I passed my driving test!

I hate driving. Ever since my first lesson, which was a complete disaster, I had been scared shitless of getting into the driver’s seat of a car.

The worst part of it was probably that everyone kept telling me that it’d get better, that driving lessons would eventually be a lot of fun and that I should stop worrying. Needless to say, this only made me worry more.

I wish I could tell you they were all right and it did get better, but to be honest, it didn’t really. My driving instructor was great and probably the most patient person I’ve ever met (even though he did say that my driving stresses him out so much that it makes his hair falls out – he’s bald!), which I’m very thankful for. But even after weeks and weeks of practice, I still got the collywobbles every time I had to sit down behind the steering wheel.

One day, my driving instructor told me he’d signed me up for the practical test:  my first reaction was to ask him whether he was having a laugh, but I realised he was serious, I instantly panicked. During that previous lesson I had overseen a stop sign, accidentally driven past a red light and nearly hit a lamppost when turning, so how on earth was I supposed to go 45 minutes without making any mistakes?

Well, I didn’t. The first time, I drove in the wrong lane which I have no idea why I did, and when I tried for the second time a few weeks later, I legitimately couldn’t find the street I was supposed to drive in and got so confused that I nearly crashed into another car.

Naturally, I was dreading my third attempt more than ever. The night before, I woke up every hour and had four panic attacks in one night, so you can imagine how I felt when it was time to get up and leave for the test centre. My mum tried her best to calm me down on the way there, but even listening to Fleetwood Mac on full volume didn’t stop me from shaking and crying my heart out.

When I finally sat in the car and was only minutes away from starting my test, I was nothing but a ball of anxiety. Luckily, my examiner was very lovely and when he introduced himself as “Mr Maximini” (It wasn’t even a nickname, I checked his name tag!), I even had to chuckle a bit despite feeling the shittiest I had since a very long time.

From that point on, I don’t remember that much cause my brain seems to have deleted most of my memories (that happens sometimes when you’re really anxious), but when I drove back through the gateway of the test centre and the examiner still hadn’t told me I’d failed, I couldn’t quite believe it. He asked me a few more questions and finally congratulated me on passing – I was over the moon. This simple sentence took such a load off my mind that I started crying again, but this time out of relief instead of fear.
The reason I’m telling you about this is that I kinda wished someone had understood my anxieties about driving when I was in that position. I have amazing friends and family and everyone was trying their best to support me, but it was so tough to constantly hear people going on about how much they loved driving and were looking forward to every single lesson when I kind of wanted to run away and never come back whenever someone just mentioned the word “car”.

If you can relate to this in any way, I just wanna tell you that it’s gonna be fine. It won’t be easy, certainly not, and if you’re struggling with anxiety, too, it might even be one of the hardest things you ever have to do and you might take ten times as long to get your license than all of your friends, but you’re still gonna be all right.

Also, try to always tell yourself that it’s perfectly fine if you are scared of something everyone else seems to enjoy, be it driving or anything else. I know it’s easy to blame yourself for being different, but the thing about humans is that we often forget about all the amazing and individual talents we have just because we can’t stop thinking of that one thing we are having problems with.

Whatever it is, all you can do is try your best and if that’s still not enough, that’s of course devastating, but the inability to do something doesn’t make you less of a good person. You and your feelings are valid and it’s okay if you can’t be strong sometimes. I know it’s tough when you feel like people don’t get you and perhaps there are times when you feel alone and misunderstood, but I just want you to know that I’m very proud of you for everything you’ve accomplished, no matter whether it was passing your driving test, writing a good exam,  cooking a nice dinner or simply getting out of bed every morning. And you should be proud, too.

My Top 5 Books Of 2015

I’ve loved books since before I could even read and even though I didn’t have as much time for reading last year as I wish I had had, I still managed to get through quite a few. These novels weren’t necessarily published in 2015, but I do believe they all came out quite recently, so you might have heard of them already. Deciding on five books honestly took me ages since there are so many more that would also have deserved to be mentioned, but I’m quite happy with the ones I chose in the end, so enjoy the reviews!

1. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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When Theodore Finch, who suffers from depression, is fascinated by death and has been playing with the thought of killing himself for a long time, encounters Violet on the top of the school’s bell tower one day, both of their lives are turned upside down. Violet’s sister has recently been killed in a car accident which she still blames herself for and it’s only with Finch where she can truly be herself again. As Finch convinces Violet to step out of the comfort of her group of popular friends and be his partner for a geography school project and they explore the whole of Indiana, an extraordinary romance starts to grow…

This book deals with mental illness in an incredibly true-to-life way and genuinely makes you understand what dealing with it means. The main characters both have very interesting personalities and are extremely sophisticated and well worked out, which I personally believe to be one of the most important aspects when it comes to novels as being able to get attached to characters always makes stories a lot more personal. I additionally like that the perspectives are switched throughout the book, so that you get the chance to perceive what’s happening from two different points of view. “All The Bright Places” is one of those novels that truly make you feel with its characters and get lost in their world. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that it’s definitely not an easy read because it deals with rather heavy themes and might even be triggering for some people, but if you feel like you’re okay with that, I absolutely recommend to read it as it’s one of the most special, profound and emotional books I’ve ever read and I couldn’t stop thinking about it even weeks after finishing it.

Favourite Quote:  “I learned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it. I learned that not everyone is disappointing, including me, and that a 1,257-foot bump in the ground can feel higher than a bell tower if you’re standing next to the right person.”

 

2. How They Met And Other Stories by David Levithan

20160113093617-1As you might already know, David Levithan has become my absolute favourite author throughout the past two years and even though I still haven’t read all of his works (this guy is like a publishing machine, it’s literally insane how many books he’s brought out), I got through several books of his in 2015 and let me tell you – picking only one of them for this post was nearly impossible. In the end, I went with “How They Met And Other Stories” simply because it includes 18 equally perfect stories and totally got me into liking short stories again. I can’t even begin to explain to you how much in love I am with every single one of them, my favourite one being “What A Song Can Do”, and commenting on them would only feel wrong, so all I’m gonna say is that they represent love (queer and straight, which I think is absolutely amazing!) in the most beautiful way and you’re truly missing out if you haven’t read them yet.

Favourite Quote: “Our moments are music, and sometimes – just sometimes – we can catch them and put them into some lasting form. If we didn’t have music, I don’t think we could ever be truly happy, and if we didn’t have special moments, we would never find music.”

 

 

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

20160113093617-2Eleanor has just moved into town, lives in a tiny house together with her chaotic family and abusive stepfather, wears strange clothes matching her messy red hair and couldn’t be any more salient. When Park first sees her step onto the bus and grudgingly offers her the seat next to him, he doesn’t even intend to talk to her, but his initial reluctance soon turns into attachment. After some weeks, they begin to exchange first shy conversations, mixtapes and comic books and it doesn’t take long until they not only find love, but also an overwhelming sense of solace, belonging and affiliation.

You might think this is another perfectly arranged love stories, but it’s actually the opposite, which only makes it more beautiful. Eleanor is not one of those popular high school girls, neither a dark and poetic mystery, but a simple girl with lots of problems that can’t easily be solved. Although Park has a stable family life, he still struggles with finding his way in the world, which makes the story a lot more authentic than most other YA novels I know. Every conversation between Eleanor and Park seems almost poetical and the way they talk about each other really makes you believe in true love again.

Favourite Quote:“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

 

 

4. The Drowning Of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes

20160113093617-4Arthur’s mum has left him years ago, his dad has completely lost the plot and after yet another bullying incident, the only solution he sees is taking his own life. When he aimlessly walks around the beach near an abandoned swimming bath called “The Oracle”, he hears someone sing and feels himself being drawn to the old victorian building. Inside, he finds a naked woman called Delphina floating around in a pool and is instantly paralysed by her beauty.

The story of Arthur, Delphina and her peculiar friends is told from various points of views, each of them written in a characteristic style. Throughout the book, the reader gets new information piece by piece which enables them to solve the mystery behind “The Oracle” by bits. By combining the reality of a boy living in a typical town near Manchester and aspects of Greek mythology, the author manages to create a beautifully dark, tragic and unique atmosphere that isn’t comparable with any other novel.

Favourite quote: “When you fall in love with someone, I reckon it’s like they become your unicorn. (…) And when they’re your unicorn, you believe in them, in their beauty. You believe in them being the most precious, the most fragile person ever created.”

 

 

5. Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira

20160113093616When Laurel’s English teacher asks her class to write a letter to a dead person, Laurel chooses to address hers to Kurt Cobain, because he died just as young as her sister May. She soon writes to more and more famous dead people, opening up to them and telling them about whatever is going on in her life. But as much as she tries to focus on the present, the past always seems to come back to haunt her.

I guess what makes this book one of my favourites is above all the general idea of telling a story in letters, which first reminded me of “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower”, but the two books actually couldn’t be any more different. Even though one might say the beginning is a bit slow, there’s something about this novel that makes you unable to put it down. If you decide to read it, definitely have some tissues ready when you get to the end, it’s just as heartbreaking as beautiful!

Favourite Quote: “What I told you about saving people isn’t true. You might think it is, because you might want someone else to save you, or you might want to save someone so badly. But no one else can save you, not really. Not from yourself. (…) You fall asleep in the foothills, and the wolf comes down from the mountains. And you hope someone will wake you up. Or chase it off. Or shoot it dead. But when you realize that the wolf is inside you, that’s when you know. You can’t run from it. And no one who loves you can kill the wolf, because it’s part of you. They see your face on it. And they won’t fire the shot.”

 

I hope these reviews were at least a bit helpful, let me know whether you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned and what you think of them. I’m also open for new recommendations if you have any and can’t wait to read even more in 2016! (Guess who already spent most of her Christmas money on books, haha.)

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Social Networks – A Blessing Or A Curse?

Hello again! The holidays are over, I’ve successfully recovered from eating way too much food over Christmas and my last term of school has started! (wow, time really flies, doesn’t it?)

In our first English lesson after the break, we started dealing with a new topic: social networks! The discussion we had in class was lot more heated and controversial than I expected it to be, and, as a homework, we’re now supposed to write a comment about the question whether we think social networks are social “Eden” or a dystopian tool. 

Since I’m obviously a commendable student (hah!), I somehow managed to not procrastinate for once and wrote a little something. I feel a little foolish for uploading a homework to my blog, but, to be honest, I found the topic and the discussion we had about it rather interesting, so sharing it seemed like a good idea, especially since I’d love to hear other people’s opinions as well (so do leave a comment if you like). Plus, if you ever need any arguments in a discussion with elderly family members who still believe the internet is the spawn of hell, you might find some here! 

 

Some people claim social networks will ruin humanity, others say they are the best thing ever invented. Are internet adversaries spreading baseless panic and making a huge fuss over nothing? Or are they actually right and users of social networks are indeed underestimating the dangers the internet entails?

Personally, I wouldn’t say they’re entirely wrong. The internet might be a great invention, but sometimes it can make us forget about what the real world has to offer. Of course, chatting to someone online is terrific, but can it really replace conversations held face to face? Probably not.

Many young people, including me, spend so much time on social networking websites catching up on other people’s lives that they seem to forget to live their own. Often, friends and school are neglected and escaping into a fictional world online becomes their number one priority.

An even more dangerous side of the internet is online bullying. Nobody is safe from it on social networks, especially because insulting or terrorising someone through a screen without having to face their reaction is a lot easier than doing it to their face. Online, one is anonymous and therefore more distant, which certainly reduces the inhibitions for people to emotionally abuse someone in order to exercise power over them and boost their own confidence in a very wrong way.

 

However, it is often forgotten that the internet also offers a great deal of support and empowerment, especially to minorities. On websites like Tumblr, people stand up for important causes such as feminism, anti-racism projects or marriage equality and offer advice to users who e.g. struggle with accepting their sexuality or gender identity, suffer from mental illnesses or have other problems they need help with.

This continuous support within communities is just one of the many positive things the internet makes possible as it provides a platform for people to speak up about matters that concern them and inform and educate others. For example, celebrities or simply users with a lot of followers can use their scope to raise awareness on important issues or ask their fans/followers to donate to charities, which can definitely make a noticeable difference.

Unrelated to that, websites like Facebook, Twitter and apps such as Instagram or WhatsApp make it a lot easier for people to stay in touch and also enable you to meet new friends whom you share similar interests with, no matter where in the world they live. That way, it’s possible to get to know people from lots of different countries and learn more about their culture and lifestyle, which undoubtedly is an incredible enrichment.

Due to the the internet being so fast, keeping up with the latest news has become a lot more convenient as well. Within a second, you’ll find the most recent updates on economy, political events, sports, films or music and are additionally able to instantly share your own opinion on the matter and discuss the subject with other users.

Sharing is a vital part of social media in general. Whether it’s through a simple Facebook post, a tweet, a video on youtube or an entire blog, people are constantly broadcasting themselves. Of course, it’s not advisable to overshare and making your life public always has downsides as well, but I still believe it offers us amazing ways to not only gain inspiration from others, but also self-actualise and express ourselves in a manner that is different to how we are able to present ourselves offline.

 

Taking all this into consideration, I have to say that I do agree with skeptics when they say we shouldn’t underestimate the enormous power the internet has and be careful with what we decide to post publicly. I’ve often caught myself wasting away entire days because I spent hours and hours on the internet, scrolling through my tumblr dashboard for the hundredth time and looking at posts I’d already seen instead of doing something productive. Even though it doesn’t feel like it and I’m sick of hearing it all the time, perhaps our parents are at least partly right when they say we’re missing out on things when we spend every day sitting inside our room with a screen in front of us.

Nevertheless, I would never want to imagine a life without the internet. Social networks are so diverse; you can seriously find anything on there – from political opinions, over animal welfare, Kim Kardashian’s bum, a video of a yawning pelican (definitely check that one out, it’s the funniest thing ever), book reviews, Spongebob Squarepants fan communities or make-up tutorials to Pepe the Frog.

On the internet, there are literally no limits, and, to be frank, if you still refuse to acknowledge its awesomeness, you’re truly missing out.

 

Before ending this, I’d quickly like to say a special thanks to everyone from the Dan and Phil group, you guys mean the world. I know I’m not the most active member, but talking to you is always so lovely and you are probably the funniest, weirdest (take that as a compliment) kindest and most supportive bunch of nerds I’ve ever come across. I hope we’ll continue to be trash, cry about fandoms together and create lots of new memes for a long time coming, I love you all lots. x

(@Pravs: This blog would like to invite you on a date. I’ve heard it will even bring you flowers, it seems to have a major crush on you!)

Anyways, let me know what you think about this whole discussion, I’d be delighted to hear some of your thoughts and have a little chat in the comments. Bye bye and cheerio! xx

Liebster Award Nomination

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This Monday morning, I once again woke up and immediately wished I could go back to bed – until I checked my phone, clicked on the wordpress notification that had popped up and saw that Shelly had nominated me for the Liebster Award!

I’ve enjoyed reading Shelly’s posts for quite a while now and her blog is definitely one of my absolute faves, so I’m beyond chuffed she chose me as one of her nominees. I would never have thought people actually read my posts, let alone enjoy them, so this truly means a lot to me and will hopefully give me even more motivation and inspiration to post more regularly (This makes me sound a lot like Dan Howell, doesn’t it?). Anyways, a big thank you to Shelly, and please make sure to check out her blog (shellyray.wordpress.com), I promise you won’t regret it!

In case you haven’t heard about the Liebster Award yet, these are the rules:

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Let’s get started, shall we?

 

11 Facts About Me

  1. I wear a flower crown every day
  2. I used to hate chocolate, but then I tried Cadbury Marvellous Creations and one could say it was the beginning of a love story
  3. My favourite author is David Levithan
  4. I actually love rain, even though everyone else constantly moans about it
  5. I’ve intended to learn how to cook for about 5 years, but have still not gotten around to it
  6. I spend all of my money on concert tickets, CDs and books
  7. I’m a total grammar nerd (which you probably can’t tell from this blog as I’m still making way too many cringeworthy mistakes, haha.)
  8. I’m obsessed with bad jokes and puns, the sillier the better
  9. I used to write a lot of stories when I was younger and really wanna start doing that again
  10. Luna Lovegood is my favourite Harry Potter character

 

Answer 11 Questions from the Blogger Who Nominated You

What was your first ever blogpost about?

I started off by simply posting 50 facts about myself to introduce myself, pretty lame, I know.

Do you have any routines when blogging? (Certain music you like to listen to, place you feel most comfortable blogging, etc)

I usually blog sitting on my bed (mainly because I rarely ever leave it lol) and listen to a playlist with relaxing music (lots of acoustic songs), light a candle, put on some fairy lights and make myself comfortable with a cup of tea and some biscuits – blogging without snacks is literally impossible!

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?

Most people would probably wanna go somewhere exotic or far away, but to be honest, my biggest dream is to just do a tour through the UK. Everytime I’ve been to England so far, I instantly felt at home, so I would love to see more of the country.

Besides blogging, what are some of your hobbies/interests?

Okay, this is awkward cause I’m literally the least outgoing person you can imagine. I spend most of my free time on tumblr or other websites, watch youtube videos or TV shows, listen to music, read or have naps. I love to go to concerts and stroll through my favourite shops or meet up with friends sometimes, but generally I’m very introverted and don’t mind spending an entire day by myself and relaxing.

If you could travel back in time, what year or decade would you choose to travel to?

Probably the 70s cause that was about the time my parents were my age and I feel like it would be really interesting to know what life was like when they were young.

Do you prefer watching movies or TV shows?

Definitely TV shows, I’m not a movie person at all. The great thing about TV shows is that you get really attached to the characters and their little quirks, plus, I find it a lot more convenient to watch episodes that are only 20-40 minutes.

What types of blogs do you most enjoy reading?

I don’t mind actually, I just like when people talk about things they’re passionate about, whatever that might be!

What animal best represents you and why?

I guess koalas, cause they sleep up to 22 hours a day.

What is one of your resolutions for 2016?

I really wanna be more active on this blog, start writing fiction as well, and read lots and lots of more books.

What was your dream job growing up?

I’ve always wanted to be a radio presenter and still do!

How do you hope to change or improve your blog this year?

I don’t have any specific plans yet, but as I said, I really wanna post more regularly, try more different things and just get more creative! 🙂

 

My 11 Nominees

stuck-in-rewind.blogspot.com

withallmyaffection.com

beautybooksbubsandme.wordpress.com

miekeey.com

hpwritesblogs.wordpress.com

tomorrowdefinitely.wordpress.com

smolivertwist.wordpress.com

notesfromanarcissist.wordpress.com

alittlebitalt.wordpress.com

sarahharpin.wordpress.com

boldmode.wordpress.com

 

11 Questions for my Nominees

  1. Are you listening to music right now?
  2. Coffee or tea?
  3. What is the thing you most look forward to when coming home after a long day?
  4. What’s your favourite TV show?
  5. What languages can you speak?
  6. Introvert or extrovert?
  7. Favourite lyric?
  8. Are you religious?
  9. What’s your favourite season?
  10. If you had to get a tattoo, what would you choose?
  11. Do you keep a journal?

 

I guess that’s it from me then, I hope you’ve all had a great start to the new year and a wonderful day. Talk to you soon 🙂 xx

A short and very messy post about New Years 

It’s January 2016 and a whole new year is lying in front of us. A year that will be full of new experiences, good and bad ones. A year full of right choices and wrong choices, of losing friends and making new ones, of falling in and out of love, of chasing after some of our dreams and giving up on other ones. A year that will leave its mark on us, shape our personalities and change us into a slightly different version of ourselves than we are now. 
We are rarely truly aware of time, it’s only on days like New Years when we notice how much of it has passed. This realisation makes many people want to change something and even though I’ve never felt like that, I think that’s fair enough. 
I could give you the standard lecture about how you should see every day as a new beginning and not wait for a specific date to improve your life, but, as much as I agree, we’ve already heard it a million times and to be quite frank, it’s starting to get a bit annoying. Of course it’s best to get active right when you realise you’re not content with your situation anymore, but we all know that that’s not always the easiest thing to do and if the beginning of a new year gives someone the motivation they’ve been lacking before, then that can’t be a bad thing, can it?

Anyways, even though I’m not one for making huge changes on 1st January, I do have one resolution for 2016: this year, I want to focus on my dreams, and I’m gonna start right now by taking a nap. 
(This pun was actually the only reason I made this post and it’s not even that good, but it sounded a lot funnier in my head, I promise)

On this note, I wish you all a great start to the new year, may it be filled with happiness! xx