Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Telling Stories

After being somewhat inspired by the new blog of a university friend of mine, I decided sharing some stories from my past with you could be quite interesting. Having a retrospective view of the events allows for a different understand of how and why things happened, whilst offering you, my trusty army of followers, an insight into the life and times of SuperPennie, before she claimed her title.

Once upon a time, lived a dorky little girl called Pennie Varvarides. She was the youngest of three, born nine and a half years after number two, her elder sister Helen. You may be wondering why there was such a massive gap... no? Well, I'm going to explain this to you anyway...

After my mother had my sister, she had one of those coil things put in, so she couldn't have any more kids for a while. They couldn't really afford another one and they had far too much work to do as it was. Unfortunately something went wrong and the coil got infected, so it had to be removed. The dr's told my mother she wouldn't be able to have any more children. She just wanted to put it off for a bit, until they were in a better place, but it looks like the dr's just took with them any hopes for another child, ever, even if they were ready and really wanted one. So eventually they stopped even thinking about it (I don't actually know if that's true, I'm just guessing... but I'm the storyteller... so I'm allowed =p), until one day my mother started going through those familiar signs of pregnancy.... that's right... it was me!

My parents and the dr's were all worried that there would be something wrong with me and this is how I got my name. In the Greek Orthadox religion, by naming your baby after a saint you are promising them your child's soul in exchange for protection... or maybe that's just the deal my mum had with Mary. You see Pennie is short for Panayiota, which in Greek is the name taken from the word Παναγια (bah-nah-yee-ah) referring to the mother of Jesus; Mary.

My sister always told me she asked Santa for a little sister and that he gave her me... I was born in March though, so just always thought Santa was tardy with his deliveries that year or something.
My brother always told me he had asked for a little brother and to compromise, rather than sending two new babies, I was a tomboy. This sounded logical to me... I just always assume I was like a boy, just without boy bits. Made perfect sense... to a 5 year old.

Being considerably younger than my brother and sister (as well as all the cousins) I got used to playing on my own. So much so, I kind of preferred it. Now days, I'm still pretty much the same, really enjoying any time I have to just hang out with myself and not have to talk or worry about whether my actions are fitting into those social norms everyone tries so hard to fit into....
Actually, to be honest, I never make that much effort in trying to be sociable and follow suit. I just have been lucky enough to find other people who are equally bonkers or geeky to bide my time with.

In playing by myself, I would often lay claim to empty notebooks that my parents had yet to start on and pens I found lying around. I'd write my own stories, of love and adventure and even put them into chapters. I'd pretend I had my own magazine or newspaper and interview adults around my parents factory if I'd been taken with them on days there wasn't anyone to babysit me. I'd write my own songs and dance around the house singing to myself. I was always writing. If I wasn't writing, I'd be making up games where I'd be keeping scores... where I'd still be writing, just stretching my arithmetic skills.

It didn't occur to me that I was always supposed to be a writer until fairly recently though, as strange as that is. I had wanted to be a scientist and invent things from as young as I can remember up until the age of 7, when I switched to wanting to be a lawyer for some reason. I imagine this thought was carefully planted in me from an external source, but I have no idea. When deciding on universities I went to visit King's College London on the law open day. I then went to a few other law open days. I realised it was most definitely something I never in a million years ever wanted to do. But I did however fall in love with King's and had my heart set on studying something there.

I picked up the prospectus and flicked to the humanities section, as writing and reading have always been my strong suit. Humanities subjects are the ones I'm best at. Had a flick through, took in mind the ALevel grades I thought I could get and picked a course out of those choices. It came down to philosophy and English lit, but as I'd never done philosophy before, it seemed like an amazing idea and I went with it.

This all kind of makes it sound a little planned out and thoughtful, but in reality this process took about 5 minutes. I can be fairly impulsive sometimes, but I find it normally works out ok. Part of me just kind of knew that was the right decision and there wasn't anything else I should be doing.

I wrote the most amazing personal statement, with help from a friend of mine from Taekwon Do who was currently doing her masters at King's in English. On seeing my personal statement my head of sixth form got really excited and came to speak to me. He had studies Maths and Philosophy at university and wanted to share in a moment with me. I had no idea about any philosophy whatsoever, apart from the first book of Plato's Republic which I had read while writing my personal statement for some inspiration and to be able to say I read it.

He introduced me to Sartre. He lent me Nausea and insisted I read it. I was hooked. By the time I finished reading it I was in love. In love with Sartre. In love with philosophy. And in love with words. The book made me feel so much, so much more than a book had ever made me feel before. I knew then that I had to be a writer. To one day create something that can make somebody feel even half as much as I felt reading Sartre.

One day, I'll write something that amazing. But I'm still just a baby in the grand scheme of things I guess, just finding my footing in the world. So I'm not in a hurry. When something comes to me, I'll just go with it.

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