Original Writing

Saint Christopher

I didn’t realise how your fingertips were caressed with callousness from a previous past time until they met my own. I didn’t realise the summer left its unforgettable mark not just on your olive skin, but in the form of another girl. Two days ago I looked into your eyes for the first time and I sank.  Your glasses weren’t there to protect me from drowning, but I’ve recently realised I’d rather drown by loving you than swim. Saints kiss your neck every day and night but if I had a choice, it would be me instead. I thought being devoured by others would lessen the grip you have around my heart, but it only tightened; they were and never could be you. It breaks me that we protected our heads/hearts with a cloud of intoxication to revel in the desire we craved for months. And all that’s left of the temptation we caved into is distant, drunken memories of what your skin felt like, and what it just might have been like had the timing been right. How can it be that every day, saying goodbye is hardest when I know you’ll always be going home to her?

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Life Updates

Summer Update 2018 – Regent St

I can’t quite believe my time at Regent Street is fast-approaching its end! The past 3 months have been an absolute whirlwind of stress, excitement, tiredness, and happiness. (Cliche, I know.)

Whilst studying at Reading University, I started working in retail part-time. Before I knew it, June had arrived and I knew it was unfeasible to travel to and from Reading during the summer holidays (despite desperately not wanting to leave for 3 months!). I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work at the London store, which also happens to be the global flagship for the company, too. Going from a store where,  in total, there were 35 of us to a store of 125 members of staff was an absolute killer for my social anxiety, but the staff and management opened me with welcome arms.

Coming towards the end of my summer stint in central London, I can honestly look back and say this summer was one of the best I’ve had. Working full time in retail is exhausting but being able to work in a fast-paced environment with people who have become great friends is something I’ve been so blessed with. I was lucky enough to cross paths with managers who went out of their way to help me progress further within the company by training me up and most importantly, pushing me to better myself.

One of the categories within the store is sportswear and during the first month, I decided that would be the category to specialise in. Considering the company are always bringing out new collections and working on developing the category, I figured it would be a great place to start learning about how exactly retail works and what goes on behind the scenes. One of my managers, in particular, trained me up on everything sport-related, from USPs to KPIs to the technology of fabrics used; I never thought in a million years I’d be able to look back and say I’ve learned so much from working in retail and had such fun learning, too. I’m super excited to get back to Reading and put everything I’ve learned/been taught to good use!

Thanks for a beautifully wild summer, Regent Street. I’m sad to leave you behind.

(But let’s be honest, I am absolutely thrilled to be heading home to my Reading family soon!)

A x

[Featured Image: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/10875969/Regent-Street-to-deploy-beacon-technology-in-shops.html]

 

 

 

 

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Current Affairs, Original Writing

‘Afflicted’ – A Netflix Original Series

I did all of this work just to get sick and not be able to live my dreams

A new Netflix series aired recently surrounding the stories of people suffering from chronic illnesses, undiagnosed or “unspecified” by medical professionals. Symptoms were extreme, leaving most of the participants of this docuseries unable to perform any of their daily activities.

Each person differentiates themselves from another through their symptoms, and the symptoms present themselves as different illnesses entirely – from the offset. The words “psychosomatic” and “Lyme Disease” are thrown around often through the episodes, suggesting a potential link between the participants, their symptoms, and the disease. I’ll leave the opinions of other participants to the general public, however. There’s one person in particular that I want to focus on.

We’re introduced to Jake in the third episode of the docuseries; an aspiring musician whose career was suddenly cut short due to the onset of symptoms linked to Lyme Disease. The beginning of the episode features Jake’s struggle in articulating his current symptoms to the camera, and as the episode progresses, the viewer is lead to understand the events which took place in his life but most importantly, how his life has been dramatically impacted because of his illness.

22 minutes into the episode, I had to stop watching. Any documentaries featuring people struggling with chronic illnesses hit a nerve, so to speak. The intention of this post, however, is most definitely not to associate my condition on any kind of level with those in the series. This post was to highlight the unimaginable trauma of those who may look physically well but are struggling with an uncontrollable and unpredictable illness, of which there is no cure yet and treatment which consists entirely of trial and error. Watching a relatively young man’s life turned upside down due to something both entirely out of his control and entirely unanticipated is definitely heart-wrenching. To see the ambitious light in his character gradually diminish – it puts everything into perspective.

Learning about stories such as that of Jake’s really makes me realise how lucky we are, how lucky I am. I can call myself a survivor, but am I really battling a condition of no known cure? No. Has my life been stripped from my hands overnight? No. I agree with one thing, in particular, the docuseries mentioned; those who are sick have a tendency to associate their identity with their illness. They’re not just a person anymore – they’re a sick person. I, too, have fallen victim to enshrouding myself in self-pity when, in retrospect, my health is improving, I am most certainly not bed-bound, and I do not rely on medication to essentially live. Those who have suffered from chronic illnesses, and/or chronic pain can definitely identify with the overwhelming trauma it leaves one with, even once they’ve overcome the worst of it. And perhaps this motto isn’t the healthiest to live by, but the documentary showed me how people undeniably have it much worse than people such as myself. Granted my health isn’t the best it could be at the moment, I’ve learned that relatively stable health is often taken at face value.

I intend to bring myself to complete the rest of Jake’s story. And he’s taught me just how lucky I truly am, to be able to live my life to its fullest potential – he’s given me perspective. I sincerely hope from the deepest of my heart that his story has a happy outcome.

The transience of life is all too often overlooked and underestimated. We have an overwhelming ability as a society to conceal ourselves behind issues which are ephemeral in comparison to others.

The series, in general, verges on the side of sensationalism as opposed to information and fact, but the stories of the participants raise some interesting questions in relation to chronic illnesses, pain and an array of unspecified symptoms.

A x

Featured image: Afflicted, Netflix Original Series (2018)
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Life Updates

Internship 2017

This summer I’ve had the privilege of working as an intern for the very first time. I still can’t quite believe just how lucky I got, bagging myself an internship in my first year of university (perks of studying at Reading!).

The company I work for are based in central London, and they work with the top universities in London. My role is working as a Media Coordinator for the company, which is many ways perfect considering social media is my forte. Being in charge of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for the company in addition to visiting these universities, talking to students and scientists, and creating case studies for the students has been a rollercoaster of excitement and adrenaline, and 100% worth it.

The best part of this internship, however, is the people I’ve worked with. The environment is based on putting the staff first, being as flexible as possible for them, and making sure they are happy in the workplace. These are contacts I can honestly say I would love to keep for the future.

The skills I’ve acquired are also incredible. After working in retail for two years, I was desperately craving the taste of a degree-related job. The friends I’ve made working in retail, I’ve made for life and whilst I appreciate the somewhat relaxed attitude towards working in the fashion-retail industry, it became tedious. Folding shirts everyday and analysing stock reports is alright but I wasn’t challenging myself in any way. I was physically drained after spending 8 hours on my feet, but this internship has mentally drained me, which is exactly what I love.

I’ve been pushed to work as hard as I can, to meet deadlines the day they’re set, and these are invaluable life skills I can carry forward with me into the future. This may sound awfully cliché, but now that I’ve had a taste for working in an environment related to my degree, I can’t bring myself to go back to retail. Of course, a job is a job, and when it comes to starting my second year of university in a month’s time, I will have to go back to retail part-time in order to pay for university costs, but my passion has now shifted from specialising in menswear to working in the marketing industry.

I take pride in the fact that I have put my free time this summer to great use. Thank you, to the University of Reading and to the company I’m working for, because I’ve had the best time. I definitely would love to do this again next year, and cannot recommend it enough!

A x

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