Thursday 28 February 2013

A2: S7 - Blessed

Curiosity, it turns out, is my greatest ally and my worst enemy.

I couldn't possibly wrack my brains to figure out who Gentleman J could be. I asked around everyone if they possibly had a clue, but most were either oblivious or disinterested, and those who did know, refused to tell me. But I had an inkling. Recently, I'd met a whole bunch of rookie American Footballers out on a team social, and one named Jack had later messaged me saying he'd read Scarphelia, and the entry 'The Darkest of Days' had made him cry.

Finally, the truth came out, and Gentleman J turned out indeed to be, rookie footballer, Jack. He was a charmingly befuddled and an overwhelmingly sweet boy, and along with thanking him profusely for his unbelievably sweet words, I realised I needed to perhaps explain my views. In the most cringe-worthy and awkward message ever, I explained my perspective on love and relationships. 

"You don't need to apologise - I feel perhaps I got a little too caught up in the moment when writing that letter, and perhaps came on a little too strong. I completely understand though, but it would be nice to just spend some time in your company. Maybe we could get lunch this week?"

Feeling a little more reassured that he wouldn't think I'd lead him on, we set a date for lunch.

In the meantime, our house got robbed, but we all know how that went.


Two days after the robbery, I headed toward the campus restaurant. To be honest, I was nervous as hell. I'd barely spoken to the boy and one of my greatest fears is awkward social situations. And although I've said before how I believe I am amazing, I always feel apprehensive when others insinuate this same sentiment toward me, because in reality, I'm a totally anti-climactic human, and I'm scared they'll see just how average I actually am.

I met him and we sat down to eat. At first indeed it was pretty awkward, neither of us really knew what to say, and the Valentines gesture kind of hung in the air like an awkward taboo. Eventually he broached the subject, and after we got that out of the way we slipped into casual friendly conversation.

He was quite remarkable. I didn't really know what to expect from him, but he spoke to me of the universe. He spoke about his frustrations with normality and the mundane, how people without passion aggravate him more than anything, and how he has discovered this new found yearning within him, to take on the world. We shared our mutual aspirations and sentiments about life, passion and curiosity, and I felt thoroughly invigorated by our conversation.

I smiled, because without even meaning to, I'd found another. Right where I least expected it, was a brightly burning silver.

About an hour into our lunch, he excused himself to go to the toilet. While he did so, I sat alone, looked out of the window and noticed my Web Design lecturer walking past. His name is James and he's the perfect 'nerd' stereotype, straight out of an American High School TV series. I've always said, to a chorus of 'oh yeahhhh!'s, that he's the perfect cross between Dexter from Dexter's Lab and Gus Griswald from Recess.

There was something quite intriguing about the way in which he was walking. He was walking very, very slowly, head up, face expressionless. It made me start to think. There's something quite inherently sad about someone walking slowly. Everyone these days is always rushing off somewhere, walking fast, weaving through crowds, chattering away on their phones or rifling through their bags, that you when you see someone walking so slowly and so delicately, it just seems wrong. Because they are walking without purpose, without direction. I looked at the other people walking around him, and you could clearly tell where they were going and what they were going to do. But I just couldn't imagine where he was headed.

It then got me to wondering about his life. If he was going home, where was home? What was his house like? What did he do in his spare time? I just stared at his small delicate frame, walking without direction among this crowd bustling crowd of humans, and I didn't even know why... but I just felt such pity. 

I decided I really wanted to write this down, so pulled out the Little Orange Notebook. As I did so, two things happened simultaneously. Gentleman J returned to the table, and a leaflet fell out of the notebook. I picked up the leaflet.

It was advertising an Enterprise talk on self-employment, hosted by the founder of the MOBO awards, Kanya King. Seeing how wonderful and beneficial the previous talk with famous blogger Zoe Griffin and Blake Samuels had been, it really excited me. I looked at the date, it was today. I looked at the time, it was in an hour. I turned to Gentleman J.

"Are you busy?"

"What... now?"

"In an hour."

"Uh... don't think so... why?"

I pushed the leaflet across the table to him. He looked into my eyes and I could see the little spark of silver light up behind his eyes.

"What have we got to lose? It's free and so are we. Like I said, when you're brave and take random chances, fate rewards you. I'm going to go. Come with me?"

And so we did. 


When we arrived there, we realised this was kind of a bigger deal than we'd anticipated. We were surrounded by people in suits, and there was an open cocktail bar and huge snacks buffet. We exchanged a look of 'well, holy shit' and headed towards the bar. We grabbed some cocktails and I saw some people I'd met at the previous conference. They were members of the Young Entrepreneurs Society and the Enterprise Team. I told them how much I'd enjoyed the other conferences and decided to take a chance and come to this one.

Then, the head of the Entrepreneurs Society came up to me, expressed how much he'd enjoyed reading Scarphelia, and asked me to speak at the next talk. 

Dumb. Struck.

I genuinely could not believe it. I'd been blogging for a month and a half and I was already being asked to be a guest speaker at a blogging conference? I quivered inwardly as I realised that things were starting to change.

We entered the auditorium for the talk, took our seats and listened to Kanya King telling of how she rose out of the shallow depths of nothingness and constructed an empire. It was inspiring to listen to her, and I was thoroughly entranced. 

When she'd finished, the host of the event returned to the stage, thanked Kanya, and said that before the Q&A session, they were going to announce the winner of the prize draw. Gentleman J and I exchanged a look of moderate interest, we hadn't even been aware that there was a prize draw. They'd taken down the names of everyone who had attended, put them in a hat, and were to draw out one at random to win an iPad.

I turned to Gentleman J.

"Wouldn't it be funny if it was me who won the iPad, two days after my laptop got stolen?" I whispered. Then, I felt the most inexplicable swirl in the depths of my stomach. Becuase I think a split-second before it happened, I knew what was just about to happen. I felt the cool hand of Lady Fate on my shoulder, as I heard three words boom across the room.

"Congratulations, Katie Oldham!"

I gasped aloud and a small laugh tittered across the audience. I turned to Gentleman J who was staring at me with an expression of mixed horror, disbelief and awe.

"I told you... things... happen to me..." I whispered.

"...That don't happen to... people." He whispered back. "I never... I never would've believed it if I wasn't here, I..."

And while applause echoed around us and the host instructed me to stay behind at the end, Gentleman J and I just stared at each other, shaking, mouths agape, goosebumps tearing across my skin. And somewhere deep in the back of my mind I saw the smirking silver face of Lady Fate give me a little wink, before disappearing again back into the swirling silver mist.


Wednesday 27 February 2013

A2: S6 - D-day

My tolerance of relationships in pretty low.

No, tolerance is the wrong word. Makes me sound like some kind of love nazi. Someone actually sent me a message on Tumblr the other day saying "WHY DO YOU HATE LOVE" which made me smile an awful lot. I guess people have come to think of me as either as some career-driven power lesbian or just an insufferable slut because I just do not feel the need for a relationship right now. Which again, just makes me smile an awful lot.

It's sad how many people at this age seem to be so narrow-minded when it comes to relationships. singledom is treated as a disease, with infected people parading themselves around like peacocks night after night in the Student Union club, desperately trying to find a cure for their ailment. Or like a pre-school classroom when the teacher says 'Right everyone get into pairs!' and the class are sent tearing across the classroom in a desperate bid not to be the one left on their own - to the point where they don't even care who they are with as long as they have a partner. I guess I just don't see why our lives are so powerfully influenced and centered around finding our 'other halfs'. Could it not be possible that some of just feel pretty much in one piece as it is?

I don't hate love at all - in fact I'm possibly the most hopelessly romantic person ever, and I of course want to settle down and marry when I'm older. But that along with being the most fiercely independent person ever, makes my head an interesting place to be. I believe I have been in love twice in my life and I'll admit that most of the time, it was the most beautiful thing in the world. But after a string of  fruitless romances and pointless relationships, let-downs, rejections and heartbreaks, I think I am finally, thank god-fully in that elusive, rare and golden state of mind where I'm actually just... okay. For the first time in my life, I'm not looking for a relationship. I'm overwhelming happy, content and just at peace with being on my own. And I feel pretty blessed for that. I have so much time now to focus on the greatest things in life, learning, educating, discovering, experiencing, creating, and most of all, making a little time for myself. Then, that little poster which changed my life pops into my head again... "If you are looking for the love of your life, stop. They will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love."

That is why, by all of gods green earth and heavens, I could've never imagined that I'd wake up on February the 14th to a little red envelope and a bouquet of red carnations on my doorstep.

I eyeballed it suspiciously but it definitely said my name. Now, this is partly because of the sheer unexpectedness, partly because of how nice it was and a little part to just having a tiny weeny little brag, but...This is what the inside read:

"To Katie,
It would be easy for me to fly into endless compliments about your physical beauty, but it is too obvious and I would hate to appear slovenly. All I will say is your smile would make a blind man flinch. (hahahahahahahaha)
There is something oddly intriguing and frankly inspiring about your character that I find to be really very difficult to describe in my own words. So I will use a small quote from a film I am confident you have seen...
"It makes me anything is possible. Like... life is worth it?"
You have begun to thaw the black ice from an embittered and cynical man's heart.Whether you pursue to find out who I am, is up to you. But please know you have inspired me to start living properly, regardless. Might also be worth playing "She's got you high" by Mumma-Ra while you read this. It's been in my head the entire time I have been writing this.
I hope there will be some silver lining from this. Good luck with all your endeavours.
Your friend,
Gentleman J. x"

Well, holyyyyyy shit.


Tuesday 26 February 2013

A2: S5: Wake up call

So let's backtrack a little.

As my journey progresses, I've decided to change my angle a little bit. Not that I ever really had an angle in the first place, but I guess then it's a step in a new direction. I've decided I want to find other silver people. Recently, the words from the poster have been echoing around my head, and in particular, one specific line of it, "Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out out there and start creating."

It's just so... true. When your days are up on this planet, what will your possessions, your money, your looks have really meant? You will be remembered for the things you do and the things you create, a lasting legacy that you can leave behind. And the beautiful thing is that it doesn't have to be alone. The real beauty comes from the combined creativity of multiple human minds who can create something spectacular, and they can be the minds of the most unexpected people.

For me, it's a terrifying thought that I could expire without meeting every single person I possibly can. I know this sounds weird, (but you should know by now that weird is my norm) but sometimes, I get really down to the point of actually being distraught at the fact that I can not meet every single person in the world. That I cannot read every single book, listen to every single artist or watch every single film before I die. Out there somewhere could be that one book, film, place or person that changes my life forever, remaining lost in the boundless ambiguity of the world, and I might never stumble across it. That saddens me to tragic depths sometimes, and I'm not even entirely sure why.

I resolved that the best thing I can do, is to go out there and meet as many of these people as I can. Travel to as many countries, read as many books, go to all the museums, walk through the forests, dance in the cities and travel every road, and squeeze as many experiences into my set amount of days, that I possibly can.

When I was younger, I remember saying something really, really terrible to my Mother. I was very young, I must've been around 7 or 8 , and was reaching the end of the perpetual innocent happiness of childhood, and just learning about badness in the world. I hate myself when I think about what I said, but I will never forget it.

I remember listening to someone telling another about this friend of theirs who'd just been diagnosed with cancer. The cancer was terminal and ravaging, and this guy had next to no hope of even surviving the next year. But this man had taken this and created beauty with it. He sold his house, quit his job, effectively ended life as he knew it, and took on the world. He visited all the places he always said he would, did all of the things he hadn't even dreamt he would ever do, and then wrote a book about it.

I remember that stuck in my head for a long time, because... I was jealous.

And then, I went up to my Mother, and how this memory has haunted me since the second the young naive me said it, and I said.

"I wish I had cancer."

It pains me to write this. But I can't deny the memory.

Obviously my Mother was absolutely horrified and sat me down and gave me a very stern talking too, but... there's something quite poignant about that, I think. Because the seven-year old me saw something that her small little head couldn't quite understand - man's endless slog of mundane meniality, despite the fact that time is running out. It's as though there is a giant blazing meteor that we can all see heading straight for us, and we're out in the garden mowing the lawn.

Can we only start to begin life, when we realise that we are at the end? Like some sort of desperate salvation from Captain Hindsight and bastard retrospect? If we start living the dream in our final days, maybe we can atone for the precious days we wasted before? Life is a terminal illness. As soon as you're born, you start dying.

But that's what makes it the most beautiful thing in the world.

I believe that every single person is born with equal potential to achieve greatness. Obviously there are circumstantial and economic factors, but by birth we have all the resources to go forth and learn, and grow, and you have (let's say for arguments sake) eighty years to do your best. Imagine life as an assignment. Everyone knows what the assignment brief is, they have access to the resources to do it, and they all know they have a deadline to do it by. In that time between the now and the deadline, it is completely down to them what they do with it, and what each individual can achieve by the time comes to hand it over. Every birth comes with a death sentence... and I for one, refuse to let the time between now and then slip through my fingers.

So, I began my hunt to find people to create beauty with. The first person I happened across has turned out to be greater and more inspiring than I ever could've imagined.

If you recall, many, many posts ago, I spoke of my friend Shauna, who changed the way I look at life, just through her sheer determination. She managed to achieve her dream of studying abroad in Australia, despite the world doing it's best to stand in her way. Whilst in Australia, I mentioned to her that I'd written about her and she read Scarphelia. Then she said to me "Katie... I have met the most silver person in the world. You need to meet her." This silver girl was on study abroad in Australia from Indianapolis, a blogger, and had read my blog.

When I first spoke to her I just beamed. Her name is Lara Parker, and if ever I was concerned that I couldn't meet everyone in the world, that perhaps I'd never be able to find silver people, then just by existing she has laid all these concerns to rest. We spoke of the universe and shared near identical thoughts, fear and dreams, and I realised that this whole world is full of unknown extraordinaries, and if Lara is anything to go by, then I want to find the rest of them. I then saw the music video to a song which just completely summarised every frustration and aspiration I have in the world, I sent it to her, and she just... got it. The video is linked below, please watch it! I then told her I shall now refer to her as SYSIS, my Stranger Yet Sister in Silver.

I urge you, if you get the chance, please take a look at her blog, and you'll understand.


Friday 22 February 2013

A2: S4 - Apologies

I have been absent for quite a while.

It's really shitty as I know that Scarphelia has been damaged by this, but these circumstances have been out of my hands.

Last week my house was broken into and we were robbed. Amongst the things taken was £50 cash from my room, my cheerleading uniform and my laptop.

To say this time has been stressful is a borderline comical understatement. Not only am I currently dangling on the precipice of crashing and burning dramatically due to the strain of assignment deadlines, balancing three jobs and training hard for competition, my laptop was not backed up at all, and I lost... everything.

But to be honest, it wasn't even the theft, the fact that they stole my cheer uniform two days before comp, the invasion of privacy or the personal loss which disturbed me most - we were robbed while we were sleeping in the house.

Luckily (or unluckily depending on which way you look at it) I was sleeping in a different room of the house, as it was just me and my one female housemate left in the 6-bedroom house, we were scared of being alone in the big house, so slept in her room on the second floor. The remaining rooms were locked as our other housemates were away in Liverpool at the time.

The thieves entered the property in the night and scoured the entire house as we slept, finding the rooms on the top floor unlocked, and robbed them blind.

But what if one of us had woken up? What if we'd gotten up and gone to the toilet in the night? We could've walked out of the room and come face to face with the thief. Would they have been armed, just in case? Would they have stabbed us? attacked us? Ran?

I shudder to think about it.

But, how horrible these circumstances may be, I've come to realise that they are tests. Tests of strength, grit, determination and above all, character. Am I going to admit defeat and sit around feeling sorry for myself, and try and pick the pieces of my life back up from the cold, hard floor? Hell no. If anything, stuff like this makes me more determined to go out there and create something spectacular.

How many times have I found myself, night after night, curled up in bed with my laptop, having not moved all day, eating chocolate and pointlessly trawling through Facebook, or half-heartedly watching a TV show I'm barely interested in? Far too many times of late. That is not the silver I so proclaimed myself to be.

I've realised that all while I'm sat here, preaching to the world about being silver, I'm doing just that. Sitting here. I need to stop being a hypocrite and start practicing what I preach. And I think perhaps that being robbed, and having the pivot of my existence taken away from me, has relinquished a curse that I was not previously aware of.

I'm free. And now, I will not let anything stand in my path. It is my time to take back on the world and start creating again.

So firstly, this is an apology. Secondly, this is the start of another series of unbelievable events.

Indeed, I started to take my own advice and my god, if I ever had any doubts before wether I was doing the right thing, these doubts are now soaring irrelevantly amongst the clouds, like my soul.

Since the robbery, things have gone wildly out of control in the most incredible way possible, and the real challenge here is to try and get it all down before anything else happens.

So let us begin...


Sunday 10 February 2013

A2: S3 - Anything but music

I sit in silence a lot of the time.

The majority of people I know have an inexplicable and intrinsic link with music. They never go anywhere without their ipods and headphones, have countless playlists and dedicate hours to looking up new music. Everyone has their own specific tastes in music and religiously follow their favourite bands and artists. At first I thought, well I guess I'm just not a musical person. But I knew that wasn't true. I have a  very refined and particular taste in music, and I love to sing and play my ukulele. That's when I realised that it's not that I don't like listening to music, it's that I just...can't do it.

Most music is fine to listen to, and when I do, I really enjoy it. It's just that there's one particular type of music which I just cannot bare to listen to, for fear of what it'll do to me. This is not a genre of music like hip-hop, indie, rap, or country - it's a type of music. I tried to explain this to someone the other day, and I'm fully aware of just how ridiculous it sounds, but when I really, really like a song, I can't listen to it. When it comes on I get agitated and my skin starts to crawl and I desperately want to change it straight away, just because I like it so much. It's not a preservation thing either, not like I'm being cautious of over-playing it. I just can't bring myself to listen to music I like.

For me, there's a spectrum - songs that I hate, songs that I don't like, songs I feel nothing about, song I like, songs I really, really like, songs I love, and silver songs. It's those silver songs, songs that really stir something deep inside of me that does not stir often, music that seems to wake this sleeping silver beast who opens its eyes, stretches out its legs, cracks its knuckles and entirely takes over my soul. These songs tap into this part of my brain which just convinces me that I am the most important person in the world, I am here for a reason, if there ever was one then I am the chosen one, and the fate of everything and everyone rests in my hands. The emotion is so trembling powerful and earth-shatteringly overwhelming, that when I stop listening and get out of my musical funk, I feel so emotionally, physically and spiritually ravaged that I am genuinely exhausted from just listening. The intensity of these emotions about music I like, makes me not want to ever listen to it, despite the fact, and for the very same reason that, I just like it so fucking much.

The first time I felt this was when I watched the first Transformers film. It may sound dorky as hell, but I became obsessed with that film. To this day it still remains one of my favourite films of all time. Everything about it is just perfect, including the music. The score, written and composed by Steve Jablonsnky, was like nothing I'd ever taken the time to listen to. It made me shudder to feel the pure unadulterated power beneath that music. One song in particular just took a hold of me, shook the hell out of me and threw me to the ground, reeling. The Arrival to Earth.

I used to sit in the dark, night after night, with headphones on full volume in my ears, dreaming of the most unfathomable ideas, inventions, journeys, adventures and challenges that I could do with my life, all spurned from feeling the power of the drums and the violins, and the strength it gave me. It was like a drug, and I couldn't seem to express to anyone just what it did for me. I was about fifteen when I first heard it, and I remember forcing my friend Charlotte one day when she came round my house, to sit on the stairs on her own with this song blasting through headphones, then to come back and tell me what she thought.

She came back, and I looked up expectantly at her blank expression, and only managed a feeble "Did... did you feel it too?" and she kind of looked at me with this slight frown and said (I'll always remember this) "It just made me feel, like, you know when you have a problem, and then it seems like a huge deal, and then you overcome it. That kind of thing?" and I couldn't hide the disappointment in my face.

 Because listening to the silver songs, it doesn't just make me think, or make me wonder. It fully takes a hold of the very essence of my life and soul and makes me feel things I never could've imagined that I'd feel. If I had superpowers, I imagine the first time they'd ever come out would be when listening to this kind of music, because it makes me feel such extraordinary emotions that I can almost believe I have moved past the human state into something entirely more remarkable. When my heart is pounding in my chest and I clench my teeth together, my pupils dilate and I feel all of the air coming whooshing out of my lungs as goosebumps tear across my skin, I become invincible, immortal. I'm listening to it right now, and I'm finding it super hard not to completely lose my shit in a feverish frenzy. Because when you listen to music like this, it really does hit this spot deep inside of you, a spot which everyone in the world has but has never been able to really admit to themselves. Secretly, deep down, you have this small but ever present feeling that perhaps, of all the people in the world, it was you that was meant to do something important. It is your life, your existence above everyone elses that is the significant one.

My most recent silver song discovery is Run Boy Run by Woodkid.

I urge all who are reading this to go onto Spotify or YouTube and put it on right now, then continue to read.

Go, now! Or this next part will not be the same.

The bells. Then Drums. Those drums go right through me. Like a tribal march they infiltrate my body and replace my heartbeat and my pace of being alive. This song make me see. I see such power and passion beneath my burning eyelids. I have to clench my jaw together tightly because I feel like my head will explode if I don't try and take control of what I see. I see people, humans, in their masses, stomping and clapping, their expressions furious, pure animalistic humanity. I see earth cracking, crushing and breaking, crumbling away and rocks crushing together. I see fingernails digging deep into the sand and grit. I see the pure, raw power of a human being, and the potential that one person has. A soldier, a warrior, running, shooting, flying across the mountains and the skies and the trees and the rocks and waves and water. I see the passion in creation of all who have lived, all that has existed and all that will continue to thrive on our planet, trembling with life. Images flash before my eyes of the deserts, the mountains, the cities, the marshes, storms, rocky waterfalls, rainforest's, icy tundras and Savannah's, the whole world smashing together all at once and pressing down upon my soul and burning into my eyes, because the earth is mine. The earth is here for me to create beauty with and here it is, laid out before me. I can be so great. I will be so great. I feel the power in the wild tribal beats of my heart because I am an animal and I am made of pure passion. I want to run out into the rain and stomp and splash around and scream so loudly to mark place on earth, and shout "HERE I AM!" and for the world to see me, and to acknowledge me. And then,

It's over.

I feel raw. In the silence I hear my own frantic heart and my breathing and I instantly feel foolish. Because when I take out my headphones, all that is gone. I'm back in my bed in my pants, with a few books on my bed, ukulele in the corner and Simpsons on the telly, and life is mundane and average again. It doesn't seem possible that these two worlds can co-exist, the world I find when I listen to the silver songs and the world that I actually live in. 

It's like when you're in the cinema and you get so caught up with how incredibly moving a scene is, that you actually weep at the sheer sorrow of the characters. You become so immersed in the plot that you entirely suspend disbelief and real empathy appears and you cry for them. Then the lights come up, you look around and you laugh at the fact that you were just crying, 'cause you remember that you're actually in a cinema in south London, and not lying on a dismantled door of the in the frozen Arctic sea, watching the love of your life die.

And you're able to laugh because you come to your senses again and realise that what you were just seeing, was complete fiction. It's the same when I stop listening to music. I feel a bit of a dick at how emotional I just got as I instantly snap back to reality. But you know what? I don't think that was fiction. That place I go to when I listen to the silver songs is not a movie or a character, it's getting completely lost in the silver, and it's real. The world I see is the world I live in, just viewed through such a different perspective, it seems like an entirely new word altogether. Like normal planet earth, but viewed through a kaleidoscope of passion, strength and power. If I had the choice to live in that mentality I go to when I listen to silver songs, or the coming-out-of-the-cinema feeling after, I know which one I'd choose.

So I guess that is why I actively avoid listening to music that I like. Because it's not just 'listening to music'. However pretentious it sounds, it's not just listening. It's a full emotional, spiritual, physical and biological journey, a complete onslaught of the senses where I am entirely catapulted into another universe and I see things, that one could never dream of seeing.

Hey, maybe I do have super-powers after all, and my power is that when I listen to certain music, I can bridge the gap to another world.

I like that. Let's go with that.


Thursday 7 February 2013

A2: S2 - Brainstorming

Things have been manic lately.

So much has happened and is happening right now, that I sometimes struggle to keep up with life, let alone write about it. It's not just events and physical happenings, its the ceaseless chatter that swirls around in my head, only half of which I manage to actually catch and take note of. The little orange notebook actually begins, saying:

"There are so many words and phrases which incessantly buzz across my mind at any one time, that any hope of catching but one just enough to ponder it, is almost futile. I can only reconcile that I will be able to retain one of these sentiments just long enough to find a pen and paper to unleash my unquenchable stream of enthusiasm onto. I've come to the conclusion that every action carried out by my body is accompanied by a ceaseless babble of ten times as fast, by my mind. My whole life seems to be impaired, amplified and annotated by this persistent interior monologue which I myself only become aware of on rare occasions, like leaving the radio playing all day, and then only just noticing it was on."

Regardless of what happens in reality, I think it's always important to write. Hence why I wrote the above, in a weirdly paradoxical manner. Especially when things are going completely tits up and you cannot seem to get your head around how you even feel about a situation, for me, the only peace I find is through words. For some people religion is their security. For others it's the reassuring predictability of math and numbers, and for others it's logic and science. For me, I guess I find my peace in the creation, observation and craft of words.


The blogging conference featuring the one and only Blake Samuels and blogger Zoe Griffin, was almost painfully insightful. It was incredible because I gained so much knowledge and advice from Zoe Griffin (and somehow got swindled into buying her book) but painful because it just proved to me just how little I know about blogging. If anything, I'm in way over my head. She kept stressing the importance of knowing your 'niche market', 'defining and refining' yourself and knowing your 'target audience'.... Scarphelia has none of these. I realised that this doesn't seem to be much more than a diary. Yet, for some reason, it just seems to be...working. Five thousand hits in one month for a blog with no niche, no target audience, uncategorisable and undefinable... well I must be doing something right!

And that was when I realised that yes, perhaps I'd get a bigger readership and yes I'd probably start making some money if I changed Scarphelia to go with the generic format of a fashion or lifestyle blog, but then it wouldn't be real. As I read all this information in the book about how to do exactly what Zoe did, how to make sure you copy all these other people who became successful, when suddenly everything seemed to fall into place. Being told the way to dress, being told the way to do my makeup, being told I'm not interesting enough for X Factor, not intelligent enough for Oxford, not talented enough to succeed in following my dreams - My whole life I've always had these 'guiding' hands desperately shoving me from all sides trying to squidge me into the mould of a normal human.

But I'm not.

I'm a diamond in a world of squares. And not in the precious, rare and exquisite manner. In the irregular motherfucking polygon manner. I've decided I must be a diamond because I started as a square like everyone else, but gradually I began to slant off and skew away from the norm, until now I'm that same old square, except I have a rather peculiar angle about me. And Scarphelia just seems like the perfect microcosmic example of that. Even my blog is a skewed up little quadrilateral, causing a mess of the neatly stacked rows of square blogs of the Internet by not fitting into any categories, but not being totally outside any of them either. That's when I decided I'd rather have two loyal and loving reade-no, friends, than have two million generic bullshit readers just trying to copy each other into one up-manship. I'm okay with being a diamond in a world of squares, because I think I know which one is silver.

One thing I did decide I needed to do, however, was go diamond hunting. I'd never be as foolishly naive or ignorant to assume my blog and I are entirely unique, in fact that would be an awfully sad and lonely assumption. But I know there are diamonds out there, I know there are silvers. Just look at Florentine and Ariella. So, I decided that I would take matters into my own hand and find them myself, as well as helping wandering silvers to stumble across me, so I set up a Blogging Network at my uni. Then, I was lucky enough to find SYSIS. But that's another story.


Sunday 3 February 2013

Act Two: Scene One - FEBRUARY

And in the most beautifully fateful circumstance ever, as the clock hits midnight at the end of January, and I check my final view count for the month, it rests wonderfully and precisely dead on the 5000 mark.

Firstly, I'd just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has taken time out of their day to read Scarphelia, and continue to do throughout the month! The feedback has been unexpected and astounding, and the overall reception of this whole thing has been overwhelming. Thank you all so much.

Secondly, the end of act one signifies one tenth of the first step of my journey complete. My first aim is to create something spectacular of myself by October, and the first month of that adventure is now complete! It's a little bit daunting, but also ludicrously exciting. I was worried that by this point I would've come to realise that I'd done nothing but waffle and rant for one solid month, and although I have done that, it has been alot more successful than I could ever have dreamt it would be. I never would've thought I would've achieved five thousand views in thirty days! Scarphelia has opened so many doors and created so many opportunities, and this is all in month one. It's almost too exciting to fathom what could've happened by October.

In the last few days of January, I have again found myself in the middle of the most bizarre and curious set of wonderful and unexpected events - which I owe entirely to making a conscious effort to see the silver side of life and to live the shit out of it. This has made my faith in fate and my philosophies on life grow ever stronger and more vibrant, and for the first time in my life, I feel as though I am actually onto something here. So this is what happened...

The first thing that happened was on a cold and miserable Monday night, after hours of training and my body battered and bruised, I was finally convinced to join the interesting boys in our campus pub. Funnily enough, the very same pub where I first met them that one fateful evening outside on the benches, trying to rob a drunk fresher. 

The place was packed to the rafters. I've never seen the place so busy - it turns out all the exchange students had arrived from the Study Abroad Program, and the pub was their first port of call, naturally. Now, there's nothing which excites me more than a room packed-full of strangers, especially ones who are bound to have such incredible stories, coming from all reaches of the world. One of the main redeeming factors of my first year was the friends we'd made in some Australian exchange students. So I infected the room like a conversation virus, spreading from person to person, my curiosity exploding out of control as I met these bizarre and wonderful people. I spoke to people from Singapore, Australia, France and The Netherlands, and from all different walks of life, with the craziest stories.

After a few hours of fun, I finally took a seat, and started chatting with a home student. He was friendly and pretty intriguing. For reasonable reasons because of reasons, I shall refer to him as Blake Samuels. He began telling me about this tech start-up business he'd created and I found myself more and more curious. He seemed particularly interested about what degree I was doing and what I wanted to do with my career when I graduated. I thought it was a surprising topic of conversation for a pub, but as you all know, there's nothing I love more than talking about myself, so I took a deep breath and launched into my tirade.

The atmosphere in the pub was absolutely buzzing and I was feeling particularly devilish and ignited by all the silver people around me, so I didn't hold back. Blake was a complete stranger, (just how I like them) but regardless, I began my passionate rant about how I feel I have the world at my feet and the future in my hands, and one day I'm going to take over the planet. I mentioned Scarphelia and how I'm 'one determined motherfucker', and even mocked him for not having a business card he could give me. He sat back in an awed silence and just watched me tire myself out with bold dramatic statements and grand hand gestures as I explained my story so far, and where I want to go. I've never seen someone so entirely overwhelmed and amused. A few days before I'd ordered a load of stickers with the Scarphelia URL and a QR code on with the aim of sticking them all over Uni and the surrounding cities, and in the spirit of things I even whipped them out and stuck them all over his arms, with a wonderful "You won't forget my name, darling."

I laughed about it all the way home but didn't think much more of it. If anything, I was convinced I'd scared the poor living daylights out of the boy. Letting it slip to the back of my mind, the prospect of the next week thrilled me, as there was a grand social networking and blogging conference being held the next day, with famous blogger Zoe Griffin ( coming to speak and answer questions. There were also two other guest speakers, a recent graduate who'd won the young enterprise competition with her cupcake business, and a promising young business tycoon.

The very next day, with my notepad at the ready, my hands itching to get scribbling some notes, and my excitement bubbling, I headed toward the auditorium for the Hertfordshire Enterprise, Blogging and Careers seminar. I walk in and almost stumble over my own feet in shock. Because there, on the panel next to famous blogger Zoe Griffin and the young cupcake extraordinaire, the promising young business tycoon, the very guy I'd spent a good half an hour telling I was going to take over the world and sticking my stickers all over, Blake Samuels sat. 

More to come on these curious events and a very special announcement to come, stay tuned!