Friday, 30 April 2010

Unnofficial Reflective Writing

Looking at the outpour of productive work it is difficult if not impossible to believe that I do try and do work. I start; I open word documents, I write titles and ponder upon content, at times I even litter my bed with various research I have collected.

However after all of this my mind filters out all thoughts and starts to create distractions in the environment I find myself in. These distractions can be anything, anything at all.

So why am I so easily distracted from work; with my recent proclamations it could be thought that I do not like the work; in the case of 2000 word essays then that may be true, but I enjoy writing, I love it. Yet I am struggling to keep writing even this blog entry, and for no reason other than I don’t have the mental capacity to care whether it is completed.

Perhaps because I see no point in my life direction I cannot grasp the point of why I should complete academic work, and at university whatever you do seems to be connected, even in your spare time.

I used to be able to write loads and still be fine, it seemed almost easy and second nature, but after my writing style was criticised as being lame, incorrect and worthless (these are the words my mind tell me, I have repressed the actual detailed memory) by a lecturer I have lost the love and the motivation to continue.

Although I decided to review a DVD last week and I managed to write 450 words in almost half an hour, and I could have easily continued but has already exceeded the word count and had to cut down somehow. That piece was commissioned by the university newspaper Flex and so I still had a deadline, and was not entirely my own desires to do it. But I wrote this review as soon as I was asked, a week before deadline; utterly unthinkable for any other work I have been asked all academic year.

Our class was recently asked to complete a learning styles questionnaire and I found myself categorised as a Reflector learner; I.E. I look back and review work done. This is someone who looks back on created pieces and applies critical, objective and to an extent subjective thoughts to it, as well as enjoys the creativity of poetry, novel and lyrical writing.

Yes, this sounds like me. Almost.

A reflector seems custom built to be able to write essays with ease, yet I struggle to do it. It could be that for the academic pieces that I have encountered thus far are things I have under-researched and am unprepared for. As a university student I really should just read, but again having the motivation to stick at it. Most books we have been asked to read are so lacklustre it is less than preferable t read any. I have actually found two that read quite well and amused me on just a couple pages: “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, and “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott, but I just can’t seem to continue them. The Tipping Point enlightened me and I enjoyed every word but it sits upon my shelf collecting dust with a bookmark only 6 chapters in. There is a mental blockage that I need to sort out before I can move on.

Unfortunately, time is not sympathetic when it comes to motivation, and life is moving on without me being ready. I hope I can mature in time to pass my degree with a good grade.

Monday, 26 April 2010

life path

so i finished my last post with the statement i need to do some sould searching, so far i have become obsessed with Adam Lambert music particularly Whataya Want From Me

so far so not good.

will keep trying, and when the dark swirls of my tormented soul freezes in my brain to give me painful insight to that which i probably don't want to know i will return and document.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Begin from the Centre

I want to get into the habit of writing on here, everyday.

well, as often as necessary.

It is a Wednesday and for a few weeks that means that I have a 9am seminar, only a ten minute walk but still arduous when I am used to the luxury of 10am starts... although I arrived early, as is my prerogative, and as is expected, before everybody else. But for once Tutor was there, so we had a lovely little chat about how I have been unable to concentrate on my essay due to my recent flu virus and my nan's passing so she courteously agreed to extend the deadline until noon tomorrow.

However, I am now struck with the difficult problem that I still do not care for the subject...

What is worse my mind has been whirring possibilities again, and earlier I found myself once again searching through the careers of namely pilot but who knows.

As Beautiful a choice that appeals to me, is it actually me? I love so much, I desire so much more... but I have no idea what any of it could mean or where I belong. And so i find myself at a cross road and the decision that perhaps I need to do some true soulsearching.

Will I ever be genuinely happy? I thought I was the other day in the kitchen at home, after baking some flapjack, the radio blared some decent tunes and I just danced... and I felt serene, no cares, illness had lifted, nobody watching or judging. I felt free.

The Shadow of Grace.

I took a quick breath and dived again; Isabelle and Harry were totally submerged. They couldn’t get through the small crack that ran through the wall; it was a cruel window to the pain, the pain that was my fault. It mocked my helplessness, I couldn’t save them, me and Shamira could easily swim to the top of our cave and get through the opening, and we would be out on the cliff, safe. In desperation I looked towards Shamira, she was leaning against the wall, as if the water couldn’t touch her, a smile on her face. Her pale skin gave a glow in the murky water that filled the cave.

I jumped as a hand grabbed my arm; Isabelle had reached through the gap, her eyes straining to hold in her last breath, behind I could see Harry’s chest loosen as his cheeks went blue. What can I do? I thought, I can’t leave them. I looked from Isabelle’s tightly shut eyes to Shamira’s wide stare; gazing further into those darkening rings I saw the laughter. She was laughing that they were slowly dying!

Turning back towards Isabelle she opened her eyes. The blue stripes of colour that used to be so vivid were fading; the whites of her eyes had a red map of fear imprinted on them. I fell into them, falling though time to yesterday.

It had started so normal; it was like any other afternoon. I was walking along the cliff, like I often do, when I saw Isabelle, her golden curls bouncing on her shoulder as she skipped over the waves that washed the sand. Actually that’s a lie; it was not a normal afternoon, mainly because that day was going to be the day that I spoke to Isabelle. We had been going school together for almost ten years and not once had we had a conversation together. Today was different, I ran down to the bottom of the cliff, but I didn’t see the rock that was hiding in the shadow of a cave entrance. I flew three feet and all I could hear was laughing. Turning round, feeling my cheeks redden I saw a girl standing in the cave. She was about my age, but I didn’t notice how her hair wisped like smoke, rejoining the shadows. I didn’t pay attention that there wasn’t a breeze to be able to make her long dark skirt ripple, or make her black fringe fly into her face.

“Hello,” she laughed again as I slowly got up.

“Err... hi,” was all I could say, I didn’t know who she was, all I knew was that she had the blackest eyes I had ever seen, eyes that seemed to darken the more you looked at them. Remembering Isabelle I turned just in time to see her walk around the corner, just out of sight.

I ran, calling her name as I turned the corner. I didn’t expect Harry to be there.

“What do you want, acne boy?” Harry snorted; he twisted his neck to smirk at Isabelle, and to check she was watching, “are you spying on my girlfriend? Heh, get lost freak.” With that Harry turned round and kissed Isabelle, full on the mouth.

I clenched my fists, trying to dig my stubby nails into sweaty palms so that I wouldn’t cry, not in front of Harry. So I just turned away and walked, I went back around the corner. Something slid out of the corner of my eye, I squinted into the cave mouth where the girl stood earlier. I didn’t even wonder where she may have gone. All I was thinking about was Isabelle and Harry. The tormentor of the local college, ten years of Isabelle not realising I existed was the same ten years I had to endure Harry’s taunts, everyone had spots but mine were the worst, according to Harry anyway. That wasn’t all though, my blue body could tell you that. It was just as my anger grew, and my wish to leave this place was getting stronger that the wind blew, it took me by surprise and I almost slipped off the large rock I was leaning against. The empty cave looked different, somehow the shadows appeared more, well, more physical, as if I could reach out and touch them. I was tempted; I was at the entrance, my arm slowly reaching in, the shadows coming out to meet me. There was water rising in the cave too, it was all so hypnotising, there was a sound too. I can remember a noise, like laughing, such a familiar laugh but I couldn’t think where from, not then anyway.

The spell was broken when I heard Harry’s voice.

“Come on, let’s go back my place,” I left the cave and was on my way back up the cliff before they came round the corner, I did not want to see a repeat of earlier. I obviously hadn’t ran fast enough, Harry saw me trying to climb the cliff. A rock landed a little to the left of me, another hit my back, but I kept going.

“Keep running peepin’ Tom, I’ll get ya tomorrow!” I heard some mumbling, and an explosion of laughter as Harry threw another rock, I heard it hit the ground behind me as I continued my way up the cliff path.

No-one went to the beach the next day, a small storm had come from nowhere, it was only a little rain in town but it made the waves monstrous. I was just walking up the street in town when I heard it. Who would have thought something so innocent would soon become so dangerous, so sinister. It was a laugh, just a childish giggle that came out of the alley from between two shops. I looked in, the shadows were so dark and the sun was behind the storm; that should have made me wonder why her eyes were shining.

“Do you want to play?” the girl stood in the dark.

“Ex...excuse me?” I thought I didn’t I hear her right. I should have run then, made my escape, maybe then it wouldn’t be like this. But I stayed, I stayed and I watched her step out into the dim light and the rain, coming closer; maybe if I hadn’t been entranced by her eyes, those dark, circular eyes, I could have escaped. I wouldn’t have found myself walking closer to her, I felt her breath.

“I said do you want to play with me?”

I heard a sound from the street, but I was already walking into the alley, following the girl.

“Forever Jack, just follow me” when she said it, I didn’t hear it, another voice was calling me, a voice I knew.

I jumped as Isabelle grabbed my arm and pulled me out the alley. “Why didn’t you answer me?” Isabelle smiled at me, my knees began to shake and I was aware that my mouth was open, with no words coming out.

“Jack? Are you okay?” Isabelle laughed, she had such a sweet laugh.

I remember thinking this was my chance, I had to act cool, sound cool, and be cool. Looking back, it’s almost comical.

“,” all I could cope with was a series of sounds. Her face said it all, ‘you are a freak’. But she smiled anyway, a little more awkwardly than before.

“I just came over to say sorry about yesterday, Harry was being-“

“Issy!” that scream made my knees go from jelly to dust. Harry pushed me back so he could stand between us, there wasn’t much need, we were standing two metres apart. “What do you think you are doing?” This second instalment was directed at me, again, sounds made their way out, but no words. How cool must I look to Isabelle? That was why what she did next was so confusing; perhaps that was why I could hear the voice, why I followed it.

“HARRY, stop being such a, a, a... oh come on Jack.” Isabelle grabbed my arm and pulled me away, she replied to Harry’s remark but I didn’t hear them; she no longer had a voice. All I could hear was water, and the wind. I was facing the alley again. And that sadistic laugh echoed silently through my bones.

“Follow me Jack.”

I followed. I don’t know why, I didn’t even know who, but I followed. As did Isabelle, and Harry, but they knew less than me. Funny thing curiosity, turns out it doesn’t only kill cats. I felt the shadows tighten; it was hard to breathe, and then release. I don’t think any of us realised we were falling until we hit the water.

There was dry land that we could pull ourselves onto. I watched Isabelle shiver as she looked around. She opened her mouth to speak but Harry beat us both to it.

“Where the hell are we?”

I had no idea.

I walked along the wall that seemed to trap us, there was a door shaped hole a few yards down. It was so quiet that Isabelle’s scream made me jump.

“Sorry, the walls are sticky,” she was wiping her hand on her jeans, her hand going over the curves of her thigh. Harry stepped in between us again, his face told me he knew what I had been thinking, and he wasn’t happy about it.

We all walked through the hole in the wall, we entered a room where a fire burned in the middle with three other passages leading off from it.

“Which way now?” Isabelle asked, looking from one boy to the other.

“I reckon-“Harry started but but I held up my hand, there was a quiet murmur coming from the tunnel on the left. I stood walking closer to listen.

“Jack, come to me Jack,” I started to go closer to the voice.

“Jack wait, we’ve got to stay together,” Isabelle stopped abruptly, “Can you guys hear that?” There was a soft sound like a tap running coming from the tunnel they came through. All three listened.

“It’s most likely that the walls are echoing the sound of the water that we fell into, being in the silence and darkness so long is reducing our sight, so our hearing senses have developed, making it seem louder than it actually is,” I explained to her still walking into the tunnel on the left, Isabelle followed.

“I was going to suggest this way,” Harry shouted, pointing to the right tunnel, but they both ignored him, and not wanting to be alone he ran to catch up with them.

After ten minutes of walking we hit another fork in the road; the wall was visible at the end of the left and on further inspection by Harry it was definitely just a dead end so they took the right. The smell of damp mud was getting worse, and the upward climb of this tunnel started to become more apparent with each step.

After twenty minutes of walking straight Isabelle couldn’t contain her curiosity any longer, “why is it getting steeper? It’s almost impossible to stand upright and walk now.”

“I think we are probably getting closer to the ground, if we fell I guess it’s obvious that we need to climb back up,” I replied breathlessly, I should exercise more, I’m not used to this type of uphill walking.

“Are you calling her stupid? Oh I guess it’s obvious,” mocked Harry in a baby voice.

“No, no I didn’t mean that, I swear I didn’t Isabelle I think you’re brilliant, I mean clever, not that you aren’t brilliant, you’re that too, I mean, oh...” great, now she thinks I think shes and idiot and that I’m stupid, I could feel my cheeks getting hotter and palms become increasingly sweaty as they slipped off the damp walls.

“Oh just ignore him Jack, Harry’s just upset,” Isabelle squeezed my hand making me stumble a little.

“Uh, um what, what do you mean?” I asked, stopping, looking at what, hopefully, was the direction of Isabelle’s face.

“She doesn’t mean anything, I know you didn’t mean what you said earlier, we’re good together,” Harry choked on his words, as he tried to hide the desperation in his voice.

Sensing the awkwardness of the situation I continued walking, using the wall to keep upright, after a further ten minutes we found a corner but it only led to another dead end.

“Well done Einstein, now we have to get back down the hill and go the way that I suggested earlier,” the anger that Harry spoke with was evident, even between the harsh breaths he took as he stumbled along back down the passage. As they got further back along the way a loud crashing could be heard, like an excited child in a bath. After half an hour of walking they found the source of the noise; water had risen to the base of the slope in the passage, cutting off the way back to the fire room.

“Where has this come from?” Isabelle screamed over the sound, fear making her grip on to Harry’s arm, who even in the dark smirked in my direction.

“That must have been the noise you heard earlier, the water has been slowly rising all this time,” I took a step back from the steadily increasing water.

“You said that was an echo, you said the darkness gave us super hearing or something and that it was just an echo!” Harry jeered at me; with his free left arm he pushed me, who standing unsteadily on the hill fell head first into the freezing depths of the water. Harry shielded the majority of the splash from Isabelle but she let out a shriek cry as I only just managed to push my head back through the surface, gasping for breath. “Come on we better dive in, it won’t be far to swim before we get to that large room.”

Taking deep breaths; Isabelle and I held on to the excess material on Harry’s t-shirt. Occasionally Harry would kick me in the ribs, causing me to let go of his t-shirt and have to kick like mad to keep up; but as soon as they surfaced in the large room Harry claimed innocence and said that I must just be too fat to get out of the way. I put my arms around my middle as it still hurt, my hands almost touching at the back, my empty stomach cursing me for not eating any lunch that day. Pulling themselves on the higher land they had to choose whether to go left or right again, I started to the right, which was an easier and straighter path.

“No, I ain’t goin’ that way,” Harry started to the left, looking at Isabelle expectantly.

“Why not?” I took a step towards Isabelle, my eyes pleading her to come with me.

“Last time we followed you we almost drowned!” Harry stressed the drowned with such hostility, it had made me jump. Isabelle mumbled a high pitch apology and ran after Harry who started to climb up a steep ledge by the left passage.

I still stood there, the water slowly surrounding me; sliding down the wall I lowered my head. In the corner of my eye I could see light; quickly looking up the girl from the beach was standing next to me with a torch. She started to giggle and waved.

“Where did you go? Where have you been? I...I followed you” why did I follow you, what possessed me, all of this is my fault.

She continued to giggle, as if his predicament was amusing somehow. “Do you want me to come with you down that way?” she cocked her head toward the right tunnel. Her smile seemed to be infectious as I couldn’t help grinning too. There was just something about her. “I’m Shamira by the way.”

“Oh, thanks Shamira, I’m-“

“I know who you are Jack, I’ve been trying to speak to you for months now, then when I did you didn’t want to speak back,” she chuckled but I could tell it was to hide the hurt in her confession.

“Oh, I, I was, am really sorry about that, it was just that um”

“Because you would rather talk to a blonde who loves the person that has terrorised you all your life, yes I know, well, we better go, the tide is rising,” she creased her eyes and let out a friendly laugh whilst splashing noisily into the tunnel. I didn’t have time to ask how she knew what she knew as the water level had already rose to my knees, wading into the tunnel entrance I didn’t look back at the passage that the others had taken.

It wasn’t long before the two of us reached a corner to the left and then turned right and right again into a very narrow set of steps; exhausted I was dragging my legs up the steps, trying to grip the smooth wall for support; the water was flooding much faster now, it followed our feet with every step.

“I can see outside, we’re near the cliff where we met earlier,” Shamira laughed at the irony, she wasn’t tired at all and had been humming for most of the walk.

I stepped onto the flat path, it was just a small climb up to a gap that we could both easily fit through, but there was a strange small gap in the wall next to me, it was far too small to fit through, I could only just get my arm through if I pushed up my sleeve; suddenly I heard the screams. The water slapped my waist, but looked through the gap; I could see Isabelle.

“Isabelle, look through the gap in the wall,” I shouted in desperation.

Isabelle searched for the voice, but then obediently looked through the thin but long gap in the wall. “Jack!” She exclaimed. “Oh Jack, we’ve hit another dead end, and the water’s too deep,” she started to cry.

“Where’s Harry? Are you sure there isn’t a gap up high, there’s one here, and, hey, what’s this,” I had felt a small polefeeling along it I found that it lead to some kind of mechanism in the wall.

“Jack, what is it? Are you there, Harry’s here, he’s trying to dig through the wall but there’s something hard like metal behind the mud, were trapped, there’s no gap, there’s nothing,” her tears flowed quicker than the rapidly rising water, “I’m scared Jack, I don’t want to die.”

Shamira started to laugh, it was almost malicious, but it was obvious she also found something amusing.

“What are you laughing at?” I shouted at her.

“What Jack? Neither of us are laughing, who are you talking to?” She spluttered as the water reached her chin.

I looked from the wall to Shamira, his eyes widened, “they can’t-“

“Hear me? No, or see me,” she stopped laughing to look again into his eyes; “human’s make me laugh so much, you practically worship water, you hold it in such high regard, yet, as you can see it only brings death,” she sat on the ledge that led outside, looking down towards the wall where the gap had been.

I took a breath and dived down to look through the gap, Isabelle and Harry’s tunnel was completely flooded now, they were holding their last breath. The pain in their scrunched eyes as their lungs screamed for that forbidden air.

I surfaced again, searching for Shamira but she wasn’t there. I dived and almost let most of my breath out with shock; she was standing underneath the water, she didn’t need to hold a breath, she didn’t need to breathe.

The shock raised me to the surface, so that’s when I took the deepest breath I have ever taken and dived one last time...

“You can save them Jack,” Shamira smiled at me again, she looked through the gap, “they don’t have long Jack, they don’t have any time at all.”

I couldn’t open my mouth, but shrugged at her.

“If you pull that lever you found, their door will open, they will live, but there will be no way out for you,” with that she rose to the top of the cave, I surfaced with her.

“So I die.”

“No, you will stay with me for eternity, we can play,” she smiled adoringly at me, “forever.”

“Who are you?”


Isabelle and Harry flowed with the water out onto the cliff, their strained lungs rattled with the sudden rush or air. They slowly pushed their way up but both fell to their knees again, their brains dizzy from the lack of air; they looked around for Jack.

“Stop playing around you idiot,” coughed Harry, his throat too sore to speak.

Out of the corner of her eye Isabelle could see two spectral beings playing on the waves in the sea, but when she looked there was nothing to see.

Then thought she could hear Jack’s laughter fade into the sunset.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Nostalgic Notes

I was looking back at my old files in MyDocuments and happened across some mock Psychology Synoptic Exams I had. I absolutely adore psychology and thought that this piece is humourous as well as inciteful and just felt like sharing it really...

What else are blogs for, eh?


Errol is a very attractive young man, all of his friends agree. He has a muscular physique and a fine dress sense. Errol is prescribed glasses but doesn’t wear them because he thinks they ruin his good looks. His friends think he is extremely vain.

A. A psychodynamic view would see that Errol’s vanity would have developed in childhood. A vain personality is seen in the Genital psychosexual stage; which means Errol must have been fixated. If Errol’s father had left when he was younger then the Oedipus complex competition, between himself and his father would not have taken place and Errol would have had his Mother’s entire attention. But in the genital stage when Errol was looking for a father figure to imitate he had none and so got fixated. In relation to his disdain towards wearing his glasses he may be repressing childhood memories of being bullied because he wore them. Or perhaps he remembers his father wearing them and because his mother speaks so badly of his father he has fought the id’s want to hate his father and his superego’s need to love both your parents by employing the ego defence mechanism of displacement onto the glasses so he does not look like his father.

A behaviourist may see Errol’s vain behaviour as being learnt. If Errol went to the gym to build his muscular physique the operant conditioning theory would say that he had direct reinforcement of praise from friends, such as “well done, keep at it, you are looking great.” This attention focused reinforcement would increase the likelihood of the behaviour happening again. Through the social learning theory we could see that Errol used observational learning to see that celebrities and people with lots of money and admiration always took care of the way they looked and dressed in nice clothes. He used these people as role models and imitated their behaviour because of the strong vicarious reinforcement.

B. My psychodynamic explanation is deterministic as Errol had no free will and must have developed his vanity because of a manifest behaviour from childhood, but it may have developed when he got older as this is when our bodies begin to change and we take notice of ourselves and others. It is also reductionist because it does not account for these biological factors or that the behaviour may have been learnt. However it does explain his individual differences, and provides a reason of a subconscious motivation as to why he won’t wear glasses. Although this research is gender and culture biased on middle aged Victorian Viennese ladies.

B) The reductionist behavioural explanation has not accounted for any feelings that may be involved or the biological changes in a person’s body that attracts them to other people and makes them aware of themselves. It is also deterministic as it says the behaviour must be reinforced, but most people dislike vanity and so this behaviour would most likely not be reinforced and so, according to the model, Errol wouldn’t be vain. However it does provide a good argument and has high truth value as compliments do give people motivation to continue such things as going to the gym to obtain a muscular physique and bullies can stop people wanting to wear glasses.

C) Psychoanalysis uses personal based research such as case studies. To test out the theory of vanity in young men who were raised by single mothers from the age of five we could do a meta-analysis of that certain group of young men. To do this we would need to interview the men’s family and friends, and ask them to rate the individual’s vanity, with questions such as how long do they take to get ready. The vain individual would also participate in psychotherapies such as word association with the words like glasses, mirror, father, admiration and clothes.

D) Although case studies do give in depth views into a personal history and can provide a lot of answers for certain behaviour, it only gives one account for that; therefore it can’t be generalised. Vanity is also hard to measure; it is an abstract notion that everyone perceives differently.

C) Using a matched pairs design, by age, lifestyle and personality, we could test the operationalised hypothesis of does positive vicarious reinforcement make someone admire and want to identify with a role model. In the study the two groups would either see a short film of a well dressed good looking person getting lots of attention and praise or a badly dressed and unattractive person being ignored and shunned by others.