Yes, Positives Do Exist (Just Squint Harder And You’ll See)

Writing

With so much negativity festering daily, from scaremongering and sensationalising tabloids spitting doomsday ‘news’ into our turquoise surgical masked faces, to apocalyptic scenes in some of the local supermarkets. I wanted to flip this on its head, and dare I say, try and see some positives to this nightmare we all find ourselves desperate to awaken from. 

Is this my feeble attempt to sugarcoat reality or turn a blind eye to the obvious? No, of course not, but sometimes we need to take a minute and reflect on some good in order to continue soldiering through the challenges. 

And for that reason, I want to share with you some positives I have jotted down recently regarding the pandemic in an attempt that you too could relate. 

Will it plant a cheek-hurting smile on your mug allday? I think not, but perhaps for a millisecond or two, and that’s better than not at all, right?

So here goes:

Money Saving

I am not ignoring the financial hardships, again this point will be for a few not the majority. Many people have lost their livelihoods, or are struggling on furlough, I know this. Which is why I think it is important to remain hopeful that this nightmare will end this year. 

Some of us may have been able to save throughout this situation, perhaps you have returned to the parental home and are saving money by paying a decreased rent. Or maybe, for example, because the hospitality industry has been closed at different stages throughout the year you have managed to save money which otherwise would have been spent in restaurants and bars. Because, let’s face it, who would ever want to spend their money enjoying themselves *wink wink.

Perhaps this situation presented you with an opportunity to kickstart your own business. New ideas may have arisen as a direct result of these circumstances perhaps. Or maybe, simply, you’ve had the time to forge a solid business plan, thrown caution to the wind and just given it a go. 

Family Time

Although the novelty definitely wears off, I can say that the support and company of my parents, and vice versa this last year has had more positives than negatives. Of course the pleasantries fade into the abyss by the second week of living under their roof, with their ways of life mimicking that of a stoned three-toed swamp sloth. It’s no lie that I have wanted  to take them on in the boxing ring, but overall I think spending time with family is something that should not be underestimated. Having company is definitely something that’s overlooked by us all at times. There’s nothing wrong with living on your own, so long as you can still catch up with friends and family, right? But definitely, in these times I think closeness with people is needed more than ever. Love you Ma and Da (they never read this sh*t)!

Perhaps you are a parent yourself and have found that this situation has given you the opportunity to spend more time at home with your partner and/or children. Maybe you have created more memories as a result. Hopefully happy ones!

As social beings, I think having company and companionship is only ever a good thing. Which is what makes this situation sort of bitter/sweet , after several months you grow to hate your family and crave socialising with your cool friends haha! But deep down family is important in my opinion.

Location Change = Less Stressful City Lifestyle

Ofcourse, this one is location dependent and based on your preferences as an individual. In my situation, I moved out of the city of London and into my parents’ shoebox of a home. Which despite its modest size it still manages to swamp the non-existent space you get in the matchbox city apartments of the UK’s capital, might I just add! 

Like any city, there are both pros and cons to the types of lifestyles they offer in them. I do like the atmosphere and amenities on my doorstep but the flipside is, do I miss overcrowding, sprinting off trains like racing greyhounds, or overpriced below-quality accommodation and products? I guess not, atleast not at the moment. 

So by being away from the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the city I have been able to take my head out of the sand and say ‘ no, no I do not miss the stress of the commute’ as I travel from my bed to my desk in my pink thermal pyjamas.

My blood pressure has thanked me too. 

Learn To Value Health More – Physical & Mental

It’s not that things like getting a haircut and saving the world’s economies are not important (in that order). But I think obviously the core of this crisis is the concern it poses to health on a mass scale. 

This risk to our physical health has taken a toll on our mental health, I believe this is fair to say, would you? Both are as important as eachother, yet one is always overlooked. I will leave this to you to decide.

The bottom line is, perhaps this is the time to truly put ‘health’ in its many aspects in the spotlight, and not focus on making more money or building  a more impressive reputation. Perhaps the importance should be on looking after ourselves. 

And not just in moments when we are physically sick, but in the moments physically well too. 

Not just in the moments where we feel physical pain, but in moments of mental pain too. 

I think it’s easy to overlook our own well-being and place more priority on widening our wallets. But ultimately what is a million in the bank really about if you are stressed or depressed, or physically unwell as a result of your quest to be rich?

My point is self-care has become a much more apparent thing to me, our mental and physical health is overlooked until a health scare abruptly enters our lives. 

We work ourselves into the ground to save money which we won’t see until we are pensioners, or instead, we work ourselves into the ground so that we can retire before we are of pension age. 

I have no issue with strong work ethics but a question I asked myself is – what value of money is my health worth?

We should treat ourselves better more often, we can be too hard on ourselves at times.

 Why obsess with always chasing the future plans, doesn’t that mean you will never really be enjoying the present?

Take more care of yourself is my bottom line!

If you are  feeling down, perhaps do as I did and take a moment to reflect on how much strength you have had in getting through this situation thus far. Perhaps even jot down some positives as I have done above. 

Personally, I felt alot better when I did this, and I am sure that you will too. 

Take care

Natasha

When Will The Summer Arrive?! :(

Writing

If you find yourself clutching onto a hot water bottle as if it were a life-saving hand at the top of a cliff which had your death sealed on it. Then you must only be in Northern Ireland in the height of its scorching summer at 14 degrees Celsius (on a good day).

 

Yes today is the day of the whinge, I haven’t seen the sun in 6 weeks, and I’m starting to have major withdrawal symptoms. So desperate am I to feel its rays caress my casper-like skin that I’ve started layering on the factor 50+ at midnight and adorning the sunglasses while peering at the moon from my french-bay windows begging it to metamorphose into its much hotter cousin. 

 

Where art thou sunlight? Summer in this country occurs for one day, and one day only. Normally in May, whilst you’re waiting in the healthcentre for them to check if the bed sores you are developing are caused  by a serious medical condition or just because you’re too lazy to walk your mutt in the piss-pouring rain.

 

 As you uncomfortably sweat from every orifice in your being as the sun plays peek-a-boo behind the cumulonimbus for all of about 4 seconds, you second-guess whether you should get the shorts on and the BBQ lit when you leave the cesspit of infestation a.k.a. the local healthcentre we all love to hate. 

 

The ‘Great British’ weather really isn’t all that great. It’s always essential to dress for all 4 seasons in the one day. So that means a crop top, flip-flops combo, coupled with a raincoat and set of hat, scarf and gloves all being sported before you’ve had your morning cereal. 

 

And with this, it’s time to throw on the Ski-jacket and cycle shorts for a trip to the soggy beach!

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!

 

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!

2nd Place Poem – End Hunger UK – ‘A Closed Fist’

Writing

2nd place in the End Hunger UK poetry competition.

‘A Closed Fist’ –  a spin on the meaning to hurt someone. A closed fist can be a punch but it could also be inferred to as a hand that is not offering food and therefore hurting someone by starving them.

I wanted the poem to show how it’s essential to be kind to one another. Afterall you never know where someone might be in their life, or who they may become. And perhaps you may even find yourself needing their help oneday. The bigger picture is that we are humans we need food and we need to put ourselves in eachothers shoes more often, especially when it comes down to this essential element of life – to prevent starvation.

Listen to the Poem:

 

Closed fist verse 1closed fist verse 2