Tuesday, January 16

Mix Tapes

Even though CDs are going out of fashion and it's becoming increasingly hard to find a suitable player for them, I still love to make my own mix tapes. The first one I ever made was back in 2007, just over 10 years ago! It featured some terrible club songs and everything was a remix. To be honest, I didn't even know what music I liked back then. I was a product of society and only liking these songs because that's what was popular. Today, mostly everyone uses Spotify, Soundcloud or another digital form of listening to music. I myself, listen to most of my music in the car. Volume up, singing wrong lyrics and forgetting about whatever problems are havocking my mind. I have 5 different mix tapes I have compiled into different genres/occasions. And for each, I made cover artworks. Now they're not going to win any prizes or ever be thought of as impressive but making them was something I had a lot of fun doing and I just wanted to write a post about them.

Golden Oldies

Most of these I would classify as fairly old songs but are still brilliant none the less. Age is just a number baby.
YouTube Playlist here
1. Pumped Up Kicks
2. Stacy's Mom
3. I'm Coming Out
4. Hey there Delilah
5. Come on Eileen
6. Year 3000
7. Here comes the Sun
8. Iris
9. Home Again
10. Good Riddance
11. Folsom Prison Blues
12. Fits (Too Drunk to Drive)
13. Grace Kelly
14. Little Talks
15. It Ain't Me Babe
16. Love Today
17. Me and Julio
18. Hey Baby
19. You Can Call Me Al
20. Valley Where The River Runs


Disney music is timeless and perfect for any time of day. There are so many amazing songs that it was difficult to choose which were worthy of a place on this CD. (And they're technically not *all* Disney but shur what harm...)
YouTube Playlist Here
1. Belle - Beauty and the Beast
2. Reflection - Mulan
3. For the First Time in Forever
4. How Far I'll Go
5. A Whole New World
6. Colors of the Wind
7. When Will My Life Begin
8. Strangers Like Me
9. Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride
10. I Just Can't Wait To Be King
11. You're Welcome
12. I'll Make A Man Out of You
13. You've Got A Friend in Me
14. When She Loved Me
15. That's How You Know
16. Learn To Do It
17. Under The Sea
18. Tale As Old As Time

That's All Folks

I tried to make this CD all folk songs, with a mix of Indie and Rock. But I have no idea what to classify it as anymore. They are just songs I really like, a lot of Irish Artists on here!
YouTube Playlist Here
1. Falling
2. Little Lion Man
3. Battles - Hudson Taylor
4. Take All The Time You Need
5. Forget Me Knots
6. Send Me On My Way
7. The Wire
8. She's so Lovely
9. Little Talks
10. Fake - the Frays
11. Jackie and Wilson
12. San  Diego Song
13. Remember When
14. Hoppipolla
15. Holly
16. Heroes or Ghosts
17. Heart of Nowhere
18. Lifetime
19. Cups
20. I want the Sky

You Are A Masterpiece All By Yourself

Music can have a huge impact on your mood and a few months ago, when I was feeling down and quite insecure, I decided I needed something to help, to improve my attitude. So I compiled a list of songs that are kick-ass, feel good, empowering, inspiring and promote independence. I wouldn't typically listen to many of these artists and sometimes I cringe at how much I enjoy these but they have helped me cope during tough times.
YouTube Playlist Here
1. True Colours - Tom Odell
2. Fight Song - Rachel Platten
3. Love Myself - Hailee Steinfield
4. Brave
5. Just Like Fire
6. Stronger
7. Who Says
8. F**kin Perfect
9. Cool Kids
10. Stronger
11. Loser Like Me
12. Flashlight
13. Best Day of My Life
14. Lean On Me

Dawn till Dusk | Dusk till Dawn

This is the CD I would play driving through town with my best friends, in the middle of the night, volume up so high that you can't here anything else. The name of this CD is inspired my incredible friend Dawn. Most of the songs on here were introduced to me by her. But I dedicate it to my closest friends as I have such good memories sparked from this.
YouTube Playlist Here!
1. Feel It Still - Portugal. The Man
2. Tease - Ralph
3. Smooth Criminal - Glee
4. Help Me Lose My Mind - Disclosure
5. Jungle - Tash Sultana
6. Big Jet Plane - Angus and Julia Stone
7. Breezeblocks - Alt J
8. Alaska - Maggie Rogers
9. Classic Man - Jidenna
10. Health - Blue Monday
11. Faded - ZHU
12. Left Hand Free - Alt J
13. Lose Yourself - Eminem
14. Jolene - Miley Cyrus
15. My Song 5 - HAIM
16. My Silver Lining - First Aid Kit

What are some of your favourite songs?

Always, M

Sunday, December 24

Wrapping Up the Year: 2017

I started 2017 with great hope and optimism. There's something about the New Year that brings such refreshing positivity. It's like all the mistakes from last year are in the past and it's a chance to begin again for the next year. Like a new slate. My plans, or resolutions as they were, included " trying to be a better person, a better friend and a better blogger", and I 100% failed on each of those. Yep. You may think I'm being a melodramatic and maybe I am but looking back on the year now, I see it from a different perspective. 2017 was a huge year of change for me with many times that weren't particularly nice. But I think these experiences help shape me as a person and make me appreciate the good times a hell of a lot more. And even though 2017 has been a mostly terrible year it also holds some of my best memories.

Within the first month of the year I got my first tattoo! It was very exciting because it's something I've always wanted to do but never really had the guts to do it. You see, I am petrified of needles. I hate them and anything hospital related. I go weak at the knees. However a tattoo needle is quite different and doesn't stab any veins ( *wince* ) instead it's just this horrible uncomfortableness and long pain that sometimes can get really intense. The tattoo I got was my own design in the shape of an arrow and encompassed the Time Turner from Harry Potter, some morse code and a floral design. I have it on my outer thigh and it points down my leg as if to say "one step at a time" or "a step in the right direction" or "time doesn't turn back, gotta keep going". It means all those cheesy things and much more to me and I absolutely love it! I can't wait to get my next tattoo!!

I was busy with exams and a team project. We had to make a virtual monopoly board game. This turned out to be a lot of fun because I always thought I hated teamwork but in fact when you work with the right people it can be easy peasy lemon squeeze. February was a memorable time because an amazing woman I have looked up to for years, who inspired me to blog and continue the things I love, who I consider a role model, followed me on twitter and read my blog post. Her name, ladies and gentleman, is Scarlett Curtis and you should all go follow her on twitter, instagram and see the amazing work she is doing, in particular the Free Periods protest she has been a catalyst for!

My work placement began in March and this meant moving out of home for six months. I've only previously lived in student accommodation but this time I had real adult housemates who turned out to be so lovely. Actually one of them, Margaret, I was totally in awe of because she was just so cool and was everything I wanted to be in life. She read books, liked cats, had awesome tattoos, had great opinions on feminism and basically life, and was studying a fascinating masters and gave great advice. We bonded over a mutual love of Louise O'Neill. I also made new friends with other Interns at work. I'm glad to say that I am still close with a group of them and they made my time at work so much more enjoyable.

I was taken ill in April and had to have keyhole surgery to remove my gallbladder. It wasn't a very dangerous operation but it was pretty scary and I was in a lot of pain. I actually had been having symptoms for almost a year until it became so unbearable that I had no choice but to go to the A&E. Lesson learned, don't ignore the signs.

This was a month of recovery for me. I binge watched The Crown ( it's so good! ), 13 reasons why ( it was horrifying but brilliant ) and started Gilmore Girls ( seen every episode, it is amazing! ), and saw a whole bunch of movies on Netflix. I think all these shows fried my brain , I became obsessed with these non real things and that is just not healthy!

I turned 21 and my family threw me a lovely birthday party. They even got me a Harry Potter cake!!! <3 That was the best thing that happened that month then unfortunately I had a pretty big fight with my best friend. It had been brewing passively for about a year and there were things that we both needed to say to each other. Although I probably shouldn't have thrown a can of drink at her, and I am sorry for that but I'm glad we got everything out because I missed my friend and I hate being angry. I also went through a break up and to be honest I feel like I'm still going through it. It was horrible, I had to take some time off work and stayed with my friends until I had no choice but to face real life.

I tried to keep as busy as possible to stop me from falling apart. I went to London, Sligo, and Spain. I love travelling and it was amazing to visit the Warner Bros. Studios in London and see Phantom of the Opera.

I finished up my work placement and moved back home. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone but I was also happy to move home and get to see my cat everyday. My friends and I took a trip to Edinburgh to the Fringe Festival. Edinburgh is an incredible place and very Harry-Potter-esque so no wonder I liked it so much!

This was the start of my final year at college. Time passes so quickly, it's strange to think I'm an adult now with responsibilities and what not. In just another few months I'll have a degree and a full time job. September also brought a terrible sadness as a classmate in college passed away. People die all the time but when it's a person your own age and you see the pain in the faces of his closest friends, it really is a huge shock and kind of throws you off balance. You wonder about your own mortality and how fickle life can be.

I began to truly appreciate my best friends. Sometimes you take for granted what's always been there but when times get hard you see who is there and who runs away. I have the greatest friends in the world and they mean the world to me. Unfortunately, not everyone can be as amazing as they are and during October I was made to feel belittled by someone. They didn't do it intentionally and probably didn't realise what some stupid words can do. It initially knocked my confidence but there wasn't that much to begin with anyway. I think I was most angry that I let someone make me feel bad. I should have listened to Eleanor Roosevelt, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".

Thanks to said person in October, I finally decided it was time I appreciate my own self and understand my worth. I listened to a lot of crappy motivational songs and followed stupid instagram quotes accounts. It took time, and I guess it still is taking time, but I am lot happier in myself and feel like I am enough. I didn't realise how low my self esteem had been before. I don't always have confidence, it fluctuates, but when I do it is honestly a great feeling and I realise now how important it is to love yourself.

In the midst of exams and the stress of studying there was another horrifying death in my class. A girl, a friend, was knocked down and killed. To be honest, it still hasn't hit me. This was even more of a shock. I think because it can happen to anyone at any time, it is so frightening. I knew her a lot better than the late Greg but I wasn't in her close group of friends. This year has been really difficult for everyone in my class, and I hope 2018 won't bring any more similar circumstances. My sister also spent time in Hospital just before Christmas to have double jaw surgery. This was hard to watch her be in so much pain and to not be able to help. She's doing a lot better now, thank god.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! In the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt - "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

Always, M

Sunday, September 24

Living Without A Mental Illness

“Mental Illness” is a term I hear almost every day. Whether it be on twitter, a blog post or even coming up in conversation with my friends. I straight a way think of depression and anxiety but of course this umbrella term covers a whole range of things that plague the world. It is everywhere. And it has always been everywhere but only with recent years has it developed into such a topical discussion. And I mean thank God! Living with a mental Illness is not something to be embarrassed about and because it is so openly discussed hopefully people suffering from it don’t feel as pressured to hide it.

I don’t believe I suffer from a mental illness ( even though some people claim that everyone is affected by a mental illness to a certain degree ). I guess I consider myself lucky because I have seen depression cripple people close to me. I’ve seen them get so low that getting out of bed becomes impossible. The easiest of tasks are now Mount Everest. It is not something I’d wish upon my worst enemy. But even though I am not “depressed”, I too have felt like the world is on my shoulders and the sky is crashing down around me. I have felt so low and sad that I thought I’d never make it to the next day. I’ve wondered how my body has not crinkled up with water loss because surely I just cried out the pacific ocean. But these are just emotions, mood and stress that bring the ups and downs. Because everyone, depressed or not, will have their good days and bad. And whether you have a doctor’s note does not determine how important your emotions are. Or the strength of your pills will not make my feelings any less significant. In the past I have felt guilty about feeling bad when I have it so much better than others I know. Over time I have realised that we are all living different lives and our glasses of water don’t all contain the same amount. Some of us might have buckets or jugs instead of shot glasses and we’ll all overflow at different times. It is important to remember that it’s okay not to be okay.

It appears that mental illness has become trendy, and in particular anxiety and depression. This used to irritate me because I felt that perfectly healthy people were being dramatic about their depression and that it was diminishing the true struggle of living with a mental illness. It became cool to have anxiety. And you didn’t fit in if you didn’t have depression. I have been excluded and made felt different because I didn’t take depression medication and was told that I don’t understand it. Some of my own friends made me feel beneath them because I didn’t have a mental illness. But as more and more people open up about their own stories, mental illness has become very popular. And this trend isn’t actually a bad thing! It is important to know that people aren’t alone out there. That we can all tackle this together. As Scarlett Curtis says “I want it to become so trendy that it gets it’s own clothing line and homeware range”.

I am not trying to belittle or downgrade mental health. I have been affected by it my whole life. I know how destroying it can be.  From my first Christmas as a baby spent with one parent because depression had put my other parent in hospital to my best friends suffering from anxiety and/or depression everyday and even the death of someone very close to me because of mental health. Sometimes I think maybe that I have depression. That maybe it’s actually contagious and I have caught it like the common cold. But then that’s me being melodramatic and reality brings me back to earth. Everyone has their ups and down. And regardless of a label,  how we feel is not something to be overlooked.

Monday, September 11

An Existential Crisis

It crept up on me like the way summer turns to winter. Slowly overtime and then all of a sudden. Except it was more like a growing bacteria or fungi, something you wish wasn’t happening and often don’t even know that it is happening until it’s too late. Gradually, I began to feel lost. I was floating and not in a good way. I needed to be grounded. There were too many questions inside my head and everything lost meaning. Even myself. I began to question who I was, and why I didn’t even have an answer for that. I remember a time when I knew everything. I had a plan and a grasp on what I wanted and how to get there. But poof - it all disappeared.

They call it an existential Crisis. “They” being google, the God of the internet, he who knows all. But he didn’t know the answers to all my questions. I didn’t stay at home, moping around, trying to figure it all out ( at least I didn’t do a lot of that ). I carried on, staying my usual busy self. But I felt I wasn’t all there. It was as though I was drifting just above everyone else, in a different atmospheric level, seeing things through a fog. Just like in those movies where a person’s spirit floats out of their body and sees things from a different perspective.

I kept expecting to wake up and know the answers. My biggest question was what should I do. I’ve been making decisions, ones I didn’t want to make, without knowing what I wanted. But without knowing who I am, I can’t figure out what I want just yet. So I’ve been trapped in the place between being gone and being there.

This feeling has started to fade thankfully. By going back to the things I enjoyed, like reading and scrapbooking ( and trying to cut back on netflix ) I feel more like myself again. It seems that creativity has helped a lot. Yet there are still many unanswered questions; What am I doing? Where am I going? Why do we exist?

Today I attended the funeral of a classmate. Although I didn’t know him well, I’ve always held a high opinion of him. He was one of the first people I met in college and one that said hi and never ignored me. I thought he was kind and a rare gentleman for someone so young. From the sea of suits today at the church I know he was loved by many. It was heartbreaking to see the pain on the faces of his family, his friends and even the strangers to me who obviously knew him much better than I did. In his far too short life he had made such an impact on these people. It seams very unfair that his life could be just taken away like that.

But seeing how short our lives can be, really makes you think.

I figure that we exist to live. It really doesn’t matter that you don’t know where you’re going or that you don’t have all the answers. You’re alive and breathing. And in my opinion, it’s the people that make our lives mean so much more.

Wednesday, June 7

I Have A Voice, I Will Be Heard

“You’re so quiet”

 “You’re so shy!”

 “Can you just say something?”

 “Is something wrong?Are you alright?”

I heard these countless times. While you may think being called shy or quiet is a good thing. Perhaps even a compliment. To me it was as if someone was telling me how ugly I am, how fat I am. You’re so quiet. You’re so shy. These words followed me for years. Even today I sometimes still get told how quiet I am. The only difference is that I know that it’s okay.

Some people are sporty. Some are dramatic and some are chatty. I am quiet. But I am not just quiet. There is so much more to me than the amount of words I utter. I remember once when I was about 12. It was a new school which meant new people. I remember my friend and I talking with these new girls. I was happy. I didn’t realise at the time, that I wasn’t saying anything. It was normal for me not to say anything, as normal as breathing air. My friend turned to me, exasperated, and said “Can you just talk? Say something, anything”. I was stunned. I wracked my brain for things to say. Literally nothing came to mind. I probably spent 20 or 30 minutes sitting in silence, concentrating on something to say. As time itched on, I was getting more paranoid that I still hadn’t any input in the conversation. I felt sick and embarrassed. Until finally I asked, “What’s for Irish homework?”. I have no idea if anyone replied because I was so relieved that I actually said an entire sentence.

I wasn’t a mute. It’s not like I never talked to anyone. I had friends and family and chatted happily to them when I had stuff to say. But being told that I was shy, hurt my confidence so much. Like hello? Why would you tell a shy person that they’re shy? That’s like having a humongous spot on my nose and someone coming up to me to inform me that I have a spot, right there, on my nose. Well, blimey, how could I get through life without ever knowing? Gosh thanks, you’re my hero.

Through blogging I’ve found a form of communication I enjoy. You see, I do have a voice and I do have a lot to say. Just because I don’t stand on my soapbox and shout to everyone who passes does not mean my opinion is any less valid. I am okay with being quiet now because I know it really doesn’t mean anything. In fact I’ll take it as a compliment next time someone says it to me.

I've come along way since my 12 year old self. People are surprised when I tell them how very anti-social I am and how hard it can be to keep a conversation going sometimes. I'm much more comfortable in my self now. In fact I can be very chatty depending on the topic. I know a couple of people my own age who are even quieter than me at 12 years old. And that's totally okay. But it does not mean their voices won't be heard. When they are ready they will speak their mind, until then don't exclude them for being quiet.

I am a girl. I am human. I am a blogger, a feminist, a reader, a baker, computer scientist. And yes, I am quiet.

I am Marian.