Sunday, 31 March 2013

A4: S1 - Love Lost


I've noticed that I put myself through phases.

Do you ever get that feeling, when you listen to a song you used to love, pick up a book you were once obsessed with, catch a whiff of someone's perfume or scent which you haven't smelt in ages, and it evokes such a strong reminiscing sensation, bringing back such a powerful set of memories, that you genuinely recoil in shock and horror at the force of that feeling?

That's just happened to me, just right now.

And the thing which cause such an avalanche of memory was simply one strum of the E minor chord of the ukulele. It's almost implausible to even imagine just how much life, how many stories and situations, conversations and troubles, memories, history and emotion can be held in just one note.


Friday, 29 March 2013

A3: S9 - Silver Influencers


I don't know whether it's because:

a) The fate in which I believe, is a real, tangible force,
b) For some reason my life just seems to have a habit of panning out in a series of interconnected events resulting in extraordinary circumstances, or,
c) Whether it is simply just the way in which I view life, an ability to notice patterns and connections and associate meaning...

But, there are such frequent coincidences, little small spheres of beautiful events that happen intermittently along on the timeline of my life, that I believe are too chance to ignore...

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A3: S8 - Blogging Masterclass

Okay, so this was my face today when I realised the day of me hosting the Blogging Masterclass run by the Entrepreneurial Society, was in fact, today....





Sheer panic was an understatement.

 It wasn't that I was unprepared (I'd made a pretty snazzy presentation on my new favourite thing ever, prezi.com) it was just that I felt outrageously unqualified. Obviously I was honored to be asked to chuck in my two cents at a blogging conference, but to HOST a MASTERCLASS about it? I only started blogging two months ago!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A3: S7 - Perfect Future

When I close my eyes and picture my near future, I can see such beauty that it makes me want to squeal...

I see an open-plan studio apartment in the heart of the city, exposed red brick interiors and white-washed  wooden floorboards. Candles, lanterns, fairy lights. Cream and pastel colours. I see sheer curtains and plush cushions on the cream bed. Sprawling bookcases with tattered books stacked haphazardly. A small rickety wooden table with two weathered wooden chairs, only one ever used. Newspapers, novels and useless nick-nacks scattered everywhere, trailing from the giant bookcase. Polaroid photos littering the floor until I can be bothered to pick them up, and muse at what each contains.

Friday, 22 March 2013

A3: S6 - Unhappy reflections


I sat out on the porch just now and I could see my breath in plumes around my face, despite the little amber glow between my fingers.

I pressed my back against the rough brick, and I could feel the cold of it seeping through my clothes and into my skin. I closed my eyes and sighed deeply, taking in the cold dark air and feeling it invigorating my tired body.

Not a single thing in my line of vision was moving. Nothing at all. In fact, I could’ve been staring into a panoramic photograph of the lamp-lit street and I’d have never known. The only thing to be heard, was the slow, meticulous flickers of sound as invisible rain trickled across the world, bouncing off the leaves in the trees.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A3: S5 - Unexpected, Extraordinary

For reasons which quite escape me, yet astound and humble me simultaneously, the post 'The Darkest of Days' seems to have suddenly caught a lot of people's attention in the past week or so...

I guess I wrote it as a form of personal therapy. It was the final stage in the process of re-constructing my soul again, that last minuscule little piece of my now impenetrable armour falling in to it's long-awaited place, and as soon as I'd finished I was free. What I certainly never expected, however, was it to have such an affect on people.

In the past week or so, completely out of the blue, there's been about six or seven people come forward and tell me how that post affected them. Some spoke out of empathy, some were out of recognition of similar personal experiences, and some, delightfully unexpectedly, spoke out of admiration. In reality, I wrote it for selfish reasons, just because I needed to get it off my chest. But somehow, unintentionally, it seems to have struck a chord with some people, people who no-one even knew were suffering.

A3: S4 - 77th day...

Just a brief abnormal post to have a little celebration.

On Monday 18th March 2013, 77 days since I started Scarphelia, I hit 10,00 views...

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A3: S2 - Beauties & Butterflies

I've come to the conclusion that being robbed was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Quite genuinely, if that hadn't have happened, I can't even imagine where I would (or wouldn't) be right now. Lady Fate sure does work in mysterious ways.

*

About a week after I was robbed, I was contacted by my dear friend, for reasonable reasons because of reasons, I shall call him Cameron. Cameron had recently graduated from the University, but had been a social and academic figurehead, and everyone knew who he was. He contacted me because of his girlfriend, who for reasonable reasons because of reasons, I shall call Rose. Rose was a third-year journalism student and was in desperate need of a story for one of her assignments. Cameron asked if I could help and introduced us.

Rose was lovely (and overwhelmingly beautiful) and I answered all her questions the best I could. For one, it was kind of cathartic to talk about it, and two, as a journalist, if I was in that situation I'd be so grateful if someone could help me out. I answered her questions, she thanked me, and said if I ever needed a journalistic favour in return, then I knew who to call. 

Little did I know, that she'd return the favour in such a dramatically unexpected and life-changing way.


After painstakingly managing to get time off of work from each of my jobs, pushing around essays and coursework, and just generally getting my affairs in order in preparation for going abroad, I found myself with one spare evening. I was sat in the library, blogging (my new home since laptop-gate) when I noticed a message had popped up on Facebook. I read it, and audibly squealed in the library. 

Because one thing I hadn't known, was that Rose actually worked as an intern for the famous blogger who came to do a speech at our uni. The same famous blogger who's new book I bought and read cover to cover. The same famous blogger who'd spoken alongside Blake Samuels - the man I'd stuck my stickers all over. The same famous blogger who'd followed me on twitter and sent me direct messages of advice about blogging. Rose was employed by the one and only, Zoe Griffin. And THIS, is what the message said:

"Hey honey, I know this is a long shot. But I was just wondering if you'd be interested in working an event tomorrow- Zoe Griffin's Book launch in the Google Campus building in central London? She is  looking for someone to work from 7pm-9pm for £10 pounds p/h and she will cover all expenses. All you'll have to do is meet and greet people and pour drinks. I intern for her and help run her blog livelikeavip.com. It will be a great opportunity to network with people from the media, journalism and showbiz industry - I know hangbag.com is covering it and hello and now magazine will be there. Just thought I'd ask as I know you like this sort of thing! Let me know. x"


I swear to god I nearly went into cardiac arrest right then and there on the stiff, blue, polyester library carpet. And what made the whole thing even more unbelievable, was that around all this hectic mess and organisation of Poland, I had that one evening free. Hell, even if I didn't, I would've dropped everything to make sure I did.
 
*

I tottered through Shoreditch in London in my stilettos and found my way to the Google building, my heart in my throat. I had experience working at a bar, but I genuinely had no idea what to expect in there. Rose had mentioned there would be celebrities, extremely influential and important public figures, press, media, and millionaires. I was placing bets with myself on how many Dior coats and Dolce and Gabbana gowns I'd inevitably end up spilling champagne on. 

I'd been to a novel launch before - in fact right at the beginning of this silver adventure, a novel launch was where I'd first met Fitzwilliam G. Montgomery, and my life had changed forever. My heart swelled with the thought of who I could meet in there and the wild  possibilities of where my life could go as a result. But this time it was a little different. I was staff now. There'd be no casual swanning off for photographers and firm handshakes. This was to be hard graft. As I entered the Google building and Rose escorted me around, I decided I needed to be two things to make that evening a success; exceptionally hard-working and exceedingly charming.  

The night did not disappoint. When I first arrived, the room was in complete disarray. There were people rushing around everywhere still putting up decorations, packing hundreds of goody bags and laying out a plethora of snacks and treats on a big banquet table. It was awfully exciting. I felt like I was on 'My Super Sweet 16' or something, when you see the complete shambles of it all being thrown together haphazardly beforehand, yet you know it'll all come together perfectly in the end.

 I was assigned on champagne duty (well, if I must) and spent two solid hours handing out three glasses per second to some of the most beautiful people I've ever seen. The room was packed with models, stylists and fashionistas, and aside from the excitement, I did feel a little... out of place. I'm quite a self-assured person, but then in that room, I was by far the ugliest and the largest, which was not particularly fun to feel. Regardless, I ploughed on through the night making sure no guest went thirsty.

There was one man, however, who kept returning for champagne. He looked in his late twenties with curly dark blonde hair, tanned skin and bright green eyes. He was tall with sharp cheekbones and a light dusting of facial hair, dressed in tight-fitting blue jeans, a thick-knit cream jumper and a tweed blazer with tan brogues. 

Walking perfection.

 Every time he took a glass, he would smile at me shyly and I could feel myself blush. I'd never seen a real life beautiful person before. And not as in someone pretty. As in someone so divinely beautiful that they look Photoshopped in real life. You never really imagine the people you see in magazines and in the movies to actually exist with such beauty in real life.

...They do.

I turned to Rose when he'd left for the third time, "Sweet Jesus, he is the most beautiful man I have ever seen in my life." I murmured under my breath and she giggled.

"Funny how he keeps coming back, hmm..." She turned away slowly with a knowing grin on her face. I smiled like a schoolgirl. The next time he returned, we spoke.

 (Now, as usual, this is going to seem like all made up fairytale bullshit, but I SWEAR TO GOD this was all real.)

I smiled.

"Back again?"

"Can't stay away." he grinned, placing his slender fingers around the stem of a fresh champagne flute. He had a foreign accent of which I couldn't quite determine. I lent forward to fill his glass and he lent forward ever so slightly too. His face was so close to mine I could smell his heavenly scent, and I had to focus all my efforts on not spilling the champagne. My face began to flush and I could feel his eyes on me. When his flute was full, I decided to crack out one of my killer 'moves' (me attempting to be seductive and ending up a cringe-worthy excuse of a human being) and deliberately let my gaze linger downward before making a point of quickly flicking my eyes up to his, and looking him straight in the face. 

Sweet shit. 

That face.

"I think..." he said, smiling with a touch of drunkenness about his eyes, "I think you are the most beautiful girl in this room."

I nearly laughed in his face. If there was one thing I was not, it was that. I'd never seen such a beautiful crowd in my life. They were all stick-thin with impossibly shiny hair, almond eyes and cheekbones carved by diamonds. I tried not to think about it.

"Uh thank you" I said, looking away.

"With the best figure, I've ever seen." He said, quieter. His expression was sincere but my smile faded quickly. I felt uncomfortable. This was the sort of stuff which happens in the movies, when the dashing young billionaire vampire ignores all the beautiful girls and only has eyes for the poor, average 'real girl'. But all of a sudden I just felt very self-conscious. Of course, it was a dream come true to have someone like him saying that to me, but I just felt awkward, because it was just so blatantly not true. It was like an American High School drama where he was the quarterback and I was the lonely, plump, geeky girl who he would compliment to make her day because he just could, whilst knowing it is complete bullshit. I smiled politely and moved swiftly on.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Kai" he murmured. His eyes were impossible. "German" He said after a pause, tipping his head slightly to the left and smiling, his golden curls bobbing on his forehead. "What is your name?"

"Katie."

"Katie... Nice to meet you Katie." I shook his warm, outstretched hand and I felt myself melting. A cold shower was most required. "Which company are you from?"

"Oh I uh... just a friend of Zoe's." I lied/hoped/dreamed. "What about you, what do you do?"

He cast a shy look downwards, then returned his gaze with a full megawatt smile and eyes that I was sure would be the end of me.

"Oh uh, I'm a model."

"Of course you are." I muttered, kinda hoping he hadn't heard. He did, but laughed. "No, I just mean.. look at you. You've got a great face on you." I cringed at myself but he continued to smile.

"And so do you." He said quietly. I couldn't take it. It was a feeling I'd never felt before. Under any other circumstances I would've been bouncing off the walls with elation, but I guess I just didn't quite believe it. Looking at the other girls in the room, I couldn't even understand why he was even bothering to talk to me. Every single beautiful female head was cast in our direction, as if him passing through had left a wake of pure sex behind him. A dark little part of me mused whether this was all a practical joke or a dare set up by the beautiful people. Or perhaps he saw I was 'different' and wanted to try and give me a pity boost because he knew he could. 

But, even if it all was, HELL, I was not going to complain.

"Do you live in London?" he asked.

"Yes... Well, North London" I half-lied. "Yourself?"

"Berlin, but... I travel to London very often." I nodded and he smiled at me for a long time. I laughed nervously, very aware of our audience.

"What?" I smiled in a tiny, awkward voice.

"Listen, I'm in Berlin for the next few days, but I'd love to take you out for dinner in London when I'm back." I was lost for words. My mouth just kind of half-opened and closed again. "Could I take your number?" I nodded slowly, determined not to make a sound at the high risk of it being a squeal-laugh right into his beautiful little face.

He handed me his iPhone, and with trembling hands I put in my name and number and handed it back to him. 

"Thanks," He said with a grin. "I look forward to it." He raised his champagne flute toward me in a toasting gesture before disappearing back into the crowd once more. Instantly, Rose was by my side.

"What the hell was that?!" She quizzed, but I could barely manage more than a squeal. I dragged her into the stock room and told her everything before calming myself down, forcing myself back to reality and regaining hold of myself. The rest of the night's stresses mattered no more. Screw being nervous or shy - a German supermodel just asked me out for dinner.

Secretly in my head, I forced myself to be realistic - I knew he wasn't going to call. Even if by some beautiful gift from Lady Fate he actually did have the intention to, I'd stupidly saved my name under 'Katie Oldham' - like hell he was ever going to remember who that was come tomorrow. 

But I exhaled deeply and closed my eyes with a smile. Who cared? That'll be a story to tell for the rest of my life, whether it was all fake, real or otherwise. Somewhere out there in the vast old world of planet earth, there's a German supermodel strolling round being all gorgeous with my phone number saved in his phone. I did a little 'Ha!' to myself, and got back to work. 

But that did not turn out to be the most exciting meeting of the night. Oh boy, oh boy, did it not. But... You'll have to wait and see I guess.



Scarlet-Ophelia.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Act Three: Scene One - MARCH

Okay, so once again my life seems to have done that curious little thing it seems to have a habit of doing, and spiral dramatically out of control in the most outrageous and decadent fashion. But then again, I guess it wouldn't be me if it didn't.

I can't quite believe how quickly February seems to have gone. I'm kind of gutted that I only managed to squeeze six posts out of it. I guess I haven't quite yet found the balance between being constantly ridiculous and managing to keep track. That's the reason why I'll again have to jump back in time a wee bit, to try and get everything down.

Just when I thought I was done with February, ready to move onto the third act of ten and carry on my journey to the 7th of October, at the very last moment, Lady Fate threw me an outrageous curve-ball that not even a single iota of my being could've been prepared for.

But even before that, (I know, I know, I really need to keep up with myself, I'm sorry!) The greatest silver adventure to date presented itself to me, born out of the ashes of some very tragic news. I was sat at the house of The Interesting Boys one evening, when Charles turned to me and said,

"Come to Poland."

I blinked.

"Sorry?"

"I really want to go to Poland. I think I might book a flight tomorrow for next weekend. Join me?"

I smiled in bewilderment. This was the spontaneity I thrived off, and under any other circumstance I would've jumped at the chance. But with three part time jobs, getting the time off work at such short notice was going to be damned near impossible, and reluctantly, I had to recognise and accept the hard grey constraints that tethered my billowing silver spirit, and decline.


"You only live once." Charles shrugged as I shook my head.

*

As well as having three jobs, Another of my jovial exploits at university, is to cheer on the cheerleading squad, competing regionally and nationally, whilst also cheering for the American Football team. In my first year I was elected Social Secretary, and last month I was awarded with the title Senior Captain. I pretty much just love it. Another wonderful thing about it is our relationship with the American Football players. I guess it's perpetuating the stereotype to within an inch of its life, but a lot of the cheerleaders are dating the footballers, and the rest are just like big brothers to us. As a family we'd do anything for one another, and it's just such a beautiful team to be a part of.

A few weeks ago, some tragic news reached us. In the year before I arrived at the Uni, there'd been a player on the team called Ibrahim, who played the position of number 90. Libyan born but raised in England his whole life, he was successful, did well academically and from what I heard was just, happy.

Then, he made the serious and unexpected decision to drop his entire life here, to return to Libya and fight for his country in the Libyan Uprising. Everyone has said how shocked they were but also humbled and awed in an overwhelming surge of respect and admiration for him.

When we joined the university, all us new cheerleaders and footballers were added into this Facebook group of present members of the family, and alumni. There were often posts about him, with people relaying their communications with him, and every so often a comment asking if anyone knew how he was doing.

....About three weeks ago, the terrible news arrived at the gates of the University that Ibs had been tragically killed in battle, fighting on the front line, fighting for his country.

The news devastated the team.

The boys were absolutely distraught, especially the seniors who had known him well. They all changed their profile pictures to photos of him, gathered round to tell stories and share memories, and held a memorial service for him. Despite the fact I never met him, for some reason, the news hit me really hard.

I don't know whether its because I have this abnormal sense of random human empathy, my curiosity about the lives and minds of others or just the thought of what it would be like to lose one of our boys now that we know and love so dearly, but it really messed me up. It just made my problems seem so infantile and irrelevant, and I was just fascinated at the sheer incredulousness of his selflessness, as I know that I for one, could not have done the same.

The words 'what are you doing this for?' Just seemed to endlessly circle around my mind, taunting every decision I made. I'm sure that phrase had not been far from Ibs' mind too, on more than a few occasions.

I got into a bit of a funk. I just couldn't seem to distract myself from the futility of life, despite my persistently reiterated promise to live the shit out of it. I thought about my troubles. Saving money. Coursework deadlines. Sorting out my work rota. And suddenly this almighty thunderbolt of shame and self- disappointment hit me. My life is perfect. I am so unfathomably lucky to have all that I have, there is not a single justifiable thing for me to complain about. Life can be taken away in the most unanticipated moment, and I'm letting these precious living seconds tick by worrying about the most pointless of things? That's when that little phrase in my head became a whisper no more, and began yelling from the rooftops, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS FOR?"

I'm working. What am I doing this for? To save money. I'm saving money. What am I doing this for? To spend on fun things. I'm not doing fun things. Why not? Because I'm always working. So the saving. What are you doing this for? To pay off my student loan after University. University. What am I doing this for? To get a good job so I can work. I'm working....

That's just it. I'm working to get money so I can do stuff in the only time of my life that I'll be able to do stuff, and I can't do that stuff because I'm always working, to get money for the stuff that I can't even do.



That was enough for me.

I called work and told them I wasn't coming, booked my flight and with glee watched a considerable amount of money leave my account. I'm not by any stretch of the imagination comparing this to what Ibs did, but if he taught me anything, its that life is too short not to have passion and conviction in whatever you chose to do.

*

"You only live once." I grinned to The Interesting Boys as we stood out on the Tarmac of the runway at 5am as we waited to board the aeroplane.


And how was the trip? Well...


"...Travel often; getting lost will help you to find yourself. Some opportunities only ever come once, so seize them. Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, So go out out there and start creating, live your dream and wear your passion proudly" -
The Poster



View my full album of Poland photos  -->  HERE