Dealing with Grief for the First Time

Explaining what grief is to someone who has never felt it is almost as hard as actually experiencing it. From childhood memories of my Granddad’s passing, I recognised a singular moment of sadness, whereby I cried and got angry. This memory only ever focused on one day and even then only at the moment that I was told he had died. I had never truly felt the tight grip of grief. Not until quite recently.

 

I have found myself leaving this post rather shorter than I would have liked. A previous version told a personal story that I thought would help anyone going through or may eventually go through this could look to for help. It was only once I had finished that I realised that divulging a story that I would much rather keep to myself.

 

Instead, I discovered that there is no one way of experiencing grief. I have realised that like most other aspects of my life, I felt grief in private or around my family. Grief for me is confusing and unpredictable, there are moments of pain where all I want to do is cry which then dulls to a numb feeling.

 

Now I may not be able to explain how grief feels specifically or how you could possibly get through it, it is up to each individual to figure that out. The only solace that I can give anyone who may find themselves in, what I can only describe, as the most horrendous pain you can feel… it does get better, the feelings of pain and heart-ache do go away and the memory of the one you have lost will no longer be tainted with such an intense sadness. I may not be in that place just yet, but I know that I’ll eventually stop feeling weighed down.

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National Writing Day 2018

So today (27th June 2018) is known as National Writing Day. I’ll be honest I really didn’t know that this was a day that existed. I’m slightly ashamed seeing as I’ve always been interested in writing, yet didn’t know this was a day.

Recently I’ve had a massive break from writing pretty much anything. However, I’m now in a good place where I feel like I can get back into writing and take it much more seriously. What better day than to start writing again than today!

I’ll start with a task that I came across from researched ‘National Writing Day’. This task basically involved taking 7 minutes out of your day and simply writing without stopping. This is an exercise I’ve done many times over the years – its really relaxing and very therapeutic. It forces you to get whatever is in your head out onto paper without thinking too much about it. Now I’ll stop delaying here is what I managed to write down:36247237_10217007282000979_1284400542415585280_n

I feel most free when I’m writing. It is the one time that I can escape from all the worry that I face in the world. It also helps me get a lot of thought out of my head. Writing is like my own personal therapy, with each word I feel more relaxed.

After a good writing session I always feel much happier and lighter. There is also a sense of energy and excitement like I know this story is going to expand out from my mind and onto the paper.

Of course there are the days when I’m not writing and I start to think, then over-think, and before you know it, I’ve spiralled back down into this weird tangled mess that hurts and is tiring and I never know how to get out of.

Then there are the other moments I feel free; when I’m with my boyfriend. He keeps me stable. Its like being around him calms me down and forget some of the things that bothers me in the world. I look at his eyes and I can just stop and smile and be happy.

I always worry that these bad thoughts will one day consume me. That I’ll go-

April Fools – Some things aren’t jokes

So April 1st is here which means it is once again April Fools! For those who may not know, this is an annual celebration in most Western and European countries (thank you Wikipedia for that knowledge). Today will normally consist of people playing hilarious and most harmless pranks on one another. Some of my favourite moments are when brands get involved and announce ridiculous things, an example would be my favourite from this year… Google adding Where’s Wally onto Google Maps, yes I’ve spent far too much time playing it already.

Although there are some funny pranks that don’t really do any harm to anyone, there are a few pranks that I’ve noticed over the years that really just aren’t funny and sometimes just plain rude. So here we go…

 

Coming Out Pranks: As it states, some people genuinely make pranks about coming out as gay… it was always gay for some reason. Now I’m not sure if this still goes on in this day and age as everyone on my Facebook are in their 20s and have better things to do with their lives. Now I was bullied when I was at school for being gay, so to see the very people who bullied me go on Facebook to faux come out was a bit of an insult to say the least. This sort of prank is unbelievably insensitive and just makes fun of something that is very important and scary for people who have to do it.

 

R.I.P ‘insert celebrity here’: This one is honestly so sick and twisted. I’ve seen a number of times where people pretend that a celebrity has died. Now when I was younger this would not have got much traction as social media wasn’t as prominent in society, but nowadays its easier for people to instantly retweet and soon the story is all over the world. I can’t even imagine the frustration and possible heartache that is caused by a story like this getting out.

 

I’ll leave it to two as I’m trying to avoid being too miserable and grumpy when writing these sort of posts. Overall I don’t hate April Fools, just the pranks that are mainly used to just mock sensitive topics. So have fun and please don’t go too far.

Women in Films – The Comments Section

Oh the YouTube comments section, a magical place where people seem to assume they can write whatever they like without any reason or consequence. Never have I seen a more toxic review system as the comments section on an upcoming movie’s trailer, more specifically on films that predominantly feature women.

The anonymity of the comment section has opened a gate of hatred and misogyny that has made releasing a movie featuring important female casts is just one obstacle the film industry needs to combat on the path to gender inequality.

 

The first obvious example for the social media onslaught would be with the release of the all-female remake of ‘Ghostbusters’. I’m aware I talked about this one yesterday, but I really enjoyed the movie and it makes a good example. When the trailer for this movie was released we were treated with the recognisable characters and the promise of ghosts, however, if you scrolled down you’d have seen a  never-ending stream of hatred and disbelief that women could possibly replace their precious 80s favourites, some of whom hilariously appeared in the remake.

I think my favourite part about all these comments is how they were used to inspire the movie to include a scene where the characters actually receive some of the comments and openly mock them. Personally, if you just didn’t like the movie that’s perfectly fine films can’t please everyone, just don’t blame your displeasure on the fact it starred all women.

 

My next example just makes me sad for humanity. This year saw the remake of the well-known movie/game franchise ‘Tomb Raider’ starring Alicia Vikander. I honestly don’t know what to think from the trailer I’ll have to watch it to make my mind up, however, what I do know is that its not acceptable to base your judgments on a movie based on the size of the lead actresses breasts… I mean I actually had to take a minute comments and articles started to creep into existence, comparing Alicia’s bra size to Angelina’s or even the video game character, remember, the one with triangle imaginary breasts.

I mean I’m normally at a loss for words when it comes to the misogynistic hate comments from YouTube, the ones that lack any sort of depth or imagination, but in 2018 or even the 21st century, I’d have thought we had evolved more than to point at a women’s breasts and shout they aren’t big enough for this movie.

 

While writing this I’d been looking through some of these comments, it started off slightly entertaining and then just progressed to being saddened by humanity. I’m now just going to stop or I’ll just keep getting more bewildered and annoyed with all the hate-filled comments.

All Female Casts

In recent years we have been getting more films that centres around a predominantly female cast and to be honest I’m pretty here for it. Now we’ve all seen the countless comments about why films shouldn’t be solely focused on women because it is sexist against men, or they won’t make enough money, or simply won’t be good… believe me, I’ve eye rolled enough times at these comments I’m surprised my eyes haven’t fallen out my head.

In spite of the misogynistic comments that come with these movies, there have a been a good amount of films that feature all-female casts that are wildly successful and will hopefully pave the way for many more in the future.

 

I’ll first start off with the 2016 ‘Ghostbusters’ remake starring Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Kristen Wiig. I’ve started with this one as it’s a movie that I personally enjoyed a lot however, it was one of the more notable women-centered movies that brought about a lot of “interesting” comments from mainly men who refused to accept that a cult favourite would now be fronted by women. For many months there were comments about these prolific actors’ inability to uphold the standard of the original movie, to simple to threatening their lives.

Despite many attempts to boycott the movie, it managed to do relatively well at the box office, and I’m not surprised I thought the movie was superb and enjoyable. For me I’ve always enjoyed these actors in their own right, and for them to be brought together worked so well. *spoiler* I don’t think I’ll ever get over Leslie Jones slapping Melissa McCarthy in an attempt to force the ghost out of her body.

 

I don’t think I can write about an all-female cast without mentioning ‘Sex and the City’. I will only mention this ever so briefly as I’ve only seen the movies and not the TV show, personal choice – I’ll get round to it at some point. It is a testament to how well a show can do when fronted by only women when the show lasted 6 series over 6 years and then inspired two movies.

After watching both movies I was amazed to see a show that presents four very different women that, despite all wanting to find a man, have their own ambitions and achievements that they manage to make their own. My personal favourite has to be Samantha Jones, never have I seen a woman portrayed with a high sexual presence in such a way that it makes sense for the character rather than for the entertainment of a man.

 

Finally, there is the recent Netflix sci-fi thriller “Annihilation”. Starring Natalie Portman and Gina Rodriguez, this intense adaptation features a number of female scientists going on an expedition to discover the presence of the mysterious ‘shimmer’. Never have I watched a movie that has both scared me while keeping me hooked.

I would highly recommend this movie for its amazing ability to develop these well-rounded female characters while maintaining an intense and fascinating storyline. To be honest a small paragraph isn’t enough for this film so I’ll have to continue this in its own post.

 

To finish all I have to say is… bring on more all-female casts, heck as long as they interesting characters with an interesting plot why these shouldn’t be created? Ignore all the misogynistic comments that come with the promotions, these movies have been proven to do well.

Women in Film – Behind the Camera

Today I wanted to focus on a more positive note when it comes to Women in Film. Naturally, I wanted to get straight to the women who have achieved huge success in the film industry at the moment from behind the camera.

Hollywood is in need of promoting more female writers, directors, producers, runners, etc to help inspire more interesting and diverse female roles within the entertainment industry. Here are just a few directors and writers who inspire me and help forge a brighter future for gender equality.

 

I will start with a huge success for women behind the camera, Shonda Rhimes. Here is a director, writer and product of massively popular TV shows from ‘How to get away with murder’ and ‘Scandal’ to the well-known hospital drama ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. Each of these shows are known for their diverse characters, more specifically the well rounded female characters that each show centres around.

One of my favourites has to be “How to get away with murder” following the intense yet brilliant Annalise Keating, played by Oscar winner ‘Viola Davis’. From the first episode I was drawn into this thrilling show, more so for Shonda’s interesting ability to develop all of the show’s characters in different and unique ways. It is her attention to Annalise as a well-established character of colour that really resonated with me in a way I hadn’t recognised in any other show.

 

Moving from TV to film, I look towards Patty Jenkins, the director of the box office hit ‘Wonder Woman’. Now when it comes to DC movies I’ve always been a bit disappointed, and I really enjoy superhero movies, however, this movie quickly became one of my favourite superhero movies. Patty Jenkins took the renowned heroine and told a fantastic origin story full of action and emotion.

Now it may have quickly become one of the most successful superhero movies in terms of revenue, but it did all of this through the precise eye of Jenkins, who established Wonder Woman as a powerful woman who notably laughs in the face of obvious misogyny.

 

Even though I was only able to write about two fantastic women in the industry don’t be fooled, there are numerous talented women in Hollywood who are ready to create their own stories. All they need is an opportunity, place them behind the camera, make them part of the team, allow them to tell the stories that they want to tell.

Sexism on the Big Screen

Whether it is on the big screen of cinema or the small screen of TV there have always been issues with the representation of female characters throughout the years. From scantily clad Bond girls to crying damsels in distress, female characters have been treated with little respect for decades. Only recently have we started to see things change with interesting and well developed female characters being showcased at the forefront of popular movies. We must never forget how things used to be, to avoid going back.

 

A major issue for women on screen is their portrayal as sex objects, something which the well-known spy franchise James Bond is entirely guilty of. Many a time have I watched a classic Bond movie knowing full well I was going to see a scantily clad women emerging wet and buxom on the beach. Don’t get me wrong, these characters are normally as memorable as the Bond himself, but is it really worth it when it’s entirely because of how hot they looked?

With the more modern James Bond movies, there have been changes in how Bond and his creators treat female characters, apparently. We still see bikini-clad women that fall into the arms of the suave spy, but now we also have smarter more developed women who don’t fall for Bond’s charms. Who knows maybe there will come a time when most of the franchise doesn’t rely on who will be the next hot Bond girl.

 

Another tiresome trope would be the female characters inability to function in life without a man to complete her. This is a common feature in the ‘chick-flic’ genre, which normally centres around a typical everyday girl who has an ok job, or is generally ok at school, but is desperately in need of a man (I’d name an example but there are that many there is really no point). The bit that angers me about this theme is that so many young girls were made to feel like their lives weren’t a success unless they had a man to love them.

In the more recent years, there has been a shift in ‘chick-flic’ movies, focusing more on female friendships rather than a man. Some still end up teetering towards getting over a break-up and ending up with someone else, but like ‘Bridesmaids’ as an example, it isn’t the main plot point of the movies, instead acting as a nice happy ending.

 

Now I could write about the issues that women in movies have faced in the past, but I could honestly be here all day. Besides I’d rather use this week to focus on the progress we have made towards gender equality in the entertainment industry. So tomorrow should hopefully have a happier tone.

A Week of Women In Movies

This week is going to be a rather short post as I simply want to mention what I’ll be doing this week. I want to try and complete a full week of writing a post for every day on a specific topic, something I might try doing once a month or every other month.

 

For this week I wanted to look into the topic of women in TV and film. This is something that I’m constantly reading about and I’m always really interested in. It has always been a strong topic for me based on the growth that the TV and film industries are going through the help incorporate more women both on and behind the camera. However, despite there being some sort of growth there is still a long way to go before there is more gender equality in the entertainment industry and without talking about it nothing will be changed.

 

So hopefully this week will go well in terms of getting my thoughts out into the open. To help spur me on I’ve written out a general idea of what areas I’ll be writing about:

  • A brief history of women on screen
  • The importance of women behind the camera
  • All female casts
  • Interesting female characters
  • Social media vs. progress

Now, this isn’t a definite schedule of what I’ll be talking about throughout the week but will be what I would like to focus on.

Mothers Day 2018

Today marks the annual holiday ‘Mothering Sunday’ in the United Kingdom. For most people in the country, they see this day as another reason to stress about what gifts they should be buying to show their mother’s how much they love them. I’ve seen all over the place articles that let us know what sort of gifts we should be buying and where we should be taking them. However, I’ve never seen many articles that tell us to simply slow down and take the time out to spend time with our mum’s.

 

As the eldest of three I have constantly stressed about buying a gift for my mum, something that consciously would look better than my siblings, we’ve always been pretty competitive in that sense. After years of worrying that I haven’t got the best thing for her, it suddenly dawned on me. She never wanted anything apart from our presence.

 

Now let’s not kid ourselves, of course, our mothers want some sort of gift, they have put lots of time and effort into raising us, we should definitely be showing them that we care. I’d say to avoid any stress, simply ask them what they may want. I’ve never been afraid to ask, as much as I know what my mum likes, it’s always nice to completely make sure I’ve got something that she really wants.

 

If you want to get your mother’s something good that they’ll enjoy without having to spend many days stressing about the gift here are a number of suggestions:

 

  • Flowers: most mother’s that I know enjoy a good bouquet of flowers; just make sure to actually get the flowers your mother likes. You can’t just pick up the cheapest bunch.

 

  • Chocolate: Who doesn’t love chocolate? Apart from people who are allergic or generally don’t like it. But either way, most of the time chocolate is an easy win.

 

  • DVD or CD: in the age of Netflix and Spotify there is still very good reason to get your mother’s favourite CD or DVD, they’re normally the ones who will still use them.

 

  • A Meal Out: there is no better way to spend the day than making sure they don’t have to cook for once. Even if you just cook a meal at home, I’m sure they’ll still love it.

 

At the end of the day, no matter what you end up doing or buying for mother’s day I’m sure your mum will still appreciate it. So here’s to all the amazing mother’s out there, keeping us out of trouble and ensuring we continue making good choices!

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