The burden of ambition

I recently listened to a podcast on ambition, it challenged the idea of ambition being some kind of hot-ticket personality trait. Especially in the age of #girlbosses and the rising appeal of entrepreneurship, ambition is seen as a must-have quality. The conversation drew upon how this it doesn’t (and shouldn’t have to) come naturally to everyone and not wanting to be the owner of a business empire at the age of 25 is ok.

But for some people who live with adversity, ambition is a lifeline. It’s what they rely on to do more, to achieve more. Why would you not want more than you currently have – or don’t have which is more the likely case? This is where ambition the driving force becomes ambition the burden. A burden accepted by many. To reject a want for better, to deny the burden is ultimately a privilege that many people aren’t entitled to.

The other side of ambition, when you’re from a disadvantaged background, is not being ambitious. Logically, it just doesn’t make sense. It seems unproductive and irresponsible. But what happens when you don’t want to carry that burden? Ultimately, it is a constant pressure and, in a situation, where deprivation is very real, desperation for success for not only yourself but potentially dependants as well, it can be unbearable. A cross too heavy to carry. To some extent its understandable but is it ok in the same way it would be for someone in a more *comfortable* life position? This is where I struggle.

 

Friendship After School

Recently, I’ve been thinking about friendship, as in more than just I have them. Having left school and university last year, I guess I realised how education almost institutionalised friendship. And then not having these friendship-birthing grounds that I was so used to, made me think about it all.

One of the ups of school ending was leaving behind forced friendships. Those friendships that, in hindsight, didn’t mean very much and were more of a convenience thing. On the other hand, it also meant you could take forward the friendships that were actively and mutually nurtured, ones that you reckoned could withstand the turbulence that would inevitably follow in life after school. The latter I found very cool, growing in every way with a friend by your side, it’s so precious. These friendships have comforted me and helped me feel grounded as I’ve started #adulting, there’s literally nothing like reminiscing over high school dramas when you’re feeling a bit lost at 22.

In theory, the work place should be an equally fertile place for friendships, but I haven’t found it to be. Not in the same way anyway. The office is full of people from really different from me. I know the people in school weren’t all the same but having the same mad physics teacher, over-enthusiastic hymn teacher and a shared hatred for compulsory skirts in the dead of winter really helps with the whole bonding thing. All these feelings and experiences we shared over five-plus years gave us all a common ground, which to some extent isn’t there at work – especially not when you’re a newbie. Now, meeting someone at work that I have things in common with (which pretty much hasn’t happened) is weirdly so exciting.

I’m looking forward to meeting and befriending like-minded people. Equally though, I’m enjoying being in the company of people who are nothing like me. I definitely didn’t enjoy this at university, living and learning alonside people who were the total opposite of me was something that I found quite intimidating. In the work place it’s a different kind of difference between everyone. Everyone has a role of their own which is where maybe university was a bit of a struggle – everyone had the same ‘student’ role which created an illusion of equality where in actual fact there was next to none. People are a little older than me, seen more, done more and it’s been a surprisingly lovely experience even without questionable teaching figures and punishing uniforms.

2017 Reading

This title is so cheeky, I waited nine whole months to read and it was on holiday AND I didn’t read anything afterwards. Titles aside, I hadn’t read for pleasure in years, so I really did enjoy reading again, both having the opportunity as well as the actual reading part. My reading included the infamous Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People about Race, internet fave Milk and Honey and a magazine I liked the look (and price) of in a book shop, Typical Girls.

For me, Reni Eddo-Lodge set out to explain the trials and tribulations of racism in all its ugly forms and the life-long struggle of not only living through it, but speaking out about it to an unreceptive, uninterested, white, British audience. The latter being the primary focus of the book. Her execution was brilliant. Having studied race-politics, I was familiar with the theoretical aspects, but I loved her blend of theory and real-life scenarios. Have recommended to all my pals.

I think I got the hype around Rupi Kaur and her poetry after reading Milk and Honey. It’s pretty raw and a million percent as deep as everyone says. I say think because something felt off. I don’t know whether the hype got my expectations way too high or maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for the heavy themes, but I guess I was underwhelmed by it. However, I don’t feel like it’s a one-time read type of book. The next time I want to get in my feelings, Rupi will be my girl.

I remember starting my holiday reading with the magazine to ease myself into it all (lol). It was filled with loads of interesting articles about really cool people doing really cool things. The aesthetics were cute also. I went to the book shop to get a copy of the latest issue of So It Goes Magazine but Typical Girls won on that day and I’m glad it did. Maybe next time So It Goes.

I hope I read more than two books in 2018.

Skam: Web-Series Excellence

From the soundtrack to the style choices of each episode I don’t think there is a thing I didn’t love about this show. At a whole 22 years, I definitely don’t think I was the target audience, but that didn’t stop me from binge-watching season after season. No doubt the guys at Facebook have a ridiculously high standard to meet, I look forward to seeing them try!

The characters are intensely real; they’re young, dumb, fragile, confused, passionate and curious, exactly like I was as a teenager doing the figuring-shit-out thing. This relatability-factor is what made the show so, incredibly addictive. Every single ugly part of growing up was laid bare, never glitzy or glamourous, always raw, if not sometimes brutal. I could feel like Eva or Sana and at the same time recall the Vilde or the Even of my friends.

Of all the teen dramas I’ve watched (MANY), nothing compares. This show’s unprecedented success is down to the meticulous construction of the characters. They all got a insta follow from me, obv.

A Year of Hols

Having just returned from the most gorgeous holiday and still riding the motivation wave, blogging wise, I thought it’d be a good one to write about. I would have loved to dedicate an entire post to this one holiday but that felt a little too indulgent. Soo instead I thought I would look back to all the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit over the past year-ish. Hopefully, this makes for an interesting read.

Starting with last summer, I did Berlin, Germany. I found it was a great place to city-break, maybe even a favourite. I will definitely definitely return to Berlin as soon as I can.

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Jewish Museum
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Berlin Burger International
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This spring I spent a few (wet) days in Amsterdam plus a detour into Utrecht one day. I really loved learning about the history of the residential architecture here courtesy of a great walking tour guide.

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Madrid was next. The girls and I wanted a sunny few days somewhere and pretty last minute we landed on Madrid. It was HOT, omg it was hot. We didn’t explore anywhere near enough to get a feel for the city. Definitely one to re-visit.

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El Retiro Park
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Almudena Cathedral

Finally, the place that inspired this post, the Greek Island of Rhodes. It was insanely beautiful; picturesque landscapes, amazing sunsets and sunrises, and pretty, quaint villages.

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Lindos Beach

She Starts…

For the first time in seventeen long, long years, September is not the start of school or university. I’m definitely glad to have finished formal education but I feel like September will be a kick-start month for me for some years to come and I’m not mad about it. As soon as it came around this year I felt super inspired and motivated. I know it won’t last as long as I’d like so I’m capitalising on it while I can.

This September marks the beginning of my professional career, kind of. I’m starting a ‘proper’ job, whatever that means. I dreamed of being where I’m at now exactly this time last year, unbeknownst of what the year ahead had in store for me. Whilst my peers were starting work and beginning their next chapters, I felt like I had been left behind and it wasn’t for lack of trying. I went through application after application with no real success and it was nothing short of soul crushing. One year on I can safely say that I needed the time. It’s been a good year; I’ve enjoyed my final year of student-hood and I think I’m now ready to ‘adult’ and stuff.

I can only describe my feelings towards my new nine-to-five as near identical to those moving from primary school to secondary school. Everything is new, I get that anxious/ excited feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I think about it and I know it’ll be a restless night on the eve of my first day. Will I make friends? I hope I make friends. I’m sure I’ll make at least one friend.

It’s also the start of me blogging, evidently. For real for real this time. I’ve spent most of my educational career writing; it’s something I’ve always enjoyed and would like to continue but in a less academic capacity and in a more creative one. Like many other twenty-somethings I have no concrete plans, career wise – or anything wise if I’m being truly honest – but I’m very much looking forward to figuring it all out. During this strange trial and error period I am hoping the blog will be an outlet for me, maybe even a journal/diary type situation if I’m brave enough.