Death Cab for Cutie: Kintsugi

I happen to be quite a big fan of Death Cab for Cutie; their music was the soundtrack to my lonely teen years and will always hold a special place in my life. I love all of their albums, some people like to claim that the earlier ones are ‘the best’ and can’t be touched, but I think each one has its own unique flavour and suits a different mood.

I was really, really excited when I first heard that they were coming out with a new album, I was interested to hear what kind of sound this album would have, especially after ‘Codes and Keys’ which many people regard as a departure from their usual style.

I have to say that I think the songs on ‘Kintsugi’ are really reminiscent of their earlier work, listening to them feels a lot like being sixteen and listening to ‘Plans’ on repeat in my bedroom.

Incase you missed it, here are the four new singles that have been released:

I’m so happy to have some new music to get excited about! It feels like it’s been so long since anyone I love came out with a new album.

Whilst I’m here I thought I’d also add some of my favourite songs from their previous work, these change depending on my mood, but if you’re new to DCFC it might give you an idea of their sound:

’til next time,

Wren x

Thoughts On: Life After Suicide

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From: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/BBC_One_2002.png

Last Tuesday night I caught a really brilliant documentary on BB1 called ‘Life After Suicide’, it looked at how people coped after losing a loved one to suicide. It was really poignant and did a wonderful job at lifting the lid on suicide and grief.

One thing that was discussed was the level of guilt felt by people who worked in the mental health profession when friends, colleagues or loved ones took their own lives. I write a blog on mental health, but I still missed the signs when someone I cared about was thinking about ending their own life. After B died I really questioned myself and whether I wanted to continue writing this blog. I felt like a complete failure.

When you spend a good deal fo your time and effort on writing about and exploring mental health yet fail to notice when someone you know is in distress it makes you feel extremely guilty. I was so convinced that I’d be able to help anyone who needed it, that I’d spot it a mile off… and I didn’t.

Another problem that was explored was the fear of ‘normalising’ suicide by talking about it. I think it’s a very difficult and dangerous line to walk; on one hand we want to be open and honest about how a friend or family member has died- but we don’t want to put ideas into people’s heads. That’s why media reporting on suicide is so closely governed. This kind of thing can lead to copy-cat behaviour.

Dealing with any death is hard, but suicide has such a stigma attached to it. It makes me so angry sometimes, it almost feels like you’re not allowed to grieve for someone who has taken their own life. It feels like the world is carrying on and you can’t breathe. People don’t want to talk about it, because it scares and confuses them; so they don’t talk. They pretend that everything is still normal, when it’s not.

Trying to reconcile the person that you knew, with the person who took their own life, is hard. Sometimes it feels like they must be two separate people, because the person that you knew would never have done that. It’s one of the strangest feelings I’ve ever had.

People who’ve never been suicidal can’t understand what it feels like to say goodbye to loved ones. The pain isn’t numbed, when you know you’re going to kill yourself and you say goodbye to the people that you love you feel the pain of leaving them; but you also feel strongly that they’ll be better off without you, and possibly not even feel much grief at your death. It hurts so much to walk away from your family, knowing you won’t see them again.

Overall I can’t speak highly enough of this documentary. If you get a chance to watch it then please, please do. It’s the sort of thing that we should all be made to watch; suicide and mental illness will touch everyone at some point, it’s important that we try to break down the walls of shame and stigma that surround them.

In that vein, I think it was frustrating that the BBC chose to air this documentary at 10:30pm, when most people had gone to bed; why not put it at the popular 9pm slot? Too delicate? Too unsavoury? Stigma isn’t always obvious, but its frustrating that it even managed to touch something that tried to break it down.

’til next time,

Wren x

The Government Wants to Teach Teenagers About Sexual Consent…

About a year ago I wrote a post on sexual bullying, you can read it here.

In that post I wrote about my experiences, and about how I feel that it’s a topic that’s being swept under the rug. it’s not something that anyone is comfortable talking about.

Lately, the UK government has floated plans to make 11-16 year olds undertake ‘sexual consent lessons’. I don’t know what these lessons would entail, but if they’re planned well then they could offer a solution to the problem of sexual bullying.

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From: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/2009-0617-Ontonagon-school.jpg

This is one of those plans that’s been a little sensationalised by the media. However, I think that it’s a great idea and fully support bringing in anything that helps teenagers to talk about and understand sex and sexuality.

In the UK having sex is illegal for under 16s. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone under the age of sixteen is completely innocent and ignorant on the matter. We have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, something that shows the law makes little difference for many teenagers.

As well as that, anything that tackles the issue of sexual assault is good in my book. The silence surrounding anything of this nature is awful and only hurts the victims, so giving guidance on where and when to get help is a good thing.

The people who are uncomfortable with this kind of legislation seem to be highlighting two things; the first is that these lessons will encourage teenagers to have sex. Personally, I think the law makes little difference when someone is deciding to lose their virginity or engage in intimate acts. Teenagers have always, and will always, choose to have sex when they want to. It might not be great, but it’s pretty much impossible to police. Giving them knowledge will simply help to stop any fall-out and give them power to make educated and informed decisions, as well as keeping them safe from people who want to use them.

The second is that we should be keeping children ‘innocent’ and not tainting their minds with knowledge that they’re too young to know. Frankly, I find that slightly ridiculous. Teenagers see sex everywhere, and not giving them the proper information about it is damaging. Sometimes, ignorance is not bliss; at the end of the day there will be teenagers who are sexually assaulted, bullied or raped. They need to learn when to recognise that they are in a dangerous situation, when to know that someone has crossed the line and where they can get help.

’til next time,

Wren x

Bloglovin’

Just a bit of housekeeping today; I recently got my shit together and claimed my blog on Bloglovin’ so if you’re into that then please hop over there and follow me!

I have to admit that it’s kind of bewildering that I haven’t done this sooner, I follow loads of different blogs and putting them all in one place makes life (and internet browsing) so much easier. I think it actually cuts down on the time I spend online, so maybe I will get this essay done sometime…

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From: http://the-digital-reader.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/logo-bloglovin1.jpeg

In other news, the interview that I was wailing about last week seemingly didn’t go that badly; they offered me a place! I’m pretty happy about it, now all I have to do is decide between my two favourite choices (easier said than done) and actually pass my LTCL.

I’ve also come down with some stupid head cold, I’m not as ill as I was over Xmas but I’m feeling pretty frustrated right now. I feel like it’s been one thing after another with my health since I got over that winter bug, I’m going to the Doctor tomorrow morning about a completely non-related health problem, not looking forward to hauling my sniffling arse out of bed to tackle the morning rush hour.

On the plus side, the Equinox is coming up and I’ve actually been sticking to some of my New Years resolutions; so maybe 2015 is actually going to be a good year??

’til next time,

Wren x

The End of Friendship

This is a novelty; I have no idea what to write about this Monday. I’ve got plans for Wednesday and Friday, but my mind has dried up on the subject of mental health for the moment; maybe it’s because I’m happy?

I have to say that at the moment I’m really happy. I’m content with my life, it has its ups and downs but overall I think I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been. I have some serious challenges coming up in the next year, but I’m just going to have to grit my teeth and get through them.

As time is passing I’m finding myself discovering who my true friends are. They seems to be the people that I can just pick things up with when I see them again and who keep up with me mentally. It’s kind of sad to see how many of my friends don’t seem to be growing up- they’re still fixated on tiny events that happened years ago when we were at school.

I can’t join in when people start reminiscing about school; I don’t remember most of it and the memories that I do have aren’t happy ones. I was either being bullied or struggling with mental health problems when we were at school. Whilst they were ‘fraping’ each other I was cutting myself in a toilet cubicle.

That probably comes across as more self-pitying than I intended it to- it doesn’t make me emotional to think of, it was my life for a long time and I accept it.

What it does mean is that I don’t like to dwell on the past; some parts were great, but I don’t need to hear the same stories over and over again. If they’re the only things holding us together then our friendships just aren’t going to work. How long can we rehash the same stories before we realise how false our link is?

Things get awkward; time moves on and fewer people turn up to each gathering. There are a couple of my friends who seem desperate to hold us all together, and it isn’t natural. We’re meant to drift, to move on and develop new relationships. Yes, we’ll go for a drink now and then, but that’s it. Why can’t we talk about our lives now? Why can’t we forge new links and share new stories?

I have some lovely and amazing friends, I have friends I’ve known since I was a toddler. Those relationships are the ones that grow and change with time. Others are clearly only meant to last for a short period of time. People and friendships drift in and out of our lives. The hard part it knowing when to let go, and when to hang on.

’til next time,

Wren x

Arguments Against Feminism?

Recently there was a massive argument on Facebook amongst some people I know. A couple of guys were getting angry at a girl who was ‘posting more Feminist bullshit’ on her wall. I watched the argument closely as more and more people joined in and brought up different points.

Of course, it inevitably ended in name-calling and spewing irrational anger as all Facebook arguments do. I picked out some of the anti-Feminist points and want to address them here, in the sane and hopefully more rational space of my blog:

 

  • Feminism is sexist. I had someone recently try to argue that the term ‘feminism’ is inherently sexist. Feminists believe in gender equality; but the angle that we take is that women shouldn’t be treated as lesser than men because of their gender. That’s why the word is feminism, because society has a tendency to give men an advantage. It’s not because we want to be better than men, or immune from criticism; we believe that we should be given equal opportunities.
  • It doesn’t apply to Western society. Erm, it does… there are examples of sexist attitudes everywhere in our society, from ‘rape culture’ to the glass ceiling. And even if our society was free of sexism, I’d still be a feminist- because there are so many other countries and societies in the world where women are not equal to men, and they are treated appallingly. Just because you’re lucky enough to live somewhere progressive and safe doesn’t mean that you can stick your head in the sand and ignore everyone else.
  • I don’t hate men. Feminists don’t hate men! Everyone has this stereotype of the shit-spewing, aggressive, man-hating feminist… can someone please tell me where these feminists live? Because I have yet to meet one of them. I believe that men can be victimised too, I believe that they have rights and strive to uphold them. Men have problems too; they have societal standards that they have to live up to that I feel are wrong. I believe in the equality of the sexes, not that women should be better.
  • I’m not a victim. Well good for you! I’m not a fucking victim either; I’ve been molested and bullied, but I’m not a victim. If you haven’t experienced sexual violence then be thankful; I have, and I still believe that society gives men unfair standards to live up to. I have every reason to hate men, but I’m a rational and compassionate human being and I try to be fair. Yes, we shouldn’t forget that women rape and assualt men, but 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual assault- and that’s sickening. You may not be a ‘victim’ but someone you know is.
  • Feminists hate stay-at-home Mothers. We don’t. Feminism is about equality and giving women a choice. If you choose to stay at home and take care of your children then that’s your choice and we’d fight to get you fair maternity pay and rights. We also fight to give men the chance to be stay-at-home Fathers.

’til next time,

Wren x

Interviews, University and Ageing

Me and R went to Whitby for a long weekend, and for some reason I forgot how weeks work and didn’t realise that I’d miss my Mentalist Monday post; so apologies if you were looking forward to that.

I also wanted to put it out there that I have two Feminist Friday posts coming up, so if you fancy that then check back here on Friday.

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Last week I went to an interview to see about getting onto the final year of a performance degree course; it didn’t go very well. I’m still waiting to hear back, but I wanted to talk about my interview experience and some of the thoughts that I had. I should start by saying that I enjoyed it and really want a place on the course, I just had EVERYTHING go wrong during the day and was an emotional wreck by the end of it- so it wasn’t a case of the place being awful, but a case of me being awful.

I think my last post on here was me joking about how I’d probably get lost on my way to the aforementioned interview; well I think we can all guess what happened. Add that to some awful menstrual related pain/sickness and you get a pretty stressed out and cranky Wren. All in all, it was ‘just one of those days’.

Plus, when I finally got onto the campus the receptionist told me to walk through a ‘green door’. There were three to choose from, so I picked one at random and walked in.

It was the men’s changing rooms.

No word of a lie, I walked in on about ten naked men… and yes, I saw more than I wanted to see.

After a quick and ungraceful exit I pretty much ran through another green door and thankfully ended up where I was supposed to be. I made a good attempt at pulling myself together but I’m pretty sure I just looked like a pale, slightly sweaty girl with smudged eyeliner rocking back and forth and going from giggling to herself to the verge of tears.

One thing that instantly put me off was that I was surrounded by people a few years younger than myself, most of whom were very nervous and had parents with them. No offence to anyone younger than me or their parents, I just found it weird because I’ve been through that stage of life… and passed it. I’m not that age anymore, and I’ve been to plenty of proper auditions which are (for me) far more frightening than just an interview. It made me feel very old and out of place.

It was strange to talk to people who were still in school and to talk about acting. I’ve dipped my toe in the world of professional acting and a lot of the people in the room were wanting to follow that path. I tried to be helpful and tune out the cynical voice in the back of my mind; just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for them.

When I went into the interview the woman was far too enthusiastic; she was too nice- she wanted me to start in the first year of the course and do the whole thing. She thought that it would give me a better ‘experience’. I can understand where she was coming from, but it made me so angry and upset. I’m the sort of person who can only express anger through tears, so I just ended up crying. Which was awkward and embarrassing for both of us.

I don’t want to start from the beginning. I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m a woman, a grown woman who knows what she wants from life. Right now that’s to finish my degree so that I can sort out my personal life, do some travelling and (this is my current plan) start my Masters in psychology. I’ve had the crazy, partying era of my life. I’ve had the teenage years. They were a horrible rollercoaster; but they’re done now.

I spoke to my Mother about it afterwards; she said that time of my life is over. It sounds harsh but I actually agree with her; I’ve worked hard to get where I am now. I don’t want the ‘experience’ of going through a whole degree. I’ve worked a shit, dead-end job for two years to get me to this point in my eduction- why would I throw that away to go back to the start?

The whole experience was very sobering. I realised how much I’ve grown in the last few years and how, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t go back.

’til next time,

Wren x