The Music Habits Tag!

Hi!
Long time no speak, write – whatever it is I churn out on this blog. Things have been painfully hectic recently but I’m back with a tag! I can hear you shrieking for joy all the way from here, the air filled with the beautiful sound of silence. Okay no, I’ll shut up and stop whinging; onto the tag!

This was created by my amazing friend Sumedha who is a genius and you should seriously check out her blog. I love this tag of hers and it’s time I yelled about music more on this blog.

The Rules

  1. Tag the creator – Sumedha – so they can read all your answers!
  2. Thank the person who tagged you.
  3. Answer all the questions.
  4. Tag at least three friends.

This sounds fab I NEED TO DO TAGS MORE OFTEN! Right, the questions…

Do you download songs or stream them from apps like Spotify?

I used to download songs onto my phone but I got quite bored of that because I wasn’t able to find new music easily, so now I use Spotify to stream most of my music. For me, it’s easier and takes up way less space on my phone.

What’s your current favourite song?

Ooooh this is a difficult one. I’m really loving the acoustic version of Flicker by Niall Horan because it gives me a vague amount of hope and the piano accompaniment is beautiful. You’ll notice a pattern – I listen to sad songs a lot and the ones that aren’t sad, I’m too ashamed to admit to.

Last song you listened to?

I was feeling bitter and stereotypical so I listened to Let Me Go by Hailee Steinfeld – I actually really like it and it’s one of the songs I listen to that aren’t really weird or sad.

Who are your all time favourite artists?

  1. Katelyn Tarver
  2. We The Kings
  3. Hayley Kiyoko
  4. Alan Walker
  5. Dean Lewis

Oh god, my taste in music is strange… I don’t actually have many all-time favourite artists; I more get obsessed with songs.

Have you been to any concerts?

YESSS, I’ve been to Glastonbury four times – from the ages of 8 to 11- where I’ve seen Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Jay Z, Marina and the Diamonds and a few others. I’ve also seen Rae live, and Hozier, which you can read about here. That was honestly amazing and I’ve loved all the concerts I’ve been to.

Do you play any instruments?

I kind of play the piano, though badly; the main thing I do is sing. On my contact page, you can find a link to my grim Youtube channel that I’m not even allowing myself to call a “Youtube channel”> On there, I occasionally warble out something you might call music, if you were being generous. I quit piano years ago so singing’s the only thing I really have, music-wise.

Do you play your songs on shuffle or choose a playlist?

Recently I’ve been getting really into playlists but I do want to start to shuffle my music more. I kind of like the uncertainty of it on days where that doesn’t stress me out. I’ve created some seriously cringe playlists on Spotify that I really hope I’ve made private…

Name one song that you always skip when it comes up on shuffle

Perfect by Ed Sheeran. I used to really love this song but now, it actually upsets me to listen to it. I’ll listen to it occasionally but I have too many internal things associated with that song to feel entirely at ease when I hear it.

Do you prefer playing songs on speaker or listening in ear/headphones?

When I’m at home, I’ll often listen to music on my speaker or just out loud. However, in public, I always put headphones in because sometimes I have pretty emotional reactions to songs and get embarrassed quite easily if people see me looking happy/upset in public. I don’t know – I’m quite odd.

Is there any popularly liked song that you don’t like?

I really don’t like Hurtin’ Me. It just makes me angry whenever I hear it. I’m listening to it at the moment and getting so furious that I’m going to switch to a less insufferable song.

Where do you usually find new music? Example through shuffle online

Usually, it’s through YouTube, or if something comes up on my Spotify that I’ve never heard before. If my friends really like a song and go on about it a lot, I’ll listen to it just to see what it’s like and quite a lot, I’ll get good song recommendations from it. Saying that, on top of some strange videos in my recommended, YouTube is usually my place to go.

Do you like songs based on tunes/beats or lyrics?

If one is really bad, so if there are shit lyrics or a shit tune, I won’t like the song. However, what usually attracts me to songs are the lyrics; if a song has a particularly relatable theme or line, I’ll automatically get obsessed with it. Some songs I like purely for their beat (but I don’t usually admit that shhh).

Name one song you think everyone should listen to

Waves by Dean Lewis. The first time I heard it, I cried because it pretty much describes how I feel on a day-to-day basis. that, coupled with the piano, makes me feel weirdly comforted whenever I hear it.

And I Nominate

Bethany
Alex
Perfectly Platonic
Bri
Kel


I hope you enjoyed my weird and rambling answers! I don’t have the best music taste ever but I own it…

What’s your favourite song?

From Elm 🙂

BIRTHDAY BADGE: Elm is 1…8?

When a friend has something great happen to them, I have two in-built responses.
1. I smile politely, congratulate them on their achievement, and then back off to a corner to bitterly sulk as to why they are so much better than me and why they can do everything that I am so bad at.
2. I squeak in excitement, give them a huge hug and tell them – genuinely – how proud of them I am, because I care about them, and they are a close enough friend for their successes to feel like my own.

Elm – our dear Elm – is one of these amazing, close friends, and it gives me such pride to be here today, writing her 18th birthday post. Happy birthday, elm, and welcome to adulthood.
[This is the part where I give the ‘words of wisdom’, but I’m 16 and pretty thick so hahaha good luck Elm!]
I hope you are having a brilliant day, filled with fun, laughter, and your friends and family.
And cake. because cake is good.

I didn’t feel worthy of writing such a momentous post all by myself, so I enlisted the help of some fabulous bloggers and Internet pals, to wish our dear tree leader a happy coming-of-age.

Ocean
Blog
Twitter
“Happy Birthday Elm! I can’t believe you are 18, I think we started talking when you were only 15 or 16. You are such a fantastic friend and a wonderful person and I feel privileged to call you my friend. I admire your dedication to blogging and how you help so many people with what you write. Never forget how far you have come, I know some days are hard but so far you have got through every shitty day which shows just how strong you are. Happy Birthday once again, from Ocean”

Sav
Blog
Twitter
“As someone who’s kept me grounded like an anchor and kept me on the right trail, it’s only fitting you have a slightly above average birthday because of all the residue this past year has left on you”

Gracey
Blog
Twitter
“Elm, you’re absolutely definitely truthfully the worst person I’ve ever met and I hate you. By that I mean that I love you so, so much and I think you’re amazing! You’re so strong, intelligent, independent and hilarious, and I couldn’t wish for a better gal pal. I adore you, weirdo. Keep going, and a massive happy birthday from meeeee! X”

Kirithika
Blog
Twitter
“You know Elm, I don’t know you nearly as well as I’d like to, something I’m hoping to change in 2018! But from what I do know, I know that you’re so kind and selfless and always there to voice your support for people however big or small the issue. And beyond that, you show your support for happy things too! It’s easy enough to chuck out some heart emojis under a sad tweet but it requires authenticity to go ahead and share your joy under a happy tweet. I really do like that about you. You’ve shared a lot of struggles with us over the past few months and I’m proud to see the progress you’ve made, I only hope that you find more happiness over the next year and beyond! Happy Birthday Elm :)”

Em
Blog
Twitter
“Elmm!! Welcome to the 18 (or 81 😂) club – we’re all old here and have to take several naps to get through the day, but it’s all good fun! Thank you for blessing the blogging community with your beautiful writing, but most importantly thanks for being such a kind and caring friend. I hope you have the loveliest birthday – you really deserve it! xx”

Astrid< a href=”https://www.hideawaygirl.com/”>BlogTwitter “ELM I LOVE YOU SO MUCH- I hope to Skype with you more and to have a massive catch up 🙂 thank you for always supporting me and other people who are in such hard times and when you write about your experiences, you’re helping people massively as they know they aren’t alone so thank you Elm 🙂 I hope you’re gonna have an awesome 18th birthday, you’re an adult now; I have an adult friend OMFG!! Haha, I wish you the best year and I LOVE YOU :)”

Dziey< a href=”https://dzieyy.wordpress.com/”>BlogTwitter “Happy birthday Elm! You’re the star of WordPress and I hope you have a very very awesome birthday!”

It’s so heartwarming to see the lovely things that everyone has to say about Elm: she is such a key part of the blogging community, and a foundation in so many friendship groups both on and offline. I’m honoured to be classed as Elm’s friend each and every day, and it always makes me smile when something great happens to her, because she deserves it more than anyne else I know.

Bethany< a href=”https://bethanyandbooks.wordpress.com/”>BlogTwitter “Happy birthday Elm!!! It’s crazy to think that you’re 18 now, an adult. Sorry, I didn’t want to make you feel old in any way, whoops. Anyway, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for always being there for me this year. I always feel like you’re my mini cheerleader which always makes me smile and also convince myself to keep going with this blogging thing and to even start expanding that next year! I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for you and I hope I can come along for the ride, if only through a screen. Happy birthday!! Xxx”

Eve< a href=”https://www.twistinthetaile.com/”>BlogTwitter “Elm – I am so lucky to know you, I can’t believe we have been blogging friends for so long. You always write beautiful & relatable posts, many of which have really helped me. You support others so much and are genuinely just super wonderful. GO YOU ❤️ Happy birthday, I hope you have a great day!”

JasmineBlogTwitter “ELMMMM – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! A year ago (oh my gosh i’ve known you for a yearrrr) when I was just starting out blogging and you commented on my posts, I had no idea you would become a person I trust and respect so, so much. You’re such a lovely, kind and supportive person that puts absolutely everyone above yourself. Your caring nature has made you practically a role model figure in the blogging community, even a motherly figure! (which is a compliment I promise😂) It’s an absolute pleasure to know you Elm, you’re an amazing human, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!! Have the most AMAZING 18th full of fun and laughter, you deserve that and more Enter adult life with a blast!! Xxxx Elm: you have achieved so, so much in the first 18 years of your life — as a child. The rest of your life lies ahead of you, waiting for you to take charge of it. I know you will, and I know you will have every success going in the future, and I simply can’t wait to observe that for myself. You’re strong, caring, funny and so, so much more, and I can say with every certainty that those who are lucky enough to know you are just that — lucky. They are lucky, like me, because you are the most fabulous person I know.<br<br
ohol nowww LOL

This year, it can be your birthday.<br
t;

I Felt like I Belonged

On Friday, I was involved in a music competition for school. In our school, we have five ‘houses’ and on Sports Day and other such activities, we compete to see who will win – which my house never does. I never got involved in Sports Day by doing sports because I’m lazy as hell; I only volunteered this year to help the younger years with non-sport related activities. As a result, I didn’t have much involvement with the house system before this year. For the second year in a row, a House Music event was held; it was the first I performed in and it couldn’t have gone better.

Although I sing, I hardly ever sing with school or in a group of people at school; I used to belong to chamber choir but I quit and because of that, I haven’t been asked to perform at concerts. I didn’t use my initiative to volunteer even this time: one of my best friends, Pine, who has been friends with me since the very start of year 7, is a music leader – a sixth former who helps organise concerts and gets things in order. She, along with the other music leaders from my house, suggested that I get involved because they knew I had a history of singing and performing. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the guts to want to be part of it.

When I was in choir, rehearsals were a weekly event for me; ever since I left, I had all days free. However, with house music, one day a week – mostly – was dedicated to rehearsing. I tried to turn up for every one and thanks to the house leaders’ brilliant organisation, things ran smoothly except for one piece – Skyfall – that had to be scrapped which was really sad. We had three other pieces apart from the song I was in, all of which I hadn’t heard before the day of the show.

You may be asking, “Yeah yeah but what was the song?” If you’ve ever heard of Walk Off the Earth on YouTube, we did a similar thing to their Shape Of You cover but instead performed Locked Out Of Heaven, using instruments that wouldn’t ordinarily be used as instruments. I was the main singer and another girl did some beautiful harmonies (she has a wonderful voice). The dynamic (excuse the pun) in the rehearsals was amazing: we laughed; we joked around; we tried things and if they didn’t work then they didn’t and we tried something else. It really instilled confidence in me because nobody thought I was shit. I also knew a bunch of people who were performing – Pine, Laurel and others from my year to name a few.

When the day of the competition arrived, I didn’t feel nervous. I had told my parents three days before and all my friends knew but I didn’t make it into a huge deal because if I had, I would have been terrified. In the last lesson, we went to a sound check and I heard the other performances. Along with Pine, I chatted to a friend in another house and I’ll call her Coral. We used to sit next to each other in music last year and that day and evening, we got so much closer – it made me happy. I was stunned by a girl in year 10’s voice; it took about an hour to run through our house’s pieces which all sounded incredible. The excitement I felt after the successful rendition of our song was nothing I can describe; I felt empowered. What made it better was that I found out that the blogger who goes to my school was going to be there. She’s a percussionist and I briefly spoke to her when we went out to see if the xylophone had broken. She’s the only person who I feel happy with calling me Elm in real life and so I always know it’s her. It really made it hit home that I was doing this and that someone who read my blog would also be hearing me sing.

Coral, Pine and I went back to Pine’s house to get ready: I hadn’t been to hers since Prom but I absolutely love her house and family. We ate pizza, bitched about people and cried with laughter; her sister did my makeup because I’m utterly useless and would end up looking like a walrus if I tried. Pine’s sister and I bonded over the fact that Pine shrieks when her sister tries to put eyeliner on her and is even more resistant to fashion and beauty than I am and that is why she’s my favourite thing ever. I got incredibly angry at one point whilst recounting a shitty situation that had happened to me and they were so supportive AARGHH I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! Sorry, I’m getting emotional…

As soon as we got to school, around 6:15, I started to feel jittery. As we’d gone into a random technology room, it was filled with people who I didn’t know, playing and singing and warming up (I may have done a cheeky bit of screeching – erm I mean singing – just to get my vocals vaguely in gear). After Pine and Coral had gone to tune their respective instruments, I did some breatheing and then talked to my ‘blogger friend’ for ages. It was so nice just to speak to her about everything and anything – I had heard from Pine that her piece was fantastic and so was excited to hear it because I’m a weird person who fangirls over music DON’t JUDGE ME!

Luckily, Coral and I went into the audience to watch some of the acts. On the way there, I bumped into Laurel (one of the two people I have feelings for, I don’t even know). We hugged and she grabbed my hands when I said I was nervous; I totally overreacted afterwards and then told Coral I might have a ‘crush’ on Laurel. Coral was totally cool with it (turns out she may be bi too so we had a bonding moment over that). I saw Laurel at various points throughout the evening too, most notably backstage where we sat together and just talked.

Everyone was so brilliant in their performances! My blogger friend’s piece was genuinely so lovely; I smiled the entire way through and cheered especially loudly at the end. Other great things included a fantastic guitar solo by a guy in my english class, someone singing who had the exact same range as me and a girl with the most adorable voice ever. Seriously. I was mildly sobbing. None of it made me feel intimidated; I just enjoyed people having a good time and I revelled in the atmosphere.

By the interval, I was a wreck. If you’ve ever seen me in my real life get nervous, I was rubbing my hands together and trembling like a leaf (again, excuse the pun). Because we had to be backstage whilst the house before us was performing, I was standing with some people like Laurel (we touched hands, hugged and sat near each other) – who had a break from organising things – when Willow turned up. I hadn’t seen her in months: she’d left last year to go to college and so when we saw each other, we screamed and ran at each other. She updated me on everything that had happened in her life within 15 minutes and at one point I screamed “NO NO NOOOO JUST DO IT DO IT!” and tried to convince her to do various things I won’t repeat; it ended with us practically sobbing and telling the other that we loved them. Lots of hugging was involved, too, until we had to stop because she had to go and sit in the audience. Even then, we hugged one last time: I love that girl; she’s amazing.

The buildup was horrible. I was listening to the first act in my house perform (I didn’t get to hear any of the performances really in the house before us). Standing behind the door of the stage, I tried to keep my eyes focused on the lights and listen to the drums to focus myself. Either that or I thought about Laurel and how much I was confused just to get my mind off of shit. If anyone says I’m confident I’ll laugh in their face.

Up on stage, all my worries seemed to flow out of me. It was bright and noisy and beautiful; I sang as if I couldn’t have cared what people thought of me. I had to check the position of the microphone a few times (I can’t see it because I’m almost completely blind) but apart from that, I was utterly enthralled by the sounds and feelings around me. I’d been singing this song quietly before but with a mic, I felt like I could do anything. Nothing went wrong and when the applause came, I think I smiled – I felt happy.

“You have a beautiful voice, Elm!” said Laurel when I was guided off stage. It’s a blur as to what happened then – I know she was with me and had her arm in mine, saying that I was shaking but seeming so pleased and as happy as I was. I emerged into the backstage area and grinned, giddy to the point of gasping. It’s been so long since I did any of that. Coral was there and we spoke for so long after, telling each other we were talented but refusing to believe it.

There were four categories in which we were judged – best solo, best duo and trio and best ensemble. We won 2nd place for the latter AND I WAS SO HAPPY!!! Granted, I was incredibly confused when I was pulled up onto the stage, blinking in the light. Previously, I had been talking to Coral and the blogger friend, not knowing what was happening because we couldn’t hear, cramped at one point in the backstage area with a bunch of people screaming and the music teachers yelling at the screaming people.

Also, we won overall??? I have no idea how that happened either but our music leaders were fucking amazing. I’m irritated that the xylophone group – in another house – didn’t come first for ensemble because they deserved to but I will always remember how amazing that was. That night was about talent, beauty and showing people you could really get out there.

I got home late but the sleepless night was worth it. The next day, I went and saw L, going on the train by myself and having the best time ever which I needed after a stressful week. You can read all about our misadventures here because he’s a much more articulate writer than me. All in all, I’ve had an amazing weekend where I’ve felt like myself. L very much helped with that because I hopped on a train with very little nerves and travelled across London without falling over or screaming.

Coral said something to me that evening. “There are so many powerful voices but sometimes, people need to hear the pretty voices. You need to get out there and show them.” She’s right: when I did, I felt beautiful, alive and like I had a purpose.

It was one of the best days in recent memory. Do you have days like that?

From Elm 🙂

If You Weren’t You

If you were a song, you’d be the one played with violins which echoes around a hall, simply because you don’t believe yourself to be and it would annoy you. You underestimate the power of your own melody: you’d be a bowstring, taught like an archer’s weapon but capable of making the sweetest music, if you would let yourself. You’d be played at the parties of those you hated just to prove a point and I’d laugh, then wonder why I was still listening.

If you were a dance, I’d learn the steps even if I couldn’t dance them: it would be difficult but I’d be willing to try. You’d be the steps to a wedding – the last song they play – because you’d find that strangely ironic. I’d still dance it, the last one standing – or maybe there would be a queue of people in front of me. They could all dance it better but I would still learn as much as I could.

If you were a painting, I wouldn’t be able to see you but I’d have those that could understand describe it to me. Not being able to see you would always set me at a disadvantage because again, it would be another mystery to me, more than you are now. It’s an idea out of reach, a few brushstrokes beyond my comprehension.

If you were a story, I’d be at the point where the plot thickens, never knowing what will happen. Your beginning, middle and end would be filled with plot twists and amazing revelations so that I could never keep up. I’d still read your story or try, no matter if I was discouraged. Complexity never stopped me before but I don’t – I won’t – understand you unless the words, the ideas, become clear to me.

If you were a thought, I wouldn’t feel guilty for thinking about you; I’d embrace it. You’d be that stolen smile at the end of the day, where I wouldn’t feel bad for hoping despite the hopelessness.

Pity that you aren’t.

You’re none of these; you’re just you. You’re neither poetic nor something to be admired: you’re almost like me. I don’t know how to feel about that.

From Elm 🙂

Another Cover – I’m Proud of This One!

Heyy!

I’m sort of dying inside because I spent ages recording this, getting the volumes right and then being a perfectionist and being paranoid that it was terrible. Luckily, I kicked myself into shape and got a second opinion before posting it.

This is a cover of Little Do You Know – a song I adore, and which I’ve been wanting to sing for such a long time. One of my friends (she’s blind and from America, and has a beautiful voice) helped me to record this by giving me tips when I was freaking out about not being able to do anything with technology, so thanks so much!

You can find it here and I really hope you enjoy it. It’s not perfect, but nothing is, and I’m happy with it which is what matters.

It’s also rekindled my love for singing, if that’s possible; I now feel inspired to do this more often, as well as to do other work. It makes me happy.

Because of this, tomorrow, uI’m going to start working to my full potential. I’ve been lax recently, and very very unmotivated, so that NEEDS to change.

From Elm 🙂

La La La – My Return to Singing

A long long time ago – actually more like 6 months ago – I posted a cover on my excuse for a Youtube channel and since then, haven’t posted any more.

That is, until now. I’ve missed singing – it’s not that I’ve not sung, it’s that I haven’t sung to you guys in such a long time. Because you can’t see my face, or me in real life, you’re only going on what my voice sounds like and I love that. It’s a wonder that I haven’t done this sooner, but life caught up with me and kind of sucked away my motivation to do much.

So, here you go. I sang Riptide by Vance Joy, and I adore the song: you can’t really sing a song you hate, or at least I can’t.

Apologies for the crap audio quality; I have no recording software which I can access, which makes me very sad. Oh well – it’s better than nothing – and my perfectionist nature will have to deal with it.

I really hope you like it. I tried recording it several times, and eventually just went with the last recording I did because I was picking my voice apart too much.

From Elm 🙂

The “Piano Man” Incident and Other Fun Festivities

So there was this hilarious time, 2 or 3 years ago, that I got a crush on someone for 1 day, simply because I liked the way they played piano in our end of year assembly.

I wish I was joking. I’ve mentioned it in passing a few times before, but today it resurfaced – no, not on the same boy (though he is in my psychology class and a family friend of Red who, when he found out, laughed so hard he couldn’t breathe). In fact, it was on Laurel: the girl I sit next to in French, who I have a somewhat… “Admiration” or “fascination” for. It sounds creepy I know, but it’s increased over the last two days, perhaps because I feel starved of affection again or because I’m lonely: I don’t know.

Before I start warbling on about my “love life”, or lack of one, I want to focus on what – to me – was more important today. Because today was our last day and was filled with deep thoughts from me, laughter with my friends, too much chocolate to count and plenty of hugs. I got my nails painted with this snowflake nail polish and was far too loud in screaming about how I’d ruined it. It only hits you, that when you won’t see your friends for two weeks, how much you actually love them.

I mostly stayed with Wren at break and in assembly. We were in the hall for over an hour, and at one point I was in pain because I had to sit on the floor for ages, and we were howling about our misfortune. In among them, I won three “achievement awards” which were just commendations, and in the silence of the hall I burst out laughing and muttered, “WHAT? That’s so funny!” It was embarrassing, now I look back on it.

And then, Piano Man Incident 2.0 happened – or should I say, Cello Woman Incident? A girl had sung, and was amazing because her voice was beautiful, and after that Laurel was the next “musical item” as they phrased it. I’d been absolutely terrified ever since I found out that she was playing and I was scared that a reoccurrence of the PM incident would happen, and by that I mean I was told this morning. Ever since we hugged yesterday after French, which brought together all of the frustration and worry we felt about the subject, I hadn’t been able to get a messed up curiosity out of my mind, which resulted in me worrying about how I’d react to her cello-playing. She really seemed to need me yesterday, to appreciate how I spoke to her, but was that because I was me or because I was just there?

Okay, I’ll be honest: I’m well aware I sound like a creep. But music has always been something I loved, and it’s like you seeing a face and thinking “There’s something about them, some feature, and it’s amazing”. Something about music or the way people play instruments can “draw” me to them, and that’s almost what happened with Laurel: almost, but not quite.

When she played, I felt like I was entirely focused on that. Of course, other thoughts were going through my mind, like the rhythm of the music and the notes, but it was like I was fascinated by the way she played. However, it wasn’t like with PM, because I wasn’t fixated: it was more like an intense pride, or awe. I loved it, but it wasn’t all-consuming; I don’t know what to think.

My thoughts are a little jumbled right now. I know that I don’t have a “crush” on her, because I’m still sad and my mental health is royally terrible right now in that department. On the other hand, I’m well aware it could develop, but I’m refusing to let myself think about that because:
1. I don’t know her that well
2. I can’t ruin anything, not when it’s so new
3. If I get “involved”, I’d either hurt her or I’d get hurt
4. I have no idea what I’d want with her and I’m not willing to take that chance
5. I still have a rather skewed and not altogether innocent curiosity about the boy I talk about in this post. It won’t amount to anything (though who knows) and I’m screaming at myself for thinking about him because that’s fucked up on so many levels, but whilst that’s in my head, I can’t and won’t have the energy to develop feelings for Laurel without creating a whole lot of confusion.

Over the Christmas holidays, I’m going to seriously think about how I feel. On top of my stress, I don’t need romantic complications to upset me, but sometimes I can’t help it. My reaction to her cello playing was predictable for me, especially because I anticipated it, but luckily it wasn’t as much as I thought it would be. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. Afterwards, with Wren, I mused that it wasn’t as extreme as with PM (though that was when I was about 14).

In other news, we decorated the tree yesterday properly, and I have an interview on the phone in a few minutes. I’ll use the festive days and cold to get over this ridiculous not-even-infatuation.

Then again, when has me saying that ever worked?

From Elm 🙂

If I Don’t Conform, I’m Not Stupid

You know what annoys me? The fact that sometimes, I want to do things JUST to fit in with other people.

I study Psychology (Well I recently started) and it’s called Conformity. It seems so clinical, giving it that name, saying “everyone does it, so don’t worry!” Maybe I don’t worry, but it still annoys me, especially when I feel like I’m separate from everyone else and if I JUST TRY, I’ll fit in more and not feel so… Wrong.

By the way, I’m sorry about all this negativity in my posts lately. Because of the stress of school, and my varying moods that go from “Wooo I’m actually feeling good!” to “Fuck everything fuck work I’m too tired” have left me drained. I’m kind of scared you’re getting tired of all this, but if I don’t write this down, the feeling will go away and come back worse the next time. And anyway, locking feelings in isn’t healthy; I’ll post a more positive post tomorrow!

It’s like this: I occasionally feel like I’m so incredibly… Uncultured, or nothing, compared to everyone around me. I can’t help it. And I WANT to be more, so that I can understand what people say, but also because I want to further my knowledge.

Growing up, I didn’t watch films much, or much at ALL. I listened to books, read books and made up stuff, the classic ‘imaginary friends’ business. Not watching films became normal, so that now, I can name only five films I’ve watched and liked. Everybody around me watches them – and it’s not even because I’m blind, because you can get audio description.

It’s just that I’ve never felt as immersed in a film as I do in a book, because it’s not the same. Pretentious, right? So, people talk about films, the latest things they’ve watched, and then they ask me if I’ve watched this film or that film and I always say no. They seem shocked, as if not watching that film is UNTHINKABLE, and immediately assume it’s because I can’t see when the majority of my blind friends watch films all the time. It makes me want to watch every single film, because I want to be able to share in the discussions of plot and characters, and because I want to discover new characters and the emotions attached to those films, as I would in books. I feel like I’m missing out, because there are SO many films I haven’t watched and sometimes I pretend I have, to not feel so inadequate next to these people who, when I say I haven’t watched Up and Breaking Bad and The Lord of the Rings and SO many others, I feel would immediately judge me. Perhaps they wouldn’t, but being surrounded by references you just don’t get is frustrating.

I’m studying English Lit. It’s one of my favourite subjects, but I haven’t read many of the ‘classics’. Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, no Shakespeare plays for FUN (just the required reading in class), 1984, Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men. People in my English class have – not all of them – but when I think of what I haven’t read, I feel panicky. Books are some of the best things in life, and I love them, but my book taste makes me feel like I’m not just on the level of a lot of my classmates. I feel clunky next to them, unrefined – and yes, I know it’s a bit stupid.

I like young adult books. The books that make you think, smile, laugh, cry. Fantasy, science-fiction, adventure, but that all seems to pale in front of the classics. The classics are great, of COURSE, but if you haven’t read many of them you kind of feel like you’ll fall behind, when everyone talks about how beautiful the writing of a book is and you haven’t read it. I want to read so many of them, but school’s way too demanding: “Read a book for fun!” It’ll improve my learning and my interest and I NEED to do that. My book taste doesn’t make up my worth as a person.

Music is another huge one. For some reason, if you like certain artists, you’re seen as having a certain personality type. I don’t listen to Twenty One Pilots, Melanie Martinez, Halsey (though I like her songs), and I like SONGS, but not specific bands. Often, I feel like I can’t join in with music discussions, because of what I listen to: a mishmash of assorted genres, when so many people I know love BANDS and SINGERS and can relate to each other through them. I want to listen to it all, to see if I’d like it, but I feel like if I do that, I’ll waste my time because I might not. Close-minded maybe, but I want to listen to my chosen songs without feeling insufficient.

I am so, so sick of wanting to just be like everyone else. Being miserable because you haven’t watched Orange is the New Black or read Wuthering Heights will just make me hate myself.

If I want to read a book, listen to a song or watch a film, I’ll do it because I want to. Not because I want to feel normal, not to feel somehow validated. I think that I’ll always feel somewhat behind, in the sense that I haven’t done so much that everyone in my school has, but I’ll just deal with it and find interesting things to read in my subjects. I’m not dull or wrong because of it.

Don’t feel stupid, just because you haven’t watched that TV show or don’t listen to that band. Just because your friends do it, doesn’t mean you have to; nobody should make fun of you for having your own interests. If they do, ask them why they’re saying those things about you when THEY’RE not you, and they can’t understand what you like. You could never deserve to feel worthless just because you aren’t the same. And if everyone’s different and unique in your group and you feel like an outcast even then, it’s okay.

I’m not the bastion of being different, because I always conform and do things that’ll make me be able to talk about things my friends talk about. But I think we ALL do that, and realising that you do doesn’t make you terrible. It just makes you human.

They always say, “Be yourself.” Sometimes you can’t, because you don’t know who you are; giving yourself time to figure that out and do your own thing whilst you’re at it is SO important. Only do something if you REALLY want to: not just to talk about it with people you know. Actually enjoy it.

I don’t want to force you to feel a certain way; I know what it’s like to feel like you need to do everything how everyone else does. I’m not trying to be stereotypical and tell you that being unique is okay, because you already know. I’m saying that no matter who you are, you can like what the fuck you like and do what you like without it making you feel you’re nothing.

From Elm 🙂

I Thought I Couldn’t Do It

Despite the fact that a substantial amount of people say I can sing, I often don’t believe them. It may be my in-built urge to dismiss any compliments that people give to me, and to try and prove them wrong, or because in my mind I tell myself that I can’t accept that I’m good at SOMETHING. Whatever it is, it causes me to laugh whenever anyone says I’m a good singer, and to only sing around people when I really, really want to or when I really trust them.

Today, I did something that shocked me a little, something I would never expect myself to do. I sang to strangers over the Internet.

Alright, they’re not REALLY strangers. I got added to this group chat on WhatsApp a week ago, with the majority of the people there being blind and teenagers, but from all over the world. So England, Germany, America, South Africa to name a few places. Apart from two people, I didn’t know anybody well; I’d been lurking in the chat for a while and alongside another group, with many of the same members, I’d read messages from the various participants. I didn’t often say much until today, just the occasional “Hi!” or messages to that effect.

I was bored today, and though I should be packing for Thailand, I decided to read what the people were saying on the group. Originally, I didn’t plan to join in, but the conversation turned to music and singing. That, I had a passion for, and so I took more of an interest because I knew that if I talked, I wouldn’t feel like an outsider.

One of the girls from Germany sang on a voice message. As I said that she had a great voice, some kind of urge took hold in me. If she could sing, why wouldn’t I? I still refused to think about it though, the nervous excitement buzzing through my body preventing me from forming any coherent music. Further discussions ensued, with another girl – one I knew vaguely – singing as well.

We spoke about instruments and music, and all through this discussion, people were encouraged by others to sing: “If anyone can sing, why not show us?” I said I would, as a sort of joke, but it was only until people shared how they liked to sing that something snapped. Oh fuck it, I thought. What’s stopping me?

Nothing stopped me but my fear. I took deep breaths, practicing a little before I sent the message. However, I soon realised that even if I DID mess up, it was alright: the exact words I thought were, “You don’t know these people, and you’ll never have to meet them. You’re just another person, who CAN sing, and you should be proud.” The thumping beat of my heart quietened a little.

I sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – you can find a cover that I did of that song a while ago here – shameless self-promotion I know. Because I absolutely love the song, I found it relatively easy to sing: I may have messed up a couple of times, when I couldn’t reach the low notes, but that was down to my nerves.

When I listened back to it, after I finished, I felt strange. For once in my life, I realised that I COULD sing. There was hardly any disgust when I thought that, because I didn’t feel arrogant. I felt, and still do feel, slightly in awe that I managed to get the courage to do THAT.

The response was really positive. It’s rare that I truly thank someone, especially a group of people I don’t know, on a voice message. This time, the “Thank you, that really means a lot to me,” easily passed my lips, and I felt no fear that they’d find me too weird.

These were people who I didn’t know. The people who would listen to my voice message I had not really spoken to before, so to display something that I’m usually shy about to them was stepping hugely out of my comfort zone. Yes, I may have things up on youtube and will sing when people request me to, but I often feel so much more nervous and upset that they’d think I was shit.

Even if it IS scary, do something that you wouldn’t normally do from time to time. You will feel so much better afterwards, more so if it’s something you love.

Don’t let fear hold you back. I wouldn’t do this every day – sing to random people – and once was enough for now. But I know that I CAN do that, if the situation arises, and that I shouldn’t let my worries dictate what I do. If you take nothing else from this post, remember that you’re the one in control of what you do and don’t do.

Singing is something I love. It’s something that’s mine, and I haven’t been doing it so much recently: something I hope to rectify. Instead of shattering my confidence, this situation has boosted it.

I have a smile on my face, and I hope that it won’t fade any time soon.

From Elm 🙂

Getting Obsessed with France because I’m Cool

Technically speaking, I’ve been learning French for 10 years – since I was 6 – but I can’t speak it without stuttering, my sentence structure is horrendous and I can’t formulate words properly. So, I’m NOT ELOQUENT and I sound like a Martian when I try and speak it, and must look like a moron when I write. Trying to do “de la” when it’s du, or screwing up the gender agreements and verbs. WAHEYY!

Because of that, I’m insane for picking it at A-level. I did it for GCSE and had a love-hate relationship with it, but I decided to change my options about two weeks ago because I got it into my head that it would be better for me.

Well, it WILL be. French has always come naturally to me, and I just love the language because it’s beautiful and it flows REALLY well. I know you might be rolling your eyes at my nerd fest at a foreign language but selon moi, c’est vraiment fantastique bien que je ne le parle pas!

Over the past two weeks, I’ve decided it’s a great idea for me to NOT ACTUALLY give myself a free summer (mainly because they do give us holiday homework at school). Me? Nahh, I’m doing the homework, but I’m doing stuff for my own enjoyment. What’s that, you might ask? VOLUNTARILY doing more French than is necessary.

Okay, so it IS useful. I want to be able to be reasonably confident when I go into A-Levels; I’ll be doing it for the other subjects too but French (and also English) is my priority because I enjoy it. I literally will GO OUT OF MY WAY to do extra french; I know other people will be doing the same because it’s what you SHOULD do, so at least I’m not alone.

I’ve downloaded the app for the newspaper, Le Monde, and started to read articles in French even though I don’t understand most of it. That’s how I found out David Cameron was resigning, actually, and it was WEIRD to find it out from a French newspaper (whilst trying to piece together what it was saying).

And the worst and best thing? I’ve got obsessed with French songs. MAINSTREAM french songs, that are popular, but shhh I’m not original. I just can’t stop listening to them they’re SO GOOD!

Some of my favourites which you should totally listen to:
Dernière Danse by Indila
On Écrit Sur Les Murs by Kids United
Formidable by Stromae

And there are loads more. Honestly I don’t know why, but I LOVE French songs. It’s partly because I can understand them, but it’s also because I like the language itself.

Speaking and listening are still a huge problem for me when it comes to French. I can understand it when I’m reading it, and I can kind of write, but I’m absolutely TERRIBLE with speaking because I can’t get the words out and I can barely construct sentences. The A-Level course recommends doing LOADS of things outside school, so I’ll do that.

Maybe I can listen to french news broadcasts, or find someone – like Willow or Hazel – to speak to in French (Hazel is fluent). Who knows? Even though I won’t do French at university, I still love learning a modern language. People in other countries seem to know two or more, and I want to be able to say coeur and heart, and for it to MEAN the same thing in my head.

I’m thinking reading a book in French as well – I got this thing for my Induction Day next Tuesday for Sixth Form (no one else has the material I’m such a rebel) and it suggests setting up a Twitter account in French. Y’know what? I might actually do that.

I’m so sorry for boring you with all that! Are there any languages you love learning (or that you hate)?

From Elm 🙂