Wintergirls — Laurie Halse Anderson

Why? You want to know why?

Step into a tanning booth and fry yourself for two or three days. After your skin bubbles and peels off, roll in coarse salt, then pull on long underwear woven from spun glass and razor wire. Over that goes your regular clothes, as long as they are tight.

Smoke gunpowder and go to school to jump through hoops, sit up and beg, and roll over on command. Listen to the whispers that curl into your head at night, calling you ugly and fat and stupid and bitch and whore and worst of all “a disappointment”. Puke and starve and cut and drink because you don’t want to feel any of this. Puke and starve and cut and drink because you need an anaesthetic and it works. For a while. But then the anaesthetic turns into poison and by then it’s too late because you are mainlining it now, straight into your soul. It is rotting you and you can’t stop.

Look in the mirror and find a ghost. Hear every heartbeat scream that everysinglething is wrong with you

“Why?” is the wrong question.

Ask “Why not?”

— from Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson


I will be writing a review-cum-feedback of this book soon, so keep an eye out.


All credit for the extract goes to the author of Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson.


When I Grow Up…

First off, anyone who even thought about the Pussycat Dolls song when they read the title should get the f out (but you get an honorary highfive on the way out for trying).

When I was younger, I wanted to be a new thing every week. It was anything from an air hostess to a mountain goat (no, really.)

This topic came up in my mind as I was filling out a section of my UCAS form yesterday. For any of you not hailing from the land of A Levels, UCAS is basically the system through which we apply to university, kind of like a huge directory, if you like.

It sprung to my mind that I was making huge life decisions based on what I think I want now. What if that changes in the next year? What if I decide to make a U-turn and dedicate my life to the conservation of a rare species of potplant? I wouldn’t have the qualifications to do so, and I have therefore shut a series of doors that would take some serious legwork to reopen.


So it occurred to me that I’ve never really wanted to be just one thing. I wanted to be everything, and in that way I’m quite selfish (I’m sure there’s a Simone de Beauvoir quote in there somewhere…)

And I still don’t know.

I’m no closer to knowing who I want to be and what I want to do than when I wanted to be a spy when I was nine, or a koala when I was five.

Obviously now my dreams of transmogrifying into an small, furry animal have been dashed (goddammit!), but even then, decisions with such large ramifications are a daunting prospect.

I don’t like the idea of being confined to one, or even a small selection of things. I want to live an extraordinary life.

Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like I’m talking about fame and fortune and worldwide adoration. I don’t want that kind of burden. All I would ever desire is a life full of small, private freedoms and joys that, if I’m ever-so-lucky, I could share with others.

In an embarrassingly clichéd phrase, I want to live fast and free and wildly and deeply and I’m not sure if the world will let me. There are so many things I want to do (as can be seen on my bucket list) and getting them done seems… unlikely.

In all truth, I don’t like the prospect of growing old. It isn’t about the appearance, about youth or beauty or vanity.

In my mind, I see it almost like an ever-narrowing tunnel of prospects: as you grow older, the prospects become more sparse, you begin to lose options and the ability to choose or go back on your choices. I don’t want to be in the position of no prospects, being a burden to others around me.

Equally, I don’t want to have to fit into the parameters set for me by common expectation: school, A Levels, university, job, marriage, children, retirement, grandchildren, death. Charming, isn’t it?

Because of all this, and I haven’t expressed this anywhere but in my mind before, I can’t see myself living past my thirties. Again, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying I’m about to top myself. I’m saying that I don’t think that kind of life is for me.

I don’t want to live my life preparing. Education as a preparation for a job, a job for a promotion, a promotion for more money, more money to pay for children and a pension, preparing children for life, preparing to retire, retire to prepare for death.


No, fuck that.

That isn’t me.

I’d rather die having lived than fade away having survived.

I sound like a belligerent teenager right now, but I’ve never been more sure about anything.

I wasn’t cut out for ordinary.

So, what do I want to be when I grow up?

Well, it’s a bit of a cop-out, but I want to be free.

Just free.


(Attempted) Life Assertion

Sup, ma bloglings.

Upon ruminating (hurrah for big words!) on life in an existential manner today, I came to the conclusion that I am taking the wrong approach.

Instead of waiting for it to come around and smack me upside the head with a brick named Destiny, I should go out and grab life by the metaphorical horns.

But the thing is, I wouldn’t know where to start.

(That’s a question, isn’t it? O universe, great void, thou almighty entity, O supreme existence, where art thou horns?)

Okay, you’re probably looking like:

Source: knowyourmeme.com

Source: knowyourmeme.com

I would be too if I was on the receiving end of my ramblings.

It makes sense when it’s in my head.

Sometimes it’s even funny.


But anyhow, I’ve decided to be proactive about things from now on, regardless of whether I’ve located the universe’s horns or not (what am I waffling on about seriously I need to shut UP.)

Meaning I need to promise myself I will not hermitify myself over the summer holidays and do nothing but read/watch films all day.

I shall… (oh my god what am I saying…)

Have a social life.

Source: memegenerator.net

Source: memegenerator.net


but I will MAKE time.


I have a feeling this is going to be hard to do.

I do love curling up in an armchair and watching V for Vendetta on loop while consuming unhealthy amounts of hot chocolate and peanut butter sandwiches.


I shall march on.

Like a marchy thing.









(I mean, come on. Sean Bean in an umbrella hat? Nothing is better than that.)

Decagons, Uncategorized

(Very) Belated introductions…

Evening, all.

While staring into space during my exam today and pondering on the metaphysical existence of the posterior aspect (yeah, you know what I’m talking about…) of the cute guy sat in front of me, I came upon a realisation: you lovely beings who bother to read my ramblings don’t actually know that much about me.

Now I know, seeing as I’m choosing to keep this anonymous, that it would be paradoxical (love that word) to tell you my whole life story, but I sense we’ve reached the point in our relationship when we can take the next step.

No, no I’m not proposing (though you are all rather gorgeous), just extending the tentacle of friendship into the blogosphere.

I think I may start a mini tradition for myself wherein I do a 10-point ‘about me’ update every so often to keep y’all in the loop. I’m going to call it my Decagon.

So here it is, Decagon #1:

×   I am currently dancing around my living room in my jammies to Sugababes (guilty pleasure oops)

×   My song of the moment is Heartbeats by José Gonzàlez, because it reminds me of someone…

×   Today, I drank eight mugs of English Breakfast Tea, two mugs of Earl Grey and half a mug of green tea — it went cold 😦

×   Sometimes, I like to drink coffee before I go to bed so I can read for that little while longer.

×   Occasionally, I miss my stop on the bus because I’m so enthralled in a daydream.

×   I am currently reading A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki — it’s brilliant

×   Film of the moment = Cloud Atlas

×   There is (dare I say it?)… a boy.  Conflicting feelings right now. It’s confusing; yet another symptom of being a teenager. It’s a highly contagious condition, fatal.

×   I have a ficus plant called Godfrey. It’s like a mini tree. It’s pretty nifty.

×   Quote of the moment: “Love is a serious mental disease.” — Plato

I hope I haven’t bored you too much. It’s 10:16pm where I am in the universe, so I’m going to get some shut-eye now.


P.S. Have you noticed that humans are the only species to have an awareness and measure of time? And we, therefore, are the only species to have a sense of time running out? Food for thought.

Much like! XX


My version of individuality.

My version of individuality was a compound of lesser quantities of perfection.

My less ideal version of individuality didn’t add up to inspiration. No one took my words as gospel. No person did seek me out, professing my brilliance. No critics acclaimed. No songs were sung of my legacy, no eulogies rasped through fake tears in cathedrals. No memory of whatever part of me that may have shone through the canopy of the majority and into the spaces of legends. No story to hold on to.

My less desirable version of individuality didn’t amount to love. No hearts were damaged on my behalf, no emotions altered, no heartstrings tugged. No fantasies constructed, my face as the protagonist. Love is a fleeting notion more transient than a breath of airspace already polluted with an abundance of false declarations of love.

My less intelligent version of individuality didn’t amount to a discovery. No theory was named of me; no institute established in my name. No page in a textbook remembering my actions, no momentous phenomena holding the origin of its moniker to my own.

My less tragic version of individuality didn’t conclude in misery. It had no hardship in its yarn, no struggle plagued the continuation of its tapestry. No shocking retelling to be sold to the sadistic masses as ‘entertainment’, no ‘true story’ placard to be brandished at the flyleaves of its tale. No real sadness tore its world to shreds.

My less attractive version of individuality was never a muse to greatness. It never stood apart from a crowd. None singled me out as the one blessed with a golden ratio. I never caught half an eye in my years — never would I have tried. Never was I given the chance of a second glance. The scenery claimed me, and the walls were my refuge where I bloomed and withered, always watching, waiting.

My version of individuality did not supersede any other, neither did it come below. My version was merely a version, separated by degrees from the next.

Conform!” they said. “Be normal!” they said. What is ‘normal’ if not a method of satiating the human urge to fit in?

I was contented with my version, my edition, my attempt at something exceptional, even if it did appear to fail.

Because, after all:

Imperfection is merely unappreciated individuality.



When someone asks you, “Who are you?”, how do you reply?

A name? An occupation?

But if that questioner could peel back the layers, the walls, the masks, and peer into your mind/soul/spirit, what would they find? Names and job titles are not branded on your brain, they are constructs created by humans to give themselves parameters for comparison.

So, who are you?

Are you a product of your experience? (This platitudinous phrase perpetually regurgitated by supposed ‘deep thinkers’ seems too clichéd to hold any actual sense of profundity, but the idea is still there.)

Or is a person defined by their actions? However, something I have come to learn is the fact that some individuals who present themselves as selfless are in fact only interested in ameliorating their self-image, and so this cannot be depended on as a measure of character from a third party’s perspective.

The point (to which I have taken an overly loquacious and circuitous route — sorry) is when I, myself, try to reflect my thoughts inward and deliberate on my own psyche, me as a human being, I draw a blank. I consider my experiences, I contemplate my actions, but nothing comes.

Simply put, I don’t know who I am.

Is this a symptom of the fatal condition called being a teenager, or is this something else?

Maybe there’s something wrong with me.

But where’s the joy in being normal, right?