Category Archives: Friends

When Did Society Start Opposing Others’ Achievements?

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BY ABBY MAC

A few weeks ago, my school attended a sustainable business conference, initiated for high school students to see alternative methods of doing business to achieve ultimate sustainability.  One of the aspects to the program was each school being lectured on an individual topic and ours was Coal Seam Gas.  At the end of the presentation, we were again split into groups of four to answer questions about Coal Seam Gas.  The answers we submitted would be provided to a panel of judges who would select a winner from all the schools.  Surprisingly, the group I was in were announced as winners of the business conference.

We were the youngest  students to attend the conference and have only just begun studying Business in school, compared to Grade 12s from other schools who have been studying for two to three years.  Definitely a shock winning the conference, though, a very happy one.  We donned our small prizes, caps and water bottles, and proudly walked back to school with our trophy.  For the five minutes that we were oblivious to the world, being overtaken from immediate euphoria, we didn’t notice our fellow classmates snidely looking down on us.  After being told “to get over ourselves”, we woke up and came back to Earth to see a sea of class members scowling at us and refusing to respond to our questions if anything was wrong.  One girl turned around and gave us the finger.  How endearing?

We were quickly “put in our place” and shown that our “achievement” wasn’t even “that big”, according to them.  Now, after years of bullying and many mistakes, I have learnt to quietly accomplish and not live off the accolades of others to feel successful, thus, when we were awarded the prized, I didn’t jump up and down and bombard people with my feelings of absolute accomplishment and joy.  No, I smiled and congratulated the other group members for their prize and hard work.  Yet, I was still told to “shut up” and “get real”.

So, my question is, when did everyone reject the achievements of others?  Has this always been the case or is our society forming into one of feeling cheated if another person wins or does better than you do?  When did people just not accept that sometimes there will be a winner and a loser, or to not hurt their feelings anymore, almost winners?

Sometimes there will be times when you feel like you deserved something more than other person, but life is not about winning all the time.  Life is not about the end result but how you recover from it or enhance it.  I still can’t believe how our classmates reacted to our achievement.  We weren’t from an opposing school, we were on their team.  We were meant to be their friends.

I ask everyone to acknowledge that life’s not always fair but it is critical that we don’t reject our fellow mates, acquaintances, countrymen or whoever you are.  Follow the well-known saying – “treat others how you want to be treated”, ensuring that when you are the one deserving praises for success, one isn’t “congratulated” with the back of another’s finger.

Are you happy for other people’s achievements? Have you encountered negative response to accomplishment? 

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Uh. Oh. I still have a teddy.

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BY ABBY MAC

It’s time for me to make a confession.  It may change the way you think of me.

I. Still. Sleep. With. A. Teddy. Bear.

I know, I know.  From the looks of other teen’s lives, I should have dropped this relationship when I was 10.  My teddy bear, Honey, and I have been together since I was one.  She has travelled across houses, states and watched me grow up.  She does come with me to my friend’s houses (when I stay the night) but that’s not because I can’t sleep without her.  I take her because I can.

Abby and Honey

Honey and I

Don’t get me wrong, she isn’t secretly hidden in a back-pack wherever I go, we have space.  I don’t play tea parties with her (not that that’s a problem), she isn’t dressed in different outfits every day and she is not in a relationship with another teddy.

She simply lays on bed during the day and when I go to bed, she is tucked underneath my arm and we sleep.  Is there something so wrong with that?  I don’t think so.  According to Parenting-Advice.net, teddy bears support the child and makes the child feel supported and accepted.  They can make the child feel loved and help with emotional distress.  Tick, tick and tick.  That’s what Honey is for me.  But I am no longer a child.

Honey

Honey is excited!

When I was about 10, I stopped bringing Honey away to friend’s houses with me, simply because at that age, people do judge you for it.  You are transitioning between child and tween.  And, at the time, it seemed uncool.  However, I think as a teen with friends who know me very well, I can take Honey to their house and they can bring their unicorn, bear or mouse to my house.  Having a teddy bear, or whatever animal you have, is now something that is funny and just accepted.

I don’t want to leave Honey anytime soon.  Please tell me you feel the same.

Do you have a teddy bear?  When did you stop sleeping with a teddy bear?  How does having a teddy bear make you feel?

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It’s Raining it’s Pouring…

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BY JESS WRAY

… The old Jess is snoring! Okay, I know, that’s not the original version but it’s pretty close. It’s rainy days like these where I feel like there is absolutely NOTHING to do and my mood seems to resemble the colour of the dull sky. After you have watched about a gazillion chick flicks and all the classics there isn’t much more to do, you might say. However I have come up with some ideas for things for you to do during this rainy time that will keep you entertained.

1. When you wake up: Freshen up for the morning and set the table so that it is fit for Kings and Queens (and princesses like us of course!). If you want you can make a little menu and decide what you will serve for breakfast. Pour everyone something to drink in wine glasses (minus the wine though, a bit early for that, if you’re under 18) and perhaps prepare scrambled, fried, poached or whatever eggs you prefer, alongside some tasty bacon, or if you are a vegetarian, some cooked mushrooms and cheese. Or if you’re like Abby, just sit down and enjoy a bowl of cereal. Now that you have your protein on your family and/or friend’s plate, decorate it with some fruits and/or veggies  you might even want to place some fresh natural yogurt in a small bowl next to the plates and chop up some delicious strawberries, blue berries and raspberries to go into it. Viola! Then once everyone is served, enjoy a very good breakfast that will keep you full until lunch and will keep you feeling energised throughout the wet, rainy day. Unfortunately after the brekkie, there is some cleaning up to do, but maybe it’s your brother or sister’s turn because I mean, you MADE the breakfast and set the table! Wink Wink.

2. Mid day : So you’ve just watched the Notebook, P.S I Love You, The Last Song and Bridget Jones’ diary and by now your emotions are pretty unbalanced and you are getting a serious case of cabin fever. No worries! Let’s find your inner self and relax with a bit of Home Yoga, so tie your hair back tightly, grab a yoga mat (or something similar), get into some comfy, workout clothes and find the quietest and most peaceful spot in your house near a window. If you have some aroma candles or even just candles, you can make yourself a Yoga sanctuary with a warm glow (however please don’t burn the house down). Put your laptop/ iPod/ iPhone near to where you want to do your Yoga. Now you’re halfway there, next thing you need to do is go onto YouTube and search for a Yoga Class, whether you’re a beginner, want a challenge or are an expert. Or you can visit http://www.yoga.com/yoga-workout-routine/ and accompany these workout poses with relaxing music provided by YouTube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YCAcXiHEdk)  or your own Ipod! Then just follow the instructions and lose your body tension and try to relax. Also remember to hydrate!

3. Just after lunch : So your belly is once again full and now it’s time for something new… Have you or someone in your family got a sewing machine? If so, why don’t you bring out your creative side and get all the clothes in your cupboard that you don’t really like anymore or are SO last year! Think of a way that you could almost reinvent these clothes, to pieces that are more in fashion or resemble more of your current style. Or maybe if you have a little sister who loves to play with Barbies, you could make Ken and Barbie some fresh, new, fashionable clothes. Maybe you’re not a fashionista? Or not interested in clothing? That’s okay, what about making a really cute pillow that matches your room?

4. Don’t have a sewing Machine? If you have a computer, (visit our blog!) you can browse online shopping till you drop, or you could maybe design a virtual kitchen on IKEA? If you start to get bored, or perhaps if you’re already bored, try playing some addictive computer games, I know I love ‘Bubble Struggle 3’,  ‘Kindergarten’, ‘Penguin Diner’ and ‘Watergirl and Fireboy’ I bet you won’t beat my high scores!

5. Time to get outside, this cabin fever is just TOO severe now. I say yes. Playing in the rain practically brings back childhood memories of me watching Barnie, singing in the rain, the famous song that I believe goes something like this… “If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops, Oh what a joy it would be! Standing outside with my mouth open wide, A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A!” Get into your swimming suit, stick your tongue out and sing along! OR you could have a swim in your pool if you have one and as Abby suggests, do a hand stand and feel the raindrops on your feet because, “it feels funky!” she said.

6. After Dinner: watch another movie if you want, or round-up all the sweet treats in the house and play food poker and many other board games with the fam or a bunch of your friends and may the best poker face win!

So that’s a wrap on a rainy day, I hope this can help you with some ideas for activities to do and cure your case of cabin fever other than watch movies all day, although I am not saying that is any less fun – movie marathons all the way!

What do you do to keep busy on a rainy day?

Pretty Little T.V Show Addicts

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(From Left to Right) Hanna, Emily, Spencer and Aria.Totally fabulous girls that make up PLL. Warning: ADDICTIVE.

(From Left to Right) Hanna, Emily, Spencer and Aria.
Totally fabulous girls that are the main characters of the show. Warning: ADDICTIVE.

BY JESS WRAY

Got a secret, can you keep it? Swear this one you’ll save, better lock it in your pocket, we’re taking this one to the grave. Okay, my secret is that I am addicted to the TV show called Pretty Little Liars! Shh. I’m sure most of you have watched it or either heard of it by now, but if you don’t know anything about it, beware because you will become obsessed and perhaps you might even show up to the next TVSAA (T.V Show Addicts Anonymous) meeting alongside me, in a couple of months time! My addiction began towards the end of 2011, when I was listening to a girl’s book review oral about a book series called Pretty Little Liars and soon after that many of my friends had recommended I watch it. So I asked my dad if he knew where we could find the TV series as it wasn’t airing in Australia at that time (however it is now on FOX8 here) and so we decided to buy Series one and see if I liked it. If only I had known! The first episode sucked and reeled me in like a mindless fish, I just wanted more and more AND more! For those of you who don’t know of this fab show, it’s about 4 teenage girls who mysteriously find out that one of their best friends, Alison has gone missing one night and then later find that she has been murdered. None of them knew who it was and why it happened. All the girls had history and many dark secrets that only their friend Alison knew about. However Queen Bee Alison was never an innocent girl, rather a very conniving and manipulative character back in her day. Days after Alison’s death, the 4 girls, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily, go out in search for answers. To find the truth, their hands get dirty, often literally, and the girls find out they have bitten off much more than they could chew when they come in contact with the faceless, nameless, mysterious, unknown ‘A’  who comes along and turns the girl’s (phones, laptops, computers and) lives upside down.

I won’t spoil it or go into much more detail as the plot gets quite complicated after a while but if you start from the beginning it’s a piece of cake to follow. It’s just hard when my brother watches Season 3 episode 2 with me and asks the questions like, who is he? Why is she in trouble? What’s going on? So I take a deep breath and try to explain but there is just TOO much that has happened that only Pretty Little Liar fans would begin to understand! Anyway, I have been watching all the seasons as they come and I am up to date with the latest ones now. This afternoon while it was bucketing down with rain and the grey sky seemed to blanket the whole of Brisbane, it was such a perfect setting to have a PLL (Pretty Little Liars) marathon! I watched about 5 episodes and the best thing about this show is that you are NEVER bored, I am not being bias when I say that, there are so many red herrins, plot twists, pretty clothing, romance, scary scenes, you name it; so you will almost always be entertained! I had a couple of moments when I got so shocked I almost screamed. Yes, I become very involved and engaged with this show, in fact, actually with many TV shows. I’m not a complete couch potato but I do love TV, and I’m sure you do too!

A couple of my other favorite TV shows would DEFINITELY have to be Modern Family, Glee, New Girl, Friends and Big Bang Theory; but that’s just naming a few! Ok, maybe I am a couch potato… I don’t know what it is but TV shows can make you feel like you belong to something as you follow the stories of all the different characters  and their lives and all the funny sayings and quotes along the way! I know my family and I all enjoy the Big Bang and regularly quote it, sometimes on a daily basis, when I find Matt sitting on MY spot on the couch, I instantly transform my self into Sheldon’s awkward, geeky character and quote, “You’re in my spot” with his accent of course! I’m sure if you were completely honest with yourself, I bet you do that or something similar too.

I will also admit, I am such a sucker for a lot of “reality” TV (although my dad calls it otherwise), it is yet another guilty pleasure of mine to cosy up and grab a glass of milo and enjoy trashy episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Dance Moms, Made in Chelsea… and unfortunately the list goes on! My mum and I absolutely love watching episodes of America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway on the weekends as a girl’s night treat! We watch and comment on all kinds of things, as if we are judges with highly important opinions and I always love supporting my favorite models and designers too, only the ones that are beautiful on the inside…as well as the out! Aren’t they a lucky bunch of girls. Another favorite is talk shows, they are more real and often quite informative and at times hilarious, I mean who doesn’t LOVE Ellen or a bit of Dr. Phil from time to time!

Two of my favorite people on Television! Ellen and Rebel Wilson!

Two of my favorite people on Television! Ellen and Rebel Wilson!

Anyway I would love to hear if any of you have any favorite TV shows, or if you are a bit of an addict like me? It’s just a bit of fun and laughs (and screams sometimes…) when it comes to TV shows, but I will cut down on some TV this year as a part of my new years resolution so I don’t turn into a mashed potato. If any of you are Pretty Little Liars fans I would love to chat with you about it too, discuss about who you think ‘A’ is (no spoilers though, looking it up on Google doesn’t count!) whose your fav character and all things inbetween!

Happy TV watching all!

Are you a PLL fan like Jess? Or are you addicted to another show? Any advice for Jess’ TV show addiction?

Back To School: Yay or Nay?

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BY JESS WRAY

Yes, that time of year has come back yet again. The time to open up and clean out your cob-webbed school bag and slip back into the busy, mind-numbing routine. However it’s not all bad I guess. I quite enjoy going back to school after a long holiday, getting to see all your friends and the familiar faces that appear here and there around the school. My favorite part of going back to school for a new year is definitely the shopping! I know many people may find that a trip out to Office Works is extremely boring and a waste of their time but I happen to find it very exciting. I love looking at all the new, fresh books and imagining myself writing in them. They look so clean now but I guarantee you that all my books will be scribbled and doodled on by Term 2, but who cares! I decided to pick mostly pink books this year as it’s my favorite colour and I figure, looking at a pretty, colourful book while studying Modern History or Study of Religion is far more pleasant than a plain, old grey book. I know you can’t judge a book by its cover (excuse the pun) but I do believe that a bit of colour can really make a difference to my mood!

Anyway getting back to the topic; back to school. When it comes to this time, holidays seem to rush by like the blink of an eye but I’m usually ready by this time to go back. However for some people it’s a completely different story. I have counted about 5 Instagram photos of people photographing their new text books and accompanying the photo with hash tags like #hateschool or #feellikecrying, you name it. Oh, of course I also can’t forget the numerous Facebook statuses along the lines of, “Omg, school in like a week. FML.” Rather annoying really and so unoriginal. I often wonder if most girls at my school actually do hate school, or if they are just saying that because they feel the need to say and do what is widely accepted as being “cool”. Am I weird for being excited to go back to school? Am I ‘normal’?

That’s where I come to the realisation that I will be surrounded by many of those “cool” girls once again and that’s often the ‘Nay’ part of going back to school. As well as the judgement, gossiping and bitching that goes alongside everything else at school. I am scared I will feel isolated again. At the end of last year I didn’t have a very good time. I had many problems in terms of group work, friendship problems and just overall cattiness and unfriendliness. I lost a friend of mine who had become so rude and horrible that eventually I was glad to see her go. So then there was two, once she left. Me and my friend Natalie have become a lot closer now but we both felt isolated and felt that many girls would look at us nastily or judgmentally because we were in such a small group. So we took safety in the library at lunch times. I know what you’re thinking, “NERD ALERT” and I probably am, but we had a really good time there, we didn’t hear the gossiping and there was no one looking at us funnily. We were free to just talk about everything under the sun, laugh about nothing and just enjoy each other’s company. Bliss. We loved to make fun of ourselves too, pretending to talk to the books and act as if they made up the rest of the ‘group’. We were and still are nutters but I think it’s refreshing to be different and to not just always try to fit the profile of “cool”. Nat used to get worried about if we were pathetic or loners and that made me even question myself at times but then I thought, I would rather be in a group of two with a friend that I really get a long with and like than be in a group of 10 filled with girls who gossip and dislike you if you are different to them. I know Abby has also had her fair share of problems at school too, but to be honest, who hasn’t? We have often talked about it and tried to help each other get through it and I hope you have or may one day find a friend in which you can trust.

This year for me is a daunting one. I’m starting senior school; the serious stuff. Two words; Semi Formal. Other than that I’m really nervous that I won’t be good enough for Grade 11 but then, I had the same feelings and thoughts last year and doubted myself for Grade 10, and apart from some social mishaps,  I survived. So I have a bit of faith in myself and I just hope I do well. I aim to study and prepare myself for exams earlier than last year (this is sounding like my new years resolution list) and I will try to not get so caught up in the drama and politics of friendships and other girls at my school. I really hope I get nice teachers this year, I had such lovely teachers last year so it would be nice to continue on with positive teachers. Hopefully this year everything will be alright, I hope to get to know some new people and continue to build on my existing friendships! I am also so grateful to have Abby as a friend outside of school, we haven’t known each other for long but I feel like we are so close already and I love being apart of this blog and I hope you enjoy what we post! I want to wish you all a wonderful first day of school for the year; whether you are starting a new school, returning to your current school or beginning homeschooling again, I hope you do your very best and achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

Are you excited to be going back to school? What’s your school like, do you enjoy school? 

She died. But I knew her.

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BY ABBY MAC

A few weeks ago, a girl I knew, got into the passenger seat of a car and went joy riding. She was 16 and the driver, also drunk, was 18. Then, at 3:30am the car they were driving slammed into a power pole and tore half the car apart leaving one half at the power pole and the other 10 metres further up the road. What followed was the most frightening. Silence. Those who lived on the road or close by didn’t hear screams for helps and the girls moaning in agony. It was totally silent.

Both the driver and passenger were killed which left police reporting it as a ‘horrific’ scene and one that is unforgettable. Unlike all the crashes broadcast upon televisions, newspapers and the internet, I knew that girl. I knew that girl, who I know was judged for being an out of control teen who couldn’t identify the fine line that ran between right and wrong. I knew that girl who left parents tutting and lead as a model to everything that the child shouldn’t be.

At the time of the accident, I was holidaying and so I wasn’t aware of the crash until three days ago. I was told by a friend that a girl from my previous school had died in a car accident but she didn’t know and so I was left to mull over taking second guesses and who it was.

I knew the girls were drunk and at a party so I quickly created a profile of what I thought the girl was like; untamed, popular and risky. At that stage, I didn’t know who had died but I judged her, nevertheless. As soon as I arrived home, I scoured the internet for anything on the two girls or the crash.

Then, I saw her face. I knew her. I knew that girl. I read story after story, describing what type of girl she was. The media painted her a profile that sickened me. They ensured parents would only feel more comfortable tutting her. By the way the media painted her, people think they know her. They know her type. But, they did not know her. Everyone was happy to accept that she was just another teen who got drunk, jumped in a car and crashed. Just like I have in the past, people think that there is only one type of teen that gets drunk and crashes a car. But there’s not.

I think that there is a naivety in how many teens did what that girl did. The naivety spread across other teens, parents and adults. Before I hit high school, I didn’t know that people in grade eight were getting drunk, smoking and having sex. Before I hit high school, I thought the law and common sense could stop this. I know girls who are loved and adored by parents and teachers, represent their school as a captain or leader and also the girls who get drunk Friday night, smoke pot and end by having sex.

I am not saying that all teenagers get drunk, smoke or have sex. Not at all. I don’t do that. But what I trying to stress is that there is not one type of teenager who does that. It is not necessarily the teen whose ear is decorated and earrings and runs the popular crowd nor can we rule out that it is the middle school captain who is adored by everyone in the community. Eventually, our naivety spreads to ignorance. We don’t want to believe that the good girl is also the bad one. Truthfully, it is easier to believe that it is the bad girl and feel safe knowing that your friend, son or daughter or pupil isn’t them.

The way the media portrayed this girl, she was the bad girl. But she really wasn’t. I didn’t know her very well, but she definitely left and imprint on me when I did talk to her. We both played hockey at school and since some trainings different teams trained together, I started to get to know her. I particularly dislike training with her team due to the criticism I would receive for being fitter, faster and more skilful than them. While I ran laps around (literally), her and all her friends, she was the only one that wouldn’t try to trip me as I ran or would yell different taunts at me as I ran. She was that girl who stuck up for me. However, the media failed to portray this side to her. Because it was easier if she was the troublesome girl.

For the sake of her privacy, I will call her Elizabeth. Elizabeth wasn’t troublesome, she was just troubled. Like everyone, she had multiple different faces and sides which only certain people would see certain sides. At school, with her friends, she was the one everyone liked. At home, she created trouble. For me, she was very kind and thoughtful.

A part of me feels wrong for grieving for her loss. I didn’t know her that long. I think that it isn’t my right to cry and feel a sense of loss for someone I only talked with weekly and eventually stopped because we no longer trained together. Though, sometimes I cry not just for her loss but for other things as well. I cry because of the way she has been portrayed in the media. I cry because she is now helpless to defend herself against the tuts and the stories her family are now telling the media. I cry because the last face being shown is the troublesome one.

I cry about death itself. I have never really experienced it and I don’t even know if this loss counts as an experience but death is inevitable. For me and everyone I know. Death is something that cannot be stopped yet we dance around the idea of dying. We place an age on death, when really death is not an age but the end to your story. For Elizabeth, death was an age and not the end to her story. Death was not a car slamming into a power pole at a high speed and the car being torn apart.

I still find it hard to get my head around this loss of life. Not life as in her heart stopping beating and her body no longer functioning but how her spirit and her essence is so easily taken from this world. How can that girl who once galloped around the hockey fields, limped to her semi-formal because her foot was broken and stood up for me now gone? Before Elizabeth died, I placed an age on death as well.

It’s not anyone’s fault that she and her friend died. If we blame someone for it, it is much the same as judging what Elizabeth was like. I wish from the bottom of my heart that what happened didn’t happen. I really do. But, that wish is impossible and I think the best I can do is learn from this event and portray Elizabeth in a light so many haven’t. I have decided to write her a letter.

Dear Elizabeth,

I hope you are feeling okay. I hope you don’t feel wrong that I am grieving for your death even though we haven’t talked for a while. I want you to know that what you did for me was really special and eased the pain of going to those trainings. I can’t really repay you now for what you do but I am doing my best. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that you’re gone. That slamming into a pole could take away all of you. Your essence of life and kindness but that’s what death does.

I am sorry for assuming the type of person you were in that car. But I know now that you were so much more. I am sorry you didn’t even get to finish school and be proud of your achievement. I am so incredibly sorry for your death.

Your life and death has changed me.

Abby.

We have a different opinion. Can we still be friends?

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BY ABBY MAC

Is it possible, as teens or at any age, to be friends with someone and have differences of opinions? Not just a difference of opinion on a dress or a boy, but on a topic that you are passionate about or directly affects you. Many people often believe that you must be perfectly in sync with all your friends and all share the same opinions and same values. At some time, this delusion of perfect must be corrected. No two people share the exact opinions and values and so therefore no one can be your perfect match, in that aspect.

I watch friendships at school somersault into the depths of no goodbye just because they don’t agree on something or other. They attack each other, not their opinons or reasons. They say things that you can’t take back. Is that really necessary? I try to respect everyone’s opinions, but I often fall flat in respecting their arguments. Uneducated, ignorant arguments make me angry and it is these opinions that I can’t respect.

Difference in Opinon

Can we still be friends? Help.

I was sitting in class and a friend of mine whispered under her breath ‘ew’.
I looked around and said ‘what’?
‘Gays.’
‘What about them?’
‘They’re disgusting.’
‘Why?’
‘They just are.’

Uneducated. Ignorant. And I was angry. This is a fight I decided to pick. I often choose to leave an argument before it starts because it doesn’t affect me or it’s just not worth fighting about, but this one was worth it. I feel very passionately about equality worldwide, whether it is between men and women, adults and children, wealth to poor or homosexual to heterosexual. I believe that everyone is born with equal rights and they deserve to be treated with that respect.
So, as you can imagine, my friend unjustly commenting on homosexuality left me annoyed. Her opinion on homosexuality did not stem from her religion, culture, family up-bringing but her fear and ignorance to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender persons. She had no reason to hate them or be disgusted by them, but she did all the same. People’s opinions are formed by their religion, culture, family and friends, fear and ignorance. Especially when we are young, our opinions are similar to our parents because that’s all we know. At a young age, all we know is what we are brought up with but her opinion was only influenced with fear and ignorance. Not any other.

I was initially  angry about her opinion and at her. I needed to take a step back and leave it. I needed to sort through and find a position on the difference of opinion and whether it was worth our friendship, time or a fight. Of course, I considered all avenues and realised that it wasn’t worth a fight or our friendship. It was worth understanding, though. Both of ours.

I still don’t completely respect nor understand her opinion and her arguments. But that isn’t worth sacrificing our whole friendship. I try my best to educate her and possibly grant her an opinion that is educated and fair. Not necessarily my opinion or the ‘right’ one, but one that has reasoning behind it. I can’t stop being friends with someone because of their fear and ignorance but I can only hope one day to change it.

It’s difference of opinion which makes friendships diverse and not the same. I think friendship and life would be incredibly boring if everyone felt the same way.

Just as I did, I think one should pick their battles. Deciding to discuss a difference opinion of means you have to be respectful, just like they should for you.

Don’t you agree with me?

Can you still be friends with someone and have a difference of opinion? What do you disagree upon? How do you fix it? Why do you feel this way?

My dog’s my best friend.

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BY ABBY MAC

Zaakie Grass

My boy.

My best friend is perfect. He listens to everything I have to say, he never questions my opinions and traits and he always greets me with a smile. Unfortunately, he’s my dog. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking that I’ll end up being that crazy cat lady down the street, or in this case dog lady, but someone else please tell me you feel the same way?

I have other really good friends, of course, who meet my needs of human interaction better than my dog, Zaakie, but he still never fails to make me smile every day. Zaakie calms me down, reads my emotions and manages to always be there when I need him. And I think I do the same for him. When he is frightened, he runs to where I am or into my room and that makes me feel very satisfied. Our friendship isn’t just me talking to a dog, he feels protected around me. When I’m sad he comes and lies me and when he’s sad, tired or being lazy he lies on me.

I really do love my dog. He’s my friend. He’s the best one I have. But he’s actually so much more than I thought. It isn’t just Zaakie who calms me down. He isn’t a special dog, in that, any dog can calm and soothe you. According to Elizabeth Scott, wellness coach, author and health coach, it’s often hard to resist calming down when you look into their adoring eyes. Pets can reduce blood pressure and help with your stress levels.

I know Zaakie does this. If he walks in and I’m angry, I don’t yell or show anger in front of him. It will scare him and I don’t want that. His infective personality is hard to resist and his big goofy smile doesn’t help. I watch him rip up toys and try to steal teddies from my room. That makes me laugh. He makes me very, very happy.

He may not be able to speak back to me, but he knows me better than any other friend. As I wrote earlier, when I’m sad, he lays on me. To non-animal lovers, that may seem disgusting but it’s comforting. How can you not obey to his demands; calm down and just pat him? Dogs have other benefits as well. They can encourage you to do exercise and get outside. Unless, you have a dog like mine and I end up pulling him home or just driving him everywhere.

Zaakie Sunglasses

I protect him from the sun.

But most of all, my dog loves me unconditionally. No matter whether you like to dance in your dressing gown and slippers to Mariah Carey songs…at 1pm in the afternoon, or you have no friends at school, your dog will love you. And that is one constant friendship and love in your life. Your friends can be so conditional during school, and there is nothing better than having one assuring friend. Your pet.

Zaakie is my best mate and there are days where I have a bad day at school and I just want to come home to Zac. It is his love and smile and dog antics that every day, make me love him even more. And, so on days where your assignments are getting a bit stressful or your ‘friends’ aren’t being friendly, maybe you should turn to that little obliging dog or cat who will always sit by you.

And if I am the crazy dog lady, at least my dogs won’t judge me.

Abby: Why I Deleted My Facebook Account.

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BY ABBY MAC

Facebook can connect us to friends and family all over the world. It allows us to share photos, videos and information about ourselves and as the viewer; we can like and comment easily on people’s lives. But for me, Facebook can no longer offer this glossy cover. As a teen, it has been infiltrated with hate, misery and falseness which is enjoyable to the people causing it.

I deleted my Facebook account for a variety of reasons but the biggest one was that some of the users, particularly teens, had lost sight of what the true purpose of it was. It was hard every day to see some form of bullying and sadistic comments from these faceless people behind their computer screens.

Media and other adults often portray the biggest threats online to be strange predators that are 50 year old men looking to find you, though they are serious threats, there are other predators which can easily be friends of Facebook; the people that you share your photos, videos and information with, every day.

For me, Facebook was no longer a place of sincerity but teens sharing their lives only to be let down and bullied by their ‘friends’ (friends on Facebook; not necessarily friends in real life).

It seems that your Facebook profile is meant to be perfect and glossy with perfect pictures of yourself, or stupid pictures of yourself which still make you look cute and sexy. But that’s not my life. I don’t take a perfect picture every time. When I look stupid in a photo, I genuinely look stupid not cute and sexy.

Un-Facebookfied

This is un-facebookfied. It isn’t perfect! But look! Do you like my pyjamas?

When I say ‘Facebook’ as a general term, I mean the Facebook world constructed by teens. Facebook, by teens, is no longer about sharing our lives, not the real ones anyway. It is a fake, perfected life for all those ‘friends’ to ‘hate on’ or ‘like’ and then ‘unlike’ only to be mean. You’re not meant to share the photo of you still in your pyjamas eating birthday cake at 9 am but in fact the beautiful, already ‘Instagram(med)’ photo with all your friends wearing high heels and way-too-short dresses in the city. Apparently, I’m unlike the rest of the teenage population on Facebook and don’t own a way-too-short dress (that I wear in the city at 9pm at night) and I don’t celebrate my birthday by taking enough cute and sexy photos to fill a real photo album.

This perfected Facebook life isn’t fair on the rest of us ‘normal’ or ‘unperfected’ people. People like me. People who then strive to have a perfect Facebook page. It became that a lot of photos I took and activities and I joined in on, were based upon what I could get out of it for Facebook. For instance, ‘If I go to this dance, I’ll be able to take these photos with my friends and then upload it onto Facebook’ or I went into this weird extreme place thinking if a photo isn’t good enough to be on Facebook, it was deleted. It didn’t matter whether it was going on Facebook or not.

Facebook-fied

That’s ‘perfect’. No, it’s just boring. My pyjamas were way cooler.

Fake photos, videos and the status updates don’t connect our lives to people. They only share very fleeting parts of our lives that are ‘Facebook-ready’ and are good enough to not be attacked online. The photos that girls put on Facebook with their flat tummies and beautiful bikinis aren’t real. They have most likely stood there for 50 or so shots, with either the peace sign, sitting down or pretending that they don’t know the photo is being taken to find the ‘Facebook-ified’ one. And my least favourite part – when they then have the caption ‘ew my bod is disgusting. just want to die.’ That’s not fair. It’s not fair on so many levels but the biggest one is, they have taken a photo of their beautiful body and then demean themselves in hope to be presented with 189 likes and 67 comments all saying ‘ew no. your bootfiul. i just want to die now.’ or ‘get some ugly.’ It’s these photos and comments which make the rest of us all sit back and be brain washed with all these beautiful girls saying their ugly and as a result, we are feeling twice as ugly as them.

It would be nice to think that Facebook is still living up to its true purpose in the teen world, but it’s not. I can’t stand the bullying and the falseness. People trying to be someone they’re not. Whilst we continue to be tricked that everyone’s life is just so perfect, we will continue to feel how imperfect we are.

Facebook is like a reality show; it’s meant to be real but it is just so fake.

Did you delete your Facebook page? Why? How do you use Facebook? Do you think Facebook is changing?

Simple Pleasures.

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BY ABBY MAC

In a world where we often spend years, or our life, searching for people or items that make us happy, I think it is safe to say, that we could so easily miss simple things that have the potential to make us the most happy. On Christmas Day, I saw so many simple pleasures, many were missed and others were appreciated.

They varied from the care and delicacy one took to wrap the gift (not necessarily the gift), to the true beauty of a meal or the presentation of the dinner table. They made me happy. They made me smile. And they were extremely simple.

Unfortunately, peoples’ lives are cramped with such meaningless tasks and planned pleasures that these simple pleasures can’t be enjoyed. We forget the people we love and dedicate our precious time to those we feel the need to please or will get us somewhere.

When my two cousins arrived on Christmas Day, I found my favourite simple pleasure. The girls arrived with a basket full of different dolls, craft sets and lip glosses, with dazzling smiles which only ever masks faces once a year. They made it hard not to smile at the sight of their grins.

They showed me each doll and why they were so special to them; they chased me with their toy cars and set up games for us to play. I think it was many Christmas’ ago which I was able to ‘play’ with my toys not apply them, wear them or soak up their smells and colours. And I thoroughly enjoyed those games only recommended for children aged 4-12.

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My Laptop was ‘Blingled’

After we played with all their toys, they asked me what gifts I was given. And so I listed the lotions, candles and gift cards. Most of that seemed rather boring to them, however they were most interested in what I was going to spend my gift card money on. BOXING DAY SALES, OF COURSE! It was then to my delight that the eldest one wanted to go shopping with me. And there was my simple joy. She wanted to spend time with me. Without a true purpose. Not because it was Christmas or a birthday, because we were two friends and wanted to spend time together. That was the most pleasurable joy of my day.

Simple pleasures are so spontaneous and spectacular which make them just so special. They’re missed for other, less important people or tasks, and aren’t often recognised for actually being pleasurable. How can spending time with a 12 and 7 year old be fun, some may say? It’s often presented as a chore, when really it shouldn’t be. It is your privilege to be together. As a family. Safely.

If I think back to when I was 12 and 7, I would have certainly embraced the idea of having a friend or family member, older than me, open to spending time with someone younger – not being a chore. My simple joys are very simple. My cousins feel free to ask for me to spend time with them. And I am more than happy to willingly do so.

Simple pleasures aren’t planned, they’re spontaneous. They’re pleasures which would never strike you as something you would enjoy or notice, however, when they do, they are the most pleasurable pleasures of all.