#FREEKESHA

Hola amigos reflexivos,

I hope you are doing okay. Thank you for your recent support on my latest projects, it means so much to me. I’ve posted a new set of poems, which you can read here, entitled Holidaydream.

I hope that you like them, and that the rest of your day is delightful.

I wrote something concerning Kesha, because I am both a Kesha fan and a concerned human. Kesha’s right to freedom, as both a person and a creator seems lost in the entire thing, and it is so sad to see everyone’s interests being looked after with the exception of her. So many people are reduced to what they can offer, their human needs and emotions are ignored, and it is not only disgusting, it is dangerous. Kesha’s treatment further spreads the dangerous message that survivors of abuse don’t matter, and that nobody will take steps to protect them and others from further abuse. As upsetting as it is to say, there will be people in the world tonight reading about what is happening to Kesha, and feeling like they cannot report the abuse they may be suffering, because they will feel nobody will believe them, and that nobody will protect them.

Kesha deserves to feel safe and free, and I will be joining many other people in boycotting Sony until Kesha is treated with the respect she deserves, and safety is assured for all artists. This is the time to show the people who may be suffering in the same way Kesha was that people will protect them, people will stand up and support them, and that their feelings and safety do matter.

Please consider signing this petition to show solidarity with Kesha, during this difficult time.

Con amor,

J x

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Let’s Talk About Love (Songs) + A Short Story

Valentine’s day is actually one of my favourite days of the year, because while some are frustrated by the constant gushing of adoration, or even disgusted, I think it’s quite sweet to see so many people around the world being nice to one another. The world is a tough place, as I’m sure you all know, so a little extra love, as disgustingly public as it might be, is right up my street.

With that in mind, I thought that today, I would share a few of my favourite love songs, that make up my perfect Valentine’s day playlist.

I have also uploaded a new short story that you can read here, so I hope you enjoy that.

Take Good Care Of My Baby – Bobby Vee

Yes, the song from the SMA adverts, with the rain and the car, and… wait, they changed it? Ugh. Anyway, “Take Good Care Of My Baby” is a two minute and thirty seconds ride through the tunnel of love, that highlights one of the most realistic aspects of romantic relationships, regret over treatment of someone you loved. While the voice of the song is initially in denial at his part in losing his lover, he quickly comes to realise his own part, and pleads with her new lover to be more careful with her heart than he was.

Bobby Vee emotes the lyrics perfectly, from the bitterness towards the new love, to his bitterness at himself for allowing himself to hurt someone close to him, and all the endless devotion for his lost love in between. It is a triumph for not only Bobby Vee, but the legendary songwriting team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

Lead The Way – Mariah Carey

I know that the Lambs will know this, but for those who aren’t as enthusiastic about Mariah Carey as we are (I don’t know how you live your life that way, but to each their own..), Glitter may be a masterpiece that passed them by, or a joke they laughed at without really knowing the context.

The soundtrack album that accompanied the unfortunate film venture contains several excellent tracks, that sadly don’t get the recognition they deserve due to the commercial difficulties of the project.

Lead The Way deserves to shine, as one of Mariah Carey’s finest love songs. It is a hopeful, and honest love song, showcasing the doubts and anxieties of allowing yourself to love someone else, and it goes without saying, but she sounds divine. Fun fact, it contains Mariah Carey’s longest sustained studio note, towards the end, so watch out for that.

Como La Flor – Selena and Cristian Castro

Is there anything more romantic than duet on Valentine’s day?

Selena Quintanilla Perez is an icon in Latin music, creating a legacy that is looked upon fondly by her fans, old and new, decades after her heartbreaking passing. One of her signature songs, Como La Flor, originally from the 1992 album Entre A Mi Mundo sheds light on the loss of a lover, but the strength in accepting that it’s over, even when it is painful to do so.

The song was reimagined on the 2012 album Enamorada de Ti, as a duet with Cristian Castro, opening up a completely different possible interpretation of the song. While the lyrics did not change, having two voices instead of one shared the pain. While before, Selena’s heartbreak was singular, with the addition of Cristian, is it possible that the flower has not withered after all? Could it be that the love she thought she lost secretly longed for her too, but couldn’t find a way back to their love?

This is all speculation, of course, but one of the most interesting things about the music of Selena y Los Dinos is that each of their songs pull you into the story of the singer. You discover a whole new world in those short minutes, and with the re-release of Como La Flor, another was born.

Hold Me In Your Arms – Rick Astley

I was overjoyed when Rickrolling became a thing. I have loved Rick Astley since I was a little girl, and to see him celebrated (sort of..) and make a return to music was my dream come true.

One of my favourite Rick Astley songs is the title song of his second album, Hold Me In Your Arms. Written by Astley himself, it is a mature and heartfelt ballad that showcases Astley’s abilities as both a singer and a writer. It examines the difficulties in taking down the walls and expressing emotions, which is something that sounds so simple, but could well be the hardest thing in the world to do. Astley perfectly describes the relief of being open and honest with a lover, as well as the struggle to get there.

He also looks cute as hell in the video, but I think he looks cute all the time, so…

Heaven’s Light/Hellfire – Tom Hulce and Tony Jay 

Seeing happy couples, and feeling you will never share the journey of love with another is something almost everyone has experienced, and hopefully, we will all find someone who shows us that we are wrong. Heaven’s Light follows Quasimodo as he realises that contrary to how he has always felt, he is worthy and capable of being in love. While he does not end up with Esmeralda, her kindness and friendship shows him that he is not the monster he was always taught he was, and that he, just as he is, is enough to be loved.

It is followed by the lust driven Hellfire, a troubling look into Minister Frollo’s Catholic guilt (we’ve all been there) and the depths he will go to, to satisfy his desperate craving for Esmeralda’s affections. He blames Esmeralda for his own emotions, he blames God for not equipping him with will power, he blames the guards who allow Esmeralda to escape, he blames everyone for everything but himself. That is the difference between the two songs, and the two voices. One is honest, and thankful, seeking only to explore new things without hurting anyone. The other is a destructive, self asorbed pissbaby.

While Hellfire is perhaps not definitely not a love song, and more a crash course in misogyny and entitlement, it does further showcase how gentle and genuine Quasimodo’s love and hope for a future with Esmerelda.

I hope you enjoyed the playlist, and the story, and I hope you enjoy Valentine’s day. Whether you are alone, with friends, with family, or a romantic partner, I hope you have a day filled with love.

Con amor,

J x


 

 

 

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Coral Island

Coral Island Jennifer Juan

Hola amigos reflexivos, I hope you aren’t sick of me writing to you, but I’ve got some new work to share. I don’t know what it is lately, but I can’t stop writing stuff. This is a good thing in some ways, because it means I get to create something and share it with the world, but my compulsion to create does lead to awkward moments, such as almost falling out of bed to grab a notebook, or missing my train because I’ve just had another idea.

I don’t mind though, to suffer under writing is nothing short of a pleasure.

Siempre tuyo,

J x


 

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What I learned in 2015

For those that don’t know, I have a habit of being late. I was once three hours late to a first date, but still managed to get a second date (and a three year relationship) out of it, but it isn’t one of my habits I encourage, or, hard as it is to believe, do on purpose.

With that in mind, I’m aware that I’m late for the “What I learned in 2015” post, but if I did it on time, I’d feel like I wasn’t being myself. So, without further ado, and further anecdotes on how awful it must be to date me, here is what I learned in 2015.

1. I don’t have to leave a window open for the people who have left my life.

I know this is probably something that everybody else learned years ago, but I have always had a hard time putting my own needs behind what people tell me I need (more on that later) which has lead to me having people in my life that I didn’t need or want there.

Some people believe that it does no good to keep painful opinions, thoughts and behaviours away from people, but personally, I don’t see any value in being forced to endure someone else’s negativity, when for the most part, I don’t have to. Is suffering really good for the soul? Probably not, and there are so many handy tools available to keep it at bay, that in 2015, I decided to use them all to their full advantage.

I finally figured out how to block one of my ex boyfriend’s IP address from my tumblr page, and I finally found it within myself to do so. It may seem a small thing, but knowing that he could (and actually at times was) peek into my life, find out what I’m doing and how I’m feeling was something that had bothered me for a long time. I also blocked him on facebook, and thanked God that he had always thought twitter was stupid (although I did do a quick check, just to make sure, and didn’t find him). I know it is a common opinion that you shouldn’t put things on the internet if you don’t want the entire world to be able to hypothetically see it, but given how social media has evolved, and how many people utilise it to vent frustrations, or curate a safe space for themselves and their emotions, that opinion is rather outdated, and it’s useful for people to have the tools to protect themselves, and it’s incredibly useful that I learned that it was okay to utilise them.

I have so much to do, and so much I am experiencing, and I have a right to isolate whoever I chose from those experiences, without having to isolate potential new friends.

2. I am capable.

Again, this could be something that a lot of people learn earlier, and I did in fact pick it up around the age of four, but I lost that belief somewhere around twenty one.

Self doubt is probably the highest contributing factor to millions of crushed dreams throughout the world. We all feel it occasionally, some more than others, and I felt it for almost two years.

I’ve never felt anything worse than being surrounded by people who believe in me, and thinking them all to be misinformed. I convinced myself that I’d been wrong for years about my potential, about all the things I had achieved, but in 2015, by learning to accept the possibility of failure and allowing others to show me what I could do, I learned that I am in fact very capable.

I don’t doubt that somewhere down the line, I’m going to lose confidence in myself and my abilities again, and hopefully, it won’t take so long to find it again, because I, and everyone around me deserves to feel confident.

3. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t meet my expectations at university

I have honestly been torturing myself since I graduated. I graduated, yes, but I could have done more, or I could have met more people, or read something different, or gone to more events, or got more stuff on my CV, or…

It doesn’t matter.

It genuinely does not matter at all.

For the longest time, I had an iron clad plan, and the thought of deviating from it was scarier than all of the horror movies I watched when I should have been reading, or researching, or whatever it is I had planned to do at university. The truth is, it doesn’t matter that I didn’t quite adhere to that plan, because I’m still alive. I have time (God willing) to study again if I want to, meet whoever I want to, read whatever I want to, and with the way media is evolving, I’m not even sure my CV (which actually isn’t as bad as I thought) will limit my future too much.

Gaining a lot from university is great, and if you figure it out straight after you graduate, that is amazing, but if you don’t, that’s okay too, because there is time to figure it out when you are ready. People (myself included) put a lot of pressure on themselves in regards to academics, and it’s no wonder things sometimes go wrong. I’ve given myself a break, and I’d recommend it to anyone else too. Take a moment, figure it out, and remember that you’re going to be okay.

4. It doesn’t matter if people don’t like me

This again is something a lot of people get to grips with earlier, and it’s something that some people never have, but now, I have.

Everybody wants to be liked, to some extent, and finding out someone doesn’t like you can be a terrible feeling.

I could tell you that I overcame this by remembering that a handful of people not liking me pales in comparison to the many that do, but that isn’t what helped me.

I like me. I like me a lot. If I could settle down and marry myself, and have many interesting pets and a gallery of my selfies in the upper west wing of our mansion, you bet I would. Unfortunately, I don’t think I could marry myself, but I can live in sin with myself for the rest of my life. I could also hypothetically have the pets and gallery, maybe the mansion too if I hustle hard enough.

My point is, I am the only certain thing in my life. Friends can come and go, family might too, boyfriends and girlfriends certainly do (I’m going to put this down to my constant lateness and talent for ignoring people spontaneously when I get emotionally overwhelmed), but I’m here forever, and if I like me, does it really mean that much if someone else doesn’t? I actually have a mental list of the people who have either expressed dislike for me, or who I think might secretly dislike me, and I can’t see any validity in their reasons, so, I’ve finally decided it isn’t worth bothering with. I’m still my favourite person in the world (and perhaps, according to some, my own problematic fave), but I’m on the whole, a good and kind person, so I’ll stay away from anyone who isn’t on the bandwagon and keep it moving.

5. I don’t have to justify saying “No, thank you”, or even just “No”, especially to myself. 

I’m a fussy eater, for those who didn’t know. I’ve spent years pretending to be allergic to seafood because I didn’t like it, and I was frightened someone would tell me I was being stupid, or tell me “Just try a little bit, if you don’t like it, don’t have any more”. To be perfectly honest, the very thought of trying new food, or food I feel like I won’t like is one of the worst scenarios I can imagine. If I was in Saw, he would have me tied to an explosive device, with a plate of new food that could lead to my freedom, and I’m not sure if I could do anything but shake my head and accept death. However, in 2015, I decided that the worst that could happen was a minor argument and someone thinking I was a bit stupid, which as I mentioned previously, is something I’m no longer concerned with, which lead to me being able to be more open about closing the doors to new food.

This may seem counterproductive, and I do expect someone to tell me how I’m limiting myself, and not experiencing the world around me and so on, but I will be just fine experiencing the world in other exciting ways, and keeping my mouth free of anything vaguely exotic, thank you very much.

Speaking of saying “No”, I finally got round to realising that I have romantic prospects, and don’t have to say “Yes” to everyone who asks, in case nobody else ever does. As it all turns out, years of spending every spare moment in the library and only practicing flirting on posters of William Regal did mean that I didn’t date much (or at all if I’m remembering correctly) until sixth form. By this point, I had convinced myself that my lack of boyfriends must have been because I was terribly undesirable, as opposed to it being more to do with the fact nobody actually saw me, ever.

Unfortunately, this has been something that took a while to figure out (I wasn’t lying about the lateness), but I’ve finally realised that I probably won’t die alone having never experienced a loving relationship, ergo, I don’t have to go on boring and fruitless dates with people I don’t like, because I’ll probably find someone I like eventually anyway, and if I don’t, as I mentioned earlier, I’ll always have me…and my William Regal posters.

Until next time, Por siempre tu chica,

J x

Hysterical Valentine


Hola amigos reflexivos,

I’ve uploaded some new work that you can find here. I was going to save it for Valentine’s day, but I honestly couldn’t wait to share it with you. All of the work is themed around love, as it was for Valentine’s day, but I don’t think more love in the world will hurt anyone!

Thank you for your kind birthday wishes, I felt very blessed yesterday, and that has stayed with me today, and I hope it will follow me for the rest of my life. I hope you feel it too, you deserve it.

Siempre tuyo,

J x