want you to know…”

…you’re absolutely not broken and you are epic the way you are.

  Finish the sentence “To everyone without autism, I want you to know…” 

…autism isn’t an epidemic and it’s not a bad thing and the world is made fuller with us in it!

Untitled design (3)

Writing

  Do you have a writing routine? 

I tend to write in marathon-sessions instead of everyday. So I don’t really have a day-to-day routine! Just basically: I take a few months to write an outline, then I whip up a first draft in a few days, take a break, then spend months revising.

  Advice for moments when I don’t have motivation to write?

Make sure your creative well is full! It’s hard to write if you’re only giving out creatively and not taking in.

  Favourite places to find writing inspiration?

I do so love listening to music and going on long walks.

 When did you first decide you wanted to write and why?

I blame all the books I read! My childhood was made up of piles of books and my parents encouraged creativity, so it was natural that I turned to making my own stories.

  Does it ever truly hit you, the fact that you’re a published author with fans worldwide who are inspired by you and your journey?

It’s still totally surreal! Every time someone says “Oh I loved your book!” my reaction is still, “REALLY!??!” Haha. I’m so pleased to be able to share my words and actually be able to hold my books and see them in bookstores! Never going to get over the magic of that.

  How important is it to you to talk about the experiences you’ve faced in your writing?

In my latest book, The Boy Who Steals Houses, I did write about anxiety and autism — in ways that showed the characters weren’t broken and deserved loved. That was super important to me to be able to say.

  Best tip for aspiring writers?

Keep going! It seems like a ridiculously obvious thing to say, but the truth is: the more you write, the better you’ll be. So despite rejections and failed projects…always keep writing something else. You’ll get there!

  How has writing helped you manage your mental health?

Sometimes it’s been therapeutic, like when writing about anxiety. And I do love disappearing into my worlds of magic and mayhem as a break from reality.

  Do you have a preferred point of view when writing and reading?

I do like 3rd person the best, I confess!

  Do you think it’s harder to write from the point of view of the opposite gender? What changes? What stays the same?

For me, it’s not really harder? I just write people and my aim is always to get into that particular character’s shoes and figure out how they’d seen and react to the world. I feel that’s less about gender than about personality.

Untitled design (3)

The Boy Who Steals Houses

  What inspired you to write TBWSH? 

My story inspirations always come from a huge collection of things! For this one, I wanted to write a genderbent Goldilocks retelling. I also love going for long walks and since I pass by a lot of seemingly empty houses, my author imagination started to work and ask, What if a teen broke in, not to steal, but just to live while the owners were away? It fit solidly with the Goldilocks tale so I meshed them together and The Boy Who Steals Houses slowly came into existence.

  Are any of the characters in TBWSH inspired by people you know?

The De Lainey family dynamics are inspired by living with a big family myself…but I don’t pull particular characters to be inspired by real people! I would feel so awkward doing that haha.

  If you had to pick your favourite quote in TBWSH which one would it be?

“We are the kings of nowhere. We only need us.”

  What were the hardest and easiest parts of writing a #ownvoices novel?

Hardest: The pressure! Not wanting to make mistakes or badly write something that means so much to you.
Easiest: Knowing what you’re talking about! And falling into sync so easily with your characters because you know what they feel.

  Did you have any fears when writing TBWSH?

I always am scared my books are secretly horrible and will explode into a poof of dark smoke as soon as they hit the bookshelf. Just, ya know, the normal fears.

  What are some genres other than contemporary that you’d like to write in the future?

I’d love to write magical realism someday!

  What are some of the biggest influences on how and what you write about?

I’m definitely influenced by what I read, the authors I admire, and what’s happening in society.

  If you could have a sleepover with Sam, Beck, Avery, August or Moxie, who would you pick and why?

I think August would be the absolute best person to be friends with. She’s so kind and welcoming, will fill any awkward places with a smiles, and has zero judgements about anyone. She was one of my most loving characters to write and I adore her!

                                  

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Hachette UK | Hachette AUS |

(buy A Thousand Perfect Notes)

Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS | Waterstones | Booktopia | Hachette UK | Hachette AUS |

(buy The Boy Who Steals Houses)

Cait’s Blog

Cait’s Instagram

Cait’s Twitter

I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

Lets chat (4)

xxxChips

Advertisements

a self harm q+a

Trigger Warning: Mentions of suicidal ideations, self harm.

I couldn’t talk about this topic without putting a trigger warning because I do share my own experiences in here but I promise you reading this will do more good than it will bad. I hope that by speaking about this you realise that you are not alone and you realise that there is hope even if you can’t see or feel it.

I love you.

What was the moment that you first felt you had to take your pain out on your body?

I’ve always been the kind of person who was in my head in a lot. When I was younger (I’d say from the age of 8) I was really social and bubbly and extroverted but I also spent a bunch of time in my room, thinking about everything and feeling overwhelmingly sad for reasons I didn’t understand. I have this distinct memory of being in my bedroom and looking out my window (it had bars) and feeling like I was trapped. And my thinking process was kind of like I’m trapped in my room, in my complex in this country, on this earth, inside the universe. I can’t get out

I had a little bench in my room and I’d sit there looking out my window just thinking that over and over again. And I was 9 when I first stumbled upon the phrase depression, I was reading The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants at the time and I was like ‘that’s it, that’s the word for how I feel.’ and I went on Google and looked up the symptoms and looking at the symptoms for me was the same as you checking off every item on a to-do list.

And I told my brother, and he thought I was being dramatic. I totally don’t blame him for this at all, I did drama every day of the week whether it was at school or practicing in my bedroom, I had a dramatic flair and I had a habit of diagnosing myself off the internet (turns out I did not have cancer the one time I had a headache). And I never, not once until I was about 12 did I give any signs that I was depressed. I was happy in front of people, I smiled, I laughed, I danced, I sang and watched movies and played dress-up. So there was no way he, or anyone other than myself would have known.

I was sad for a very long time before the pain became increasingly worse. The first time I self harmed I was 12, and I had a friend at the time (we’d met online) who self harmed too and at first I was the one trying my best to be there for her and support her and we’d talk everyday after school (we both lived in Joburg, and had mutual friends) and we’d bond over our love of Hayley Kiyoko and Halsey.

And then over that period I just started to feel more depressed, worse than I ever had before. I cannot describe it in any other way than my soul hurt, picture yourself being stabbed and you can feel the pain but it’s kind of numbed and dull, and that’s a fraction of how I felt. Everything was heavy, I cried a lot, didn’t want to get out bed, wasn’t hungry or was overeating, could barely bring myself to even brush my teeth, fought with my mum nearly every day. And then one day I couldn’t feel anything. And a part of me was scared, because when you are that young or any age for that matter there are few things worse than being numb. You don’t care about yourself, you don’t care about people, you don’t care about the world.

And so the first time I cut myself I did it to feel something.

Times after that were either to feel or to get rid of an urge.

And if you’re wondering what urges are like, from a poem I wrote “A hot fiery, sense consuming urge to rip myself to shreds because I didn’t want to breathe.”

 

What is the first step in the road to recovery?

I will be the first person to admit that I don’t talk about recovery often because I still have a lot of days where I feel like recovery isn’t an option for me and I’m not going to go into much detail because I am still figuring this out.

But I will say the first step, for me at least, was admitting and understanding that the way I was and was feeling and what I was doing to myself physically, emotionally and mentally wasn’t okay.

Step two, this wasn’t the order in which I did it but the order in which I wish I had, was realising that recovery doesn’t happen overnight. You might relapse, more than once (I have), medication won’t suddenly fix your problems nor will rehab, recovery looks different to everyone and recovery doesn’t just start outwards but inwards as well. Recovery is not linear there are high and lows and in-betweens, and you are allowed to feel hopeless and miserable and hate everything about yourself  BUT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STAY THAT WAY. Don’t you dare stay that way.

The rest of the journey is different for everyone. Coping tips help. Therapy helps. Youtube helps. The right people help. Medication helps.

 

Do you hide your scars?

It depends. Fresh cuts are never seen by anyone until they are healed because that’s potentially triggering. But the scars on my arms I don’t hide and I still wear shorts despite my heavily scarred thigh. And at the end of the day whether or not you show your scars is up to you, but they are nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody copes differently and at the end of the day that is how you coped and nobody has any right to make you feel bad about that, a big F*UCK YOU to anybody who makes you feel anything less beautiful because of your scars.

There are ways of hiding your scars and still wearing short sleeves and shorts, and at some point maybe I’ll write a list that I hope you use for the right reasons because I understand what it’s like to have people judge you and have to listen to comments about your trauma like it’s the next bit of celebrity gossip (which is wrong btw).

Hide them if you want, but please get help. If not for yourself, then for me, the girl on the internet writing this who has been there and continues to go there but is trying really hard not to.

You are an incredible being, you don’t deserve to hate yourself, and I will love you until you are ready to love yourself and continue to do so after.

I write for you, nobody else.

What advice would you give someone in the same mental state you were in when you began to self harm?

Talk to someone even if it’s not your parents.My friends were amazing to me and they supported me when I couldn’t support myself but if that isn’t an option for you, there are resources. My DMs and email are always open. I promise you I will not think you’re a nuisance, or a bother or irritating or any of the other irrational things your mind is telling you right now. I have a disorder that causes my mood to change so frequently I could be at an ultimate low and wouldn’t message anyone because I’d be manic pretty soon, and please DON’T DO WHAT I DO. It’ll pass yes, but in that moment when you feel low, I don’t want you to scroll through your contact list and feel like you have nobody to call or message.

I can tell you the number of times a friend has told me they were sad/ depressed/ considering self harm/suicide/ having an urge/ anxious/confused and I’ve turned them away:

ZERO!

And I can guarantee that number will stay at zero for as long as I am breathing.

Find people to support you, even if it’s people who don’t know you. I watched so much Youtube back then and even now I have a folder called for the bad days full of videos, I watched Dodie, Jenna Alexis, Zannah, Isabel. Find people who make you feel like you’re not alone, make you smile (even if you’re not ready to get out of bed yet).

Start a blog. Walk around barefoot. Draw. Rip paper to shreds. Organise your books according to colour.

DON’T WATCH ANYTHING TRIGGERING ON PURPOSE. Stay the hell away from searching self harm accounts, watching videos of people talking about stays in psych wards (if you think it’ll trigger you), showing self harm, anything that could trigger you needs to be kept very far away from you.

I used to watch those because a part of me enjoyed feeling sick, feeling bad, feeling like the trash of the planet, a part of me couldn’t imagine a day where I didn’t want to die and so I’d watch those on purpose IT DOESN’T HELP.

I know you don’t want to feel alone, I know you want to feel understood, but there are ways that aren’t going to hurt you emotionally and mentally.

What support should be provided for vulnerable young people?

  1. Therapy needs to be made more affordable and more accessible and so does medication
  2. Mental health needs to be talked at in school(NOT JUST ONCE A YEAR) and at home
  3. We need to do more to listen and support instead of judging
  4. Encourage people to talk about their feelings, say no to toxic masculinity, say no to the idea of perfection
  5. We need to stop making people feel more broken than they already feel.

What should you do if a friend is self-harming?

I’d say research what self harm is and why people self harm, try to understand why people self harm and then taking what you’ve learnt speak to your friend and ask them what’s going on. It’s not always going to be this big event that caused them to feel this way. Listen, try to understand, support them in the best way you know how and I don’t mean smother them with advice or force them to go out.

Be there for them. Show them the love they can’t give themselves at the moment. Don’t be judgmental, don’t make them feel guilty, don’t give them ultimatums or expect them to go into recovery overnight.

And I’m going to be 100% honest with you, sometimes telling an adult or their parents does more bad than good and other times telling them does more good than bad. And it differs in every situation, so really it’s up to you to decide but whatever your choice is you need to try your best to make sure that your friend is going to get the support they need.

If you have any more questions leave them in the comments, it’s kind of hard to trigger me so don’t worry about asking anything personal.

xxxChips

Friday 6PM ft. Gracie

Get to Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
•15 years old •Self confessed rebel & revolutionary •Sailor girl in love with the ocean. •Writer and spoken word poet •Wild child with my head permanently in the clouds •Feels and thinks wayyy too much •Night thinker – daydreamer •Fueled by aesthetics & adrenaline •Can usually be found swimming laps of a pool, up a tree with my head in a notepad or a book, drinking strong coffee, singing along to my never-ending playlist or sarcastically arguing with people for the sheer fun of it •Will dance with you at 2am •Wearer of bracelets (I have sixteen that I don’t take off) • doesn’t have the answers, but will always try to use my words and my actions to help others •Wants to work as a sailor/youth worker to pursue my passion in life and make a difference in the lives and futures of my generation •free spirit™

What things would you say have shaped you as a person?
The way that my parents have raised me to do everything I can to be a light in the darkness and help others, the pain and negativity I see all around me in my generation and the future they’re facing, discovering the world of sailing, falling in love with the ocean and experiencing the difference if made in my life and the lives of others.

 What’s your big goal for this year?
My family and I are taking on a mega challenge this year to raise money for a charity that transforms the lives and futures of young people in need. My main goal is to complete and to be successful in that challenge – even though it’s definitely not going to be easy. Keep an eye out for a post on my blog with all the deets and how you can get involved to help me achieve that goal…coming soon…
Also, just to be the best, most confident, capable, compassionate version of myself that I can be- and to learn to kitesurf 😉

 What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with no preparation?
How young people can and should stand up for what they believe in and make a difference. I’d probably find a way to bring sailing and the hugely positive effect it has on young people’s lives into it. I’m highkey obsessed haha

Which skill would you like to master?
Spoken word/slam poetry. The rhythm, the performance, the power, the ability to express your message with so much emotion and clarity – it’s pure magic. I write a lot, but I struggle with the performance element (it always sounds so much better in my head lol). I’d love to master that and be able to pack a punch with my words.
Some of my favourite spoken word poems are called Cigarettes by James Hartzer, Text Me by Los Angeles Team and An Origin Story by Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay. They’re all on YouTube 🙂

What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you
could experience it for the first time again?
I just – I have no words for the 2hrs 20mins of feels that the movie Dead Poets Society gives you. It’s the most beautiful, raw, emotional film I’ve ever watched and the lessons it teaches you on teenage mental health, conformity and creativity are truly life-changing. Just go watch it.Now. Plus it’s about poetry sooo *shrugs* even better 🙂

Also, I would’ve said a song, but I’m way too in love with music to be able to pick just one. Same with books, actually. Could never even begin to choose.

 Who inspires you?
My parents. The strength that it takes to raise a family to live and think differently is immense, especially in our society. Their constant dedication to creating a better future for their own children and for other young people inspires me every day.

My friends and other young people of my generation. They struggle so much and yet they are so brave. They fight back against this society that oppresses them. They hang in there even though it hurts and I’m so proud of them for it.

The crew of the boats I sail. They are such positive role-models – people that give their lives to share their passion with my generation and to try and make a difference in our lives. Through sailing, I have met some incredible individuals and, one day, I hope to be like them. Finally, strangers. Every time I hear of someone doing something good in the world, it inspires me to keep going.

Untitled design (3)

 

General Mental Health Questions

Have you ever had to deal with negative reactions when you’ve opened up about your mental health, and what advice would you have for others?
On the whole I’ve been really lucky to have family and friends who’ve always been supportive, but something I have come across a lot is young people my age shying away from having these discussions about mental health because they’re ‘too deep’ or ‘too serious’.

As a generation, our relationships have become quite shallow and that’s something I really struggle with. I’ve tried to talk to certain friends about my own mental health, their mental health or even just a slightly more serious topic and I’ve found that they will try and avoid discussing it – even when they’re clearly struggling and it’s clearly so important to open up. I’ve also had a lot of experiences with friends making stupid jokes about mental health and suicide even though I know they themselves struggle with depression, self harm, eating disorders, etc.

I think they’re afraid of the vulnerability and so to joke about what’s going on inside their head is so much easier. To me, that is wrong. Mental health/suicide is not a joke and laughing about it will not make you better.

We need to raise awareness and say ‘Look, opening up…communication…sharing your struggles….they are the only way to move forward and get better – you can’t do it alone. There are people who care so whatever you do, don’t push them away. Vulnerability and openness are not a weakness and anyway, sometimes it’s okay to be weak. Sometimes that’s where we’ve got to start’

How do you think parents could be more understanding of their teens’ mental health?
Our parents grew up in a different society to us – the struggles and issues we face now are not the same as what they’ve experienced in their lifetimes. If we communicate with them and try to explain to them what we’re going through, then they must try to understand us by putting themselves in our shoes.

Untitled design (3)

 

Rapid Fire Questions

Why do you think it’s still so difficult for people to get help when mental health is
becoming something more and more people are being made aware of?
People are aware of mental health, but I don’t think it’s totally normalised yet. Mental illnesses have become a label and people don’t associate mental health as something that could affect them. It’s de-personalised. Another thing that I think really contributes to mental health is how self-centred our society is – if we had more community and people sharing their lives, I think there would a much better and stronger support network for people struggling with mental health.

What’s your opinion on adults expecting teens to behave maturely but then treating
them like kids when they’re vocal about important matters?
As a teenager, I’m always joking that I’m too young for half the stuff I want to do and too old for the other half. We have to break those stereotypes. Yeah, I’m a teenager, but I’ll still join in and share my valid opinions when I hear adults talking about issues that affect me, my generation and my future. Yes, I’m a teenager, but I’m still going to run around in the rain and watch Disney movies. Get used to it 🙂

What is one thing you wish you could tell teens all over the world?
Look around you. This is the world we are growing up in. This is our future and the future of the generations to come – our children, our grandchildren. Is this what we want for them? If we don’t stand up and do something now we are the ones who will suffer for it. Dream, dream big, dream of the world you want to create, then make it happen. Don’t tear down your peers – build them up. Come together, we are so much stronger that way. Vive la révolution!

Also, go sailing – you won’t regret it 😉

What is one thing you wish you could tell adults all the world?
You’re struggling too, we get that, but please, listen to the young people, help us, share your experience with us. We’re not perfect either and we don’t have all the answers, but together we can make the future brighter. Be good role models and reach out to the young people in your lives and communities – it makes a difference.
Also, stop caring so much about materialistic things – they will soon be useless if you don’t do something now to make the future better.

Untitled design (3)

Give Advice To Someone…

Who struggles with comparison?
Just….don’t. Please. It will only make you more unhappy. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others, but it’s so much more powerful to make the conscious decision to say to yourself ‘Stop, that’s not who I am. This is me and this is what makes me beautiful and unique. I am going to be the best version of myself that I can.’ Once you’re on that journey, comparing yourself to others will just slow you down. So please, put them to one side (it’s hard I know, but it’s so worth it). Focus on you and be strong.

Another thing….again I know it’s not easy….but once you stop focusing on your physical
appearance, the sense of freedom is incredible. I still care about what I look like and want to look good, but some days I’m like ‘does it really matter if I go to the supermarket in sweatpants with my hair in a messy bun?’ or ‘does it really matter if I get covered in mud and grass stains and if my hair goes wild?’ and I just go for it and as amazing and empowering as it is to feel beautiful, it’s also pretty awesome just to not care every once in awhile.

There are so many sad eyes on pretty faces. Can we all stop valuing physical beauty over our own happiness and mental health, please?

Who wants to be their own person but finds themselves following others?
It’ll take you awhile to realise this, but once you do, I swear you’ll never feel the same way again. Different is cool, different is awesome, different is fascinating. Different is not weird or ugly or unacceptable or unlovable. Why on earth would you follow everyone else when you could be so much more? There is a world out there and you have a place in it, you just need to explore and to find it. And you will, I promise 🙂 Something I try to live by is this: Always try to do the right thing, even if no one else will. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, even if you walk alone. Don’t isolate yourself from others, accept them for who they are and love them for it, but don’t become like them just for the sake of fitting in.

Who wants to learn to accept themselves?
I guess I’ve kind of answered this in the previous question and the question about comparison, but I’ll say it again – ‘Once you make the decision to be yourself, you are free from the chains and the pressure of society and you can truly begin to make a difference in the lives of others’

Who is being fat shamed but isn’t overweight?
I’m being totally honest when I say that I never look at anyone else and think ‘she/he is ugly’. If people are pointing out the negatives – it’s probably because they themselves are insecure. I know it’s hard, but why let someone’s irrelevant judgement and opinion of you affect you? I can assure you it’s not how the majority of people see you. If you’re feeling really strong, reach out to that person. Communicate with them. Maybe you’ll have a positive effect on them? Maybe you’ll give them a new perspective and change the way they look at things forever?

Who has a lot of fake friends and finds it difficult to stand up for themselves?
Be real. Stay true to who you are and what you believe in. Never stop searching for true
friendship and connection and if there are people worth fighting for then fight.
Tbh, as for practical advice, I’d say start a blog (if you haven’t already), you meet so many
like-minded people who are always there for you, people you can change the world with, plus you have a space where you can be entirely yourself and express your honest thoughts and feelings 💙

 Who struggles to trust people because of bad past experiences?
It’s not easy to let go. That’s something I struggle with too, but you’ve got to ask yourself – is this really how I want to live my life – scared of trusting anyone, scared to love, scared of putting my heart in someone else’s hands? Sometimes, in order to move on, you’ve got to take that first brave step….remember, there are people who love you, there are people who care, there are people who are good and kind. They are there for you. They’ve probably all had their heart broken at some point or another and yet they have come through it stronger and wiser than before. You will too.

Gracie’s Blog

Round The UK On A Tenner A Day Instagram

I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

Lets chat (4)

xxxChips

civil war

Trigger warning:mentions self harm and suicidal ideations

On my best days I scream from rooftops. On my worst I become a shell. The opposite of everything I want to be. I wallow in my thoughts, flounder in my tears, allow myself to become prisoner to my illness. I smile and say ‘I’m okay’, I laugh, I flirt, I am the definition of beautiful madness. And then when everyone goes back to their lives I turn off the lights and bury myself under bedsheets the same way I would be 6 feet under.

And I convince my brain that I’m not okay, that I need to try my coping mechanisms and so I run my hands under cold water and draw on myself with markers till I look like artwork. The world’s definition of beauty. But my eyes betray me. Red not from hash but from war. I am fighting my own mind.

It says Drown. Recovery says Swim. I compromise Float. In between both.

It says Cut. Recovery says Colour. I compromise, Both. I cut anyway tinting my skin red.

It says Stop Breathing. Recovery says Deep breaths. I give short panicky painful I- Can’t-Breathe ones.


“The Civil War!”

“The war we fought against ourselves.”

“You actually studied this?

“I’m living it.”

what i’ve been listening to lately #2

Just more songs I’ve been loving lately…

wow//post malone

 

hold tight//sabrina carpenter

 

broken//THEY ft. jessie reyez

“I’ll lie and say I didn’t come broken, I’ll lie and say you did it”

 

3 nights//dominic fike

“You can call me names if you call me yours”

 

bad guy//billie eilish

“so you’re a tough guy//like it really rough guy//just can’t get enough guy//chest always so puffed guy//i’m that bad type make your mama sad type//make your girlfriend mad type//might seduce your dad type”

 

What have you been listening to lately? Admittedly, I should probably be studying instead of blogging but my first 3 finals (yup, we’re writing three in a day) are English paper 1 and 2 and Turkish. I never study for English, just because I write everyday and read a bunch. But I want to clarify that I have no idea how I’ve been passing Turkish so far but guessing hasn’t failed me yet.

xxxChips

Friday 6PM ft. Jade

Get To Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Hmmm… I’d say that I’m funny, sarcastic, and I’m not afraid to speak my opinions. I’d say  I’m adventurous, and a risk taker.

What things would you say have shaped you as a person?

The three things that have shaped me the most as a person would probably have to be my disability, and being an immigrant, and a person of color. These experiences have made me in my opinion more resilient and determined to break down the stereotypes that I face. Which is why I started blogging.

What are your pronouns?

My pronouns are she/her.

What’s your big goal for this year?

Hmm… My biggest goal for this year is to be happier  and to have better mental health. If you read my blog then you’ll know that I have horrible mental health but my goal is to do something to help cope with all these feelings. Whether that’s going to see someone professional, or talking to someone, or just disconnecting from toxic people. I just want to get better and be in the best head space I can.

What’s your favourite genre of music?

 I’m one of those people with a really eclectic taste, I listen to everything from rap, to pop, to metal, to Indian music, to Turkish music, to Afro trap, to EDM. But right now I’m obsessed with French rap!!! My favorite song at the moment would have to be Hiro by Soprano!!!   He’s a French rapper and he is just brilliant!!! So I suggest you check him out.

What is your greatest achievement?

This is a hard one cause I feel like I’m a boring person.  However, I’d have to say that my greatest achievement would have to be winning second place in the swimming championship.

Are you right or left-handed?

I’m one of those unique individuals who happens to be ambidextrous. Cool, right?

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by several people actually. I’m inspired by singers such as Kendrick Lamar and Stormzy. I’m inspired by the thousands of refugees risking their lives  looking for a better future. I’m inspired by the people on the streets lost to the eye of society. I could go on for days, honestly. 

Untitled design (3)

General Mental Health Questions

What’s your routine like on a bad mental health day?

On a bad mental health day I try to lock myself in my room and just exist in my own head. Or if that doesn’t work then I’ll blog about what’s bothering me in order to see if someone’s out there to help.  I’ve also found that on bad days writing specifically helps as well.

How do you deal with the thought that your mental health is holding you back?

I just know that I might be struggling now but it’s okay to take my time. It’s okay to struggle, and fail, and try again, instead of pushing myself until I explode. This took me a long time to master. And there are days where I still think I could be doing more but I’m doing my best and that’s all that matters.

How do you deal with loneliness?

Honestly some days I love being alone because it’s who I am, and I’m not bothered by wallowing in my cocoon. But on other days it sucks to be lonely and I feel like I’m drowning in nothingness. So on those days I try to find something that grounds me. For example, a friend, or a good book.

Untitled design (3)

Disability

What is your disability and how does it affect you?

My disability is retinopathy of prematurity which basically means I’m legally blind. That means that I can’t read print and I need my work formatted in an accessible way, such as braille, or electronically.

How long have you had your disability for?

I’ve had my disability since I was born so all my life.

What are some common misconceptions about your disability?

I think the most common misconceptions about my disability would be that I’m mentally  incapable, or that disabled people in general can’t have sex.

What do you hope to achieve through talking about disability on your blog?

I hope by speaking on disability people understand that I’m like them. I hope by reading my content you realize that disabled people are flawed, and wonderful humans who need just as much love as the rest of you. I hope you understand that if you pull back the layers of my skin, you’ll find blood too.

Which questions are off-limits when it comes to asking about your disability

The questions that are off-limits for me are about my sex life or if I’m a virgin. Just no… Please don’t ask. My thing is if you wouldn’t ask a sighted person then why would you ask me?

Untitled design (3)

Sexuality

Were you ever in denial about your sexuality?

Yes when I first realized I was a lesbian at the age of 12 I tried to deny it to my dying breath…but I realized that pretending was causing me to have a slow death.

What’s been the hardest thing about not being able to tell your parents/ friends about your sexuality?

  Well this one won’t have anything to do with friends since my friends all know that I’m gay. But I’d have to say the hardest thing about not telling my parents is feeling like I’m a burden at home and I can’t be my true self. Also I can’t tell my parents about my crushes.  Or bring my non-existent girlfriend home to them. And my parents probably won’t throw me a typical brown wedding so…

How do you deal with the stigma surrounding being gay?

I combat the stigma by blogging and sharing my  experiences so that other teens or whom ever feel less alone and don’t go through the shit I did.  I just want to show another disabled Muslim kid that’s okay to be gay, you know?

What is one thing you wish you could tell your parents about your sexuality?

I’d tell them that there’s nothing wrong with me, and that I don’t need a cure.

What are some of the reasons you haven’t come out yet?

The main reason is I’m not away from home. I’d like to come out when I’ve moved out so that if there’s a negative reaction I can make a quick escape.   Also I have a feeling if I do come out then I could be disowned and I’d like to be financially stable for something like that.

What’s the hardest thing about not being out yet?

Feeling like I’m not enough at home. Or feeling like I’m unwanted, and not being able to just kiss whom ever I’d please in public without my parents finding out.

Who are some icons that inspire you and remind you to stay true to your identity?

I assume these have to be LGBTQ so I’m going to say Kehlani.

Why do you think it’s so hard for POC’s parents to accept their sexuality?

I think it’s difficult for POC  parents to accept their kids because there are cultural differences and perhaps not enough resources for the parents to have access to.

How do you handle rude/insensitive comments about the LGBTQ+ community?

At the beginning I’d take those comments personally but now I just shrug it off and realize that I’m better off without those rude or insensitive people in my  life. It’s their problem for not being able to accept me, not mine.

Advice for handling homophobic relatives during the holidays?

 I’ve thankfully have never had to deal with this one because my relatives live super far but I’d have to say just grit your teeth and realize that those people in your family don’t deserve your time.

What is one thing you wish you could tell all LQBTQ+ POC?

I’d tell them to be themselves and to just hang in there cause it gets better I promise.

Jade’s Blog

I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

Lets chat (4)

xxxChips

my thoughts on the terrorist attack in New Zealand

When I started this blog I made a promise to myself to talk about whatever I wanted to as openly and raw and real as possible. And somewhere in this promise, right at the end actually, I made a promise to myself to talk about everything except race and religion.

For a few reasons

a) I’m not as educated on these topics as I would like to be

b) There’s a bunch of backlash that comes with talking about those two things

c) As much as I believe those are both things that should be talked about, it also tends to divide people and I didn’t want this space to be like that. I wanted to have a space that didn’t have anything to do with either of those topics, a space where none of those things had to matter.

I say this a lot but I truly have grown a lot since I started blogging and there have been things going on for some time now that I’ve continued to ignore on here, for the same three reasons I gave above.

And I can’t do that anymore.

 

“You cannot be an ally if you shy away from confrontation

-Vianna Goodwin

If you watch the news or you’ve been on Twitter today, there’s a chance you’ve heard about the terrorist attacks in New Zealand. Earlier today, Brenton Tarrant walked into two  mosques in Christchurch New Zealand and proceeded to open fire at the people praying inside the mosques.

So far, there have been 49 killed and 20 seriously injured. The shooter, a 28 year old white man with an 87 page manifesto with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas.


To everyone who blamed his actions on mental illness I say this:

There is no excuse for a racist, radicalized adult who thinks it’s okay to hurt innocent people. And I would just like to clarify that not every terrorist has a mental illness and not every mental illness makes you violent.

He is not mentally ill, he is a terrorist. It is not just an act of violence, it is terrorism. And there is no excuse, there is no fucking excuse for the crimes he has committed.

Terrorism has no religion. No colour. No country.

D1trISgX0AAwEkx.jpg
I’m just going to leave this here for you to think about

This is about so much more than just a hashtag. This is about the 49 people who lost their lives today and the 20 others in critical condition.  This about the hate directed towards the Muslim community. To those who live in fear, who are not safe in their homes, in their mosques, in their cars and in their schools. Who go about their daily lives petrified, wondering if each day will be their last.

50 million hashtags or tweets or Instagram captions, may spread awareness, but they will only change so much in the long run.

Read the entire thread. And do something about it.

Your hashtag will not save a life, but taking further action just might.

I don’t want this to just be a headline. Big news today, and then nothing tomorrow until the next terrorist attack.

Here are some ways to support New Zealand’s Muslim community