Not A Typical Teenager: October 2016

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Does A Degree Make You Qualified?

I'm going to start this post by explaining what The Big Music Project is, because that is a pretty substantial part of this post, but I promise I will eventually give my opinion on this question towards the end of this post. The big music project is a project that is funded by the big lottery and is designed to encourage young people to pursue careers in music. There are hubs all over the UK which are doing different things. From planning to events, to getting to go to festivals, The Big Music Project is a really great project, and you can find out more about it here.

On Saturday, I attended a big event for big music, which is where the photo to the right of this piece was taken (the guy in the front is Fusion, who is a great personality you need to follow on twitter @iitsfusion). This event was for the big music champions who have been members of the project for more than a year. This day was fantastic and this day is what I want to talk about.

One the day, we were asked for one of the people on our project to speak o the panel, and, after some debating, (and a little bit of rock, paper, scissors), I was the one to go up and sit on the panel. On this panel, there was someone who had started his own djing academy, someone who attended this academy and is now djing in Ibiza in some of the biggest clubs in the world, someone who has been involved in a project to stop bullying in schools and has been on the radio and TV because of it, someone who started a festival after being made redundant. . .

...And Me

Now don't get me wrong, I know stuff. In fact, I know quite a bit of stuff. But not as much stuff as the people next to me. And I sat there thinking "why have they asked me to come and sit on this panel", and when I was asked questions and found out why I was there, they asked me if I learned how to control my nerves, and I talked about my journey as a performer, from a little 8 year old who had never picked up an instrument in my life, to a 17 year old who has been the leader of her local youth orchestra and is grade 5 piano and writes her own songs and plays ukulele. I talked about how I've busked on the streets of Cardiff just because I enjoy making music. I felt in my element just talking about what I loved to do.

Afterwards, I attended a workshop all about peer mentoring (which was also taken by the lovely Fusion), where I learned a very important lesson, which I am about to tell you.

If you love something, and you work hard at it and you learn new skills in it and develop your own knowledge of the subject through your own means, you can get to the point where you are pretty good at it. You can reach the point where you can teach other people how to do what you do. If the passion for your subject radiates off you, and you find yourself rambling about your subject, don't ever apologise for it, because your passion is showing, and no one is going to dislike that. You are probably drawing people to the subject.  People are probably interested in it because you are showing such passion. With practical subjects like music, art, sports, blogging, photography, etc. not having a qualification doesn't mean you aren't qualified, the fact that you have the skill and have worked at that skill can be enough.

And the more I though this lesson, the more I think it's true. Many musicians don't have degrees in music, and artists don't need degrees in art. A lot of the time the experience is more worthwhile. In most jobs nowadays, you need experience more than you need a degree.

So next time you feel like you aren't good enough, just remember that the practice is teaching you lots of what you need to know, and I'm sure if you look in the right places, you can learn all of what you need to know.

What do you think? Does the Big Music Project interest you? Does the day sound good?  Do we need qualifications to be qualified?

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill - A Review

TW - This post contains conversation about rape and it's consequences
This post also contains some spoilers for the book, but you should still read it, because I want to know your thoughts

I saw this book quite recently in my local library (most of my books come from the library because I read a lot and it's just easier and cheaper this way), and I was immediately drawn to it. I had a very strong hunch about what it was about just by looking at the cover and reading the title. I had never read book about rape, and I thought it might be quite an uncomfortable read because of the subject matter. Never the less, I picked it up and read the book start to finish over 2 days.

This book revolves around a girl called Emma. She is an eighteen year old girl who lives in Ireland. She is popular and smart and incredibly pretty. I found Emma a very likable character, and I felt the way she was written makes the book a lot more powerful. Emma is portrayed as stereo typically 'slutty'. She sleeps with who she wants to, when she wants to, not caring what other people think of her.

Within the book, Emma is sexually assaulted and the books shows the after effect immediately and then a year later. It's quite interesting because I would say that Emma is raped before she is assaulted, but other people might not have the same view point. The book doesn't go into any detail about the assault because Emma doesn't remember. She sees photos on Facebook and finds out what happened there.

Louise shows in this book the denial that rape victims go though along with the difficulty they have returning to their everyday lives, and she does it fantastically. Is it an uncomfortable book to read? Yes, in places. But it's also gripping. How else would I have finished it in 2 days? This book doesn't just show the court case, but what happens when you know the people who assaulted you. How many people won't believe your story, how it can change the relationship you have with your parents and how it can impact their lives outside home just as much as the victims.

I thought this book was a fantastic read, and I really think that if you haven't read it, you should. You can order it off amazon here.

If you have anything to add to this conversation, let me know in the comments or on twitter.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

I Have Friend Zoned My Boyfriend

I have mentioned my boyfriend on my blog multiple times before. I did a post about being with an introvert as an extrovert and there have been other posts where he has had a small shout out. This post is sort of about the relationship and connection we have.
When the media shows relationships and love, it suggests that love is this completely unknown emotion anyone who has never felt it before. This is kind of true, because no one tries to explain it. If anyone is ever asked what love is, the answer tends to be something along the lines of “you’ll know when it matters”, “I can’t really explain, I just knew what it was when I felt it” or “If you’ve never been in love, you won’t understand”. I think this is an incredibly lazy definition, because I feel that it is so simple to explain. For me, love is an intense friendship.
And so it should make a lot of sense when I say that my boyfriend is my best friend.
We were friends for a year and a half before we eventually got together, but for about a year of that, I considered him one of my best friends. He was one of the people I told everything to. He was the first person I wanted to tell all of my good news to, and the person whose shoulder I wanted to cry on when something bad happens.
I would say that I love my boyfriend, but because of all of the media that we are exposed to, when I first felt the feelings I am currently feeling, I didn’t think it was love. What I was feeling was just a very intense feeling of friendship and wanting to keep this human safe. It took a while before I figured out that this is what love feels like to me. It feels talking with your best friend all through the night until I have no breath left. It feels like wanting to go on adventures and experience lots of new things with your best friend. It feels like laughing until you cry, and having someone to ring at 3 in the morning when you feel sad.
For me, having a boyfriend means having a best friend. So when I say I have friend zoned my boyfriend, I have, because that's what a relationship is for me. An awesome friendship.
Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx