Plans for 2014: The Final Updates

I honestly didn’t know what to post tonight, I think my post on Monday went through the year in a lot of depth. So I thought we’d do one final post about my plans for 2014 and the progress I made.

1. Paint my nails more: I did this, I feel satisfied with the amount of chemicals that I plastered onto my nails this year. All in all it was fun and I’ll be painting away come 2015!

2. Read books: Haha, this one didn’t go very well at the start of the year but kind of got a lot better in the last few months. I’m going to be doing two posts (next Wednesday and the Wednesday after that) on the books that I read, what I thought of them, and the books that I’m going to be reading in 2015.

3. Do more rituals: I think I’m getting back into the swing of things, it’s hard because I spend 90% of my time at my partner’s flat and I don’t have an altar here. I’m going to try and fix this in the coming year but I think I’ve broken the lazy streak I’d gotten into.

4. Edit my latest novel: I’ve actually started doing this! It’s going to take a lot of time and effort but I’ve done the necessary research and I think I can actually do this story justice. I’m really happy with myself.

5. Plan another novel: I have two stories that I’m playing with at the moment and that I really feel I could write. One is more historical and would take a lot of research (Post WW1 prostitution anyone?) the other is contemporary but very brutal. It all depends on what I feel I could do justice to.

6. Say ‘no’: I really aced this one, I said no to men, to the past, to fear and to people trying to make me do things that I didn’t like. I walked away from someone toxic and planned a future that would make me happy.

Overall I’m a happy lady, for the first time in years I’m having a quiet new years. I hope wherever you are you’re having a nice night with people that you love. Stay safe and have fun.

’til 2015,

Wren x

2014: The Year in Review

JANUARY

In the month of January I wrote about a lot of sensible things, it was a mix of talk about acting and depression. People who’ve auditioned for drama school will know that generally you have your auditions in the Autumn/Winter, leading up to the Christmas period. This meant that I’d done 90% of them by the time 2014 rolled around. So I had a lot to talk about in terms of acting and failure.

As well as this I’d also been on medication for a little while and was adjusting to how it felt, I wrote a few posts on my progress and thoughts on the matter. It felt really strange to finally be taking meds after years of trying everything to avoid taking them…

FEBRUARY

February means the run-up to SIAD, which meant lots and lots of posts about self-harm! I’m hoping to write more about this in future as it’s a subject that means a lot to me. I also wrote about Valentine’s day and my relationships.

This was also the month where I wrote about reading… my shameful, long and history heavy reading list for the year. I’ll be reviewing my progress on the subject in my next post, so look out for that if you enjoy posts about me failing at life.

MARCH

In the month of March I got a boyfriend and took my clothes off in public. The two were not related… the latter was in aid of a street performance and was part of a string of drama-heavy posts that I wrote. Two posts about drama that really stand out were the ones I wrote about the reality of acting and getting into drama school. I’m pretty proud of these posts but you can tell that they were written whilst I was having a strop.

As well as this I wrote about two subjects that are close to my heart, sexual bullying and make-up. I also wrote about self-harm to coincide with SIAD and help to raise awareness on the subject. Also, the month of March saw me come of antidepressants, something that happened suddenly but that I don’t regret.

APRIL

In April I celebrated the third year of The Druid Bird! That was pretty exciting, the rest of the month was littered with internet connection issues and I asked some difficult/awkward questions about the nature of mental illness and the legacy of self-harm… which is pretty standard for me.

I also kept you updated on the reaction to my street performance and started to have doubts about having a career as an actress, something that I think anyone who read my angry posts about auditioning might have seen coming.

MAY

By May enough time had passed that I felt comfortable giving you guys an update on how badly I was failing to keep my New Years resolutions. Joy. I also wrote some pretty deep posts about mental illness, I talked about how throwing around terms like ‘OCD’ are not helpful, and about my fledgling relationship and how it was helping me to see myself in a more positive light.

JUNE

This was a strange month for me, my partner went overseas for a while and I had to deal with being apart from him for the first time. At the same time I was in a play which got wonderful reviews and I celebrated the Solstice. In terms of the blog I talked about how I didn’t want to act any more and my thoughts on creating theatre.

June was the month when the black dog came to stay, my later posts were about exhaustion and depression. By this point in time my course was stressing me out like crazy and I was desperately unhappy with the choices ahead of me.

JULY

I was stressed in July, I started off the month with a rant about my life and how tired I was. This was the month when I was taking my ATCL exam and also being asked to do about a thousand other things at the same time. This is the month where things kind of reached a head between me and the owner of the school I was attending. July ended with me writing about how I’d finally grown the balls to stand up to her. Reading it back I’m quite proud of myself. Go Wren!

I also touched on noticing self harm in other people, my rubbish options for the next year of my life and even dipped into some poetry.

AUGUST

This was a strange month, my year of training got ugly as all pretences were dropped. My mental health was used against me and I finally started to see things how they really were. I pulled out of University and decided to put my happiness before what other people thought. I had a horrendous time at the Edinburgh Fringe and actually cried with relief when it was all over.

Yes. It really was THAT bad.

SEPTEMBER

This month marked five years since my mental health went to pot. It marked half a decade of living with a mental illness. I also talked about suicide, prevention and the teacher who saved my life. I had a great time in September, I was working out the course I was going to be taking and I was enjoying my freedom. It felt like I had my life back.

This was also the month that I stated writing about feminism! Whoo!

As if that wasn’t enough, I ended the month talking about babies. Whoah.

OCTOBER

In October I had time to relax, work through my new course and look back on things. I wrote about my anger towards CAMHS and how I felt like I’d wasted my teenage years struggling through depression without proper help.

I also wrote about virginity, something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never really had the guts to. I followed on from my posts about feminism to tackle body image and sexual abuse… it was a sex filled month for TDB.

I ended October by taking a wonderful trip to Scarborough with my partner and having a wonderful Samhain.

NOVEMBER

November was a really tough month, I took two exams and dealt with several deaths. It marked two years since my friend killed herself, another girl at my old school committed suicide and I lost my Grandma. The posts mainly revolved around death with a bit of feminism at the start of the month when I wrote about Young Adult literature and heroines.

DECEMBER

We started this month by saying goodbye to my Grandma, that was pretty tough. My partner was also away again for a while which meant that I went a little stir-crazy. I had to get on with UCAS applications, something that I talked about towards the end of the month. I also put up some festive posts and a few updates on where TDB will be going.

Sadly I was struck down by a horrible bug over Xmas, so that was pretty much a write off, but we’re heading towards the end of the year with optimism!

’til next time,

Wren x

‘Tis the Season to Submit UCAS Forms; University and Major Life Choices

We are fast approaching the UCAS deadline. For those of you outside of the UK, UCAS is a website that we use to apply to University. I’m currently stressing because I have to wait back from places to hear if they’ll accept my qualifications and they’ve all broken up for Christmas. The deadline is the 15th January. Great…

#

I think it’s bloody stupid that you have to decide what degree you want to do at the age of seventeen. Who knows that they want to do with their life at seventeen? Perhaps 10% of the population, that’s who.

Over the last week most of my friends have come back from University for the Christmas holidays, they’re in their second year now (apart from the ones who took gap years) and 90% of them regret what they chose to do. That’s not even me exaggerating- in fact, that’s probably a kind estimate.

I don’t want to freak out people who are applying to university right now. I want to say that it’s okay to make mistakes.

University in England is now ridiculously expensive, we’re talking £9,000 a year (that’s £27,000 for a full BA (hons)) those are just the tuition fees and they can be paid with loans that get written off if you can’t repay them, so it’s not all bad… but you only get one shot.

I started out applying to University as a back-up (and because my school made me) I applied to do drama. At the time I was applying to drama school. (I talk about my drama school experiences here.) I didn’t get into drama school but I did get onto a course at a local stage-school. (I talk about my experiences there, here.)

As part of that course I completed my ATCL in Speech and Drama. This is a level 4 qualification, which is the level you study at for the first year of your degree. It’s also worth 90 credits; the first year of university is worth 120 credits. I was annoyed that I’d have to go back to the beginning and complete a full three year degree, I was told that I couldn’t use this qualification for anything.

I applied to study drama at university (starting September 2014) and tried for a second year to get into drama school. I didn’t get into drama school and I eventually pulled out of university… that was a really hard decision. Instead I decided to spend this year taking my LTCL in Speech and Drama. This is a level 6 qualification, which is the level you study at for the final year of your degree. It’s worth 240 credits which is the same amount of credits as the first two years of a degree, or as a completed foundation degree.

The plan for me is to now apply to do a ‘top-up degree’ which is the final year of a degree.

The only problem is that I’ve now decided that I don’t like drama and I don’t want to study it anymore, sadly I’m in the same position as 90% of my friends… I have to suck it up and get on with it.

I have changed so much in the last few years, right now my future looks totally different to what it looked like a year ago.

If you’re panicking about the future then please know that you’re not alone. If you make the wrong decision then it’s not the end of the world, and you’ll be in the same boat as thousands of other people. School will push you because it looks bad for them if you don’t go to university, but take your time. You wouldn’t commit to a relationship that you weren’t sure of, so why commit to a degree?

As for me, I plan to get my degree and do a conversion course. Maybe along the way I’ll figure out what I want to do with my life.

You’re not alone!

’til next time,

Wren x

Zodiac

I don’t set a lot of store by astrology; it’s something that I’ve always taken with a pinch of salt. This may seem a little strange for someone who believes in Gods, ghost and the Fey, but something about when your parents chose to have sex dictating who you are and everything about you seems a little off to me.

However, like a lot of people I still like to glance at horoscopes and maintain a morbid curiosity in the Zodiac.

I’m a Capricorn, I think this means I’m supposed to be boring and stubborn… which I am… but whilst astrology seems to fit me nicely I don’t like the idea of generalising to everyone else.

Astrology can be seen as an ancient precursor to today’s modern personality types. There are many different ways of classifying personality, from the Type A and B personality theory to the Big Five personality traits to the Enneagram- the latter being a personal favourite of mine.

I think that it’s probably helpful if we look at astrology like this, the forerunner to the personality classifications. Whilst a lot of people do conform to their birth sign, a lot of others don’t. I don’t know if we should resign the Zodiac to history but I do think it should be taken with a serious pinch of salt.

If I have to read about astrology then the one place I do think makes sense on the subject is Spelwerx, a website that specialises in Celtic Magick and dips into astrology with more accuracy than anywhere else- if you want some good, comprehensive writing on the subject then give this site a try.

Blessings,

Wren x

Image from: http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/Images/Zodiac-Barocius-1585.jpg

These are a Few of my Favourite Things… (For Winter)

DSCN0836This isn’t very ‘wintery’ but I’m obsessed with these things at the moment; I love to suck on a mint whilst I’m at work. I find that the stale, recycled air of the store leaves my mouth dry and uncomfortable. Orange flavoured things are always my favourite and my partner discovered these recently; they have the tingly, cooling effect of a mint but with a sharp orange flavour. Mmm,

DSCN0837It’s winter, therefore I like to paint my nails. I don’t know what it is about the falling temperature that has me breaking out the polish, but it happens every year. These are three of my favourite festive colours; the green and the red are fairly obvious but I’m partial to purple too. As you can see I like deep, rich colours the best. I think they go well with my colouring.

DSCN0839As a rule, I’m not really a perfume wearer, maybe a little bit of body spray, but perfume never really appealed to me. Last Xmas I got this from Ma, I love Liz Earle products but had never really considered them as anything other than a skincare brand. I tried this a little while ago and loved it, it smells musky and comforting (a little like my Grandma) but still young enough that I can get away with it. Also, it feels super feminine to spritz on a bit of perfume before I walk out of the door…

DSCN0841I love hot chocolate… actually, scratch that, I love sugar. This is a little bit different, however. It’s peppermint flavoured- at first I thought it would be really rich and overwhelming but it’s actually a nice crossover between hot chocolate and peppermint tea. Indulgent and refreshing at the same time.

DSCN0842What would winter be without a scarf? I love a good scarf, they’re fun accessories that keep you warm and give you something to fiddle with during boring meetings. Of course, I couldn’t just have a normal scarf… this was given to me a few years ago by a friend; it’s wonderfully ridiculous. It’s essentially two different triangular scarves sewn together to make a square and then decorated with brightly coloured tassels. I love it.

DSCN0843This winter I’ve really been noticing my skin drying out, these are my two favourite things to slather on my face when this happens. As someone who always had greasy, oily skin I’m not used to moisturising… but I am getting older, and I don’t have teenage skin anymore, so I need to find a balance. Hence the moisturising.

Well, if you’ve made it this far then you can be rewarded with a picture of our half-finished Xmas tree, complete with mechanical bird perched on the top!

DSCN0844Look at that thing of beauty…

’til next time,

Wren x

 

Why I’m Leaving the Performing Arts Industry

I few years ago I decided to pursue my life-long dream of becoming an actress.

I’ve now put that dream to bed for the moment.

I want to try and explain, honestly, what’s been going on behind the scenes over the last few months. I feel like I’ve crashed about, making big statements about my career and I want to let you know what’s going on.

Firstly, I’m talking a break from acting. I wish that I could take a break from drama completely but I can’t. I have to keep it up in order to get my degree, but I’m certainly leaving professional acting for the moment.

Secondly, I don’t plan to start a theatre company. At one point I did, but I’ve moved on from there and whatever brief passion I had has faded.

So, what happened?

The last year of my life happened, that’s what.

I learnt exactly who and what I didn’t want to be. I was a horrible person for the last year- my partner and family would probably beg to differ but it certainly feels that way to me.

I always strive to be a good person, to be fair and mature and educated. I always try to see the good in people and in situations. I don’t always succeed in being this person, but I always try. I love people, I love meeting people and talking to them and learning about how they work. I think I’m quite good at making friends.

I wasn’t always this person, the social skills that I have I’ve learnt from watching people for years. I took what I’d learnt from observation and the confidence that I’d gained from acting and combined them to create a relaxed, social persona who can be friends with everyone.

I’m ‘Mum’, I’m the person that people come to when they have problems. I don’t judge and I don’t lose control of my emotions.

The person that I turned into over the last year was someone horrible. It was someone who had emotion (negative emotion) constantly bubbling close to the surface. I snapped and lost my patience with people. I sold myself so short, I felt worthless.

I was constantly being pushed to do things that were outside of my comfort zone. On one hand this was good, and it lead to a lot of personal development- however, there is a line. Our comfort zones are there for a reason, I’ve always been told that I have good instincts, and constantly being told to ignore them was just screwing with my head.

I hate the attitude of the Performing Arts Industry. When we were at the Edinburgh Fringe there were parties where we would be encouraged to schmooze with all of the other directors, producers and actors. I really hated it, I would sit in the corner and feel awkward- and I don’t really ever feel awkward. That was a massive wake-up call for me. I wanted to get out of there.

I hated having to pimp myself out to ‘important’ people. I don’t want to have to fawn over other people- I’ll be nice to everyone, but I’m not sucking up to anyone unless they damn well deserve it.

When I stand up on stage, in front of an audience, I feel a high like nothing else. It’s addictive, that wonderful feeling. However, it comes with a low. I always crash after doing a show- and the crash is horrible, it leaves me questioning whether or not doing the show is worth it.

I was on anti-depressants last winter, I don’t think I can deal with a career that would screw with my mental health as much as acting would.

The life of a working actor is hell, you spend the majority of your time working a crap job whilst trying to get acting work.

I can handle rejection… what I can’t handle is feeling like I’m wasting my life. I can’t handle waking up every morning to work a job where I stack shelves, wipe glasses and generally deal with people looking down at me. I want to wake up and do something that is challenging, I want to make a difference.

The short story: I don’t know what I’m doing with my life yet… but I don’t think it’s going to be acting.

’til next time,

Wren x

Yuletide: Pagan Origins of Christmas Traditions

  • The Date: Jesus was born in the summer- this is a fact that is very well known. When Christianity was spreading across Europe the Christian rulers wanted to convert the Pagan population as quickly and smoothly as possible. They built Churches close to Pagan places of worship and arranged festivals around the dates of the established, Pagan ones. This is why Christmas was moved to late December, the same time as the Winter Solstice.
  • The Food: feasting is a common Pagan practice, especially in midwinter festivals when the darkness surrounds us. Unless I’m very much mistaken, feasting does not appear in the Bible story of the birth of Jesus.
  • The Tree: The tree is really a tradition brought over to England from Germany thanks to Prince Albert. It clearly doesn’t come from the Bible (evergreen trees in the Middle East?) but it’s an obvious Pagan symbol. Bringing something alive into the house when everything else is dying embodies the spirit of Paganism. We are reminding ourselves of the life that will return in the spring.
  • The Presents. This one is a little more difficult, obviously this is something that it represented in the Nativity story so I’m not going to say that it isn’t a Christian thing. However I do think that gift giving fits in with the theme of the midwinter festival, celebration and excess helps to get us through the doom and gloom.
  • The Drink: This one’s fairly obvious, with every good Pagan feast comes some good Pagan drink!
  • The Lights: There is a custom of keeping a candle alight all through the night of the Solstice, I think this is something that has morphed into all of the brightly coloured lights that we like to string inside and outside of our homes. When the world is at its darkest we can fill it with light.

Blessings,

Wren x