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Thoughts on Terror

Recent happenings in the world have left me feeling very angry and confused. I wasn’t going to blog anything about it, but I’ve found in the last two weeks it’s all I can think about. It might be somewhat cathartic to get it out, so here goes.

I am of course referring to the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London. On May 22nd Salman Abedi a horrific monster, detonated a deadly nail bomb as thousands of young people were leaving the MEN after Ariana Grande’s concert. 22 people lost their lives, among them 7 children, the youngest being just 8. Many more were seriously and critically injured. And for what? So one evil extremist could carry out a senseless attack under the influence of the most cowardly and despicable ideology.

A mere 12 days later, in London, 3 more monsters carried out yet another fatal attack. They drove a van into innocent pedestrians on London Bridge, before going on to stab and slash others at Borough Market. 7 people lost their lives, and some 50 others were again seriously injured.  As was the case with Manchester, the stories of the victims are quickly emerging. One woman, Chrissy Archibald died in the arms of her fiance. Another victim, James McMullan had been out celebrating the completion of a business project that he had dedicated all of his time to for two years.

What is exceptionally poignant about this, is the fact that these people probably expressed the same shock and sympathy for the Manchester victims less than two weeks before they met the same tragic end. I just cannot fathom it.

I spent 3 hours on Sunday evening, like many I’m sure, absolutely engrossed in the One Love Manchester concert. Ariana Grande’s sheer courage and strength in the face of something so awful was a source of comfort to many. The whole concert was such a beautiful display of love and solidarity. I am just in complete awe of this woman. She could have hidden away, she could have stopped performing for a very long time. No one would have blamed her. But she didn’t. Instead she brought some of the biggest names in music together in direct defiance to these evil atrocities. Even after another horrifying terror attack occurred on the eve of the concert, she still carried on. She spent the days in the run up to the event visiting her injured fans in hospital, and meeting with the friends and families of those who sadly passed away.  I mean what an incredible feat of bravery. If it were me, I honestly don’t know how I would pick myself back up.

The one thing we are hearing time and time again in the wake of these attacks is that we shouldn’t let hate win. And I agree 100%. The concert on Sunday night restored everything these vile jihadists do their best to extinguish, love, happiness and unification. Though everything is scary and uncertain, we can’t stop going about our lives out of fear. It’s exactly what they want.

With that being said, something needs to be done. Our solidarity in the aftermath of these tragedies simply just isn’t enough. It’s not enough for politicians to spew us the same rhetoric over and over again while we sit back and just wait for the inevitable. They are telling us hate won’t win, but at the moment it kind of is. So many innocent lives have been lost and it’s happening at an increasingly frequent and alarming rate. It’s not a case of if anymore, it’s a case of when and where. We are often told not to be angry. And I get where people are coming from with that,  “reacting in a similar way to these extremists is exactly what they want”, but I don’t entirely agree. At the end of the day all these cowards want to do is kill, and they are succeeding. So I’m sorry, but that makes me fucking angry.

What makes me even angrier is the fact that many of these attackers were known to police and intelligence services?! Members of Salman Abedi’s community had expressed their concerns over his apparent radicalization and extremist views to the police. Yet nothing was done. Salman was allowed to carry on as normal. Similarly, Kurham Butt actually appeared on a channel 4 documentary ‘The Jihadists Next Door’ which details the rise of Islamist Extremism in the UK. In the show, Butt was seen praying with a group of extremists in Regents Park, and fraternising with a man who warned that one day the flag of ISIS would fly over Downing Street. Other members of Butt’s circle expressed the views that homosexual’s should be thrown from tall buildings, Britain should adopt Sharia Law, and adulterers should be stoned to death.

Why channel 4 are even giving these vile creatures a platform is beyond me!  How are we allowing these dangerous groups to propagate? What’s more is it’s also been claimed that Butt was reported to anti- terror groups on two separate occasions. One neighbour seemingly reported him after she caught him trying to convert her children to Islam and radicalise them. I mean I’m no expert on these matters, but surely that’s a gross failure on the part of those who are supposed to protect us?

How are these people slipping through the cracks when their evil intent is so inherently obvious? Who’s bright idea was it to make a TV show highlighting these monsters, allowing them to brag, instead of reprimanding them for it? I just don’t understand. I get that in most cases these extremists can be hard to infiltrate, but turning a blind eye to the ones that are right in front of us, in my opinion, is unforgivable.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to take away from the brilliance of the police and the emergency services, I mean the Met had responded to the attack in London in 8 minutes. That’s incredible. We just need more preventative measures. I’m not suggesting we close boarders or build walls or anything like that, but we need real action. Whatever form that comes in is up to the world leaders we’ve put our trust in. They just cannot continue to let us fall victim to attack after attack.

The fact is no one should go to a concert and not return home. No one should go out for a drink and have it end in tragedy. It needs to stop.

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Little Thoughts, Big Dreams

There’s been a pattern to a lot of my blog posts of late, and it seems to be one of finding myself. I’ve talked a lot about my post college life, my struggle to adapt to ‘the real world’, gaining jobs, quitting jobs, moving countries and so on and so forth. There’s no denying it’s been a pretty chaotic time, and I’m constantly having to remind myself that I’m not even a year out of college yet!

I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last number of months though. I’m discovering new aspects of my character almost every day. I’ve been surprised to discover that things I thought I would enjoy, I really don’t! It’s true the saying, you really don’t know unless you try.

Lately I’ve found myself with a yearning to really make a difference. I know that might sound a little cheesy, but I just have this strong desire to give back in some way. (Don’t worry, I won’t be turning into Mother Teresa anytime soon!). In my early years when ‘big people’ would ask me what I wanted to be, I always responded with a confident assertion of  ‘ a teacher and a best selling author’. I liked the idea of being able to help people, and impart some sort of wisdom.

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In my later years I abandoned any desire I had to become a teacher entirely. (Still holding out hope for the best selling author, mind you) ‘Not a hope in hell’ I’d scoff. Why would you want to go through 18 years of education to end up back in the very place you spent the best part of those years trying to escape? My present self realises that perhaps this thinking was a bit naive. I mean it is different, you’re on the other side of it as such. It’s not really the same.

I suppose you’re wondering where I’m going with this, well I guess the answer is I’m not really sure, but that’s the fun of it. I’m not vehemently opposed to the idea of teaching anymore. In fact, I find myself thinking more and more about it. So much so that I’ve enrolled in a TEFL (teaching English as a Foreign Language), course. I’ve always loved the English language, I’ve had a fascination with words and stories for as long as I remember. While a lot of my friends were out pucking around a sliotar, I was most likely found under a tree with my nose in a book or making up stories, reciting them to anyone who’d give me an ear. (I wasn’t the weird kid, I swear….).

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Which is why I now find myself toying with the idea of teaching my beloved language abroad. Not only is it a chance to travel the world before I get tied down in a career, but it’s the chance to really make the difference I’m after. I’m not out for self-gratification, it’s more about doing something meaningful, something I believe in,  while I figure out what it is I actually want to do with my life! I guess the good thing about my college degree is that it’s so broad. It’s both a blessing and a curse. In one way it’s difficult to figure out where I ‘fit in’ and thus what I’m ‘qualified for’. But on the other hand, I’m not pigeon holed. There’s an array of areas I can venture into and try my hand at.  I’m realising what it is I like, and what it is I absolutely hate, and that’s an exciting experience. So why not keep learning? Why not keep exploring?

As many of you know, I can’t stay in one place for too long! With Sweden, Barcelona, and London all conquered destinations,  I’m itching for another notch on my belt! Who knows where my TEFL venture will take me? 

I’ll keep you posted on the upcoming adventures 😉

~J

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It’s True, Nobody Likes You When You’re 23

I must admit, 8 months into my 23rd year and I’m starting to think Blink 182 were on to something.  In case anyone reading is unaware, (and it’s not obvious from the title), they coined the infamous lyric ‘nobody likes you when you’re 23’.

Twenty three is just awkward. It’s not as crazy as 18. It’s not as fun as 21. It’s not as blissfully oblivious as 22. Why you might ask? well because 23 is that horrible year where you have to start realising things. (Kylie Jenner I’m lookin’ at you).  You’re plucked from your lovely little college nest and turfed out in the real world to start fending for yourself.

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They don’t prepare you for this kind of thing. Nobody teaches you how to suddenly adult. Sure I spent the last four years perfecting the art of seeking out the cheapest wine, but that’s not exactly going to equip me for the impending 9-5 slog (although some would disagree with me!).

I’ve found these months of my post college life to be some of the toughest thus far. It’s more than coincidental that this time seems to coincide with my 23rd year..

I mean it’s very difficult figuring out what you want to do with your life, and it can be disconcerting when things don’t go how you expect. I packed up my life and hopped on over to London, only to move back 8 months later. As buzzfeed once said (yes, I’m quoting buzzfeed), you’re expected to have your shit together, but have none of the resources required to get your shit together. Truer words have never been spoken.

It seems like you have a lot of options, but they all come with some sort of catch. Do you find a job and start working right away? But that leaves no time for travel. But how do you fund the travel without a job first? So many questions, so little answers. Whatever you find yourself doing though, it’s terrifying because it’s the first time you have any real responsibility.

You’re an adult, but you’re essentially the baby version of an adult.

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Now you have to start thinking about scary things, like making appointments for yourself and learning how to cook a roast dinner. On top of all this you’re faced with the realistation that your next significant birthday isn’t until 40 (we all know people who throw 30th’s are kidding themselves).

All of a sudden you can’t afford your lifestyle. All of your lovely luxury student discounts have disappeared, and you weren’t prepared for the reality of ‘adult’ prices. Honestly how do they expect you to afford full whack when now you actually have to pay bills? So rude.  With that being said, I’m still doing my best with the ‘strategic thumb place’ and wrangling whatever cinema and train tickets I can. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do;)

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The thought of getting older is scary because you feel so far behind both in an emotional sense and a career sense. You’re itching to get beyond your years and make something of yourself, yet at the same time you don’t feel as if you’re ready. It’s a total mind-field really.

I read someone describe the year of 23 as ‘upsetting, brightening, hardening and hectic all at once’. I couldn’t agree more. It’s just one big massive limbo. I find myself pushing myself to be the best version of myself. I’m constantly striving to do better. I find myself in working environments surrounded by people who have achieved so much, and subsequently I feel a bit useless. I then have to remind myself that these people are much older than me. They have more experience, and I am only, after all, just twenty three.

The biggest thing I’ve learned in the last few months is that sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards. Because the truth is you ain’t gonna walk out those college gates and into your dream job. You’re still gonna have to rely on a helping hand every now and again, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. You have to walk before you run and all that jazz.

If nothing else, 24 is only 5 months away 😉

 

 

 

 

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My Two Cents on Trump

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This morning, a long with millions of others across the world, I woke to the news that America elected Donald Trump as it’s 45th President.

Donald Trump.

A man who has stepped into the shoes of the many greats that have gone before him. A man who has come out with the most vile, derogatory, sexist, racist and hateful remarks throughout this entire election. A man who cares more about his own ego and boasting about ‘grabbing women by the p**sy’ than anything else.  I think it’s safe to say those shoes have been irrevocably soiled. I can only imagine George Washington is turning in his grave.

I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on politics, in fact I’m far from it. But you don’t need to be an expert to know in your heart of hearts that this decision wasn’t the right one. America I understand your people are angry, fed up and wanting change, but this was your alternative?

How can a nation vote for a man who decided to enter politics on a mere whim, over a hard working woman who has built her entire career on it? Perhaps it’s hard for me to comprehend looking on through a European lens. I know I’m not an American, and I haven’t had to face the issues that a lot of them have, but it’s just baffling.
I know Hillary has her faults, as do many politicians. She’s untrustworthy, and she’s been embroiled in many a scandal. The infamous emails, her husbands sordid affairs, and of course whitewater. I understand Americans were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

It really was a case of having to choose the lesser of two evils. But surely Hillary was far far lesser?

Today I am sad for Hillary, and I am sad for women. But most of all I’m frightened. I’m frightened for the direction this world is taking. I am hurt that people can be this intolerant. I am shocked that so many can stand with a man who literally epitomises sexism, racism, fraud, exploitation and assault. I can only hope, as my gut tells me, that perhaps Trump is all bark and no bite.

Yes it’s awful to have a man that volatile as the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world, but is he really going to follow through on some of the outlandish things he’s said? We’ve already see him mellow, taking a more calm and collected approach with his victory speech. Will he really be able to throw up a giant wall on the Mexican Boarder? Can he seriously place a ban on all Muslims? Part of me is saying no, it’s all ridiculous nonsense. Classic trump rhetoric to stir things up and create shock and disgust. But it was naivety and complacency that rendered us all in a state of shock this morning.

So many of us, both in the US and beyond believed it would never happen. We laughed when he announced he was running. We scoffed and said he would never get the the nomination. We dismissed it when he did, believing that surely he would never get within a foot of the White House? Yet here we are. It wasn’t too long ago we were all picking our chins up off the ground after Brexit, and now we find ourselves doing the same thing.

I suppose there’s one thing I can give him – through gritted teeth albeit- and that’s his determination. The power hungry business tycoon managed to blag his way to the White House. How? I really don’t know.

So what’s going to happen next? That’s the question on everyone’s mind. Judging from the reactions on social media this morning the world seems to be in a state of shock and panic.

Is America going to accept ‘President Trump?’ It would be ironic if they pointed the finger at him and said get out,  ‘You’re fired’. A line we’ve heard many times from the man himself back in his Apprentice days. Sadly it seems that America and the rest of the world will have to accept that President Trump is now in fact a reality, for at least the next four years.

I don’t know about you, but suddenly I’m thinking perhaps a president Kanye West in 2020 isn’t such a bad idea…

In all seriousness though, America we’re not laughing at you, we’re crying with you. ❤

A small glimpse into twitter’s reaction:

Earlier today it was announced that the annual John Lewis Christmas Advert is to be released tomorrow, thus lifting spirits somewhat. No Pressure…

An appropriate gif shows how it was by no means an easy decision for the electorate

If only..

2016 really is testing us..

Not Just a loss for Hillary, but a loss for women:

Many Celebs weighed in on the results:

Well Mr Adams, you do play the wonderful Mike Ross, so maybe you can overturn his presidency in a court of law? No? Please?

And then we have those directing their anger towards Florida..

Social media has been hopping since the news broke, a mixture of anger, sadness, and dark humour.

At this point I really don’t have anything left to say. I’m not even American yet I can’t help but feel shaken by the news this morning.  So I’ll  leave it there, and sign off by saying my thoughts are with my US friends and family, who I know are deeply and truly saddened by this result.

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Final Year Fear

FF_Divider_Pink4I’m aware at this stage that a lot of my recent blogs have adopted the same ‘help I’m in final year’ tone, but it’s hard not to think about the fact that ‘real adulthood’ is getting closer with each passing day.

I mean fuck, it’s scary. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Looking back first year seems like it was just yesterday, but at the same time it also feels like a million years ago. Back in 2012  19 year old fresher me thought 2016 was a lifetime a way. Yet here I am. A mere 12 weeks off graduating and becoming a person. It’s kind of a catch 22. In one way I can’t wait to finish and finally be done with essays, group presentations, and classic literature! But on the other hand I’m going to miss university life and the prospect of finding a job is actually terrifying.

When you’re little you  just assume that when you grow up you get a job and become successful, like it’s that easy. You also have that blissful innocence that you can be anything you want to be. I, like many others went through many different stages of wanting to be many different things. I think my very first dream job was to become an actress. I was quite the little drama queen, so it didn’t seem too far out of my reach.  I loved performing on ‘the stage’ in our house (that is the step in our family kitchen). I would parade around for anyone that would give me the time of day. It was all fun and games, until I realised we didn’t live in Hollywood and despite being a dead ringer for Beans from Disney’s ‘Evens Stevens,’ I wasn’t destined for sitcom fame.

So then came my next dream job. The classic ‘I love animals so naturally I’m going to be a vet’ phase. That is until I was swiftly informed I’d have to operate on the ‘ugly’ animals too. And there’d be blood. Ew. After that I think I scaled my ambitions back again. I decided I was going to be a teacher. But I had a conflict of interest because I also wanted to be an author. Naturally ten year old me decided that this wasn’t going to be a problem and I was just going to do both. Yep a teacher by day, and a kick ass best selling novelist by night. I think somewhere in between that I also wanted to be a doctor, but I knew even then that I couldn’t forgo my social life for 600 leaving cert points and 7 odd years in college. (Serious kudos to all those who do).

I suppose at this stage you’re wondering the point of this little rambling. I just think it’s funny that when you’re younger you have no concept of limitations or self doubt. Anything is achievable and you have the whole world in your sights. Now that I’m finally at this stage in my life it’s like I feel as If I can’t do any of it. Though deep down I know I have the skills, it’s just that awful fear of not being good enough, or not getting hired etc.  It’s mad, when you’re a child you’re supposed to look to the adults for help and guidance. Though I find myself longing for reassurance from fearless 10 year old me. I know she’d give me a right kick up the arse and tell me to cop myself on. Call me crazy but I think we’d actually be much better adults if we rekindled our inner child a bit! Obviously within reason.

There’s a common complaint among myself and those in my course; and that is we don’t get the time to read and write the things we actually want to read and write! Which is precisely why I’m writing this blog, to escape the annoying demands of  my FYP. In some ways I feel like academic life really does curb your creativity and confidence. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time to work on other skills and aspects needed for the ‘dream job’. Which nowadays involves either staff writing for an online publication or something within radio or broadcast journalism. But ironically the further I progress in my academic pursuits, the further away it seems. Strange that.

Anyway I’m sure there’s going to be plenty more tears and breakdowns over the next twelve weeks, but as I’ve so frequently heard, ‘It’s all a means to an end’. Where I’ll be this time next year I’ve no clue, but as long as I have good people, a strong shade of Mac lippy, and a customary glass of wine in tow, I’m sure I’ll be alright.

Until the next existential Crisis!

~Jessie

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