Why Pride Is Important – My Thoughts and Yours

Today is the last day of Pride Month and it makes me a little sad that I haven’t written posts pertaining to it. However, there are a few reasons why Pride is a special month and I want them to be celebrated. In fact – this is a post mostly for you.

Simply put, Pride is important both as a way to express awareness about the LGBTQ+ community to those who aren’t LGBTQ+ but it also helps to let people find a place in the world who don’t feel like they fit anywhere. It’s a form of belonging but also a way to let people question who they are, as safely as they can. Of course, this isn’t exclusive to Pride Month but the conversations that can be started when acceptance is promoted so strongly from so many sources can be invaluable and can start the process of somebody feeling happy enough with how they feel about themselves to begin to ‘come out’, or to be more open with who they are.

Expressing your identity’ in the age of the Internet and modern technology may be easier nowadays then it was 50 years ago but it isn’t easy for everyone. There are still countries and communities in which being attracted to someone of the same sex or gender isn’t accepted as readily; social stigma against many parts of the LGBTQ+ community is still high, even within the LGBTQ+ community itself. Just because I, for instance, didn’t experience much homophobia growing up, doesn’t mean other people haven’t or won’t. This month can allow people to feel a little more secure in their identity, to belong to a community that accepts them when others may not.

Some may ask why Pride is necessary, if the world is more accepting now. However, not only is it necessary for those who aren’t accepted but also for those who don’t fit in with the ‘traditional’ binary idea of sexuality, romantic attraction or gender; for those who wish to celebrate their identity, it’s important. It can take any form, not just marches or parades or material things, but in discussions and collections of thought. It shouldn’t be limited or constrained to inaccessible forms of expression. Everyone is involved in Pride, not just those who speak the loudest.

What makes Pride amazing is the community surrounding it. So many people express their identity, in whatever way they wish to. It is – and should be – about positivity and inclusivity. On that note, I want to share with you a list of bloggers and blog posts who have done, and are doing, just that.

Kirithika opens up about her bisexuality on her blog, especially on how she felt about telling the important people in her life and how her understanding of her sexuality has developed over time.

Lia discusses Aphobia in the media and characters having happy endings that don’t depend on a romantic plotline.

Kel guest posted on Bethany’s blog about people’s perceptions of LGBTQ+ (in a hilarious way), as well as celebrating identity and discussing his sexuality.

Em explains her thoughts about her own identity and how confusing it can be, particularly highlighting how it can and has changed over time; it’s a truly beautiful post.

Bethany writes about her sexuality journey as part of her Pride Month posts, discussing asexuality and how school influenced her; all of her Pride posts are amazing!

Lu discusses 4 LGBTQ+ things she wants to see represented more in YA as well as talking about internalised homophobia, in the first part of her Coming Out series.

Victoria wrote about whether labels were always necessary to identify yourself in a really thought-provoking and inclusive post, taking into account all sexualities and genders in the community.

All of these posts are wonderful and I’d encourage you to read as many as you can; each has a unique voice and highlights different parts of the community, raising important points that should be talked about.

Pride goes beyond the month of June. I shouldn’t be sad about not writing posts to do with it because by expressing my identity, and by others expressing theirs, we keep the spirit of Pride alive. We show ourselves and others that being who we are should be respected and understood and that the world can be a bright place, if you give people the chance to make it so.

Love from Elm 🙂

Some Thoughts About My Identity

I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks. Though that’s never a good thing, because me thinking usually results in a catastrophe, this time it’s been about my identity. Along of bemusement and a heavy dose of yelling to my friends about how confused I am, I might have started to piece together a bit more of who I think I am.

Because my thoughts are quite jumbled, I’m going to try and organise them into sections. They’ll overlap, but that’s the beauty of life, right? (I honestly have no idea how this post is going to go, so bare with my strange ramblings).

Sexual Attraction

In terms of who I’m sexually attracted to, I know it could be any gender. I know that I can get incredibly strong sexual and physical attraction to people. It’s happened many times before, even if I don’t necessarily know them. However, the sexual attraction becomes stronger the more I know somebody. Saying that, I am honestly afraid of intimacy with anyone I don’t know very well and even when I do know somebody very well, I still can become really nervous. I think this is because I was emotionally damaged from situations before that I become wary of people that I trust, in case they do something similar. In addiN to that, I am afraid of losing control in a situation where I might embarrass myself. The attraction, as well as the fear, builds up over time but I’ve found that attempting to repress this attraction can make it a lot worse.

Romantic Attraction

This one’s a bit more tricky. A lot of the time, I get romantic and sexual attraction confused. However, I know that I do experience strong romantic feelings for people; I’ve “fallen in love” three times as far as I’m aware. This attraction is normally only strong when I know somebody really well. To people I don’t know so well, I can get attracted but it’s only often a surface attraction that easily fades. Like physical attraction, I also get scared of my feelings most of the time. This causes me to run away from them, or try, which can then block me from feeling anything.

How They Interact

This is where all the confusion starts. When doing anything intimate, if there isn’t any kind of romantic subtext, I can feel a little sick afterwards. This “sick” feeling also happens if I’m only romantically, and not sexually, attracted to a person. I will never feel entirely invested in someone if I’m just physically attracted to them but nothing else; this doesn’t stop me from being involved with them but it can cause me to panic somewhere down the line. As well as that, if I’m involved with someone in one way, it can progress to the other way as well: for example, if I just had romantic feelings for someone, I could then develop physical feelings and vice versa, the latter having occurred more than once.

I DO NOT HAVE A CLUE

All of this comes from experience, where I can relate every single thing I’ve said in this post to a situation that has happened. This means I don’t know if the same patterns will continue in the future. I know I’m scared of things and that to some extent, I’ve always been way, way more attracted to people who I know but recent experiences that have happened mean that I don’t fully understand how to commit to even those people who I adore with all my heart.

There isn’t much clarity here but I knew that, even as I began to write this post. I’m still extremely confused and there isn’t one way of saying, “Oh! This is me then.” I’m hesitant about committing to anything, just in case my indecisive brain decides to do a U-turn. However, as I said earlier, I’m very sick of having to pretend to not feel things.

All I know is that my thoughts on feelings and sexuality are complicated and can’t ever be fully explained with a simple few words. Part of it’s always been there but part of it’s to do with past experiences that have shaped my personal thoughts on what I’m comfortable with. Finding the different parts that fit into those two – or more – categories is going to be tricky and I may never fully figure out which might be which. Isn’t that what life is, though? Not always being sure of how things fit together?

I’m not going to attach a label to it right now, or maybe not ever. It might change – in fact, it probably will. If I commit to a label now, I might have further panic if that then changes again.

I want to live and fall in love again but I also need to work through a bunch of identity troubles first. Or rather, I want this to be a slow process because I’ve rushed things before and that is vastly unpleasant, to say the least.

Have you ever had confusion about your identity? What did you do to help yourself figure it out?

From Elm 🙂

Books I Need to Read This summer

I love books, to a worrying extent sometimes. A-Levels stopped me reading and I really want to get back into it, now that I have actual free time. What better way to do that than to rave about the books I want to read this summer?

These come from a range of places, from recommendations to just stalking my Twitter for books I should read. Will I get through all of them? Hopefully, but who knows?

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
OKAY YES I HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK I AM SO SORRY. I honestly think I’m one of the only ones who hasn’t read it? It’s been on my TBR for years now and it’s ridiculous how I’ve not read it? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? I’ve read the other books in the Grishaverse, like Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, so this is a must-read especially because my friends always scream about it.

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
For a long time, Cait’s reviews on Goodreads were my main source of book recommendations. She’s wonderful and I read a story by her on Wattpad, a long time ago; her words were addicting and emotional. I can’t wait to read this – I can tell it will make me sob but it’ll be worth it for the beauty her words can inspire.

The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan
I’ve seen so many great reviews of this book, including the brilliant Ilsa telling the world how much she adores the book. The premise sounds so interesting too and I’ve heard the writing is fantastic.

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
When I read Daughter of the Burning City, I fell in love with Amanda Foody’s work. She writes with such attention to character and setting that it actually makes me cry. I’ve heard that this book is really diverse too, so that makes me want to read it more.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
There’s no doubt about it: I need to read this book. Its message is so incredibly important and though it will be hard-hitting, people need to read these words. I’ve needed to read it for such a long time but thiss summer, it’s going to be one of the first I read.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Though I’ve seen a fair bit of hype for this on Twitter, I don’t know much about it. The summary sounds awesome and I need to read more fairytale retellings anyway. It seems diverse too but again, I don’t know too much about it; I want to go into it with as little expectations as possible.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
like the last book, I don’t know much about this one apart from that it’s fantasy and apparently awesome. I’m the type of person who gets scared of hype so I’ve resisted crying over reviews. We’ll just see how it goes.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Originally, I heard negative things about this book but that was mostly from my internalised you-have-to-be-gay-or-straight-make-up-your-mind that plagued me for ages, and made me dislike myself a fair bit. However, I think I really need this in my life because it presents people realising they might have a different identity in a positive light. There should be more books like that.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa albert
I’ve heard so many things about this book, both good and bad in terms of the plot and fantasy world. I really want to see what the hype is about and I kind of want to be able to wail about it to people??

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman
Radio Silence was the best thing I have ever read and from all the reviews I’ve read, this book is spectacular as well. It talks about fandom, identity and reality, all of which are parts of my life in some capacity. Alice Oseman seems to right in a way that relates you to the narrative so I desperatly want to get my hands on this (e)Book soon YES.

There you have it! I honestly can’t wait to read these; wish me luck! They’ve been on my TBR for so long, although said TBR is still growing.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

From Elm 🙂

We’re Going to Austria!

By the time this post goes up, I should be just landed in an airport in Vienna. If all goes to plan, we’ll be at the apartment we’re staying in shortly, near the centre of the city. You have no idea how excited I am for this!!!

Who’s we? Well, for the first time ever, my friends and I are going on an independent trip abroad – no parents, no school or anything. It’s me, my friend Swan and another friend (who I need to think of a name for. I might ask Swan on the plane to help me think of one). Now that all our A-Levels are done – She-who-does-not-have-a-name-yet had her last one on Tuesday – we’re going abroad for the freedom and the experience. For a week, we’re away from all the stresses of home and it’s going to be amazing.

This trip took ages to organise, mostly because I’m a lazy bitch and only got my shit together recently. We booked the flights, the accommodation and have quite a few ideas of where we’re going. However, it’s not going to be too intense because none of us need that. This is a way for us to relax and enjoy a place we’ve never been to before. I’m just so happy to be spending the time with friends who I absolutely love.

We’re planning on going to museums, Palace Gardens, some crypts (yes, don’t judge); we want to have a picnic at some point and also to do a ton of walking. We (and by we, I mean my friends because I’m awful) are planning to cook our own meals mostly, to save money. Trust me: my culinary skills can’t even be called skills at this point. The apartment seems lovely and I don’t want to burn it down.

I’m writing this on Monday, procrastinating from packing. Really, I should get on with it but I’m so hyped that I can’t do much else apart from look over potential places to go and screech quietly to myself about the fact that we’re now, vaguely, functioning adults.

Tomorrow – the day before the trip – I’ll schedule some blog posts to go up whilst I’m away. If I don’t have time to write whilst I’m there, then you’ll hear from the present me (that sounds weird) when I get back.

It’s supposed to be boiling in Vienna so I need to go and pack actual warm weather clothes so I don’t become fried. Most likely, it’ll take hours because I’m very, very indecisive.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you take some time to relax. As much as possible, I’ll do the same. I will enjoy this time, not tethered to any obligation to revise or stress myself out needlessly.

See you soon!

From Elm 🙂

Bloggers Support Bloggers Challenge!

As soon as I saw this tag, I shrieked in pure delight because it’s exactly the reason I love blogging so much. It’s a way to spread love and positivity as well as including other bloggers. Bethany nominated me for this and wrote some truly lovely words about me and other bloggers; you should go and check her post out! Anyhow, on with the tag!


The Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you and be sure to link their blogsite!
  • Add the official photo to your post.
  • List at least five bloggers you like. It can be bloggers you’ve known for a long time but, be sure to add a couple newbies in there too! This is all about spreading love and encouragement so don’t be afraid to step outside your friend group, please!
  • In five sentences or above, give a short description about why you love that blogger.
  • Tag at least 3 other bloggers to do this challenge down below.
  • Put #bloggerssupportbloggers in the Tags section so whenever a blogger is looking for new blogs to read, it will be easier to find!

Apparently, I’m a rebel in all forms so I’m not going to write about 5 bloggers. I’m going to write about 7 because it’s 1) one of my best friend’s second favourite number, 2) just a good number and 3) I’m indecisive.

Lu from Lu Reads

I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THIS CHILD. From her screaming over books to her posts on representation in YA, her blog content is so varied and inclusive. She’s become such a good friend to me as well; reading her blog always puts a smile on my face because seeing her rave about her favourite books – like Autoboyography (or yell about her least favourite) gives me books to add to my ever-growing TBR pile or books to avoid/run away from screaming. I also love how she’s so involved in the community – her Twitter gives me such joy I CANNOT EXPRESS IT. I genuinely feel like I can’t do the description of how much I adore her writing style justice so I’m going to leave you with wordless crying and a plea that you just READ. IT. NOW.

Kel from Consider Yourself Warned

If you’ve been living under a rock (or haven’t seen our interactions on Twitter), Kel and I have known each other for about 8 years and he’s one of my closest friends. His blog is hilarious; I read his posts and have been known to honestly cry whilst laughing. ALSO I CAN HEAR THE WORDS IN HIS VOICE AND AAAA! Not only does he make beautiful posts like this but his introspective posts are also amazing – take a look at this one too. He’s also nearly at 1000 followers and I’m so proud of him for all he’s achieved with his blog; the transformation I’ve seen in him over the last few years is wonderful to see.

Holly from May Contain Spoilers

I found holly really recently from our common ground of shouting over A-Levels. You’d be so surprised at the bond that can be forged over mutual sobbing. She’s thinking of doing the same course as me and even in a short time, we’ve got on so well. On checking out her blog, I was immediately struck by how friendly she sounds. It feels like she’s talking to you directly when she shares her opinions of books; I really appreciated her blend of coherency and shouting over BOOKS YESS I LOVE THEM AHHH. You can see that blend of styles here in one of her discussion posts. Also, I almost cried at her use of “Gods of Olympus” that can be found in this glorious post.

Ally from Cute but Awkward

I found Ally’s blog recently as well and I am so glad I did. Her positivity astounds me: she’s got so much self-belief and belief in others that I get inspired just thinking about it. You can find a tag she created here that celebrates people’s unique qualities and you should give it a go because it might help you to transfer some positivity onto yourself, too! Recently, she hit 100 followers which is fab and despite only knowing her for a short while, I’m really proud of how much time and love she puts into her blog. She’s got a whole support group around her; seeing comments on her blog and the encouragement she gets is so beautiful. Her happiness is contagious; I’m smiling right now which makes me feel, a little, like I can conquer a small section of the world.

Kirithika from Wolfish Delight

This may sound… Slightly creepy but I’ve known Kirithika for a very long time and I’ve never met someone who I wanted to be friends with so badly. Her blogging journey has been inspiring to watch, her honesty helping me to become more honest myself. The way she writes is, in a word, helpful and in a few more, reassuring where it makes you feel like you’re not alone in the world. Posts like this one have actually let me become less self-conscious in my own body. The blogging world needs people like her, who aren’t afraid to talk about things other people might shy away from. She’s one of the people I’m most thankful to for letting me understand that what I feel is okay. Can I just cry for a second? Those like Kirithika give me so much faith in myself.

Ellie from the Diary of Ellie

Ellie is a blogger who i’ve been in awe of pretty much since I found her blog. She’s not only professional but also has a blog which hosts a variety of content, from beauty to photography to spreading positivity (which I love!) One of my favourite recent posts of hers is her talking about her favourite bloggers and the respect she has for the community is lovely to see. What she writes is also very helpful; her post on apps that every blogger needs is a great read. All in all, I aspire to be at Ellie’s level of professionalism and to have her confident writing style. I definitely plan to read more of her posts in the future as she has some helpful insights on beauty products which I’d love to try.

Shay from Planet Shay

I’ve known Shay for ages and throughout that time, whenever I go on a blog binge-read, her dedication and genuine, quality content is always what jumps out at me. Even when going through stressful times in her life, she still manages to post every few days and just HOWW?? I want that level of committment, honestly! She posts so many different types of content; by far the ones that make me most emotional are posts like this, which bring the humanity back to emotions. Without fail, she helps people to remember that what they feel is valid – reading comments on her posts shows me that the community she’s built is one of love and thoughtfulness. She also writes with a mature but friendly style; I never feel patronised when reading her content. Oh! A few days ago, she reached 400 followers so show her some love because she deserves it!

I love all of these bloggers; they each individually illuminate the best parts of the blogging world to me. The communities they create are irreplaceable and all of them inspire me in one way or another, whether I met them 3 years ago or 3 months ago. Needless to say, regardless as to whether I know them personally or not, I have a lot to thank them for.

Anyone who I fangirled about, feel free to do this tag! That goes for any of my readers too; it’s a lovely thing to write and also gives you the excuse of reading through some of your favourite blogs.

I hope you enjoyed reading this! Doing these kinds of tags makes me want to connect to the blogging world even more.

Who are some of your favourite bloggers?

Love from Elm 🙂

Falling Out of Love

On a beach in Tenerife last summer, with sand blowing in my eyes and something like joy burning in my heart, I realised that I was in love with someone who I knew could never love me back. In October, my heart was thoroughly broken when I was proven right and in November, those feelings had decreased to a painful roar. By December, they’d pretty much gone completely. Whilst realising I had those feelings in the first place was certainly terrifying, the most upsetting part was watching them fade. I want to talk about that now, when it doesn’t feel like the world is falling apart.

Falling out of love is just as it sounds: you fall. The strength of the sadness is shown by whether the eventual crash to the ground is painful or not; whether you’re left miserable for months afterwards or whether the very idea of feelings scares you now. It’s the slow creeping of dread when something happens that shakes your world enough for feelings to go. In short, it hurts but it’s not the sharp pain of heartbreak: it’s slow, draining and you’re left exhausted by the end of it. However, you’re left without those feelings and that can be a good thing.

I’ve “fallen out of love” three distinct times. The first was from a toxic “friendship” that was so beautiful to start off with but it turned into something I depended on in the most unhealthy ways. The second was peaceful but equally as painful; it was realising that there are some utterly right people at the wrong times. At the third, where I didn’t know what was right or wrong, I utterly shattered. I’ve been told that for months, I was blank and so unhappy; I only remember that time in the most distant of ways. However, for all the heartbreak, each separate instance taught me new things. For that reason, I’m glad that they happened: each consecutive one hurt me worse but I gained a whole lot of perspective from them.

The loss of friends and feelings showed me that processing things, for me, can be quite difficult. I realised, the third time, that I had been purposefully blocking myself from thinking or expressing what I wanted, so much so that all of it would be suppressed until it was tangibly ripped away from me. This is why things have been so horrible; I haven’t given myself time to understand how I reacted in the past, or how other people might have reacted to me. I didn’t blame anyone for it and whilst I don’t blame anyone now, I never truly spoke about things the way I needed to. This summer is about understanding both myself and others; I’ve got potentially years’ worth of events to untangle in my head.

After I came to that realisation last summer, I started to write it all down. In the notes on my phone is a specific set of thoughts, going from 22 August to 1 September, essentially documenting what I was feeling. I had no other way to let it out. When I read over them a few days ago, it brought me back to those days but I was also so shocked at how at times happy and at times confused I was. In the mayhem of losing feelings afterwards, the positive aspects of those feelings withered away so that all I could think about was the losing, rather than the love itself. That love was so beautiful and as I still have a lot of respect for the person in question, I almost felt guilty about reading back on what I’d written.

I think back to that windy August day on a Tenerife beach and feel an acute sense of sadness but also this aching nostalgia. When I wonder what could have been, I try to remember how it was to lose feelings so strong that surviving without them seemed impossible. Well – I survived – and I don’t want to have to go back to those desperate wishes to just stop feeling like this, to just please stop because I couldn’t breathe from the unhappiness. Remembering myself back then isn’t filled with regret: it’s just sorrow that the loss of such feelings affected me so deeply.

Now, I’m in a place where the loss of feelings hasn’t occurred in a long while. I still get moments where I think about situations and get a wild spike of remembered pain but it’s not a current pain. I want to have closure – even after all this time – and sometimes, it’s very difficult to let the past be the past when it’s informed so much of what I am now. Getting closure isn’t the same as “dragging up” old memories. It’s taking those old incidents and making something new from them.

Perhaps I’ll speak to the person about how I was feeling – to all of them, if I can. Perhaps I should have done that before writing and perhaps writing this will have unpleasant consequences. I can’t bring myself to mind. I’ve spent too long holding my own mouth closed that it’s time I spoke, a little, about how I felt when I couldn’t at the time.

I don’t want warped and ruined memories any more. I want to be able to look back on the times where I was in love or when I fell out of it without the accompanying fury about myself. When I think of “falling out of love”, I don’t want to think of the crash: I want to think of the happy and the bittersweet moments, without that becoming something to obsess over.

I can’t exactly pretend that I never felt anything in the first place. All I can do is understand that they happened and that that’s okay.

I wish I could have spoken about it on my blog a bit more. However, back then, I was afraid and unable to think clearly, the thoughts too fragmented. Maybe now, I’ll start to have that freedom without simply running.

Have you ever fallen out of love? How did that affect you?

From Elm 🙂

How My Exams Went, According to Me – Part 2

After that cathartic and weirdly contemplative post I wrote yesterday, I had time to calm down and think. How did my exams really go? I wrote that they went from ” alright to soul crushingly terrible in a pit of fire” and whilst that may be true, I wanted to write about them in a more constructive way. So, for your viewing… Horror, here is how my exams went: Elm style.

Psychology, Paper 1

It’s your AS content, they said. It’d be easy, they said. (not really, I’m just trying to make people pity me.) Being my first exam, I naturally started to feel nervous as soon as I left the house; it only increased before I got to school. Before an exam, I do this thing where I frantically revise until literally no more information could go in. Content-wise, I didn’t really need to do that because excluding one other exam, this was the one I was most prepared for.

The exam itself would have gone okay. I had to draw a graph at one point; some of the applying questions were disgusting but I vaguely knew what I was doing. Except, oh dear, I missed out an entire 9 marks worth of questions. How???!!! How the hell did I do that? I wrote about that content in one of the essays! Was I just half asleep or something? I have no idea. When I got out of that exam, I began my yearly wail on Twitter and that was when I found out. Honestly, I still don’t think I’m over it. Apart from that, there weren’t any terrible mishaps (although now I say that, I bet I’ve done something really foolish).

History, Paper 1

In shock, I came out of that exam feeling okay. I hadn’t done anything that warranted a shouting tournament with myself on twitter and unlike last year, no one from my school had liked one of my “I’m going to fail this exam” Tweets. The questions were… Okay – at least the essays; I actually had content for them. The interpretations questions weren’t as good but I had wildly revised the exam technique before. It was bearable. “Two down,” I thought. “I can do this.”

English, Paper 1

This one certainly wasn’t awful: the question on Jane Eyre was wonderful and the Othello question made me nearly shriek with happiness in the exam. The unseen poetry was the worst simply because I misinterpreted it. Maybe they’ll give me marks for technique?? Ah shit. I don’t want to be quick to say it went ‘well’, because I did that last year and this was the exam that pushed my grade down. I emailed my english teacher, who has been a genuine role model for me, to let her know it hadn’t gone too badly. For this one, I’d prepared and the practice essays – sorry, the one essay I did, went as well as I wanted it to. All in all? Not awful.

Psychology, Paper 2

It was on Friday of the first week of exams that I realised I hated Maths, Graphs, pie charts and all research methods. I fucked up this paper. I’m almost completely blind so I get extra time for exams and this time, I used all of it. Part of it was because I was drawing a graph but most of it was because I was trying to hold back tears. It’s really hard to estimate values in a pie chart and to understand the worst diagram I’ve ever seen and my mind went blank. Despite revising the day before, I screwed up a question on content analysis; I just lost my thought processes completely. This wasn’t even the worst exam because there were moments where I felt confident, if you can call it that.

English, Paper 2

You know how I just said that Psychology Paper 2 wasn’t the worst one? That’s because by far, this one was. Having had the weekend to revise and calm down, I thought it’d be okay and I’d prepared even more for this one than I had for the other english. On the morning of the exam, my family and I had had a massive argument and though it didn’t affect my performance, it put me in a terrible mood which, after the exam, came back full force.

The Handmaid’s Tale question was honestly beautiful because I had done almost exactly that question in a revision session and so I felt confident with it. What was awful was unseen prose as I could barely structure my answer and because it was on the same theme, the Streetcar and poetry question; I’d never prepared ‘conflict’ as a theme properly before. I was so upset coming out of it because I’d spent so long doing prep for it and I panicked in the middle of it. Luckily, it didn’t screw up my confidence but it made me feel so shit about myself. There may be nothing I can do about it now but it doesn’t stop the disappointment from affecting me.

History, Paper 2

MY NAME IS, MY NAME IS, MY NAME IS CHARLES THE SECOND – and before you ask, yes, I had that song going through my head on repeat during the exam. If you haven’t heard it, listen to it because it’s amazing.

After the crap that was English, I set to work again. I’d spent so, so long preparing for this exam and it paid off, finally. Even if the source question was really difficult, the essays were good because our teacher had gone through almost identical ones in class before. At one point I really did shriek “YES!” when I saw the question that I’d been revising the night before. It made my confidence climb slowly back up.

Just as I was about to go home, my history teacher found me. When I told her about the questions, I’ve never seen anyone so happpy and so relieved that they were questions which people had prepared for. It was so odd to finally be done with those topics; I’d spent a long while understanding them, so much so that I missed thinking about them when I had to move onto the next exam.

Psychology, Paper 3

Oh, fucking hell. The night before this exam, I realised that I knew very little and that I was the least prepared for this exam out of all of them. In the middle of running over concepts, I started crying, the only thing stopping me from utterly losing control being the conversation I’d had with my friend Robin which reassured me on one topic. For the others, I was a mess and the crying quickly transformed from sobbing over this exam to sobbing over the fact that I’d been suppressing all my unhappiness, trying to be so stably-stable and it was all catching up with me.

Consequently, I got very little sleep and had to wake up at 6 the following morning. Once again, I was revising before the exam, my whole body shaking. However, the exam itself didn’t go as awfully as I thought. It was really upsetting but I got through it; I remember freaking out over more maths content but then feeling this triumphant happiness in my chest as I got to the last question.

When exams themselves were over, because I word process (type), I had to sign all the pages on one of the copies of the exam. I’d forgotten how exhausting writing could be; I honestly can’t stand it. Because I don’t write in ‘print’ normally (I write in braille), I have to individually think about the letters when I’m writing them. As soon as I wrote my last signature, I felt weird – relieved, but it was almost anticlimactic. I was done and well, that was that.

All in all, they didn’t go as badly as I expected. I’m just trying to forget them now, as much as I can. Maybe relaxing, writing and living is the key to doing that. I managed it, somehow.

If you’re still doing exams, whether that be GCSEs or A-Levels, there isn’t long to go. You can do this. You’ve got through the majority of your exams already and you should be proud of yourself for that. The exam mountain isn’t unscalable.

Good luck, everyone. How’re you feeling about exams?

From Elm 🙂

This Feels like Freedom

Today was my last A-Level exam.

Ever.

What the fuck???

After 7 exams and the most exhausting and draining two weeks of my life, I’m done. Should I say two years? 7 years? My time in “traditional” secondary education is over. 7 exams, 3 subjects, and it’s over. I don’t know how to process that.

Looking back on it, I worked myself to the ground and I only hope that it was worth it. The exams themselves ranged from reasonably alright to soul crushingly terrible in a pit of fire. I revised constantly – though I must say, it took me a while – and the only thing that existed for the last month, for me, was work and exams and not letting the crying that wanted to get out escape. It all feels strange now – so much of what I did was orientated around trying to keep afloat through it all. Until it was over. Now, it is.

I’m going to write an exam recap – in my typical, “WHAT WAS THIS HELP NO” fashion – and post it tomorrow. Until then, I don’t know what I’ll do. I feel cut loose, with strings of unfinished thoughts trailing behind me. I’m exhausted from a breakdown I had yesterday; I’m just tired in general. I’ve barely been getting sufficient sleep and at the worst points, I felt like I was going to scream unstoppably.

When my last exam ended – Psychology – I cried. I cried when I left the VI unit (place where I do my exams) and I cried whilst I waited to go home, when I was saying goodbye to the teachers who’d adapted my work for 7 years. I cried when I said goodbye to the taxi driver who’d driven me to school, every day, for the last 6 years, when he said I was like a second daughter to him. It was a day of tears that stung my eyes and near-tears that shimmered just behind them. All of this seems bland and blank: I want to have the presence of mind to describe my emotions but that’ll come with time.

Now, I feel listless. The purposeful drive will come tomorrow, when I decide I need to write and read, to sing and to reconcile with people who I’ve needed to gain closure from for years. I’ll get sudden bursts of inspiration; I’ll have a myriad of blogging ideas that clammer to be written. I’ll want to piece together my identity piece by piece. But for now? I don’t want to do any of that. I want to sleep, or feel these overwhelming feelings of complete sadness that have been overdue. Suppressing your mental health through exams is genuinely painful and I don’t know why I did it to such a horrible extent but it’s done now. All I can do is pick myself up after and not lose contact with the world around me whilst I’m doing that.

I’m so tired. I’ve said that already but it bears repeating. Who am I now that I’m not just trying to survive until the end of exams? Who am I now that I have feelings and confusion I can’t understand?

The only thing I regret right now is only being a shadow of myself when I spoke to, and met, some of the important people in my life. I’m afraid that they won’t recognise me now. Saying that, it’s not like I’ll have a personality turn-around, or that ending A-Levels suddenly makes me change. It’s just that I’ve repressed so much of myself to be able to cope that I don’t really know what to expect now. Does that make any sense?

A-Levels were awful; I can’t deny that. However, they did teach me things. I can work if I try and I can get through things, when at times I genuinely didn’t think I would. My mental health gets so bad at times that I feel as if everything’s hopeless and terrible; it only got worse with A-Levels. But I did it. I’m alive. I’m here. Is that enough to be proud of myself?

I’ve missed this blog, writing and feeling like I can truly call my work my own. Primarily, I want to get that back in the next few months. I’m out of the worst now, right?

This doesn’t feel quite like a victory. It feels more bittersweet but I’m celebrating, in my own way. An era of my life is over and I don’t know who I’ll become in the next one. Perhaps I’ll have a major crisis in my mind this summer; perhaps I won’t. I think that now everything is done, I need to start processing.

Maybe I’m on my way to okay, and then on the way to happy. I’ve got the entire summer to figure that out.

Have you had exams? If so, how have they gone?

Love from Elm 🙂

The TMI Tag!

OKAY OKAY OKAY so I don’t think I’ve done a tag in at least… Probably around 60 years. I also don’t think I’ve ever done this one before and so my little heart, needing a break from exams and stress, is way too excited about this.

The idea for this post comes from Mary whose post is so funny and made me wildly laugh at one point. Thanks for providing me with inspiration and sorry that it took me this long to get around to doing this tag!

The TMI tag consists of 50 questions and you answer them. It’s that simple. I do warn you – I haven’t taken this quite as seriously as some of my other tags (though when do I ever take a tag completely seriously?) and I’m sorry for the amount of capitals. Have fun reading this!


1: What are you wearing?
Jeans and a t-shirt of some kind. I can’t actually remember what colour they are – the t-shirt’s light and that’s all I can tell. If you’re confused as to why, look at this.

2: Ever been in love?
Yes. It was fucking painful.

3: Ever had a terrible breakup?
I’m not actually sure. I’d say yes because the breakup I’m thinking of – just over a year and a half ago now – was really painful but it wasn’t terrible in that the person wasn’t a dick and it’s complicated and this.

4: How tall are you?
I am 6 foot 7 and FIGHT ME IF YOU DISAGREE. Actually I’m just under 5 foot 1 but shhh I’m going to pretend I’m tall?

5: How much do you weigh?
I think either just over or just under 40 kilograms but I don’t weigh myself really. I’m very thin and very short; I’m not sure if it’s because I was born really early or if I’m just tiny?

6: Any tattoos?
As far as I know, no.

7: Any piercings?
I have one earring in each ear – I got them pierced at the end of last year.

8: OTP?
Tanner and Sebastian from Autoboyography I LOVE THAT BOOK SO MUCH

9: Favourite Show?
Ugh, this will be a trend but I don’t really have one. Anyone got any recommendations?

10: Favourite bands?
I don’t really get obsessed with bands but I like We the Kings and Arctic Monkeys to an extend and I DON’T KNOW??

11: Something you miss?
Being able to have feelings without freaking out about them, second guessing myself and then being a moron.

12: Favourite song?
At the moment, Honey by Kehlani or Think Before I Talk by Astrid – the acoustic version is beautiful.

13: How old are you?
18 but I look about 12.

14: Zodiac sign?
Capricorn but horoscopes creep me out and say I’m work-orientated which is just wrong.

15: Quality you look for in a partner?
Someone who understands that I’m confused and that I have a shit ton of internal issues that I still have to sort out; someone who won’t fuck off at the first instance of my paranoid mind showing up.

16: Favourite Quote?
“Do you think me handsome?”
“NO, sir.”
-Jane Eyre

17: Favorite actor?
See number 9.

18: Favourite colour?
Probably blue. I’m not sure?

19: Loud music or soft?
It depends on what I’m feeling. If I want to forget my feelings I’ll put some shit pop songs on but if I’m feeling sentimental, I have a Spotify playlist with rather unhappy music it’s great.

20: Where do you go when you’re sad?
I don’t go to a specific place; I either totally avoid people or force myself to socially interact but it’s usually the former.

21: How long does it take you to shower?
About 40 years; I’m not even joking.

22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
If I’m hurrying about half an hour but if not, about an hour I’d say? I hardly ever wear makeup and I usually leave the house looking like a troll.

23: Ever been in a physical fight?
No no no.

24: Turn on?
HAHAHAHAH WHAT IS INTIMACY

25: Turn off?
People who are arseholes and trivialise issues 🙂

26: The reason I joined WordPress?
I wanted an outlet and to help people have the same. I needed a place to express my thoughts where I wouldn’t be judged. All of this is still true, of course.

27: Fears?
Bees, being left alone, screwing up all my friendships, panicking.

28: Last thing that made you cry?
Exams I LOVE A-LEVELS SO MUCH!!!

29: Last time you said you loved someone?
Last night to my mum. If we’re talking romantically, last year but it was one-sided and oops I’m just going to forget about that.

30: Meaning behind your Blog Name?
I honestly don’t know. I wanted a name that wasn’t really a name and I got kind of sick of getting too hung up on identities so that’s where the “Or something” comes from. I didn’t really think about it at the time – it just clicked into place.

31: Last book you read?
I haven’t been able to read much so it was a re-read of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda which is amazing, by the way.

32: The book you’re currently reading?
Because of exams, I’m not reading anything right now which saddens me.

33: Last show you watched?
Probably a miscellaneous episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine but that would have been ages ago because exams.

34: Last person you talked to?
My mum, if by talking you mean physically speaking.

35: The relationship between you and the person you last texted?
I don’t know?? She’s very special to me but we haven’t defined anything fully yet and I want to wait until after exams to process my feelings properly.

36: Favourite food?
chocolate of some kind. I’m so healthy.

37: Place you want to visit?
Either Amsterdam or Australia.

38: Last place you were?
My room?? I don’t really get this question but yes.

39: Do you have a crush?
YES BUT FEELINGS WHAT ARE THEY REALLY HELP

40: Last time you kissed someone?
Two weeks ago.

41: Last time you were insulted?
I mean,,, I don’t remember, probably recently but I just didn’t realise it was an insult.

42: Favourite flavour of sweet?
… I have – idea whatsoever.

43: What instruments do you play??
I used to play piano and I also vaguely sing.

44: Favourite piece of jewellery?
I love necklaces because bracelets never seem to fit me and earrings are a pain.

45: Last sport you played?
HAHAHAHA OH GOD THAT IS FUNNY

46: Last song you sang?
You Don’t know by Katelyn Tarver. My singing ability has been somewhat destroyed for now by a cold I’ve got.

47: favourite chat up line?
Have I seen you before? Oh wait…

48: Have you ever used it?
I don’t think so; I really hope I haven’t.

49: Last time you hung out with anyone?
When I saw Pearl last.

50: Who should answer these questions next?
Honestly, anyone who reads this post. It’s actually a lot of fun to do this tag so go for it!

I hope you enjoyed reading this pile of shit – sorry, I meant post. I shouldn’t be laughing at my own answers but I am and I think I need to go and do more revision.

See you when exams are over, unless I break and post before then!

From Elm 🙂

Halfway There?

A quick side-note before I start: I have had Livin’ on a Prayer stuck in my head for the past hour as I was thinking about this post, simply because of the chorus. Along with book titles and other miscellaneous songs, this one really gets me because WOOOOAAH WE’RE HALFWAY THERE!

Apart from the atrocious posts of 2015, I think that was the worst transition between subjects I’ve ever done. Because yes: I’ve had four exams; I have three left. Isn’t it a time to celebrate? Well… No. It’s a time to update you all.

For the past week, I’ve been in a self-made cave of isolation apart from when I gallivant off to exams. Even then, I’m in a room by myself (and an invigilator). It’s because I Word Process – a fancy way to say I use a computer to write my exams – and I get extra time. It’d get lonely except that I’m usually shouting with frustration. For instance, today, I said “Oh fucking god” when I had to figure out a diagram for Psychology. I wish i was joking.

Until they’re over, I’m not going to contemplate exams too much. I’ve spent enough time crying over my first Psychology exam and then genuinely yelling at myself for misinterpreting my English paper to last a lifetime. It’s so exhausting to keep thinking, over and over, that I fucked up only to be told I should stop it because “you’ll do well anyway.” If I believed that wholeheartedly, I wouldn’t be terrified out of my mind.

Right, that’s enough of that. I’m going to do an exam recap like I did last year at the end. For now, I’m going to do a quick runthrough of what’s been happening. Bullet points are my friend and I got about 5 hours of sleep last night so my mental capacity isn’t great right now.

•It’s Pride Month which fills me with happiness. When I’m done with exams I’ll write some Pride posts but in the meantime, check out Lu’s amazing post on LGBTQIA+ representation in YA, Lia’s Pride Month TBR and Bethany’s post on coming out.
•Speaking of Pride and sexuality, as I said in this post, I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about my own identity, particularly my romantic orientation. I really want to make a post about it but long story short, I don’t know what I’m feeling: I know what kind of people I’m attracted to but I don’t know how far my attraction goes or what my limitations are. It’s confusing and I don’t want to commit to a label yet, possibly not ever, but SOMETHING IS HAPPENING INSIDE MY MIND
•I’ve come down with some kind of cold/virus which means I’m coughing constantly and occasionally think that my throat is on fire. Taking exams has been a struggle because for once, I feel very physically ill and my mental health isn’t totally terrible
•I might be getting my Prom dress adjusted this weekend; I’m kind of nervous even though I know it’ll be fine because I’m still not the biggest fan – to put it lightly – of my appearance. I’m irrationally afraid that it won’t fit me after the adjustments have been done.
•The friends I’ve spoken to recently have been amazing. I say ‘spoken to’ because my communication with people has been even worse lately, what with exams and confusion and illness but when I do emerge into the land of technology, I always get surprised at how fantastic people can be. That might sound horribly sentimental but at this point, I don’t care
•I’ve been trying not to implode from work but it’s been a near thing; sleep is elusive but I’m going to try and rest this weekend as much as I can
•Things with Pearl, who I talk about on this page are going really well. I’m still going to wait until after exams to properly process all my feelings but I’m relatively secure, meaning that I’m not screaming or panicking out of fear yet. This is me though, so only time will tell.
•Pearl also knows about my blog but I haven’t shown it to her yet – she found my Twitter (because I don’t exactly do a great job at hiding it) but has respected me asking if she’ll wait until after my exams to look at the blog. There are things I want to explain to her before all of it because my blog, and showing it to people, has always been a private thing and I want to be as careful as possible instead of running headlong into all of the big decisions
•Exams are draining the life out of me because I haven’t read a book in a long while and i miss it. I also haven’t written anything substantial in ages as well but my mantra for getting through this is that I’ll be able to do everything after exams

So, there you have it. My brain is wired for revising right now; I can’t do much else. My energy levels are only now starting to rise as this virus thing clears up. I need sleep and I need it soon otherwise I may scream.

How are you all doing? I miss the blogging community so much. I’ll be back on my game ONCE EXAMS ARE OVER I CANNOT WAIT.

From Elm 🙂