Go Back To Where You Came From

I have never been one to watch SBS. I prefer the superficial easy watching of Nickelodeon and Disney and shows on the BBC. Yesterday, however, my Geography teacher begged us to watch “Go Back To Where You Came From” and I reluctantly agreed. I didn’t know what to expect from the show, never really having an interest in Refugees and Asylum Seekers. I have known that they’re there, of course, but have never cared enough to form an opinion over the subject. I sat down and found myself on the verge of tears. I was absolutely heartbroken, especially when half the group was sent to a family of refugees in my town. As I watched, I thought of the new girls who have just started at my school, moving from Zimbabwe to seek a better life. It hit home hard, and I suddenly realised how much I just want them to all come and live here. 
I don’t really know what else to say on the subject. It’s so emotional and…I don’t even know. If you haven’t been watching, promise you’ll tune in tomorrow night at 8.30pm for the final part (unless you’ll be joining me at the Miley Cyrus concert!). Every Australian should watch. I can’t even explain how powerful and brilliant it is. 

frangipani princess xoxo

Conquering The Horse (AKA The End Of Public Speaking)

They say when you fall off a horse you have to get back on. That horse hurt you like hell, and you’re scared of getting back on incase it happens again, but still, you have to do it. My ‘horse’ was the Sydney Morning Herald Public Speaking Competition. I fell off it last year and hit the ground hard. I was sad and sorry and never wanted to see the bloody horse again. My teachers begged me to enter again this year, so I did. After all, the local round was a mere foal in comparison to the big horse. Falling off it couldn’t hurt me, in a way I almost wanted to fall. Falling would mean avoiding the big horse, and goodness, the further away I stayed from that monstrous thing the better. 

Unfortunately my name was called as the winner, so the horse reared nearer and I wanted to turn and run, scared out of my wits. I didn’t want to go, I would do anything in power to avoid going. Surely I would just fall off again. I cried, begged my mum not to make me go. I cried some more. Then, I was getting on a plane to Sydney. Extreme anxiety had been plaguing me the week prior to my flight. I would wake up in the middle of the night, imagining being back in the room, being back at the scene of my injury. I didn’t want to go. I barely slept last night, the night before the competition, imagining everything that could go wrong. I banned my parents from mentioning it at all, I almost vomited in the taxi on the way to the school. And suddenly, I was back. Memories flooded my mind and all I wanted to do was run. But I went in. I sat through the ten speeches before mine. I got up and gave my long term speech. No one laughed at my jokes, but it was over. I stood with the other contestants whilst they bragged about their schools, their achievements, their plans to be things I didn’t even know existed. I stood there while they agreed my speech was ‘amusing’ but that none of their friends use text speak (my topic), and while they looked down their nose and asked me how being a journalist would contribute to society. 

I still wanted to run. 

Then it was impromptu time. Impromptu was the horse that had bucked me off so severely last year. I thought I was going to be sick. It was going to happen again, I knew it. My brain was screaming “GET OUT OF THERE!” but I stayed. 

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, it was my turn to enter the room. And I knew stuff about the topic! I was so proud of myself. The horse wasn’t going to get the better of me this time! I stood at the front of the hall, and I talked my heart out. The boy after me interpreted the topic (“The Cutting Edge”) in a completely different way, but I didn’t care. It was over. My public speaking career was finally over. I was still on the horse and could safely dismount. Instead of running out in tears like last year, this year I was able to walk out with my head held high. I knew I hadn’t made the top six (out of twenty four), but I didn’t want to. I had conquered my fear. I had got back on that horse and ridden without falling, and I was so proud of myself. I may not had crossed the finish line first, but that wasn’t the point. All I could have done was my best, and I’m satisfied I did just that. I got up there and talked about things I’m passionate about. While it may not have been politics or climate change or any other serious topic public speakers are so keen on ranting about in monotones, it was what made me happy, and I think I did it well. 

My love for public speaking had ended long ago, but I’m glad I was given this final chance to go out on a good note. Public Speaking, once again, I’d just like to thank you for the memories. We’ve had a great time, and maybe we’ll meet again in the future. 

frangipani princess xoxo

Life Is Hectic

Sorry I’ve been a little Missing In Action this week guys. Suddenly I’ve found myself with a million assessment tasks to work on, and shifts at work to complete to save money for not only my upcoming weeks in Sydney, but also my just-around-the-corner trips to Vietnam and France. I had the regional debating finals today, which we won, so in the next few weeks we’ll start the State Semi-Final process, and then next Friday I also have the State Semi-Final for the SMH public speaking competition in Sydney. Combine all that with regular class work, including before and after school classes a few days a week, and I barely have time to breathe, let alone blog. 
I’ll hopefully have more time to blog soon, so don’t abandon me just yet.
Damn senior school getting in the way of my Very Important Hobbies. 

frangipani princess xoxo

Avoidance Is Becoming An Issue

I’m beginning to realise I have a rather large problem with avoidance. I don’t mean procrastination. Charlie clearly defines what procrastination is in this video, and believe me, what I do goes above and beyond that. I’m sure my problems started by procrastinating. You know, watching TV instead of doing my homework, going to the movies to put off study for a test, the usual. They have, however, reached a scary point. A point where I put things off until I get sick to the stomach thinking about them, and if anyone mentions them, or the date they’re due or are happening, I physically cannot stand to be there any longer. I have, on a few occasions at home, actually put my fingers in my ears and screamed ‘lalalala’ when my parents have tried to talk to me about upcoming events. Don’t get me wrong, I always end up doing them, and doing them well, but in those few weeks before they have to be done, it’s hell for me. I’m not like this for every single assessment task, just ones I worry about or that are really big. If it’s something I enjoy, I’ll get it done straight away, but if I don’t necessarily enjoy it or a ranking is in jeopardy, I freak. The same goes for public speaking competitions. Just try and mention my speech for my upcoming state semi-final around me, I dare you.

To me, if I ignore that something exists, push it to the back of my mind and just don’t think about it, the problem will go away. Illogical thinking? Definitely. But it seems to keep me calm.  
I’ve always had a bit of a problem with anxiety; I stress a lot and worry insane amounts about insignificant events. I guess this is just a further growth of those issues. The internet and my laptop don’t exactly help, it’s just so easy for me to turn on technology and escape the real world. I know it’s not healthy, especially with year twelve and all the assessment tasks and exams it entails just around the corner, so do any of you guys have any tips for dealing with stress? What can I do so that I don’t freak out about upcoming tasks and events, and not avoid them to the point of meltdown? 

frangipani princess xoxo

Something A Little Different

Sometimes I write things other than blog posts, like this short story I managed to get full marks on this week. I’ll put it after the jump, so you can check it out if you’d like to see a different style of my writing πŸ™‚ 
The question was ‘compose a 500 word story on the topic of Power, Authority and the Individual’. 

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High school is a battlefield. There are two sides; the right one, and the wrong one. Unlike in war, however, everyone is in agreement about which is which. I lead the right side, but I am an imposter. A double agent. The holder of a secret identity. Call it what you will, but who everyone else sees is not who I want to be. Who I am.

I walk the halls, barking insults like a machine gun at anyone who passes within firing range. The words I instruct my troops to fire rain on those who dare to oppose us like bullets. I decide who lives and who dies in this vicious place. I am God, judging all who pass before me. The ironic thing is, if they saw the real me, I would be as condemned as the rest of them. My position would not prevent my fall from glory.

High school is a giant game of follow the leader, with all participants too scared to break from the status quo. I am the leader in this perilous game. I am the one they all wish to be. What I say is law. What I do must be followed. The funny thing about high school, though, is we are all sheep. Myself included. Despite my so-called position of authority, I simply act as everyone else acts, dress as everyone else dresses, speak as everyone else speaks. I do not dare to break rank, to step a foot out of line, to actually dare to be different. Everyone wishes to be me, but not even I am granted that wish.

I wonder what would happen if everyone found out that I am really on the other team, in all meanings of the phrase. That the casualties of this battle are simply an outpouring of my own self-loathing. I attack those who I wish I could be. I tell my troops that the differences of those we oppose make them freaks, and freaks cannot survive in this harsh terrain. Their differences actually give them the ultimate strength. We attack them with an abundance of artillery but they refuse to break. They refuse to be sheep. They stay true to themselves β€˜til the death. By refusing to fight for us, they are asserting that they have the power needed to succeed in this war.

I may appear to have the ultimate authority in this battle, but those with the strength to question my authority hold it all in life. I wish I could cross the battle lines and not be afraid to be on their team. That I could be proud of who I am. Instead, I keep my troops marching behind me, following my every blind move.  

What did you think? You can be honest, I know creative writing isn’t always my thing πŸ˜›

frangipani princess xoxo 

The Friends Everyone Needs

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the different roles friends play in our lives, and the different kinds of friends we all need. For me, at least, pretty much all of my friends serve a different purpose in my life, making up one whole and pretty much perfect friendship group. I have, and feel everyone should try and have the following types of friends:

The Friend You’ve Known Forever: The friend you’ve known since birth, or for as long as you can remember, anyway. They appear in your baby book and have been to pretty much every one of your birthdays. Their family is like your second family, and you can’t imagine a life without them because you have never experienced life without them. 
Personal example: I’ve known my amazing friend Emily since the day I was born. I know that I can always rely on her, and our history means we stay tight, even though distance keeps us physically apart. She invited me to her 18th birthday party the other day, and all I could think was “where the hell has all that time gone!?”

The Friend You Can Tell Everything To: Being a teen is hard enough without having all your secrets spread around the school, and even though you’re meant to be able to trust your friends, we all know that isn’t always the case. It’s great to have a friend that you can tell absolutely anything to and know that they will keep it to themselves 100%. It’s also great when they give amazing advice, though sometimes a listening ear is all you need. 
Personal example: Tamsin and I have been friends for about four or five years now, and I know that no matter what I tell her, it won’t be passed on. She’s always up for DnMs and makes me feel like I’m not alone. 

The Friend You’ve Been Through A Lot With: Although it’s great to have perfect friendships with your friends, going through hard times with them can also make your friendship a lot stronger. I’m not advocating having a friend who makes you unhappy, or that you fight all the time with, but just because you don’t always agree with someone doesn’t mean you should write them off.
Personal example: Quack and I are sub-bffs and I love her with all of my heart, but the beginning five years of our eight and a half year friendship were rocky to say the least. We fought All The Time and generally made each other unhappy. But now that we’ve grown up and can see how epic we both really are, our messy past has made us a lot closer as friends. It’s also taught us what not to do to keep our friendship amazing. 

The Friend Who You Can Be Your Total Self Around: This is the friend that you can complain about being hungry, or fat, or needing to pee with, and they don’t care. You can share all your secrets, but also be complete idiots and talk superficial nonsense. They can see you at your most hyperactive and your most depressed and still *get* you; you don’t have to worry about hiding anything from them .
Personal example: Although I have a few friends that I can be my complete self around, the one who stands out the most is Adro. Even though I hardly ever get to see him, our facebook, text and skype chats range from intense dnms to total fangirling. It’s really great. 

The Friend Who Is Nothing Like You: While it’s fine to have friends who are like carbon copies of yourself, sometimes it’s also handy to have friends who are your complete opposite. They say opposites attract, and though you may feel you have nothing at all in common, sometimes a different opinion or view on things can be a breath of fresh air. 
Personal example: My Geography class. These eight are the Indie Music to my Jonas Brothers. The SBS to my Nickelodeon. The political discussions to my fangirling. They make fun of my interests an awful lot (today they decided my new nickname was ‘Philistine’) but it’s a nice kind of different to have people who don’t agree with you at all on anything, although sometimes their lack of excitement to my obsession-fueled statements can be frustrating. We mock each other, but it’s all in good fun. 

The Older Friend: While it’s good to have friends your own age, having friends who are older (and by older, I mean like a year or two, not twenty) can also be a helpful thing. Older friends can give the best advice, because they’ve been there before, and they also are (slightly) more mature than your same-aged classmates can be. 
Personal example: Most of my friends I met in France were a few years older than me. In particular, my American friends Monika, Cassandra and Sandra, were all eighteen to my sixteen. I feel hanging out with them helped me to mature and now they’re there to give me awesome life advice. 

The Best Friend: The one person who is always there for you. Even though there may be distance, or time, or various other factors between you, they’re the one person who you can always count on. The one friend you can’t imagine your life without. You do everything together and everyone just knows you’re best friends. You can be a complete idiot around them, or completely serious. You make plans for the future together because you just know they’ll be a part of it. They’re the finishing piece to the friendship puzzle, and no group is truly complete without one. 
Personal example: Toong and I have been best friends since…I don’t even know when. Year seven? It feels like I’ve known her forever and we’re like twins. We love all the same things and can spend time together in total silence and it’s still comfortable. I miss seeing her everyday so much, but I know she’ll be a super important part of my life forever. She’s the Harry to my Ron. We’re BFFs eternally, and no, we’re not bitter.

There are many other types of friendship, including some that can’t really be defined, but I decided just to list my really key ones tonight. 
Do you have friends that fit these categories?

frangipani princess xoxo

Exams, And Why My Geography Teacher Won’t Talk To Me After Thursday

I have exams at school this week. As I missed the School Certificate last year due to being in France, these are my first ‘official’ school exams. You know, with a timetable and where you don’t have to be at school when you don’t have one, etc. I had English yesterday morning and it went pretty well. I think. We had to write an essay which I know I did well at, but then the other half of the exam was stupid questions about literary and visual techniques used in different excerpts and how these related to Power, Authority and the Individual. It wasn’t my idea of fun. 

My problem with exams is that I hate studying. I don’t know how to do it properly and I don’t have the attention span for it. I was fine with English because I’m good at English. I’ll be able to scrape through both my histories for the same reason, but when it comes to Biology, French and Geography I’m going to be beyond screwed. 

Geography is my last exam on Thursday afternoon and I’m yet to even look at my notes for it. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if I hadn’t spent a terms worth of lessons and free periods not doing the work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just me. Our class of nine are not a good combination, in the way that we’re all nerds and get distracted easily and end up discussing anything and everything except the work. Most of the time the class is just laughing at my music tastes, or me after I say something that I think is smart but really just isn’t. It makes for entertainment at the time, but then you realise you have an exam and you have a very big ‘oh crap’ moment. 
Geography is a pretty evil subject. Well, it’s not, but it is with our teacher. It’s a ‘GAT’ class and as he wants us all to get band sixes in the HSC, he teaches us all these confusing things we don’t really need to know. He’s probably never going to talk to me again after he sees my test. I think we’re having a cram sesh tomorrow afternoon though, so that will helpfully allow me to pass. 

I have my Ancient test in just over two hours and my Bio test this afternoon. After them, I’ll be halfway through. Some of my friends are finished this afternoon or tomorrow morning and get the rest of the week as holidays. That is so not fair. Wish me luck, I’ll need it!

frangipani princess xoxo

Those Moments When You Realise Your Future Kids Will Think You Were A Super Lame Teenager

Today at lunchtime we were discussing stories our parents have told us about their youth. There were tales of parents sneaking out of boarding schools to get drunk, parents living in hippy communes, parents having sex in a phone booth on school property…it seemed as we went around the circle, the stories got crazier. I was laughing along with everyone else until an extremely depressing thought hit me. One day I’m going to have kids of my own and they’re going to want to hear stories of all the crazy things I got up to, but I have none. Rule-breaking adventures aren’t exactly my forte and anything that requires me to get out of my pyjamas on a weekend is usually too much effort for me to even consider. Harry Potter marathons are my idea of heaven and watching Buffy in bed is an afternoon well spent. You know that bit in Easy A where she spends her weekend in her bedroom singing? That’s my life. It’s not exactly the stuff thrilling tales are made of. 
Sure, I have fun times where I go on epic trips and be a giant fangirl, but that will probably just make my kids think I was really, really lame. The fact that I probably am is besides the point. 
Maybe I’ll be lucky and have really awesome kids who will think my teenage years were brilliantly spent and want to recreate them themselves. A girl can dream, can’t she? 

What stories have you heard from your parents/will you tell your kids one day? 

frangipani princess xoxo

Public Speaking Season

We had our first debate of the season today. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back to debating this year, but when my amazing team from last year all said they were going to, I knew I couldn’t say no. 

When you finish debating for a year, you kind of forget about debating. Well, you don’t forget about debating as such, but you forget about the thrill. The nervousness in the prep room. The million thoughts an hour running through your brain. The disappointment at losing the toss or getting your second choice of topic. The rush of adrenaline as you get up to speak. The anger when your well thought out arguments get rebutted. The hilarity when the other team says something irrelevant or plain idiotic. The butterflies when the adjudicator stands up to speak. The bonding over disgusting sandwiches. Debating is possibly the biggest rush of emotions you can experience in a two hour period. 

It’s best, of course, when you win, which we thankfully did today. Our topic was one close to my heart that could have ended in tears had the toss gone the other way. Luckily, we were negative for “Maths should be a compulsory HSC subject” as both our fourth speaker and I don’t do maths. We came up with some awesome arguments, but I must admit my favourite part is always when I get up and get to spend six minutes tearing the other team’s case to shreds. I especially love doing this as the negative team as no one can rebut what I say. 

As most of you know, I also public speak, and public speaking season is fast approaching. As much as I do love public speaking, I think debating will always hold a dearer place in my heart. With debating, whether you win, lose, get outraged with an adjudication or get a brilliant/awful topic, it’s all with a team. My team are three of my very good friends, so sharing those emotions with them is a brilliant experience. Sometimes, public speaking is very lonely, because even if friends are there, they’re always your opposition. It’s a lot more nerve-wracking and disappointing when you’re all by yourself. Sure, when you win you get the added bonus of knowing you did it all by yourself but the victory just isn’t as sweet without friends to celebrate it with.

But still, in weeks to come I will be putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and writing a speech or three for various competitions. I will have fun with them, but I know for a fact that I’ll have much more fun at my upcoming rounds of debating (especially since next round is The Media). 

frangipani princess xoxo