i’m a hufflepuff

Reader,

I am a Hufflepuff. A newbie one to be exact. See having only read and watched the Harry Potter series under two years ago and not having read or watched them since, I’m very much new to the Harry Potter fandom, houses and all of the other things Potter heads are involved with. I realise that some people see Hufflepuff as the less desirable house and that many Hufflepuff’s have spent their time attempting to defend and promote their house. Instead of doing that today I want to talk about my thoughts on being a Hufflepuff. I.e my reaction to my sorting.

I don’t have the same nostalgic connection to Harry Potter that many people have but I did absolutely devour and love the books and completely understand how it played a part in defining a generation, so I was excited to find out where in the books I could find myself.

I always thought Neville was very Hufflepuff like and so when I found out he wasn’t I was a little disappointed. That being said there are still some really cool Hufflepuff’s in the series like Tonks and Sedrick. Even so I didn’t want to base my thoughts on that. If that were the case Slytherin wouldn’t be viewed very well would it? I wanted to see what the so called traits of a Hufflepuff were.

From what I can gather the general idea of a Hufflepuff is someone who is loyal and kind and warm and understanding, someone who is concerned with doing the right thing. I can’t be mad at being considered that. In fact I’m lucky enough to say that many of my friends very much see me that way and so I wasn’t surprised with how I was sorted.

I don’t think HufflePuff’s are often considered very brave despite the fact that many Hufflepuff’s within the books demonstrate this trait. Then again, I’ve never seen myself as particularly brave either; emotional and just, but not so much brave. I like to think of Hufflepuff’s as being less likely to run into silly situations than a Gryffindor for instance. Once again, I can’t be mad at that.

I love the yellow colour that represents Hufflepuff. I think it says a lot about their bright can do attitudes.  I also think the badger is pretty neat too. J. K. Rowling really knows how to put a little symbolism in there doesn’t she?

You know the only reason, I concluded, that there was to be upset about being a Hufflepuff is that the merch is seriously lacking. When someone tell’s you they’re a Hufflepuff, I don’t see how you can jump to any sort of real negative connotation. If anything it seems a good sign they’re alright, you know?

But I still think Neville was a Hufflepuff at heart, don’t you?

Leigh-Ann

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autumn is coming, did you hear?

Reader,

You’ve probably already noticed, or if you haven’t, been told, that it’s already September. And what’s happens in September? The autumnal craze begins of course. Now I would love to sit here and tell you that I’m not one of those people who goes banana’s the minute the leaves start turning brown  but then I would just be lying. I am in fact an autumn lover and I just wanted to make a positive little post about why that is.

Cold weather means warm clothes – I love layers and snuggling, hats and gloves and I always look forward to getting to pull out all my comfortable oversized jumpers and baggy hoodies, and just generally enjoy the feeling fashionable as well as snuggled up cosy.

Autumn makes for a great aesthetic – if you saw my last post then you’ll know that many people describe my aesthetic as cosy and so of course autumn is a fun season for me. I love the browns and greens and reds, and I love the knitted, bobbley textures. Autumn is indeed beautiful to look at.

Autumn is a great time for self care – when it’s a bit sad looking weather wise outside I always feel more of a need to take care of myself. I think autumn is a time when lots of people pamper themselves a bit more whether it be through coffee or long baths, beautiful walks, cosy nights in or time to sit and think, autumn pulls us all into ourselves a bit I think.

Autumn is a great time to read and write – maybe its the colour or the fact there is  less of an inclination to go outside but writing always comes more naturally to me in the autumn and winter months. I’m inspired by nature and the structure I have and find writing and reading a lovely way to relax in the autumn. I start to see it as a hobby rather than a chore again.

Autumn is a good time to start over – maybe it’s because I’m still within the education system, but September and the beginning of Autumn have always been good times for me to take inventory of my life and work out how to move forward with a fresh attitude and positive habits. Unlike the traditional spring clean, I’ve always like to clean myself and my life up in the Autumn ready for the start of a new academic year as well as the coming of the New Year itself.

Crisp leaves, fresh cold air and dimly lit nights are simple pleasures that I love to take from the Autumnal season. Autumn is my mind set changing attitude following a fun but high pressure to have experiences summer. Autumn forces me to reflect and be grateful and enjoy the little moments separate from worrying about the bigger structures of life.

What do you think of when you think of Autumn? What does it mean to you?

Leigh-Ann

my personal version of journaling

Reader,

I am a very introspective person. I like to think and spend a lot of time (probably almost a destructive amount of time) reflecting and thinking about how to improve myself. Though I probably do it too often, this is a part of myself that I’ve always quite appreciated because I think I’m a reasonably self aware person and I think this helps my understanding of myself and how I communicate with others. Anyway, this need and love of reflection and expression of my inner thoughts is a massive reason behind why I write and one of the ways that I write is by journaling.

I think I’ve always journaled in one way or another but I’ve never stuck to one method enough to feel qualified to talk about it or be part of the huge journaling community on the internet. My journal is not pretty and organised. My journal is just for me. It’s messy and disjointed and lots of the pages are blank or scribbled on. I would never dream of a journal flip through or show and tell. It contains my thoughts and is purely there for me to get my thoughts in order. Writing things down has always helped me this way.

I think this method of journaling has been extremely beneficial to me and in a way blogging itself has been some form of journal for me too, just one filled with the thoughts that I am more comfortable sharing. Since the whole essence of this blog is about how writing things down helps me piece together myself and my life I thought it would be a good thing to talk about here.

My journal is a bright yellow notebook with blank pages without lines and each page has a rainbow coloured edge. It’s very quirky which I like. I tend to pick pretty notebooks to use as journals as for some reason I feel more inclined to fill them and it makes me feel good to look at the book filled with my messy thoughts and still think it beautiful.

I have no order or rules for my journal. I don’t write in it every day or once a week, in fact I don’t have any sort of schedule. I write when I feel like I have to. Sometimes I just stream of consciousness write, sometimes it’ll be one sentence in the middle of the page written in tiny writing. Sometimes I draw scribbles, sometimes I stick photographs. The only rule is that I remember that nothing has to be perfect and no one is ever going to read it but me. My journal isn’t about keeping secrets. It’s not about documenting a day. It’s like a bin almost, somewhere to dump thoughts that are busy and overflowing in my brain. They don’t all have to be sad thoughts, in fact one thing that I wrote in it is a list of all the things that I could think of that made me happy. The list is still growing and it’s a great thing to refer to when I need to smile.

I think the problem with journaling is that lots of people don’t know where to start but the thing is, neither did I. I just remember feeling something really strong and needing some sort of an outlet. I picked up a notebook started writing and bam. I remember throwing out my first journal. I didn’t like some of the things that I’d written about myself or my situation. I learnt after though that journal entries are like snap shots into one moment in a lifetime and the person or head space that you were or were in at the point of writing it will probably quickly change, but you shouldn’t be ashamed about the past, but learn from it.

Journaling and writing to me mean sanity. What do they mean to you?

Leigh-Ann

my love hate relationship with the word aesthetic

Reader,

Aesthetic is a world that I feel like we’re all becoming a bit obsessed with but before I go into why I both love and hate this phenomenon I’m going to be clear of the type of aesthetic definition that I’m talking about.

aesthetic
adjective
adjective: aesthetic; adjective: esthetic
  1. 1.
    concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.
    “the pictures give great aesthetic pleasure”
    • giving or designed to give pleasure through beauty.
      “the law applies to both functional and aesthetic objects”
noun: aesthetic; plural noun: aesthetics; noun: esthetic; plural noun: esthetics
  1. 1.
    a set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.
    “the Cubist aesthetic”

So when I’m talking about the idea of aesthetic I’m talking about the concern we have with things that are pleasing to the eye and the way in which we group together things to make a specific “aesthetic” eg. someones personal style might be described as their aesthetic.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole concept recently as I’ve realised that I’m becoming increasingly concerned with defining my own personal aesthetic. People have told me that my aesthetic can be described as cosy. I apparently gravitate towards warm simple colours and soft fabrics and that layers are often part of my look. But not only have people used this word to describe my look and my space, but to describe me. I’m quite warm in my approach to others, I can be very shy and even when I know someone well I’m much more comfortable talking about them than myself. I tend to occupy very little space when I sit and walk and have a tendency to cross my arms or snuggle into my clothing or fold myself into a chair. I thought about this for a while and realised that while it was true, and while it was also a very kind and generous description of who I am and how I look, I was both flattered and frustrated by being defined as one thing. The thought of having one single “aesthetic” that can be used to sum me up was daunting and suddenly I felt reduced and restricted to one thing.

I started to resist buying clothing and other things that I liked simply because it was outside of what I’d begun to consider my aesthetic, identified by the people around me. I started trying to fit into a label. And then I realised the problem with the word aesthetic, or at least how we use it today. It’s just another label. Another way of defining people and things. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes we need that and sometimes that’s what’s great about it. I love the idea that people get a cosy vibe when I’m around and that in some way how I dress and how I decorate reflects who I am. I love that that’s a way people think of defining me and  In many ways I’ve always believed that the goal of fashion is to project who you are on the inside on the out.

The problem then is that no one is just one thing. I am indeed a warm and cosy person, but sometimes I want to feel empowered and bold. Sometimes I like the grungy look and sometimes black and white, seemingly cold colours, are what reach for. I think the important thing to remember is that defining someones aesthetic doesn’t mean restricting them to one concept or idea. Whether their fashion sense be hipster or grungy or alternative or whatever, people are more complicated by a defining word and maybe their defining word is not cosy or alternative but just their name. Maybe their aesthetic can only be described as them, making sense?

I was reluctant to choose the new colours for the blog because I’ve always wanted this space to feel cosy and I realise that black and white don’t always achieve this feeling. I had the same issue when it came to decorating my new room. But then I decided that the part that makes both fit my aesthetic is me. I am the cosy and hopefully warm person and that should come through in any space that I create because that’s who I am. I’m not the cosy aesthetic, you know, the cosy feelings people associate with my look are the Leigh-Ann aesthetic.

I’ve decided recently that I really like having a cosy but clean feel. I like block colours and cushions and fairy lights and stationary galore! But I’m a neat freak and I can’t stand clutter and in the Leigh-Ann aesthetic those things work just fine together.

I’m all for aesthetic. I love beautiful things. I am not however for restriction of creativity and unwanted labels so I’m making it my personal mission to make sure I remember that I can appreciate someone’s aesthetic and my own without thinking anything outside of that is any less beautiful.

So that’s my ramble for the day. I used the word aesthetic so many times I bet it’s looking weird now, isn’t it?

Leigh-Ann

to laugh or cry: a Neil Hilborn review

Reader,

This Saturday I was lucky enough to be able to go to a Neil Hilborn poetry reading in Bristol. Neil Hilborn, for those of you who don’t know, is a spoken word poet most famously known for a performance of his poem OCD which has gone viral online multiple times.

It was through this very poem that I discovered Neil (I think he had that warm casual sort of approach that makes me feel comfortable calling him that) and really spoken word poetry as a whole. I was swept up in all the emotion of the performance and have been hunting down spoken word poets ever since. I knew when I saw that Neil was going on a UK tour that I just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to see him perform in person.

And boy am I glad that I didn’t! From start to finish the experience was an emotional roller coaster. One minute I was dying laughing and the next moved to tears that welled up in my eyes. He performed poems featuring topics from why he hates cats to his personal struggles with mental illness and every single one was charged with intense emotion, no matter what that emotion be.

He held the crowd like a true performer and broke up the heavier moments with a dark humour that we couldn’t help laugh along to. I was struck by the way when he performed he seemed to go to a whole other place, preparing to begin each poem by stepping away from the microphone, taking a deep breath and proceeding with a completely different persona.

His poems express such complex feelings in so few words and I could help but he blown away. I don’t think there was a single one that I didn’t like but I was especially hooked on a poem titled Joey which explores the cost of therapy and how it can make the difference between life and death. I’d heard this poem, as well as a few of the others he performed, before online but even still, watching them in person seemed like a completely new experience as I was captivated by the man standing on the stage before me.

His personality came shining through in every word he said and he had away of making everyone in the audience feel like they were simply chatting away with him. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see him after admiring his work online for so long and I would definitely recommend that you check him out whether that be online or otherwise.  I was prepared for a exceptionally funny but also emotional experience going in, and that’s exactly what I got.

To laugh or cry? I was very happy to be moved to both.

Leigh-Ann

me at nineteen

Reader,

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube recently, particularly videos called “me at…” which are people documenting themselves at a specific time in their life so that they can look back at it later. I don’t have the talent in media to make an artsy video, but I did like the idea and so I thought I would make a blog post instead.

Me at nineteen is a lot of complicated and contradictory things and my life looks much the same. 

I lost a lot of weight and I managed to find myself and lose myself all in one year and I think I’m only just starting to find myself again. I feel beautiful sometimes but my body confidence, general confidence, was found and lost too. 

I’m having a hard time with my emotions and seeing myself as enough. But I’m working on it.

Me at nineteen lives away from home in England with five beautiful and wonderful friends and still misses my amazing family and friends at home. I’m still in contact with them though and this makes me happy.

Me at nineteen has a boyfriend. An amazing, supportive, intelligent, gorgeous, dorky boyfriend whom I can solidly say I am hopelessly in love with. I never thought that would happen to me, especially at nineteen.

Me at nineteen is sad and scared to see him move away. 

I’m worried I’m being naive. 

Me at nineteen is also sad and scared and excited to start a second year of university, to start planning my future. 

I’m positive, but feel like I’m starting to have to really fight off the cynicism of adulthood.

Money is becoming increasingly important to me the less of it I have. I dislike this.

Me at nineteen is trying to get a hold of things, trying to understand and pull all my shit together.

Me at nineteen is trying to be a better person. 

I think this time the reader is likely to be me.

Leigh-Ann

 

that moment when you stub your toe

Reader,

You know that moment when you kick the coffee table or trip over the end of your bed or catch your foot in the door? You know how for the shortest of moments it feels like your life is falling apart; you feel pain and anger and your eyes tear up against your will and you might let out a curse and in your head all you can think is of f-ing course, this is just an omen for my whole damn day and I am not in the mood to be dealing with this. You know that feeling when your mind completely blows something as simple as stubbing your toe out of proportion? I hope I’m not the only one here.

See I’ve been feeling this a lot recently, this emotional delicacy. I’m sure some of it comes from my sensitive personality, some my age and some all the change that’s been coming at me recently. Either way, I find myself clinging to every little toe stub like it might actually lead to me loosing a foot. I get annoyed at the situation, then annoyed at myself for being annoyed and before I know it its a vicious cycle and I’ve shed a tear I just didn’t need to. The worst part about all the damn toe stubbing is my inability to let it go and get on with my day. I woke up late, for goodness sake now I’m a silly little failure. Something doesn’t go the way I planned or someone doesn’t react the way I want them to, well now everything is just ruined! You see how this might cause some problems.

I’ve always been a glass half full person, latching on to the positive when everything else is going a bit wrong. Perhaps that’s why it bugs me so much that recently my perspective seems to have shifted. I don’t seem to be as able to find that silver lining and that’s always been such a massive part of my personality as well as something people love (and hate) about me.

The point of this ramble is I’m sure everybody has found themselves in some sort of toe stub situation numerous times in their lives, countless even. It’s one of those things. What’s important is the ability to dust off and get up and kick the damn coffee table back, right? I mean that part definitely only works as a metaphor.

I’ve tried to counter this negative perspective in many scribbley ways. I’ve jotted down happy lists and getting my emotional shit together to do lists and well made many a list in general. They’ve helped for sure, in little ways. They helped me prioritize better, things that really matter and things that don’t. Am I really going to let me stubbing my toe ruin my whole day when I have all these other things to look forward to? Writing things down has definitely helped to physically show me that the good outweighs the bad and that not everything is this long linked failure chain.

The lesson here? You know that moment when you stub your toe? I really hope you sit there and you seethe and you curse and you glare so hard at the table leg that it bursts into flames, but when that’s done, I really hope you remember that it’s not your fault, not the worlds vendetta against you, not an omen for your day. It’s just bit of bad luck. Oh and remember they make steel toe cap boots!

Stretching a bit aren’t I?

Leigh-Ann