Be Nice It's Tuesday


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Sharing your Passion

I have recently spent an incredible week with my orchestra, going by coach to Lake Garda in Italy to play some concerts. There’s so much I could write about the trip, but there’s a point to this post, so I mustn’t get side-tracked.
I couldn’t begin to count the number of concerts and shows I’ve played or acted in over the years, and I always enjoy it, but most of them are ones where the audience is entirely parents. However, as we were in Italy, very few of the people who came to the concerts did know someone in the orchestra. I’ve played abroad before with a different orchestra, but we had much bigger audiences this time, and I’m sure anyone who has performed before will know what a great feeling it is to see people watching, listening to, and enjoying something which you’ve been working on for so long.
I’ve experienced a similar feeling when showing my art work or selling my jewellery and people make positive comments. When something means that much to you, and you’ve put so much into it, you want confirmation that it was worthwhile. Then there’s the pride of having done something well, and the happiness that always comes from making someone else happy.
But in Italy there was another thing I did which made me extremely happy. I have been learning Italian all year, and I’m intending to study German and Russian, then get a job in languages, so when the conductor asked if anyone wanted to introduce our concerts in Italian I leapt at the chance. With the help of one of my friends and fellow cellist/linguist I translated the introduction into Italian and we spoke at the beginning of each concert. Most of the audience could speak English, and we probably weren’t perfect, but the appreciation could be seen on their faces that we were trying – one of the concerts they clapped at the end of each paragraph!
I’m not really sure where my passion for languages came from. Sometimes I remember my first trip abroad, to Germany when I was 6, and the language I made up as a child, and joining Spanish club, and I feel like it was always going to be. But sometimes it feels like a much more recent thing that just manifested itself in me in the past couple of years. But either way, grammar and linguistics excite me so much, and I cannot get enough of just hearing German. And it was an amazing experience to actually translate something for a purpose, to present in a different language, to walk around a foreign country and spot things that I understand, communicate with people. One of the highlights of the trip for me was when our coach got stuck because the road had been closed by the police. The conductor called me and I ran down the coach in my long black dress, approached where the coach drivers were shouting English words at an Italian police man, and took charge of the situation. I wasn’t the most coherent, and the blockade was cleared anyway before I’d done more than explain why we were out so late and wanted to get back to our Hotel, but he was clearly relived the instant I said one word in Italian. Then I got back on the coach and it set off and everyone started clapping, and at the end of the trip when we all got tour awards, mine was for dealing with the Italian police. And yes I know I’m boasting here, but so what? It was awesome.
So my point here is that if you have something you enjoy doing, whatever it is, however long you’ve had it, you don’t even have to be amazing at it, just do it, keep doing it, and use it, because people will appreciate it. It doesn’t have to be music or something else performance related – I have friends who really like electronics and have been able to really help out with other friends. The more of yourself you put in, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of it. Let other people see your talent because it makes you feel so good when they are enjoying it. And finally, it is even better when you can find someone who enjoys it as much as you. Yes, in some ways on my trip I resented having to share the limelight with my friend (Italian is one of the few things I do better than her), but that was more than made up for by the pleasure of having someone understand my excitement about using the subjunctive, or to whom I could recount my tri-lingual conversation in the actual languages used, or with whom I could exchange glances every time we heard someone talking German. And if there’s anyone reading this who feels like they don’t have a special skill or passion, one day it will just land in your being, until then just enjoy doing everything.

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Have a little fun while we’re all still young enough to/Rowdy Youths

As I am writing this, I am rather drunk. I will go through and edit this in the morning to check for sense making, but I feel it will accentuate my point, that as a young adult, going out drinking is not such a bad thing. This year I haven’t gone out or drank much, what with A-levels and tee-total boyfriend, but I’ve recently started a bit more, and it was a few weeks ago that I realised, when in a park with my friends around midnight, that we were (to some extent) the rowdy drunken youths about whom old people like to complain (and yet even drunk my grammar is better than theirs). But is that really so bad?
There’s a song by Scouting for Girls called Happy (great song), and a line in that is ‘If you wanna be so happy, you gotta gave a little fun while we’re all still young enough to’. I remember thinking the relevance of this several years ago (wow, as if that’s actually been like five years), when a couple of my friends were obsessed with being ‘cool’ and always got so embarrassed by the rest of us doing crazy things. And I still agree with this quote. Yes, I can see it can be bad for older people if there are noisey young people around. And I am still quite sensible; I didn’t drink out much before I was 18, I don’t smoke whatever it is some people I know smoke, I still keep myself and my friends safe. But if we’re about to start a life full of responsibilities, jobs, families, the government screwing us over for the next seven years in particular, why shouldn’t we have fun first?
Because, at the moment, getting drunk with my friends is fun. Drinking vodka on a street corner before 7pm is fun. Lying in a field staring at the stars is fun. Taking selfies and laughing at being ‘such white girls’ is fun. Standing on the roof of an old shelter singing songs from musicals is fun. Dancing and singing to rubbish house music and cheesy classics, whether in the pub or someone’s house, is fun. Getting to the needy level of drinkenness, wanting hugs and telling everyone I love them, I’d fun. Even sitting on the pavement eating scratty take-away is fun, because I’m young, free, and I’m with my amazing friends, and who knows when might be the last chance before moving away, uni, and then life.
I will never stop myself from having the fun I want and deserve, because I am young and it’s legal and I won’t let other people’s judgments stop me. You may read what I’m saying and despise me, a few years, even months, ago, I would have. But from the inside these things are actually pretty great.
It’s now 1:29 am, I’m close to being home, I will correct typos in this in the morning but leave all the content as it is now, and I shall leave you with a few more quotes which I think sum this feeling up
‘As we lie drunkenly just staring at the stars’
‘Remember the time when we stole the whole day…now we own the night and it can’t be undone? We’ll never forget how it feels to be young’
‘Here’s to you, fill the glass, ‘cos the last few days have gone to fast’


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I Love My Friends

At a party I had a few nights ago, I found myself in the garden having a very deep conversation with one of my friends when he confessed to me that he doesn’t know what love is. I said that no one does really, but he told me that he doesn’t think he loves his sister, and how he doesn’t understand it when people talk about loving their friends. He asked if he was just cold and heartless.
I gave it a moments thought; I’ve never considered whether I love my family and friends, it’s just the obvious thing. My sisters and I have only fairly recently started ending phone conversations with ‘love you’, but it’s not as though it’s something unusual, and I’ve always said it to my friends a lot. As a Christian I would say I love everyone, that’s kind of the point, but there are different kinds of love – we didn’t even touch on romantic stuff, but I hope that this friend still feels he was in love with me when we were together – and surely what I feel for my friends is in some way different to other people?
As I was thinking this I heard laughter and talking coming from the kitchen where some of our other friends were. Just hearing that sound of them enjoying themselves filled me with a warm, happy glow which banished any doubt that I love them. Certain of my friends are the most important people in my life, but all of them are pretty high up there. We’ve been through a lot together, I couldn’t cope without them and I always want them to be happy, even when they hurt me, and even when them being happy means them not spending much time with me any more. I have been in love (romantically) twice in my life, but both times I would have (and to some extent did) chosen my friends above my boyfriend in a flash. I intend to get married so hopefully one day this will change, but for now I am just happy to say that I love my friends and would do anything for them.
Our conversation about this was cut short when someone else came outside and interrupted us, but he said he’d like to continue it sometime. But I don’t really know what to say to him. Do we just have different ideas of what classes as love? Is there actually something wrong with him? Am I just overly sensitive and emotional? I’d be interested to know what you all think, so please leave me a comment. Would you tell your friends you love them? Or are they just people you hang out with and nothing more?


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First Impressions

A lot of emphasis is often placed on first impressions. I remember going into a Tech lesson on my first day of High School and, after yelling at someone for saying one word to the person next to him, the teacher explained to the rows of terrified 11-year-olds that it takes only 11 seconds (I’m fairly sure that’s the number she said) to form an impression of someone and it’s very hard to change that opinion once it’s been made. Basically she was saying that her marking for the next year would be biased based on how tightly our ties were tied as we walked in.
It is true though that people tend to make very quick judgments of others, from job interviews to making friends to deciding which way to swipe on Tinder (I’ve never used it so not sure which way is which). And i’s understandable, we’re busy people, and there are only so many people you can actually spend time getting to know, so you need some sort of filter. But it is dangerous to get too stuck in opinions, so much so that you won’t consider any other possibility.
When I was 8 or 9 a new boy joined the ‘cello section of the Junior Strings group my best friend and I were in. He seemed alright at first, we didn’t have much to do with him but we chatted occasionally. But then he started to get annoying. Like really annoying.¬†We started the same High School and he just annoyed me more and more every time I saw him. On one memorable occasion I went home from a Music School Ceilidh and wrote in my diary that he had ruined it by being so annoying, and he was my ‘worst enemy’. Come year 9, the High School music department were running a trip to Salzburg, and of course the ‘cello section was me, my best friend, and this boy. And on this trip we bonded. We had ‘cello section photos, he kept bringing his iPod over to play us music, I found myself spending more time with him that some of my other friends and, even more surprisingly, I was enjoying his company! He was quite popular, in our music nerd group obviously, but even in the wider year group, and for the first time I suddenly began to see why. And then, a year and a half later came what is one of the proudest moments of my life. I was with a few friends, he’d just had to leave early, then I got a text from his saying ‘will you be my best friend?’ I explained that I already had two joint best friends, so we settled on bezzie mates, and we have stayed that way ever since.
In year 8 there was a boy in my maths class who was a total creep. Him and his friend terrorised me and my best friend and there were multiple occasions when I said things specifically about how I, or anyone else for that matter, would never go out with him. Well, the full causes and transformation are too complicated to explain, but two years later he became my first boyfriend. We were together for two years and he is still a good friend whom I trust completely.
I’m not saying initial impressions are always wrong. In my first Psychology lesson at college a girl came in and I thought, she’s someone I would be friends with.¬†Later in the year we were moved to sit next to each other, and I got on really well with her. Unfortunately though we never progressed to spending time together outside Psychology so I haven’t seen her much since I dropped it.
But I think the important thing to learn is that first impressions are often incorrect. People change, they may change, you may, or maybe you just need to get to know them properly in the first place. You don’t often get a second chance at forming opinions, people come and go in your life so quickly. But if you get the chance then take it. Admit it to yourself if that creepy guy hasn’t actually been that creepy lately. If you can’t even remember why you think that girl from work is a bitch, then forget you ever thought that and try having a conversation with her. You never know who might actually become a really important person in your life. And if that person you thought you were going to be best friends with actually doesn’t have much in common with you, that’s fine too, because there are still plenty of other people out there. At least you tried.


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The man who saw me smile

Yesterday I was doing a market stall, selling my jewellery (BeNiceJewellery, in case you didn’t see the post I wrote about it). It was not a particularly successful market; it was slow and at times I got very bored, but as I was sitting at my table, I made sure I was smiling the whole time, and made a real effort to make eye contact with everyone who passed me by. Before you say anything, yes, this is a good thing to do to try to get more customers and look approachable, but I wasn’t just doing it so more people might buy something from me, I genuinely like to smile at people all the time, I don’t see the point in everyone going round looking miserable all day. Some people smiled back, some didn’t. Some were already smiling. Then one man walked past, stopped at my table and said ‘It’s nice to see someone smiling for a change.’ I ignored the grumpy manner in which he said it, thanked him and had a little chat then he moved on. He didn’t buy anything from me, but at the end of the day, that was the encounter that really stood out to me. I do things like this anyway, I don’t need thanking for it, but it made me happy to know that at least someone noticed me trying to make the world a happier place, and that seeing me smiling might have made someone as happy as it makes me when I see strangers smile.

I’m having internet troubles again, so haven’t been able to post as much as I’ve wanted to, but I’ll hopefully have more up soon. Until then, don’t forget to smile and enjoy your life.


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Asking the right person

I recently broke up with my boyfriend. It was probably the most amicable break up ever, but we decided that being in a long distance relationship as we started uni was not the right thing for us. In the past three and a bit years, I have only been single for about 6 months, and I enjoyed that time, but this morning I remembered the thing which I really don’t like. When in a relationship I get a bit fed up of constantly texting or messaging, but I do miss having someone who is always the automatic first one I turn to, for everything from complaining that my ‘cello teacher is late AGAIN, to asking for help on serious things. However, as much as I miss that, having one person like that isn’t always a good thing.

When I was first getting together with my most recent boyfriend, I thought he was someone who always knew exactly the right thing to say in any situation, but as time went on there were times when what he said did not help me at all. I never said anything to him, but I would get annoyed or frustrated that he didn’t know what he should be saying to make me feel better. But what I’ve realised is that (obviously), this was not his fault. He’s not a mind reader. He’s autistic so has less hope than most people at reading how I felt. And actually, the ‘right’ thing to be said to me is different at different times.

There have often been times in my life when I’ve been in a situation and I’ve known, dead certain, to whom I need to talk about it, but the situation which has made me really aware of this was when I was getting very stressed about my maths exams recently. I knew that if I texted my boyfriend he would just reel off a load of *rubbish* (I never swear, why did I suddenly feel the need to swear then?) about how I’m good at maths and would do fine. Sometimes that’s exactly what I need before an exam, but one evening that just wouldn’t do. I rang my bezzie mate (this is the official title of our relationship) and said ‘I can’t do maths.’ He said ‘Aww, you can’t do maths? What bit of maths?’ ‘All of it.’ ‘That’s unfortunate.’ He didn’t dispute this, we just chatted about some other stuff and I hung up 15 or 20 minutes later feeling much better. But before the next maths exam I was very upset, but, as well as all of maths in general, there was one specific example which I didn’t know how to do. This time I rang a different friend, my ex-boyfriend as it happens, and asked him the question. He either didn’t notice or didn’t comment on my voice being cracked and wobbly from crying all evening, I don’t think he even asked how I was, but he wrote down the question, worked it out, then calmly talked me through it until I understood, and that was all I needed.

So I have concluded that only ourselves really know what we need to hear at any specific time. It’s often hard to work out, or to admit to ourselves, similar to when you’ve made a decision but it’s too much pressure so you need someone else to tell you that that is what you should do (just me?). It’s great when someone knows you so well that they can say the right thing when you didn’t even know that was it, like the other day when my friend was able to just observe and concisely put into words the feelings I’d been privately struggling with, but these people are not always there. What I think you need is to have a range of people who know you, but whom you know well enough to know which one to turn to when, and recognise who you want to talk to when. When you’re in a relationship you may want to tell your boyfriend/girlfriend everything, and always ask their advice, but there’s nothing wrong with sometimes saying ‘Actually, they can’t help me right know, I need to talk to…’

I’m not sure how coherent this is, but I hope people can take at least something from what I’m trying to say.


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Why I Love June

09June

When I was young, free, and innocent, June was a time at school where you could relax off a bit. But for the past four (actually five, I did my first GCSE in year nine) years, June has simply meant two things. Doing exams, and finishing exams. I won’t dwell too much on the ‘doing’ of them, but finishing exams for a year is a truly amazing feeling. Especially this year, I know I’ve said it before, but nothing could have prepared me for how free and relieved I have felt from the moment I put down my pen at the end of my second General Studies exam.

For the rest of the population (in the Northern Hemisphere) June brings with it the start of Summer. Supposedly. In Britain we just have to cross our fingers then wait and see. I don’t mind ‘bad’ weather too much, but in the second half of June we have had a few truly glorious days, and I love stepping outside in shorts and sunglasses and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, even if I have got slightly sunburned. Oops again.

In the village where I have lived my entire life, there is a weekend of celebration at the end of June, culminating in a procession on the Monday afternoon with brass band, followed by street events music all evening and ending with fireworks. As a child I just loved the day off school, walking with my friends, and getting to stay up later than usual. The older I get, the less there is for me to do often; the past few years I’ve missed the walk and haven’t taken part in much, but it means more and more to me. There’s an air of excitement all through the village, and a heightened sense of community, just like when we gather outside the pub on Christmas eve for carols. I see people who I knew when I was younger, or only see a couple of times a year, and just sitting on the wall outside my house singing hymns brings back beautiful, bittersweet memories of times spent with my best friend.

My song for June is Good Day by Ron Pope. I’ve mentioned it before, but it is one of my all time favourite, most uplifting songs. Last June I listened to it almost every morning before college and it’s just the thing to get you in the mood for facing the day and being happy.