Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Black and Blue

The door slams.

You open your eyes.


Your trembling hands are covered in blood.


Looking in the mirror: a huge gash above your left brow.


You ease into the shower.


The water burns.


Your ribs are black and blue.


You relive the hitting.


The spitting.


The name calling.


You cry.


Pause.


Deep breath.


You get dressed.


You dry your hair.


You pick up the phone.


Dial:


"999, what's your emergency?"


"Police, please. My wife attacked me."




How many of you first thought that this was a woman being assaulted?

A lot of us forget that men can also be victims of domestic abuse; in fact 40% of domestic violence victims in the UK are men.

Male domestic violence charity ManKind posted a new #ViolenceIsViolence campaign video on YouTube which has over 4.5million views since being uploaded last week. We all need to remember that violence works both ways: if a man cannot hit a woman, a woman should not be allowed to hit a man.

I have now ManKind's membership, donating £20 every year at the very least. If you can give any sort of donation or publicity to this charity, I would be eternally grateful to you.

#ViolenceIsViolence

Monday, 26 May 2014

Struggling doesn't make you a failure

I'm suspending my course at uni, and instead I will be sitting my second year exams this time next year. I guess you can say I'm having a gap year.

The reason for this is because I've been feeling less and less like me and more like some stranger I don't even want to get to know. I miss the old Claire who was always so bubbly and motivated, and I'm going to spend the next 12 months getting her back. It's something I've been thinking about for a long time and I know it's the right thing for me right now. I just need the time to find me and fall back in love in Engineering again, because lately I've been in a dark place with no light at the end of the tunnel.


Ever since I got my first C back in A levels (it was a huge shock to me since I'm usually a straight A student), I've been going down a deep, dark hole which I'm finding impossible to get out of. I've always had really bad anxiety when it comes to exams, but it's only gotten worse, and my friends and family - and members of staff I've spoken to at university - all agree that I am not well enough to sit these exams.


I've thought about this long and hard for over two months. I've not been enjoying uni at all; in fact I've hated it since the middle of first year. What was stopping me from deciding this earlier was the daft idea that quitting uni or suspending my studies would mean I would fail in life - and the one thing I fear more than anything else in life is failure.


It's something that is implied at school from a very young age: if you don't go to university and get a degree, you will never get anywhere in life. And it infuriates me that we are made to feel like that, because university isn't for everyone. Some people learn better doing a vocational course which is more practical, and some are better at doing an apprenticeship or internship. Some people don't even know what they want to do with their lives yet, so what's the point in spending £9000 a year on just some random course just for the sake of making the education system happy that they have another number to add to their statistics?


Schools need to start teaching pupils that taking a year out to have a break from education or to figure out what they actually want to do in life is okay, and it doesn't mean you're going to fail in life. I wish I'd taken a year out before going to university just so I could take a breather and get myself back on track because I was a mess during A levels. I was starting to doubt myself a lot, and I could've done with 12 months' break then as opposed to now.


Then again, I can look upon this situation in a different light and say: If I had taken a year out then, I probably wouldn't be friends with the amazing people I know today. I probably wouldn't have a job at the hotel I wait on at, and thus I would never have gotten an internship at Vulcan To The Sky Trust, which I absolutely love doing.


I guess this was the path that I had to stumble upon, but I want my generation and future generations to learn that it's okay to take a break. You've been in some form of education from the age of four or five. That's a heck of a long time of deadlines and cramming for exams, and some of us forget that life is supposed to be fun. A lot of people don't need to take a year out and graduate from university at 21 or 22 and perhaps even go on to do a PhD or whatever, and I say good for them. But it's not the path that everyone is suited for, and that needs to be understood by us, and by the schools that try to force us to go to university.


I can tell you that I will get my degree...just not next year as we had planned. But I'm okay with that, because it's right for me.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Poem: Days of Laughter

I remember those days of laughter
And I wonder if they were real
I remember how I admired you
And the sadness I now feel.

For now you're in the winter
There are layers of lead between
The blizzard has only just begun...
The end is nowhere to be seen.

A pair of silver tongues entwined;
Eyes have added details.
Crayon scribbles upon oil paintings;
A friendship built now fails.

I reach for those days of laughter
Only to touch a cold hard wall
I wonder what I did so wrong
I wonder if you knew me at all.