Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist


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A Thought for Today: Bunny Bennett’s It Gets Better Video

I may be a cis-gender heterosexual and mostly-heteroromantic woman – and Pride month isn’t particularly a well-announced thing here in England, so I didn’t really know about it – but I wanted to share with you this video by steampunk performer Bunny Bennett.

Yes, it’s an old video, but the band Steam Powered Giraffe has really inspired me these last couple of months, in imagination – and self-confidence.

“Maybe you’re just tired of all the hate in the world.”

One thing I’ve learnt in my year at uni, something much more valuable than Heidegger’s continental approach to considering the world’s existence or how the brain acts on sensation signals, is that the world and its opinions are not narrow. They are not the product of a Catholic girls school (take from that what you will; I’ll only say that the opinions of your school-friends will always be unrealistically petty). Life is not the sole opinion of your parents; you can have your own views, beliefs, loves and that’s more than simply acceptable.

Laws are there for a reason – to keep us safe – and, although political correctness has veered off the helpful track, opinions are not the same as laws. You can feel one thing and act another, and, yes, that doesn’t have to necessarily be a bad thing. Hate and love are not spectra, and, yes, it is possible to feel hate but to show love and turn the other cheek.

The Steampunk community rules!

As Bunny says in the video’s description: “This video isn’t just for the LGBT community. It’s for everyone and anyone that needs it. We all go through tough times. We all have seemingly impossible odds against us.”

I have a friend who lives down the corridor from me, a beautiful, charismatic girl who happens to dress like a 40s pin-up because that’s the kind of fashion she loves. She gets flack, but we all get flack. Everyday. It’s the life we live. Yet, that’s no reason for my friend to stop being pretty with her looks or for me to deny that I do enjoy NeoVictorian and modern NeoVictorian (wearing non-Victorian shirts and trousers but jazzing them up with steam accessories like belts and bows and frills. I love frills.).

And your start is to start loving yourself, and forgiving yourself. We all do silly things and feel arguably silly feels, but beating yourself up for how you feel does no one any good.

I know – this post is comprised of nothing novel. I just wanted to share this beautiful video from a beautiful amazing woman.

Well, life’s too short, so share the love. You know it is. You know it is. Don’t do things that you shouldn’t do, because that’s bad. ;)

 


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Happy Solemnity of Peter and Paul

In the Catholic Church calendar, today celebrates the Saints Peter and Paul, martyrs and evangelists of the faith. These two men are great role models of following God’s call even if it means stepping away from what one has come to know. It should be no surprise, then, that their feast is one I know well. On their day is when I have given my faith the greatest of overviews.

I realise I don’t share much of the hymns to which I listen, but YouTube is pale in comparison with witnessing the melodies first-hand and singing them. However, today’s psalm and gospel acclamation lyrics are too beautiful not to share, even in part:

From all my terrors, the Lord set me free. I will trust the Lord at all times, His praise always on my lips. In the Lord, my soul shall make its boast; the humble shall hear and be glad.

They’re very give-all lyrics. One must trust that God has set the right path for one to follow, even if the road ahead is not clear of issues and obstructions. Peter and Paul knew this well – and they eventually died rather than renouncing their faith. That’s amazing.

This year’s feast is particularly poignant for me, as it’s my first as a full Catholic consuming the host, since being confirmed at Pentecost after my conversion. We’ve come far, but we’ve still got a lifetime ahead to trust where understanding must fail.


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Photo of the WeeK: Red

I was very tempted to leave ‘insert squirrel here’–

Indeed, yesterday, I was compared to Dug–

because of the amount of little fluffy mammals I’ve been watching on campus. Instead, however, the flowers win out again (perhaps I take too many pictures of flowers, hmm?), and these two wonderful Poppy heads are from the Harris Gardens on the University of Reading campus. With a vast variety of climates and grounds one can get lost in, the Gardens are definitely worth a visit if you’re around.

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I was also experimenting and added a solarise effect to the camera – the result was too gorgeous not to share!

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The Art of letting go

Alexandrina Brant:

We all know that letting go is a painful, cold-hearted kick to the gut. Here, Loretta Andrews considers letting go and God. The first few paragraphs especially rung true for me.

Originally posted on Loretta Andrews:

Is God a nice God?

Is ‘letting go’ a brave act of surrender or merely giving up?

They say the hardest choice you’ll ever face is whether to walk away or try harder, but what if someone else gives up before you.  Do you let them walk away? Or do we grab hold of their leg shamelessly losing all self-respect and let them drag us a long as they try to get away from us? Do we even have a choice?

I’m pretty sure there is an art to letting go.  I’m pretty sure I don’t have it! In fact I’m certain I’m absolutely rubbish at it!  It says a lot about me I guess.  I am fiercely loyal.  Ask any of my friends, they know full well and from experience, you mess with one of them I’d personally rip the face of the perpetrator if they wanted me to…

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More Creative Quotes

Another ‘creative’ quote from my manuscript, this time from Aidelle’s side of the separation. Of regrets and chilling thoughts of being away from him.

(It’s larger – and the picture was, sadly, more cumbersome than my previous, horizontal photos – therefore, I have to say, the quote carries less elegance than the other, but I still thinks this brings a certain bundle of ‘feels’ when I read it. I highlighted some of the phrases that have stayed with me throughout writing.)

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Poem: Fingermarks on the Glass

Summer_n

Too many drinks make a hazy head –

A thin line ‘tween clarity and peering through a traffic of images

For the harmony of your tenor,

For a stupid, goofy grin

We both once shared.

In drabs, our souls drip away;

Though the clear transparency of your tone

Mingles with my opaque dossier,

One look is not as simple as one glance used to be.

Reliving through a blanket shell,

The “mirror darkly”, the apt quote,

Now feelings fracture the edge of new circumstances.

I collect them in a decanter,

You see, for my pleasure

At reconvening evidence, pocketing it

Like copper coins. You abandoned

Your place at one whisper –

Hold on to sailors’ hats! He’s done it again! –

Yet, simultaneously, you crept away

Into a veiled concept like a spice element amongst my dew,

Performed a tidy show for all the eyes,

But neglected my introspective, skip-a-beat type care.

Instead, I play with the remains of my alcohol.

I thought I heard a strain of some lyric once –

In the dark, that sound might be you –

Or it was a simplified version of hope,

Threaded by some Demon

With a promise of a sweeter success

With a headache.

Forget the chorus and the organ

Or the “operas and musicals” in mountains of my taste;

I want to hear your solo,

And the lightness in your cocktail accent,

And your questions – unimposing for now –

And every word, unspoken, that will follow.

An affair of the soul, indeed!

If flirtation begins, the thirst must be quenched;

If one eye closes, it must be opened by the other.

I drain the last of the second cup,

And the memory of your smile

Is nothing more than fingermarks on the glass.

~

If I took a sip for every thought of you…


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Phillip Laments

Because Phillip is very poetic in the midnights of our sorrows.

A quote from my manuscript. I thought I’d go fancy and edit one of my photos to include it. Thanks to my friends from the Quidditch team for their posing.

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Anger in Itself is Not Bad

I’ve always had a problem with anger, both on the sense of my short temper, and in my reactions to it. As a child, I was frequently berated for it, and, as such, I conditioned myself to expect that it was wrong inandof itself. Anger = punishment.

I believe that is the root of the depression and constant sadness that haunted me as a child, and trailed behind me as a youth. Anger is the monster that turns us into carbonated drinks or makes us eat away at ourselves, turning our anger inwards. I was one of the latter types. My hate = my fault = my punishment, you see.

As my RCIA leader said very wisely: “the feeling of hating one’s own anger is more likely a trick from the Devil.”

Now, I’ve been taught different. It’s not the anger that is the human sin, for we are flawed and we experience emotion as part of that fundamental flaw, but what we do, our actions, that make our sin.

In our RCIA session this week, we are still discussing Jesus as Word and Flesh and meaningful existant; we read through extracts of scripture and broke them into our personal and general interpretations and what we liked and thought difficult about them, be that giving when we have little to give, or being humble when the world around us is bold and self-loving.

I am blessed for having been there, for that discussion made me realise something that, though I’ve slowly become accustomed to, I’d not fully accepted: I am allowed to be angry with other people, I am allowed to be displeased and offended.

I’d understood that idea when I began to forgive myself (and this, I believe, must have been shortly before or after I made the decision to become a Catholic), but I’d never felt it.

The spirit entered us that session. I am so thankful that my eyes have been opened to this.

To finish, a thought considering the Pharisee and the taxi collector: Salvation cannot be earned.

(In a related, apt post, today is the eighteenth of February, which is the annual day of self-harm, depression and that lot. People are gathering, telling tales and supporting each other over those bumps in our lives. The Light shall come.)


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Raising and Giving week (Or: In Which I Have Red Hair)

(Somebody tell me how the gifs hijacked this post…!)

These next couple of weeks I shall be even busier than normal, due to my duty to support anything charity-related – and it is Raising and Giving Week (next week, due to an arrangement change, but that doesn’t matter) at Wantage Hall, ran by the JCR and the Charity Rep, who happens to live two doors down from me. I’ll try and keep y’all informed of the happenings. With pictures (and gifs?) hopefully, because raising money for charity is something I’m passionate about…even in this wretched British weather driving thoughts away.

I myself am doing (what I consider to be) an extra special event, since I’ve not had that much to do with charity after leaving school. The British Heart Foundation’s Ramp Up the Red is this Friday 7th Feb, so anybody can get involved with fighting heart disease, even if you don’t live in the UK. Raising as little as even £50 can “provide a special kit to measure tissue or blood samples as part of vital research in the lab”. And that, as small an action as it sounds, could potentially save someone’s life.

But I’m doing something extra, for the rest of Feb, too. I owe the world more.

Me? I dyed my hair red to raise money for them. The entirety of February. Let’s say that again: I have gold hair no more for all of my February fixtures. 

You can actually (do the honourable thing *cough* xD) support me from afar by donating here: http://www.justgiving.com/Alex-Brant1

But, seriously, threats bribes persuasion aside, even £1/$2 goes towards my goal and, thinking about it, we can always spare a pound/dollar or two by doing the healthier thing and not buying, say, chocolate or alcohol for one day. Think of raising money for charity as a very-short, all-year-’round Lent. Yeah…

Anyway, I think raising and giving is worth the trouble. In our daily lives, we spend so much time on the minuscule that we forget about those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s this time of year – just after the start of the year, but before we fall to the heavy slog of work and exams – that is the best for thinking about giving – be that more than money, be that time or care or attention to someone who deserves it more than they themselves realise. Give a moment these coming weeks to someone who thinks less of themselves, and prove that they are Humanity just as we are…

Love's chosen few

“Love’s chosen few can frolic without care…” (Phillip’s Poem, 2012)

I made myself into a gif. I’m just that good. ;) Alexandrina :D


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Trust without wavering

Alexandrina Brant:

I’m feeling filled with the spirit, and this quote touched my soul: even when the world is dark, the sky is broken and fallen, there will be a light for all peoples. There will be Jesus.

Originally posted on 1catholicsalmon:

05_40_4Iamthelightoftheworld_web1PSALM 26

From Biblia.com 

A Psalm of David.

1 Vindicate me, O Lord,

for I have walked in my integrity,

and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me;

test my heart and my mind.

3 For thy steadfast love is before my eyes,

and I walk in faithfulness to thee.

4 I do not sit with false men,

nor do I consort with dissemblers;

5 I hate the company of evildoers,

and I will not sit with the wicked.

6 I wash my hands in innocence,

and go about thy altar, O Lord,

7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,

and telling all thy wondrous deeds.

8 O Lord, I love the habitation of thy house,

and the place where thy glory dwells.

9 Sweep me not away with sinners,

nor my life with bloodthirsty men,

10 men in whose hands are evil devices,

and whose right hands are full of bribes.

11 But as for me, I…

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