Too Narrow-visioned

Writing

For some of us, life revolves around a career, for others it’s family. But should life really have a sole focus? Is it wrong to lead an existence where we strive for one thing and neglect another? Benefit in one area of our life  to the detriment of another?

Need we only look at the rich lonely business with money to burn on himself but no partner or child to share it with. Or the family with 5 mouths to feed who are living off of rations. A dichotomous pair, with polarizing values. Are they both wrong? Should life be less about a ‘single’ goal and more about having a ‘range’of goals? Should life even be about having goals at all?

Personally, I’m annoyed at myself for having the blinkers on, and neglecting  certain areas of my life, life shouldn’t really be about one thing or the other. Truly, I believe it should be about balance.

And it has only  been through experiencing mistake after mistake via bad life decisions for me to realise this unfortunately. One example for me is infact career. I don’t know exactly where my obsession with gaining certain career goals originated, whether it was from the mouths of pale and stale teachers at school or from the rosy-pink lips of the celebs interviewed on TV. But either way, my obsessive drive to become ‘X’ as a career completely overruled any other aspect of my life as far back as my early teens.

At school I remember threats were frequent – ‘if you don’t do well at this subject then you won’t be employable. If you’re not employable then you won’t get a job, so you won’t earn money. SO you’ll die!’ This general spiel was a common go to for my college careers teacher. A spiel which struck me to my very core, instilling me with a fear and a drive to seek employment, to seek approval from others.

The beginning of a bad end was soon to commence in terms of ‘dream jobs’ for me. At this stage I think it’s best to announce my age, from the number of jobs I’ve had you’d think I was immortal but infact at 25 years old immortality is exchanged for a quarter-life crisis instead. What a trade-off!

Ofcourse I can’t just blame my teacher’s threats on being the reason I’ve experienced so many mishaps on the careers ladder, but it helps so I’ll just go with it (hehe).

Although I’m 25 years of age, I’ve had 8 jobs in 4 years (this should be a pub quiz question). No, each one didn’t last 6 months and yes, there were gaps of unemployment where I found myself crying in the corner of my room, the room I was soon to be kicked out of had I not have found a job to pay my rent. At one stage I kid you not I was down to my last £30 in my account.

But I guess the question isn’t – ‘how may jobs have I had’ but instead, ‘why have I had so many’? A question I do ponder over deeply at times. A short answer of which would be to simply say that I found each one of them boring. But the truth runs much deeper than this. Really, I think the tip of the iceberg is hinted at by a statement I mentioned earlier – ‘to seek the approval of others’. In my little brain I think at some moment in my life I had a eureka moment and I found contentment in knowing that if I obtained a ‘successful’ enough career in everybody else’s eyes then I myself would be happy. And with this mantra moulded into the neurons of my mind I set foot on getting a job in the music industry. Notorious for it’s glitz and glamour or so I thought. But shock horror hit when I actually found myself number-punching into Excel spreadsheets in an office where the perk of the day was getting a free biscuit with my luke-warm cup of tea. The moral of the story was the music industry I experienced wasn’t the music industry I had envisaged myself experiencing. And from this a trend of falling in and out of a jobs list as long as your arm commenced. At one stage I thought I’ll take any job just to pay my extortionate rent as I figure out what way I want to maneuver myself within the music industry. Which sounds good on paper but when you have a 12 hour shift as a host in a restaurant where you can’t sit down and get groped every 5 minutes by one of the bussboys then you suddenly start thinking that the luke-warm tea back at the office didn’t actually taste that bad afterall. Over the last 4 years that I’ve been in London, my job titles have changed, my salary has changed, my career goals may have even changed but one thing which has not changed is my exasperating attempts to achieve some sort of career pinnacle. Some role which will make my parents proud of me, make me enough money that I won’t have to continuously set things back at the checkout, a role which will make my friends say wow, and make me feel genuinely happy. But here comes the irony. That doesn’t exist. And why not?

Because there’s an imbalance, just as I’ve been stressing over obtaining a career everyone can give a thumbs up too, other areas of my life have been neglected. It’s all well and good landing work experience with a big-name company, but as you’re stapling their meeting packs together the thought of ‘I haven’t seen my friends in a while’ might just start to sink in. Or ‘when’s the last time I’ve been to the gym, or ate correctly, or been on a trip?’.

For me a big thing is being too hard on myself, like, I would never reward myself for any wins be them large of small. It was always on to the next goal without hesitance. Whereas if I made a mistake along the way to achieving a goal it would be in the back of my head for weeks at a time. This stick over carrot mentality coupled with my blinkered attitude towards career alone meant that my dearest relationships became frayed. On ths desperate hunt for career success I no longer saw my friends, I wasn’t interested in romantic relationships, all because I had this hardcore belief that I had no time for ‘distractions’, that I needed to focus on achieving my career ambitions. Meanwhile, had I stopped for a second and realised that the areas of life such as relationships, self-love and health hold equal importance to a career if not more. I was blind-sighted by my own obsession to seek the approval of everyone else around me all while I was slowly losing any care I had for myself.  

If you don’t take care of yourself this can manifest into snapping at those who you do care about the most – your family and close friends. For a while I felt so pressured to become something so specific, I put deadlines on every objective I had, most of the time unrealistic ones which meant I was always in a stressed-out mood. Consequently relationships with certain family members became strained. And this was the wake up call I needed to realise that I had gotten myself into a  heightened-state of disillusionment and pressure. If trying to get a high-flying career comes with the cost of losing touch with my family then I don’t want the career. Better yet, what I’ve came to realise is that having a good career in itself isn’t the key to happiness nor is it the key to sadness, the true takeaway point is having a good balance between numerous elements in life: social life, looking after your health, hobbies and job.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t aim to become ‘X’ but what I will stress is don’t become ‘X’ at the cost of everything else in your life! Trust me, balance is more important that you may think. x

A Poem About Love

Writing

Love.

Imaginary, or a force of nature?

Like the idea of ‘consciousness’.

Are they both just falsehoods,

Or truly realities experienced by those favoured?

 

Love.

As comforting as a hot bowl of soup,

On a cold frosty evening.

In its absence we are all but,

Lost souls, floating on rafts destined for sinking.

 

Love.

Perhaps yearned for more than money itself,

A truth too close to the heart,

That we mask it with our insatiable appetite for wealth.

I gush with guilt in admitting to the above.

Only to find myself alone at night,

Wondering. What it means to be loved. 

 

Volunteering: Help Others And You Help Yourself

Writing

They say the best way to feel better about yourself is through helping others. And in no act is this more clear than that of  voluntary work.

‘Volunteering’ can refer to a smorgasboard of activities. Whether you simply take an old dear’s chihuahua out for a walk or wash the windows for your neighbour, the task at hand is not the focus, it is the act of simply doing something for someone else without the expectation of something in return from them. Yet, ironically what you do get in return surpasses any materialistic or monetary transaction tenfold over, doing something selflessly brings true merit.

*Studies have proven this to be true.

Towards the end of last year I found myself struggling with esteem in some areas of my life. This absence was, in effect, creating a presence of self-doubt and worthlessness. Deciding enough was enough I took action and sought to find a way to boost my self-esteem, I started looking for a charity to be a part of.

As much as each charity serves an important purpose, for me, children’s charities have resonated with me on a personal level. Everyone should have the right to an enjoyable childhood, as studies show,  a difficult childhood can manifest itself into a disastrous adulthood. So I think anyway to support children’s well-being and development is a great thing to do.

The charity I volunteer at in particular supports children with additional needs – autism, Down’s Syndrome for example. The charity creates a safe space for them to simply be children. We play sports and other activities which gives them 3 hours of fun and their parents some free time.

Although physically and emotionally tiring, the rewards of seeing them enjoy themselves and then find that I myself am smiling by the end of it is evidence of just how much I get from volunteering.

I would strongly suggest that if you ever feel down about yourself or even if you have a bit of spare time, perhaps give volunteering a go. You never know what it could give you in return.

Poem: La Familia

Writing

La Familia,

Blood’s thicker than water.

A ‘V’ for Vendetta,

If any were to ‘runneth’ over.

 

Sibling feuding subsides,

Eyes are dried as,

The belly of the beast rolls over in submission.

Fist fights in a blink of an eye become,

Nothing more than a memory of augmented vision.

 

La Famila,

The Family,

The Clan.

Does the man make the family,

Or does the family make the man?

P*ss Off Christmas!

Writing

No sooner has the Grim Reaper even had a chance to pull out his scythe from under his cloak for the Halloween happenings than has every man and his dog cracked open the bottle of eggnog whilst covering outdated Christmas carols in the key of ‘sounds like I’m being choked out in a headlock’.

Christmas comes sooner and sooner with each passing year, and with that, my patience gets thinner and thinner!

Not content with keeping the festivities wrapped up in the comfort of our own homes, as low and behold the shops are at it too! Their plethora of pompous plastic propaganda is quite simply preposterous! Crowing their untimely festive ‘hello’ in the form of silver tinsel, shiny baubles and ofcourse the Christmas cards which you gift to the neighbours you don’t so much as blink an eye at the during the other 364 days of the year.

As the Santa sign with his harem of reindeer in tow swings carelessly above the heads of the unwitting shoppers who stock up like apocalypse preppers below, the shelf stockers are fast replenishing the sold out supply of extra wide aluminum foil and the Christmas crackers that do the toenail clippers. Cheery Christmas jargon is sprawled across the shop floor like your aunt across the king-size during the night of your cousin’s conception. Mid-November really has that festive feel about it, doesn’t it?

Sing along shenanigans, sherries, shandies,
Family fights, half necked-back brandies.

It’s all kicking off in Autumn 2019!

Not that I’m yearning to be the female version of Scrooge this year but is there really anything wrong with wanting the festive cheer to not start early? If Christmas can start early then why can’t the purge?

Can Christmas really start too soon, I hear you squeak? Yes! When it leads to a country’s recession! Starting Christmas that little bit earlier means putting your hand into your pocket that little bit deeper. Which means you’ll be giving up that kidney to the black market that little bit faster. And let’s face it, we all need as many kidneys as we can get our grubby hands on during the later months of the year.

Blowing your pension fund on secret Santa presents is all good if you’ve recently won the lotto or bumped off your wealthy mum and dad to gain access to their will, but for the rest of us unlucky law abiding citizens, Christmas just puts the ‘Christ’ in our mouths everytime we pull out our wallets.

Soon the case will be that Christmas officially ends on the 26th Dec and officially starts again on the 1 January the following year.

I might as well wish you a Merry Christmas now, in advance of Christmas 2020 for the way things are going, so here:

 

Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!

 

Poem: A Parent’s Love

Writing
A Parent’s Love
Embers of amor engulf us as you touch my face once more.
Held in your arms as closely as the day on which I was born.
You have loved me from the moment my heart began beating.
A childhood spent with you,
If only time could be repeated.
Although I will grow up,
I will always be your child.
A bond that’s shared – so strong,
A love so unconditional – it’s blind.
**Picture taken by me at Woburn Safari Park in Summer 2019.

An Evening Lit By Candlelight

Writing

It’s been a hot minute (I hate that term) since I’ve written anything mildly conducive to that of an Individual with half a brain cell..

I don’t know why but lately I’ve found it difficult being organised, finding time to post anything. I’ve found it difficult feeling fulfilled. So much so that I’ve perhaps exchanged the time dedicated to blogging to doing ‘other things ‘ which may have promise of filling this void of unfulfillment.

So last week I told myself I would try some new things. But one thing I didn’t expect to do was

Grieve. In public.

A friend of mine lost her father earlier this year and invited me to attend a grieving event in London the Sunday just passed. I can’t deny that I was apprehensive to attend. I thought grief was an emotion shown only to your closest of family members, not strangers seated before a candlelit table, but as the experience taught me, sometimes strangers can offer a support of their own in a profound way.

Ofcourse hindsight is a beautiful thing, because prior to the event I was truly afraid incase it would leave me with an overbearing feeling of sadness. A selfish thing to say, I know. But there’s a reason why grieving events aren’t as popular as club nights, I’m sure we can all agree on this. At the same time I was fearful that I may not connect enough, and show a lacking depth of emotion.

Regardless of my internally antagonistic thoughts which churned almost as aggressively as the butterflies in my queasy stomach, I attended.

On arrival I had anticipated an event somewhat structured like that of an alcoholics anonymous session, yet it was far from that. Held in a room not big enough to swing a cat in, attached by a tiny corridor to the rest of the building which took the form of a boisterously bustling bar. Quite a dissimilar fit I thought as I was greeted at the door of this tiny corridor by the friendly faced event organiser. 

 

Entering the room as a latecomer, my friend and I sat in the remaining two chairs at a table already occupied by eight. All women, no men. Which was something quite resonating and sad in itself. I took a seat and looked around at the faces, and was met with a mixture of emotions, from sadness to restraint.

We took it in turn sharing stories of the people close to us who we had lost, I found it a bit too much at times to be honest. Without delving too deep, witnessing the tellings of stories of battles with long term illnesses and overdoses was a sobering experience. Sitting in this little room lit by candlelight, the soft glow emphasising the pained expressions of the women in attendance. The atmosphere was vulnerable and heavy and raw.

I came away from the evening thinking of how we all live in our own little bubbles and sometimes think that we are the only ones going through troubles, that dark times just aren’t as dark for others as they are for us. But that Sunday evening proved to me that this just isn’t the case. 

I’m not saying that it’s a good thing that you or I are not the only ones suffering in the world but what I am saying is that there’s a relatability and with this comes shared understanding and support if needed. If you are facing a challenging time in your life, chances are someone else is too. And what we find is talking outward about an issue is always healthier than internalizing it. 

I thought I would come out of the grieving event on a low and I did temporarily due to the nature of the event but on the whole I came away taking with me a sense that everyone has ups and downs in life and that support is there for you. You really aren’t alone. 

 

 

 

 

Hunting

Writing

I’m currently looking for a new place to live here in London, having lived here for almost three years now, it’s safe to say I’ve done my fair share of moving around. From Golders Green to West Ham and places in between. I’m someone who likes change and I think as my rent will be put up even higher this year it’s time to move once again.

 

I’ve never seemed to have any luck with estate agents here in the capital, when I first moved here after graduating from university in Bristol I was quite naive and ended up turning up to places like Brick Lane and Hampstead expecting to view a property for £600 per month. Yet instead found myself stood up, the property never existed. I now have a better idea of what properties are realistic and what cowboy estate agents are trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Personally I find the rent here in London far too high, it’s pretty much extortion. But I guess with the attraction that the city has to so many of us, you’re always going to find people willing to pay eye wateringly high prices, after all competition for homes is rife here.

 

In addition to dodgy estate agents, I found myself in a rather unfortunate situation with flatmates too. I swear I’m cursed with property hunting. When I initially came to London I managed to stay with a live in landlady who was shady af. She only accepted the deposit in cash, never online (so there was no evidence that I ever paid her the money in her eyes, also she wouldn’t be taxed on it this way), I remember her also strictly enforcing that I had to deep clean the entire flat every week, if I failed to do so she would charge me a £20 fine each time. It’s not that I’m allergic to cleaning, I just don’t feel like I need to ‘deep’ clean weekly! Also I don;t know if this is legal but she said if I ever brought ‘visitors’ over she would charge me £15 per night! Hhahaa is she some pimp or seedy hotel owner? I never did bring anyone ‘over’ as she so vulgarly put it. The weirdest thing of all though was when I was awoken to the sounds of loud banging on my bedroom door one night, like after 11pm. I opened tn and to my surprise there were two men in leather coats speaking what sounded like an eastern european language. They asked me where the landlady was to which I distinctly remember her saying a few days prior that she was off for a few weeks ‘holiday’ (fitting timing). I told him this to which he replied ‘tell her I want my deposit back, I was the previous tenant of your room and she hasn’t given me my money back’. He then signalled to the apple mac which was on the table in the kitchen to which I said it wasn’t hers, it was another flatmates, which was true. He then told me  that he would’ve taken it if it was hers as a result of her refraining from returning his deposit. The scary thing here was that he did not come alone, another man was with him and that he had cut keys to gain entry into the property. Let’s remember he wasn’t standing at the front door he was inside the property. Shortly after this occurrence I left the flat and ofcourse I never got my deposit back either. This is a thing you have to look out for when renting, dodgy landlords aswell as estate agents who can try and steal your deposits.

 

After this rather frightening encounter I moved in with workmates from a media company I initially worked for when moving to london. All was fine until one of the guys came back high on cocaine with a bunch of other guys and proceeded to tear up the living at 3am in the morning, I was so scared I literally barricaded myself in my room out of fear of not knowing what they’re intentions were whilst off their heads. I was the only female in the flat at the time of this. And certainly didn’t go back to sleep once they made their presence known in the living room next to my bedroom. So you can see where this is going, I moved again. I often think to myself are my expectations too high for housing situations here in London, personally I don’t believe so, I just want somewhere which isn’t the size of a matchbox or has less light than a cave. Equally so if the flatmates weren’t trying to steal my money or peel the skin off their own faces while overdosing on class-A drugs then that would be a nice thing too. Not asking for much you know.

 

So on I go in my search for a new apartment, I’m a a seasoned veteran at flat hunting now, which is both a good and bad thing I guess. I hope you’ve never had to experience any of the things I did above, and that you’re home hunting has been smooth sailing. I think it’s time to get back on with the hunt then …wish me luck please, I’ll need it!!!!!

 

**If you ever need advice on some recommended places to live here just let me know! I’ve learned it the hard way hahah!

Why Are We So Messy?

Writing

If you’re a messy son of a b*tch like me then you should be shouting that fact from the rooftops, hilltops and every other kind of top out there. Wear your messiness like a medal of honour my friend. Let me tell for you why:

1. It boosts your immune system

Yes mouldy pots and pans are breeding grounds for bacteria. Which means sparring grounds for your little friend – the immune system. Exposing it to all types of bacteria will do you a world of good. If you’ve never had food poisoning in your life then thank your messy kitchen habits, don’t blame them!

Moving on!

2. You have time to do the important sh*t  

Why scrub the floors in your marigolds when you could be throwing ball with your son or catching up with old friends? Leave the spillage where it is! If someone falls on their ear, fate made it so, not you!!

3. Your blood pressure will thank you 

Anytime guests come over you won’t be running around like a headless chicken picking up the crumbs of the all butter shortbread you’ve just gave them with their cup of tea. If they drop a crumb it’s all good, the dust bunnies will nibble on it later. 

4. It feels more homely

 A home is meant to be a home not a live-in museum! Why would I want any guests feeling like they have to walk on eggshells for fear of accidentally knocking over my 16th century antique crystal? I want them to put their feet up and relax, nothing says relaxation like an already stained sofa, right?

“Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Poem: Rejection

Writing

Rejection

Rejection is like an unwelcome face.

All too familiar, you close the door on it.

Should rejection be ignored or embraced?

It depends on what way you look at it.

 

Rejection from a lover

The heat of their body touching yours is fading.

Now all but a distant memory.

The taste of their mouth on yours – erasing.

You yearn for the return of this reality.

.

Failure

Will it make you stronger or weaker?

Do you see it as a knock on the esteem?

Is it a chance to become better?

Or do you say farewell to your dreams?

 

Rejecting yourself

Just as you can have too much of a good thing.

You can have too much of a bad.

If rejection comes round to often?

Understandably – where do you stand?

 

The Time I Almost Went Blind

Writing

I think back to this horrific memory as a result of having incredibly dry and itchy eyes for what felt like every living second of work today. If you’re familiar with my other post about an unwelcomed eye infection I had last year, then you’ll be familiar with the fact that I’ve had some nasty little issues with my eyes at certain points in my life.

 

Today in work, as I sat cross-eyed, with the tears streaming down my face trying to type ‘how to cook egg fried rice’ into my google search I think back to the following event involving my eyes which left me scarred for life:

 

About 7 years ago I was in the garden of my family home in Northern Ireland, hanging out the washing as any enslaved child would do for the enjoyment of their parents, when all of a sudden I started to lose my peripheral vision.

 

Initially it began in the rims of my sight but soon before I knew it my whole vision was blurry. The only way I could describe it would be like if you were to open your eyes in the ocean’s salty water and everything appears ‘fizzy’ if that makes sense. I can only use this example because I being the idiot that I am have tried this. So with my vision suddenly disintegrating I scream to my sister who is too busy hanging up my dad’s tighty whities that I couldn’t see.

 

Thinking it was a joke she continued pegging the odd socks to the clothes line. I was adamant I was losing my vision, my parents were out of the house at this stage so it was just me and my younger sister in the garden. I continued to shriek with panic until finally she knew that I wasn’t joking for once.

 

The two of us ran inside and I scrambled to reach for the phone as my vision was getting ‘fizzier’ and ‘fizzier’, I couldn’t see the numbers by this stage, I think only 2 minutes had went by since my vision was normal. My sister rand my dad who consequently sped home so fast I could smell the burning rubber on his tyres. By the time he got back which was approx 15 minutes after we alerted him,  my sight had returned to me. I should’ve probably rang an ambulance but being a kid I didn’t know what to do, I just panicked.

 

At the opticians a few days later they found no real reasoning for it but I have one of my own.

 

My phone.

 

It just so happens that a few weeks prior to this scare I had just gotten my first touch screen phone. I felt like the bee’s knees and loved looking at everything from the latest music videos to social media all within 5 millimetres if my face. I literally never sat it down, this dangerous recipe of being continuously on my phone coupled with holding it so close to my eyes, led to major strain being put on my eyes as a result in my opinion. I believe overuse of the device led to my temporary blindness.

 

I think back to the event and part of me finds it humourous but another part of me is genuinely cautious of eye strain. It’s so easy for us to spend copious amounts of times on our electronic devices and although opticians may feel that it’s the biology of the eye and age that make it deteriorate overtime, part of me still feels overworking the eye plays a part.

 

Even if I’m wrong, we all know that using our phones and laptops for sustained periods of time does cause discomfort to our eyes, even if only on a temporary basis.

 

I actively think about the amount if time I spend on my devices. And put in effort to ensure I don’t spend too long. I think we all should, what use is getting a high score on candy crush when you’re damaging your body in the process?

Male Suicide

Writing

‘Death of A Salesman’ by Arthur Miller

The Young Vic’s adaptation of the 1949 play was simply faultless. So well executed was the storyline that I went home overcome by an aura of melancholy, unshakeable even by watching the funniest of comedies on Netflix.

If you are unfamiliar with the play, it happens to be one of Miller’s most telling and rawest of pieces. Focusing on a working class family, in particular, the patriarchal dynamic of that of an American salesman’s.

From loss of finances to a loss of respect from his two adult sons, the man becomes broken, his internal antagony is played out publicly to the audience. From his affairs to combat his loneliness despite sharing his home with a loving wife, to his power struggles in asking his boss for a raise. All too similar is the narrative of this fictional character’s life to that of so many individuals today. This relatability made for an engaging reenactment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

With the final moments of the performance crescendoing to catastrophic events leading to the fatality of the father, I asked myself the question – ‘how many men in this audience’ relate to his actions?

This led me to think back to another event I had attended at the Young Vic merely a few months prior. The event focussed on masculinity.

The event was an open Q +A style discussion among an audience on the topic of masculinity. The evening was incredibly insightful, with one question in particular demanding my attention:

“Does society’s limitations on men to open up and visibly share their emotions explain the suicide rates among men?”

In the UK, men are three times as likely to take their own lives than women. This ratio is similar internationally also. The BBC reported that women are more likely than men to attempt suicide, yet it is men who use more violent methods to commit suicide meaning there is a higher chance of completion before intervention.

These statistics should not go ignored. With a society becoming more and more tolerable and understanding of topics which decades ago would have been shunned and looked down upon such as: race, religion and sexual identity. There is still an elephant in the room, which the world just seems to ignore – the stereotype of masculinity.

The outdated inaccurate views that being masculine directly equates to being macho, to hiding your emotions, that crying is a sign of weakness, that men have to be the breadwinners.

Personally as a woman I do feel like the pressures that women face are much more ‘common knowledge’ because as women is seems to be that you’re allowed to ‘talk ‘ about them more openly, and listened to more readily. But for men this is unfairly not the case even still today. Some cultures may be more progressive and ‘open’  than others but I still feel that overall, the role men feel they need to fill has a substantial impact on their mental health.

Noting some of the comments people at the event on masculinity gave below as I feel they are both honest and genuinely food for thought, raising points which I believe all of us should take onboard:

  • A man (18 – 24) – What Role Does Society Want Me To Play?

“I believe suicide rates are increasing among men because of the ‘disenfranchisement’ of the traditional male. Society nowadays wants you to be more ‘open-minded’ yet still be the ‘provider’ for the family. Men are getting more mixed signals from society today than it did before, now there is more pressure.

  • A woman (18 – 24) – Male Suicide  Female Suicide Comparison

“Women  may attempt more suicides, yet it is men who do so in a more violent manner (slitting wrists, use of firearms) and have higher rates of completion than women.”

  • A man (25 – 35) – Violence

“Violence was used as a way to vent out those emotions society wouldn’t allow me to.”

  • A Woman (25 – 35) in response to the man (25 – 35)

“Isn’t violence a tool to someone committing suicide rather than a way to vent emotions?”

With mental health starting to be gain the attention it needs, shouldn’t an extension of this mean we have a duty of care to address the potential factors leading to the mental health of all genders and sexual identities? And not to simply take a generalised approach to mental health?

Whether you are reading this from within the UK or from outside of the UK, ff you feel like you need support for your mental well-being contact your local health service. It is not a sign of weakness, being proactive is a sign of strength.

Some UK based organisation that I know of:

The Samaritans Call 116 123

Mind  call 020 8519 2122

NHS Mental Health Services

Prepare To See A Camel Race!

Writing

Standing in a field in the blustering weather on a Monday afternoon in Northaw, you’d forgive me for doing a double take at the sight of a bright-eyed, beige- bodied spitting camel come hurtling down the hill, with the jockey in tow gripping onto the camel’s moulting mound for dear life. Yes, cheltenham eat your heart out, for camels are fast becoming the new stallions of the racing world.

Whether you’re a betting man or not, you can’t resist the urge to stick your hand  into your pocket to help a good cause, of which today’s was raising funds for the Essex and Hertfordshire Air Ambulances. And I guess there’s no better ways to raise funds than to put on a good race. Boy were we in for a treat, from shetland ponies to hunting hounds, it seemed like every animal in the ark had its chance at being the next Usain Bolt of the animal kingdom. It’s safe to say the day did not disappoint.

Shetland pony racing

Adorable! As you can see tiny children jockeyed the mini horses, put even a toothpicked adult on the little things backs and you’ve damned them to a life of osteoporosis.

Look at their little legs go! Aren’t they adorable!

SHETLAND.jpg

Hound Racing:

Letting their natural instincts shine through, barking with excitement, prancing back and forth at the starting line, these rowdy canines put on quite the show for the spectators. With the only bait to the finish line being their overly loud whistle-blowing owner you can see why it was no surprise that all of the mutts enthusiastic activity was for nothing for as soon as the race  started 3 of the 6 hunting hounds ran in the opposite direction to the finish line while one stopped to take a wee and two just trotted to the finish line with ease. Poor owner. 😦

**Sorry I didn’t get a picture of the dogs. 😦  I’m a bad person.

Pony racing

Slightly larger than their Shetland cousins but still just as cute, these miniature maestros certainly moved round that track in a motion rivaling any stallion at the Grand National (ok maybe not). But still, to have children riding these little beasts made me think 1) I need to call NSPCC for someone’s parents doesn’t love them, putting the on a horse moving at the speed of light.  2) Give this kid a medal of honor for having the courage to even get on the rambunctious things nevermind race them!

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Camel Racing

But obviously the two-toed mountains of sandy fluff were all of our favourites. It was a bit of a chaotic start for the camel race in all fairness. One camel ran the opposite way as soon as the starting whistle was sounded. So 3 /4 were the automatically in the race for 1st place, then with a sudden turn of events,a jockey falls off her camel (in green shirt below)! The fall looked bad but gladly the lady was fine. Then the camel set to win the race only goes and does a complete u-turn just before the finishing line after galloping down the track like a pro. And as a result  quite literally hands over victory to the other lazy one who I swear stopped to chew grass halfway down the racing track. Sad times! Although I doubt the camels really cared!

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(Please bite his finger hehe)

 

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This one looked  as if it’d seen some things.

 

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What animals would you love to see race?

Never Leave Your Luggage Unattended

Writing

Thieves walk among us! Not just the kind who nab an extra straw at McDonalds, oh no, I’m talking the type who’d steal your laptop and passport as you sit cosy on a coach about to head off to the airport. This is exactly  what I’d feared had happened to some poor soul several weeks back when I was travelling to Northern Ireland for the bank holiday.

 

Sitting in the coach ready to head to Luton airport, my sister next to me pipes up “she’s just taken someone’s bag!” In disbelief I  shake my head and tell Rose not to worry, just as I do this another man warns “I just saw a women take someone’s luggage” and with that my eyes widened as I rushed down the steps of the coach hoping that both my sister and the man were incorrect.

 

As I look into the holding area which opens up to the side of the bus I see that our bags are still there, with the threat of the same potential disaster happening again I grab my bags and sprint back upstairs towards my seat at the front of the coach again. Where was the coach driver all this time you ask? Well it was only at this stage when I’m trying to get my bag upstairs that the driver appears from the front of the bus and threatens me by saying noone is allowed to take their luggage upstairs it’s against the health and safety regulations. I proceed to say to him safety regulations got someone’s bag stolen. The whole time, once letting us on the bus he was having a smoke at the front of the bus watching time pass by, therefore he wasn’t keeping an eye on the luggage held in the side compartment of the coach. He didn’t shut the side of the luggage hold leaving it exposed for anyone to take our cases as we’re none the wiser above in the coach seats.

 

It’s funny how he’s in the wrong a) not keeping an eye on the luggage b) leaving the luggage door wide open, yet threatens me that “this bus is not moving until everyone puts their bags back in the hold.”

 

I reluctantly returned my bags to the hold and demanded he shut the door. The rest of the journey was rather tense as no sooner had he shut the door than was he racing down the motorway. Someone was potentially in for an unfortunate shock once we arrive at the airport I thought to myself.

 

Why I think a bag was in fact stolen:

 

Asking my sister what she saw it appears that the luggage  was indeed stolen as oppose to the situation being where a mistaken traveller who realised last minute that they’d got the wrong bus quickly grabs their case with no hesitation.

 

But that’s exactly my point, if the bag did belong to the person removing it, who may have accidentally got ready to board the wrong bus, would you really be that swift to remove your bag, would you not take a second to make sure you do grab your case and not someone else’s. By all accounts the person had no hesitation when walking passed the bus and grabbing the suitcase.

 

Leading on from this, my second point, if you’d just mistaken the bus wouldn’t you be standing around scratching your head a bit, checking bus timetables, checking your ticket? Not walking briskly towards the train station?

 

Thieves target cases for electronics, and valuable gifts you plan to bring back to loved ones. Taking your bag could mean they take away your chance to visit your friends and family or visit that destination you’ve always wanted to see if your travel documents are inside, as a lot of times they may be.

 

We didn’t stick around once at the airport to see if our worst suspicions were proven true. All I know is never leave your bag unattended. If you do, tell drivers to close the doors to your personal valuable belongings instead of turning their heads the other way.

Is Being Messy Actually A Good Thing?

Writing

Maybe this is just what I keep telling myself to make me feel better as I hurdle over the dirty dishes, shimmy past the week-old laundry and divebomb straight into bed after a night out with friends. Yes, my flat more times than enough looks like the scenes of an explosion, comparing it rather to a game of minesweeper, where if you place one wrong foot you’re slipping on a banana peel or a copy of my latest electricity bill which is no doubt overdue.

 

Ashamed to admit it, I’m rather messy, but aren’t we all atleast some of the time? Are you telling me you enjoy washing up pots and pans after slaving over a hot stove, or folding clothes after 8 hours at work? Exactly!

 

On the hunt to convince myself that being a messy son of a b*tch isn’t such a bad thing I bring to you the following points:

 

  • Messy could mean creativity, In a study conducted by scientists at The University of Minnesota, Kathleen Vos, psychological scientist concluded –  “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,”.Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.” Have a read here of their study it was really interesting, it involved chocolate bars and ping pong balls, what’s not to love about that?
  • You have more time for the important stuff, who wants to tidy up when you can go on that date to the cinema, or catch up with old friends at a restaurant? Stop placing your sticky notes in the order of colours of the rainbow and get yourself outdoors!
  • Your blood pressure will thank you, if you’re a neat person, chances are your beady eye will latch onto even the smallest misalignments. It’s like once you finally finish brushing the floor, only then do you start spotting the microscopic specs of dirt you need to catch. So do yourself a favour and be messy, you’ll stop sweating the small stuff as a result!

 

Whether the above points in favour of being untidy are totally true or not, shouldn’t I still take pride in my humble abode (matchbox of a flat) by keeping things somewhat in order? Doesn’t it show a sense of care for myself and for anybody else I’m living with? Even if I live alone and noone is there to see my mess, do I really want to have a zero f*cks attitude towards tidying? Not really, for the whole reason we aim to keep things tidy at its core is to keep thing hygienic and in good condition, to place value on sentimental possessions and to feel comfortable in the space we live in. To do this I must show respect to the place I call home, or else I’m not really respecting myself.

 

Well, off I go to pick up some mouldy fruit from under my bed!  

The Land Of Ice & Fire – Northern Ireland

Writing

I’m returning home for a short stint of rest and recuperation tomorrow, which normally means gorging on copious amounts of chocolate until someone shoots me with an insulin pen while drowsily watching yet another round of ‘Saving Private Ryan’. My dad’s choice btw, who I’ve no doubt will be out for the count before the opening credits are up.

 

This thought reminds me that I don’t go home enough. If you, like me, have spent considerable amounts of time away from your hometown, it feels weird going back. Why? For a reason I just can’t put my finger on. Everything is I guess, familiar in appearance, yet strangely it just ‘feels’ different. Well, at least it does in my case.

 

Northern Ireland may be a small place geographically, but I’m proud to have come from it. What other country hosts an accent so childlike one second yet so abrupt the next? What other place mentions their links to a ship that sank so proudly?! What other country sets the scene for so many epic moments of the Game of Thrones saga? Which reminds me, did I tell you about the time I signed up to an extras agency in Northern Ireland and oneday received a text message from a member of the extras casting team? Put it this way, the reason you’ve never seen me in GoT is because £400 isn’t going to buy me a realistic enough wig after shaving all of my hair off for one of their scenes. That was pretty much the offer you see, would you shave off all of your hair for £400? Maybe you would, but I wouldn’t! I’d probably have went through all of that to get 2 seconds of camera time and even then it would be of the back of my patchy shaved head! Yes, I know, I’m a glass have full kind of girl.

 

A change of scenery will be good no doubt, not that I don’t like London, but twisting the phrasing, a break away from sweaty bodies in tubes and overpriced milk won’t be such a bad thing I don’t think.

 

Well…..off I go, hope you have a great weekend where you are.

Home: Rent Or Buy Which Is Best?

Writing

As I wipe a tear from my eye each month as I watch more than ¾ of my salary fly out the window towards the cost of renting here in London, I ask myself – is it all worth it?!

 

This matchbox size of an apartment, does it really warrant the equivalent cost of a very expensive bottle of Brut annually? I think not. On a salary so low I’ve considered donating a kidney and a neat little portion of the liver to the black market, I have no choice but to rent.

 

I’d love to own my own home there’s just no feasible way I could afford to buy a property outright. And it seems with the way renting is going, savings will quite simply a foreign word for the next decade of my tender life. But before you pack away your violin too quickly, I’ll give you another reason why renting is the bane of my life – the landlord!

 

Yes you thief of the night, if you’re reading this please note that I love the fact that you send your builders round at the crack of dawn to fix blinds I requested fixing months previously. I love how you put the rent up year on year despite the conditions of the flat deteriorating daily! And last but not least, I love how you walked in on me while squatting on the loo and proceeded to tamper with the fire alarm and ask me how my day at work was in the process. Ahhh renting, don’t worry, you’ll never be alone, your landlord is practically your flatmate! Who’s only nice to you when you hand over the remaining entrails of Mr. Piggy.

 

All I can say is – please God, let me win the lottery soon!

The Psychology of Value

Writing

What do you think is more valuable, the price of these rings in the picture, or, the relationship symbolised by them?

No rush to answer! How about the question below instead, as a continuation from yesterday’s post:

 

If I gifted you a Swiss chocolate bar to begin with then a few moments later asked if you’d like to swap that chocolate bar for a new white coffee mug, would you do it?

I didn’t think so either, so why is this? Maybe you like chocolate more than mugs (same here)? But the psychology behind ownership  isn’t that straightforward. In a study by Kahneman, Knetsch and Thaler, when the experiment was conducted in the both the way outlined  above and also the opposite i.e. when students given mugs first were then asked if they wanted to swap it for some of Switzerland’s finest cocoa products, the majority refused to swap the item they were initially given for the item up for grabs in return. So why is this?

Scientists believe it may be  because of the psychological phenomenon known as the ‘Endowment Effect’. Which put simply is the idea that people place more value on something they ‘own’ than the very same object which they have not inherited. For example, say we had two identical water bottles. If I were to give you one and ask you a few moments later if you’d like to swap. Chances are you wouldn’t, even when knowing the two items are basically equal in value in terms of money and use.

But that’s just it. The intrinsic value that your water bottle has to you is more than that of my water bottle.  In those precious few minutes you held your gifted bottle you developed an ‘attachment’ to it. This attachment idea stems from childhood: It is theorized that throughout our childhood, we grew accustomed to placing value to particular objects, be it a certain blanket or a toy,  as if believing that they have a ‘unique’ essence.

Not limited to the imaginations of our juvenile selves, this trait follows us into adulthood and if anything becomes more elaborate.From celebrity memorabilia to refusing to detach ourselves from the possessions of passed loved ones, it’s as if we feel better connected to these individuals through their materialistic items.

 

When it comes to ownership, culture also plays a part.

 

Explained in tomorrow’s post!

 

5 Christmas Family Fights We All Have

Writing

1. Your sister/ brother got more presents than you

Let’s be honest for just a second, we may donate to charity once in a blue moon, help an old lady across the road and give half of our doughnut to the old flame. But in our heart of hearts, we’re all well aware of our all too selfish ways, truth be told, we’re all materialistic son’s of b*tches! And in no other way does this become more evident than during the festive period.  When your loving brother get’s one too many chocolate coins in his stockings you make sure your opinions are well and truly heard in the matter.

2. Your Granny ( on your dad’s side) insults your mum’s cooking

Not like she has any teeth left, stuck to the limitations of the humble sweet corn soup, dear old Deloris decides to put her 2 pence in and share just how much she despises your mother’s home cooking, The woman who has just spent more blood, sweat and tears slaving over a hot stove than what’s humanely acceptable.  Somebody call the Samaritans for Christ’s sake. And the undertakers, because by the look on your mother face, Granny’s seen her last sweet corn soup I think.

3.You didn’t get to put the star ontop of the tree.

This is always a certified way to get my dad’s blood pressure sky-rocketing as me and my siblings squabble over who has the privilege of placing the tacky fraying star upon the tip of the off white scratchy artificial Christmas tree. Arguably the tallest should step up to the task but me being me never found that fair. For consecutive years, that same off white scratchy tree has been toppled, bobbles and all. My dad now refuses to put a tree up these recent years. I do wonder why.

4. Your Aunt begs you to stop telling your 6 year old cousin that Santa isn’t real.

Honesty is the best policy in your eyes, what’s worse than simply lying is lying to a child you tell yourself. Plus it’s quite funny seeing the shock on little Danny’s face as your Aunt’s brow furrows further and further each time you beckon him over.

5. Your Aunt begs you to stop telling your 6 year old cousin that Santa is infact actually ‘Satan’

So she finally got you to stop saying that Santa wasn’t real, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change the narrative to Santa metamorphosing into Satan himself! In a rather beautiful analogy of caterpillar to butterfly, you proceed to tell the younger members of your extended family the real reason Santa wears red.

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If you can’t empathise with me on any of my fondest of Christmas memories above then you just don’t know what the true meaning of Christmas is – Fighting! I mean – Family!

5 Extraordinary Jobs That I Never Knew Existed

Writing

If you thought working 9 to 5 was all about number crunching and pencil pushing think again:

  1. Certified Seat Filler

Empty seats at some of the biggest events in TV are an absolute no no so random people may actually be paid to make up the numbers. My question is – how the hell can there be gaps in the audience at these events, surely you’d donate a kidney just to be a row away from Sir Elton John, right?  Anyhow, if you fancy sitting pretty at an awards show near you perhaps check out some companies online where you can register. (See how I didn’t mention any names – noone pays me on here :p )!

  1. Swan Upping

Did you know the Queen exercises her ownership rights on all unmarked swans along parts of the River Thames and its Tributaries. Stocktake of The Crown’s swans is conducted by livery companies – Vintner’s and The Dyers. This practice dates back to the 12th century when swan-meat was deemed a little too precious!

  1. Professional Bed Warmer

You really can’t make this stuff up, supposedly there are hotels (Holiday Inn to be more exact) who hire people donning hygienic sleep suits to jump into your bed and make it all toasty for your arrival. What happened to a good old fashion water bottle? Or have they not heard of electric blankets?

  1. Panda Cuddler

Cuteness overload! This would melt even the coldest of hearts! Aimed to actually help the little bundles of fur adjust to life minus humans and hence give them a chance to habituate to life in the wilderness, this role plays a vital part in the rehabilitation of Pandas into their natural environment.

  1. Professional Mourner

So, I thought I’d end on a high note here, obviously. This is infact a paying job. Originating in Egyptian, Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures, the role is to help comfort and entertain the grieving family. The paid mourner may be asked to deliver a eulogy or  lament for the passing of the individual. Thus, their attendance holds a high level of significance for the families and not just as a means  to nick the last few remaining cucumber sandwiches at the wake.

Have any of the above made you want to give up the day job then?