Blank (Original Short Story Opening)

I’ve been asked by one of my new IB English Lit teachers to write a short story opening in a post-modern style. I thought I would share this with you because I really enjoyed writing it. Let me know what you think.

xoxo

Hannah


“Blank”

How did I get here?

I awake in a flood of panic, face down on the gritty, dirtied flooring of a large, hangar-like structure. As I tilted my head upwards I slowly began to take in the image of a hollow shell of a building supported only by a hundred metal beams. The building is bleak and empty, as blank as I feel. The room that surrounds me is simply a giant skeletal structure with no acknowledgement of external existence.

Who am I?

Looking down at myself, I stick out my hands. Why don’t I recognise them? Like in some strange out-of-body experience, I use these hands to feel out the shapes of my face. I sense the bumped slope of my nose. Poke my sallow and sunken cheekbones.

Is this what it’s like to be born?

I hear the sound of something dripping. Following my ear, I find a pool of clear liquid spreading across the concrete floor. Peering into this puddle of reflection I see a face. I see the bumpy nose and sunken cheekbones I felt out. I see chestnut eyes that blink back at me; watch my every movement being mirrored. This must be me.

Is this what I look like?

I see the slight greying of the brown hair on my head; a smattering of stubble across my chin. I just don’t see myself. I don’t recognise myself.

I hear a faint buzzing sound as a rectangular object presses against my front trouser pocket. Pulling it out, I press the green button on the screen, almost instinctively and begin to say:

“Hello it’s… it’s…” Nothing. No other words come out of my mouth. I don’t know who it is who is answering the phone. I’m aware that ‘it’ is me and yet I don’t know who I am. Or how I got here.

A few seconds pass with silence on the line. “Who is this?” I say, with a hint of suspicion in my tone. An unfamiliar female voice emerges from the other end of the phone line:

“It’s me, of course, your mum! Have you forgotten me already?” She paused briefly to laugh a breathy, deep laugh; a heavy smoker, twenty-cigs-a-day kind of laugh. My mother. The one who raised me. How can I not know her? A wave of nausea and anxiety washes over me. How can I know my mother when I don’t even know myself? To me, this woman is a total stranger. And all I can do is wonder why.

I hardly notice the few minutes that pass as the voice keeps asking if I’m there, repeating this over and over in an increasingly alarmed tone. How can she be my mother if I don’t know whether she is or not? Finally, I refocus and speak to the strange woman on the phone.

“You must have the wrong number,” I say in a cool and even tone. Then I press the little red button on the screen.

Fill in the blank.

I am _____. I come from _____. I am __ years old.

Fill in the blank.

These are basic statements about identity, about who we are. And yet I can’t. I can’t fill in the blank.

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My GCSE Results & What I’m Doing Next Year

Hello everyone,

As you may or may not have known, about a week and a half ago thousands of 16-year-olds across the UK received their GCSE Results, determining what direction they are taking on their step into further education. Just to explain the grades: we are a transition year, so our English Literature, English Language and Maths grades were marked from 1 to 9, 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. The rest of our subjects were marked on the regular A* to G system that is now on its way out, this being the last year it is being used. The new top grade 9 is the equivalent to a grade above an A*, or an A**, awarded to approximately the top 3% of the country. The grade 8 is an A*, 7 is roughly an A, 6 is a high B and 5 & 4 are high and low Cs respectively. Anything below a 4 is considered a fail.

Results Day was something that took so long to arrive that the anticipation had almost disappeared by the time the day actually came around. I’m just going to go over my Results Day thoughts before and after opening my results.

Before Results

Thursday 24th August 2017

I awoke abruptly at roughly 5.30 am. Due to nerves I found it quite difficult to get back to sleep but nonetheless managed to sleep through until roughly 7.30 am. I quickly started looking up grade boundaries on the exam specification websites (Edexcel, AQA and OCR) so that I could know how many UMS I needed for particular grades. I found these quite reassuring in most cases, as many required far lower marks than I expected. I showered and dressed, ate my breakfast and then went off in the car at about 9.30 – to take my grandma to a dentist appointment. Anxious and excited, I sat in the car listening to Rutter’s ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ (my calming song) until my friend rang me up about her results. I helped her calm as she opened hers – only to find she had done much better than she had expected, which was reassuring to me as well.

Finally, we set off to school to arrive at approximately 10.30. Many people had left at this point and this caused some anxiety to really kick in. As I walked into the Main Hall and started to approach the results table, my History teacher flashed me a smile. I find that if that happens to you, it’s almost certainly a good sign. I flipped over my plastic wallet with my list of grades and tearfully collapsed of joy in my dad’s arms as I read down the list.

Disclaimer: Just to clarify, I am not in any way shape or form boasting about my grades, I’m simply showing what can be achieved through perseverance and hard work 🙂

My GCSE Grades

After Results

I was absolutely thrilled with these results – especially Music given how many hours I had put into my coursework; 2 compositions, 1 appraisal, a solo and a group piece all paid off in the end! I was also so happy about the A* in Geography as that is the line I am looking to go down at University. I was very, very surprised about the A* in Biology, the exams for which I had thought hadn’t gone too well. It just goes to show you can never really judge how well you’re going to do.

I took a moment to calm down before a lady asked me for a quick camera interview where I told her my feelings, my grades and who I wanted to thank. It all went in a crazy rush because I was still in shock. I was given my yearbook by a member of staff which was full of lots of pictures of my secondary school journey. Other members of staff congratulated me which was so so lovely. I texted my mum who was at work at the time and absolutely delighted to learn that given my grades, we will be off to Amsterdam in the Spring ❤ I also texted my sister who has been absolutely lovely and wonderful throughout all of my exam stress. She’s about to start her GCSEs this year, so maybe it’s my turn to support her! One by one a wave of friends showed their support and congratulations to me, as I returned to them.

On the whole, my school did really really well – here’s a quick extract from a news article off the school’s Facebook:

Capture

Decision Time

Over the summer I had been trying to decide whether I was going to stay doing A-Levels at my current school or whether I would go to the local Boys’ Grammar school to do the International Baccalaureate. I simply couldn’t decide so I put off the ultimate decision until Results Day. I surprised many people when I told them that I had decided that I would do the IB. Of course, it means leaving some of my closest friends and greatest teachers behind, but I’m ready for a new adventure. I’ll meet my friends on the weekends and talk to them regularly, but I’ll also have the chance to make new ones. Going on NCS meant that I got to know more people who are also doing the IB which means that I do have friends there already and will make a far more comfortable transition. I felt that if I never gave the IB a chance, I would massively regret it. It’s amazing how supportive people can be – telling my best friends, who will miss me as much as I miss them, what I decided to do next year and having their full support has carried me far.

I’m also fortunate in that the Boys’ and Girls’ Grammar Schools are right next to each other, making it easier for me to meet one of my best friends who decided to transfer to the Girls’ School.

So, starting this Wednesday, I’m studying Higher Level Geography, Philosophy and English Literature and Standard Level Maths, Physics and Japanese ab-initio. Will I encounter new and nerve wracking experiences? Of course I will. Is it going to be hard at times? Yes. But I am so very excited to see what the IB can throw at me – I’m ready as I’ll ever be for this new, two year journey.

To all those who got their GCSE (or A-Level or IB) I hope you all did fantastically well and that you are happy going forward. Remember that what you put in always comes out in the end – I believe in you! ❤

What are you doing next school year? Are you leaving your current school for college? A sixth form? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

xoxo

Hannah

 

Support MHA Campaign – NCS Torbay!

Hello everyone,

It’s time for me to talk about something very close to my heart. Just over three weeks ago I met an amazing group of people through a program I am doing over the summer called National Citizen Service. We went on two 5-day residentials, one covering adventure activities and one covering skill related activities. At the start of the program we were sorted into 3 teams that we would remain in for all team activities for the entirety of the program. Over these two weeks we were able to work out our strengths within a team, in order to prepare ourselves for a social action project.

We decided to make our social action project about mental health awareness, because we felt it was a very relevant topic that everyone would be able to connect to and feel passionate about. We selected our charity to donate our fundraising money to, which is Rethink Mental Illness, a charity that aims to support mentally ill people and their families through difficult times, as well as helping to combat the many stereotypes and the stigma that surrounds mental health.

We plan to do this by holding bake sales, doing bag packing in local supermarkets, hosting a charity football match and doing a 13.2 mile sponsored walk. Hopefully this will give us many opportunities to interact with the public and make them more aware of the many types of and the spectrum of ways mental health can affect people. I know that I have learnt so much already from starting this campaign, especially about being more aware and informed about mental health. So many people I know have stories that I never would have known about by looking at them at a first glance. We have designed a banner for all of our campaign leaflets which looks like this:

Mental Health Awareness (1)

We also decided that we would hand craft 50 boxes to donate to Rethink, affectionately designed and named by us as “Pal Packs.” These boxes will contain items to comfort and support the mentally ill in their darkest hours. With items including small bottles of dried lavender, the scent of which is known to have calming properties; inspirational quotes; hand painted worry stones and a personal, hand signed reassurance message in each, we hope to make someone’s day when they need it the most. These boxes will be about shoe box size, some of which we were lucky enough to have had donated by Clarks and Pavers, which we were very grateful for 🙂

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The Pal Packs Logo

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Collecting the donated shoe boxes

It would be absolutely wonderful if you could check out our Facebook page and give us a like and share, and even better if you could donate something, however small, to our JustGiving account 🙂 We can see that we are making a huge impact in our local community already, with stories being shared and people reaching out to us to ask to help out and support the campaign.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Currently, we are sharing a new mental health story everyday at 5pm British Time and giving lots of updates on fundraisers and what we are doing daily to build the campaign.

It is so important to talk about mental health, because the more we keep it bottled up, the worse the problem becomes. Just know that you are never alone and there will always be someone to talk to.

Thank you for all of your support,

xoxo

Hannah

Sixth Form/College Essentials and Top Ten Tips and Tricks

With GCSEs Results Day looming around the corner, just one week away, it’s never to early to start some preparation for the next step. I’ve been looking up a lot of different advice videos, spoken to some current sixth formers and have generated some of my own ideas about what I need to do to be on top of my game when I go back to school in September. Like me, you may be unsure about exactly where you are going/what you are doing this coming Autumn. I’m stuck between the choice of doing the International Baccalaureate or normal A-Levels. However, I believe it is best to get a few little things out of the way beforehand so that my decision is much easier to cope with once it is made, given the short amount of time between Results Day and school starting again.

So, here are…

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What’s going on?

I realise that I haven’t been posting on my blog for quite a long time. I am so frustrated with myself for possibly letting any of you down by my absence. I’m so sorry. Hopefully after reading this post you’ll be able to understand why.

So why haven’t I been posting? I’ve  been very busy with summer work, National Citizen Service and my other plans. On top of this I no longer have my chromebook which makes editing photos and accessing my blog to write posts more difficult. Depending on where I am next year for school will determine whether I get it back. I’m also, sadly, lacking the motivation and passion for some of topics I write about. I think it is really important that I am honest with you all – I need to fall back in love with blogging again.

During GCSE exam season I simply got too busy and out of the routine of writing posts, which has made it more difficult to come back to blogging now they are over. Posts that I did write sometimes felt like they weren’t from my heart or that I wasn’t passionate enough about them – whenever I am really passionate about a topic I write about I put in so much effort and work to making an amazing post for you all to enjoy. I feel every one of my posts should be written with those levels of passion and that much work, which has made me really think about what I want to be writing about.

Now onto another point – everyone knows I love a good tag or award but I can’t build my blog on those alone or else there would be no point in me being nominated anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciated being nominated and loved nominating other people for awards and tags, it was just that I had a tendency to use them as posts rather than some of my own ideas and thoughts and feelings on particular topics. I think the best thing for me to do until I get my posting schedule and blog back on track would to be politely refuse any nominations I receive. Again, I apologise and want you all to know that I still appreciate and am touched just as much by you choosing me as if I were to accept the nomination.

Furthermore, it was particularly frustrating when subjects I was passionate about didn’t really generate much of a response. I realise that this is my fault as I had failed to upkeep my blog with regular posts. I did this simply because I prefer to write fewer, longer, more quality posts whenever I can fit it into my schedule.

I’ve also had the frustration of not having stocked up on many photos. As we speak, I now have taken many photos over the summer which will help to support some of the post ideas I have for the near-ish future, detailing my canal boating holiday and my experience with the National Citizen Service, in addition to my GCSE Results if all goes well next week. I’m glad I’ve finally been able to resolve this issue which leaves me in better stead for posting in the future.

So, what is the plan for my blog in the future? Well, next month I’m going to be starting either A-Levels or the IB. I know I will be busy but I’m going to try my hardest to put aside time for my blog and work on developing a niche for my blog. I realise that I have a lot of ideas for posts which I need to streamline. Doing this will help to ensure that I am 100% passionate about everything I write. I want to make a difference with my blog and what I write – to create posts that spread positivity and love, like and that help a community connect over shared passions.

This was a post I never wanted to write, but I felt I had to be honest going forward with my blog after such a long silence. I hope that from now things can start to be different and that my blog will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever struggled with things like this at any point in your blogging journey.

Thank you for always supporting me and my blog,

xoxo

Hannah

 

A Day in My Life: Summer Ball/Prom Night

 

My Prom Experience

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On Friday evening, June 30, 2017, I attended my last secondary school event with people I have known for 5 years. I have to say that the experience was definitely a fitting finale to this chapter of my life. It really gave me a chance to reflect on how much I have learnt and grown over this period of time. I know that I have made so many friends for life and that I have met some truly unforgettable people.

Our prom was hosted in the function room of our local zoo. This may sound odd but it was quite incredible – the tables were so nicely laid out with white ribbons and balloons, and there was a dance floor right in the middle of the room, which you had to go down a few steps to access. We got a view of the whole zoo which was pretty incredible, and we were allowed to go outside (although not into the wider zoo grounds) to take lots of really amazing pictures.

The Run-up to Prom

The evening before prom was time I dedicated to small preparations such as sorting out my nails. I painted them myself, red to match my prom dress, using a Miss Sporty Lasting Colour Nail Polish in the shade 540, Boys Love Me. It is supposed to last 10 days and it’s brilliant as at the time of writing I have had it on for 3 days and the colour has not faded at all! I thought that this was a really great, inexpensive nail polish to use and I highly recommend it as it applies very smoothly and gives a lovely shine. It cost me only £1.99 which was fantastic! I also pampered myself with a charcoal face mask and went to bed earlier so I could look fresh the next day.

The morning of prom I took a shower where I could apply a hair mask and shave my legs. The hair mask allowed me to restore natural oils to my hair whilst removing any residue from hairsprays and other hair products I use. Once out of the shower I made sure to lotion my arms and legs to lock in moisture and leave them feeling smooth.

I then carried on with my day as normal until about 2 o’clock, when my mum brought her friend over to do my hair. I had chosen a tutorial I found on YouTube by Lilith Moon for a braided updo. We finished it off with some gorgeous screw in pearls to make it extra special and applied lots of hairspray so it would last all night.

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After this, I put on my base makeup in preparation for my sister returning home to do the more complex stuff for me. I started out by moisturising my face using Aveeno lotion and then applying a small amount of the Benefit Porefessional Primer to fill in my pores and make them less visible. I then moved on to use the Maybelline Better Skin Foundation in Sand, the Camouflage concealer by Essence for my undereyes and the Maybelline Fit Me! concealer for my blemishes. I blended it all out using an oval shaped brush. I also packed my silver clutch bag with my ticket, some spare change for drinks, a power bank and my perfume. I planned to pack my phone and my lipstick later on.

My sister then proceeded to transform my look from everyday to special occasion. She used a gorgeous Makeup Revolution Eyeshadow Palette called New-trals vs Neutrals which is super pigmented and has lots of lovely shades. It cost £6.99 which I think is well worth it for the quality and number of shades you get. She completed the cut crease eye look by applying lots of silver glitter eyeliner to part of my eyelids to give me that extra sparkle. You can get lots of inexpensive glitter eyeliners from Superdrug, Boots or even Poundland! I also wore the Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick in the shade 107 Wine which is a gorgeous colour that stays on for a long time. I wore a gold highlighter from Tanya Burr’s Christmas Collection, some bronzer and had my brows filled in with a brow pencil and some Essence eyebrow gel.

Here is the finish look:

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I then got into my red dress and finished it off with a necklace, a red rose corsage, pearl dangly earrings, silver heels and my clutch.

A few photos in the garden later and then we were off to my lovely friend Maddie’s house to catch a ride in our transportation for prom.

Travelling to Prom 

We decided that we wanted to take a really classy vehicle to prom – so what better than a beautiful dark green VW Camper van?

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My friends and I with our prom transportation

The colour of the camper van complemented all of our dresses wonderfully and it was beautifully upholstered. I sat in the front seat whilst my three friends sat in the back. We were taken by the driver to a few locations to have pictures done with the dream machine before we actually arrived at the venue.

He took a few pictures of use all laughing which actually turned out great, as well as a couple of others.

And of course, we had to take some group selfies as well…

This is probably my favourite though:

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Beautiful best friends

Then, we arrived outside the zoo where so many parents, teachers, friends and classmates were waiting for us. It was an amazing feeling looking at how well everybody cleaned up for our last event together as a year group. ❤

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With some friends

Eventually, they let us into the venue (although not without a check for our tickets and a bag search) so we could go off and party!

Prom

The start of the prom itself was a frenzy to secure seats and tables and to get lots of pictures with people. I was very social, going around and greeting people and telling them how lovely they all looked. I’m so thankful and blessed at the number of compliments I received as well. ❤

I saw a lot of teachers, including my Chemistry teacher who is leaving my school at the end of this year. I was lucky enough to get pictures with her and a couple of other friends too.

We had buffet food including chips, sausage rolls, quiche, peppers and sandwiches. The queue was long but well worth it as by this point I was starving!

After we had finished our food it was time to get on the dance floor! For me, this was 100% the highlight of my evening. The DJs were killing it on the turntables and soon near enough everyone was dancing. So many people abandoned their shoes to join in on the action. It was amazing to form a giant circle of people during songs and have people show off their moves in the middle of it! Some of the teachers even joined in and went a bit mad on the dance floor (even our headteacher!)

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There is something inexplicably fun about dancing and singing along to all of the songs with your friends. We demonstrated our dancing skills during YMCA, screamed the lyrics of Despacito, performed the Macarena in style. We rocked out to Beyonce’s Crazy in Love, went mad doing the Cha Cha Slide with teachers and classmates and held hands in a ring with one another during Coldplay’s A Head Full Of Dreams – whilst singing with equal enthusiasm! I even got picked up by one of my guy mates and spun around unexpectedly! We had started out a little awkwardly at first but eventually let all inhibitions go and went crazy with our moves. They do say that the crazier you dance, the better it looks!

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I danced and laughed so much and just let myself live in the experience. Some of the Zoo staff were dancing along as they started to tidy up the venue, which was equally hilarious and also impressive to watch as some of them had really great dance moves. People were shooting videos left, right and centre for Snapchat and the like. There were strobe lights that went in time with the music and it made the entire atmosphere so magic and energetic. I didn’t want it to end and never even wasted a second, constantly dancing along with increasingly more ambitious and absurd dance moves.

Towards the end of the night, at about ten minutes to eleven, they switched all of the lights back on in the function room and turned off the music. Everybody started shouting for one more song and at the Head Teacher’s say so, we got one more song – Dancing in the Moonlight by Toploader. That song is such a classic and it will forever be special to me as the anthem of the prom. It was amazing just dancing and singing along with my maths teacher, best friends and year coordinator. The song felt like it lasted forever and we made use of every second that we had.

Regretfully, we started making our way out of the zoo. We took one last photo and I hugged a couple of people goodbye who I’m not sure I’ll ever see again. The ending was the most bittersweet part of it all, knowing that whilst I have the most incredible evening, and indeed 5 year experience, I may never see some of these wonderful people again. 😦 As we made our way out of the zoo gates (which were initially locked, leaving us wondering whether we were being held captive for the night) I started to play Whitney Houston’s Dance With Somebody, a song which is very special to a friend of mine and myself. Soon everybody started to join us in singing along as we made our way to our lifts home and hugged each other goodbye.

It was one of the best evenings of my life and something I will treasure throughout my life. It was the perfect way to mark the end of an era and to reunite with so many amazing people one last time. If you ever get the opportunity to go to prom, do because I can’t imagine myself not having gone!

Big love to all of the members of my year group. ❤ ❤ ❤

I will end this post with a little slideshow of my prom pictures.

xoxo

Hannah

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My 1 Year Blogging Anniversary!! + Q&A

It’s my blog’s 1st birthday! 🎉🎊🎆

Whilst I made this WordPress account over 1 year ago, I only really started using this blog on Saturday 18th June 2016, writing about my Work Experience with the local town council. So much has changed since then and I am truly blessed to have been on this wonderful blogging journey 😍☺️

Let’s go through some of my blogging numbers…

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Accepting Awards (Long Post Ahead!)

Hey guys! I’ve realised how many award nominations I’ve received recently over the last few months, and I have gotten SO far behind! It’s honestly embarrassing how I’ve let myself slip to the point of having to compile EIGHT nominations for awards! I’m honestly astounded that you guys consider me deserving of these awards. My blogging family has given so much to me that all I can say is a huge THANK YOU!! ❤

You lovely people inspire me so much with your kind words each and every day. ❤

Now, onto the awards…

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Original Poetry Shorts

I am a great lover of poetry, especially that of Kayil York and Tyler Knott Gregson. Every now and again, I feel really inspired to write my own poetry, so I wanted to share a few of my own poems today with you guys. If you really enjoy it, let me know in the comments and I’ll upload some more ❤

Just to clarify, not all poems are written from my own point of view, or necessarily from a female perspective. It is your choice to interpret and analyse them as you wish.

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Rapid Fire Book Tag

I feel like I am constantly apologising for my lack of posts, but with studying it is just too hard to juggle this with everything in my life! 😦 I hope you understand, just to put it into context, I’m currently on Easter Break, but still attending school during some week days – I’m just that busy! 😦  But thanks for being there for me when I need you guys! Ann’s Reading Corner! I’m sure you all know who she is by now, but if not, go check out her blog because her content is amazing and she is super friendly!

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