Songs Shaping and Saving 21 Year Old Me

Ah, music. It’s important to all of us, probably. It makes us happy, it makes us cry, it gets us through long bus journeys and the daily walk to uni (or, you know, daily walk to wherever your daily walk takes you to). Its influence really sets in during our teenage years, I think, and it never really leaves you. Sure, tastes develop and change, but it’s all still music, you know?

13-year-old me was all about the music. I bought a guitar (that I still can’t play), I bought the Kerrang! Magazine every Wednesday, I only really hung around with people who had similar music taste as me. I’m not as… obnoxious as I was then, though. I don’t judge people on the music they like any more. I can appreciate a good JBiebs song even if I’m not a fan of him as a person, and 1D has some bangers. I like dancing to music in clubs and I think pop music is fun as heck. I’m varied now.

At the start of 2015, I made a playlist of songs to get me through the year. All positive, fighting, keep-moving-forward songs. I didn’t do that this year, and I haven’t touched that playlist in a long time. However, lately I’ve been thinking about the influence music still has over me. I’m not in the best place in my life, and music is one of the things that keeps me moving. Here are a few of the songs shaping and saving 21-year-old me.

IMG_0123

SONG: Migraine – Twenty One Pilots

FAVOURITE LYRIC(S):

They’re trying to eat me, blood running down their chin,
And I know that I can fight or I can let the lion win,
I begin to assemble what weapons I can find,
‘Cause sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill you mind.

Shadows will scream that I’m alone,
But I know we’ve made it this far, kid.

WHY?:

I think there’s something, for me, about the struggle, the perceived helplessness, and then – the fight. “Am I the only one I know waging my wars behind my face and above my throat?” God damn, I feel that. My mind is my biggest enemy, and sometimes it can feel like the only person that doesn’t want me to succeed is my own head. It’s what stops me from getting out of bed in the morning, from picking up my pen and doing the work I know I really need to do now. But, like 21p say – we’ve made it this far.

SONG: The Ballad of Me and My BrainThe 1975*

FAVOURITE LYRIC(S):

Well, I think I’ve gone mad – isn’t that so sad?
What a shame; you’ve lost the brain that you never had.

WHY?:

I love The 1975. This isn’t even my favourite song off their second album, but I haven’t skipped it a single time since I got it. There hasn’t been a time when it’s come on my iPod or iTunes and I’ve thought “nah, not in the mood for that”. It’s another, “wow, I need to take care of myself” song, and it’s true. Asking for help and taking time to take care of myself is something I really struggle with, and it’s a problem I come back to again and again and again. I know it’s okay to ask for help, I know it’s okay to not be okay, and yet I always end up just pretending I’m fine until it’s almost too late. This song is a reminder to me: look after your brain, and yourself, before it’s too late.

SONG: Turbulence – Bowling For Soup

FAVOURITE LYRIC(S):

And we’re all just passengers tonight,
And we’re all just travelling through our lives,
We will reach our destination,
So just hang on for the ride,
Say a prayer and close your eyes,
It’s just a little turbulence.

WHY?:

Bowling For Soup were my favourite band when I was younger. I stopped listening to them when I was still in high school, not for any reason but just because I just sort of drifted away from them – but I never stopped loving them. Then they came to Liverpool last February, and my partner got me tickets to see them, and all of that love started burning up again. It was at that gig that I first heard ‘Turbulence’, and it just makes me think that everything can get better if you give it a chance to. Turbulence is temporary – if you can get through this bad patch, you’ll find something better on the other side. I’m only 21, so there’s plenty of time to smooth out the bumps.

SONG: Stay AliveAndy Black

FAVOURITE LYRIC(S):

Stay alive for the good times,
Stay alive through the bad.

WHY?:

Okay, it’s a bit on the nose, isn’t it? But why is that a bad thing? We don’t always need metaphors and similes and personification and all of those beautiful nuggets of imagery – sometimes we don’t need to force people to dig around to find what we mean. Sometimes it’s okay to just say it. Sometimes that’s all you need to hear. Stay alive.

I’ve never been a fan of Black Veil Brides simply because it’s not my music taste. I was really surprised when I discovered Andy’s solo album and found that I love every song. It’s very different to BVB’s sound and much more to my taste. This, again, isn’t even my favourite song, but it’s one of them. So, get this: Tuesday before last (May 10th, 2016) I discovered Andy Black, listened to his album, and decided I loved him. Last Monday (May 16th, 2016), I saw him live. That’s less than a week. That sort of sealed it for me – obviously, the stars had aligned for me to love Andy. ‘Stay Alive’ was the first song Andy played at the gig, and let me tell you, it’s just as glorious and encouraging live as it is recorded.

I think it’s just that simple, really: stay alive for the good times, stay alive through the bad. He’s not saying it’s easy, he’s just saying it’s worth it. And it probably is. Like I said – I’m only 21, what the heck do I know? It’s a struggle, and it’s exhausting, but I’ll try.

BONUS: SONG ALBUM: Astoria – Marianas Trench**

FAVOURITE LYRIC(S):

‘Cause I’ll find out in all due time what happens to never say die // Sometimes you can’t yell loud enough, Sometimes a whisper’s just too much // Don’t let go tonight; by tomorrow this will be yesterday // And I’ve been broken but I’m better every day // I’d rather be a riot than indifferent // [THE ENTIRE BRIDGE FROM DEARLY DEPARTED BUT IT SEEMS EXCESSIVE TO POST THE WHOLE THING…]

WHY?:

There isn’t a song on this album that I don’t love. I think this might be my favourite Marianas Trench album – influenced only a teeny bit by the fact that The Goonies is one of my all-time favourite films. I love the 80s sound, I love the words. I love everything about his album. It makes me want to get up and that’s enough. But also… just, there’s fight in this album. We’re back to the ‘fight’ thing. It’s defiant and it can seem a little bitter but it’s powerful and I love that. I want to be defiant, too.

I’d rather be a riot than indifferent.

Okay, so, common theme here is that all (most?) of these songs relate to mental health, which is the thing I am struggling with the most right now. I’m not going to pretend that these songs have made me all better, because that’s not it at all: these songs encourage me. It’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to break things down to their simplest parts if that’s how you can complete this task. Ask for help. Get through today. Stay alive.

There are dozens and dozens of songs that I love and that make me happy and they are equally as important as these songs, but when I got the idea for this blog post and started thinking of songs to include, all of these came almost instantly. This is, basically, a miniature keep moving forward playlist.

I would love to hear what songs are important (or have been important) to all of you: they don’t have to be as on the nose as mine. Does ‘Call Me Maybe’ get you out of bed? Does ‘What Do You Mean’ make you want to get up and dance? Are these songs having an effect on you? I want to hear what’s important to all of you, so leave a comment!

You can also find me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAMand follow me on BLOGLOVIN.

-K

*No YouTube link for this one because I can’t find a video with the whole song! Check it out on spotify instead (you’ll need an account!)

** Since this is an entire album, again, it made more sense to link to spotify. You still need an account!

Advertisements

The Liebster Award

3and3quarters.net_1

So! My wonderful best friend nominated me for the Liebster Award! I’m really touched, because blogging is something I’ve dabbled in on-and-off for years and we recently had a big (slightly tipsy) discussion in which I decided it was something I wanted to pursue more seriously. Leigh is a great blogger; she’s handled multiple blogs for a few years now, ran the wonderfully successful Nottingham Bucket List over the course of her university career and now blogs over at The Writing Campbell (TWC) on everything from food and TV to life tips and tricks! She even wrote her dissertation on blogging – she is my Blogging Friend™.

I suppose a few people might be discovering my blog via this nomination, so a little bit about me and this page would probably be a good way to start this, no? Here are some random facts about me:

  1. My name is Kitty. It is a nickname.
  2. I am 21 years old, and I study English at university.
  3. I am perpetually bitter that this ironically leaves me with little time to read for fun.
  4. I am a cosplayer. Not a great one, but still, one.
  5. Almost every piece of clothing I buy is bought with a fictional character in mind.
  6. I think Liverpool is the greatest city in the world.
  7. I am depressed.
  8. I keep a picture of Kermit the Frog at the theatre on my phone to look at when I am sad.
  9. I am pansexual.
  10. I love Shakespeare.

Okay! Now I know Leigh has some questions for me to answer, so let’s just jump into those.

What’s your favourite photo of you and your friends?

This is actually a really tough one for me because I have shockingly few photos of my friends as a whole, so can I cheat and post three separates?

the ultimate dad joke

the longest cuddle

me and leigh

***I don’t have a nice picture of me and my other best friend, because we only ever take pictures when we’re drunk. Sorry, Kate!

If you could have a candle that smelt like anything, what would it smell of?

Oh my god, is it really weird if I say the 007 Seven scent? I bought it for my partner for Christmas and it’s my favourite scent that she wears and I just think it’s a very comforting scent for me? Is that really lame?

If not that then I really love the dragon fire candle from GAMETEE but I could just buy that…

How early do you wake up on Christmas day?

I used to wake up every year at 2am, fall asleep until 6am, and wait until 7am to get up. The past couple of years I’ve slept in until around 9-10 and it’s driven my younger sister mad.

What was your favourite book when you were a teenager and why?

Unsurprisingly it seems for my gen, it was a John Green book. Looking For Alaska, to be precise. I thought it was wonderful, I adored the community, I loved the school and the characters, and despite knowing that he is not a good boyfriend I was in love with the Colonel.

It has since changed and I haven’t even considered re-reading this book in years, but I’ll always have a soft spot for it.

Can you walk in heels?

Yes, but I avoid it as much as possible because I am The Worst.

And now it is time for my nominations and questions!

NOMINATIONS

  1. SomethingLikeLydia – Lydia is a wonderful book blogger and one of my favourite booktubers. I always end up with piles of recommendations from her and she’s a delight to follow and chat to!
  2. Tea Party Princess – Can I really not nominate a fellow “20-something tea-addicted bookworm”? REALLY?
  3. PowisAmy – Yet another book blogger… but still! I’m always eager to read more reviews, and her posts are always easy and fun to read.
  4. Rachel’s Rambles – Another blogger I found through the amazing #ukyachat. Rachel is a younger blogger, too, but so determined, so I would really like to show my support to her! She recently moved blogs, too, because she wants to post more varied kinds of post (from reviews to diary style blogs), so definitely check her out.
  5. Rose Dymock – Rose is a friend I met at uni and has just started out on a brand new film/book blog! After hearing her views on the texts we study together, I’m certain that she’s going to have some really great reviews coming (and in the mean time, check out her post on Captain America: Civil War!)

QUESTIONS

  1. What is the last book you read? How did you feel about it?
  2. What is your go-to comfort drink?
  3. Favourite animal to keep as a pet? (I feel this gives more insight than “cats or dogs?” because there are lots of different kinds of animals out there!)
  4. If you could have any miscellaneous item from a fictional world, what would it be? I don’t mean something huge, like the Elder Wand or a Piece of Eden or anything like that, just like… would you like a Weasley jumper? The Pig from The Raven Cycle? An Exy racquet?
  5. What is a goal you have for the next month?

Thank you again to Leigh for nominating me!

Remember, you can follow me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM.

-K

Self-Care: My Tricks

My last blog post was all about things I’m looking forward to in an effort to combat my depression, and I realised that writing these things down is actually a really useful way of:

  1. Making some sense of my jumbled up thoughts
  2. Having a place to refer to the good things going on!

So I decided to do something similar again, but this post is going to be all about self-care.

‘Self-Care’ can be anything from getting washed or eating to reading a book or taking a walk. It’s things that you can do yourself – and obviously, this is specific to each and every individual person. You shouldn’t feel bad if you aren’t able to do the same things as others without help.

When I say ‘self-care’, I mean the little things I try to do when my depression starts to get the better of me. They’re things that help me, and I think that as long as I’m getting a moment of relief then they don’t have to make sense to everyone. They’re not always possible, and they won’t work or apply to everyone; they might not even make sense to half of you. I’m not even able to do all of them myself sometimes – but I’ve found that they give me a moment of relief, whether it be 5 minutes or an hour, so here are some of my methods and tips:

  1. Grounding

My partner was the one who first suggested grounding to me. I can get quite restless, distressed and overwhelmed by all the excess energy I can feel building up because I don’t feel well enough to go out and use it. Grounding shakes off that excess energy and allows me to dispel the negative energy I’m harbouring. It’s usually a technique used before practicing magick, but I’ve found that keeping my energy in check as often as possible helps me in my day-to-day life.

Everybody has different techniques for grounding, and you don’t have to worry that you’re not doing it “the proper way” – there isn’t a proper way.

  1. Making a different kind of tea

Anybody who has ever met me is probably aware that I drink a lot of tea. A lot of tea. I’ve been trying to cut down this year, but honestly, Yorkshire Tea is my downfall. However, I’ve found that just shaking things up a little by switching what kind of tea I am drinking can help me feel refreshed. I don’t mean switching to Tetley (ugh…), I mean drinking a different kind of tea.

I hate green tea. I just do not have a taste for it. However, I do enjoy a cup of Earl Grey sometimes, and I adore Chai tea. I’ve also discovered that I actually can manage and enjoy a cup of Twinings Salted Caramel Green Tea, but that’s as far as I’ve managed to wander into the world of green teas thus far.

Liverpool has this really wonderful tea shop, Leaf, where I feel a bit more adventurous in trying new teas. My favourite (so far) is the Butter Truffle Tea.

Changing what kind of tea I’m drinking is a quick way to pull me out of that stale mental rut I’ve been in, and considering I drink a lot of tea and it doesn’t take much effort to put a different tea bag in the mug, it’s an especially handy one.

Screenshot 2016-05-04 11.39.13

  1. Taking a shower/bath

Oh, now this is one that I’ll admit I can struggle with. Sometimes, pulling yourself into the shower is a really huge and exhausting task. However, I’ve found that when I can manage it, just getting clean can help me feel a bit more ready to go back out into the world anew. I don’t have a bath in my flat, but I’ve noticed recently that whenever I’m at mum’s I’m taking baths instead of showers. Being able to relax for an hour (likely with one of the Lush bath bombs I’ve hoarded there) can really make a difference.

  1. Going for a walk

If I’m feeling well enough to get out, then I like to be out as much as possible. It’s not that I always want to be doing something, but if the weather is nice then I feel a lot better taking a walk in it than I do staring out the window (which can make me feel even worse). It’s not always a long walk, but it helps. I live in the middle of the city at the moment, so often it’s just walking into town to buy some more toothpaste or whatever necessity I’ve run out of, but I take what I can.

  1. Going somewhere quiet (e.g. museum)

This, admittedly, isn’t one I do very often. It’s more of a summer thing. Liverpool has multiple museums, but my favourite will always be the museum most closely associated with my childhood, the Liverpool World Museum. It has everything! An aquarium floor, those draws you can open and look at fossils, dinosaurs, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, science… it’s also an 8-minute-walk from my flat, so it’s perfect.

I’m also a fan of the Walker Art Gallery, but I always feel a bit more pressured to act like I have a lot of deep thoughts about the paintings. In the museum it feels alright to look at a big dinosaur, nod, and state, “Cool.”

world museum

The Liverpool World Museum

walker art gallery

The Walker Art Gallery

I’m interested to hear any self-care tips or tricks any of you have found work for you! Leave a comment, and feel free to follow me on my new twitter account, created specifically for blogging purposes, @kittypann!

-K