- H. Starr
As of writing this, we are graduating in two days. I’m sure everyone has their own thoughts and reminiscences on this, but I guess I just figured I’d share mine. I’ve thought about writing this a lot. I’ve wrestled with the worry that it might sound too sappy or it might be too specific to my own experience. I also had to consider the fact that the Leaving Cert English course has sucked every creative fibre out of my being, leaving nothing in my brain but some key quotations and That Part in Lily’s chapter of The Spinning Heart. Then I realised no one is likely to see this anyway, and I stopped worrying.
It’s been breaking my heart to see this blog desolate for the last year, so I’m taking it upon myself to hack the website (is it hacking if you know the password?) and use it as a medium to say thank you. Thank you to all of you, thank you to the teachers, thank you to the building that has been my second home for six of my seventeen years.
This school has been a safe place for me. The first time I walked through the doors in late August of 2012, I was afraid. It took a while to get comfortable. Teachers didn’t know me and the ceilings looked like pot noodles and I was wearing a stupid hairband. It wasn’t an immediate fit. I even took off to America for half of second year in search of something better. Leaving was the best decision I ever made, because then I got to choose to come back. I came back because I missed the school that once never knew me. I had people to come back to.
Sometimes I wonder whether I’ve spent more collective hours at school or at home in the last two years. It’s become such a natural and effortless place for me to be. There are teachers here that I could talk about anything to. I’ve formed friendships here that have defined who I am as a person. The best and worst of times have passed me in this school. In either case, there has always, always been somebody there to share it with. Every morning I walk into this personalised little world of textbooks and squared paper and laughter and tears, and I love it. I keep ‘love’ in the present tense, because I can’t quite face the fact that my days in that particular world are coming to an end. I can only hope that the future holds many bright paces to replace the one I’m about to lose. I’d even settle for just one.
Putting aside the people that make this school what it is, I’ll also miss the little things. I’ll miss standing awkwardly in the microwave queue for the entirety of lunch. I’ll miss playing musical chairs in the old computer room to find a computer that actually works. I’ll miss bruises on my thighs from accidentally walking into those lunch tables on a regular basis. I’ll miss ‘studying in the GPA’ after maths instead of actually going to study. I’ll miss taking naps in the oratory. Hey, we may not have a snazzy gym or whatever else twelve year olds think is attractive, but you have to admit this place has character.
In Home Ec one time we learned about the ‘hidden curriculum’. It’s to do with the social skills and life lessons that a child learns just from being in school, regardless of the academic curriculum. I only started to think about the hidden curriculum I’ve been following when I realised it was almost finished. Today Ms Donohue was telling us about how when she started teaching, her mother told her that you never miss a day of school unless you’re seriously sick, and you work as hard as you can. The biggest virtue this school has taught me is the importance of hard work. They say talent is nothing without hard work, and I’m reminded of this when I look at Ms Donohue’s perfect attendance record, or her refill pads containing her own workings for every question ever. I’m inspired by all the people I’ve met here who do what needs to be done and do it well. I’ve been taught by this school that dedication and commitment will get you everywhere.
This school has also taught me compassion. I’ve always respected the fact that if someone’s crying, you can take off basically an entire class to help mitigate the issue. No questions asked. If someone is having a hard time, we do not leave them off to sort themselves out and go about our business. We do what we can to help. We take care of each other. It’s become routine, it happens without a second thought. The culture of love and support that I’ve seen demonstrated time and time again here is, in my opinion, a truly beautiful thing. The real world is rough (or so I’ve heard), but if the vast majority of us manage to carry some of this compassion with us in years to come, I think we will all be OK.
I’m getting bleary-eyed now. I should wrap this up. I think I’ve said all that needs to be said. To the Class of 2018, thank you for the memories, thank you for the laughs, thank you for shaping me as an individual. You made this place a home for me over the last six years, and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you all. Don’t be strangers. To the teachers who have sharpened me intellectually, supported me emotionally, and believed in me unconditionally, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To the windows and walls that held me safe and happy every single day: stay standing to welcome new, scared mini-students (perhaps with stupid hairbands) for many years to come.
- H. Starr
Faith (as written in the dictionary) is one’s complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
For me, faith isn’t something that is given to you by God through prayer or whatever else the older generation rely on. I believe it’s the inner confidence one has in themselves that gives them that spark to achieve whatever they want in life. It seems cliché and cringy but I think it’s true.
I’ve always heard my mother say to someone in self-doubt ‘have faith in yourself and everything will work out’. I have never really thought about what she was saying, it just seemed like some less dismissive way of saying ‘ah, you’ll be grand’. But over the past few days I thought about it more and realised the deeper meaning behind it.
‘Have faith in yourself’. Keyword = yourself.
I started thinking, and I now completely understand what she means when she says this. Having self-belief is one of the most powerful things a person can have. With a tool like this, you are giving yourself the chance to cross off everything on your bucket list without thinking twice. Whether it be jumping from a plane 14,000 feet high or wanting to finish all of your homework and study on a Friday night.
Whatever your aims/goals/aspirations may be, you’ll get nowhere unless you have the faith in yourself to accomplish it. Without faith, negativity will consume you and ruin any chance you have of living your life the way you want it. A powerful weapon like self-belief is a motivator, an inner drive that will make you feel good about yourself and give you that same feeling you have when you get 90% in an Irish test you spent hours studying on.
Recently, I came across this quote said by Martin Luther King Jr., someone who was a prime example of how self belief can change an entire country for the better.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Just like a stairs, life is a constant uphill challenge. But when you get to the top of the stairs looking down on what you have achieved, the feeling is exhilarating. If you ever are half way up the stairs and have any doubt about how many steps are left until you reach the top, just think - ‘have faith in yourself and everything will work out’.
Because honestly, it will.
Society shapes us in many ways, how we look has never been as important as it is today. The more we look at perfect images of others and then look to find those same characteristics on ourselves and don’t find them, the worse we feel about ourselves. Everyone has a slightly different idea of the perfect body image but we are heavily influenced by social pressures and the media. Society’s expectations influence our belief about the ideal body image and sometimes this creates problems or cause harm.
From today’s perspective, females are encouraged to focus their feelings of body image towards a thinner figure. This has become the general social norm in our society. We see images of perfect bodies all around us, on television, in movies, and online.
Recently while scrolling through twitter I came across a post about a beauty blogger and her response when someone said they wanted to look like her. One of her fans commented on her picture ‘if I woke up as beautiful as this id be the happiest girl alive’. The blogger responded with ‘girl I have micro bladed brows, lash extensions in and lip injections. I don’t even look like this’. Her response got huge attention over social media and she was praised for being so honest.
I think if all social influencers were as honest as this girl maybe there wouldn't be such a pressure for young girls to feel like they have to look a certain way.
As a girl growing up in a society where it is the norm to put pictures of your daily life online, I often find it difficult to accept my body for what it is. Everyday, I can go onto Facebook and see amazing pictures of my peers going out to events, or even just quick selfies taken during an ordinary day. I see these images of my friends at their best, constantly, making it so hard to even contemplate living up to. Their clothing is fashion forward, make-up flawless, but what always makes me look again and again in awe is the effortless grace and almost ease that they carry themselves with. They are able to project an image of sheer confidence in who they are and what their body looks like. I do realize that in many cases, a person has taken hundreds of photos just to pick the one that makes them look the best.
Is that really the society we want for ourselves? A false projection of what we look like? We are the new generation, Generation Z. We should be able to change the rules and make it easier for the women coming after us to accept themselves wholly without feeling the need to put on a face for the world to see.
Coming to terms with my own body as a female has always been something I've struggled with. I can always come up with flaws in myself, things that people around me will say don't matter, or aren't a problem. I feel too broad-shouldered, my legs are terrible, my arms are too long, the list goes on and on. I feel uncomfortable in everything I own to wear. Whenever I shop I feel like I am trapped in choosing a size before a style. I have to cover up, wear hoodies in summer, long trousers whenever I can. I hate PE in the warmer weather, not being able to fall back on the excuse of cold to keep my hoodie on. My skin begins to crawl in short sleeves or even the slightest bit of revealing clothing and I feel like everyone is watching me.
To then return home and see all of these pictures online is quite honestly, a nightmare. I feel like I have to compare myself to people who are different genetically, physically and mentally from me. For a long time now, my profile picture on Facebook is a photo from an Anime Avatar Creator website. Not because I particularly like the photo, but because I feel ashamed of what I look like to the extent that I don't think I've actually put an actual photo of myself up since last September. As a female on social media, I feel like unless you want to be judged you have to put not just 100% effort into a photo, but 200%.
All our lives as women, we are told what to wear and when to wear what we like to wear. Magazines used to dominate previous generations, but these days, we can watch our favourite models, supermodels and celebrities online through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. We're a generation exposed to so much media attention, so much focus on making an online profile for yourself. We have to wear clothes with designer labels to fit in. Hollister is still everywhere, but I can honestly say that I own nothing by them. Not because I don't like their style, but due to the fact that to find anything above a size 10 in a Hollister store is impossible. As women we are expected to be a certain size, a certain height and have a certain chest size. If we aren't that size, well, plastic surgery's always an option! In fact, in South Korea, it is a common practice that as an 18th birthday present, you get plastic surgery. Even our main influences in life also advocate going under a knife to right all the wrongs.
Women are treated as first a thing to admire before a person. We're all guilty of it at some point of our lives, seeing a person as an outfit or a body before a personality. To fully accept who we are as women, we need to throw away this instant judgement. And frankly, I know that asking people to do that is impossible. We are humans, and humans are habitual creatures.
So will I ever truly come to terms with my body as a female? Likely, no. I am too easily affected by what I hear, see and experience. Each person is different though, and if I can make at least one girl, sat inside good old English down in the depths of Block F Hell smile, I will feel accomplished. So my message to that one girl who takes it away is this: You know what, you look freaking amazing today and every single day I see you. I wish I could look as good as you do and I appreciate the effort you've put into making yourself look so amazing, but you don't need to put in so much. You look beautiful no matter how long it took to get ready in the morning.
Two models, one from 2017 and one from 1967. Even after 50 years, we are still shown that to be 'pretty' we have to be a certain size and body shape.
“Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.” - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
When I saw that ‘coming to terms with the female body’ was written on the board in class I wondered why we never see the term ‘coming to terms with the male body’. Of course, there are insecurities that boys go through, but when women like Sinead Gleeson were told continuously that she was wrong about her own body, then there's a problem.
You can give the argument that the events of her article jump in between the time she wrote it and when she was younger. It was a few years ago and people may say that gender equality has come a long way, when really it's only moved on a smidge. We’re moving all right, but not at the pace that many people would like it to be. It’s why we need feminism.
Why in the name of God is ‘Feminist’ such a bad word anyway? It’s honestly like the 'Voldemort’ of our world, 'It-that-must-not-be-named’. I never understood it. Why do people hate this word so much? Some people may cringe at the word, but why is that? Is it because of the discussions that arise from it? What the word means to people?
I started to look into it a bit more ever since coming across feminist speakers and Gleeson’s article and found out that, surprise surprise, there is almost nothing wrong with feminism, but more so the way the word is taken up and perceived in the media. For the most part, feminism is a necessity, a need in this world.
Feminism, by definition, is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. Gender equality. It’s about women, yes, but it is about equality for women and men. Feminism is not women dominating the entire planet like aliens or something. It’s plain and simple, men and women are equal. What’s so hard about that?
I only started identifying with feminism recently, and I am still learning a lot about it, so bare with me. I think I’ve always been with the idea that men and women should be equal, I just wasn’t educated on this word at the time. It honestly still boggles me how people can say that we don’t need feminism in this day and age, everything is ‘okay’.
When I was around twelve and a part of my Scouting group (majority of these members were boys), I was witnessing and the target of a lot of jokes and taunts that were awful, and I wanted to call them out on it but I just didn’t and now I seriously regret it. They told me and the other girls to “go to the kitchen where we belonged” and made jokes about periods and “not needing consent”. I only now realize how awful and wrong these are, and I wish I had known back then, but more importantly I wish they had known. Levels of maturity shouldn’t factor into what they said.
I was walking around town one day with two other guys and we were talking about a women getting a high up job. I gave a little cheer, and one turned to me and said “Oh no, you’re not one of those feminists, are you?” I laughed nervously and the subject was changed, but God how I wish I had said yes, that maybe I was.
Women’s rugby is slowly becoming a well known sport professionally. We now have a school team, a strong women’s team representing Ireland and an equally strong women’s sevens team. The men’s rugby, however, is shown on T.V, get transported to matches and get paid to do this. Women, as far as I remember, rarely get on T.V, must travel themselves to events and have jobs on the side of playing these matches. Niamh Briggs, an Irish rugby player, is a guard for example. Soccer is the same. Only recently, an article on Indepentant.ie showed us the reality behind women’s soccer. The team called out the FAI on the mistreatment of women. They had to share tracksuits and change in bathrooms for matches. This would never ever happen with the men’s team. This seriously has to stop.
Sinead Gleeson’s doctors and surgeons all through her experience have been men, and treated her awfully. We questioned in class that what if she was male? Would she be treated differently? We said yes, and that is startling. What a lot of people seem to think that feminism means is that it’s bashing men. Not at all. It has nothing to do with that. Women and men should be equal. Everyone equal.
Going back to the Scouting group I was a part of. Men, according to the patriarchy, are supposed to be tough. An alpha male. Hard and ruthless. But this is putting the same pressure on men as we do to women. The boys in the group liked to roughhouse, but sometimes it got out of control. If one got hurt and cried, showing human emotion, the others would laugh. If a girl cried, which has happened, the boys would tend to her as best they could. Another feminist, Emma Watson, stated in an interview that the highest death cause for young men was suicide. If we don’t do anything now, that might continue.
You could call me preachy, because to be completely honest that's what I’m doing, but how else is this message going to get out? I don’t ever want to be told to go to the kitchen anymore. I don’t want to be touched without consent. I don’t want to not have the same opportunities as men do. I don’t want boys to be killing themselves because they can’t be human. I don’t want people like Gleeson to suffer.
It's a typical preachy thing to say I suppose, but I won’t stop until it does change.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an amazing women from Nigeria who has published many books on feminism and has a very famous TED talk called “We should all be feminists”, which I highly recommend to find out more about this topic. It is widely quoted, and how can it not be? The words are powerful and hard-hitting. It makes you wonder.
“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.” - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
After reading Blue Hills and Chalk Bones by Sinéad Gleeson, one of the numerous things that stood out to me was how she and the other woman were treated by some of the men in the story. The thing that angered me the most was Sinéad's mother being churched after giving birth to her brither. It seems just so ridiculous to me. The fact that women were seen as unclean after giving birth to a child. Without the woman they would be no children. Humanity couldn't survive without reproduction but, it's dirty. That's literally what the Church is saying. "Oh you're great for carrying this baby for 9 months and all but now it's here you're unclean and need to be cleanse or you can't go to mass".
An even bigger question is why weren't men churched. Men have an equal role in creating a human life but because he's not carrying the child and there's no evidence it's his unless you get a DNA test, he can walk into mass with his head held high. It's like Tuam and all those other mother and baby homes. They had all the information on the mother and her children but where was the father? Some were ran out by the girl's family, some just didn't care and others didn't even know. Those men would never know the shame or guilt, the feeling of being ripped from your home to protect your family's name or the feeling of isolation. They'll carry on with their lives, not knowing the little boys and girls they left behind. But, those little boys and girls will grow up and will come home from school one day with a family tree asking questions like " where is my father?" Questions no mother wants to answer. And those little boys and girls who continue to age still get asked those questions. Their grandchildren will come home from school with their own family tree, asking their grandparents questions about their history and would not be able to answer. But sometimes it's even more difficult to know these answers
A woman met a man one day who promised her the world so she gaved all herself to him. As a result, she fell pregnant. Her family found out, her brothers ran him out and he never came back. The woman became a spinster along with her sister and the two raised the little girl to be a wonderful, amzing woman. That woman met a man at 17, feel deeply in love and through may trials, including a ring thrown in the river, got married. They had six children and were very happy. But the husband, who loved his wife very much, decided to look for her father and he found him. 20 minutes away. No visits, no phonecalls, no letters. Nothing. The husband told his wife the news but she had no intention of meeting the sperm donor. She felt it would be betraying her mother and aunt if she developed a relationship with this man. So, after much persuasion, the wife agreed to watch from a distance with her husband. There, she saw her father for the first time standing across the road with his wife, children and grandchildren. Him not knowing that his first-born was on the opposite side with her first-born in her arms. He'll never know.
My faith lies with the people who I have respect for and trust in.
My faith lies with my then nineteen year old mother who brought me up with little to no help.
It lies with my best friends who provide comfort, love and support when needed.
With my Nanny who tucked little five year old me into bed all those nights that my mother worked to provide for me.
My faith lies with my Step-Father who raised me like I was his own and his family who treated me like I was one of theirs.
It lies with coaches and teachers who encourage me even when I think that I cannot continue.
With my brothers who cheer me up, no matter how bad of a day that I am having.
I've put my faith in all of these people as they have provided me with all that I have ever needed and asked for. I am forever grateful to them for their positive impact that they have made and continue to make on my life. Their actions and words have given me more comfort than religion ever could.
Sinead Gleesons 'Blue Hills And Chalk Bones' awakens a lot of opinions of the Irish society in the 1900s and even still today in its readers. The mistreatment and disrespect of women by the authority of the medical profession and church officials is still to this day unravelling and revealing more and more shocking truths, unacceptable in this day and age. Unfortunately in those days it was normal for young women to be treated so badly.
Sinead herself experienced this mistreatment by medical professionals . Gleeson was put down time after time by make doctors for her shame. Seen as an overreacting, dramatic teenage girl, she struggled in her fight for relief from pain while being made feel powerless, helpless and shameful by all make doctors. As a grown woman and mother of two still then they needed convincing to relieve her from 24hour pain and had to prove herself worthy of relief, a thing a man would never have to do. Sinead says how pain isn't a negotiation and her body not a question mark and she couldn't be more true. Everybody male or female deserves relief from pain and equality while achieving it. The disrespect of girls and women by medical professionals is shown first handedly by her experiences from a young girl to a mother of two. The unnecessary need for convincing about the severeness of her pain and the unwillingless to intervene wouldn't have been second guessed if she had been a boy. The pain wouldn't have been questioned, she wouldn't have been repeatedly put down for her shame and "overreacting", but because she was a girl, its something she couldn't possibly be avoided.
Its also difficult to ignore the influence of Catholicism on the Irish society in the 1900s. as with Sinead Gleeson, religion was a big part of the lives of most Irish. the church was at the centre of authority and for the most seemed to abuse the power they held. Priests and nuns were responsible for the education of the youth and instilled fear into them. They governed society by forcing their opoinions or right and wrong onto the people of Ireland. an abuse of power within the church has been revealed in recent with victims of child abuse by priests and nuns coming forward, no longer afraid of the churches authority.
One of the main opinions forced upon Irish society was the sin of pre-marital pregnancy. Unfortunately only women paid the price and men got away scott free. Women were seen as unclean, shameful and sinful for getting pregnant but nobody took one second to punish the man or put the blame on him for a "sin" equally his fault. The mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries were prime examples of the not only physical but emotional punishment given to women. The shame brought to families for a girl becoming pregnant outside marriage separated girls from their families. Parents sent their daughters to these institutions to hide the embarrassment and punish her for her sins. Mother and baby homes were all over the news recently with the heartbreaking stories of women who's babies were taken from them ruthlessly in these homes along with the emotional scars of going through such an ordeal of shame and disrespect. Never was there a mention of a father sent anywhere as punishment to accept the blame and be humiliated just like the woman. The inequality in the hands of the church was appalling and its secrets are still being exposed by victims today.
Our bodies are seen as holy and sacred but are not entirely our own. From the early days of Christianity we learned that women were evolved from the ribs of Adam. From his ribs our childbearing hips and sturdy pelvis required for birth were created to please the church with generations to follow. The female body was seen as sacred for that reason solely. Their purpose is seen to be childbirth but childbirth is seen to be unclean and shameful in the churches opinion. The churches views were generally the countries views. Shame implied by the church was shame implied by all the neighbours not just on the girl but on the whole family. The disrespect and inequality shown to these young women is unacceptable these days but back then because of the church it was seen as the right thing to do, to punish them for the impurity of childbirth, something only possible with equal involvement of a man. Therfore equal responsibility should have been taken.
The need was felt for womens bodies to be cleansed of sins after a pregnancy even within a marriage. seen as holy and sacred for its ability to bear children , the church still viewed the woman as impure and sinful once shed given birth. She had to be "churched" to be reaccepted into the religious community. The appointment of blame and guilt on the female wasn't second guessed and sole responsibility of the pregnancy was put on her. She held the physical evidence and because of this the father got away unknown. Her "sins" had to be cleansed of but although he was equally at fault he was seen to not have sinned.
Overall "Blue Hills And Chalk Bones" has a lot to say about Irish society. the awfulness of its views of women and the shame and guilt imposed on them for being natural human beings still shocks people to this day. The severeness of the implications of the churches actions who's implications are still visible today. they treated women like animals, covering up the deaths of babies and compulsively lieing and covering up their actions because they knew they were wrong but continued to do them anyway. They buried women and babies without any respect for them of their families. They weren't treated as humans but as sinners and the consequences of sinning. Mother and baby homes such as Bon Secours and Roscrea should never have been allowed happen but because of the abuse of religious power an the belittling views of women in society allowed it to. We are only now seeing the implications of their uncivilised ways of dealing with these "sins".
There is a holiness in people. We’re all we’ve got. We are intelligent and curious. We are hand-crafted with potential built into our bones, and compassion set under our skin. Sewn inside of us is a star of honesty. There’s love in our blood and hope in our hearts. We are all different and the same. I believe a God made it that way, and maybe you don’t. There’s beauty in discussion and opinion.
The importance is in how we harness those things and make use of them. People forget about their own holiness and that’s when everything goes quite dark. We hurt each other and hate ourselves and lose track of what we’re here to do. The potential is left untouched, while the honesty dims and the love is diluted.
Those things will always come back, if we wish for them to. It simply takes constant care to ensure they don’t fade out again.
We create and build in such a way that any God would be proud to have fashioned us. We are here to take care of each other and to have a good time. We are here to learn firstly the map of ourselves, and then perhaps the maps of some others.
Words, people, and music.
Holiness is not something you can sell, nor is it something you can force. It is deeply personal, but resides in all of us equally. We are holy in our communication, in our breathing, and in our expression. We mirror each other in our own unique ways, and it all starts from within.
Our bodies are holy. They would radiate light if we would only allow them.
“The stories we tell come from within; from our marrow, and the well of our hips.” (- Sinéad Gleeson, Blue Hills and Chalk Bones)
Upon reading Sinead Gleeson's article "Blue Hills and Chalk Bones" for the first time, two things struck me; the eventual lapse of her faith and the male-female relationships and mistreatment she experienced. These are both topics that interested me greatly and could be discussed infinitely. However, I am going to instead write about something else I discovered through rereading the article. Something I find more relatable. And that is her coming to terms with her body and with herself.
When she was younger, I can only imagine the powerlessness Sinead must have felt. She was depending constantly on others and that only increased her embarrassment and self-consciousness. She says "I avoided catching sight of myself in shop windows. Crossing a dance floor or a hall or any room bustling with happy, oblivious people, I slunk along the walls." She says she was ashamed of her bones and her scars and that she was mortified when asked to remove clothing for medical exams.
And while not many of us are diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 13, we can all to some extent, relate to the self-consciousness she felt. This is the age when we start to worry about not only how we look but also how we act, who we hang around with, how we treat our peers, our results in school and all the other social standards we are expected to live up to. There is always the need for more. To be more, to have more, to do more. We are never just content as we are. And while, of course there is nothing wrong with striving to do well or wanting to impress and come across as your best self, one must have balance. You must learn to accept yourself and appreciate yourself and love yourself no matter what anyone else says.
Just like Sinead Gleeson had to come to terms with her body and eventually become comfortable in it, we all too have to learn to accept ourselves as we are and learn to love ourselves.
And trust me, I believe you when you say that is easier said than done. In society today self-love is something that is almost punished with people being accused of being stuck-up or conceited or cocky or vain. The world isn't going to change overnight. People are still going to judge you. People are still going to question your looks or your actions or your words.
But you don't need the whole world to love you to be happy.
You just need to love yourself.
After reading Blue Hills and Chalk Bones by Sinéad Gleeson, one of the numerous things that stood out to me was how she and the other women were treated by some of the men in the story. The thing that angered me the most was Sinéad's mother being churched after giving birth to her brother. It seems just so ridiculous to me. That women were seen as unclean after giving birth to a child. Without the woman there would be no children. Humanity couldn't survive without reproduction but, it's dirty. That's literally what the church is saying. "Oh you're great for carrying this baby for 9 months but now you're actually unclean for giving birth so you cannot go to mass".
An even bigger question is why weren't the men churched. Men have an equal amount of blame for becoming pregnant but because he's not carrying the baby and there's no evidence unless he gets a DNA test he can walk into mass with is head held high. It's like Tuam and all those other mother and baby homes, all the records contained information about the mother and her children but where was the father? In many cases, we'll never know. Some of these men were run out by families of the girls, some didn't care enough to stay and others didn't even know. But, their lives continued. These men's lives weren't affected, weren't shamed, weren't sent away from the families to who knows where they can't be taunted and shamed by society and the Church. They got married, had children and lived out their lives without a thought of a little boy or girl who was theirs. Those little boys and girls had to go to school, do family trees, ask their mothers where was their father. Questions no mother wants to answer. And for those little boys and girls who continue to age still get asked those questions. Grandchildren come home with their own family tree, asking their grandparents questions about their history but would not be able to answer. But sometimes it's even more difficult to know these answers.
A woman met a man one day and promised her the world so she gave all herself to him. As a result, she fell pregnant. Her family found out, her brothers ran him out and he never came back. The woman became a spinster along with her sister and the two raised the little girl to be a wonderful woman. The woman met a man at 17, fell deeply in love and through many trials,including a ring thrown into a river, got married. They had six children together and were very happy. But the husband, who loved his wife very much, decided to search for her father. He found him. 20 minutes away. Not a visit, not a letter, not a phonecall. When he told his wife the news she did not want to meet the sperm donor himself. In her eyes, this man was not her father and to meet with him would be a betrayal to her mother and aunt who had raised her. So, after much persuasion, the husband and wife went and watched from a distance. The man walked with his wife, children and grandchildren not knowing on the other side of the street stood his first-born holding her own first-born in her arms. The woman never saw her father again.
Towards the end of Sinead Gleeson's story we see that faith is replaced by self confidence , although many may believe that having faith is probably one of the most important things in life to live by, I'm not going to argue that point , each to their own. However I believe self confidence is the first step to a happy and successful life, no one is perfect , if we all were it would make life very boring , we all have flaws and imperfections and this story was a great example of that. In order to live a self confident life, you need to accept all of you that way you can understand that you're not perfect but that there is divinity that can be accepted.
Self confidence and self acceptance does not happen overnight it takes time, you may question at times how unfair life is or why you can't change or why can't you be like someone else, you fight the current situation , bringing on feelings of distress about your pain, fighting or resisting the reality of the pain in your life creates suffering and trying to reach unrealistic expectations.
You would be wise to learn to accept your authentic self and by doing this you should accept your current reality , pay attention to your thoughts and feelings and choose to be accepting and compassionate to your experiences and also live in the moment.
By accepting the present and having compassion for yourself you can create a happier and a more self confident you.
After reading 'Blue Hills and Chalk Bones' by Sinead Gleeson I wanted to look up stories on whether women's pain is taken less seriously than men's pain. Blue Hills and Chalk Bones takes place in the 1980s and although we like to believe that was forever ago, it was really only a couple of years before we were born. In Blue Hills and Chalk Bones Gleeson talks about her experiences of going to the doctors and having them humiliate her. It's not only that but when she cries because she is self-conscious over having to wear a swimming suit in front of her doctor, the doctor get's annoyed and throws a towel at her so she can cover herself up. What the doctor here doesn't realise is that she was a young girl who was self conscious for a number of reasons because she walks with a limp, always walks with crutches and she has scars on her body, the doctor doesn't understand that a lot of people do get self conscious by being in situations like that and about their body in general. A doctor also looks past her when he is cutting through her cast with a saw Gleeson is obviously in pain because she feels the saw hit her skin, but the doctor tells her she's "overreacting", her mother sees that her daughter is in pain and starts to cry and as a result, the doctor then demands that she leave the room. Which poses a question if it had been a man sitting there would the same thing have happened? The part I find sad in this story is where she says "and he does that thing I'm used to male doctors doing: he tells me I'm overreacting" This is so sad because no one should ever have to get used to someone especially a doctor telling them they are "overreacting". Doctors are people you should be able to trust with your life because they are there to help you and others. Gleeson was the patient she knew herself what felt right and wrong for her, and she should have been respected by her doctors for that.
I read an article and it said that research shows hospital staff take women's pain less seriously, spend less time treating them and are more likely to wrongly diagnose physical pain as 'just emotional'. Now to me I think that is shocking and I want you all to bear in mind that this article was published in July of 2016 . It has been shown in A&E if men and women have the same severity of abdominal pain men on average wait 49 minutes before being treated, while women wait on average for 65 minutes. Clinical Studies have found that doctors are more likely to think women's pain is caused by emotional issues rather than physical issues, this is even when clinical tests have been done to prove their pain is real. Doctors are also more likely to give pain medication to men but women are more likely to be given sedatives for the same pain. Studies have also shown that women with chronic pain conditions are more likely to be wrongly diagnosed with mental health conditions than men and are prescribed certain drugs, as doctors dismiss their symptoms as hysterics. I've read so many stories from women on how they were wrongly diagnosed by medical professionals some stories to the point of where they almost died because they weren't taken seriously by doctors.
Even though gender equality is happening slowly it's still sad that in 2017 we still live in a world in which not all men and women aren't treated like equals.
Why do women need to be protected by men? From a young age I've always heard this. That no matter where I go as long as I have a male with me I'll be safe! This "women need to be protected by men" really annoys me for the simple reason that 90% of the men I know would probably run and cry at the first sign of danger! Now don't get me wrong if i was confronted by a strange person with bad intentions I would most definitely rather have my brother with me than be on my own; but this thing that we "need" to have a man with us constantly to be safe is ridiculous. If someone was stupid enough to touch me without my permission there would be no fear in me "needing" a man to protect me!
But why are we taught this? Why is it that we, as women need to be protected by men? That we should be dependent on men. Tying into the Sinead Gleeson article that we read; why should we be dependent on men? If I were in a hospital in agony would it really bother me if it was a man or a woman treating me? No, as long as they were qualified I honestly could care less about who treated me. However I do think that male doctors tend to be less sympathetic with female patients. If you are in pain and can't walk and you need scans or tests to determine what the problem is you may have to be in an uncomfortable position to remove clothes or be vulnerable in front of a male doctor. It can be daunting. But if you complain your frowned upon because this person is a doctor with more qualifications than you so you'll get what you're given! Just because someone has more qualifications than you doesn't mean they can tell you your pain is not that bad or you need to relax or calm down; because they're a doctor you can bear all to them. You don't have to like it, they'll protect you!
The women of this generation are some of the strongest yet because we have a voice and a right to stand up for ourselves. We do need men sometimes, the same way men need women sometimes. But it doesn't mean we constantly need them 24/7. It's about time we learned to protect ourselves!
The country is a wonderful place to live. The air is fresh, the fields are green, and the roads are quite. Animals graze in fields unfazed by life around them. The birds chirp and sing songs creating a happy atmosphere. Going for a walk is peaceful as no noisey cars are passing by and you don't need to worry about what you are wearing because who is going to see you. During the summer moths tractors are speeding by trying to get the silage cut before the rain comes, creating an aroma of freshly cut grass. In everyone's gardens, and growing wild on the side of roads, flowers are blooming. Everyone knows their neighbours when you live in the country usually meaning the nearest house to you which could be across the fields or a mile up the road. In the country you can have as big a garden as you want and which many people might grow their own fruit or veg or keep a few hens to be organic.
Every consecutive year that passes feels shorter and shorter than the previous year.
For the past few days I've found myself asking "how is it already April?" It seems that all that's on our minds at the minute is summer exams and holidays, when it feels like Christmas was 5 minutes ago,.
Technically, your first year alive on this earth feeling longer than your 17th for example, makes sense if you look at it from a logical and mathematical viewpoint. Each year is a smaller proportion of your life as a whole.
Your 1st year = 100% of your life, therefore feels very very long.
Your 2nd year = 50% of your life in total, therefore feels shorter, but still very long.
Your 17th year = approximately 6% of your life so far, therefore feels very short in comparison.
I read this somewhere a while ago, and while it seems logical and makes sense to me, it does not make it any less scary.
We're constantly complaining ;
"Where have the weeks gone?"
"They'll have to make the weekends longer!"
There's not enough hours in the day!"
Time is sacred. We cannot get it back.
I believe this is something you learn more and more the older you get, the more you grow. We learn to manage our time, to be productive with it, to try and make sure we don't run out of it.
This brings me onto growth. Growth, just like the passing of time, is something we don't even realise is happening. We don't notice ourselves growing day by day.
When I was in first year, looking up at the fifth and sixth years, I felt as if I will never be that age. It just wasn't imaginable. Yet here I am. 17 years old and in fifth year. The thing is however, I don't feel as old as I thought those fifth year girls were when I was 12. Now when you flip it the other way around, it is just as hard to get your head around. I look at the first years walking the halls today and they seem so young. There is no way I was ever like that.
Now and then, it will hit you, how much you've grown. You'll see a picture of yourself and think, "Oh my God, I was such a baby!" Having a sister in first year, I hear all about what it's like to be a 12/13 year old again. The drama and the gossip. So and so is fighting with this person because of who someone sat beside on the bus yesterday. I often laugh listening to her, remembering when things like that used to bother me. Nowadays, I couldn't care less who sits where. I'm too busy worrying about "actual problems" such as where am I going to find the time to finish that blog for English.
These petty worries that seem to consume you in your early teen years all go away with maturity.
"What do I wear?"
"What does my hair look like?"
"What will they think of me?"
I don't care about that anymore.
That's not to say I'm all fully grown up now, been there, done that. There's still plenty of growing to be done.
Finally, that brings me onto the future. The most exciting and terrifying thing I can think of. For most of us reading this in 5th year English on a Tuesday morning in April, our worries all go something along the lines of "...Leaving Cert...college....what do I want to be?!"
But one of my main worries concerning the future is as follows:
"Is time going to continue to pass faster and faster as I grow more and more?
Are the years to come going to feel even shorter and are the days, weeks and months going to fly by at an exponentially increasing speed?"
Because if so, I'm going to need to hurry on and start using them wisely. Appreciating them more. Because, although- please God- I have a long time left on this planet, I don't want to be sitting in my armchair in the nursing home asking
"Where has all the time went?"
,,With a blink of an eye, our society is constantly changing ,for the good , but also for the worst. The way we looked, talked and acted when we were around 12-13 is not the way that age groups do things now. As kids we grew up being taught good manners like saying 'please' or 'thank you' when you asked or recieved something. We were also taught what was morally right and morally wrong. 'Anti-social' behavior was not something many of us caused however it was strongly looked down upon. All these many things we were taught we apply to everyday life now and although at times we can be a little more opinionated than our own good ,many of us do not set out to cause upset to others.
On Saturday morning I walked out of the house with my older sister about to head off somewhere for the day when I came across my retired neighbour Anne, bending down scrubbing all outside her house , we stopped and talked and she had told me that a group of kids came along and egged her house last night, She asked 'What has happend to society nowadays'?, after refusing our help we continued on with the rest of the day. We were driving back into Carrick later that evening and as we were doing so came across groups of people that are younger than all of us in this room , sitting outside businesses throwing rubbish everywhere , cursing at those who walked past and even starting arguments with those in the group.
'Peer pressure' -is the direct influence on people by peers , or an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes , values, or behaviour to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. That is one of the answers to the Anne's question 'What has happend to society nowadays?'.
How are kids supposed to make morally correct decisions while they witness the horrific events that are occurring within our society and world today? Kids are now growing up being so heavily influenced by their peers that many now believe that it is okay not to have manners , that it is socially acceptable to deliberately cause harm and upset to others.
And these are the people that are to come after us.
The idea of doing a blog about blogging was extremely tempting while I sat looking at a screen with zero ideas coming my way, but I thought I better not and try think of something some way interesting for ye to listen to. Not surprisingly I failed so ye are now stuck with this. Unfortunately for ye this is probably as bad and long winded as the programme itself.
The plot of fair city is every day growing worse and worse. Between Katie being locked in that room for the last I don't know how long and the cast basically forgetting she ever went missing as well as Niamh getting more and more annoying every day. It's becoming more and more painful to watch each episode. This soap that is apparently about Irish life is as far from reality as possible. With shocking actors and storylines exaggerated to the last this is made very obvious.
A prime example of these stories is Niamh and Paul. Niamh Brennan is making her role in the scam more and more clear every episode and honestly I cannot wait until she gets caught. (Hopefully sooner than later so the viewers no longer have to witness the shocking storyline that seems never ending). From Paul's affairs to Niamh's latest affair they're relationship is becoming more and more of a mess every time I look at the television. This storyline seems never ending and honestly it has lived way past it's sell by date. Demot is long gone as well as all of Paul's money. Niamh is as fake as can be seen and fair city has truly exceeded its expectations for prolonged storylines. Watching Niamh speak would truly make anyone cringe. The things that come out of the actors mouths wouldn't be heard in a small Dublin town in a million years. The storylines themselves wouldn't have been half as bad if they had ended a month ago. They have been dragged out to the last and it is now just getting boring.
While all of this is going on Katie is still locked in a room slap bang in the middle of the town. Ciaran to the viewers is extremely creepy but not one person in Carrickstown seems to notice (except for Heather that is but no one would believe her anyway so poor Katie is stuck there for another while yet). Katie's story has been going on for so long that it seems even her family have forgotten she ever existed in the first place. At this rate Katie will never see the light of day again. Ciaran has no way of getting away with the kidnapping seeing as Katie clearly knows who he is so at this stage he just needs to make a decision and either let her go or get rid of her just like the writers need to get rid of these plots.
Although I say how much it truly is shocking, still for some reason I watch it whenever it's on. But at this stage I honestly think it's just to see how much worse it can get and to see if they'll ever catch Ciaran or Niamh.
I never intended on having an ode to my mother on the internet for all to see, but I wrote this thing for mother’s day yesterday with the sole aim of making my mother cry (it worked) and if I just post that then it will save me boatloads of time, so I’m thinking the pros outweigh the cons on this one. I got her permission and have decided to accept the five minutes of cringing for the sake of convenience, so here we go. You’re not my mother so you probably won’t cry, but I don’t mind. I wasn’t writing it for you anyway.
Airplanes used to pass over our house in Quincy all the time. They’d snail across the blue canvas and leave faint white lines, marking their trail only temporarily. I’d be in the backyard, playing hopscotch in a little pink dress, and you’d be right there with me while I explored my own habitat.
We’d hear a plane fly overhead. I would instinctively look up and you’d say “Look, do you see the airplane? I wonder where it’s going…”
I didn’t know very many places yet, but that didn’t stop me from pondering the question. I would do my best to speculate aloud and you’d never tell me I was wrong. My tiny brain would consider the plane, and the people it held, and what those people would find when they reached their mysterious destination. The idea excited me: that plane could be going anywhere.
Right now there’s a plane passing over our house here in Ireland. That happens sometimes. You’re not always around to ask, but I’m now old enough to ask of myself – “I wonder where it’s going…”
When that happens, it reminds me of the places I will go. It reminds me that there is a whole world out there, and I’ve explored but one corner of it. Places exist where people are different and life is different and I get to learn for myself whether or not different means better.
You asked me where planes go and put something inside me that will never be still. A curiosity, a wondering, a restlessness. A belief that just because there may never be a clear answer doesn’t mean it’s not worth asking the question anyway. I thank God you did that. I hope it means that I will never just ‘settle’.
If ever I’m tempted to not fully participate in life, or to take the easy way around, I will look up at the sky and see a plane. I will say in my head and in my heart – “I wonder where it’s going…”
Then I’ll find out where planes go.
I’ll chase every last one until I find what I’m looking for, and because of you I’ll know it’s worth doing. You’ve made it possible for me to spend my life firstly wondering and then learning. That’s more than I ever would’ve known to want.
I’ll find out where the planes go and I’ll be back to tell you all about it, don’t worry.
Happy Mother's Day.
Thanks for making me wonder.
The heavy pounding of military-grade boots on against the flooring.
Labored breathing. Must stay hidden.
Incomprehensible orders are yelled, echoing through the murky corridors.
Eyes watching out from behind a metal grate, weary and shiny.
Machine-guns start firing, the air filling the awful screams of the victims.
Vents are cramped, but cannot move a muscle.
Gunfire stops suddenly, silence.
A shrill scream permeates the air, followed by gunfire.
Inhuman roars of gleeful delight. Laughs and screams poison the space equally.
Eyes sees four soldiers stumbling back, wide-eyed. Being swarm over the four, killing, maiming and desecrating with joy.
quiet. shrink back. don't let them see you.
The beings, sated, continue leaving mangled corpses behind.
Wait for rescue. Stay silent.
Crawling from the air vent above, dismiss as paranoia.
She opened her eyes, the long knife feeling warm in her unfamiliar hands. Blood. It was everywhere, covering her forearms, face, clothing. Her hair, down in matted tangles, was even full of the sickly red liquid. Who was she anymore?
A knock sounds on the bunker door. A concerned person, hoping that she was 'alright' and 'had to fight through hell' to get to her. She closed her eyed again.
The man once seen as a friend to her entered the room. It headed towards him, hiding in the long shadows. She nearly awoke in shock when it stabbed him in the stomach, reveling in the feeling of his life-juice spilling down all over its hands. She's too late. She turns away, and closes the door.
It is hungry. Flesh and blood creatures are nearby. Its brethren are climbing the elevator shaft up and up. There is the sound of machine-gun fire and screaming. A calling to entice them up. As the first arrive, the gunfire is paused. Until they realize and screams fill the air.
It throws its head back and laughs hysterically, racing to join the rest of its brethren. Adrenaline is pumping through its own bloodstream. Left and right, it notices the others fall to bullets, It plows on, doing the only thing that feels right, killing.
It feels no pain. It feels no remorse. It finds itself in an air vent. Crawling through, following the stench of fear. It looks down. A person, foolishly trying to hide.
It pounces. It kills. It moves on.
The Polar Express. Three words and that nightmare of a film that was released in 2004 comes back to haunt me. It's one of the first films I can remember going to the cinema to see, not that I even watched much of it because I burst into tears and spent the rest of the film hiding my face in my mothers shoulder.
Thirteen years on I still refuse to watch it, in fact at Christmas I saw it was on the tv and nearly gave myself palpitations trying to find the remote to switch the channel as I hate it that much. Everything about the film is awful: the characters are expressionless and just plastic looking, the plot itself is about not believing in Christmas, even though the film was aimed at children.
But to really add to the lacking Christmas spirit in the film, there's a scene where one of the children ends up in a carriage full of these awful puppets shouting and grabbing at him and I'm still traumatised. 100% would not recommend this film to anyone.
This week it’s been so hard to think about an idea for a blog because when I usually sit down to write a blog I sit at the computer and I just type whatever comes into my head, I let my fingers mover gently over the keys and I just type. I type until I have all my thoughts on the page and then I read over it and I take out what I don’t like and I leave in what I like and I like working that way. Am I ever going to be a writer? No and I don’t want to be one but sometimes it’s nice to get all the things that are floating around in my head and put it on a page, at this moment and time I am on my third idea for a blog and this is just me rambling about writing blogs (once again) and I’m not even sure it’s making sense anymore, but then again if you ask my friends they will probably tell you that I don’t make sense on a daily bases, so I guess this blog makes sense to me . In the end I suppose I’m really just writing this for myself. At this stage I’m tired of trying to think of an idea so this will have to do. DMD
I am probably the most indecisive person you will ever meet! Most of you will think I'm being a bit over dramatic, but by the end of this I'm sure I'll have you all nodding along with me. I mean I cannot make the simplest decisions without changing my mind nearly fifty times. Ok, I admit maybe I'm being a bit over dramatic, but I think I'm entitled to be, because even the most mundane decisions, like toast or cereal turns into a huge fiasco when your me. So I choose to write about the one thing that was holding me back, my indecisiveness.
I think everyone is like me on some level. What will I wear today? What will I have for lunch? So I don't see why people criticise me for being indecisive. My biggest critic is my brother, but if you ask me he's a huge hypocrite because it takes him nearly an hour to style his hair and pick out an outfit, and when he does, he changes them two sometimes three times a day.Ok, I'm going to stop now before this turns into a list of things my brother does that annoys me because if it does I could safely say we'd be here until Easter
From when we were little, we looked to the future. It started with "when I grow up" and we are at the stage where we are questioning "what's next?" And truth be told we don't know. We can plan away to our hearts content but things change and life utimately gets in the way. Our future is totally uncertain but we put our upmost faith in it.
We live by sayings like 'the best has yet to come' but we don't know if they are true. We are hopeful. We hope that life is kind to us. We hope that tomorrow is better than today. We hope that this isn't just it. Everyone craves adventure and excitement and sometimes when you live in a small town like this, it's not easy to find. But that hope for the future keeps people going and makes them believe that someday they will escape this provincial life.
All our efforts are aimed towards our future. We go to school to learn. We learn to do well in exams. We do well in exams to go to college. We go to college to get a good job and it goes on and on. And that's a lot of pressure. But sometimes we just need to sit back and stop. Life passes by so quickly but we don't even notice because we are too busy worrying about a test next week or looking forward to go out over the weekend. I don't know what the meaning of life is but I pretty certain it's not tomorrow. We need to learn to revel in the good, bad and ordinary moments and realise just how lucky you are.
Life is way too short to not too.
To me eloution is one of the most scary ,yet fascinating things in this world . If you just think of it , animals and plants are able to metamophisize into a different animal just to cope with enviromental factors and just to feed on antoher animal , so basically to survive and keep their species alive .
The sentence that uncomfortably applies to evolution is 'what's stopping you?' . Whats stopping you from reverting back to an ape? (physically that is , some humans still havent quite got the hang of manners yet ), Whats stopping you from killing someone? , whats stopping you from living in a forest with a family of rabbits ?, Evolutions have has changed both our genetic make up and the way we act around people and animals , it has changed our feelings throughout time to rely on our elders in order to protect us . Culture and household mannerisms have trained us to believing that certain things are wrong and other things are right and certain things are frowned upon and crual yet still allowed to continue .
Who or what brings about change in our body , did our brain just decide that our body didnt want sticks and stones in it anymore so the appendix will just stop working but stay in our body for the next million years? , and did it decide that ear movement just wasnt in style anymore or fast crinkled fingers or brown eyes or thicker skin or anything that is just not wanted anymore in order for the human species to develope . We became so weak and fragile that we can't even eat a piece of chicken without some sauce to help us ''digest it easier''
Why did we evolve this way?, why are we the dominant species because we arn't the smartest (chimps are), we arnt the fastest (leopard), nor are we the strongest (elephant).But becasue we evolved a little different , developing certain assets that allow us to be capible of fulfilling anything we want , that makes us the dominant species , and i find it scary becasue we werent the dominant species at first , we knocked another off the preditirry laddr to become the best now whats stopping antoher species from doing the same
last thing , i want to to do something to show you evolution is still very much in action
1.lay your hand on a flat surface and push your thumb against your pinky , tilting your hand slightly up , if you see a raised band in the middle of your forearm , that means youve got a vestidgiale muscle in your arm something 10 to 15 percent of people dont have ,this mscle was essential for species to move around in especially those who climb trees (hint our ancestors) , that means that those who dont have it are that bit ahead in the evolutionarry scale of things
2.those who can move their ears are less developed then those who cant because we are not hunted or hunting anything ear movement is no longer essetial therefror our body forot to develope it and strentghen it