Sunday, 9 July 2017

What You Don't Know About Me: The Tiny Elements That Make a Person

What don't you know about me, readers? Some of you have known me since I was a single digit. In a world overtaken by technology, and having grown up on the Internet, it is increasingly difficult for people like me to have secrets; people whose ratio of online devices to willingness to overshare is just right. The following aren't secrets, exactly, but things that might only come across when you meet me; the tiny elements that don't mean much on their own but result in the formation of a person; little things that are so minuscule they aren't often caught on camera or in blog posts, if at all.

Firstly: I can be timid, shy, quiet, a wallflower; that person whose name you can't remember years after leaving school when you're trying to name everyone who was in your class for a laugh. This has always been my personality - sometimes it's noticeable and sometimes it isn't. Some people who know me in real life might be nodding their heads at this, whilst others might be thinking, 'Amber? Shy? Pull the other one.' I guess I'm a pretty nervous person (wow, no one saw that coming) but to the extent where I'll be messaging someone and I'll Google a totally ordinary word just to make sure that I am indeed using it in the right context. I've also been known not to report people I really should have reported. The girl who drunkenly assaulted me when I was minding my own business a few months ago, leaving me with a purple-green bruise on my side? I wanted to go to the police and I was actually going to but, surprise, that didn't happen. Similarly - and I'm not narrowing it down to a specific time should they see this, realise it's them, and feel like the bad person they are (see?) - two teachers I've had in my life have been beyond bad, and when given the chance to report them... I didn't. Furthermore, when my first driving instructor out of two, who had no idea about my literal diagnosed anxiety, noted my quietness and suggested I ask my GP for anti-anxiety medication, I was just like, 'mmm, maybe'. Awkward nod. Grimace. It was personal, it was out of order, and it was quite frankly hugely irresponsible, but did I do anything about it? Yeah, a few hundred quid later, when I got my stepdad to text her and tell her that we'd ran out of money, because I was too scared to text and tell her that, actually, she just wasn't working for me. They call me Non-Confrontational Amber. (They don't.) (Actually, one has. I wrote this as a joke but someone actually has.) Someone once said I was intimidating, and I've probably been referred to as 'confident' more than 'timid' or 'quiet', so I thought I'd clear that up. I am shockingly polite, sometimes to my detriment. Better than being rude, though, right? 

Secondly, I'm really bloody good at blagging my way through things. It's an exact science, guys. 32.5% of what I do is based on luck, 32.5% is based on hard work, and 32.5% is based on me being excellent at blagging my way through a situation - although maybe that also comes under 'hard work', because it's not like it's easy. In Year 12 our final exam asked us to analyse a poem I had never seen before in my life - it was supposed to be one we'd read before - and I still got an A. Before I was eighteen, I had a job interview for my absolute dream job (and it didn't go to plan - you can read about that here). I had another at a local Mercedes-Benz - you know, the car company. I am the LAST person you would think of if looking for someone to work in a car showroom. In fact, you wouldn't even think of me in that situation ever. I don't know how cars work. I struggle to fill mine with petrol because the fact that every garage is different manages to confuse the hell out of me. When I first got behind the wheel, I thought simply tapping the accelerator lighter than a feather would zoom me across the car park at 100mph. But yeah, there was a time when Mercedes wanted me. Didn't get the job, but considering everything I've just said, that was probably for the best.

What's next? There was a time during the running of this blog when I actually fell out of love with the idea of writing. Don't get me wrong, I've always, always, always loved books and reading, and naturally writing came with that. I wanted to be an author for SO long... but at some point in my early teens, I gave up on that dream completely. I didn't feel good enough, I couldn't see it happening, and I genuinely did not want to do it anymore. I loved books and I loved blogging, but was I at all interested in writing my own novel one day and becoming a published author? Nope, not anymore - it was completely gone. I think this was down to a huge lack of self-esteem, to be honest, and at that age you've got so many different influences that something else probably took its place for a while. It didn't help that every time I tried to write a full-length book, it ended up being 20 pages, max. I've now got about 60,000 words under my belt, and the dream is well and truly back - having my own book is my ultimate dream. (I'm actually working on it really hard right now!)

Sometimes I feel kind of conflicted about what I put into the world. You could say I'm pretty mainstream, and girls who fit into that category are looked down upon by... everyone, basically. I feel like people see this and automatically think that the person they're looking at is unintelligent, basic, boring. I've thought this before! Yay, society, and making people internalise common misconceptions and misogyny! But you can like Ariana Grande and get all A*s. You can be completely silly and hyper 80% of the time and still have serious thoughts about the state of the world. You can be bottom-set maths throughout secondary school and write a twenty-page essay about politics. You can look like you have it all, and have nothing. It takes a lot to truly know someone, and personalities are massive, with branches coming from branches coming from branches. You don't necessarily see everything, and I think that's important to realise in an Internet generation.

What else? Oh, I'm a sucker for random acts of kindness. I first became aware of the concept in one of Cathy Cassidy's books - I can't remember which one - and it's been a constant inspiration in my life ever since. I believe that you get back what you put into the world. I recently made this video which is the second one I've made where I leave books around for strangers to find and keep, and a post listing other ways you can perform random acts of kindness will be up soon!

In a similar vein, one of my biggest dreams (alongside being an author, obvs) is to be so well-off financially that I can pledge to all the Kickstarters, GoFundMes, crowdfunders and charities. ALLLLLL THE THINGS. Especially right now when they're becoming more and more common. There are big fundraisers like One Love Manchester and for the victims of the Grenfell fire, and so many smaller ones for healthcare, education, rent if someone's a bit short that month. I give what I can, but can you imagine being able to give to all of these things? Improving someone's life with the click of a button? (Obviously, another one of my biggest dreams is for these fundraisers to not be needed in the first place, but I can't see that happening in my lifetime, unfortunately.)

So there we go. Still don't know my middle name, though, do you? ;)

Tell me something about you!


  1. I really love this post, Amber. Human beings are so complex and there are so many thousands of things that sum up who we are. It was really interesting getting to know you more! I'm also one of the least confrontational people ever and I really struggle to stand up for myself and put people in their place who have been rude to me/said things that are way out of line. It's definitely something I need to work on! :)

  2. Hi Amber - must just say that above is a great post - shows what a great person you are and must also say that you have great writing ability - so do not ever think of not writing - I really envy you that skill - you have a great talent and a natural turn of words that must be used.
    I have a great faith that you will one day, after some more life experience, be one hell of an author so get started now! John

  3. Hi Amber,
    I'm relatively new to your blog (I came across it about a month ago) and I found so much of what you said shockingly similar to my own personality. Maybe it's a bookworm/aspiring writer thing? I agree with what you said about human beings being really complex and there's so much to learn from each one. I'd also like to thank you for putting out the help guides on how to make a book blog, since I'm a massive fan of writing/reading, and I've been setting up my own blog as a sort of homage to it. I really enjoy your posts. Thanks for writing them!