Sunday, 8 November 2009

[whisper words of wisdom, let it be]

Once more, I have discovered that I haven’t blogged for a while. This is partly due to the fact that I’ve moved to university, and, given the rather large work load, I simply haven’t had the time. When I have had the time, and not been in lectures or working on lab reports or being sociable with flatmates, I have had no idea what to blog about.

It’s all very well just randomly rambling on, but I’m not sure that that’s really my style, if I even have a style. Why do I blog? Why do any of us blog? I think that my blogging is more, as is said at the top of the page, to air my thoughts rather than to really expect any response or even to promote thought. Of course, that is a plus – if I make people stop and think, just for a second, about something that then makes them feel better about themselves, or makes them appreciate other people or go out and do something themselves, that has to be a good thing, right?

I’m currently listening to Nessun Dorma. I really would recommend classical music for anyone, even if they don’t think that they’ll like it at first. There is something in not understanding what exactly is being said, but knowing that it is beautiful that frees the soul. The mellowness, sadness, hopefulness and simple truth of it just amazes me. My soul soars, swoops and glides when such music is played. I am buoyed up by the strength of the voices that express such feeling with which anyone who is human can empathise. Holst is wonderful – Jupiter from the Planets Suite is just magical to me. It always makes me feel hopeful and feel of some emotion that I can’t quite name. This emotion isn’t entirely new to me, I must admit. The familiarity of it does not make it any easier to identify. Whether it’s pride, or connection, or simply unconditional love, I have no idea. What I do know is that the same people and the same things always inspire it in me. And these people and things are not always those that I would expect.

Unconditional love is a funny thing. I’m just beginning to discover that sometimes, it doesn’t matter what some people do or do not do, you’ll love them all the same. This is somewhat problematic in that unconditional love does not correspond to unconditional lack of pain. Someone who you love unconditionally can still hurt you, even if they don’t mean to. Sometimes they do it more because they don’t realise. And sometimes it’s just your fault.

Sometimes, however, unconditional love can lead to amazing things. Just the other night, for example, I was with my grandparents. It was Reading Week, so I decided to go across to their house near Grimsby for a couple of days instead of doing what most of my flatmates were doing, which was going home.

Grandma and Grandad’s is really like a home from home for me. Of course, being one of those people where home is where you happen to be staying (home is where you plant your anchor, my Grandma says - it’s an old Merchant Navy term apparently, nicked from my Grandad) home from home applies to most places I stay. Still, I went to my Grandparents’, for what was originally going to just be a couple of nights. However, for one reason or another, I ended up staying for 4 nights. On my last night, my Grandad and I had such fun. Admittedly, we were both probably slightly tipsy (no understatement) and it came to pudding. My Grandad proposed having sponge cake with ginger sauce, courtesy of ASDA, and that sounded brilliant to me. We found the sponges out of the freezer, read the instructions, and put the sponges in the microwave, before promptly taking cover behind the nearest cupboards. It was amazing. We hid for maybe a good thirty seconds, which I know doesn’t sound too long but for a 79 year old man and his 18 year old grandaughter it was really quite a while. Then my Grandma starts laughing at us, and we realise that, in fact, the microwave really isn’t about to explode due to the change in pressure of the cartons of sponge due to the change in heat. When a mechanical and chemical engineer get together, there really are hilarious scientific consequences. When this is followed by a film (cowboy) in which we count off the “dead” cowboys by our very sophisticated “il est mort... maintenant il y a trois... il est mort... maintenant il y a doux... il est mort... maintenant il y a un... il est mort... maintenant je pense que c’est tout” it shows the depth of our grandfather-grandaughter relationship.

My grandad is really one of the most amazing people I know. When I think about how much he’s learnt, been though and achieved it makes me wonder about how I can possibly do him proud as his grandaughter. I know that we’re different people, in different circumstances, with different views on life and the world in general, but even having said that, any major decision I make will always go through Grandad, for as long as he lives. And I hope that that’s a long time, although common sense tells me that if I’m lucky he’ll see my graduation. Until then, and beyond, my primary purpose in life is to make him proud to call me his grandaughter. This may seem like a pretty pointless purpose to some – where is the point in living for someone else? But I can assure you that the pride I see in his eyes when he knows what I’ve achieved makes me one of the happiest people alive. Maybe that’s wrong, but it’s how I feel. And I’m sure that anyone who’s ever felt the same would agree with me.

I’ve moved on now, from Nessun Dorma to I dreamed a dream from Les Mis. That’s another thing that my grandad loves – Les Mis. Part of the reason I love it is probably because he does. I dreamed a dream is such an old person’s song; I often feel that I don’t have the right to think that I emphasise with it. Do you ever feel that sometimes you’re just not allowed to feel certain things, because you’ve not lived long enough? That you can only truly understand the feeling behind something if you’ve experienced a certain thing? I do. I was young and unafraid...” just cries out that as you get older you will get more frightened. Of what? As a young child, you see adults as having no fear, nothing holding them back. Obviously as you yourself get older and closer to this adulthood that you revered so much when you were younger, you see that there is, in fact, more to lose but so much more to be gained. Is it risk then, that we fear? I’m limited when it comes to taking risks. If the thing that I am risking will only affect me, then often I’ll go for it. When the risk affects others, I’ll consider it a lot more carefully, but still probably take it. There are only a few people that I would never take risks with, purely because I love them so much.

And here we are, again. Back to love. Not necessarily unconditional, but love all the same. It is a fickle thing. I have heard love described as a thing rather than a feeling, as you can’t promise a feeling forever. Love is a state of mind, I think. Everyone has their own idea of what love is. And this is not something that can be easily described. Love is when one person does something for another without expecting anything in return. Love is precious, and love is kind. Love is used too often, as there is more than one type of love. I can say “I love you” to my family and friends and for it to mean something totally different from an “I love you” to a boyfriend. And note that this isn’t an “I love what you do”, it’s an “I love you”, for who you are. You can do the most terrible things in the world, and I won’t love them, but I will still love you. Do you see where I’m going with this? Maybe not. Maybe I’m just there again, rambling on to myself. Maybe it is my blogging style. Who knows?

A perfect date for me, by the man who really knew me, would be to go to the theatre and listen to Jupiter or Nessun Dorma. The man would have to really know me, as I would never tell him that. He’d have to really know me, as I strongly suspect that I would, at some point in the evening, end up in floods of tears and I’d hate for him to think that it was his fault. But where would one find a man willing to take you to the theatre?

I’m not a feminist, as you may have noticed. I’m all for men holding doors open for me, pulling out my chair for me to sit down, and being generally chivalrous. It’s what I’ve been brought up to expect. Having said that, I’m not exactly some meek, docile possession, either. As a woman in a man’s field – I’m studying Chemical Engineering – I know how dangerous this stance can be. Not physically, of course, but career-wise. If you always expect men to be chivalrous, you are going to be vastly disappointed. If you expect them to be rude, uncouth and generally unappealing then, every so often, you will be pleasantly surprised. I’m not saying this to have a dig at men – and please forgive me if that’s what you think I’m doing. I’m not trying to say that all men are idiots, I’m just saying that if you expect them to be idiots, when you find one who isn’t you’ll appreciate it all the more.

Moving on rather swiftly before I offend any more... I dreamed a dream is a beautiful song. It can be taken on so many levels – not least in the literal and metaphorical senses. I really recommend these songs if you have nothing to do for five minutes, by the way. They really are lovely. Not necessarily the happy, smiley, bouncy everything-is-fine lovely, but the strong, true, sure lovely. Which, incidentally, is the much nicer lovely in my opinion. I’d take the lovely of truth over the lovely of fakery any day, whether that truth is harsher, rawer, and more volatile than the falsehood or not.

Send in the clowns is another haunting melody. It’s almost sad, but sad is the wrong word. It makes me cry. I’m sat listening to it now and it feels as though tears about to come streaming down my face. It’s the worst thing about music. It makes you feel all these things that simply can’t be explained. Right now, all I want is a cuddle.

That’s it, and I’m not going to get one.

Not entirely sure what this blog has achieved, but there we go...

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