Lexa

I don’t think I have the words to explain what Lexa from The 100 meant to me. She introduced me to the world of queer female representation not only on television, but in fictional stories in general.

One year ago today, Lexa and Clarke finally showed their feelings for each other and slept together after an entire season of building up their relationship. It was the tender moment fans had been waiting for. But five minutes after this, Lexa was shot by a stray bullet meant for Clarke. One year ago today, I watched online as fans were upset and outraged that Lexa was added to the list “Bury Your Gays” victims, a trope that sees LGBT characters dead in television. I hadn’t watched The 100, but could clearly see how hurt the LGBT audience of the show was, and quickly binge watched it to catch up and understand what had happened. Lexa was the last straw.

I fell in love with Lexa’s character. The 100 had a perfect balance of “her sexuality is a prominent part of the character’s identity” and “this character is more than her sexuality”. Lexa was a young leader of her people; she was strong, brave, fierce, complex, beautiful, and a lesbian character that thousands worldwide in the LGBT community looked up to. Portrayed by Alycia Debnam-Carey, she was brought to life breathtakingly, and with the help of Eliza Taylor, who portrays Clarke, their love story was shown with grace and beauty. Lexa was the character we were looking for, and the representation that we needed. But it was quickly torn away from us in the last 15 minutes of the fateful episode entitled “Thirteen”. All trust that The 100 had created with the fan base was lost in that episode, and it can never be redeemed. There is nothing they can do to take away our heartbreak.

I am constantly amazed by the fan base’s constant motivation and determination to strive for better representation and to end queerbaiting, a term used for when writers try to gain an LGBT audience with little to no intention of accurately showing LGBT characters. Whether it is over $150,000 donated to the LGBT charity The Trevor Project, organising ClexaCon, a convention purely for queer women to celebrate queer female characters, trending worldwide on Twitter, or simply continuing Lexa’s story through fanfiction. We are being heard.

Lexa is ours. Lexa is our hero.

leksa

Donate to The Trevor Project in memory of Lexa here.

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2017

New Year’s Eve always makes me nostalgic. Everyone is always reflecting on the year and it’s a bittersweet feeling for me. And also kind of dissociative. I know time is just a concept, and this event happens ever year so I don’t know why I get so thoughtful and angsty about it, but I think of the past – my childhood, since that’s the only thing currently in my past, and I think to the future – my adulthood that I am just going into. I have my whole life ahead of me and I’m on cusp of independence. It’s scary but it’s liberating. I can be whoever I want to be and no one can stop me. It’s a nice feeling, because I know I’m naïve and I know there’s going to be some bumps in the road, but right now I’m on the edge of turning my life into whatever I make of it and it’s amazing and beautiful that I get the chance to do that.

I’m working on living in the present. I’m someone who always looks back and wishes that I was lining up for school dinners again and having sleepovers with my friends with no responsibilities, and I’m also someone who dreams about being my 30s with a successful career in something that I love. These aren’t bad things necessarily – it’s okay to look at where we’ve been and what we’re going to do – but I get hooked on it. Right now, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of not being hooked. I’m half way through my second year of college and making a documentary for my class about the musical Hamilton, I’ve just sent off my UCAS application and I’m doing a lot of writing. I’m being productive and I’ve never been happier because I’m getting somewhere. This is what I’m doing right now at 18 and a half years old in December 2016 and I feel free.

So I’m not going to dwell too much on 2016, because the negative has sort of outweighed the positive. But there have been some peaceful moments such as at the end of May, the first day of my 3 month summer holiday, when I went on a walk on a lovely sunny day with my sister and nieces and then we had a picnic of chips from our local chip shop. That’s probably my favourite memory from this year. I’m also not going to dwell too much on my resolutions that I had set for this year because I didn’t achieve all of them, but that’s okay. I have other goals, more relevant goals, for 2017.

I am going to be unapologetically myself. In light of Carrie Fisher’s passing, I’m going to worry about myself and do things that are good for myself and take care of myself – I am going to live for myself and no one else. People can form their opinions of me, and if they like me, that’s great, but if they don’t, I’ve finally realised that that is okay too. In the words of Carrie Fisher in her book The Princess Diarist, “I should let people I meet do the work of piecing me together until they can complete, or mostly complete the puzzle. And when they’re finished they can look at the picture that they’ve managed to piece together and decide whether they like it or not. On their own time. Let them discover you.” Except I am an over-sharer and will tell anyone and everyone about me and my life (it’s why I have a blog), so it probably won’t take long or be difficult to complete the puzzle.

One important thing I learnt this year was that people are too busy worrying about themselves to take proper notice of anyone around them. And if people do complain at you for wearing sunglasses inside, or having hairy legs, or wearing a full face of makeup to the cinema, that’s their problem, not yours. Nothing you do is ever going to satisfy everyone, so do whatever you want (as long as it’s not hurting someone).

If Venus can spin backwards, so can you. Here’s to 2017.

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Being thecarrielator

I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t see Star Wars until The Force Awakens came out last year. I’d seen parts of The Empire Strikes Back when my brother watched it when we were children, and I knew who Anakin Skywalker was, but I was more interested in lining up my soft toys, playing with my dolls house and writing stories non stop. Then last year I wanted to be in on the hype with the new film, so I binged watched all previous 6 films, starting with A New Hope and ending with Revenge of the Sith. I immediately fell in love with them. It was an entire endless world that had been created – the only other time I had see that was with Harry Potter.

I searched up the main cast on Twitter and found Carrie Fisher’s account active. Princess Leia was my favourite character purely because she was the only woman (a strong, smart, funny and powerful one at that), and I resonate towards female characters. If you’ve seen Carrie Fisher’s Twitter, you’re probably as baffled as I was the first time I came across it last December. And if you haven’t come across it, she tweets in emojis. Just go and see for yourself. It took some figuring out but I quickly learnt how to decode her emoji language when it seemed that almost nobody else could. I thought about creating an account to translate her tweets into normal written English, because honestly, it bugged me seeing so many people replying to Carrie saying they couldn’t understand her. I left it a couple of months, but then in March I finally created one. I translated a few of her tweets and wrote my own tweet saying that if anyone couldn’t understand her tweets then I was there to translate them and help people understand. I went to sleep for the night and that was that. Until I woke up.

The first thing I do when I wake up is check my phone and social medias to see what’s happening in the world that day. But waking up on that day was different. There was a seemingly endless scroll of notifications on my lock screen. It turned out that about half an hour after I went to sleep, Carrie Fisher had retweeted me and I gained 1000 followers literally overnight. And so from then on, I set up tweet notifications for her account so that I’d know when she tweeted in “Carriemoji” as I dubbed it with a friend, and could translate ASAP. I began to get incredibly kind messages from random people appreciating me, or just finding the whole thing funny, which made me feel really good, especially if I was feeling crappy that day. It was the best feeling to have a purpose and be recognised and appreciated for it, even it was just “translating” weird little tweets by someone that famous. What I’m trying to say is that Carrie Fisher and her emoji tweets really made an impact on my life and I don’t really know how to explain how grateful I am for that.

I got Carrie’s latest autobiography The Princess Diarist as a Christmas present and I’m already half way through. It’s captivating to be let into her world as she was filming the first Star Wars. One of the things that stood out to me from the book is how she talks about how she was told to lose weight for the role of Princess Leia, but she never did. To me, Carrie Fisher was someone who defied social norms and said fuck you to people who didn’t like it. That’s someone I want to become.

I’m trying not to be sad about her death, but thankful for her existence.

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2 Years Old

It feels like barely any time has passed since I was writing about having blogged for a year, but now it’s been 2! A lot has happened over the past 2 years since I decided to make this blog, and sometimes I’m not even sure if I want to keep doing it. But ultimately even though I still don’t really know the direction of this blog, I like writing on it when I can. I’m not sure if it’s beneficial to anyone, but I appreciate everyone who reads my content.

I still have a lot of stuff that I want to talk about on here, a lot of it still from last year that I haven’t gotten around to writing about. I also have 27 drafts saved so at some point I’ll go through them and figure out what to post and what to delete. Right now though, I need to get back to writing my personal statement for university applications.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Love Trumps Hate

Today I woke up at 7am and immediately checked my phone. I went to sleep last night knowing that when I woke up America would elect its new President. An hour later I watched Donald Trump’s acceptance speech live on CNN. Shocked, dumbfounded, outraged, upset and speechless are just a few words to describe how I was feeling in that moment. A woman who has spent her entire career in politics lost to a man with no political background. The first African-American President will hand the White House over to a man who has been endorsed by the KKK. And I keep asking myself, how did this happen?

All I can feel is empathy towards anyone considered a minority in America. The world is scary and people are selfish. No, scratch that, white people are selfish. Anyone who voted third-party when they knew damn well it was either going to be Trump or Clinton is selfish. I can’t believe I even have to say this, but the 11,000 people who voted for Harambe, a dead gorilla, are selfish. How can you throw away your vote like that? Of course, people vote for who they think is going to benefit them directly, but when the candidates are an extremely qualified woman who wanted to help the lives of LGBT people, people of colour, people of all faiths, immigrants, disabled people, and mentally ill people, amongst all her other policies, vs a “business man” who has filed for bankruptcy 4 times, calls Mexicans criminals and rapists, has been accused of being a rapist multiple times, and genuinely believes that a man in favour of conversion therapy is a good running mate, how can you just think of just yourself in this time? Where are people’s morals and basic human decency? In Trump’s America, I believe people could die. He believes in “the right to carry”, so who knows how many hate crimes there will be in the next 4 years. I am scared for America. I’m scared because I, as a Brit, don’t know what I can do to help. All I seem to be able to offer are my words but I don’t have a lot of them to give. I don’t know what to say.

I’ve seen a lot of Americans on the internet today not let this ruin them. So many people who have considered not getting out of bed because they were devastated as to what this might mean, but they decided against it. They didn’t let this stop them. Instead, they got up, went to their classes or their work and they carried on with their day as best they could, because not doing anything meant that he won. And he can’t stop them. Remember there is still 2 and a half-ish months of Barack Obama as President of the United States before the inauguration of one of the most vile humans in history. And remember to vote in the mid-term elections on 6 November 2018.

A few years ago I didn’t think that I would live through any history worth being in textbooks, but today I realised that I was wrong. I have seen 9/11, I have seen the first African-American President become President for not one, but two terms, I have seen the US capture Osama Bin-Laden, I have seen the start of the Syrian Civil War and the rise of ISIS, I have seen same sex marriage become legal in both the UK and the US, I have seen the UK decide to leave the EU, I have seen the second woman ever become Prime Minster of the UK, and now I have seen the first woman ever to vote for herself to become President and the first man with no political background to become the President. I am only 18 years old by the way.

Still, today I still looked out of my bedroom window as I do everyday, and I watched the clouds pass, and the trees sway and the birds fly over houses and remembered that the world will still go on. The earth will still spin, the sun will still rise. History is in the making, and things around me are changing. I will go to university next year and start my life in the world that has been created for me, and I am terrified. I am terrified that we live in a world that enables a man who has bragged about sexual assault to become President – a man that our children will watch closely and take lessons from. But whilst this goes on around me, and I become a young woman in this world, I take comfort in looking out my bedroom window and watching our tiny, insignificant world, carry on. It reminds me that everything is temporary, and it won’t, dear god I hope, it won’t last forever.

Love Trumps Hate.

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Autism Friendly Shopping Trip

Earlier today I went to my local Toys R Us who were open an hour earlier than usual to give customers with autism and other disabilities the chance to shop for an hour before other customers pile in. As soon as I entered the store I noticed 3 differences: not as many fluorescent lights were on (but I couldn’t tell if they had done that simply because it was bright outside so natural lighting was hitting the shelves), there was no music/use of a tannoy, and the store was a lot quieter, more relaxed and easier to navigate without as many busy customers walking around. I got a proper chance to look around at what I wanted without being rushed and also find my way to different parts of the store without feeling like I’m in anyone’s way or needing to be reclusive when other people came near me. I felt accepted by the staff working there too, they didn’t seem to mind at the checkout if I didn’t take much notice of them, but instead, seemed happy to help.

I felt a little out of place at first because I was clearly one of the oldest people in there (I’m 18) and I also hadn’t gone to buy anything in particular but just to look around and see what the shopping experience would be like, but after a while I felt that the atmosphere was very relaxing and a lot my anxious traits were lowered – it was a place where I could be myself and didn’t have to mask my autistic traits. I went into Boots afterwards and immediately noticed the difference between autism friendly stores and stores that weren’t autism friendly. I wore my sunglasses in Boots because the lights were very bright on the end of isles and also on the ceiling, it was very loud and busy, and the tannoy/buzzer at the till was extremely loud and went on for a very long time but didn’t seem to bother anyone but me.

If my local supermarket done this once a week it would make it incredibly easier to not have outbursts in the shop because I find supermarkets to be the most stressful shops with a lot going on, only just above clothes shops. If I was either a child or had something in mind that I wanted to buy instead of just looking for Christmas presents for my nieces, the trip to Toys R Us today would have been extremely beneficial, but it was still nice and interesting to see how things changed. People don’t seem to understand that autism doesn’t just affect children though, it is a life long condition and there is virtually no help for adults who are “high functioning”, which is why I wish that other shops more suited to adults would host similar if not the same events.

I feel like I’m beginning to repeat myself now, but all in all the store was very relaxing and quiet and enjoyable to be in. I’m not a regular customer at Toys R Us and, even though if I could I probably would buy out the entire Star Wars and Marvel sections, I only go in there if I need to get presents for my 2 nieces or if I am invited there by them, but I’m glad the shop is doing this to help all their other autistic customers.

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Absent

I haven’t posted on here in 3 months… I don’t even know where the time went. After my 18th birthday Life just happened and I was struggling to find inspiration to write. I don’t even really have an excuse as to why I haven’t posted anything. There’s some drabbles in my drafts but I just never got around to making them coherent enough to publish. This is basically me trying to get back into it, so if my writing is off it’s because I haven’t done it in 3 months! But I guess I just have to get on with it to get back into doing it which is what I’m trying to do… even though I probably shouldn’t because I’m snowed under with college work and applying to universities (which I still haven’t started doing, oops). And that brings me on nicely to what I’ve been up to for the past few months.

I started my second year of college and kind of hate it. It’s just incredibly stressful and I’m not doing the best in any aspect of my life right now, but college is just piling everything up and I’m just struggling to deal with it a bit. But nothing counts towards my final grade yet so I’m okay. I am struggling a lot to concentrate though – I can only seem to do about 5 minutes before I just have to stop and I can’t tell if this is due to my ADD or just me being lazy, but I’m going to try medication for this. I’ve tried it once during my GCSEs 2 years ago and it kind of worked, but I’m desperate right now so I’m taking anything I can get.

Other than college though I haven’t been up to much. I’ve been seeing a lot of my friends since I turned 18 which I’m really enjoying. I’m loving more of the freedom and independence I now have, but I’m sure I’ll hate it by the time uni rolls around and I have to almost completely fend for myself.

As for all my difficulties with Asperger’s… well they haven’t really been a problem, which I think is due to the fact that I have friends who actually understand me now and I understand them. Of course, the odd situation does arise still like having meltdowns from stress and I have even lost a few friends this year, but I’ve been getting on with it all and dealing with it. I still have Asperger’s and I’m still going to write about it (I have actually been thinking recently wondering if the “masking” concept is still something I do or if I am just incredibly “high functioning” now, which I will write about).

Hopefully I’ll be posting more soon because I do enjoy having this blog for when I want to write 🙂

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