The Outsider- a short story

Hello lovelies!

Recently in English we had to write a short story labelled ‘The Outsider’. I love all things creative writingy, so had lots of fun writing this and I thought I would share it with you 🙂 Please bear in mind whilst you are reading that I am no author and that this was written in a couple of evenings and could definitely be improved. Go grab a hot chocolate and a blanket and enjoy!

The Outsider

She was an unusual child, with hair as dark as the night sky and eyes like the ocean. Sometimes they sparkled with delight, and at others they raged with fury, but at the moment they just looked lost, a tiny boat tossed around by the waves, like the one she had travelled in so recently. She looked rather out of place as her battered yellow hat dripped with rain, as the tall office blocks glared down on her, their sinister windows watching her like thousands of suspicious eyes. She tried to ignore them. Tall men and women in tight black suits stormed past her like automatons, using their umbrellas as shields to signify the boundary between them and the rest of the world, pushing past the small girl as if she were nothing more than an abandoned toy.

Impatient car horns and the loud sounds of trains rattling over their tracks filled the cold air as the rain continued to fall and the tall people continued to hurry past. Nothing ever stopped in London , everyone always had something to do, somewhere to go, someone to meet. The girl, however, did not, and yet she kept walking. Her feet ached, but she did not want to stop, for fear that someone would notice her, for fear that her secret would be discovered. She walked past a cafe, and the familiar smell of strong coffee wrapped around her like a blanket, filling her with bitter sweet memories of her home and family. She stifled a sob, her eyes filling with salty tears. What could she do? Who could she ask for help?

Amanda sighed, gazed out of the window, and took another sip of hot coffee, running her fingers through her sort, straw coloured hair. Although she deeply loved her studio, with its fuchsia and lime coloured walls, the view from her sixth story window was not the kind that inspired fantastical children’s stories. She traced a raindrop down the window with a long, bony finger and watched as the usual London business men and women marched along the street. Amamnda sighed. Her publishers wanted the first chapter for her new book in less than a week’s time, and no matter what she did, she simply could’n dream up a new story. Her polka dot paper bin in the corner of the room was filled to the brim with scrunched up attempts at first chapters: princesses, dragons, adventures. Nothing seemes to work. Gazing out of the widow for the umpteenth time that afternoon, she spotted a bright yellow hat among the sea of black umbrellas and, after pushing her glasses up off of her nose, saw a young girl with jet black hair beneath it. Puzzled, Amanda seached for the parent to whom the child belonged, but it seemed as though she were alone.

Strange.

After watching for a moment more she decided to go outside for a bit of fresh air, whilst checking that the girl was alright, and not in need of taking to the London Lost Property Centre. Amanda was not fully certain that children counted as lost property, but she decided that it may be the best place for the girl if she had indeed been separated from her parents. Though this may seem like a very thoughtful thing to do, it was in all honesty simply an excuse for Amanda to free herself from her stultifying studio. She began the descent to the ground floor, carrying her still too-hot-to-drink coffee and wary of the rather judgemental looks that came from the office next door as it was clearly still too early for lunch break.

It was too much. The girl had walked for far too long, and her feet were blistering beyond belief from her flimsy white sandals, which were now more of a drab grey colour. It was as if the city turned everything a drab grey, sucking the cleanliness and colour out of anything that came there and spitting out dirt like a reverse vacuum cleaner. Even the rain seemed more grey than the rain which fell in Syria, the girl’s home.

Just as she was beginning to lose all hope, the girl saw a woman with short hair the colour of sand walking towards her. For a second, she panicked, but the look on the woman’s face was of nothing but curiosity and compassion, and her brightly coloured coat spoke words of hope into the girl’s tender heart, like a vibrant green cockatoo amongst a flock of ravens.

“Are you alright darling?” the woman asked, concerned. “Are you lost? Where are your parents?” The girl began to cry silently, and shook her head slowly. She pointed to her lips, shaking her head once again, indicating that she did not understand what the woman was saying. She did not know whether to trust this woman, with her saffron hair and foreign language, but she acknowledged the fact that she had no other hope. She looked up at the woman, who looked rather shocked and confused, trying to communicate all that she wanted to say through her big ocean like eyes alone. It was evident, through her still frowning lips, that the woman did not receive the full message, but the furrows which had previously creased her forehead smoothed themselves out and her sharp green eyes seemed suddenly full of sympathy.

To the many suit-clad passers by it must have looked a rather strange scene: the little dark haired girl and the tall blonde one; standing in the middle of the street, but the robots continued to storm past them. A few of the less polite ones knocked shoulders with them or dripped a little water off of their umbrellas onto the unlikely pair’s heads, with grunts of  ‘excuse me’ as their only apology. All in all, it was certainly not the best place to be standing during rush hour on a cold and drizzly Winter’s day, which they established between themselves, and so they walked together into a cafe lining the road, with hanging baskets full of artificial pink and yellow gerberas.

Inside, the cafe was just as delightful as it had appeared from the outside, both bright and cosy at the same time. A lovely open fire crackled in the corner of the room, couples talked with heads close together over mugs of steaming drinks, and others sat alone with pens poised and pieces of paper scattered like autumn leaves over the table.On this cold and dreary day, the snug tearoom warmed the soul and was a miniature heaven on Earth.

The girl followed the saffron-haired lady to a table by the window, and tried desperately to show her gratitude when a huge cup of coffee was brought to her. This time, the familiar scent did not cause salty tears to form in her eyes. Instead, it tasted like the perfect blend of a thousand comforting memories, bringing her courage and strength. In the only way the girl could think to communicate she signed ‘thank you’ to the tall, fair lady, touching her fingertips to her chapped lips and gesturing towards Amanda like a performer bowing after a concert. The woman’s bright green eyes lit up. It was a long time since she had used sign language, but in an instant it all flooded back to her, and she quickly responded ‘You can sign?’ The little girl smiled for the first time in weeks. ‘Yes! Thank you very much. You are very kind.’ ‘You are welcome’ replied Amanda, her hands moving quickly. ‘Tell me who you are, where you are from?’

And so it began. The long tale of how the dark-haired girl had fled her country and was in England illegally, lost, orphaned. She decided to trust the lady with the hair like sand, eyes like emeralds and heart full of love. Neither at the pair were perfect at signing, so there were several parts of the story which had to be simplified or shown over and over, but it was all told, with Amanda scribbling down notes along the way into her pink and yellow notebook full of ideas for her new book.

It wasn’t, in fact, until many years later, when the young girl had become a woman, that Amanda first put her pen onto a piece of crisp, white paper and began, ‘She was an unusual child, with hair as dark…’

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Seizing opportunities and the edge of my comfort zone

img_8877Hello lovelies!

Recently I was asked to be a part of a puppet show that my church puts on every year around Christmas. I’ve been to watch it for long enough to know that this is no ordinary puppet show, but an all-singing-all-dancing 1.5 hour long production, performed to almost 1500 people and involving months of rehearsal and several damaged backs or knees. The thought of puppeteering in something which I had grown up with and been so in awe of the people who did it quite frankly terrified me, and I was this close *indicates a small closeness between my fingers* to saying no.

I knew there were so many other people who would be much better than me, and I thought it just wasn’t the kind of thing I do. I’m just not the kind of person who puts themselves out there and does things! I’m the kind of person who would sit quite comfortably at the back and enjoy the show. All in all, it was just something outside of my comfort zone, and normally that means I find some excuse not to do it and instead stay at home with a book and my onesie.

However, in the end they were quite low on people, so I agreed that I would do it, although I honestly didn’t want to. On the way to the first rehearsal I had a sudden panic and was about to ask my dad if we could go back home, but in the end I pushed myself through and went. I decided that I was going to do this whether I liked it or not, and that (as well as my encouraging Dad and sister who were also involved and the promise of chocolate) was what stopped me from running back home to my bed!

As soon as I sat down and we were busy chatting and highlighting scripts whilst passing around a tub of celebrations my worries disappeared. I realised that I might actually really enjoy this, and that it would be good for me to push myself out of my comfort zone (which seems to be becoming smaller all the time).

The show was an awful lot of work, but I loved every second of it. I discovered the lovely friendships that come from working so hard with a team of other people, the adrenaline that comes just before a performance and the satisfaction that comes when you do something well. Doing this show gave me new confidence, new friendships, new skills and a new way of thinking about things. Next time I’m asked or offered to participate in something, I’m going to (try to!) seize the opportunity with open arms and an open heart.

My main new year’s resolution for 2016 is to try and push myself out there and make the most of all the opportunities I have, because I guess I’m only going to be 15 once.

I’d love to invite all of you to try and push yourself out of your comfort zone at least one time this week, whether that be putting your hand up in class if you don’t normally, talking to someone you’re slightly scared to, joining a new club, starting a new hobby or wearing something that’s not your usual style!

 

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments if you want to join me in this challenge, and I’d love it so much if you had any success stories or felt inspired to write a blog post about this and wanted to tell me!

Lots of love,

Graciellen xx

Chatting over hot chocolate #3

img_8825

Hey lovelies,
Gosh, I’ve missed you all so much! I hope that you’ve had lovely Christmases and are looking forward to the new year! I’m still slightly baffled at how it is only a couple of days until 2016, I still feel like I’m living in 2012, the year of Call Me Maybe and the London Olympics and Olly Murs and starting secondary school haha. Anyways, I feel like I really must explain my long, sad absence from the blogosphere. So, get comfy, grab a hot chocolate (once again) and I’ll begin…

First of all, I am rather sad that I managed to miss blogging for the whole of December, meaning I didn’t get to write or take photos for any of the wonderful Christmas posts I was looking forward to 😦 I have, however, loved looking back at all of my followers-who-have-blogs Christmassy posts and liking and commenting on them, so I am sorry about the month late notifications you may get haha, I’m not just stalking! (well I kinda am but oh well).

December has been a crazy month for me and the run up to Christmas was hectic to say the least. All this non-stop business ultimately led to me being poorly and rather run down on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the day after, which as you can imagine was not great fun!

Furthermore (sorry this is sounding like an English essay), it was my birthday *woo woo woo* on Wednesday the 23rd (yes I know it’s very close to Christmas) and I was delighted to find out that me and the lovely somegirlandablog have the same birthday! If you’re feeling nice please wish her a happy belated birthday in the comments, or if you’re feeling super kind you could head over to her blog ❤️ Anyways, I had a wonderful birthday and got lots of lovely presents from family and friends which I am ever so grateful for. I was going to do a What I Got For My Birthday and Christmas post today, but I thought that I should probably explain where I’ve been first! Let me know below if you would still like that post though and I will get writing 🙂

Now that Christmas is (sadly) over and I don’t start school for a few more days, I’m hoping to get back into blogging and I have already made a big list of blogging goals for 2016 in my flowery notebook which smells like armbands (featured in the photo above!)

That’s all from me today lovelies, but hopefully I will be back again soon 🙂

Lots of love, merry Christmas and a happy new year,

Graciellen xx

Chatting Over Hot Chocolate: life recently

Hello lovelies!

Recently I’ve been struggling with a bit of Blogger’s Block, and have been feeling for ages like I’ve really wanted to blog but have had no idea what to write haha! So, to get me back into my bloggyness, I thought I’d have a try just chatting with all of you. Imagine (once again!) that we are sitting in a cute, cosy little cafe, enjoying hot chocolate with lots of cream and marshmallows *I had a mint chocolate hot chocolate in a tea rooms near where I live the other day and it was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL, so try imaging that if you would like, or a very festive gingerbread latte or a normal coffee, or tea, or whatever your favourite hot beverage is!*, sitting in the window seat and looking out at the passers by, wrapped up in their coats and scarves, whilst discussing everything and anything about our lives…

Despite my lack of blogitude my last few weeks have been really lovely. It was my sister’s birthday last week which was awfully exciting (you can read a sibling tag that I did with her ages ago HERE if you would like to find out a bit more about her! *inwardly cringing as I briefly read over it*), and as well as having lots of cake, presents and fun on her actual birthday she also had a roller skating party on Saturday. She invited a big mix of friends-some from her class at school, some we get the bus with, and some from our Church youth group- so it was lots of fun *aka craziness* having all of them in one place! Although I was rather appalling at skating I still had a great time, and so did my sister.

School has been great recently, I had a parents evening on my sister’s actual birthday *poor her, I felt awful!*, which was all a lot of loveliness from my teachers. I have a few tests next week but have been unusually organised with revision, and have actually written a whole plan of what to be doing each evening, which has been rather satisfying to actually some quality time on Bitesize and MyMaths *woohoo*, and then tick off each different maths topic I’m meant to revise (like I said earlier, this is VERY UNUSUAL).

Just a minute ago I actually reached 250 followers which has made my day, I mean, how crazy is that? 250 lovely people reading what I write, 250 new friends that I have made, simply through my blog! Although I know that compared to a lot of other INCREDIBLE bloggers what I have achieved is nothing, I am actually rather happy and proud. Thank you all so very very much for being so kind, lovely, friendly, and inspiring.

Imagine now that we suddenly realise how long we have been nattering, so pull on our lovely warm coats, gloves, hats and scarves, and step out into the cold, to meet again in not too long for another lovely afternoon together…

 

Over to You…

How have your last few weeks been? What do you think of my more chatty style of post? What’s your favourite wintery drink? It would be lovely if you could comment below, along with anything else you would like to say!

Lots of love,

Graciellen xx

Being A Comforter: Part Two â¤ď¸

Hello lovelies!
After writing my original post about being a comforter I’ve been thinking about this a lot more and so decided to write another post on it. Lots of people commented on my last post saying that also felt like they were comforters, and talked about how they felt about this, so I thought it would be nice to chat about it a bit more!
I wrote my first post at a time when I felt a little drained after being constantly asked for help and advice by a couple of close friends, who have been struggling with depression, and I guess I just wanted to write down my feelings and realise that being a comforter and someone people trust isn’t a bad thing at all.

I’ve also came to the same conclusion, that being that comforter is truly an honor. It shows people trust you and respect you and how you live your life enough to come to you when they have trouble of their own.

-The lovely Meg from EmandM commented this on my last post-

In the last few weeks however I’ve been helping and comforting a few other people, and I’ve realised that this is actually something I really enjoy. Its the kind of thing that, most of the time, actually energises me and makes me feel happy, as I see the things I say make people happier.
Maybe even something I’m good at, (although I often feel like what I say makes no sense at all!) as people always respond to any help or advice I give them with thankfulness and joy.

Yup I’m a comforter. But the thing is I don’t really know why because I’m never quite sure what to say.

Dancingteen02 on my last post-

I feel like something a lot of people need is joy. Whether that is just day to day laughter and smiles, or when they’re struggling with something much bigger, like grief or depression. I actually have wooden letters in my bedroom which spell out the word JOY, and I guess its always something I’ve had on my heart, to bring happiness to people who need it.

I would love to be someone who brings comfort and joy to peoples lives, someone that always brings a smile to other people’s faces after talking to me.

I would like people to come to me more and trust me as a kind, helpful person. My aim is not to be the cool girl but to be the kind girl.

-Anonymous on my last post (who sadly doesn’t have a blog yet but hopefully will soon)-

Over To You…

Are you a comforter? What do you think about my thoughts? Is there anything that you are naturally talented at or especially enjoy? What kind of person do you want to be known as? 

Lots of love,

Graciellen xx

PS. Over on the JOYFUL YOUNG HEARTS blog which I co-write we have just started a set of challenges called Spread The Joy, where each week we encourage people to do something (whether that be giving someone a hug, making a friend a cake, or leaving little happy notes for people in random places) which will ultimately spread joy and love. I would love it if we could start being a part of this on my blog too, it is super easy, lots of fun and sure to bring a smile to other people’s faces! You can head over to joyfulyounghearts.wordpress.com for more details if you want to, where we update the SpreadTheJoy page each week with a new challenge.

I will be taking part of this on Twitter and would love it if you all wanted to join in! If you have Twitter you can tweet whatever you are doing for that challenge with the hashtag #JYHspreadthejoy, and if not then you can head over to the Joyful Young Hearts website and comment on the SpreadTheJoy page xxx