The Triangle Scarf

Since LaylahTalks is now a year old, I’ve decided to resurrect certain dead posts from season 1. This post (which tells the story of my first experience of prejudice because of something I wore) is the third out of three.

Laylah Talks

I think I was about ten or eleven when I got the triangle scarf. I was part of a theatre group that were performing a Christmas pantomime. I was in the younger group and the younger group really looked up to the older one.

I didn’t have many friends in that theatre group. The girls were snobby and cliquey and weren’t interested in hanging out with a boy. The boys were usual boys and thought I was weird. It didn’t really phase me. I would sit with some other stragglers and listen to people’s conversations without weighing in. I blended into the background, just wanting to rehearse and perform and be a part of something that I loved.

One day, the older group were performing and I noticed that a couple of them were wearing these stylish triangle scarves. I fell in love with them. I wanted a triangle scarf…

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A Near Miss

Since LaylahTalks is now a year old, I’ve decided to resurrect certain dead posts from season 1. This post (which tells the story of how I had a horrifying experience on a night out) is the second out of three.

Laylah Talks

Sometimes we find ourselves thanking the stars because we’ve narrowly missed a dangerous situation. This happened to me a few months ago but I’ve avoided writing about it until now. I’ve avoided it because I didn’t want my parents and my family to see. I’ve avoided it because I was ashamed. I’ve avoided it because I thought that I was to blame. I’m now beginning to see that that was not the case.

A while ago I went to visit some friends in the country. It was a bank holiday and we decided to go out. I’d never been out in this area before but I was looking forward to experiencing it.

You probably all know this by now but I’m not the best at judging when exactly I should stop drinking. This is not for any reason other than that I’m just young and irresponsible, but it does result…

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Boys, Girls and Me.

Since LaylahTalks is now a year old, I’ve decided to resurrect certain dead posts from season 1. This post (which tells the story of how I dealt with getting stood up) is the first out of three.

Laylah Talks

I’m drinking my last cup of black tea before I go asleep. My phone vibrates. It’s late and I wonder who would be up at this time.  I’m sitting in the dark, wrapped in my silk dressing gown, with the only source of light coming from my laptop. I’m listening to soft, slow songs and doing my nails. I have a text from a boy who I met online. We’ve been texting back and forth for a few days and he is quite sweet. I also think that he’s quite attractive. He is always the one that initiates conversation between us and he seems a lot more interested in me than I am in him.


The message asks me to go on a date with him. I think about it for a while before telling him that I will. He wants to go to a tapas bar in the city…

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If.

I’m sure that we are all well aware of the less than broad standards of beauty that are inflicted upon us as a society. But something that I cannot understand is the word if relating to what is and isn’t considered beautiful.

How often do you hear people making idiotic statements about beauty? Statements like “she would be pretty if she had a better sense of style” or “he would have a beautiful face if he just lost some weight.”

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Youth and Success.

With some of the successes and achievements that I’ve been fortunate enough to be awarded lately, I’ve noticed something that’s been somewhat annoying for me.

Whenever anyone has been congratulating me, they follow up by telling me that I must have amazing parents in order to be so determined and confident.

And it’s true. I do have amazing parents. I think they’re fantastic and I’m so grateful for the support that they give me. However, I’ve also worked very hard on my own.

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Eating Disorders.

I’ve only really come to terms with this fact in the last few months, but for a period of time, I suffered from an eating disorder. For a long time, I resisted that label and all of its associations. But I will no longer do so.

I honestly wasn’t aware that I was suffering from it at the time, but in hindsight that’s exactly what it was.

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Going Backwards.

There is a phrase that I absolutely despise for many reasons. It’s all to do with people being unnecessarily hard on themselves (something that annoys me to no end). I hate when people say that they’ve gone backwards when it comes to their personal progress.

What a toxic mind-set it is to believe that we can go backwards.  Because there is no backwards in life. And that’s an undeniable fact.

It’s true that sometimes we can get worse or our progress can be hindered, but I really don’t believe that we should label that as going backwards.

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Boys.

In “Who Cares?” (I find myself constantly saying that) I wrote a chapter about men. But what about the BOYS in my life? The ones who I socialise with. The ones who I’ve grown up with. The ones who I usually encounter. The ones who are in my age-group. The one’s that I interact with in a non-romantic way?

I could probably count the number of boys that I’m currently particularly friendly with (or should I say that are particularly friendly with me) on one finger. Does this upset me? A tiny little bit. But I’m not interested in trying to impress boys. Because boys have almost always tried to avoid me. And I don’t really feel the need to compensate for that.

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Gender Expectations.

I say it all the time. You never really realise how often we encounter the issue of gender until you’ve stepped outside of the “traditional” gender roles. Simple mind-sets and actions can actually make a gender non-conforming person feel extremely uncomfortable or unwelcome. Here are some of those situations.

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My Fans.

When I was in sixth class, we had a woman come in to build our class relationship. Thinking back, we must have had a lot of confrontation to need that particular talk but none of us noticed this at the time. Everyone had to make a paper fan and it was passed around. Everyone wrote their opinion of that person on each line of the fan. This was what was written on mine:

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Time Out.

I wake up early and get dressed. The clothes that I wear aren’t especially flamboyant. I wrap myself in a scarf, grab my keys and leave. I do not bring my earphones, a book or my notebook. I don’t even have a bag with me. Just my keys, my bus card, a bit of money and my phone.

I sit on the bus and stare out of the window. I don’t look at the people around me. I don’t even notice them. My head is full. Full of opinions, negativity and other crap. Stepping off the bus, I don’t even stop to get a coffee or a hot chocolate. Instead I hop straight onto another one.

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A Gift.

At a dinner with some girlfriends that I hadn’t seen in a while, we sat in front of glasses of wine after stuffing ourselves with Italian food. They announced that they had a gift for me, before one of them added that they weren’t sure whether I’d like it.

They presented a pink book with white writing. It was called “Go Get Him” by Avril Mulcahy; a dating book. At first I felt offended. And I told them as much. But they quickly explained why they had bought it.

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Falling In Love.

I know that I wrote about this in “Who Cares?” but I need to talk about the effect that falling in love had on me.

Do you know when adults treat teenagers as though they know nothing? Yeah don’t do this. Don’t be that asshole who patronises a teenager. It’s true that they may be naïve. Of course they may not know as much as you. It’s very possible that they cannot really understand stuff that you often talk about. But reminding them of this fact helps with absolutely nothing.

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Opinions

We’re not supposed to say this, but I’m going to. I generally do not care for the opinion of others that differ from mine. Before you go calling me a bigot or something like that, please read on. I hope that I can explain this without sounding like an asshole.

I hear opinions constantly. As a writer, an avid user of social media, a transgender citizen, a feminist, a person who’s pro-choice and an all-round social person, there doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by where I don’t hear of someone’s dislike or criticism for something or other.

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The Triangle Scarf

I think I was about ten or eleven when I got the triangle scarf. I was part of a theatre group that were performing a Christmas pantomime. I was in the younger group and the younger group really looked up to the older one.

I didn’t have many friends in that theatre group. The girls were snobby and cliquey and weren’t interested in hanging out with a boy. The boys were usual boys and thought I was weird. It didn’t really phase me. I would sit with some other stragglers and listen to people’s conversations without weighing in. I blended into the background, just wanting to rehearse and perform and be a part of something that I loved.

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Paris (Part Two).

Read part one here.

I am listening to the people around me speaking the language that I am studying all of the time. What is it about French that’s so beautiful and mesmerising? The atmosphere is one thing that I crave. We are sitting on a cramped train surrounded by busy French people when a band steps on. It is just what you’d expect. The accordion heavy song straight out of a movie that features Paris. And then they get off. They left a hat down but I am shocked to see that they don’t beg. They don’t even seem to monitor what money is going in. It makes me feel sorry that I didn’t throw a bit of change their way but I was way too distracted by the ambiance.

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Paris (Part One)

It’s my birthday and I sit in a room with all of my family receiving presents. I’m simultaneously enjoying being the centre of attention but also trying to gauge whether my response to each present is appropriate.

My older sister Emma hands me a beautiful box. It says “Take me to Paris” on the top and has lots of French designs around the side. I smile at the writing and wonder whether Emma knows that those words are the lyrics to a Lana song. It is beautiful. I’ve had an obsession with pretty boxes since I was younger and I’ve always had an appreciation for Paris.

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A Near Miss

Sometimes we find ourselves thanking the stars because we’ve narrowly missed a dangerous situation. This happened to me a few months ago but I’ve avoided writing about it until now. I’ve avoided it because I didn’t want my parents and my family to see. I’ve avoided it because I was ashamed. I’ve avoided it because I thought that I was to blame. I’m now beginning to see that that was not the case.

A while ago I went to visit some friends in the country. It was a bank holiday and we decided to go out. I’d never been out in this area before but I was looking forward to experiencing it.

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How I Doubt Myself

It might surprise you to discover that I don’t always believe in myself as much as I should. I can hear the gasps echo around Ireland as you read this. Why have you been listening to me if I’m not the perfect human being? Am I a hypocrite who does not practice what he preaches?

It’s hard not to doubt yourself. I don’t doubt myself from behind closed doors. I believe in myself an awful lot when I’m creating something or working alone. But when I’m out there in the big bad world facing people and answering their questions, I tend to be a little less self-believing. Below are some of the ways that I doubt myself.

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