Sunday, 31 December 2017

365 of 365

*Is incredibly aware that the run up to the new year is full of cheesy reflective blog post titles*

prev. 365 of 365

I just sighed and shrugged before I started writing this, and I think that that action is a pretty good reflection of how I am feeling on the last day of 2017. I'm lying in bed with a book next to me (Gabriel García Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera) and a children's sticker book thingy I bought for myself from Tiger. (lmao. It is literally the best thing ever. There are loads of pages of random objects like different foods, materials, textures, objects and illustrations, and then loads of stickers of facial features and accessories that you can use to make weird faces with. This is my life people. lol.) Anyway, while I feel nonchalant, slightly head-ache-y and tired, I feel weird, and pretty content.

All in all, I would say that 2017 has been a pretty fucking radical year. It just has. It's hard to believe that this was the year I completed my A-levels - it all seems like a world away now. I don't even know where to start, so I'll just go month by month. The photos in between portray several moods and feelings for this year! Perhaps the themes have changed a bit from my initial vision-board for 2017, which I posted this time last year. (time is so weird.)
All photos found on Tumblr.com



January was - okay so I just fished out my diary and. wow. So January was stressful! Page after page all I see is "ugh, I don't know." I was pretty dramatic. "Do I even have a purpose anymore? What has happened to my work ethic, my organisation, my will power?", "My mind is so scattered that my words have become fake-deep, my solutions and motivational tactics are just a smoke-screen masking the fact that I have no fucking idea what I'm doing", "Maybe I need a slap in the face?" I know I'm mocking myself, but I was obviously very confused and stressed! What a start.


February started off really well apparently, from what I've gathered from the multiple sentences ending with exclamation marks dotted with hearts. Lots of reminders to "inhale and exhale." I was definitely onto something. I had a personal article published in gal-dem that month, which was quite a dream-come-true. I remember feeling really excited and happy. According to my diary entry on the 7th, I was "drunk on the coolness of life!"

Can we just deep that my first entry of March began with "I am so frikin' pissed." Capital letters and swear-words everywhere! Damn. It was even followed by a healthy list of "all the stressful things looming over me at the moment." Let's not go into that though. It seems as if I went back to the emotions I felt in January. A step back to say the least. Despite all that, March seemed to have ended happily, which lead on to 

April! (birthday month.) It began with "I feel euphoric!" And I still remember this feeling. I have been part of a local theatre company called Sounds Like Chaos since 2014 and have basically grown up with it. I could write an entire blog post (maybe 2) about how much love I have and how grateful I am to have been part of something that at times I truly believe allowed me to feel MAGIC, but I'll keep it short. We performed a show from February through to April, and before I think deeply enough for me to start sobbing, I'll just say that it was the ultimate highlight of 2017 and literally the best time of my life. (Never underestimate the power of performance). I also turned 18! My blog post here sums up my emotions pretty well.

This blog post is borderline long, but I completely forgot about this diary. I finished it and didn't bring it to uni, so a lot has changed, and it's so weird looking back. Anyways, onto May!
Another step back apparently? I've recorded that I'm still "confused, angry, sad, lazy and tired." Lovely. 





 

Exams are nowhere to be seen in this diary. I haven't wrote about it at all. I think that's quite an insidious example of how stressed and closed off my brain was during this time. I used to listen to quiet, instrumental break-beat music towards the end of extensive revision sessions, and tbh I still feel the trauma whenever I hear some of the songs. It puts me back in front of the dining room table, papers and pens everywhere. Nothing else but writing and internalising. *shudders.*


So June started with "here's a hoe story," which I'm not even going to repeat because it was dumb, lmfao. It's not even based on a real event, it was a dream I had. Anyways. Moving on. In other news! I created an arts and literary zine called 'sweet-thang' which I've talked about on here quite a lot, but on the 1st of June I released it to the world and people bought it! It was the first time I had ever delved into the world of publication and sales, and I did it on my ones, and in the midst of exams, which I'm really proud of. I don't think I give myself that much credit for things I do. I'm the type of person to always push myself and think "well, I could be doing more of this", etc. But sometimes, no, look at what you've done/achieved and congratulate the fuck out of yourself. 

Summer was fabulous and weird and exciting. I think I gave a pretty good account of it in this blogpost. My diary finished in July. I think this is because I wanted to start afresh in time for university? And I didn't even manage to get myself one, so I haven't much to show for it. I've changed a lot since. September-to-December-Zoe has seen different things, done different things. I've met so many new people, my old life seems so closed off and untouchable. A-level results were a bloody relief, (I managed to get an A* in English Lit?) and I got into my first choice university to study just that! I think this recent period is pretty much solidified in my previous posts, here and here.







There's a word document on my laptop titled "I don't know what this is" and it's just full of random short written pieces from September onwards. Here are a few of them! (written by me)

I am crying over suits and paper and a boy I shouldn’t be messaging. My body doesn’t have the capacity to bear the weight of unrequited feelings, which I know are bound. But I’m lonely and he wanted me once so why not again? I need to feel validated. I’m tired and I cannot be bothered anymore. I hear my phone sound but I don’t check the screen because I know it isn’t him, and what motive do I have if it isn’t to make small-talk and jokes that really mean something else? (I want you.)  It’s the height of pathetic-ness. I will always be a sensitive spiral, so whether it is for a day or miraculously longer, just know that I have seen it through to its end. I couldn’t care less about the state of my finances, I don’t even care about money anymore, I just want to live in the wilderness and snack on fruits and bugs and focus on surviving and living. Not paying rent and checking up on application processes. Fuck that. Fuck everything. If we didn’t always try to get something out of each other, if there wasn’t a need to ‘gain’ or ‘receive’, wouldn’t exchanges happen a thousand times faster in life? There wouldn’t be obstacles driven by self-interest, it would just be pure interaction. Quick, easy, selfless.

*

I take pleasure in the little things. The way sunlight feels on the back of my neck: soft, subtle, caressing. The way the red of my painted nails looks against the cream of my dressing-gown sleeve. The simultaneity of the senses. The clashing of sensations. Reminds me that I’m alive. I am breathing. 

So! That's about it really. While there have been some downs, I guess I can whole-heartedly say that this year has been pretty good. Especially in comparison to last year when I just didn't know myself, was still struggling with things. 2017 has been a personal sigh of relief. Blogging has also been a highlight, as always. Much love to my blogger buddies, lol. <3
I posted this quote from Audre Lorde in my last post on December 31st 2016, but it still really resonates with me, and I want to continue letting it permeate through my being.

“I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I am going to write fire until it comes out of my ears, my eyes, my noseholes--everywhere. Until it's every breath I breathe. I'm going to go out like a fucking meteor!”


See u in 18.
Zoe xo

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

on sexual frustration and loneliness

(well this is going to make me sound like a saddo, but here goes lol)

On Sexual Frustration and Loneliness


I'm gonna do something I've never done on here, and talk about sex.


I'm not going to write an essay because I've forgotten how to do those which is ironic as the next couple years of my life will literally be dedicated to them, but I'll just mention it briefly, and keep it comical, (hense cartoons), because let's be honest: the topic can be kinda jokes. 
Idk, I've just been thinking about the pressure - whether in a relationship or not - to be sexually active? And to be having all of these experiences? First of all, where? and second, when? Who knows? Not me. 

Although the idea of "virginity" is still very much stigmatised, and slut-shaming is alive and well, sometimes I feel like the tables shift from time to time, and it's almost becoming strange or a cause of concern/interest/mockery if you've not had any sexual experience yet, or not currently having it, or don't plan to. This is probably because I'm well into to the age when my friends and I are 'acceptable' sexual beings: we're adults and are aware and mature, thus making sexual relationships reasonable things to be on the table right now. But that's not to say that all of us are meeting the people to pursue this, (relationship or fling), or are ready for it,  or even want it. But I'm definitely feeling the "girl you're missing out!" kind of pressure and it's both hilarious and annoying. My reactions are usually a mix between:




And sexual frustration, although normal, is gross and cringy lol - because it's a mix of FOMO, hormones and a bunch of other individual things. It seems really personal and weird to admit and I have no idea why I'm writing a blog post about it, but I'm all about normalising the discourse and being open and casual about it tbh.


As a woman I am a victim of a society that qualifies sex with worth and status, horrendously commodifies my body and shuns it at the same time. It's sometimes hard not to have a weird relationship with the idea of sex, especially because of the internalised misogyny that I realise I adopt from time to time and have to check myself for. Sexual activity is also known to be a stress reliever, so starting university and being on my ones has amplified new types of stress, and the window is always open for thinking about ways to relieve that! Where is the lie?



But yeah! That's about it really. Loneliness has also been a big part of life at the moment, what-with moving to university after basically sharing a life with a twin, a group of friends, home and familiarity. It's hard not to be engulfed by an uncomfortable kind of solitude when you're thrown into this weird deep-end of 'life' and pre-mature adulthood. But I guess the silver lining exists through the acceptance and comfort within solitude - loving yourself and being comfortable with being alone! It can be a really beautiful thing.

Right, enough of all that. I've recently started banging out Eryka Badu's But You Caint Use My Phone mixtape, which came out in 2015. I am so obsessed, particularly with U Don't Have To Call, What's Yo Phone Number / Telephone and I'll Call U Back. - They are all such tunes! Listen to the full mixtape on youtube here. 


So, I hope this gave you food for thought! It was kind of just a mini-rant to be honest. 
Oh yeah, and Happy Halloween, kids! What are everyone's plans? Whatever they are, I hope y'all have a spooky ass time.


~peace out~ and see you in the next post!!! Zoe xo

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

flowery

Hello! I haven't posted in a while! Things have been ... strange, new, exciting, scary, frustrating, long, fast, expensive, cringy, slow, weird. That's pretty much university life summed up for you. Gladly, I think the good outweighs the bad! (only cried twice yuno.) I've made some great friends and I'm really enjoying my course at the moment. (I've been reading a book a week. I whole-heartedly have not done that since 2012.) Here's a tiny mood-board showcasing my previous and present feelings. 
(All photos found on tumblr.com)





Anyways, a dear blog that I absolutely LOVED has not been active for ages, but I realised I had a poem saved in my drafts that she had recommended in one of her posts, and it is gorgeous. It is called 'Boketto' by Susan Rich, and it makes me feel something. Read here

"Boketto - to stare out windows without purpose.
Don't laugh; it's been too long since we leaned
into the morning: bird friendly coffee and blueberry toast."

"I try to exist in the somehow, the might still be - 
gaze upward to constellations of inbetween."


*     *     *

So, life is fun, life is weird.
Just trying to get through it with positive vibes, being open to everything. 

things i've been feeling at the moment:

1. The Spice Girls. These women are and have been my fashion inspiration for time. But recently I've been pretty obsessed, probably due to the fact that I re-watched the Spice World movie a few weeks ago AND Aminé just came out with a new song called 'Spice Girl' (Mel B, aka Scary Spice, is in the video so I was sold.) Their looks were just so iconic. From mini dresses paired with large chunky platforms to full body camo combinations. Baby spice and Scary spice are the ones. 







2. Jane the Virgin. Enough said? I'm two years late, but damn this show is good. It's so stressful and dramatic and funny and I remember being on chapter sixteen now netflix is saying chapter thirty-two? Weird. And even though she sometimes makes annoying af decisions I'm in love with Jane because how can you not be tbh.

3. Little lies by Fleetwood mac. It's kinda the song for me and my flatmates. Whenever it comes on everyone just grins and says for the hundreth time how much of a tune it is. It's ritual now, lol. Listen here! And the album cover art is so pretty and atmospheric. Fleetwood mac are g's.



That's about it to be honest. My eyes are feeling kinda droopy. I'm off for an entire week next week so I'll be able to breathe more.

As you all know, I have a zine called 'sweet-thang' which features and celebrates work by black women and femmes around the world! Issue two is finished and will be available to buy on the 1st of November!!! But if you're in London on the 29th of October, come see me in person at Black Girl Festival - the UK's first arts and cultural day fest celebrating Black British women and girls!!! It will be absolutely legendary and I am so incredibly honoured and excited to be part of it! Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this random post, and that wherever you are and whatever you're doing, things are smooth, breezy and in control.

~peace out~ and see you in the next post!!! Zoe xo

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

tangerines & tomorrows

It's exactly ten days before I leave for uni. How exciting! Not. I haven't packed yet, and yesterday a book I need for my degree, the Norton's Anthology of Theory and Criticism, arrived - bought for £35 on Amazon (shout out to HSBC doing bits with the free £60 gift voucher) and filled with 2700 pages of terrifying and minuscule fine print. Brilliant.

Nah really, although daunting, I am ready to embrace the fresh start! After a summer of late nights and early mornings, I'm (kinda) looking forward to settling down and...studying??? This summer has been so weird. I've met loads of new people, been out a lot, and done so much yet so little!

It began with a trip to Budapest with my cousin and my sister a couple days after exams finished. It was the first time I'd been on holiday without parents or other adults and thus freedom in its purest form. On our first evening/night we went out to one of Budapest's famous "Ruin Bars" called Instant, and I literally had the best night of my life. The DJ was awesome, we met some cool dudes, one of whom bought us drinks (but then wouldn't leave us alone but lmao that's another story), and just being in a different environment was so exciting! We didn't get to see much of it as we were only there for a short time, but I would recommend going to Budapest, especially for the Ruin Bar night life! 













I didn't go anywhere outside of London after this. The rest of the holiday was spent partying, chilling, and coming home in the mornings a little too much for my liking to be honest. July was sunshine and consecutive days out. August was messy and tiring but fun - (and will also be known for my worst drunk experience ever.) Results were good as well!!!

Aside from leaving the house, this summer has been successful in terms of writing. I've enjoyed finding my voice through poetry and, although I haven't read nearly as much as I anticipated, the words I have consumed have been inspiring and beautiful. Speaking of, here's a poem I wrote sometime last month, which I actually prefer read as spoken word.

"no tangerines 4 you (i'm not sad)" (written by me)

I thought you liked tangerines;
They were my offering to you.
Small, zesty orange circles of delight,
They were picked especially for your tasting. 
But it turns out they were unripe for your intensity, and me, embarrassed by my own fertility, I, who had borne this fruit from the plush soil of my soul, (a dense depth of darkness where the light would still let it grow) I, who had not shown the potency of this creation, me, who presented this fruit in its false simplicity, and I, not caring about the implications of this miscommunication, because me, I thought they were your favourite!
I cried for what was lost,
I cried for what was gained.
(the motives of these cries displace each other you see.) 
I sighed a sigh so heavy the anchor in my stomach fell too far down, 
But this allowed space for all of the tangerines I just swallowed in order to spare your feelings. 
My way of offering was obviously flawed.
Perhaps we could share a couple of segments,
That way the message is even, we both taste its sweetness.
Now understand that this does not upset me, and I will not weep for this loss,
Instead I will continue growing and harvesting the fruits of my heart and soul,
Ready for the summer time,
Ready for a new hand to take,
A new mouth to taste,
And thus more time to waste. 



I still have a long way before I write "the perfect piece of writing", but I've found the key is just to continue! Sometimes I look back on writing I've put on this blog and actually cringe. 

*    *   *

Anyways, like an angel in the summer time, new music has also made its way to me. A significant artist would be Charlotte Dos Santos, and her EP released this year called "Cleo." She is so gorgeous and so is her voice! It kind of reminds me of Amy Winehouse, in particular songs. My favourite songs off the EP are definitely Good SignMove OnCleoRed Clay It's Over, Bobby. Give her a listen on Spotify! If you're into chill, classic soul vibes you won't be disappointed. Maybe you'll find a new sound to indulge in!







I also really like this artist known as IAMDDB! I love her voice so much. (if i could rap i would want to sound like her tbh.) The three songs I have been feeling at the moment are Leaned Out, Pause and Shade! Listen to them and watch the videos!

I deleted Instagram a week or two ago, for many reasons. First of all, I was kind of bored of it. I started to realise that all I did was stalk people, compare myself to others, try to take selfies, fail, feel ill. Lol. I didn't use it for a particular, artistic purpose either. The day after, I went to bed feeling so regretful, and I couldn't stop thinking about what I was missing out on, who I wouldn't be able to speak to now we weren't "connected." Then I remembered that I am a physical, tangible entity. Not a digital being. If someone wants to find me, they will, because there's nothing realer than the physical form. I don't go on my phone as much as I used to and it feels good to be less wired and hunched over. Consumed by the digital. It reminds me of this quote by Princess Nokia: 

It's not for everyone. But I do recommend taking breaks from time to time. Go be free in the world!!!
On that note, I hope everyone has had a magnificent summer! I hope A-Level results were great for all of us out there too. Enjoy the rest of the break, start getting ready for whatever is to come, whether it is work, university or a beautiful gap year. Look at my musing for the month! 

~peace out~ and see you in the next post!!! Zoe xo