31 March 2015

Admitting your advantages

Humans enjoy thinking they're rather hard done by. Generally speaking, people like to think that their personal lives are pretty much the hardest in the whole of humanity to deal with. Nobody understands us. Nobody knows the true struggle of Starbucks not currently having enough caramel syrup in stock to make our Caramel Flan Frappuccino, on what is quite frankly an already unappetising Monday morning. Life can be tough. And boy, don't we like to talk about it?

It's human nature - we always want something better. We just don't like to admit that, actually, life isn't so bad. We especially don't like to admit that, in comparison to others, our situations might be pretty damn good. Acknowledging that we have some advantages over others is like accepting defeat.  Accepting that everything we have isn't purely due to hard work. Yet, until people can think a bit more rationally in terms of comparing their situation to that of others, there is no way we will ever achieve equity in this country and beyond.

So, I'm breaking the silence. I am standing forward and admitting that, yes, I have advantages in the society that I live in. In fact, I have a lot of advantages. 

Firstly, I am white and was born in England. If you think this doesn't give you an unfair advantage in Britain you are ignorant to the world around you. There are currently 41,000 16 to 24 year olds from black, asian and minority ethnic communities who are in long-term unemployment. This is a 49% rise from 2010, whilst at the same time unemployment has made a 2% fall among young, white people. Not that I can get my head around many statistics considering I am absolutely appalling at maths, but that just doesn't make sense. Even worse, if I lived in America and was a young black man, I would be 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than a young white man! I can't even comprehend those odds.

I am also from a relatively privileged background. Not that I'm a part of the upper echelons of society or anything (I come from Medway!) but I do come from a financially secure family. Statistics suggest that students with parents that are unemployed are less likely to perform well at school. All-encompassing assumptions on the part of employers towards those from an underprivileged background may also mean that they are less likely to be chosen for a job over someone they think is of a higher class.

I'm not bragging, I promise. Even though it may just sound like I'm trying to show off about happening to have white skin and having coincidentally been bought up in a relatively financially secure household! In the word's of Nick Carraway's father, "Whenever you feel like criticising any one ... just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." And I try to keep in mind even if Gatsby himself doesn't. I will continue to strive to create a society that is based on equity and before this can happen it is of the utmost importance to recognise that equity does not yet exist, even if that means having to break free from the human desire to believe that we always have it the hardest.

29 March 2015

Let's have a Revolution

I've always liked Russell Brand. Of course, I don't actually know him on a personal level but I've always found him rather charming alongside bloody hilarious when I've seen him in videos or read anything he's written. He just seems like a nice chap. And I can't help but feel I would like to be his friend. Maybe we could go out for coffee (in a family run coffee shop, of course) and discuss how to achieve equity in British society. Let me know if you're up for it, Mr. Brand. 

Mainly he is just an intriguing human being with views on the world that differ so wildly from the majority of people's ideologies that it's hard not to be drawn into hearing what he has to say. When I downloaded his book Revolution to be read to me by the man himself whilst driving to and from school, I didn't expect it to have such a profound effect on me. Firstly, it's brilliantly entertaining and had me looking like a fool in stand-still traffic because I couldn't hold in my laughter. Secondly, it's simply thought provoking. Russell explores society in a way that the education system that I've been bought up within does not offer. In a way that young people aren't exposed to for what I can only imagine is one reason - because we might want to change things. Let's be honest, the people that create school curriculums (the government) are not going to be gagging to change our current system of rule (the government). So even if you do study politics or sociology, it's undeniable that ideas such as those suggested in Revolution will not be explored or at least not positively. Yet, the point of education is, at least in my eyes, the opportunity to learn as widely and as deeply as possible. I guess the British Government don't feel the same way. 

I don't agree with everything that comes out of Rusty's mouth. I don't expect you to either. I can't see how people can disagree with his central ideology, though: 

I just don't understand how someone could look at that sentence and see it negatively. Unless they are one of those people with a tendency to dismiss anything with the word "spiritual" in it without probing deeper. "Oneness"? No thanks, I like being lonely. "Respect"? But I enjoy disrespecting people's beliefs. "Love"? Don't be a tit, the only think I love is to hate things. You get my point. 

Ultimately, Revolution is a discussion of just how we can achieve this world. I can honestly say that it is one of the best lessons I've had in my life despite being in the education system for the past 13 years of my life. It inspired me to look at society and the way that it's governed differently and to not accept everything just because it's been in place for a long time. I think it's an important book, especially for young people like myself who are dissatisfied with aspects of the world they see on a daily basis.

I could probably copy and paste the whole book, but here are some of my favourite bits from Revolution:

Read it. I implore you. Don't necessarily agree with it but certainly read it. And while you're at it check out "The Trews" on YouTube and share the ones you like on every form of social media you have. It's so important, if only for the sake of realising that things don't need to stay the way that they are right now.  

Something new

I feel like my whole life is about to undergo a seismic shift. It sounds melodramatic. That’s because it is melodramatic. In reality I’m just going to be starting university in a few month’s time and I’m a mix of terrified and absolutely dance-around-my-bedroom-excited. This is the biggest shift, and certainly the the closest to one of “seismic” proportions, that my 18 years on this earth have seen. No more family members 3 seconds down the hallway!
Anyway, with this fresh start I feel as though some other things in my life have to change too. For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been blogging for more than three years now over on paigeoffashion.blogspot.co.uk. I’ve quite literally put my heart and soul into that little corner of the internet. It’s been my baby. But recently writing posts has become less natural to me and I’ve become less interested in fashion as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, I still love fashion as a way of self expression and I completely respect the industry and all of the bloggers that embrace it, I’m just not as obsessed with writing about it as I once was. And what’s the point in doing something you’re not utterly obsessed with when you have a choice in the matter? So after much thought I made a life changing decision (I’m really not being melodramatic this time) – to stop updating Paige of Fashion and to start this fresh corner of the internet.
I guess we’ll be going on this adventure together, because even I myself am not certain of the direction which Curly and Wordy is going to take in the coming months. All I can say at the moment is that it’s going to be different. It’s going to be a look at society, current issues and the inside of my head alongside all things wordy.

So, make yourself at home, have a cup of tea and let’s get to know each other.