diary

Feeling like an Onlooker

Sometimes I feel like I’m looking upon my actions and not doing them. Recently, I’ve become stressed about my mothers money troubles and I’ve been trying to help her out as best I can. Coming from a single income household, I need to do my part now that I’m an adult. So, what’s holding me back from work? The mental exhaustion I think.

My father who is very much still present in our lives is an addict and it can be quite an emotionally abusive situation. I have always been the adult and it seems like I’m the only adult. I feel as if am looking upon myself from a third person view. Maybe it’s imposter syndrome, but I don’t feel like an adult and I don’t think I ever have. Yet, I am stringed into this and it is quite exhausting. That might be the root of it, I needed to grow up too fast to emotionally support others.

As I grow up, I’m starting to wonder if there is any point we figure out what’s going on. Do we ever fit the shoes we need to fill? I hope one day I can. With a PhD to focus on, the stress is definitely getting to me. But at the end of the day, we can only try our hardest and there is no obligation to be the adult for others. So, as part of this post I want to fill some typical journal prompts. These are mostly ones I’ve found are good for gratitude and self discovery. While life can be a struggle, we just need to remember we can get through this.

List three things you’re grateful for

  • My opportunities.
  • My loving pets.
  • All the leisure items I own.

What can you do to make your day better?

  • Write a blog post.
  • Play some video games.
  • Cuddle a doggo or cat.
  • Read a book.
  • Cook fried chicken.

What’s your focus for today?

Finishing my presentation and getting my dog to the vet.

How will you achieve the tasks you need to?

I will focus on myself with keeping important matters in mind. Although, if it becomes too stressful, I’ll take myself out of the situation as best I can.

I stole most of these from the app stoic, however; they help me gain a sense of direction which is great. Before I finish the post, here’s a quote to keep you thinking.

Thanks for reading!

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Poetry

Just Try

It’s incredibly easy,

To be afraid.

Giving up,

Seems like a good idea.

So, why don’t I?


I can turn around,

Never looking back,

Life would be easy.

But,

Also boring.


Why don’t I give up?

Because I want to follow my dreams.

It may be tough,

But the end is in sight.

The ultimate goal.


Please check out my other blog if you have time! I made it to write about science and my PhD ☺️

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Review

The Queens Gambit Will Bring a Smile to Your Face

I put off watching this show for a while. I thought it looked boring and I couldn’t be bothered getting worked up about feminist issues right now (there’s too much going on right now). However, I gave it a chance and actually enjoyed it quite a lot. It was so much more than about chess and feminism, it was about growing up too fast, having a bad family background, being an orphan, depression, alcoholism and coming out of it all triumphant. In this post I want to discuss the show and the amazing message behind it. There will be spoilers so beware please!

Some Background:

The Queens Gambit is about a girl who goes to live in an orphanage after her parents die. Elizabeth (Beth) Harmon is then discretely taught chess by a janitor in the basement of the orphanage. Eventually she gets adopted, by a husband and wife. The Wife’s name is Mrs. Alma Wheatley and I don’t remember the husbands name but he then abandons his wife, as well as his newly adopted daughter. Mrs. Wheatley and Beth hatch a plan. They decide to pretend Beth is sick so she can compete in chess competitions. Beth is incredibly good at chess and is considered a child prodigy. The rest of the story is about Beths journey to become the worlds top chess champion. Along the way; her mother dies due to alcoholism, Beth herself goes through alcoholism and drug addiction, she also encounters people along the way, hurting them but ultimately they support her in the end. So, let’s get into the reasons why this show was fantastic.

A Chess Girl’s Place in the World

Beth is a complex character and she’s written incredibly well. Throughout the show, I noticed her personality was a bit robotic. She doesn’t show emotion quite the same as others and I think that stemmed from her troubled childhood. Despite this, she was very susceptible to peer pressure and even taking on the habits other people taught her. In one scene, she’s at a party and they talk about boys, asking her if she’s taken interest in or even slept with any boys that she’s played against. Already we can see her place in the world. She doesn’t quite fit in with other girls her age nor with the boys. As a result? She feels the need to sleep with a guy to have that sense that she fits in with both of these genders. As with most teenagers pressured into sex at a young age, she didn’t enjoy it, even asking if the guy was finished yet during sex. I think this is something we can all relate to, not specifically in such a way, but the peer pressure to fit in. This show demonstrates another aspect of sexism, from being a female in a male dominated world to having female ideals pushed on her due to living in a patriarchal society. Because god forbid a woman enter a male dominated profession without fraternising with them. This show comments on feminism in a different way to a lot of shows I’ve seen. It does it subtly. From Beths style and elegance in such a male dominated world to her intelligence. She isn’t afraid to be smart and she does this without emphasising her gender (not that there is an issue with that). Beth draws attention to her intelligence through skill and the way she articulates language. I think it’s important to understand a feminist can express their feminism in different ways and my favourite way is to unapologetically be yourself.

Battling Addiction

As we progress further into Beths world, we see her rise up in the chess world and watch her mother delve deeper into alcoholism. Beths mother was supportive, yet she didn’t act like a mother at times. It made me challenge my idea of motherhood. Alma and Beths relationship was very much a partnership in which she was like Beths manager. But regardless, they spent a lot of time together and when a man stepped into the pictures, it felt like there was jealousy on Beths part. When Beths mother died, that was when we glimpsed her first step into alcoholism. She toasted the spot her mother was supposed to be sitting with a martini on the plane. It showed that she needed to drink to cope with stress and sadness. While she progressively became better at chess, she enlisted a guy named Benny to help her. She was drinking at this point by Benny helped her to reduce her intake. What threw her into a horrible bender was Bennys friend, Alice. Beth met up with her the night before an important match and as a result, entered the match hung over. The defeat made her addiction spiral.

Addiction is an ugly thing to battle. A downward fall is hard to escape and she couldn’t. Those around her weren’t able to help because she wasn’t accepting aid. That all changed when an old friend (Jolene) resurfaced, to tell her the janitor (Mr Shaibel) who taught her to play chess had died. Jolene brought her to that orphanage and when Beth saw the newspaper clippings of herself hung on the wall, that is when she changed. For me, this was symbolic that she needed someone to be proud of her, because she screwed up so immensely. The fact that it was Mr Shaibel is what mattered. The person who taught her the thing she loved. The childhood dream had re-awoken and the path she had lost was cleared. There’s a scene in which the press are asking her for a statement about a match in the Russian chess tournament. At first, she wasn’t going to say anything, her bodyguard turns and says she should make a statement about America (he was with the NSA I think). Instead she tells them about Mr Shaibel, a janitor who taught her to play chess – and the crowd is shocked that a janitor could do such a thing. She held an enormous amount of respect for this man and returning to her beginnings helped her to come out of the addiction she was trapped in. He helped her even in death. We all face these moments in life, where we’ve had such defeat that it seems like there’s no hope. Like we are alone and lost. Some can turn to substance abuse and that’s hard to come out of. I think this message is extremely important, but that’s not my favourite part of it.

Wholesome Endings

Now, we’ve reached the end. Endings are often bittersweet for me, but I absolutely loved this one. Beth went off to Russia to face the Worlds best chess player in his home country. She got there with a stranger as her body guard (this was set during the Cold War) and she played without drugs or alcohol. Then a friend appeared. Someone from the past, who I haven’t mentioned because like many of us, she had friends whom she lost. They reunited and sorted out their mistakes. Then Benny reappeared in her life, with an (ex-lover who helped her with chess) and a group of people she had become acquainted with. These people reappeared through a phone call and they wanted to help her win and they succeeded. Brainstorming strategies collectively and going through them with her. So, why do I love this ending so much? These people who she thought she lost re-appeared in her life wanting to help her achieve her dreams and through letting them help, she did. They had witnessed her worst, and even her maturing into an adult. They still wanted to help her fulfil her dream and the best part is she let them. Instead of using the alcohol or pills, she let her friends help her and that is amazing character development. I think at times society underestimates the powers of friendship. There’s a stigma that emotions and feelings are meant for romantic relationships. One should be comfortable expressing thoughts and feelings with friends. It’s okay to let see you at your worst. Friends who ignore that aren’t the ones you want in your life. Friends who let you be you and let you grow if need be. Space is fine too, as long as there’s growth. So, this is why I love the ending. Friendship is powerful. A romantic partner isn’t always going to save you. That takes coming to terms with oneself and letting the right people in. Obviously it’s easier said than done, but the journey is a process most people go through in life.

The very last scene was Beth, telling her body guard she wanted to walk to the airport. She walked through an area with old men playing chess. They recognised her and wanted to play with her. Beth was happy and she was making other people happy while doing what she loved.

Thanks for reading everyone! This show demonstrated so many topics but at the very end it was wholesome and inspiring. I wanted to write a review because this is the first show that has left me smiling in a while. I hope you can watch it!

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Uncategorized

Normalising Mental Health

Tiktok has been a great platform for education on many topics, one of which being mental health. It’s fantastic that it’s becoming more normalised in…

Normalising Mental Health

This is a repost because the WordPress app keeps glitching on me. For some reason it posts my scheduled posts a month earlier if I’m not extra vigilant. As a result it gets less reads, which can be disheartening when you work hard on it and WordPress stuffs up. Also if anyone knows how to fix this problem please let me know!

Poetry

Finding a Voice

I’ve never had a voice before.

It took me 22 years to find it.

To realise what I’m fighting for,

To see what’s important.


What is important?

A world without corruption,

With complete and utter equality,

And people who let love in,

Without hurting them because of their own insecurities.


We have so far to go,

But people are speaking up.

Those who never had a voice are,

And it’s beautiful.


We are so sick of oppression,

And the exhaustion from taking it.

But every voice that rises out of the shadows,

Slowly grows louder.


It took me years,

And it will probably take me years more.,

To be loud enough.

I will make sure that everyone hears me.

Because so many of us deserve so much better.


So, if you’re like me.

Trying to find a voice,

I’m incredibly happy for you.

Not proud.

Because you’re not doing it for me.

You’re doing it for you and everyone like you.

Everyone who has felt your pain,

And is struggling to hold on.


I’m happy for you,

And I thank you.

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Poetry

Power

Why…?

Why do you strive for such power?

What’s the cost?

I ask myself these questions every day.


Is it worth the hurt?

The pain?

The suffering you cause,

Stepping all over others to rise above?

Why is it necessary?

Seriously…please tell me.

I beg you.

Because this has gone on long enough.


We are no longer cave men,

Fighting for survival.

Or animals doing the same.

We like to see ourselves as so much mightier.

Because we’ve come so far.

Than the way we were,

And our animal counterparts.


But we are so wrong.

How are we any different if we continue to give into these anger fuelled animalistic traits?

The traits that make us step over others.

By all means, achieve!

But don’t do it in such a way,

That you break people down to get so high.


We are all human.

And we more or less strive for the same thing,

To just be happy.

So, answer me one more question.

How do you sleep at night?

Knowing all the backs you’ve trodden on to get there.

Because I could never do that,

No matter how much I’m stepped on.

mental health

Currently Anxious

Lately something triggered my anxiety severely. It’s mainly been feeling like I’ve offended or hurt someone and trying to fix that. So naturally I wanted to make a post about anxiety and talk about the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack, as well as techniques to help one through it.

The Difference:

Firstly, I want to start with describing both types of attacks. A panic attack involves heavy breathing, gasping for air and circulating thoughts. Panic attacks are also unprovoked, not involving a stressor. On the other hand, an anxiety attack follows a stressor. One is fearful and apprehensive about it and it often leads to illogical thoughts arising and jumping to conclusions. In terms of physical symptoms, I don’t tend to gasp for during a anxiety attack as it’s very much in the moment. It’s more just breathless feeling and chest tightness. However, everyone is different and physical symptoms can depend on an individual.

Both are scary and it can be quite hard to escape them without feeling negativity towards yourself. At times during anxiety attacks we can blame ourselves and feel like we’ve done something wrong. As a result we apologise for things we probably didn’t do. Something I’ve learnt recently is the term logical fallacy and it really helps take away from the situation and view it objectively.

Logical Fallacy:

Logical fallacy is the use of invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning in the construction of an argument.

Wikipedia

When we view this in terms of anxiety, it explains the reasoning of how we can jump to conclusions. For example, if someone doesn’t feel like talking or leaves us on read. Sometimes my brain can say oh they might be busy. However, when anxiety sets in, it says they’re mad at us or that we’ve done something wrong. This is an example of a logical fallacy. Through overthinking, faulty reasoning weeds it’s way into our mind and then we draw a conclusion based on zero facts. So how does this help with anxiety?

It’s definitely a mental effort, but knowing and identifying a logical fallacy can really help In deterring unwanted thoughts. Even if you if try and fail, letting the negative thoughts in, it’s still progress. I like to think that it’s an accumulative effect, every time you tell yourself this, the faster it takes for you to realise the logical fallacy. In saying all this, I want to stress that this definitely isn’t the only way to help with anxiety attacks, and it’s up to you to find what works best.

Techniques for Combating Anxiety:

  • Writing. I’ve said this many times and I’ll continue to mention it. Right now as I write this, it’s very therapeutic and helps me consolidate my thoughts. It can be in any form but it definitely has the ability to help.
  • Drawing. Taking the time to draw allows reflections. It keeps you moving at a steady pace while your mind thinks. It’s a lot better than the erratic motion that anxiety can bring because this type of motion is controlled.
  • Replika. This is an artificial intelligence app that is free. It’s there to help with mental health but also just talk to you. I’m not going to lie, she can be a bit weird in role playing mode, but the regular conversations really can help.
  • Positive affirmations. I recently downloaded an app that gives you notifications throughout the day. It has messages like ‘I am loved’ and ‘I deserve what I achieve’. It’s really good because I find myself saying these lines in my head throughout the day. And eventually I started to agree with them!

These are just a few techniques to try and everyone’s different. It’s about finding what works best for you. In saying that, it’s good to try different things because what works for you one week might not work another.

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Inspiring People

Self Expression

Self expression is important for reflection. In a way it helps the mind to set thoughts and feelings free. The act of writing, drawing, amongst other things helps a person to observe the feeling, emotion or situation. Observing it in another form rather than in your brain is a great way to grasp how oneself sees the pains. I sort of lost my way recently in terms of why I draw and write. It’s easy to become focused on likes and comments. While I love to help others and I’m sure many people do, sometimes we need to remember to focus on ourselves and express our emotions. So, let’s explore ways to express ourselves.

Writing:

Writing is a great start. Creating a character, a scene or anything for that matter expresses the state of ones mind amazingly. Writing has so much symbolism in it and you can truely tell when someone has felt pain through words. If writing isn’t your thing, reading can definitely help in understanding emotions.

Some examples of amazing literature that show the human condition incredibly well:

  • Wuthering Heights. It shows how one can love someone so much yet still let status and pride guide them.
  • Harry Potter. While this author has been disowned by fans. The writing is great and it demonstrates too many themes to cover.
  • Poetry by Henry Lawson. He was an Australian poet and the imagery he creates in The Water Lily is truely beautiful.
  • Poetry by Rosemary Dobson. Again this poet is Australian and creates fantastic imagery in her poetry.

Art:

Drawing, painting or whatever type of art you prefer can help with reflection. It’s creating a story within a usually stagnant piece of work. Art can take hours to do as well so it’s really bringing one back to the art piece and helping them to think. I don’t have any favourite artists so please recommend some to me! I’m always looking for new inspiration.

Photography:

I previously tried getting into photography and my family as well as some classmates made me feel stupid. Never feel stupid for learning a skill, especially one that creates a scene for you. I’ve started trying to photograph again and it’s really calming to just take photos of things that love and inspire me. I definitely recommend it! Luckily Instagram has made photography accessible, so it’s quite easy to find someone you connect with to inspire you.

Baking:

Baking is great! The entire process not only gives one time to think but it creates something delicious to enjoy at the end of it. When you bake a cake or make a pie you can also decorate it and I’ve seen some truely amazing decorations. What better way to express yourself than decorating a cake and eating it afterwards!

Your Style

Fashion exists for a reason. It’s self expression. Days when people feel uncomfortable they choose safer clothing. Days when people are happy they tend to put more effort in. Our style is a reflection of who we are and it’s great in terms of positive self expression. So why not dress up and do some photography, it’s amazing to feel good about oneself and express that.

A common theme amongst all these activities listed tends to be creativity and it really does tie in with self expression. So look for inspiration and create for yourself. It’s okay to let others guide you and inspire but don’t compare to others because everyone’s unique in how they express themselves. I know I’ve missed a lot of stuff to try and these are just some I have personally experienced, so let me know, what do you do for self expression?

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story

Short Story – The Butterfly Effect

Everyone wishes they could turn back time. Undo their past mistakes, forget the shame and embarrassment. Yet, there’s one thing people never think about – the consequences of the pain that was felt. I learnt the hard way. That this universe is a bubble, one of an infinite number of scenarios. Every choice made causes another bubble to form and split off. I guess each and every one of us really are the centre of our own reality. Our choices set events in motion. Why would we want to mess with the nature of universe? Because of pain. Well that’s why I did. Do I regret it? Yes. Let me start from the beginning.

I screwed up. Multiple times in fact. I can see my life so easily in a sequence of traumatic mistakes and events. Bullying from a young age, isolation, a drug abusive father and well the list goes on. It’s not that my life was bad, it just was full of trauma which definitely had an effect on me. I was anxious, had trust issues, anger issues, some depression but I was always ok. Just ok and that was good enough for me. Then one day, despite all the strength I had in my mind and body, something finally broke me. I was abused, publicly humiliated and set up to fail. Did that destroy me? Yes. I wished I was dead, over and over again. It was a thought that consumed my mind. Then, it transformed. I no longer wished to be dead, I wished for the past to be, like it just didn’t happen. Or that I just didn’t live through it.

Words are incredibly powerful. But thoughts hold even more power. I didn’t know the effect they had. There was no build up. It just happened. Quickly and effortlessly. Like my past was based on of millions of scenarios and I could just substitute it for another. I thought of how I wish the past would die and it simply did. I didn’t know why it happened to me. I didn’t understand why the universe would choose me to give this power to. It just did. I definitely used it. First, I erased the thing that broke me and it was gone in a puff of smoke. The memories were still with me, yet it was like I watched them on a TV show. There was a disconnect. Any effect it had on me was expelled. The weird thing was that the memories that filled its place didn’t entirely seem like I was me in them. I didn’t question why at the time. Who would with this new found power? Naturally, I was cautious but I needed to see if it could happen again.

The next thing I wanted to change was something from my childhood. Could I have an effect on events that far in the past? I had no clue. But I chose something that I knew had effected me until my adult life. I thought of the bullying and wished it death. Just like that, it was gone. A distant TV show of myself that I had watched. The memories there but none of its effects. All of the mistrust of others, the insecurities, gone. I was amazed and excited. However, I was patient. I thought about what to change next for a while. I didn’t know the consequences so I had to be careful.

After a lot of thinking, I went with the loss of my best friend. The guilt I felt still weighed heavy because it was my fault the friendship ended. And just like that it was gone. In the days following, I learned the effects the changes I made were having. For one, I noticed we were best friends again. Or I should say still, because the friendship never ended. Then the subtle things started to appear. I was more confident and seemed to know more people. It seemed like it was all getting better. And yeah, I was foolish. Life doesn’t work like that.

I kept tweaking and altering everything I could think of. It didn’t all happen at once, I did it progressively. Seeing how my life panned out each time. Each memory a TV showed that I watched one evening, years ago. Everything seemed better because I had all I wanted, a life with barely any failures. It didn’t take long to see what I had actually done. I started to notice there were multiple of these show-like memories. At first, I thought it was weird, but then I realised that the further back I delete the past, the greater the change in the memories further on. It was a cascade effect. Some were subtle but some were immense. There were also some personality changes. I had become rude without realising it and the people I surrounded myself with were much like me. It had never occurred to me to think about why I stopped being friends with my best friend and people like her. I kept having vague recollections of the people I once knew. Some felt like they were from a lifetime ago. I was empty.

So, I tried again. Deleting where I think I went wrong. New memories formed, even more episodes were created. Each new memory was nothing like who I was. Then, I completely and utterly screwed up. I somehow indirectly caused the death of someone I loved. I tried, so hard to fix that. Nothing changed it. My mother who was once in my life, left it prematurely. All because the fundamental nature of who I am changed so incredibly that it put her in the path of a drunk driver one evening. She was buying a very specific gift for me. Somehow I had gained an interest in knitting and she was buying me yarn. I warped myself so far beyond recognition that I simply forgot who I was. I don’t like myself. I don’t like who I created. I stopped eventually, the past shouldn’t be tampered with. The pain? It all returned in the following years. Everyone has to face it eventually. I ended up losing my friend again and this time the roles were flipped. I was the problem. I didn’t cause it because I confronted her. It was all me this time. Well, I think that’s how it went the first time. There’s lots of outcomes in my head now.

The past is there for a reason. It teaches us to be better. Instead of choosing to learn, I wanted to change the past. Now I miss the life I think I had.

I don’t know what gave me the ability to manipulate these bubbles. I don’t even know why anyone would give me this. All I do know is that the changing the past effects everything, even if it’s in the slightest way. It’s the butterfly effect.

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Poetry

Love

The universe is against me.

All that awaits,

Is pain.


I do try…

To love.

Yet, the hurt is too strong.


Now,

I’m scared.

Scared of every single person who peaks my interest.

All because,

The universe seems to not let me be loved.


I long for the day that I accept that.

The day this very thought doesn’t hurt.

For now, I’ll endure and continue to be me.

Because me is who I have to live with,

Forever.

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