Friday, 19 September 2014

Dear Diary: The Final Week

This is a new series I’ll be writing with updates about my life for those of you who know me, or are just nosy so-and-sos. Get ready for stories of my misadventures at University. You’ll be able to find all posts of this variety under the “Secret Diary” tab. Enjoy! Xxx

It’s my last week in Ireland before I head off on my journey to the UK. I’m going home, really, having spent almost exactly twice as long in the UK as I have lived over here. I’m very curious—and a bit nervous—to see whether I still fit in, or if I’ve become so immersed in Irish culture that the place I once called home is now alien to me. I’m feeling a bit like a nomad to be honest… which many of you who’ve lived in more than two different places will probably scoff at, but there it is.

I’ve spent most of this week saying goodbye to all my friends as they leave for college, whether it be a few kilometres or an entire ocean away. It doesn’t feel much like goodbye, as we’ll all see each other again at Christmas, but I think when it begins to sink in I’ll be rather sad. There have been so many problems and so much sadness for me here, but it’s also a place where I’ve made some of the best friends I could wish for. Leaving them behind will be pretty hard.

Mostly though, life is an exciting mess of organised chaos right now. Letters and emails to and from my University, various student finance companies, banks… all kinds of scary grown-up stuff that I feel in no way up to dealing with, as well as trying to fit all my worldly possessions into one-and-a-half suitcases, is taking up a huge amount of time which would be better spent lying in the sun with my cat Draco.

A family birthday last night was a great way to chat with relatives and promise to see them when I’m home at Christmas—isn’t it always the way that you never visit those on your doorstep, but when you live in a different country you make twice the effort to keep in touch?

I saw my surgeon for hopefully the last time ever the other day. It was such a wonderful feeling and I’ll be writing a “scoliosis update” on my old blog very soon.

Meanwhile, my online persona goes from strength to strength and I am forever grateful for the support. I’ve now done two YouTube videos and at this moment in time have ten subscribers on my channel. That may seem minuscule, but to a nervous girl just starting out and rambling about books and “lairy fights”, it’s huge. It puts me in mind of when I got the first ten views on “Unlucky for Some”, and look how far I’ve come since then! There have also been some messages to the Catherine Ann Minnock Facebook page as well as some tweets and compliments in person. Not that we should measure our self-worth by how cool we are on the internet, but GO ME!

I finally got at least some form of a book list from my University, so I bought the books on Amazon and have begun reading with gusto. One piece was awfully stuffy and challenging, which made me a bit scared—will everyone else at Uni be a genius and will I feel like an idiot?—but the three novels I have to read: by Charlotte Brontë, D. H. Lawrence and Oscar Wilde, don’t seem too complicated. I’ve even read one of them before. I’ll keep you posted on how I enjoy all of that.
There seems so much to do in so little time. My main worry right now is that I’ll forget to visit a certain friend or relative before I leave the country and they’ll take it personally. If you’re reading this, please don’t! I love you very much but I’ve only got three full days left…and I need a haircut!

I’m scheduling posts in advance at the moment, in anticipation of a busy few weeks ahead, so by the time you read this I’ll probably be settled in to my new home and writing my next blog post about my first week at University.

Wish me luck!

P.S. I’m also currently doing the “100 Happy Days” challenge on Instagram, so if you want more instantaneous updates on my life, feel free to follow catherineannmk. I’d definitely give the challenge a go: it’s really given me a more positive outlook.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Movie Moments

There’s that moment in every chick-flick, or teen movie, or any story where the protagonist is being put down and made to feel like crap.

You already know what I’m talking about, don’t you? That moment sticks in our minds. It’s delicious:

“Yeah. Yeah I am [a freak]. But you know what? Someday I might just grow out of that. But you, you will never stop being a jerk.”   --Princess Diaries

“You’re just some bitch who broke my heart and cut up my mom’s wedding dress.” –27 Dresses

You turned out to be exactly who I thought you were. I never pretended to be somebody else. It's been me all along. And it was me who was hurt in front of everybody. Look, I didn't come here to yell at you, okay? I came to tell you that I know what it feels like to be afraid to show who you are. I was, but I'm not anymore. And the thing is, I really don't care what people think about me... because I believe in myself. And I know that things are gonna be okay. But even though I have no family, and no job, and no money for college... it's you that I feel sorry for.” –A Cinderella Story

“If I'm going to be a partner in a law firm by the time I'm 30, I need a boyfriend who's not such a complete bonehead.” –Legally Blonde  

“I'm about three years late in telling you this, but nevertheless I need to say it. Jasper. Wait, I need the lights on. Jasper, you have never treated me right. Ever. Shush. You broke my heart. And you acted like somehow it was my fault, my misunderstanding, and I was too in love with you to ever be mad at you, so I just punished myself! For years! But you waltzing in here on my lovely Christmas holiday, and telling me that you don't want to lose me whilst you're about to get MARRIED, somehow newly entitles me to say, it's over. This - This twisted, toxic THING between us, is finally finished! I'm miraculously done being in love with you! Ha! I've got a life to start living. And you're not going to be in it.” –The Holiday

For many years I have both wanted and not wanted one of these moments. I think it’s true for many of us—admit it—to say that we have a few of these planned out. A few monologues written down in our own heads that we’d say to someone if we ever had the… well, gumption.

It becomes totally clear in your head just what you will say, just how you will march up to the school bully, the intimidating teacher, the guy or girl who supposedly broke your heart… You’ve perfected your speech and you fantasise, though perhaps never with full intention, about throwing a drink over them or slapping them in the face.

I tend to avoid people who upset me. In a way, I want that moment, of course I do. I want closure. But it’s never going to happen: that’s not the kind of person I am. I’ve actually had a few opportunities for my “moment” that I’ve missed, half on purpose and half due to lack of bottle. But then again, perhaps the people that “grind my gears” (new favourite phrase) would simply love to see me lose it and scream and shout at them. Maybe it’s what they’d want and I’m better off not giving it to them.

The truth is, most of us will never get our movie moments… and that’s OK. We can get closure in our own minds instead: closure that we are moving on, and we do see things for what they are… without needing to have it all out in public (or just to that one person), as appealing as that may sound at times.

It’s not up to us to expose fake for what it is, or to announce all of someone’s wrongdoings to a crowd—as much as we might like to, what would be the point? It’s likely that the person concerned—and a hell of a lot of other people—know that they’ve acted out of line, and know that you’re hurt. If you won’t stand for it any more, there’s no need to announce that. Just stop standing.

So a lot of my monologues remain unsaid, but they’ll be shown to the world in other ways. When I achieve what people said I never would, when I make new friends and cherish old ones… or even when I simply wake up one morning and realise I’ve gotten over something. Those will be my movie moments.

I don’t really know how to round off this blog post. I guess it’s just something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Have you ever had or wanted to have a movie moment?  Do you think they’re necessary? 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Why You Shouldn't Mess With Scolio-Girls

To find out more about my Scoliosis Story, click here to be redirected to my old blog! 

A few weeks ago I was saddened to hear that actress Madison De La Garza (Jaunita Solis in Desperate Housewives, and as I now learn, sister to singer and actress Demi Lovato) fell victim to bullying due to her scoliosis.

As a fellow sufferer of both scoliosis and bullying, I felt her pain… although as she’s a successful famous actress who was fiercely protected not only by her sister, but by members of the public who used the Twitter hashtag #feelbettermaddie, I’m sure she’ll overcome it very soon. Feel better, Maddie!

It made me so angry to think that we still—and probably always will—live in a world where children are bullied because of something that they can’t help… not only that, but something that causes them intense pain already. It’s just ridiculous.

However, I was able to put this in a positive light in my own mind when I thought about all the reasons you shouldn’t mess with us Scolio-girls (and guys!).

1)      We’ve been through so much pain, both day-to-day and often due to surgeries, that nothing you can do will bring us down.

2)      We’re so hard-core, there’s actually metal inside some of us.

3)      We know people. People with a very specific set of skills… skills they have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make them a nightmare for people like you. (Surgeons, that is).

4)      We’ve got some serious backbone.

5)      We’re curvy and we own it. Anyone who says otherwise is jealous.

6)      We know that being different only makes you amazing.

7)      We’re seriously into hard drugs. Once we clicked our morphine pump when our pain level was only five.

8)      If you have had to wear paper knickers and/or a catheter, you have no shame… so making fun of us really is futile.

9)      Having scoliosis in no way inhibits our ability to smack you right in the jaw and wear your eyeballs as a unique new pair of earrings.

10)   Both Richard III and Princess Eugenie had scoliosis. That’s right: we’re royalty.

Here’s how my spine looks now, after my most recent op. To quote Penny from the Big Bang Theory, “the acceptable responses when you see it are 'awesome' or nothing.” 

Tell me, honestly... Do I look fat in these X-rays? 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Packing for Uni: Creature Comforts

I enjoyed making my first video so much that I decided to film another one!

I've been trying to find the time to do this for several days, but let me tell you something: being an adult is hard. There's a lot of paperwork. Being able to drink alcohol and vote... these things really aren't worth the wish to hire a PA.

Anyway, here's my vlog about what I'll be bringing to Uni to make myself feel more at home! I decided to do this one in a single take. I'd love to know which was you guys think works better.

Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

A Kind of Writer

Starting on several new projects, moving to a new country and becoming a real-live “adult” has put a lot of pressure on me to decide what sort of person I am, or want to be.

For now I’d like to talk about that in terms of writing, because thankfully in most aspects of life, I’m fairly comfortable with who I am—I know that’s rare and am rather grateful for it!

What do I want this blog to be? I’ve got several ideas of what I want to do—diary entries, opinion pieces, crafts and recipes, the odd video, even… but I spent a long time trying to decide how I want to write it.

For inspiration and advice, I looked to my favourite blogs, those I would consider to be “professional”, and those I thought I wanted to be like.

That was when I caught myself. What was I doing? Never in my life have I wanted to be like other people, or put any kind of effort into it. Why start now, when I could be doing my own thing as usual?

People have enjoyed a lot of my blog posts, and they were all written in a very specific voice: my voice.

I realised I don’t have to categorise my blog, which was a huge problem from the start. I’m not a lifestyle blogger, though I blog about my life. I’m not a journalist, though I mention current events. I’m certainly not a fashion or beauty blogger—as most girls my age tend to be—and I couldn’t handle the pressure of having an “advice” blog. Yet these are all things I want to include in my and your online experience: I don’t want to limit myself or become exclusive, but I want to  enjoy and learn about all these different topics and themes.

So I’m afraid I’m going to have to stop overthinking and do what I do best: write. It might be about my day or week or month, it might be about products or books I enjoy, it might be my musings on various topics, both important and mundane. I’ve realised that as long  as I write it in my voice, and write it as well as I can, with a little characteristic humour and lightness at times, then it needn’t follow any rules… just as long as it matters to me.

I realised this was OK when I read a quote by John B. Keane (who Leaving Cert students still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about):

I am a kind of writer. Nobody knows what kind of 

writer I am, least of all myself. My ambition is that 

people will say, some time: "He was a kind of 

writer. He said things a different way from others."

I think that’s rather a nice ambition to have. 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Out with the Old, In with the New...

It was time to finally say goodbye to my first ever blog to make way for this one.

Scoliosis story posts will still be appearing there as and when they are required, so do check back on occasion. I know I will be.

I'm so excited to put all my energy and experience into this website, but I'll miss Unlucky For Some terribly!

Say goodbye here....

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Pictures, Poems and Postcards: Zine Fair Haul!

As I mentioned previously, I went to the Dublin Zine Fair the other week with my best friend... and came back with a lot more than we sold! The fair wasn't exclusive to zines: there was a place for everything homemade. Everything featured here cost between £3 and absoolutely nothing.

This tiny artbook featured a collection of pictures from an exhibition by Andrea Byrne.
Here's some of what was inside...

I'm always picking up business cards and there were loads here. The cards of artists are always the most beautiful--it's where they show off what they can do--and, who knows, I might need one of them to illustrate a book for me someday. 

"The Daily Doomed" was another freebie, a little tiny zine made from one glossy A4 page.
Look at the wonderful pun inside:

This is a poetry zine I was given and have yet to read. I'm looking forward to finding a quiet spot and a mug of tea to enjoy it with. They were actually on sale but the stall-holder gave me one for free at the end--what a lovely guy! We decided to give him one of our zines too. You'll find a lot of zinesters are willing to trade, which really is half the fun. 

These two postcards really caught my eye, the pictures are beautiful and whimsical, and the black and cream colour will look so well on display somewhere. Two things I love are a cup of tea and an empty cinema with someone special. 

These pictures were so detailed and beautiful, the animals seemed to stare right across at us. I assumed they had been etched then printed, but was amazed to find they had been intricately drawn with a pencil. The inly drawback is that these pictures are on two sides of the same page, so you can only display one at a time! At least I'll never get bored of it. They were on sale for 20c each as they were photocopies, but I put down a few more coins because I couldn't believe how much attention to detail had gone in. 

This tiny booklet came from a project about what it means to be a hero: why should we reward those who die in battle but not those who keep things ticking over at home? It means everyone should be rewarded no matter how big or small their act of bravery is. The zine contains two cut-out medals which you can reward yourself for "taking the bins out" etc. It was incredibly cute, but also a clever idea.  

My friend bought me this postcard, because she knows I can't blooming stand pigeons! Yuck... (but of course the card is fabulous) 

This card was made ("with love 'n' scare") by our neighbouring zinester, Venus De Vilo. Each was original and the feathers and ribbon added a great 3D effect.  
Beautiful inside to write a message to a friend! 

I even picked up this tasty Brazilian treat. Did someone say chocolate? 

This was my haul from the Dublin Zine Fair. I hope it's encouraged you to hunt for your own crafty bargains or even make something yourself!